Justice League #26: Convoluted History Lessons

Justice League #26

 

I’m confused why Geoff Johns, the man behind both Justice League and the Forever Evil event series, brings his A-game to one and his Asleep-game to the other. Justice League #26, a tie-in to Forever Evil, is one of the most pointless issues this year. Way to slip it in just under the wire, DC. I just don’t understand Johns’ need to kill the fun of Forever Evil with this kind of unnecessary backstory.

Justice League #26 opens with Grid, the evil-meets-Jack Skellington version of Cyborg. For some reason, he’s on a mission to feel something. To accomplish this, Grid goes over the history of the Crime Syndicate. First, we get a look at pussy Harold Jordan, the man who will become Power Ring. He’s being brow-beaten by a mean spirited employer (because everybody sucks on Earth 3) until Abin Sur summons him. In one actually interesting element, Sur tricks Harold into taking the ring, and then dies happy to be free. Apparently, having the ring is a connection to an alien world that enjoys controlling others. Only the weak-willed will work, thus Harold Jordan is thrust into his new life.

Next, we move onto Johnny Quick and his girlfriend Rhonda. In this interstitial, we learn of their romance, their lives as thieves and killers, and how they gained superpowers. Imagine if the couple from Natural Born Killers become Flash and the Atom. In their story, Rhonda helps Johnny escape from capture after they kill a batch of cops. At their last stand, a freak accident gives them their powers. Finally, Grid comes to Super Woman, but her files are deleted. Justice League #26 ends with a voice off panel whispering “soon” to the captured, hooded person from the Crime Syndicate’s Earth.

While I get the concept here, the ideas fly right in the face of this other Earth. Why would Jordan be working for the Air Force on a world that is the mirror reflection of ours? There would be no armed forces on a planet of criminals and killers, it would be just constant chaos. It also makes zero sense that an alien race would want to control pussies. Why? What possible gains could they make? Then there’s Johnny and Rhonda’s last chance. Cops? On this world? Why? Johns keeps switching the rules to fit the story, which totally derails the concept. In Forever Evil, the origins of the Syndicate are kept to a minimum, which allows the issue to be a good time. All the backstory just drags Justice League down.

Too bad, because Ivan Reis’s art is big fun to look at. Reis gets that this is a big deal for DC, and he pencils Justice League in such a way. Everything is bigger than life, each panel is the money shot. At times, Reis’ strong ability to bring action to life saves issue #26 from being completely boring. Reis always brings his A-game – it’s just largely wasted on Justice League.

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(2 Story, 4 Art)