Stillanerd Reviews: Justice League: No Justice #2 review


Things get down to business in part two of DC’s Justice League event miniseries, as heroes and villains rush to save Brainiac’s planet and Earth.

Justice League: No Justice #2

Writers: Scott Synder, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson

Artists: Francis Manapul and Marcus To

Colors: Hi-Fi

Lettering: Andworld Design

Cover: Francis Manapul

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Justice League: No Justice #2 was released on May 16, 2018.

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In Justice League: No Justice #1, we had what seemed like a very well executed set-up issue. It explained what the latest threat to the DC Universe was, why the otherwise villainous Brainiac needed help from the Justice League, and why he assembled twenty heroes and villains seemingly chosen at random. Nevertheless, simply describing what happened makes it seem like your standard “motley crew who don’t really get along band together to take on a common enemy” scenario.

Then writers Scott Synder, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson threw in Amanda Waller as a spammer in the works. Thanks to a collection of powerful psychics and computer hacking, she kills Brainiac. Sure she puts an end to an intergalactic genocidal invader, but she couldn’t have done so at a worse time. That’s because Brainiac was just about to tell his Justice League how they can stop the Omega Titans from destroying his home planet of Colu. Now, they’re completely in the dark.

Credit: Francis Manapul, Marcus To, and Hi-Fi (DC Comics); from Justice League: No Justice #2

While I wish [Justice League: No Justice #2] could have more breathing room, there are several goofy, but cool concepts right out of the Silver Age.

Thus when Justice League: No Justice #2 starts, the stakes are already high and go even higher. On top of the heroes and villains not having a clue about how they should stop the Omega Titans, the citizens of Colu turn on them, simply because they’re wearing Brainiac’s technology. Meanwhile, on Earth, Green Arrow encounters Waller in the Arctic, and we learn that the moment Brainiac died, the rest of Earth’s heroes went comatose as part of his fail-safe. They, like Brainiac’s Justice League, must work together, too. In this case, they must find Brainiac’s homing beacon before it attracts the Omega Titans.

But additional problems arise, only these affect the narrative itself. As the Justice League are defending themselves against Colu’s android security, they see a giant tree, one of the planet’s broadcast towers containing one of the four energies of the universe. Suddenly, the League remembers how Brainiac divided them into four groups which correspond to these four energies. What about the Colu’s security and the populace who thinks they’re evil like Brainiac? They up and vanish mid-battle, as if the writers realized, “We need to move the main plot along.”

Credit: Francis Manapul, Marcus To, and Hi-Fi (DC Comics); from Justice League: No Justice #2

At the same time, whatever personal conflict brewing between the heroes and villains abruptly falls by the wayside.  Sure, you’d expect them to put aside their differences for the greater good, but you’d also expect there’d be lingering tension. Only Sinestro and Robin voice any dissent, and end up either ignored or summarily dismissed. By the time Martain Manhunter gives a psychic pep talk to all the teams, all personal conflict between this Justice League has evaporated. Once again, it comes down to advancing the plot as fast as possible, even as it has to slow down considerably just to explain what’s going on.

It’s only part two, but I think what Justice League: No Justice #2 highlights is this miniseries’ inherit challenge. Talented as they are, Synder, Tynion and Williamson are still juggling twenty-two different characters and five different subplots within the span of four issues in just four weeks. That’s too much to work with within a short amount of time for anyone.

Yet I can’t really complain too much. While I wish this comic could have more breathing room, there are several goofy, but cool concepts right out of the Silver Age. There’s those four giant artificial trees for starters, one of which are haunted by magic draining ghosts. Another has shrunken and bottled planets, which, considering this is Brainiac’s home planet, makes a weird degree of sense.

Also, it’s not as if there isn’t any action. Team Entropy (Batman, Luthor, Beast Boy, Deathstroke and Lobo) must fight drones and escaped inmates they freed from an intergalactic prison. This, in turn, not only leads to why Brainiac assigned Beast Boy to, as Lobo calls it, “team crazy,” but the surprise return of a character with a very close association with Brainiac himself. Causal readers may not see this as a big deal, although anyone with an encyclopedic knowledge of everything DC Comics might.

As before, the art by Francis Manapul is top-notch, but so is the work from co-artist Marcus To. In fact, I was hard-pressed figuring out when To swapped in for Manapul during the issue. That’s a good thing, especially since fill-in art can be very distracting, especially when the two artists have contrasting styles. I also thought the layouts particularly impressive. Most of them do take up two pages, but it never comes across as gimmicky or distracting. It especially works when depicting multiple simultaneous scenes, such as the proceeding spread before the last page. It’s a credit to the artist they can depict five different subplots happening at once and you never feel confused.

Credit: Francis Manapul, Marcus To, and Hi-Fi (DC Comics); from Justice League: No Justice #2

After these two issues, do I feel that Justice League: No Justice could’ve taken more time with these characters, exploring the contentious partnerships between the heroes and villains. Of course. Yet I also appreciate how this series isn’t wasting time, either. Unlike the epic, but unwieldy “No Surrender” arc from Marvel Comics’ Avengers, this is more concise, tightly-scripted plot. Just goes to show that when it comes to comic book events, sometimes simple is good.

Stillanerd’s Score: 3.5 out of 5

Next: Stillanerd Reviews: Justice League: No Justice #1 review

Stillanerd’s Nerdy Nitpicks (possible spoilers)

Credit: Francis Manapul, Marcus To, and Hi-Fi (DC Comics); from Justice League: No Justice #2

  • I find it interesting how General Lane just buys into Amanda Waller’s “Who are you going to believe” line, considering how it was clear last issue she and the psychics weren’t the only ones at the Task Force XI base.
  • Even though Brainiac didn’t have a chance in telling the heroes and villains his specific plan for stopping the Omega Titans, he did tell them why he broke them up into four teams. Amazing that some of these folks, particularly Batman, have such poor listening skills.
  • “See Green Arrow Annual #2″ Except by the time Green Arrow Annual #2 comes out, Justice League: No Justice will already be over.
  • “I traced the signal to a blackout zone surrounding you…” Okay, but that still doesn’t explain how you found Waller in the middle of arctic circle, Oliver. After all, the Task Force XI base was in the middle of an ocean and nowhere near the North Pole.
  • If Oliver already knows the other superheroes are incapacitated, who was he suggesting that Amanda call in for help? For that matter, why isn’t Oliver “in stasis” like the rest of the heroes?
  • If Lobo dealt with former prisoners from the Ultra Penitence, how come he’s never heard of Colu’s giant broadcast antenna trees until now?
  • Yeah, I laughed out loud at Robin’s crack about Flash already making “Colu dumber.”
  • Yes, Luthor, entropy can mean either decay or chaos, but that also doesn’t mean they’re mutually exclusive.
  • Well, I guess we now know who will fill the void left by Brainiac’s death…and it’s pretty much his carbon copy.

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This marks the half-way point with Justice League: No Justice. Next time, we’ll go into issue #3, in which gets start getting explosive. And also more than a little messy, especially on the artistic front.