Justice League: Forever Heroes by Geoff Johns

details
Title: Justice League.
Volume: 5
Story-arc: Forever Heroes.
Universe:
 The New 52.
Writer(s): Geoff Johns.
Artist(s): Ivan Reis, Doug Mahnke, Joe Prado, Jesus Marino, Vicente Cifuentes, Scott Hanna, Oclair Albert, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Eber Ferreira, Rob Hunter, Mark Irwin & Andy Lanning.
Colourist(s): Rob Reis, Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina & Tomeu Morey.
Letterer(s): Nick J. Napolitano & Dezi Sienty.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: March 17th, 2015.
Pages: 168.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9781401254193.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.

Previously on the DC Universe New 52’s Justice League series:
Justice League (Vol. 1): Origin by Geoff Johns
Justice League (Vol. 2): The Villain’s Journey by Geoff Johns
Justice League (Vol. 3): Throne of Atlantis by Geoff Johns
Justice League (Vol. 3.5): Trinity by Geoff Johns
Justice League (Vol. 4): The Grid by Geoff Johns
Forever Evil (Vol. 4.5) by Geoff Johns

thoughts

Following crossover events, there’s usually an unavoidable amount of spin-offs, fillers, and tie-ins that are released to give readers the chance to get more insight into certain characters, subplots, and events. While the quality usually wavers immensely in comparison to the main story arc, these stories can sometimes surprise the savviest of readers. It’s in the effort put into seamlessly justifying their pertinence that makes these stories so appealing in the end. Writer Geoff Johns thus accomplishes the unexpected with this fifth volume in his New 52 Justice League run by exploring origin stories of the very villains at the heart of the chaos in one of the greatest crossover events at DC Comics while also focusing on the one hero that even brought the Justice League together in the first place.

What is Justice League: Forever Heroes about? Set during the Forever Evil event, this volume collects origin stories for the members of the deadly Crime Syndicate as well as a story arc unveiling the subplot around Cyborg’s rise from the dead and his quest to bring in the Metal Men to help him take down Grid. Collecting Justice League issues #24-29, New York Times best-selling writer Geoff Johns offers fans the chance to discover the motives behind the evil mirror images of the Justice League, from Owlman to Ultraman, while also introducing fresh and colourful heroes to the universe, right when it needs them most.

“Human. Tech. I don’t choose sides, Grid. I’m the bridge between them. I’m a cyborg.”

— Geoff Johns

As odd as it might be in terms of chronology, this volume follows up to Forever Evil with what could be described as a companion story arc with its exploration of the origin stories of all the members part of the Crime Syndicate. Creatively told, writer Geoff Johns utilizes interesting storytelling devices to unveil these backstories, such as utilizing villains to narrate the origin stories of other villains. Since the Crime Syndicate is constituted of alternate and evil versions of our heroes from another universe, it was also fascinating to see how their lives were different and inevitably turned them into broken individuals driven by evil desires.

This volume also explores a sub-plot that was loosely presented in Forever Evil regarding Cyborg’s character and his downfall. This time around, the story presents his endeavour which ultimately leads him to help the Justice League in their own complex little nuclear predicament. Throughout his adventure, writer Geoff Johns also introduces the Metal Men who draw a lot of similarities with his past creations but nevertheless remains entertaining, to say the least. With the explosive and sensational artwork, the story was able to remain as theatrical, if not predictable, as it is usually expected from the New 52 Justice League run.

Justice League: Forever Heroes is a thrilling exploration of brand-new villains’ origins while displaying the war between man and machine in the midst of the end of the world.


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14 comments

  • I find it interesting that the villains for this whole thing are bad versions of the heroes we know. You used a phrase “how their lives were different and inevitably turned them into broken individuals driven by evil desires.” My only issue with doing something like that is that it relies on the idea that our circumstances and experiences dictate who we are. While I fully agree that circumstances and experiences shape us as individuals, I’m not convinced that we’re not already who we are. In other words, I don’t subscribe to the blank slate idea. Superman for example. His character is simply part of who he is. This idea is illustrated in the ’98 Elseworld story Superman: Dark Side where Supes gets raised by Darkseid but still becomes a hero.

