JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 finds the Legion of Doom on the cusp of victory. The villainous group has broken the Source Wall and freed Perpetua. The Multiverse is on the brink thanks to their actions, but the Legion still has problems. Perpetua is asleep, and they don’t know how to wake her. Writer James Tynion IV returns to show us what happens when two of the greatest intellects in the universe get together, and what it means for the fate of the Multiverse!

JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 Goes Into the Depths of Brainiac’s Mind

JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 starts with a rather torturous scene. Lex has strapped himself down, undergoing a painful procedure. The operation is to help link Brainiac and Lex mentally. Brainiac holds all of the secrets of the universe in his mind. Lex knows the secrets of the sixth energy needed to free Perpetua. Lex and Brainiac hope to wake up Perpetua to bring about the doom that everyone else is trying to prevent.

Brainiac brings Luthor into his mind and reveals his plan to Lex: to capture Luthor in his mind and take control of him. This would allow Brainiac to control the Legion of Doom through Luthor and ultimately eliminate them safely after they’ve released Perpetua. Luthor convinces Brainiac to hear him out before he goes through with his plan.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 Page 1. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Most of the issue is then spent giving us the history of Vandal Savage and the Totality. That history spans millennia and some of the greatest minds known to men, including Lionel Luthor. We get Lex’s version of the events that were recounted in JUSTICE LEAGUE #17, and we get the revelation of why Lex killed Vandal. The immortal Savage, despite his age, lacked belief.

Luthor springs a counter trap on Brainiac — he’s placed a virus in his mind that will hollow out Brainiac, leaving him an empty directory. Lex does offer Brainiac an alternative: open himself up to his emotions and to Lex and solve the mystery of the sixth element needed together. The two agree to work together, and both depart for a mysterious place. Find out where that is by picking up JUSTICE LEAGUE #18!

Tynion Returns, and So Does Lex

After the revelations of the last issue, I was concerned with the arc that Lex Luthor was headed towards. Martian Manhunter provided a chance for Lex Luthor to redeem himself, a decision I was vehemently against. In this issue, it seems Luthor has doubled down on his efforts to free Perpetua, and that’s much more in line with his character. It was important to see him reaffirm this rationale, as the last issue seemed to undermine everything. The fact that Lex knows his father’s tragic fate and is still resentful of him makes a lot of sense and fits the character. It’s a better fit than finding out his long lost Martian friend wants to redeem him, and he suddenly wants to be a good little boy.

This is the Luthor we need: a relentless villain. He’s determined to prove his theory right. That human beings are destructive conquerors. Tynion does a great job of reaffirming the character’s motivations, moving the plot forward in regards to Perpetua, and making Lex a fearsome character, one who bends even Brainiac to his will. Tynion’s work on Lex’s character is terrific in JUSTICE LEAGUE #18.

Pasqual Ferry Comes On Board with JUSTICE LEAGUE #18

JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 Page 2. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Artist Pasqual Ferry joins Tynion on JUSTICE LEAGUE #18. His style is very different from previous artists like Jim Cheung. Ferry’s work is nearly as detailed as Cheung’s, with backgrounds clearly laid out. His pencils can be a little bit looser, and not as clean as Cheung. That’s not a criticism of Ferry, though —  I found his work to be captivating. His work on Vandal Savage was a particular highlight. The expressions of Vandal throughout the years stand out in the issue.

I like the more cartoony yet still detailed style that Ferry brings. It’s a nice change of pace. It may be jarring to some readers, but JUSTICE LEAGUE is a major title and deserves major talent rotating in. I’d like to see Ferry come back and do more of these single-issue vignettes. Pasqual Ferry is a welcome addition to the stable of talent working on JUSTICE LEAGUE.

Can Luthor Do It?

The Hero’s Journey is a trope and tradition of literature. In this JUSTICE LEAGUE series, it’s been Lex Luthor who has taken that traditional role. Lex has made the discovery of what the Totality is, who Perpetua is, and how to unlock his potential and his destiny. Sure, it’s at the expense of the Multiverse and the Justice League, but this is a novel approach the classic story trope. What will Lex do with this power though? Can he handle winning?

JUSTICE LEAGUE #18 by James Tynion IV, Pasqual Ferry, Hi-Fi, and Tom Napolitano
Writer James Tynion IV returns to Justice League! Brainiac and Lex have a battle of the minds. Tynion nails the characterization of Luthor, and Ferry provides quality artwork.
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Minds Collide!
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