Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Justice League #16 Review

Optimist Prime

Writer: James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder
Artist: Jim Cheung
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 23, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

It's a mystery in space: Why would the Guardians of the Universe hide top-secret intel deep in the bowels of a secret vault on Thanagar Prime? That's what Martian Manhunter, GL, and Hawkgirl want to know! That's not the only puzzler popping off either, as an ancient connection that bonds Kendra and Shayera Hol unlock the secret of the map on Hawkgirl's Dark Metal wings. Back on Earth, Starman and the Trinity look to create a wormhole that could transport them to Thanagar Prime. The only catch? It could vaporize them!

We open up this issue with a narration-heavy history lesson.  Yep, James Tynion is on the script once again and while that's not a horrible thing, it has usually meant to a slower paced issue.  It all ties into the last issue's cliffhanger and begins an issue that is big for Martian Manhunter, the Universe and the reader...even if there are some of the usual problems that have plagued this arc and series in general.

Continuing with J'onn and the Keep, we get an explanation of the Justice/Doom symbol and get the real history of Mars, J'onn, Perpetua and more.  It's big and exciting and while it does somehow feel like the Martian Manhunter version of what we found out about Bruce in Metal, I'm onboard.  I just hope it's fleshed out a bit more going forward.  My fear is that it is just a big moment that Snyder and Tynion think is explained and they move the seven energies of the universe.  I am sure that all both will be fully explained at some point, I just like to know one thing before moving on to the next.  

The other parts of the issue involve Shayera vs everyone else.  The Green Lantern Corps show up pissed off at John Stewart because they have jurisdiction on Thanagar Prime...even though we were told the exact opposite two issues ago.  They then help stop Shayera and are going to (and should) arrest her...until Kendra says they shouldn't.  It is all very forced, but my bigger issue is Thanagar Prime.  Shayera claims she did everything with the Keep and the Absorbascon to make sure people don't see that Thanagar is weak.  My issue is we spent a couple issues explaining that nobody knows where Thanagar Prime is and that it phases in and out of the universe.  Who is seeing it weak or strong...or at all?!?  It's a continuing problem with this issue when the idea of Thanagar Prime and Thanagar are discussed in the present and the past.  Then, after some big stakes are set up at the end, the Trinity and Starman show up to nullify them and we get some revelations for Kendra...but it is all just set up to be explained and continued later on in another issue.

I don't want to sound too negative here.  Snyder and Tynion are going big and a lot of what we get is very exciting.  However, in a series that still has so many mysteries that feel unsolved, throwing a bunch more in the mix feels frustrating.  On top of that, Tynion's continued over narration that seems to end up not meaning much anyway is getting old and I need Snyder back on script asap!

I have been a big fan of the art in this series, but this issue felt rushed.  Art duties are split between Jim Chueng and Stephen Segovia with three inkers and two colorists.  That many people on art is not a good thing here and this is the worst looking issue of the entire series in my opinion.

Bits and Pieces:

Snyder and Tynion have some crazy big ideas going on in this issue, but most are left to be explained later...with a lot of what we've already got in this series.  The art felt rushed in this issue and while I am still interested in the big picture, I need some answers soon to keep recommending this.  I'm still on board but I'm starting to wonder if it's for the creative team more than for the story they are telling in the here and now.



  1. so lets be real, this is pretty much Tynions book now. I am a huge JL fan and a Snyder fan, but I am pretty much over this run. so much explanation about nothing and on top of all that it is fucking boring. not every arc needs to be a universe extinction level threat...I say all of this because I expected more and I am disappointed.

    1. -carlos. dont know why it didnt say my name.