DC Book Club Vol. I - JUSTICE LEAGUE: THE TOTALITY (2018)

I haven’t read the 90s series, but it’s by John Ostrander (aka creator of the Suicide Squad that everyone loves), so I’m sure he worked his magic on that too.

In a sense Martian Manhunter kind of reminds me of characters like Moon Knight over at Marvel, where they both had a lot of great creators work on him, but for one reason or another he just hasn’t really blown up the same way as others have.

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@RexRebel

This is a truly fantastic way of describing the art style. I love it!


@Bar-El

I would also be a whirlwind of mostly uncomfortable emotions if Batman said this about me :joy:


@sschallagundla - WELCOME to the community and to the DC Book Club! It’s a pleasure to meet you :slight_smile:

I also enjoyed learning more about him. I was mostly unaware of him before we started reading this series and it seems like his character has a lot of depth to it with his backstory. What do you like most about MM?

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I find it very interesting how MM gets very anxious in this series even though he is one of the strongest JL members and it is nice meeting you to.

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I think so too! It’s often interesting to see heroes showing signs of weakness. It’s a good reminder that no one is perfect and that being a hero takes courage!

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I bought the entire storyline. The art is AMAZING

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Greetings, citizens of the DC Universe!

It’s Monday, and you know what that means- too much coffee, one eye half-closed, our inner children protesting loudly- and a break from it all with scintillating discussion questions! It’s been very fun and deeply interesting to read all of your thoughts and responses so far, and we can’t wait to take it even further.

We’ve updated the top of this post to keep all questions for the series in one place, but you can also read this week’s discussion questions here in this handy comment:

Issue #4-5
2021-03-22T07:00:00Z2021-03-29T07:00:00Z

  • The Source Wall, The Totality, Umbrax, The Keep of Mars, the Still Force, the First Force, Turtle, the Ultraviolent/Invisible Spectrum- how do you keep them straight? What is your understanding of their interplay?
  • Can you name all the Green Lanterns in this beautiful shot?
  • How did having a different writer (James Tynion IV) and artist (Doug Mahnke) on the Legion of Doom issue impact the overall reading of the story so far? Did the change in tone complement the experience?

  • As noted in issue #5: "If he could, [Lex Luthor] would ask you the question he asked the rest. ‘A legion that did not stand for people as they should be, but as they were, and would always be.’." Do you agree that people’s nature is fundamentally chaotic and doom-driven, as Luthor suggests?

  • In the back pages of issue #5, we see Scott Snyder outline each villain’s core beliefs. A throughline of these beliefs is that everyone should be “true” to themselves. Do you agree with any of these villains’ philosophies? Why or why not?


As we get deeper into the story, so too do we explore the psyches of our heroes and villains. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, then you may enjoy the Psychology of Supervillains Club, where a villain is selected each month to dive into motivations and influences. Past discussions include Lex Luthor, Sinestro, and Vandal Savage.

And of course, if Justice League is your thang, then the Justice League Club is where you’ll want to be to discover the “best of” stories from the JL’s history and present, all year long!

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  • While it is easy to get things mixed up, I think of it as a vinn diagram, all of these things overlap at certain points but also have separate parts/ideas. They also affect each other in different ways while working together.
  • I think it helped the issue stand out as different. You want different stars, you have to change them mostly. They did do a good job of still keeping a general feel to the series and storyline so it was not a startling change, but enough to complement the psychology of the villain at the forefront instead of being in the psyches of the heroes like you are in the normal issues.
  • If you had asked that 20 years ago, I would have completely disagreed. Now…I still disagree. If anything the past year has proven of the human race, we will fight against doom. We will starve for hope, look for light, fight for what we believe is right (even if sometimes we are wrong), and help each other to succeed.
  • I agree with Sinestro. It is hard to see him as a villain sometimes, as at the core he is someone who is not. It is extremely important that we spend time reflecting on ourselves, our actions, and why we do what we do and what it says bout ourselves, thus who we are. His problem is, he takes this just a little too far…
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No even if I’m not quite up to date on where everyone is at the moment I have a good enough understanding of their characters.

I would say when everyone is trying to do their best Batman voice.

I always enjoy some comedy so I think it enhances my reading of the series.

I sometimes hear the voices from Justice League the animated series such as Kevin Conroy and Phil LaMarr.

I would say these two at least for the first three issues because I never thought John would be standing against the League and I’m wondering how the Joker is standing behind Hawkgirl.

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I knew right away that I was going to like this series when I read everyone doing their Batman voices, @Lecouch84! And I always like cool panels of Lantern characters (shocking, I’m sure) so that page of John was a real standout for me.

