WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Justice League #17 by Scott Snyder, Jim Cheung, Mark Morales, Walden Wong, Tomeu Morey and Tom Napolitano, on sale now.
Things aren't looking too good for DC's Justice League right now. First, they are somewhat responsible for the cracking of the Source Wall in Dark Nights: Metal. Next, the Legion of Doom was successful in stealing the Totality from the Hall of Justice during the "Drowned Earth" story arc. Finally, when the Justice League tried to repair the Source Wall in Justice League Annual #1, it resulted in the Source Wall completely exploding, with the fate of the Multiverse unknown.
However, a plot point simmering in the background is the budding rivalry between Martian Manhunter and Lex Luthor. Both are the figureheads for the Justice League and Legion of Doom, respectively, and writer Scott Snyder finally addressed what links the two together in this week's Justice League #17.
Snyder spoke to CBR to discuss the major changes made to Lex Luthor and Martian Manhunter's backstories, what it means for them going forward and what fans can expect from Justice League for the remainder of the year.
CBR: Justice League #17 looks to be a pivotal issue for your Justice League run, and is huge for Martian Manhunter and Lex Luthor, with the revelation of their shared history. What made you want to make them opposing forces on the Justice League and Legion of Doom, because I find it fascinating.
Scott Snyder: Well for me, it really came down to the characters. I’ve always loved Lex as a villain and I’ve gotten to write him a few times but what I wanted to do with Justice League is broaden his ambitions and give him this new pathos that tied into his core arrogance that makes him who he is.
What we learn through the course of Justice League is that man had an original role that was different from what it is now. It speaks to this feeling that a lot of us have that we’re never going to understand as much as we want to. We don’t live as long; we’re not as powerful as we want to be. All of those longings are part of the human condition, and what Lex has fought against his whole life is that smallness. He refuses to be humble. And what he learns in the secrets of the Totality is that man had a different role in the original universe that was created by Perpetua in this Multiverse’s first form.
So Lex becomes obsessed with this; that man was meant to be much more powerful than he is right now. And the idea that he is capable in this form of being a great destroyer, being a conqueror, all of this is hugely important to Lex and speaks to this idea of selfishness and singularity. He really believes that humanity should embrace its nature, and its nature is predatory. And we’ve been defanged and declawed by the Celestials, and instead, we should go back to what we’re supposed to be -- these great, conquering lords of the universe.
Martian Manhunter, on the other hand, represents the exact opposite impulse. Even his powers speak to this. He’s connective, telepathic, communal. He’s always longing for community and home and family. The reason we made him the chairman of the Justice League was to have the League really represent those values. I wanted the League on Earth with the Hall of Justice because the series is very much about facing these problems that are seemingly insurmountable and the only way we get through them is by being humble, and communal and collective. To understand we’re all in this together and we have to put aside our differences and work together.
And Lex is like, “No no no, that’s how we got into this problem in the first place, thinking we’re these small, insignificant beings.” We need to embrace our evil, villainous nature.