It’s Independence Day here in the States. So, do I have anything related for that for today?
Of course not! I usually write these weeks in advance. Besides, I don’t want to make Jimmy feel left out over in Canada.
Issue: Justice League: Last Ride #3, July 2021
Writer: Chip Zdarksky
Artist: Miguel Mendonca
The Plot: The League settles down on Apokalips to await Lobo’s trial.
Commentary: If issue #1 was about the set-up, showing that the World’s Finest pair stopped talking to each other due to some past event but are forced back together by circumstances, and #2 showed a little bit about what that incident was–and it was truly bad–then #3 is showing some of the ramifications of that event.
In a nutshell, Batman’s plan is to hold Lobo in Dessad’s old torture chamber on Apokalips. The planet is basically deserted as the New Gods are all dead or something. It’s about the last place anyone would expect the League to take anyone since it brings up bad memories for the team. And it does have its own defenses if need be. Plus, if anyone built something that could hold Lobo, it would have been Desaad.
That tracks. Of course, before the issue is out, someone will have leaked Lobo’s location to the many, many, many aliens who will gladly raises armies to see the Last Czarnian dead before he can go to trial, and Lobo may not be the smartest of beings, but he is crafty enough to provoke his jailers if need be. What I got from this issue was more about why the Man of the Steel and the Caped Crusader are on the outs, and it was indirect. Batman dishes out a plan as he is wont to do, and Superman snaps back at him. The other characters present–Wally West’s Flash, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Wonder Woman–mostly sit out of it. If anyone has to say anything, it’s Diana.
But then I got the impression the real point of the issue may be that Bruce and Clark don’t blame each other so much as they blame themselves. Superman, in this story, has thrown himself into big conflicts at a breakneck speed, barely taking a breath for himself, to the point where it seems like he is doing more because of an overinflated sense of his own power, convinced the only reason things might go wrong is if he does anything less than he has been. That’s not entirely healthy, but at the same time, it’s not as if I have never seen Superman do that before. So, does Clark blame himself more than he blames Bruce?
On Bruce’s side, he doesn’t seem to snap much at Clark. If anything, he’d rather not to have to deal with any of the others, but he sees when he has to do something and this is one of those times. But it looks like Batman may be in a darker place than usual. Yes, he’s not exactly a sunshine-and-roses sort of character, but he has moments here when he suggests that perhaps the Justice League as a concept (hopefully) should be dead, and that maybe the world no longer needs, if not heroes, then at least this combination of heroes.
So, what I may be getting out of this is Superman and Batman’s own personal quirks are making them go down a path they probably shouldn’t, this making things worse. Superman’s inability to stop and Batman’s general distrust have gone to eleven. With Supes’s inability to stop and Bats’s inability to trust others to do what needs to be done, well, something’s gotta give.
This has been a great mini-series so far.