Justice League #25 (Comics Review)

After a 2-week delay (might be as much as 3), Geoff Johns’ Justice League #25 finally hit stands this week. As the overlord of all of the Forever Evil titles and controlling the core story of this mega-event, Geoff Johns has been doing great on his most high-profile New 52 book and the new issue is more of the same. If the art on Forever Evil itself could be much better, then that mini-series too could be really good. Thankfully, this is where we get Justice League to plug in all the gaps, where Geoff can let loose with all his crazy ideas and come out with something really good.

Despite what it shows on the cover (another misleading Forever Evil cover by the way), Justice League #25 really is about Geoff exploring the backhistory of Owlman, who is the Earth 3 evil version of Batman. And other than Owlman, we also get to see Dick Grayson through Owlman’s eyes, which was pretty neatly handled. Sadly, Ivan Reis & Co. are not on the art duties on this issue, and we have Doug Mahnke & Co. stepping up to the table, but that ends up benefiting the title rather than taking away from it. And in the end, this proves to be another great issue of Justice League from Geoff and team.

Justice League 25 01First off, just to get the negativity out of the way, while I love this cover, I see no reason why it graces the front of this issue. It is completely misleading and has no relation at all to the story inside. This has happened for pretty much all the Forever Evil core issues so far and it is kind of grating that DC would do false-promoting like this. This issue is a character piece focused on the Owlman, not on Dick Grayson being hunted by the Crime Syndicate.

What I loved about this issue was all the backhistory on Earth 3, particularly how Thomas Wayne Jr. became the sole heir to the Wayne family fortune and how his parents and his younger brother Bruce died. It is a nice twist on Earth 1 Bruce’s own tragic history of that fateful night, and it fits in perfectly with the kind of world that Earth 3 is, the true home of evil and all that. As befitting the alternate setting, the story is absolutely brutal in more ways than one and this is shown throughout the issue. It enhances all the mystique around Owlman and gives him a lot of depth as well.

Owlman is all about keeping thunders in order, keeping them controlled. This is what Geoff focuses on in this issue and through Owlman’s activities to bring the entirety of the Gotham criminal underworld under his control, we get a sense of how the character plans to enforce his own notions of order and control over the citizens of Gotham. Geoff is always fully committed to the character and we get to see the most intriguing member of the Crime Syndicate get even more depth to his character, more nuance and subtleties of team politics.

That Dick Grayson aka Nightwing is the instrument of these politics is an even better example of how Owlman wants to proceed with his own set of plans. And as an added bonus we get to see Earth 3 Dick Grayson’s origins as well, which are a mirror of how Thomas Wayne Jr. became the sole heir to the Wayne fortune. It was a nice touch, something typical of Geoff and he pulls it off brilliantly.

For whatever reason, the art team for this issue is almost completely different from the art team for the previous issue. This time we have Doug Mahnke as penciller; Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne, and Doug Mahnke as the inkers; Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina, and (regular) Rod Reis on the colours with (regular) Nick J. Napolitano on the letters. Perhaps this has something to do with why the book was delayed, but its a fact that there is an army of artists on this issue. Still, things never get too complicated art-wise and the style is almost consistent with the previous issues. Mahnke is an able replacement for Reis and the same holds true for everybody on this new team.

There aren’t a lot of big moments for the art team to work off of but they draw and colour and ink and letter a really amazing issue. Owlman in unrestrained action is one of the spotlights of the entire issue, as is seeing how he eventually turns into Owlman. There’s a wonderful visual darkness to the issue that overshadows everything and I liked that subtle touch. It enhances the script and the alternate setting both.

Overall, this was definitely an issue worth reading several times. I certainly did.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Justice League: #1-6, #7-12, #13-15, #22-23, #23.1, #23.2, #23.4, #24.

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Posted on December 12, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

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