REVIEW: ‘Justice League: Last Ride,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 4 minutes

justice league Last Ride #2 - But Why Tho

Justice League: Last Ride #2 is published by DC Comics. Written by Chip Zdarsky with art by Miguel Mendonça. The colour artist is Enrica Eren Angiolini and letters are by Andworld Design.  Set several years in the future, the Justice League is no more. A horrific event led to the team breaking apart. Many of the members are missing or dead, and the others can’t stand the sight of each other. The surviving heroes are called to the Watchtower by John Stewart and Hal Jordan. The Lantern Corps have captured Lobo, but need to protect him before his trial from a galaxy of people with a vendetta against him. Batman and the Justice League are the only people they trust to pull this off. Batman can only think of one place to take their captive: Apokolips. 

Within this issue, some of the backgrounds of the disaster are revealed. Sent into battle against one of their most powerful foes, the League was utterly overpowered and outnumbered. As their options run out, the fates of many heroes become clear. In the present day. The current league travels through space to their destination. Trying to stay undetected, the team is flying near black holes and away from prying planets. But when Superman hears a distress call, he is morally obligated to help.

The plot and structure are fantastic; perhaps even greater than the first issue. Justice League: Last Ride #2 opens with the fight that had only been hinted at last chapter. The pace and intensity of this first half is a shock to the system and instantly gripping. This may be one of the most engaging battles within DC Comics history. As the League is put through this ordeal, the locations jump around, from cities to continents to different worlds. This is chaotic and fast-paced, an intentional move from the writer. Almost every word balloon contains an emotional gut-punch, and there are surprises on each page. This truly is the Justice League’s worst day, and it feels as such.

The other half of the comic is the journey to Apokolips. The tone and pacing are different, as the damage has already been done to the team. Instead of a non-stop, unrelenting action sequence, this half of the issue has dread dripping from it. As the destination is known to the readers as possibly the most dangerous planet in fiction, the danger is oncoming and it’s only a matter of time. But when Superman flies to help those in need, there is a lifting sensation of reunification, as if that spirit returned for a moment.

Chip Zdarsky’s exploration of these characters is made even more heartbreaking due to just how perfect his emotional development is. Through his dialogue, aspects of these characters’ personalities that are very rarely seen are revealed. Heroes like Cyborg and Batman are known for their unwavering confidence in their ability, but here they doubt themselves. And there is also shock that sets in, which is a sensation that is difficult to get across in this format, yet the writer accomplishes this incredibly. 

When something awful happens to a character, it isn’t as cacophonous as what the rest of the scene entails. Instead, it’s quiet, as the realisation sets in around the other members. This makes it hurt even more.

The art by Mendonça is terrific and well balanced between the two sections of the story. The fight scene is packed full of chaos. The artist instills a sense of awe into the reader when depicting the battles. Bodies and metal and destruction are everywhere, yet it is still easy to make out what is happening. The different locations, from Metropolis to Gotham to the ocean, all have the same frantic energy but look unique. There are small details everywhere, cameos of characters and destruction. And yet each fearful expression carries the same weight, showing the pain etched on these beloved heroes. When needed, the artist will use smooth backgrounds to draw attention to facial expressions, increasing their impact. 

The colours are stunning inside Justice League: Last Ride #2. In many of the pages, the shades are muted by Angiolini in order to accentuate the darkness. But the colourist also bathes the panels in light when needed. When a character faces a screen or is under bright neon lights, their faces are lit by the sometimes intense new colour. The strength of these changes has a large impact in an already high-pressure environment. Likewise, the light from the Green Lanterns is vibrant, yet never looks out of place within the panels where life and death are at odds. Backgrounds are rarely the same shape between panels, constantly different due to new angles. 

There is one page that is absolutely jaw-dropping due to the beauty of the panel. So much so that it may take the reader a second to truly realise the real horror within.

The lettering is easy to read. Andworld Design makes the word balloons large enough so that the text inside takes little effort to see, yet they are never awkward or taking up too much space.

Justice League: Last Ride #2 is a heavy yet sublime comic. Inside these pages is a battle full of devastation and unflinching trauma. But there are also subtle explorations of what happens to relationships in the aftermath of grief. There have only been two issues of this alternate timeline, but the reader is invested incredibly quickly. Zdarsky may be one of the best orchestrators of sadness in the business, able to manipulate misery with excruciating results. The art team brings this blockbuster to life. 

Justice League: Last Ride #2 is available whereever comics are sold.

Justice League: Last Ride #2
5

TL;DR

Justice League: Last Ride #2 is a heavy yet sublime comic. Inside these pages is a battle full of devastation and unflinching trauma. But there are also subtle explorations of what happens to relationships in the aftermath of grief. There have only been two issues of this alternate timeline, but the reader is invested incredibly quickly. Zdarsky may be one of the best orchestrators of sadness in the business, able to manipulate misery with excruciating results. The art team brings this blockbuster to life.