OK, normally when I write these, I try to keep them free of any potential spoilers, limiting whatever I say to a basic premise so as not to ruin the book for anyone who chances upon my review, and that’s usually just Jimmy checking in after he’s read the book himself.
But this time, I’m going FULL SPOILERS, so you’ve been warned.
So, this trade represents the end of Scott Snyder’s Justice League run. The run worked as a continuation of the story he started, if not with his New 52 Batman run, then at least with his Dark Nights: Metal crossover that ended with the Justice League beating back the forces of the Dark Multiverse, led by the Batman Who Laughs, by shattering the Source Wall. Since then, various things that the Wall kept out came into the main universe, and Lex Luthor founded a new Legion of Doom to harness the power of whatever was on the other side, and that turned out to be Perpetua, a godlike being who created the multiverse but, mad with power, had to be locked away with only her three sons (the Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, and the World-Maker) to stay behind.
Now, one thing that Snyder did that really bugged me about Metal was he spent the majority of the story making everything so hopeless for the heroes. The Justice League would try various plans and over and over either get their heads handed to them or they had to run and hide from overwhelming force. Then in the final issue, the League pulled off a victory. Now, done right, something like this could work out well, allowing the reader to feel even better about the overall victory since the heroes had to somehow overcome impossible odds which would make the victory even more impressive and inspiring.
The problem for me with how Snyder does this makes everything seem hopeless. There are no small victories along the way. His Justice League plans and plans but consistently loses every time. Lex Luthor, and then Perpetua when she shows up and takes Luthor as her herald or something, just can’t be stopped. It’s frustrating.
Furthermore, it seems really weird that two things happen in this story. One is that Lex Luthor, a man whose defining characteristic is extreme arrogance, would bow down to any being, even one like Perpetua. Second, the greater population of the DC Universe’s planet Earth has to lose faith in their superhero population and somehow side with a group called the Legion of Doom. That just doesn’t seem right. It’s practically built into the universe’s DNA that the people adore their heroes, and Luthor is never anyone’s toady. The story here does address these concerns, and it even more or less works by explaining Perpetua is doing something to both Luthor and the rest of humanity, but I still had these thoughts whole I was reading, and that wasn’t good.
But then I get to the end, and what do I see? A note saying the story is to be continued in another mega mini-series because once again, Snyder’s Justice League loses the fight. They are even told, point blank, that they couldn’t win this one. Ending the run, for a series that would continue under a different creative team, and setting up yet another mega-mini-series, just left a poor taste in my mouth. I usually like Snyder’s work, but this was getting kinda old, kinda fast.
And yet, I probably will still read Death Metal.
6 out of 10 “Wait, you ended it how?” moments.