“Trinity War” is in full swing after the shocking turn of events of Justice League #22. If you haven’t read the opening issue of this crossover, SPOILER ALERT! After Superman (accidentally) kills the JLA’s newest recruit, Doctor Light, reinterpreted here as a sympathetic and loving family man, rather than… well, a serial rapist and gleeful murderer of children… an epic battle breaks out between the Justice League and the Justice League of America. Steve Trevor calls the shots, ordering the many fledgling heroes of the JLA against specifically chosen opponents on the other side. One player straddles both sides, The Atom, who is struggling with her role in the whole fiasco.
We get further insight into The Outsider, the alabaster-skinned mastermind behind the Secret Society. (In the Silver Age, The Outsider was a brutish villain that turned out to be a reincarnated Alfred Pennyworth… this version more closely resembles the “real” Alfred.) Also slowly unveiling himself is The Question, who is slowly piecing together the facets of this complicated puzzle, but even he needs additional information.
Interestingly, this issue only opens with big time super hero fisticuffs, before the heroes realize that they need to figure out exactly what went wrong. Cyborg and the Martian Manhunter autopsy Doctor Light, but Wonder Woman is convinced that Pandora and her box are to blame.
I think you need to look past which title appears on the covers of each part of this crossover. This was an issue of Justice League of America, yet the real focal characters are Superman and Wonder Woman and to a lesser degree Batman. Steve Trevor carries a lot of the story and he and Diana share another awkward scene. Amanda Waller, Hawkman and Vibe get some nice beats too. It was also nice to get more development with The Question.
The aside with Justice League Dark felt a bit forced and tacked on. It could have used a bit more set up, but comic book pacing is, from what I can tell, one of the hardest parts of writing a series. Maybe some set up got sacrificed for the story moving at a faster pace and I can’t really complain about that.
Veteran Doug Mahnke is back drawing a massive cast, something he’s excelled at in the past. The artwork suffers just a teenie tiny bit due to the juggling of four inkers, including Mahnke himself on some pages. I don’t know who inked what. It’s never horrible, but it’s just the slightest bit inconsistent and honestly there were some pages that I enjoyed better than others.
But overall, this worked as a great part two of a massive crossover that should not only itself serve as a solid tale, but is also due to set up the next phase of the New 52.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #6
Written by Geoff Johns and Jeff Lemire
Pencils by Doug Mahnke
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Rod Reis