By Michael DeLaney
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Great superhero epics always have a touch of mystery: an unseen enemy, the villain’s elaborate master plan or the occasional gigantic conspiracy. Does the simultaneous inclusion of multiple mysteries add to the excitement of such an adventure, or does it simply distract? These are the types of questions I face when reading a book like Justice League 3.
Last issue, I praised Scott Snyder’s decision to incorporate facets of the Leaguers’ respective worlds/universes, but I now wonder if that inclusion is muddying up the narrative a bit. In Justice League 3, our heroes continue to explore “The Totality” as well as shed some light on the John Stewart’s new role as “Ultraviolet Lantern.”
After attacking the League with his Ultraviolet powers, John is in control long enough to give his teammates some background info on “The Invisible Spectrum.”
The Totality, The Source Wall, The Still Force and The Invisible Spectrum — that’s a lot of universal phenomena for one Justice League caper. Of course, they are all connected to a larger yet-to-be-revealed plan, but for now there’s an uneven balance between mysterious cosmic forces and grounded drama.
I find that Snyder is at his best when he works with the more particular pseudo-scientific ideas. Case in point: micro-Hawkgirl in Martian Manhunter’s brain.
The Totality is mutating J’onn’s brain so Hawkgirl neutralizes the attacking forces and gives J’onn a major headache in the process. It isn’t until later in the book when you see the effect that this has taken on J’onn. In a haze of child-like wonder and excitement — probably because he’s short a couple million brain cells — J’onn mentally connects to a Source Wall Giant and all hell breaks loose.
High concept it may be, it is a little easier to grasp than the countless cosmic forces around the corner.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?
Another thing I wanted to touch on was The Joker. Is it just me or is Joker less effective when he’s part of the Legion of Doom? Sure, he’s traditionally not “a team player” but putting him in that setting diminishes his role a little bit. He becomes more tangible, and less of the “chaotic force of nature” that is lurking in the shadows.
Yeah, it’s weird to see him inside a shrunken ship that’s inside MM that’s inside the Totality. Like, list of settings I want to see Joker in: Gotham. End of list.
I really liked how, even with the plethora of new mysterious forces at work, they’re all basically set as the opposite part of a par we’re already familiar with. The unseen spectrum is the opposite of the emotion spectrum; the Still Force is the opposite of the Speed Force; the Source Wall is the boundary of reality, rather than being its own reality. Snyder and Jimenez play on that visual duality with Hawkgirl and Batman inside the bodies of Jon and Superman, respectively. Jon’s green blood makes for the perfect excuse to bathe Hawkgirl’s panels in a totally different color palette, and Jimenez swaps back and forth between that green and red often enough that it really sells the theme of duality.