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

I’m not really a digital reader, but this feature would entice me to jump on it. I’m also bogged down with finding different reading order lists and what not and this is a great idea.

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Yup, great points. Thankfully I read Metal a few weeks ago, so the Source Wall made sense. One reason I subscribed to this service is because I wanted to fill in the storyline gaps I missed out on.

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Agreed. I could use some back up storyline before jumping into a series of anything :grin: I bookmark certain things so I get notifications. Issue 5: A cold day has arrived In hell, he shivers! always part of a great play on words. If that’s understandable :joy:

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I’ve added this as a feature request, love the idea of it.

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Catching up with all y’all here – apologies for manifesto.

Oh, hard agree! Especially Hawkgirl.

I love when creators take something that has been around for a long time and apply a new meaning to it. I don’t think the Halls of Justice and Doom traditionally held any intentional symmetry prior to this call. The big symbol being the HoJ jumped out to me at the beginning of issue 1 (before I even read to realize it was on a hidden doorknob), so I was thrilled to see the “inverse” of it on Luthor’s doorknob.

What didn’t register with me until you posted the page alone was that J’onn is sensing “someone at the other end” (of the symbol?), while we see Lex straight up say out loud “Oh, J’onn. Here we go.” That’s skin crawly.

This begs the question; if the hidden doors were put in the HoJ by J’onn, or at least made visible to others by him, did he install the HoD door(s?) as well? And not remember it? Does it exist as the “other end” of the Justice doorknob? Or did he just make it visible to Luthor? Is it part of his role as “the first energy”?

Not only that, but the narrator derides the term; “There are places on the planet the brain trust of super-scientists call ‘veracity points.’” This, along with a few other weird tone moments (like the censored curses) make me wonder who our narrator truly is.

So, my understanding/speculation, based on just what we know up through issue 5… changing the order up a bit based on my logic…

  • The Source Wall - historically, the binding of the multiverse, providing a barrier to keep all worlds within. J’onn mentions a “New Genesis myth” that it is an incubator and a messenger will come through when we are ready. We have previously seen Relic come through, and Kyle pass through to the other side and discover a dying universe, but Luthor and Savage apparently know “what the source wall really was” and “what was inside it”, so who knows what sort of redefinition we are about to learn?
  • The Totality - some sort of projectile from the Source Wall – or beyond it – that is older than the multiverse. Unstoppable by cosmic beings, and the “key to everything” that Luthor believes will allow him to access the Source Wall in some form, once he has unlocked the “seven hidden forces of the universe” (not of the multiverse). Seems to be a vessel perhaps, housing promethean giants, similar to those on the Source Wall, who call themselves “her architects” and J’onn the “First Abomination”
  • The Keep - an incredibly old Martian, surviving on Thanagar past the destruction of the Martian race, chosen by her people to hold all the collective memory of Martian history. Tells J’onn of H’ronmeer’s Curse, which appears to not be Martian specific in nature, and is just manifested as fear of fire for them.
  • The First Force - this was mentioned by the Architects in reference to the Still Force coming to full power, I believe. I do not think it is a distinct one of the seven hidden forces.
  • The Still Force - one of the seven hidden forces that Luthor is looking to unlock. Sought by Grodd. When it reaches full power, creation is halted and the universe stops expanding, lowering the membrane keeping the phantom galaxy out.
    • Turtle - the wielder or vessel of the Slow Force. Baby is fourth generation of the original, presumably refining the “purity” of energy each time?
  • The Ultraviolet/Invisible Spectrum - I read this as the Ultraviolet is an energy/corps of the Invisible Spectrum, as the latter is described in contrast to the emotional spectrum, with seven shades. (This implies the existence of other unseen energies (Gamma, X-Ray, Infared, Radar, Radio (FM/TV/AM/shortwave)) to perhaps explore in the future.) Either way, the [spoiler]Ultraviolet light[spoiler] is another one of the seven hidden forces, sought by Sinestro. It follows the Still Force once the membrane is dropped, and enlists all humans (or all beings?) on Earth.
    • Umbrax - a sentient black sun powering the living phantom galaxy that is the heart of the Invisible Spectrum.

(I’m quitting the spoiler tags now - if you’ve read this far without being caught up, that’s on you.)

  • Interplay: There are seven hidden forces in the universe that will unlock some great truth/power to Luthor and the Legion, or so he believes. From his monologues, he wants to unlock everyone’s ability to be their true self, “no matter how ugly,” but also believes doing so will give him great power. His point about “doom” meaning “fate” implies that he sees “bringing doom” as a good thing for humanity. He still sees himself the hero, but sees “Justice” and heroes as the antithesis of this, striving for a false ideal that is unattainable. The “doorknob of doom” seems to increase in power with each hidden force unlocked (dome for the Still Force, foundation for the Ultraviolet Corps, likely expecting the vertical lines and “point” to light up as he progresses), implying that this weapon/tool will allow him to waltz in to the Totality or Source Wall and crown himself some sort of god over the “liberated” populace of the galaxy.

