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Comic Book / Justice League (2018)

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You need Justice... to fight Doom.

The Source Wall has been breached following the events of Dark Nights: Metal. The Omega Titans have been driven away by the events of Justice League: No Justice. New and powerful forces both scientific and supernatural in origin are sweeping the cosmos. And worst of all, the Multiverse is dying.

Justice League condition amber.

Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV as the flagship installment of the “New Justice” family of DC Comic books, this series focuses on the League's attempts to investigate and sort out the many changes in the DC Universe brought out by the events of Metal, and the attempts of Lex Luthor and his Legion of Doom to harness these changes for their own ends.

Scott Snyder's run ended with issue 39, leading into the 2020 Crisis Crossover Dark Nights: Death Metal, which concluded the Dark Multiverse narrative.

Issue 40 began Robert Venditti's run, which takes place before Snyder's and lasted for 17 issues.

Afterwards, as part of DC Infinite Frontier, the series received an overhaul. The roster changed and the series is instead written by Brian Michael Bendis, with backup stories by Ram V starring the Justice League Dark. Tropes pertaining to that run can be found here.

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    Tropes for Scott Snyder's Run 

  • Adaptational Villainy: Shayera Hol is typically a hero in the DCU and occasionally a member/ally of the Justice League. In this continuity, she rules Thanagar and is willing to go against the Justice League when they come.
  • Anti-Magic: Magic is considered one of the seven forces for Justice while its counterpart is known as Void Wind and is currently being wielded by Cheetah.
  • Arc Words: “Justice” and “Doom”.
  • Arc Symbol: Luthor has doorknob engraved that pairs Justice and Doom using abstract symbols of the Hall of Justice and the Hall of Doom in mirror images to each other. It's empowered when the general universe is metaphorically turned from one to the other.
  • Artifact of Doom: Near literally; Luthor is in possession of a doorknob engraved with an arcane symbol that's empowered by the imbalance of Doom and Justice in the universe, which he is attempting to turn entirely towards Doom.
  • Balance Between Good and Evil: What the fight between “Justice” and “Doom” ultimately means: will the multiverse as a whole rise above its base instincts (Justice) or revel in it (Doom)?
  • Bad Boss: Just when the Legion of Doom are ready to serve Perpetua, she turns Brainiac into a chair and drags all the others into stasis to power Apex Lex to their shock and dismay, with even Lex openly wondering why she's doing this.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Snyder's run on the comic ends with Perpetua successfully taking over the world.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Luthor is well known for despising Superman for his alien origins, often championing the cause of mankind. Here, he's transformed into Apex Lex, a half-alien hybrid, by Perpetua and doesn't bat an eyelash over it.
  • Big Bad: Perpetua, with Lex Luthor as The Dragon.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Thanagar Prime and Shayera Hol is not as friendly to the Justice League as first shown.
  • Continuity Porn: The first page alone references a myriad of DC Comics stories.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Batman, as per usual. He has bombs planted underneath the surface of the moon. Which he uses to destroy the whole thing when Savage uses it as a Cyclotron to pull the Earth's crust apart.
    • And in issue 36, Batman takes it up a notch. It's revealed that he rigged the Hall of Justice to become a Humongous Mecha just on the bare possiblity that Luthor had done the same to the Hall of Doom. Which Luthor, being Luthor, actually did.
  • A Day in the Limelight / Villain Episode: Issues 5, 8, and 13 are focused on Luthor and how he brought the Legion together.
  • Dark Messiah: Luthor is convinced that humanity should just embrace its darker impulses and is sponsored by the creator of the multiverse Perpetua to die and be resurrected into an example of what they could become.
  • Detonation Moon: Unusually for this trope, the heroes have to pull this off in Issue 1.
  • Downer Ending: Snyder's final issue has Martian Manhunter telepathically linking every human on Earth and entreating them to reject Perpetua's rule. Unfortunately, humanity gives in to despair and accepts Perpetua, allowing her to take over the world. She gleefully rubs her victory in the League's faces before destroying them all. Then the Quintessence resurrects the League on the moon and tells them their plan was never going to work and Perpetua's victory was inevitable before sending them through a door to...somewhere.
  • The Dreaded: Perpetua, the being that the Source Wall was created to contain. According to the narration, even her brothers and sisters, responsible for tending other multiverses, "fear and revile" her.
  • The Empire: The future where humanity follows Lex's example sees Earth conquer the universe.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Lex is trying to bring this about with the Justice League trying to stop him.
  • Enemy Mine: The present day League teams with the future versions of the Legion of Doom to escape the future Justice League.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Joker demonstrates this with his usual hatred of The Batman Who Laughs, warning Lex not to involve him with the Legion of Doom and betraying Lex when the latter does so.
    • Despite being a supervillain, Lex has generally never been too much of the Bad Boss type over the years with other villains. When Perpetua betrays the other Legion of Doom members, Lex looks shocked at what she's doing and questions why she's doing this, as he expected the other villains to share in his glory.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Joker warns Luthor about trusting The Batman Who Laughs.
