Justice League #40 Review


Justice League #40
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Kevin Maguire, Phil Jimenez, Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Scott Kolins, Jason Fabok and Jim Lee
Colored by Brad Anderson and Alex Sinclair
Published by DC Comics

Ever since the launch of the New 52, Justice League has been DC’s flagship comic book, and more times than not, it’s lived up to that title. Written by the ridiculously talented Geoff Johns, it has presented stories that take widescreen to the next level and bring the action and excitement in spades. In many ways it has been almost an anti-Avengers, giving readers a more upbeat, traditional super hero reading experience than the sometimes needlessly downbeat tales of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Issue #40 serves as the prelude to the much hyped and long simmering “Darkseid War,” an event that has been percolating in the background of the book since issue #1. As such, it’s less a story and more an elaborate introduction to the Anti-Monitor for the few of us who didn’t read Forever Evil. That’s not to say it isn’t a good comic, as Johns uses the issue as an opportunity to pull the curtain aside and show us the motivations of the Anti-Monitor and, more importantly, who he really is. I won’t spoil it here, but it does raise more questions than it answers if I can use a time-honored cliché.

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Johns also takes the reader on a little history lesson of the various times the universe has faced a Crisis. We see glimpses of Infinite Crisis, Zero Hour, Flashpoint and even the mother of them all, Crisis on Infinite Earths. What this portends for the “Darkseid War” and it’s ramifications on the DC Universe has me thinking this is going to be a much bigger storyline than I had originally thought — which is just fine, as no one working in comics right now does massive events that still feel intimate and accessible like Johns. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Infinite Crisis, Forever Evil was an unbelievably entertaining read that has me very excited for the “Darkseid War.”

Looking at the long list of artists who worked Justice League #40, you may think that the art is a mess, but thankfully that’s not the case. Most of the heavy lifting for the issue is done by Kevin Maguire and Jim Lee, who each draw roughly half the issue. The rest are gorgeous splash pages that revisit the Crisis events of times gone by done by the artists best associated with them. The most amazing of these, without question, is the stunning two-page spread that Phil Jimenez does to perfectly capture what made Crisis on Infinite Earths so special. It is just gorgeous and does original artist George Perez proud.

Maguire and Lee also do some great work here drawing the main story of Justine League #40. It’s always a pleasure to Kevin Maguire’s name in the credits of any comic, as he is so underappreciated it’s borderline criminal. Why he isn’t working more is shocking, and his firing from Justice League 3000 still prevents me from reading that book. Having Lee draw the second half of the issue was also a great touch, as he was there for the beginning of the whole thing, and it’s nice symmetry that he is there as the New 52 branding comes to an end as well.

The Bottom Line: Justice League #40 was well worth the wait, as it delivers a fun, entertaining story that will get any comic book fan excited for the next chapter in the Divergence one-shot on Free Comic Book Day.

It would have been easy for DC to simply “phone it in” for the duration of Marvel’s Secret Wars mega-event and no would have blamed them. Justice League #40 and all the new books to follow in a few months is a clear indication that is not the case.

Is this a great time to be a comic book fan or what?

Next: Previously: our review of Justice League #39

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