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I have just read the entire shebang in one sitting and I was not expecting it to be as good as it was. I guess I should have considering that I read No Justice in #justice-league-book-club and it was great while leaving me wanting more!

The humor in this book is light but when it pops up it is very welcome. In book 7 Clark wins the Batman voice contest and I couldn’t help but laugh. It was a much-needed moment of levity after so much action.

When did Batman plant bombs inside the moon?
He was only doing what scientists have been working hard on. We have the technology, we might as well use it! We just need to keep Bobo away from the button. :rofl:

Lex Luthor takes a weird turn, at least, one that I am not used to seeing. His extreme thought process and the future he wants are kind of absurd. I even tried to rationalize it and I couldn’t. While the idea of forming the Legion of Doom is on track, the end game is surely among the craziest things he has attempted.

I don’t really hear celebrity voices for most characters. I do hear Courtenay Taylor’s voice for Wonder Woman. She was the voice actress for Wondy on Justice League Heroes for the PS2. I guess after the multiple hours of gameplay a decade and a half ago her voice has stuck with me. It didn’t hurt that a new Wonder Woman series was released around this time and the two just kind of clicked for me. Everyone else for the most part is just voices I have had since I was reading comics as a kiddo.

Jorge Jimenez’s art style is amazing. He also comes off as a down-to-earth guy who worked hard and has his dream job.

In a way, I think people’s nature is fundamentally chaotic but that is because each person is flawed in some way. I do disagree that people are doom-driven. The idea of being flawed is appealing as it gives people something to latch on to and to strive to better themselves.

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I think you make a good point about people’s natures here. I was thrown off a little when I first read this about people embracing or choosing “doom”, but when I read it this time I caught the line about how the word “doom” originally meant “fate”. The conflict being about giving in to your worst self versus striving to be better made a lot more sense to me when I looked at it in that light.

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HUGE Mahnke fan so pretty much anytime I get to see his art I’m going to be thrilled. I’ve bought books with characters I don’t care about at all just because he did the art. He’s a (relative) local to me so I get to see him at a lot of the nearby conventions, you know, when we were able to have them anyway. I’ve been following him since his work on Major Bummer for DC and he’s an absolute great guy! And as far as Tynion is concerned, he’s written one of my favorite Detective runs ever, and I very much enjoyed his work here.

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Just re-read 4 and 5. It is a little hard to keep track of all the forces and sources, but I have a better understanding after reading them again. I can identify about half of the Green Lanterns in that shot. I believe Lex is correct that we all have a darker nature, but I disagree that we should just give it free reign.

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My off topic reply from the book club:

This was a great video on Jorge! I wish DC would bring back/make a new weekly (or even bi-weekly) news round-up similar to another comic company :wink: Including more videos like this as a ‘special episode’ here and there would be fantastic.

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Just finished reading Issues #4-5, time to answer some more questions. :smiley:

I usually try relate them or try to tie them to the characters they are most associated with while I am reading, for example: Turtle and Still Force with the Flash/Umbrax and Ultraviolent/Invisible Spectrum with the Green Lantern. It makes it a little easier for myself to remember who is who/what goes where, etc.

I definitely recognize Guy Gardner and Kilowag (My personal favorite Green Lantern.) Those are the only two I can for sure pick out/name. This was a fantastic shot in the book, and I am a big fan of anything related to the Lanterns.

I think the change in tone complements this arc well, it made for a nice pause and also gave us additional information on the antagonists in this story. It felt seperate, but also at the same time, tied in with what we were currently reading/made aware of.

To an extent, most of the basis of their philosophies are agreeable. However, All of these characters take their philosophies and add a darker/villainous twist to them, which I would not agree with personally. As far as I know, I am not a Super-Villain. :wink:

Thanks @Applejack and Co. for the great questions! I am excited to see what the remaining questions are for the final issues of this volume. :smiley:

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  • The Source Wall, The Totality, Umbrax, The Keep of Mars, the Still Force, the First Force, Turtle, the Ultraviolent/Invisible Spectrum- how do you keep them straight? What is your understanding of their interplay?

Keeping them straight is the easy part thanks to the in book descriptions of each. As for how they fit together at the time of these to books you only saw how two of the powers fit together in Luthors vision.

  • Can you name all the Green Lanterns in this beautiful shot?

Not all, just the two they focus on Killowag and Gardner. Most are just a humanoid blur.

  • How did having a different writer (James Tynion IV) and artist (Doug Mahnke) on the Legion of Doom issue impact the overall reading of the story so far? Did the change in tone complement the experience?