  • Eviler than Thou: The comic starts with Vandal Savage as the Big Bad, but within the first issue is taken down by the Legion of Doom, led by Lex Luthor, who are revealed to the the real antagonist of the comic.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Luthor does this when he sees that the future is a Crapsack World where humanity has given in to their “basic natures”. Luthor decides that being a hero is pointless and decides to guide humanity towards the same realization he had.
    • Seemingly, Batman allies with the World Forger and the future Justice League when they tell him it's the only way Justice can win over Doom. Except...
  • Fake Defector: Batman seemingly joins the future Justice League in order to save the multiverse by throwing all those who would choose Doom into a planet sized gulag. In reality, he was getting close to the World Forger to convince him to join the League instead.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: Batman and Hawkgirl use shrink ships to stave off pathogenic mutagens in Superman and Martian Manhunter's bodies while they investigate the Totality.
  • Flashback: Issues 2, 3, 4, and 6 each begin with a page describing a villain's connection to the cosmic forces emerging in the series and hinting at their motivations for joining the Legion.
  • Foreshadowing: In Issue 2, Luthor gives Grodd a weapon to destroy the Flash. Immediately afterwards, Barry brings up an enemy of his called “the Turtle” who believed in an opposing energy to the Speed Force called the “Still Force”. Grodd's weapon is a hatchling of the Turtle.
  • From Bad to Worse: As the arc progresses the heroes lose as the villains' plans advance unabated.
  • Future Me Scares Me: Played with in the “Sixth Dimension” arc. The League go into the future to find a utopian world where Justice completely won over Doom and now everyone is happy. However, the League discovers their future selves preemptively threw everyone who would choose Doom over Justice into a planet-sized gulag in order to win.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Batman is viciously beaten in a fight to the point of breaking his arms and legs, spending the next several issues in a high tech body cast and forced to use a confiscated Luthor warsuit to defend himself when the Legion of Doom comes calling.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The threat Perpetua and Luthor hold is so dire that the Justice League adds the World Forger and the Monitor to its ranks with the intention of adding even the Anti-Monitor as well.
  • God Is Evil: The creator of the multiverse, Perpetua, is a selfish being that intended reality to be something predatory to fight for her and avoid the possibility of being judged and punished accordingly.
  • Grand Theft Me: Luthor and Joker pull this on Superman and Martian Manhunter respectively.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The World Forger, of all people, joins the League at the conclusion of "The Sixth Dimension."
  • Heroic Blue Screen of Death: J'onn has one when he learns that the progenitor of the multiverse is aligned with Doom which makes him distraught that heroes like them are going against the will of their creator in fighting for Justice.
  • Humans Are Special: Humans are capable of harnessing the seven forces the cosmic creator herself uses to create realities. Starman is an ultimate example, since his power harnesses the power that expands the multiverse itself.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Batman breaks both of his arms and legs in the first arc fighting Luthor and spends the next couple arcs recuperating from it.
  • The Leader: The Martian Manhunter takes over as chairman of the Justice League.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Future Justice League in “The Sixth Dimension” at first seem to be purely altruistic heroes overseeing a utopia but soon reveal to have engaged in morally gray actions to ensure “Justice” triumphed over “Doom” on their world. Many on the primary League openly question just how “just” this world is.
  • Knight Templar: The World Forger's plan to redeem the multiverse is to imprison and eventually destroy all villains aligned with Doom while he creates a new perfect multiverse entirely aligned to Justice and pass it off as being that way all along to cheat the evaluation of higher powers. Near literally when they recruit Batman to their cause.
  • Legion of Doom: The Trope Namer makes its debut in mainstream comic continuity for the first time.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Superman has this reaction to Batman using a shrink ship to enter his body.
  • Mythology Gag: Humans and Martians fused together become White Martians, intended to be a race of vicious warrior predators. This follows earlier continuities where Martians like J'onn were one of two races with their White counterparts who were also a vicious race of warrior predators. They were also two halves of an even more sadistic and vicious race called Burning Martians that were genetically split into the two by the Guardians of Oa and had all knowledge they were once one suppressed.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Joker is not smiling or laughing when he tells Luthor that The Batman Who Laughs is dangerous, both in flashback and in the story.
  • Opt Out: The villains Luthor invites to increase the Legion of Doom's membership leave after being assaulted by the Joker.
  • Power Tattoo: Ultraviolet Power Rings take the form of a ring tattoo branded on the ring finger. Once John takes back control of himself his turns into a Green Lantern Ring tattoo, with all the same capabilities.
  • Psychic Link: Martian Manhunter creates a mental boardroom using the every League member's psychic connection to him.
