Justice League #25 Review: Starting the Year of the Villain

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This week’s Justice League #25 is an oversized issue that concludes the Justice League’s excursion into the Sixth Dimension and shows its surprising ramifications and direct connection to DC’s upcoming “Year of the Villain” event. For months DC has teased the “Year of the Villain” event, which ties into the Source Wall’s collapse and the impending death of the multiverse. While last month’s Year of the Villain #1 set up the storyline by showing Luthor’s seeming suicide, this issue shows the immediate aftermath of Luthor’s actions along with why they were so effective.

The book contains two chapters—a conclusion to the Sixth Dimension story scripted by Scott Snyder and illustrated by Jorge Jimenez and the opening salvo to “Year of the Villain” by James Tynion IV and Javier Fernandez. The Snyder and Jimenez story is the stronger of the two; not only does it give a very solid conclusion to the Justice League’s fight against the World Forger, it also showcases the friendship between Batman and Superman in a unique way. I enjoyed Snyder’s more uncertain take on Batman, and how he has a bit more hope in his friends than the more isolated take that Tom King is pushing in the main Batman series. The ending features the Justice League adopting a new member, which I felt was a little rushed given the betrayals and attempted murders, but the reasoning is sound given the universe-threatening stakes of Snyder’s story.

Tynion and Fernandez’s story is about the Justice League discovering Luthor’s actions while they were trapped in the Sixth Dimension for a week and its repercussions. The story is a bit superfluous for those who read Year of the Villain #1, but still does a decent job of succinctly summarizing the build-up to the upcoming event. Luthor’s pitch is simple—the universe is collapsing because of the Justice League and only extreme actions will save it. Luthor admits that those actions might be seen as villainous, but he believes them to be the only way to save the world.

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It’s interesting to see the contrast between two parts of this issue, both in its themes and how the stories are crafted. The Snyder and Jimenez story is about hope in the face of darkness and the balance between joy and sadness. It’s a bit more poetic and bright, one that peddles in big ideas that sometimes don’t sync up with the big team/big fight feel of Justice League. The Tynion and Fernandez story is a bit more business-like and direct. It has a job to do (set up “Year of the Villain”) and not much time for flowery speech or themes. It’s a comic with rough pencils and dark colors, one about pragmatism and sacrifice and desperation during the end times. The two stories also frame Superman and Luthor as opposites. Superman represents the best of ourselves, the person who forgives our enemies and works with them to save the world. Luthor acts as our worst impulses, the one who will do whatever is necessary, even if it results in our destruction.

Justice League #25 is a dense and at times rushed read, but it does a great job of setting up the immediate future of the DC Universe. If you want to know how the DC Universe is about to change in big ways, give this issue a read.

Published by DC Comics

On June 5, 2019

Written by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV

Pencils by Jorge Jimenez, Javier Fernandez

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Colors by Alejandro Sanchez, Hi-Fi

Letters by Tom Napolitano

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