Half a football season (more than half at the collegiate level) has passed since Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and colorist Rod Reis shared the adventures of the “world’s greatest superheroes” in “Justice League,” but they’re back to deliver the origin of Ultraman in “Justice League” #24.
That topic takes readers to the destruction of Earth-3’s Krypton and the fall of the house of Il as Krypton is in full-fledged evacuation mode while the planet crumbles around them. Johns writes the very worst in humanity (or Kryptonians at least) killing one another for the right to rocket off of their homeworld in an 8-page origin that highlights the differences between Superman and Ultraman rather succinctly. The rest of the issue deals with the Crime Syndicate’s continuing conquest of Earth under an eclipse caused by Ultraman adjusting the moon’s orbit. Grid has some panel time and more dialogue than any other Syndicate member save Ultraman, but make no mistake: this issue is all Ultraman.
The visuals in “Justice League” #24 are everything readers have come to expect from Reis, Prado, Reis and associates. As the story demands, however, there is an extra level of emotion in the coloring. The flashback sequences are all brighter and trending toward pastels and ultra-bright coloring. The present day, with the world shut down by the Grid is cast in sickly green glows and deep, threatening shadows. Ivan Reis’ figurework is spectacular throughout “Justice League” #24. As Ultraman threatens the Daily Planet staff and physically abuses Jimmy Olsen, Reis captures everything perfectly, delivering characters expressions and postures in a most believable manner. Even letter artist Nick J. Napolitano adds to the depth and scope of this issue. The piped in soundtrack as infant Kal-Il rockets towards Earth, Ultraman’s captions and dialog from Grid are spiffy additions to the wonderful visuals collected here. Set against the green and blue-tinted monitors of his lair, however, Grid’s word balloons do get murky, but the voice contained in them is well worth the extra attention required to dial in to what he’s saying.
The most rewarding bit was not the Justice League or the Crime Syndicate, but the one panel appearance and one-line mention of another DC superteam that lights me up for a re-read of this issue and sends me packing to “Forever Evil” #3. Unfortunately, “Forever Evil” #3 also appears to be the spot to find the conclusion of the battle begun in the waning pages of “Justice League” #24. It’s just a shame Reis, Prado, Albert, Ferreira and Reis won’t be able to finish what they started here. This creative team is a magnificent mix for the upside-down and crossways world building that Geoff Johns undertakes with “Forever Evil” and they are definitely doing their part to pique my interest in the Crime Syndicate.