Finding Balance in Justice League: No Justice 3

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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We here at Retcon Punch, sadly, haven’t had much of a chance to discuss Justice League: No Justice until now, but I’ve been enjoying it immensely from the start. It has many of the same strengths as its predecessor, Dark Nights: Metal, but since No Justice is working with only four issues, avoids most of its excesses. No Justice is focused and easy to follow, yet still has a grand scope and a firm grasp on the characters and history of the DC Universe. It’s well-balanced, which plays right into the themes of the series and the goals of its various League factions.

Writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson have kept those goals quite clear even when dealing with grand, cosmic level threats. No Justice finds Earth’s heroes (and villains) split into four groups by Brainiac in order to save Colu (and, in turn, Earth) from the Omega Titans, unfathomable forces released when the Justice League cracked the Source Wall at the end of Metal.

For all that clarity, though, the writing team still smartly held some of their cards in reserve. No Justice 3 reveals that Brainiac (who had been “killed” by Amanda Waller before he could fully explain his strategy), of course, always planned to double cross the League — he not only had no intention of sparing Earth, but he was going to channel the League’s efforts through himself, not only to save Colu, but conquer it as well. This means that the League not only can’t follow Brainiac’s original plan, but that they have to come up with new strategies while having their abilities throttled by Brainiac’s tech.

This is where the idea of balance comes in. The League needs to balance Colu to save it, but to do so, they need to find balance within the new team formations which Brainiac assigned them. For Team Wisdom, this means thinking outside the box — instead of thinking logically, Cyborg must embrace Harley Quinn’s almost deranged logic in order to find a path to victory. For Team Mystery, it means trusting each other — the wildly mismatched team of Superman, Martian Manhunter, Starfire, Sinestro, and Starro must all work together to save every planet in Colu’s nursery, and they succeed, thanks to J’onn’s empathy consoling Starro and Kory’s urgent plea reaching Sinestro’s heart.

Team Wonder, meanwhile, succeeds because they’re all able to rally behind Wonder Woman. They can believe in her when they can’t believe in themselves, and it gives Diana the power to reignite the Tree of Wonder. I love this use of Diana as a leader and an inspirational figure because it mirrors the role she’s taken on in real life since her movie was released, but also because it taps into the idea of magic as being powered by raw belief, and free of limitations. Diana isn’t inherently magical in the way that Zatanna or Raven are, but she’s able to inspire others, and that creates limitless energy. It’s magic in its own right.

It also keeps No Justice feeling character based even when it’s obviously very tightly plotted. Snyder, Tynion, and Williamson have a very obvious path they’re following, but they make sure that every character has a unique voice and role in their story, and that their choices drive the story forward through its preordained path. Again, I’m impressed by the balance.

For all their efforts, though, the League aren’t able to balance Colu quickly enough, nor hold off the Omega Titans on their own. Colu falls.

In this phenomenal scene artist Marcus To really finds a way to emphasize the scope and raw power of the Omega Titans, down to an almost elemental level. Is the Titan actually transforming its body to consume the planet, or is this more of a metaphorical, metaphysical depiction of its power? This image could work as either, or both at the same time.

The League’s failure, though, drastically raises the stakes for the finale. How is the League going to come together to save Earth after failing Colu, and even losing teammates (Starro) in the process? It should be fascinating to see.

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For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to Comixology and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?

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