REVIEW: ‘Justice League: Endless Winter Special,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Justice League Endless Winter #2Justice League: Endless Winter Special #2 is published by DC Comics. Written by Ron Marz and Andy Lanning, art by Carmine Di Giandomenico and Howard Porter, colours by Hi-Fi, and letters by Andworld Design. The flashback sequence has a separate art team. The artist is Marco Santucci, colours by Arif Printo, and letters by Troy Peteri. This is Part 9 and the final chapter of the Endless Winter crossover that ran through December.

In the Tenth Century, the Frost King was born. A powerful cryomancer, his community attacked him and his family, terrified of his power. In the fight, Edwald Olafsson’s son was killed, resulting in him unleashing all of his might. The Viking Prince, Swamp Thing, Hippolyta, and Black Adam formed an uneasy alliance to challenge him. Black Adam cruelly placed Edwald’s remaining family in peril. The ground opened up, and the innocents plunged into the chasm, seemingly perishing. The Viking Prince sacrificed himself to defeat the Frost King, taking him into the ice with him.

In the present day, Sebastien Stagg and his men were digging in the crater left behind by the Fortress of Solitude, accidentally freeing the Frost King underneath. Powered up by some remaining Kryptonian crystals and angered by the Justice League’s arrival, the ancient metahuman plunged the entire planet into a blizzard, the world’s temperature falling below zero. The League and the Earth’s heroes have been tackling the King’s icy forces in every corner of the globe. Aquaman located some hot allies near the Earth’s core. The Viking Prince’s spirit has been channeled as the new avatar for Swamp Thing. And Black Adam battled the Frost King in Gotham. Just as Adam seemed to be losing, he was caught by Superman. The League has arrived, ready to end this once and for all.

This issue is a long battle, as the Justice League and Black Adam tackle the giant form. The first part of the fight is in Gotham, but the Frost King flees the area. The team tracks their foe to Greenland in the Arctic Circle, keen to keep fighting. Some of their new allies start to emerge, including a Swamp Thing the size of a skyscraper. Battling on the top of a glacier, the heroes realize that even this form of the Frost King they are struggling to defeat is another false avatar. Where is the real Frost King? And as the Justice League starts to seize in the cold, will Black Adam be a hindrance instead of an ally?

The plot and the fight itself are fantastic. The plot moves at a quick pace, with the battle constantly staying exciting and interesting. Many of the sub-plots and mysteries that have been maintained throughout the crossover finally pay off. Some of them are mildly disappointing in regards to how long the readers have been waiting to see them reappear, such as Aquaman’s army. But the rest of them appear at just the right time to assist. Lanning and Marz end the crossover in a way that feels real to the Justice League while being unexpected. Endless Winter wraps its loose ends up but also provides opportunities for the story to continue.

Whilst this is an issue mostly filled with violence, there is plenty of room for character development and well-written dialogue. Each Justice League member is given a moment to shine, getting a swing in on the Frost King or an important job to do. Those that were present in the 10th Century battle are all heavily involved too. Black Adam has been given the best dialogue and personality within the entire event, which remains the case in Justice League: Endless Winter Special #2. He never seems to know who to direct his anger towards fully. So instead, he chooses everyone: the Justice League isn’t powerful enough, Sebastian Stagg created the problem, and the Frost King shouldn’t have come out of the ice. Everyone is imperfect and pitiful compared to the perfection Black Adam sees in himself. Superman, in particular, faces his ire. His ending in the flashback sequence explains a lot of why he is filled with so much rage.

Elsewhere, Hippolyta shows off her fierce bravery by standing up to both Adam and the Frost King in the flashback and the present day. Even when Batman and the Flash start faltering due to the bitterness of the cold, she keeps pressing forward. But she also showcases how compassionate she can be as well. The Viking Prince and Swamp Thing, now one and the same, are this huge powerhouse. Whilst one of them is given a satisfying ending, the future of the other remains unsure.

And as for the Frost King, he’s given some character development and an ending that makes him more than just a throwaway event villain. There is potentially some heat within that frozen heart, after all.

The art team delivers a beautiful, frantic battle. All of the characters have exquisite detail on their costumes, down to battle damage and scrapes. Giandomenico and Porter bring all of their powers to life and make them fantastic. This is a fight scene with many moving parts and abilities being thrown into the mix. But both artists make it effortless to understand what is happening. The panel layouts are unconventional during the conflict, often positioned at an angle. This prevents Justice League: Endless Winter Special #2 from feeling static at any point.

The colours are gorgeous, complimenting the line art perfectly. Many of the superpowers visible look so dynamic due to Hi-Fi’s colours. For example, Black Adam’s lightning and Flash’s speed. When Superman and Black Adam throw some punches, the red and blue of Clark’s suit and the black and gold of Black Adam’s own outfit contrast brilliantly. As with many of the comics in the crossover, there has been a lot of white and light blues used due to the sheer amount of ice, but the vibrancy of the heroes in the foreground keeps the reader invested. The flashback art team has been consistently fantastic during this event, the only trio to be seen in every single issue. 

The letters by Andworld Design are easy to read and well placed. The font is slightly bigger than normal at times, which helps the readability of the words in such busy panels. When SFX are used, they blend with the panel and provide impact to the action.

Justice League: Endless Winter Special #2 is a fun, energetic end to the crossover. The pace and structure of the plot are exactly what readers needed. The pacing of the last two chapters of the event gives warmth to a story that may have started to slow down in the cold. The characters have been the soul of every issue, with this issue containing some of the best Black Adam moments in a long time. The dialogue between every character reveals diverse and engaging personalities.

Endless Winter was an enjoyable event overall. The stories, set almost a thousand years apart, are a tale of family and hope. The art team has provided various styles and villain designs and has done superbly in nearly every issue. The first half of the event does start to drag, but the energy soon picks up. And when it does, it doesn’t run out again. The biggest criticism of the event is the titles of the issues themselves. Some are “Endless Winter Specials,” while others are just continuations of the individual series, which may lead to confusion amongst readers. But ultimately, it has been a fun story to read over the whole month.  

Justice League: Endless Winter Special #2 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Justice League: Endless Winter Special #2
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TL;DR

Endless Winter was an enjoyable event overall. The stories, set almost a thousand years apart, are a tale of family and hope. The art team has provided various styles and villain designs and has done superbly in nearly every issue. The first half of the event does start to drag, but the energy soon picks up. And when it does, it doesn’t run out again.