    I think part of why I consider heroes “heroes” is because they are heroes no matter what. So to mess with that would bother me a lot. You and I have talked before about the dividing line between Hero and Villain and how I hate the blurring that is now the norm. Part of being a Hero is taking responsibility for the powers entrusted to the hero and THAT is what seems to be lacking in the here and now. Not that heroes are suddenly the bad guys or the bad guys are suddenly the good guys but that characters are not consistently choosing to be responsible (or really, that the artists and writers aren’t choosing to make them consistent).

    I realize that once again I might be reading too much into this but I simply can’t just “like” and drive by. Words and ideas are important and while I’m not sure if comics are being read by teens still (are they?) but if they are, kids growing up influenced by the ideas here is not something I’m in favor of. You and I are adults and can discuss things and not be unduly influenced. But a teen subliminally experiencing the blank slate idea for the first time, well, that can set their feet on a path that will be hard to divert them from. Of course, it all depends on how much influence these comics actually have 😀 😀 😀

    I’m done (before I keep on writing…)

    Liked by 3 people

    • I definitely see your point and knowing your beliefs and how you perceive individuals, I can understand why you’d believe that we are fundamentally born good/bad, that we don’t have a “choice” in what we become within society. I personally prefer the “we’re all born with violent behaviours but learn through socialization how to be good within society”.

      I also think that in the comic book lore of all heroes, through time, many writers/artists decide to mess around with a character’s personality/their actions to make them much more morally-grey at their core. After all, many would end up thinking that the characters are boring if they were ALWAYS tied to one mold. It’s why there’s more and more antihero/villain-centered stories nowadays. Trying to understand what is not “allowed” in a society is fun to discover. It’s even more thrilling/captivating to watch a hero go through those super bad days where they almost/or do cross that line (e.g. when Batman ends up KILLING someone, you know everyone will be there to find out who, why, where, what).

      As for teens, I have no idea if they even read to the 2nd or 3rd degree with comics or any books. Hopefully they do and they understand these different “ideologies” or ways to conceive morality/justice/good and bad/etc. I mean, it should always be about learning about all the different ways to understand life/things and then to understand where we stand as an individual with all those options. Sort of like how everyone should theoretically be allowed to choose what religion they want to practice/believe. In this case, everyone should be able to choose how they want to understand the good/bad within us, if it’s something that can be changed over time or if we’re born good/bad.

      Hahahaha no worries, sir. I always appreciate it when these things have you thinking about life and that you take the time to share it with me. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • First the art is good! Second I always find fascinating to peek inside the villain’s heads and their past, to know why they took that path to villainy! It was a huge reason why I loved the movie Joker so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  • It does look interesting, I’ll grant you that – although I’ve never been a fan of simple mirror opposites, and the Owlman and the rest of them seem suspiciously close to that. That said, I am intrigued and before I make up my mind I’ll gladly read that storyline 😀
    Great review, Lashaan!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely understand what you mean and I too am skeptical when I see mirror-image villains. However, it’s not surprising that it “exists” here because of the multiverse, and we’ve both seen something similar being done with Snyder’s Metal event with the “dark” mirror versions of Bruce too. So far, they both work for different reasons, and even in this case, the Crime Syndicate aren’t complete mirrors, they have original stories and have a complex relationship between one another too. Hope you enjoy Geoff Johns’ run if you ever decide to try it out. 😀 Thanks for reading, Ola!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Caroline! Did you mean “I DON’T like sci-fi stuff”? And maybe… Cyborg is a hero who had an accident and was then fused with future tech to allow him to survive, which ultimately made him a walking SUPER computer connected to the virtual world.

      As for Owlman… Hahahahahaahahah In this story, Owlman is Bruce Wayne’s father from another world! There’s an Owlman in Watchmen too hahahaha I guess there’s a lot of them huh? Maybe someone should think of making Owlwoman or Owlgirl. I know who could play that hero too! 😀 😀 😀

      Like

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