Justice League #5 // Review
James Tynion IV, Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza and Wil Quintana make their sinister debut onto the Justice League title in what has affectionately been coined as Legion of Doom #1 by Scott Snyder himself. While Lex Luthor sets out to recruit initial members, this issue gives the reader a flashback into the formation of the evil group as the villains take center stage. Though the bombast of this series is not lost between writers, Tynion IV continues the trend of bringing larger, over-the-top ideas to the table. This issue is another exceptional addition to the series as a whole, while also being an easily accessible issue for newer readers.
Long time DC artist, Doug Mahnke (Green Lantern, Final Crisis) highlights the pure evil that these characters embody with his masterful pencils. Mahnke’s visceral linework sets the tone for this issue and delivers the down right ugliness that these characters are known for. No rookie when it comes to the Justice League, Mahnke proves this universe to be old-hat for him, as he brings each character into the forefront with his signature style. With Wil Quintana’s brilliant colors and Jaime Mendoza’s inking, all of the horror and beauty that Mahnke’s pencils invoke are accentuated with this issue.
As the majority of this issue follows the endeavors of Lex Luthor, Tynion IV nails Luthor’s voice and expertly showcases the methodical nature of Lex, his unwillingness to give up his desires despite what it could cost. With the past few years having granted Lex a new lease, taking up more of a hero role, his goals still remain morally righteous (at least in his mind) while he does whatever he must do to Make the DC universe Great Again.
Much like with Snyder, Tynion falls into the similar tropes of the sheer over the top scenarios and concepts, seemingly just for the sake of being over the top. Luthor’s ability to move around the galaxy at a whim, and conveniently owning a time machine that an ex-employee built completely out of nowhere, both come off as somewhat uninspired, or, at the very least, lazy. As a whole, the issue was a great read for readers current or jumping in, while having small nitpicks that can slightly distract away from the main focus of the storyline.
Between Justice League Dark last week and Legion of Doom this week, Tynion IV shows why he is not only a valuable asset to the New Justice line, but to the DC Universe as a whole. Mahnke continues to produce great works as he has through the years, and this issue is yet another on that long list. Taking the time to slow down the pace and give an origin story right before the final issue(s) of this arc helps to build up the anticipation and momentum towards the big showdown, bringing motives into light and ratcheting up the tension towards the end as readers alike embrace evil.