Synopsis: Bats and the Gang take down Power Ring and the Doom Patrol with the help of Lex Luthor.
Justice League # 33 starts out wonderfully with a Bruce Timm inspired over drawn by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis. The art was so out of place that it actually took me a second scan to find it at my local comic shop.
This issue concludes the confrontation set in motion in JL #31, in which Power Ring chooses Jessica Cruz to be its avatar of fear, reigning destruction upon the city of Portland. The Doom Patrol face off against the Justice League as Lex Luthor attempts to aide their cause in an effort to gain favor.
A good portion of this issue is dedicated to Lex holding Chief Caulder at gunpoint while the two go back and fourth about their checkered history. While peppering in references to their decades old rivalry both manage to accuse the other of wanting the Power Ring for their own twisted gain.
Lex continually taunts Bats about knowing his secret identity, referring to him only as “Bruce” throughout their confrontation on the battlefield. Bats uses Luthor’s arrogance as a distraction while he defeats Power Ring using one of his most overlooked skills, psychology. In a scene reminiscent to the classic Justice League Unlimited episode, “Epilogue”, Batman walks into a cyclone of psychokinetic destruction only to talk down the villain by commiserating with their shared pain.
Justice League #33 ends with an explanation for why Lex was initially allowed into the League. Batman convinces his fellow League members (or Leaguey Weagueys) to allow Luthor’s membership by channeling Michael Corelone’s philosophy of “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”
Overall I’d rate this an 8.5 out of 10. Super fun juxtaposition of Luthor and Chief Caulder’s equally dubious motivation. This issue featured plenty of Batman being a boss and taking care of business in a way that his “Godlike” colleagues can’t.
I must also say that I really can’t get enough of Lex Luthor trying to fit in with the ‘Good Guys’ following Forever Evil. Watching the back and fourth between Batman and Luthor is probably the closest thing we’re ever going to get to seeing Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark trying to out-dick each other while saving the world.