After only a month, it's great to be back to the main story. The Villains Month titles were a mixed bag and strangely has made the wait for this issue feel longer.
The first issue was a bit of a shocker. Jumping forward slightly since the end of Trinity War, we witnessed the Crime Syndicate proclaim the end of the Justice League. Actually, not just the end, they're saying the League is dead.
With most of the heroes out of the picture, it falls to Lex Luthor to prepare to stand up against them. There are some other villains that refused to accept the invitation to the Secret Society and we'll be seeing more of that in the pages of other comics. There's no denying what a magnificent villain Lex is. The fact that it may fall upon him to help save the day really says something about the state of the DCU.
Aside from Lex, Geoff Johns gives us some glimpses at other areas where the villains are running amok. We also get to see the Syndicate making plans for their next move. The little interactions between the members is what you'll want to pay close attention to. We're familiar with the Syndicate from the pre-New 52 comics but there still is that air of mystery as we see how they may have evolved in the current story. We still have some mysteries brewing (like who is that hooded figure they brought with them) as well as another bombshell we discover when two members are talking to each other.
David Finch's art is spot on here. There is a lot going on as we see different locations. The scenes smoothly shift and there is a nice balance in depicting the action scenes along with the static conversation ones. Finch is a great choice for this series. He makes the villains look creepy enough without it feeling over the top. Whether it's Johnny Quick's evil smile or Lex's secret weapon, we get some pretty impressive scenes. And of course that last page is just what we wanted to see.
We still don't know what happened in between the first issue and JUSTICE LEAGUE #23. It's a matter of being patient so we'll have to wait. We know the League is supposed to be dead and the Teen Titans are here. What about the other heroes? We're getting a good glimpse at the entire New 52 world but we're just not sure what happened to the heroes.
The big fight here involves the Teen Titans. It was great to see why they chose to try to engage the Syndicate but the fight didn't quite go as I thought. I wasn't really sure what happened when Atomica jumped inside Cassie. You would think she'd make a big and gross mess. The way the fight ended felt too easy.
After the shocks of the first issue, we get to catch our breath a little to see what happens next in the DCU. The Crime Syndicate is ready to demolish the New 52. If Lex Luthor is the only hope, that should tell you how dire things are. Is there any hope left? You'll have to read and find out. Geoff Johns and David Finch do a great job creating the tone this issue requires. We get a nice mix of action while also getting some insight into who the Syndicate members are in their New 52 incarnations. We get a battle against the Teen Titans. While it's great the team didn't get completely decimated, it did feel like Johns was holding back a little.
By the time this issue ends, you should have all the reason you need to make sure you do not miss the next issue.