It did change the tone alot. Snyder from the POV of Justice and Tynion from POV of Doom. It was something I didn’t even notice when I first read the books but now it is an interesting idea.

  • As noted in issue #5: "If he could, [Lex Luthor] would ask you the question he asked the rest. ‘A legion that did not stand for people as they should be, but as they were , and would always be.’ ." Do you agree that people’s nature is fundamentally chaotic and doom-driven, as Luthor suggests?

It’s a question that has been asked by many philosophers over the course of human history and my answer is I don’t think we start out that way. From my perspective there are both good and bad people. Some would give you the shirt off their backs if you needed it, others who wouldn’t spit on you if you were on fire, and I’ve seen the children of both types hurt someone and then immediately apologize and try to make up for it.

  • In the back pages of issue #5, we see Scott Snyder outline each villain’s core beliefs. A throughline of these beliefs is that everyone should be “true” to themselves. Do you agree with any of these villains’ philosophies? Why or why not

Honestly you can agree with each of these core beliefs (you know until you see the twist of each villian). Me personally I don’t really have an answer, I can see the benefits and I might agree time to time with a few but I like justices idea to be better more.

I did not think we would be asked questions so deep this time around. Good job and keep them coming. :slight_smile:

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Once again, it’s time to ANSWER… THE QUESTIONS.

Each of these concepts introduced in this series, with more to come, are intrinsically tied to one of the members of the Justice League. Within the “Totality,” Snyder is building out aspects of DC’s mythology which prove that this team, and this team only, is the one best equipped to deal with what’s coming. Every member is absolutely essential.

I absolutely can’t. Guy and Kilowog are easy to pick out… I think that’s Larvox in the lower left? After that, I think most of these guys are just generics. There are 7200 Green Lanterns, after all, we don’t know all of them.

Scott Snyder and James Tynion have been working together for a long time – going all the way back to “Death of the Family” and “Endgame,” where Tynion wrote Joker-themed backups to Snyder’s Batman stories. Having studied comic writing under Snyder’s wing, Tynion’s style has always complemented his teacher’s, embracing the dark side of Snyder’s fiery light. The contrast is well-implemented here.

Well, Freud definitely thought so. But Freud’s theories were predicated on a pretty chauvinistic society with a myopic view on world cultures, and he wasn’t really in touch with anyone outside of his particular group study. Most of his theories about fundamental human nature have been disproven, or are at least in question. I think it’s hard to make any monolithic statement about the nature of humanity. We’re all capable of so much, and we are each driven by different goals and values.

OK, if I’m being honest? I have no idea where Snyder is getting any of this from. This is definitely a case of the author redefining characters to better fit the roles he needs for his story… I’m not sure any of these characters’ motivations jive particularly well with their histories before this point, but they are all being used to drive the particular story he means to tell here. It’s not a complete 180 for any of them, so it’s tolerable, especially if you’re considering the work on its own merit. But I wouldn’t take any of these philosophies to be the core ideals of any of the villains involved.

Well… except maybe Cheetah. Cheetah is on point. And there’s some value to her philosophy, to be sure. Don’t put your faith in gods, look out for each other. Honestly, it’s something that Diana could afford to hear more.

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Also, I should point out it’s ultraviolet, not ultraviolent.

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At this point in time, If I recall right, they only mentioned two being inter related, but I was just assuming they were the fundamental forces that bind the DCU together.

Kilowatt, Guy Gardner, The rest would just be guesses.

Yes, it led to a clear separation of the heroes and villains, which made for a nice contrast in the two groups and stories.

Yes, I believe that people’s natural state is chaos, as their is no unifying force for them, however they seek stability and constants and connections in their lives, so, ultimately, I disagree with Lex.

I actually believe in all their core ideals, the problem is their implementation differs from mine.

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image

It sounds like following Luthor could be similar to following the teachings of Jesus, based on Snyder’s description. Jesus means for His children not to be the sinful people they are, but as redeemed. He wants His children to be truthful. And He wants us to use the gifts He’s bestowed on us. Maybe following Luthor will lead us to the promised land!

The problem with Luthor’s vision is the word “other.” We shouldn’t be something “other” than what we are. “Other” makes it sound like what we are now isn’t good at all. Jesus would see us as “more.” We have the potential to be MORE than what we are. Established! Completed! Perfected! “More” is much better than “other.”

And that’s the major flaw in Luthor’s reasoning. That what we are now is not at all good. That we have to be something “other” than what we are now. His argument can be persuasive. Until you break it apart and see what he means.

Luthor as a type of savior? shudder Heaven forbid!

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