The Crime Syndicate’s sentient power ring has found a new host, Jessica Cruz and is manipulating her into rampaging and causing mass destruction. Meanwhile, speaking of manipulation, Lex Luthor is continuing to weasel his way into the Justice League. The League is locked in battle with the Doom Patrol and we learn that leader Nile Caulder and Luthor have been rivals for years.
Luthor previously figured out that Batman was Bruce Wayne and continues to use that to his advantage. In ‘Forever Evil’, in a twist, the first Doom Patrol was actually the second/third version, and now they have been replaced by what was originally the first version of that team. It appeared that the Crime Syndicate murdered the first team, but it was only mentioned that Superwoman killed Tempest and Celsius. Luthor implies they may still be alive.
It was also implied that the reason that the Syndicate had to come to Earth 1 was that their world was destroyed by the biggest baddie in DC history. (And I mean that literally.) That’s further explored here.
This is an interesting take, with Luthor and Captain Cold (who doesn’t appear in this issue) stepping in as members of the Justice League. The Doom Patrol is mysterious. There’s a lot more to discover about these classic “freak” heroes.
You know eventually Luthor will revert to his true nature, but it should be an interesting ride until we get to that point. Not that anyone is buying his nice guy routine, but Batman in particular defines what separates Luthor from the true heroes.
Doug Mahnke’s art continues to shine on this series. He’s always done a great job on the Justice League and even larger groupings of heroes. But his work keeps getting better and this issue is no exception.
The characterization is excellent– you can practically feel the sliminess in Luthor’s voice– and the Doom Patrol make a unique and intriguing addition to the New 52. All in all, a really solid issue. This series started off a bit rocky for me, but lately, it’s really going smoothly.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #33
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis