The multiverse has been saved, so what could possibly go wrong now? The Justice League saved essentially all of existence from the threat of Barbatos in Dark Nights: Metal but what about what’s beyond existence? Those are the questions addressed by writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson in Justice League: No Justice #1. Illustrated by Francis Manapul, the first of the four weekly issues follows-up on Metal plotlies, and clarifies events previewed in DC Nation #0. Earth faces a new threat, but not necessarily the one that its heroes start off fighting — and that’s how the writing trio ramp up their story in their fun, summer blockbuster-style intro.
The 10-page DC Nation story raised both a lot of excitement and a lot of questions. Fans wondering why there are four Justice League teams, with villains like Starro and Sinestro joining the ranks, get most of their questions answered in No Justice #1, while the threat level continues to escalate. The writers also provide a far-reaching but understandable explanation of just what the nature of the threat is. Metal took readers to the literal edge of existence, and then broke through the Source Wall that bounded it. No Justice #1 begins to captivatingly answer the seemingly unanswerable: what lies beyond the known edge of the multiverse, and more importantly, what’s going to be done about it?
There’s a kind of Jack Kirby-meets-Grant Morrison vibe that’s fittingly appropriate. The Source Wall was an integral component of Kirby’s “Fourth World” saga, and Morrison officially connected it to the DC Comics Multiverse in Multiversity. Snyder, Tynion and Williamson’s ideas for what lies beyond are beautifully both Kirby- and Morrison-esque — if anything lies beyond the realm of known existence, the embodiment of the “fundamental energies of sentient life” certainly sounds like something comparatively plausible. Plausible, perhaps, but still grandiose as brought to life with Walt Simonson-esque, godlike grandeur by Manapul.
Manapul is no less proficient at capturing the “smaller” threat of a worldwide incursion by a more familiar foe. The artist masterfully squeezes multiple heroes — and villains — into the issue’s 30 pages. Knowing he can’t have more pages, he just makes the pages he has bigger — 10 double-page spreads do well in conveying the scope of the writing trio’s story. Even so, Manapul’s layouts beg for the old tabloid-sized comic pages of DC’s Collectors’ Editions of the ’70s.
The issue isn’t all about cosmic-level threats, though. The newly created Task Force XI is supposed to be among the good guys — at least as much as Task Force X, aka the Suicide Squad, is — but are they really? The subplot adds a more down-to-Earth element to the story, as well as an unexpected wrinkle that potentially changes the course of the story early on.
These various threats and surprises collectively make Snyder, Tynion and Williamson’s story a fast-paced, unpredictable thrill. The genesis of these disparate and newly christened Justice League teams makes for the kind of epic fun that old-school events like the original Crisis on Infinite Earths brought readers decades ago — and it comes out weekly. Justice League: No Justice #1 continues the loud, fast and thrashing pace of Dark Nights: Metal — with the literal barriers broken.