Justice League #35, published by DC Comics, is written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, illustrated by Francis Manapul, colored by Manapul and Hi-Fi, and lettered by Tom Napolitano. In the aftermath of the last issue, the Justice/Doom War has taken a turn for the worse. Perpetua and the Legion of Doom reign supreme, with the symbol of Doom burning bright across the skies. While the Justice League regroups and attempts to plan a counterattack, Hawkgirl must deal with the consequences of her vengeance. Meanwhile, Perpetua begins to use her powers to reshape the multiverse into its original, predatory state.
The Justice/Doom War has played out like a massive summer blockbuster, both in terms of plot and scope. Nearly every DC hero makes a cameo here, including those from the past, future, and alternate universes, because this story feels large enough to warrant their presence. Justice League #35 feels like the beginning of the second act, as our heroes are at their lowest point. Snyder and Tynion manage to keep the series grounded, or at least grounded as it can be, by focusing on the mindsets of both the Justice League and the Legion of Doom.
The League is shellshocked; they’ve always managed to come out on top, and now they’ve lost the biggest battle of their lives. Even with the help of the Justice Society of America, and Superman’s unyielding optimism, the chances of victory are in doubt. Conversely, Perpetua revels in her newfound power, promising to wipe the very concept of Justice from the multiverse and create a universe where Doom reigns supreme. Her might is horrifying to behold, as whole universes are wiped from existence with a mere gesture of her fingers, and its inhabitants transformed into Apex Predators.
Manapul takes over artistic duties for this issue, and his work is stellar as always. He manages to make both the big and small moments of the issue stand out. The smaller moments are the most important and go hand in hand with the writing in managing to humanize these larger than life characters. From Aquaman and Mera having an awkward reunion, to Hawkgirl’s lament at the part she played in Perpetua’s rise, Manapul packs his panels with emotion. And the big moments are utterly cinematic.
Early in the issue, the population of Earth manages to see the Sigil of Doom emblazoned in the sky. From Seattle to St. Petersberg, the Sigil is visible and Manapul sells the utter gravity of that by splitting the Sigil across six panels, with a different group of heroes expressing a different reaction to it. And when Perpetua annihilates one of the 52 Earths, we see it slowly crumble as the scene fades to white; this is equal parts beautiful and terrifying.
Justice League #35 marks a turning point in the Justice/Doom War, as Perpetua reigns supreme. Even though it features universe ending stakes, this book stands out because of the investment it makes in its characters, both good and evil. If characters are the engine that drives a story, then the Justice League is going to need a tune-up before facing an eldritch goddess.
Justice League #35 is available wherever comics are sold.
Justice League #35
Even though it features universe ending stakes, Justice League #35 stands out because of the investment it makes in its characters, both good and evil.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.