So, I was working under the impression that Justice League: Last Ride was a six issue mini-series. It’s actually seven issues. What an odd number…
Don’t get me wrong. I am glad to see another issue of this rather fun series, but a seven issue mini-series is a bit on the rare side.
Issue: Justice League: Last Ride #5, September 2021
Writer: Chip Zdarksky
Artist: Miguel Mendonca
The Plot: The problems of the past continue to hinder the League even as the problems of the present are not what they appear to be.
Commentary: There’s a lot I like about this mini-series. I like the way it digs into the main characters. I like any sort of alternate reality story when done right. I like the art. I like the pacing. And I really like the twists.
See, the assumption made was that Lobo was the target of the combined attack on Apokalips from the previous issue. The League needs to keep him alive to stand trial. Lots of people want Lobo dead. They will do anything to get that done even or especially if it discredits the new Federation of Planets or whatever they call themselves. The only thing standing between Lobo and his wouldbe executors are a handful of Earth’s superheroes, and they aren’t all getting along right now.
Or, more accurately, Superman and Batman aren’t getting along right now. Wonder Woman, Wally West, John Stewart, and Hal Jordan are getting along just fine even if Hal seems to have absorbed the power of the Central Power Battery into himself, and that hasn’t really gone well in the past.
Basically, this issue shows the initial reaction to J’onn’s death from Clark and Bruce, and it was a matter of mutual recrimination. Bruce called Clark self-righteous. Clark called Bruce cold. In the present, I get the impression Bruce might be closer to blaming himself for what happened, and I could see Clark doing the same if he were given the chance to reflect on what happened for a moment, but he hasn’t gotten there yet as far as I can remember.
However, the present has Mongul with a giant warfleet attacking from space while Brainiac, possessing the body of the Cyborg Superman, attacks from the ground. It sure does look like they want Lobo.
But…they don’t. There’s something else on Apokalips that is worth even more than the Last Czarnian.
I am really digging this series, but I will make note of one moment that stood out beyond the last page reveal: Wonder Woman’s fight with Mongul. The most famous Mongul story is, of course, “For the Man Who Has Everything” by Watchmen creators Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Wonder Woman attempts to take on Mongul there, and it never goes well for her. Her attacks do nothing to Mongul, and the first time she punches him seems to end with her hurting her hand. But here, she actually manages to find a way to defeat Mongul in a way that makes it look easy and makes him look like a chump.
That’s the sort of thing I generally approve of.