Tying into ‘Forever Evil’, this issue of ‘Justice League’ is noticeably devoid of any members of the actual Justice League. Instead we get the dark, twisted origin of Ultraman. I don’t want to spoil too much, but it’s actually a pretty hilarious twist on Superman’s origin, except far, far darker. (Hint, things don’t go well for the Kents.)
Unlike Superman, Ultraman (born Kal-Il) gains his strength from Kryptonite and is weakened by yellow sunlight. In an interesting twist, Ultraman is bewildered by Earth One. As in the past, Superwoman is actually the Earth Three version of Lois Lane and though things aren’t spelled out, apparently the Earth Three Jimmy Olsen was kind of a B.A.M.F. This causes Ultraman to directly confront the Earth One versions of Superman’s supporting cast. (Typewriter. That’s all I’m gonna say.)
Oh remember Jimmy Olsen’s signal watch? Apparently, Superman isn’t the only one who can hear it.
The best word I can think of to describe this issue is “clever.” Johns clearly had a field day turning the Superman mythos on its head. Forget Bizarro, Ultraman is clearly, in every way, Superman’s opposite.
Ivan Reis can’t draw anything poorly, so this issue was at the very least attractive.
But the real reveal is that so much of the New 52 is connected. The destruction of Earth Three is hinted at and it ties in with both ‘Justice League’ and ‘Earth 2’. Once again, I don’t want to spoil things, but things are increasingly tying together.
We also get, what I believe is the first appearance of any iteration of The Doom Patrol in the New 52, as Celsius, Tempest and Negative Woman make a brief appearance, although Celsius is colored white when she should be Indian. Not much is done with them, but let’s hope they survive this story! (Well, at least I hope so!)
This issue is just fun. I can see how some might find it indulgent, but Johns was clearly having fun here. Earth Three is clearly the opposite of Earth One and this issue was much more coherent than the ‘Secret Society’ Villains Month one-shot. The big confrontation was one that I honestly don’t recall ever seeing, so that was pretty nifty!
JUSTICE LEAGUE #24
Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils and Cover by Ivan Reis