Interesting point: there are seven hidden forces, and Luthor pitches to the Legion that each of them is “…best suited for one of the seven forces described in these papers…”. But we only know six members of the Legion thus far. And while each hidden force seems to counter a specific member of the Justice League, there are eight members, plus Green Lantern, who is countered by the Ultraviolet Corps. We saw that the Totality shows glyphs that are meaningful to individual members of the JL, but only have two of them confirmed. Extrapolating from that, it seems to be communicating the “energy” or concept each is a champion of, which is under threat from one of the hidden forces.

  • Grodd - seeks the Still Force - counters Flash (speed?)
  • Sinestro - seeks the Ultraviolet Corps - counters GL (emotion/will?)
  • Cheetah - seeks the Graveyard of the Gods? - counters Wondie (truth)
  • Manta - seeks …(depth)? - counters Aquaman (rise)
  • Joker - seeks … (chaos)? - counters Batman (order?)
  • Luthor - seeks … (doom)? - counters Superman (justice?)
  • … no counter for Cyborg
  • … no counter for Hawkgirl
  • … no counter for J’onn

So, assuming there is a seventh villain at play, is he/she our unseen narrator? Does that leave our two “unmatched” heroes as the outliers to save the day, or will they just be sidelined? What objects could be the keys for the remaining forces?

  • If Luthor already has Starman’s gravity rod, could that be Manta’s?
  • Is J’onn actually an object, not a wielder? Does he, the last survivor of a species with no word for “justice”, represent the energy of doom or fate?
  • If there is no unseen seventh villain, is someone in the Justice League a sleeper? Is Luthor having Joker keep Hawkgirl alive so he can “awaken” her to be the counter to J’onn? (the force of death/rebirth in opposition to the force of survival?)

Haha, no, as many others have noted, most are dots facing away from us.

I didn’t notice the writer on the first time through, perhaps because Snyder and Tynion have such similar voices, and have played off each other’s ideas frequently for years, but I thought it flowed well. I noticed the art shift, and didn’t really see it as relevant to the story "break’ of the issue so much as a natural variance in artist. Neither is my favorite or least favorite.

Internally, yes, I think he’s accurate here. Everyone has selfish impulses. Society teaches us to consider others in the context of our external actions, and different people fulfill this expectation to different degrees. Luthor’s goal is ostensibly to free people of this social construct to be true to their inner nature, no matter how horrible that might be. (Yet he goes about this with the Ultraviolet Corps, which takes away the ability to choose to be your true self, showing his intentions are not as altruistic as they may sound.)

The idea of being true to ones’ self is a reasonable belief. But in these villainous interpretations there is the underlying theme that this true self is fully selfish and has no compassion for the impact that true self may have on others. This is the distinction between the face of their philosophies and the reality of what they’re preaching. It’s “do what ye wilt” without the “an it harm none” part.

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@scott.walton1.10217 @Rivalor, we agree, the DC Continuity is quite a lot to unpack! That’s actually why we started this book club. Even as a seasoned veteran, it took me a while to unpack the Source Wall, The Totality, all the different elements of this story.

We do have a few resources to get you started. In DCUI, we have a “Storylines” filter you can look at, which collects key stories in order of their events:

We also have the Essential Reading section of the Community, where you can find some Reading Order lists as well as “Where to Start as a New DC member?”

I also really like this topic @KookieSuperApe put together, which compiles all of our “Where To Start” articles in one place:

Hope this helps!

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hey everyone just found out about this book club and I’m excited about it I’ve read the first two issues and its very interesting I also love the choice in league members and I really like the art

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Welcome to the Community and the Club! Looking forward to hearing more from you about this run. :smile:

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So I’m gonna wait till I read more so I’m not posting In half completed thoughts but ultraviolet lanterns are cool
And I’m loving Martian manhunter
And I know people have said it before but Jim Lee’s covers are amazing and beautiful

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So after the first 3 issues I have some thoughts overall I’m really enjoying the story
Scott is an amazing writer and Jorge has some amazing artwork that I really love with some cool panels like the league sitting around the table and john arriving as the ultraviolet lantern and joker standing behind hawk girl or the legion of doom showing up at the end of issue one I also love Snyder Tone it’s serious there facing a serious threat but there is still comedic moments and light moments i really enjoyed Johns character and Martian manhunters they stood out to me and to really good ones and I’m very excited to continue the story and see where it goes next

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Welcome to the book club, and the community @BatManFan47! I also thought the art in these issues was really impressive to look at.

