Review: Justice League #5

“The Extinction Machines – Part 5:  Finale”


Writer – Bryan Hitch

Pencils – Tony S. Daniel

Inks – Sandu Florea

Colors – Tomeu Morey

Letters – Richard Starking & Comicraft

Cover – Tony S. Daniel & Tomeu Morey

Variant – Yanick Maquette & Nathan Fairbairn

Assists – Amedeo Turturro & Diego Lopez

Edits – Brian Cunningham



Warning – Spoilers ahead!

Bryan Hitch writes the finale to “The Extinction Machines” in Justice League #5. The team must come together to stop the destruction of the world at the hands of the Kindred and the extinction machines at Earth’s core.

The writing brings the story full circle and the pieces fit together nicely. The arch becomes the story of two songs: Aquaman is following the song of the magical zodiac crystals; the Kindred’s song leads to the destruction of worlds.

The “stolen powers” the Kindred are so keen to reclaim are taken back by the League through sheer will. The Flash starts the process by reclaiming the speed force. The Green Lanterns follow suit. Interestingly, it’s Jessica Cruz who takes the lead and establishes her willpower first. While this felt like anticlimactic for the story arch, it simultaneously felt like a huge moment for Jessica’s character. Perhaps she will claim the full powers of her ring and come into her own as a presence on the team?

Tony Daniels returns to pencil Justice League #5. The lines are clean and the issue is exquisitely drawn. The movement depicted in the issue stood out. Each panel renders our heroes in motion. The action is spectacular and well done. One particular panel depicts an earthquake and the characters reactions are captured in an incredible manner. It was incredibly striking and captured the imagination. Daniels is one of my favorites, and Justice League #5 showcases his talent along with the rest of the creative team.

Bryan Hitch dropped a potentially significant line at the close of this story. The Kindred say, “The song is at its end. The awakening is complete. Forever Crisis will come…” For the uninitiated, one must pay attention when DC uses the term “crisis.” It is a telltale sign that major change is eminent. So, what is the “Forever Crisis” and what implications will it have long term for Justice League and the DC Universe?

Images courtesy of DC Entertainment:

While the “Extinction Machines” story arch has come to an end, Justice League #5 left many questions unanswered. I highly doubt this will be the last readers see of the “Zodiac Stones” and the “songs” mentioned in this and other Hitch stories (see JLA: Justice League of America). The Kindred’s interaction with Wonder Woman was also left open-ended. The “Who are you?” question-and-answer thread that ran the length of the story was left unresolved. I wonder, too, what became of The Purge? Did they simply disappear after their role in the Kindred’s demise. Were they destroyed, or will they pop up again? The finale of this arch did not wrap up those loose ends.

Superman, of course, factored heavily in the outcome of the story and appears to be gaining the trust of the League, moving him closer to becoming an integral part of the team. However, his part felt rushed as he simply flies away… hastily leaving his teammates after battle. Lastly, it appeared to me one panel may have teased a budding romantic relationship between Flash and Jessica Cruz. I’ll watch subsequent issues with some interest on these and more.

“Extinction Machines” was an interesting story arch. Initially, I found myself disappointed it didn’t wrap the story lines in a nice, neat bow. On reflection, however, its grand scope and loose ends leads me to believe “Extinction Machines” sets up a larger narrative that will play out across the pages of future issues of Justice League. Each character had a role to play and readers saw development in characters – Jessica Cruz, in particular. This was an epic story that kicked off the next era of Justice League extremely well. I am a fan of this creative combination of Bryan Hitch and Tony Daniels, and can’t wait to see what ties are woven from this story to the next in upcoming issues.


John Hagmann

John Hagmann

John Hagmann is a Staff Writer at Dark Knight News, specializing in writing reviews of team-up titles. John collects Silver and Bronze Age 'Justice League' and 'Batman' titles, as well as anything Classic TV Batman. For more than fifteen years, John has devoted his life to service through the local church working in Youth, Family, and Culture. In addition to his work and writing, John has an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary and is a candidate for ordination in PC(USA). John resides in Houston with his wife and three kids.