Since the first issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE, writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV have been working towards a confrontation between the Justice League and the Legion of Doom. They’ve been working towards more than that, though. The concepts of Justice and Doom themselves are clashing. Perpetua, the mother of the DC Multiverse, is the embodiment of Doom, and the Legion have sought her freedom. The Legion of Doom have succeeded, and in JUSTICE LEAGUE #22, James Tynion returns to tell the story of Perpetua.

Maker of the Multiverse

JUSTICE LEAGUE #22 starts with the emergency that is Mxyzptlk. As Starman and Mera struggle helplessly, the Legion of Doom arrives to make things right. They have an ace up their sleeve, and they reveal that ace — Bat-Mite. The two battled as Perpetua regained her full consciousness and power. She senses her son at the World Forger’s hand in Mxyzptlk’s actions. As the Legion fought to save reality, Perpetua recalled the events that led to her betrayal and imprisonment.

In the beginning, 20 billion years ago, Perpetua created her three children. Alpheus, to forge worlds, Mar Novu, to monitor the worlds, and Mobius, to keep the edges of the universe free of life. Alpheus creates a pet, Barbatos, to consume the decaying worlds. Mar Novu is the first to sense his mother’s intent — she wants to stop the cycle she’s locked in and make her stand with the current Multiverse. Judgment is coming from her from a Source above her, and she created Martian-Human hybrids to challenge that power.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #22 Page 1. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Mar Novu convinces his brothers to team up against Perpetua and reach out to that higher power. Perpetua tries to intervene, but the higher power finds them and imprisons Perpetua, creating the Source Wall. As a result, this prevented a meta-universal war. It also allowed the Multiverse to continue, albeit cut off from the other multiverses, including the Antimatter Universe. This seems like it was the origin of the enmity between the Anti-Monitor and the Monitor and was the start of the Crisis cycle.

Perpetua has returned to spread her teachings, and her teachings are Doom. The beings above her are sure to notice and to wage war on her and her allies, as will the heroes of the Multiverse.

Tynion Returns to JUSTICE LEAGUE

Writer James Tynion tags back in to tell the tale of Perpetua in detail. It’s clear that Tynion and Snyder have a love and appreciation of DC lore, weaving their own additions and takes on its origins with existing lore. The nod to Mar Novu and Mobius was also a nice touch, as they have set off many Crises in the DCU. Seeing the likely origins of what would become the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS was great as well. This interstitial issue also fills in a lot of backstories and gives us a glimpse into the rationale of Perpetua and why she made the decisions she did. As a result, we now have a deeper look into the leader of the Year of the Villain.

The most intriguing subplot, at least to me, is the Martian-human connection to Perpetua. Perpetua melded the powers of green Martians with the aggressive nature of humans. With the Green Martians extinct beyond J’onn J’onzz, how will Perpetua build her hybrid army? Will they use some sort of metagene mutation? What else does Perpetua have in mind? Furthermore, is Lex Luthor in on her plans as well? If this is the Year of the Villain, this issue was a good look inside the mind of one of the major villains. Tynion has done a lot of the villain issues, giving us glimpses into their minds. He has done an excellent job with these issues, characterizing some of DC’s iconic villains perfectly.

Manapul Returns with JUSTICE LEAGUE #22

Francis Manapul returns to JUSTICE LEAGUE, and he does not disappoint. His line work is incredibly detailed. Also, he handles all of the art duties solo, which probably explains why he’s not doing every single issue. Pencils, inks, AND colors is a lot of work. Consequently, that’s probably why we’ve also had the excellent Jorge Jimenez on the past few issues. Both artists brought their A-games, and this issue is as good as anything I’ve seen recently.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #22 Page 2-3. Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Manapul’s art really shines in the large group scenes, particularly the first splash page and the big splash with the Great Raptor of the Omniverse (what I’m calling that giant space bird). Manapul has also mastered drawing large armies without it seeming generic or glossed over. The amount of detail he puts into the human-Martian hybrids is astounding. It makes me excited to see Manapul work on whatever series the final showdown between the League and the Legion takes place in, whether it’s JUSTICE LEAGUE or another event book.

Will Doom Save the Multiverse?

With the Justice League tied up by the World Forger, is it really up to the Legion of Doom to save the day? What is the League going to do about this? Will Superman escape from his prison? This issue was a rest period between the battle the JUSTICE LEAGUE is facing, but it was an incredible look into the ancient history of Perpetua and her children. JUSTICE LEAGUE is one of the more exciting books DC is putting on the stands.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #22 by James Tynion IV and Francis Manapul
A great interstitial issue by Tynion and Manapul reveals the history and motivations of the mother of the Multiverse, Perpetua. Tynion fills in the gaps in DC history and makes plenty of nods to existing canon. Artist Francis Manapul gives us a gorgeous issue, with lots of crowded scenes with intricately detailed armies. A great prelude to the Year of the Villain!
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Perpetua Remembers!
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