With Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War raking in positive reviews and a whole lot of box office dollars, and last year’s Justice League proving to be an underwhelming movie, DC fans are left without a blockbuster superhero adventure to enjoy. Or are they? Though comparing a movie to a comic is like comparing apples to oranges, the recently-concluded Justice League: No Justice mini-series manages to scratch the same itch as Infinity War by delivering an epic superhero mashup story with great action, plenty of humor, and big stakes.
Warning: I’m going to talk about some general plot points in Justice League: No Justice, but I won’t spoil any of the big twists, just in case you want to check it out.
Written by top DC talent Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Joshua Williamson, the story of No Justice sees Earth’s heroes attacked and subdued by Brainiac right from the get go, but it turns out that Brainiac doesn’t want to hurt them. He’s actually there to ask the Justice League for help in fighting four planet-destroying space giants called the Omega Titans. Brainiac uses his vast intelligence to divide all of the heroes and villains into four different teams, each specialized to take on a different Titan.
From there, let’s just say that absolutely nothing goes according to plan given that, shockingly, the heroes and villains don’t exactly get along, plus they’re all being asked to trust Brainiac. Brainiac! It’s a pretty short event at four issues, but every issue is packed to the brim, and each chapter ends with an insane, perilous cliffhanger that left me an emotionally devastated wreck. Not unlike how I felt watching Infinity War.
Aside from crushing my heart repeatedly, another common trait No Justice has with Infinity War is how it has a fun time playing with various characters who really don’t belong in the same room, or even on the same planet, interact with each other. That crossover magic is all over No Justice, but with the extra twist of having some villains thrown into the mix. You can imagine Batman has a lot of compromising to do if he’s going to work with Lex Luthor, Lobo, and Deathstroke. There are also some unexpected delights, like the Martian Manhunter bonding with Starro the Conqueror. And if making friends with the giant, mind-controlling starfish bad guy wasn’t enough, Starro nicknames him “Marty” — an exquisitely precious nickname for such a wise, serious character. It’s those unexpected, character-driven moments that give the book depth and humor and really make the story sing. And then there’s the true star of No Justice, artist Francis Manapul, who drew the hell out of every page with gorgeous character designs and big cinematic paneling, giving it that bombastic summer blockbuster feel.
If you are interested in checking out No Justice, I can imagine the one thing that might be holding you back: knowing what other 50 comics you need to read to understand this one, and I’m happy to report the answer is zero. Yes, a big story came before this one, and there will be more to come afterward, but you can read this event all by itself and finish it feeling satisfied. It works as a self-contained, standalone story — sort of like tuning in for an episode of the old Justice League or Justice League Unlimited animated series. No Justice reads so well because it channels the same vibe as those shows, and in fact, it feels like a story they’d save for a big season finale.
So if you’re looking for a summer blockbuster featuring DC’s characters, look no further than Justice League: No Justice. I highly recommend you check it out.
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I’ve Got Issues is an ongoing comics column by Joshua Yehl, the Senior Editor of IGN Comics. If Pokemon, Green Lantern, or Game of Thrones are frequently used words in your vocabulary, you’ll want to follow him on Twitter @JoshuaYehl and IGN.