Justice League, Vol. 5: Forever Heroes by Geoff Johns
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In my opinion, this is the best volume in this run of Justice League. I feel after volume two, they just got better, but this is definitely the best so far. The strength of it is telling the story of the dark versions of the Justice League. They are absolutely bone-chilling. I think that horror is not always supernatural aspects, but delving into the psychological heart of darkness. In this care, seeing what an Evil Clark Kent/Superman, Batman, and others would be like. What if the Justice League was merely a syndicate of super-powered, super-evil villains who have plenty of agency to do whatever they want? That is not a world we want to live in, trust me. Unfortunately, the Crime Society have gotten a foot into our world.
I think that I really liked this volume because it's so high on character development. It shows how Earth 3's version of Batman, Owlman is really like the evil side of Batman. He has all Bruce Wayne's strengths, but also a twisted, sick lack of morality that allows him to make methodically evil choices. You really don't want an Owlman when you can have a Batman. Same to be said for Kal-Il/Clark Kent/Ultraman. That's a case of nurture versus nature. Both sets of parents were evil, if not twisted. Kal-Il received all the teachings of his father as he traveled to Earth-2, and they were about the worst conditioning you could give a child, unless you want them to be absolutely twisted morally. Teach a child to hate weakness and to believe that strength is everything, that strength allows someone to take whatever they want with impunity. Earth 3's version of the Green Lantern is rather like the flip-side of the whole ideology of the Green Lantern Corps. Instead of being powered by will, how about your fears and pain being used against you to power the ring? And let's not talk about Johnny Quick and Atomica, a pair of thrill killer/criminal lovers who happen to become super-powered when they are about to commit suicide after a botched escapade. One shortcoming is that we don't learn much about Superwoman, other than she's a piece of work. I am intensely curious about her, and I hope that we get her backstory in the next volume.
This whole adventure is narrated by The Grid, the computer virus/AI consciousness that takes over the super-powered machinery of Vic Stone, Cyborg and expels his human part. I like the way that Vic deals with The Grid and the group of unlikely crime-fighters he recruits.
"Forever Heroes" left me wanting more of this series. High on adventure, suspense, and character development, it was a page turner.
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