Review: Justice League #23
The Trinity War reaches its conclusion today. The six-part story from Geoff Johns features art by Ivan Reis. Joe Prado, Oclair Albert, and Eber Ferreira provide inks. Rod Reis handles colors and Nick J. Napolitano handles lettering. After a huge buildup and a lot of foreshadowing as to what will happen next, does the final battle in the war live up to all the hype?
The issue is jam-packed with all of DC’s heaviest hitters and all the members of the various Justice Leagues. Everyone has converged on the Temple of Hephaestus in Athens for the final showdown. The teams are starting to piece together that Pandora’s Box isn’t exactly what they thought it was. The mysterious gentleman behind the Secret Society is on hand to enact the final stages of his plan using the sought after item. Our mysterious stranger reveals that Pandora’s Box isn’t a magical artifact at all, it’s actually a scientific instrument to open a doorway to another world. The assembled heroes, still under the influence and power of the box, fight among themselves as they try to get hold of the item. Constantine is the only one trying to keep the box from doing what is was designed to do, but he’s severely outnumbered.Things don’t go to plan, and since you already know Forever Evil is the next big event, the good guys don’t necessarily win this time. The inhabitants of Earth Three, more specifically the members of the Crime Syndicate, are let loose in the DC Universe and they plan on claiming it as their own.
Johns writes an action-packed an intense issue. We start out with The Outsider (Earth Three’s Alfred Pennyworth) explaining how he arrived in the New 52 Universe and how he set about laying the groundwork to open the portal. Johns definitely delivers with big action and a few surprises, but there are more questions raised than answered. There are plenty of fights and even more exposition. We all know that this event leads in to Villains Month and Forever Evil, but once you get to the end of Trinity War it feels more like the Forever Evil prologue than an event in its own right. You do have to hand it to DC for keeping the story contained purely to the Justice League books though. The tie-ins offered up a different perspective but weren’t required to understand what is going on in the main event. Even with the biggest surprise of the Crime Syndicate/Earth Three spoiled weeks ago, Johns is able to provide a few shockers before the final page comes around. Reis’ art is stellar. There are twelve pages of double-page spreads/full-page splash pages where the artist gets to show off big action and incredibly detailed character and background work. A lot of things get squashed together in other panels because a third of the book features these big splash pages, but Reis presents great scene after great scene. The inks and colors help make the whole thing feel grand and intense.
Bottom Line: Trinity War featured a lot of stuff going on, but not a lot happening. Johns presents more action and adventure in the finale than the entire series has had as a whole. The Trinity War started off strong, stayed pretty solid, and finished decently. You do feel like it’s just set-up for what’s next, but at least what’s next looks interesting. The story is good, but the issue earns its score mainly for the art. 4/5