Scott Snyder has really put the League through its paces leading up to JUSTICE LEAGUE #9. Spinning out of DARK KNIGHTS: METAL, the Source Wall has cracked, and fundamental forces of the universe are unleashed. The League has decided to take on the task of fixing the universe, but there are things complicating matters. Lex Luthor has created a Legion of Doom, and he seems to have an upper hand on the League. There’s also the mystery that came out of the source wall: The Totality. JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 is not about that.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 is a much-needed breath from the events of the past few issues. Everyone loves an action-packed book, but sometimes you need to decompress. Especially with icons like the Justice League, it’s important to get their characterization right. The team has eight very distinctive personalities at its core. With this issue, writer Scott Snyder decided to take a moment to examine the League and to see where everyone is after all that’s happened. Any good writer takes the time to plumb the depths of their characters. We get a lot of good moments between characters.

Everyone Needs to Breathe Sometimes

We look at the dynamic between Superman and Batman, how they view things so differently yet are such friends. Wonder Woman and Aquaman have an interesting conversation, where they talk about their roles as Leaguers and in the world. We also see a new budding camaraderie between Green Lantern John Stewart and Barry Allen.

Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl reflect on their recent experience with the Totality, and what effect it had on them specifically. The deepening of the relationships between the characters gives the League a sense of closeness. The book has a sense of intimacy, which is hard to do with a large cast. In general, Snyder keeps these characters grounded to who they are, but also reveals more about them at the same time.

Modern Myth-Making

JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 is bookended by one of the most mythical moments in recent memory: Superman rebuilding the moon. The Totality completely obliterated the moon when they first arrived at Earth. While Snyder’s characterization of each character is exemplary in the book, this moment — and Superman’s conversation with Batman — is a personal favorite. The reconstruction kind of feels like a classic, Silver Age Superman move. Snyder definitely succeeded in creating an iconic Superman moment without requiring a long, epic fight.

In general, the whole series evokes that early Morrison run, which is arguably the most iconic run in the JLA’s modern era. That run partially inspired the much-lauded JL/JLU series that Paul Dini and Bruce Timm created. In this run, Snyder evokes similar themes: a team whose membership mirrors the animated Justice League, having the villains join forces, and creating stakes that are universal in scope. While those goals can be intimidating and indeed difficult to write, nine issues in, Snyder is doing an exemplary job.

The Art Sells the Story

JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Of course, all of these grand ideas of Snyder’s go nowhere without art to match it. Jorge Jimenez, who did excellent work on covers during Pete Tomasi’s SUPERMAN run, provides excellent pencils in JUSTICE LEAGUE #9. His style is very modern and fits a team like the Justice League well. Jimenez also does an excellent job of paying homage here and there. His Batman is reminiscent of Greg Capullo’s in his run with Scott Snyder on BATMAN. There’s also a panel with a smiling Superman that can’t help but evoke Frank Quitely’s ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. Credit also goes to Alejandro Sanchez, the colorist; the book is vibrant and bright. Even in the scenes with a more dark and gloomy Batman, the colors jump off the page and accentuate the pencils.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 Final Thoughts

While this may have been a cooldown issue of sorts, JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 is a very important issue. The heroes have been beset by danger on all fronts and needed a moment to evaluate things. A couple of key conversations and the restoration of the moon by Superman help give the heroes — and the readers — perspective on events to come.

These character establishing moments definitely supersede the plot of the overarching story, and it needed to. A breath to analyze our favorite characters is always welcome before the next big struggle. This is one of the best Justice League runs in a while and exemplifies Scott Snyder’s handle on DC’s most iconic characters.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #9 by Scott Snyder, Jorge Jimenez, and Alejandro Sanchez
Snyder and Jimenez deliver an excellently written, well-drawn interlude for the Justice League. We see some of the concerns the League has facing their biggest battle, and look into their hearts. Superman also does something only he can do: fix the moon.
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