11th Dec2018

‘Justice League Vol.1: The Totality’ Review (DC Comics)

by Phil Wheat

Written by Scott Snyder | Art by Jim Cheung, Jorge Jimenez | Published by DC Comics

justice-league-v1-cover

This iteration of the Justice League was never really my Justice League. The big five team of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash (and the likes of Cyborg, Green Lantern etc.) were in fact the antithesis of what I considered the Justice League. You see, I grew up with the Giffen, DeMatteis, Macguire iteration of the Justice League – the snarky, ridiculous team book that played up the laughs a much as the action. That was a book that, originally, was only allowed to feature Batman from the original JLA line-up, none of the the other big-name characters – who all had their own very successful solo books – featured in the early years of  MY Justice League. In later years, after the book changed names multiple times: at first just Justice League, then Justice League International, before spltting into two books – Justice League America and Justice League Europe; the big five did become part of the regular line-up.

But by then the book was so far removed from the one I fell in love with that I never really gave the “traditional’ Justice League a chance. And I still haven’t to this day – until this particular book dropped on my doorstep.

Justice League Vol.1: The Totality sees the returning Martian Manhunter struggle to protect the team from an incoming threat that will shatter the world as they know it – the titular totality: the concentrated essence of the secret source of all things. Which just happens to crash-land in the Nevada desert; and everything and everyone that comes into contact with it gets…changed. Of course this mass of power not only attracts the Justice League, who wish to protect the Earth from whatever IT is, to the newly re-formed Legion of Doom, led by Lex Luthor.

Spinning out of the cataclysmic events of Dark Nights: Metal and the huge DC event No Justice, the core members of the Justice League: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash… and more… are finally reunited for an all-new adventure; as the League were forced to make an impossible decision in the aformentioned book and now its time to face the consequences – and what seems to be the possible end of the DC Multiverse (yet again).

Why is it that whenever I try to give the Justice League a chance it seems to be in the middle of some huge event? I mistakenly thought that given this was the start of an all-new JLA book it would be a fantastic jumping-on point for a “new reader” like myself. I was wrong. Instead this book is mired in months, if not YEARS, of backstory – from Dark Knights: Metal (thankfully I had read that story) and No Justice (this one passed me by) in particular, to even the likes of Brightest Day back in 2011 (another DC event I had actually read) – backstory that left me shaking my head trying to figure out just what is really going on. I, for one, had never even HEARD of the “source wall” that seems to be so inherent in these last few DC event books.

And this book doesn’t really help with unravelling the story either… This is really hard-going reading. The plot jumps about in both time and space, between hero and foe, and at at face value it seems to be about a wall, a ball of light and a door knob(!). Oh, and the usual battle between DC’s heroes and villains. Honestly, coming into this book having read Dark Knights: Metal yet without any knowledge of No Justice or the backstory of the “source wall” meant that this felt like a mess – a convoluted, incoherent mess. One that, even with THAT cliffhanging last page, I’m not eager to return to.

Justice League Vol.1: The Totality collects Justice League #1-6. The book is out now in paperback, order your copy on Amazon.

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