  • Purple Is the New Black: The Ultraviolet Lantern Corps is associated with darkness and invisibility, with its living power source even being named Umbrax for shadows. Regardless, all the energy emitted by its corpsmen still go with the violet part of ultraviolet.
  • Red Skies Crossover: The story arc is marketed as a part of the Year of the Villain and is divided into multiple phases as it progresses with references in tie-in issues from other titles; the phase of Luthor being upgraded by Perpetua is called The Offer where he goes around to villains offering them their own power-ups in exchange for pledging to Perpetua and Doom with the Justice League in turn recruiting to fight them. Then follows Dark Gifts where the villains show off their new powers while Evil Unleashed has the heroes dealing with the consequences. Next is Doom Rising which is very much like the trope namer as the empowered Perpetua projects the Doom sigil onto Earth's sky, visible to and commented on by characters in the tie-in titles. When she grows even stronger in Hostile Takeover, she makes it visible to everyone in the universe and multiverse.
  • Rule of Seven: A major plot point for the story arc is the revelation of seven pairs of forces used by Perpetua to create the multiverse that humans are capable of harnessing; one set of seven is aligned with Justice while the other with Doom and until now the forces of Doom have largely been sealed away with her.
    • The series starts off with nine members but eventually whittles it down to seven.
  • Satanic Archetype: Perpetua is the overseer of a multiverse put in place by a higher power. Fearing the possibility of being executed if her work is deemed wanting at evaluation, she started corrupting it to engineer powerful armies to defend herself against her superiors. Her sons, created to run the finer points of the multiverse, saw this and feared their destruction at judgement as well, but sided against her and sealed her away by creating the Source Wall.
    • Luthor himself becomes this after switching out his usual schtick for a long robe and the role as tempter for the planet.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Joker abandons the Legion of Doom - as well as his painstakingly-planned betrayal of Luthor at his moment of glory - after Lex seeks aid from the Batman Who Laughs against his advisement.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Grodd performs this on Wonder Woman and Aquaman using his powers.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The World Forger's philosophy in regards to the fight between Justice and Doom. This motivates him to trap Superman in a pocket dimension that will eventually kill him because Clark's optimism that they can win without moral compromise jeopardizes the multiverse's chance for survival. He manages to seemingly sway Batman to his way of thinking as well.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: All over the place; between the heroes and villains presented as Justice vs. Doom and later between the heroes themselves in regards to redemptive hope and condemning resignation.
    • According to the World Forger, being on opposite ends of this scale is why Superman and Batman were both assigned imps.
  • Spiritual Successor: To JLA (1997), with Morrison being an expressed inspiration for Snyder and JLA being a previous Justice League series that fully embraced the insanity and awesomeness that comes with superhero comics.
  • Supervillain Lair: The Hall of Doom, located in a scenic volcano.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The Leaguers fight Savage's Injustice Gang in scenarios specifically suited to their talents (Aquaman fights them underwater, Hawkgirl fights them in the sky, Batman fights them in caves, etc).
  • Thanatos Gambit: Luthor's plan involves blowing himself up. Thanks to Perpetua and Brainiac, he gets a new Martian/human hybrid body almost immediately.
  • Trophy Room: The League has theirs on public display, with the items contained there being depowered.
  • Ultimate Lifeform: Perpetua's plan is to fuse the human and Martian races to engineer a species with immense natural power and the ability to harness the seven forces as weapons in her defense against being judged.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The World Forger's reasoning behind pre-emptively imprisoning/destroying anyone who would choose Doom.
  • Wham Episode: Justice League Annual #1. And what a Wham Episode it is. The League, the Green Lantern Corps, the Thanagarian fleet, and the New Gods all work together in an attempt to fix the Source Wall, only for the Legion to attack, with the help of its new recruit Brainiac leading the charge. The result is nothing less than the Source Wall exploding causing reverberations across the cosmos, as well as the disappearance of New Genesis and Apokolips. The Multiverse is now a fragment of an even bigger sea of reality. To make matters worse, Perpetua has been freed from her imprisonment outside the wall and is now in possession of the Legion.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Luthor believes this in regards to humanity's destructive tendencies, and wants to bring about a world where humanity accepts its worst nature. To do this, he creates the Legion of Doom.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: Every attempt by the heroes to stop the villains' plans from advancing are unsuccessful at every turn.

     Tropes for Robert Venditti's run

  • Anachronic Order: Scott Snyder said in a tweet that this run takes place before his own which began the book.
  • The Leader: John Stewart now leads the League. Batman is not thrilled about this.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Make no mistake, the Daxamites were already comprised of xenophobic assholes but they at least kept to themselves. But when the Eradicator gives them the opportunity to invade other planets they jump at it.

Alternative title: Scott Snyder's Justice League