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I didn’t buy this story ark at the time of release, but I’m glad the book club has gone back to it, because it’s really good. I’ve decided to only read the issues as the book club reads them, rather than rushing through to the end, so that they can be savored, like a fine wine and/or meal. I envy you, since there are 5 issues you can binge.

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Yeah I’m gonna read up till 5 then stop I know James tynion writes issue 5 and I hope That switch isn’t to jarring because sometimes when a different writer takes over for a issue or two there tone can be very different then the original

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No spoilers, but I didn’t find it jarring.

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Wow that issue 4 was probably my favorite yetwhere to even being first off the art was absolutely incredible like always but story was so amazing all the stuff with John his lantern ring being destroyed and fully becoming a ultraviolet lantern sinestro forming the ultraviolet core grodd using the turtle powers with the still force lex and joker taking over Superman and manhunters body I know I probably didn’t go into much detail but I just really really love everything I’ve read so far

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

Honestly, I’m not sure if I do fully keep them straight. I think with Scott’s JL, if I can find one big criticism, it’s that he just throws out everything here and I’m not fully sure if they stick.

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

We have Guy and Kilowog, obviously, but the rest…honestly, they’re kind of too small and undetailed to really tell.

  • 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?

I didn’t notice so much a change of tone but more a change of perspective. The previous three issues were told in a third-person omniscient narrator detailing the story of these group of characters, and the same holds true in issue 4.

What I found interesting about it was that while the characters of Luthor, Sinestro, Grodd and such were far more combative to each other, they also have some narrative similarities. I forget if it’s in previous issues or later ones, so I’ll put it in spoiler tags just in case – Either in the past or in the future, we get some scenes about how each member of the League take their quarters in the Hall of Justice and make it their own. Meanwhile, in issue 4, we see the Legion do the same thing in their headquarters.

So I guess overall it shows that while their methods and endgoals are different, the League and the Legion have one thing in common: they are on a mission to prove a specific point about humanity, and they will do whatever it takes (in their minds) to achieve that goal.

  • 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?

People certainly can be, Lex Luthor most certainly is, but his problem is that he thinks that everyone should think and act just like him. He claims to be all about the human race, but the thing that makes humans who they are, for good and for ill, at times, is their individuality.

  • 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?

It’s funny looking at that page, because when you read them without context of who is saying these things, you can nod your head and think “Yeah, that sounds right.” Then you recognize who’s speaking and you naturally start to question just how truthful it is. Which isn’t to say that what they’re saying is inherently wrong because they’re saying it, but they come from a warped perspective. Truth, justice, happiness – those things mean different things to a group of mass murderers like the Legion of Doom.

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Oooh! What a philosophical-type question!

My view is that mankind’s nature is contrary to nature itself. We, as a species, tend to impose order upon chaos and bend it to our needs and desires. We do not allow things to take the natural course, generally, and our mark can be seen everywhere on this planet.

The trouble is, the order we try to impose cannot hold against entropy, which imposes itself if we loosen our grip just a little bit. And yet, in spite of all this, our species creates, molds, and struggles against chaos and entropy. For good or for ill, our nature is to impose ourselves upon whatever we encounter.

We are not chaotic, we are dissonant.

(gets off soapbox…)

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I felt the same way. I thought I had a pretty good idea of these characters. It felt like they gathered Legion of Doom members from years past, and then tried to connect the beliefs to them, instead of starting with the beliefs and finding the right characters.

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It certainly takes some rereading to straighten them out. Plus there’s some mystery to uncover, so they are intentionally muddy when first introduced. The part I found most confusing was the astral conference room in issue 1, where J’onn gives his big speech, and then everyone votes “for Justice,” unclear if that means “destroy it” or “let it land” before J’onn receives his Vandalvisions and makes them all forget. When I hit issue 2 I had to go back and re-read that a few times before it registered that “Justice” here means “kill it.” Which is kind of a big deal as we head in to an arc exploring the difference between justice and doom.

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So the LoD used the Ultraviolet Lantern and Still Force to give Earth to Umbrax, were Luthor would have the toality and Siniestro would have his own new corps. Grodd would revenge on Flash. what would joker, cheetah, and manta get? Another thing, the UV lantern and Still Force seem to counter the power of GL and Flash. Are these other cosmic energies supposed to counter the rest of the JL? So like a Red Star for Superman and a huge EMP thing for Cyborg?

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