JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 is a fun, rollicking adventure. However, there isn’t a lot of coherent plot in this cosmic issue. While definitely an entertaining read, it fails to do its heroes proper justice.

Scott Snyder brings a lot of inventive ideas into this comic. However, there’s simply too much going on. It sometimes feels a bit overwhelming. The complicated plot often overrides some of the deeper character moments. Still, a bright star in this series continues to be Jorge Jiménez’ inspiring art.

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Complications Before Characters

No one can say that Scott Snyder doesn’t have a huge imagination. Between the “First Abomination,” Umbrax, the Ultraviolet Corps, and the introduction of the Still-Force, Snyder is balancing a lot of intriguing ideas in this series.

These elements would be great if Snyder carefully weaved them throughout the story. Instead, Snyder throws them all at the reader at once. As a result, it’s often difficult to understand exactly what’s going on in the plot of this cosmic bonanza.

I’m not saying that wacky space adventures can’t work. In fact, loony, grandiose storylines are sometimes the most entertaining in comic books. JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 captures the fun, absurdist feeling of the classic Silver Age comics. Some of the elements in this issue are extremely innovative and clever. However, there’s a problem when plot machinations get in the way of character development.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #4
JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 page 7. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

I’m disappointed that Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE hasn’t reestablished its characters in a fulfilling way. Martian Manhunter and John Stewart have a few character moments. Unfortunately, they’re always connected to a large, complicated plot. One of the best aspects of the previous JUSTICE LEAGUE comics is the relationships between the team members. Hopefully, we’ll get some of that in future issues.

Doom Steals The Day

The best-developed character so far in Snyder’s run on JUSTICE LEAGUE has been Lex Luthor. The megalomaniacal genius is so callous and power-hungry, it makes him a delight to read. He cleverly leads the Legion of Doom towards the volatile energies unleashed when the Source Wall collapsed.

I love how the Legion is ahead of the Justice League at every turn in JUSTICE LEAGUE #4. Sinestro utilizes the Invisible Spectrum and easily overpowers Cyborg and Green Lantern. Grodd commands the Still-Force and immobilizes Flash while pitting Wonder Woman and Aquaman against each other. The Joker and Lex are able to undercut Batman and Hawkgirl’s efforts inside of Superman and Martian Manhunter’s neural systems. It looks like the Legion is far more organized and prepared than their JL counterparts.

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The advantage of the Legion is that they aren’t afraid to seize power. The League treats the new Forces with fear or mild curiosity. Meanwhile, the Legion, particularly Luther and Grodd, see them as a means of getting power for power’s sake.

There are some strong moments in the comic focusing on the theme of power. This includes a scene when Snyder highlights Grodd’s past. It shows when the gorilla first learned of his extraordinary gifts. At that moment Grodd realized that the only thing people respond to is power.

Another moment about power is the finale. The comic ends as the Legion encounter the ultimate force of the multiverse. I love this scene because of its profundity. We see Luthor realize he’s one step away from having unlimited power. I’m incredibly interested to see how Snyder resolves this storyline and crafts Luthor’s undoing.

Cosmic Mastery in JUSTICE LEAGUE #4

Jorge Jiménez is a true master of drawing bold, exciting, and large stories. I’m always amazed at his ability to capture the vast scale and intricacies of the unseemly visuals he’s drawing. The action in JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 is extremely outlandish, and it’s incredibly important that the art represents that. Whether its the bold and sickeningly creepy visuals of Sinestro’s Ultraviolet light or the microscopic detail of Batman and Hawkgirl’s atomized world, Jimenez’s art always excites.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #4
JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 page 13. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

His work has a very kinetic quality, which manages to push the story forward. This is invaluable because it grants the comic a breakneck pace. Jimenez’s art, alongside Alejandro Sánchez’ visuals, is the equivalent of a candy store. There are so many bright and delicious things to look at all at once. This can be overbearing but, for most of the issue, it makes JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 a thrilling ride.

Into the Center of The Universe

The final issues of Snyder’s first JUSTICE LEAGUE arc will decide the quality of this story. Snyder has the potential to create a really fascinating run if he concludes this arc in a strong manner. I didn’t find anything in JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 particularly compelling, but it still works as an entertaining issue. That’s a compliment to Snyder’s writing abilities. Even while the plot suffers, it still manages to be a fun read.

I hope that the next few issues focus more on character and tones down the plot intricacies. If Snyder can pull it off this run of JUSTICE LEAGUE will feature a story worthy of the world’s greatest superheroes.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 By Scott Snyder, Jorge Jiménez, and Alejandro Sánchez
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
JUSTICE LEAGUE #4 is an entertaining ride but not much more than that. The art is excellent and the action is unique but the issue doesn't have a story worthy of its eminent characters.
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