Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE #4

JUSTICE LEAGUE #4
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Jorge Jimenez, Alejandro Sanchez, and Tom Napolitano
Edited by Andrew Marino, Rebecca Taylor, and Marie Javins
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: July 18, 2018

The Justice League continues the downright smashing first arc of Justice League with a take on the wild side as the Legion of Doom comes together to give the all-star team a run for their money with Grodd and the other villains making a power play for the Earth and beyond.

Opening with Grodd’s past in Gorilla City like the villainous narrations preceding them, Snyder brings the mad Gorilla into focus for the issue with a flashback that shows his nature and personality. A group of gorillas while not defined fill out the sunlit jungle backgrounds by Jimenez and Sanchez. The narration makes Grodd a stand out among his peers for a sinister reason. Relating the story of what’s happening with his fellow Gorilla’s to his own struggles and story is within the narration as we see the depths of his character and his capacity for evil with a smirk to leave us with.

Elsewhere, Jimenez continues to stun with his pencils as the entire DC Universe is put on display as we rotate through the Justice League members and their respective stories that are all respectfully building towards an arc conclusion that is set to change everything as the villains are…winning? Superman and Martian Manhunter, the two strongest Leaguers are having a tough time fighting and understanding what the Totality and its Guardians want. J’onn is taking it the hardest as there’s a hidden depth to his connection to the present events go back to his days in the dark and his given history on Mars. A flashback sequence from J’onn lets Jimenez get weird with one of the strangest alien designs with Sanchez’s colors setting the tone with the more cosmic portions of the book with illuminating colors aplenty and smaller panels to shake up the chaotic action amongst the characters respective story beats.

Over the course of the run, Snyder has been prone to peel back layers to a character’s history as it fits the plot of new concepts and universe-spanning ideas that are coming back to either save or destroy our Heroes. Character histories are expanded to establish a hidden chapter of it that brings everything together in the New Justice Era. In this chapter, Snyder elevates his Legion of Doom and at the cost of his supervillains getting some rightful spotlight, some of the Heroes fall at their hand in rather quick and clean ways that move them out of the way so the villains can be set up for a victory in the ongoing saga of good vs. evil. The narration coincides with the actions drawn by Jimenez in all of its sharp and expression fueled action that plays with the close-up range of characters and the location-based action. Justice League has a lot of characters reacting to the ever-changing nature of the cat and mouse game involving The Totality and the new forces at play. Sanchez’s colors are designed and suited for working around every sequence and moment with a different cast of characters. John Stewart and Cyborg taking a threat on the Moon are situated around the ultraviolet color with a gamechanger in store for a long-standing character that will no doubt be an interesting turn.

One of the last teams we focus on is Flash, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman taking on an Undersea Base full of aliens along with one of the most hilarious costume changes for a villain you’ll probably see this year. Grodd, like Sinestro before him gets a powerup that wipes the floor with the League members he encounters. Panels have a sense of dramatic timing as the dialogue between Grodd and Flash reveal things about the grand scheme of what’s happening on a larger scale. Jimenez really nails it here when it comes to both large-scale and intimate panels of characters in battle with Napolitano’s lettering sprinkling in small touches throughout for each and every character. It’s the finer details with things like Flash’s speech bubbles coming across differently as he fights a powered Grodd bathed in Sanchez’s colors of green clashing with Barry’s red and yellow. Justice League #4 has set up its villains for a victory the likes of which the universe will have something to fear because of it.

Snyder has stayed on course for a quickly escalating Justice League epic with only four issues into his run. While the villains rise to greatness may not align with the Heroes usual vigor and resolve to stop the bad guys, it makes for an interesting read as the Justice League continue to remain scattered and out of their depth as the Legion of Doom makes their move on not just the Justice League but the universe itself. Jimenez and Sanchez are at the top of their game on pencils and colors respectively. Sanchez’s colors are a force of nature on this book and should not be underestimated as they boost and bring together Jimenez’s pencils that are out of this world stellar. Justice League as a title has never looked better and Snyder is making sure the Number One Superhero Team has a story to write home about with “The Totality”.

The Verdict: 8.0/10

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