Review: Justice League #13 — Joker Vs. Lex

The latest instalment of Justice League features another look at what’s going on with the Legion of Doom. These issues, written by James Tynion IV, lets us dive deeper into the inner machination of the “bad guys.” Because we don’t often see comic book series putting the villains in the spotlight, it’s a great change of pace.

Every since Lex Luthor put together the Legion of Doom, it was inevitable there would be some major drama. How could it be possible to have a team with Lex, Joker, Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, and other despicable evildoers getting along? It would be bruised egos and literal back stabbing all the time. Things finally come to blows when Joker decides he’s finished playing nice with Lex.

Justice League #13 cover by Guillem March.

Despite the joining of evil forces, the villains still spend time unleashing their own schemes. Joker is in the middle of prepping deadly attack when Lex decides to pay him a visit. The two exchange words, and it’s clear Joker isn’t too happy with the intrusion as Lex analyzes the faults in the plans. It’s a pissing contest as the two try to prove who can do evil schemes better.

The root of the tension between the two is Joker is aware of Lex’s secret. He knows Lex is planning on working with the Batman Who Laughs–the evil Batman from the Dark Multiverse. Joker knows just how evil this version of Batman is and gives Lex an ultimatum. What ensues is an amazing conflict between the wrongdoers.

Tynion excels at delving into the dark side of characters. We get to see both Joker and Lex in different context. All the times they’ve fought Batman and Superman, the stakes weren’t necessarily too high. If they were defeated by the hero, they’d simply get locked up or maybe hit a couple times by the Dark Knight. When you’re fighting against the Joker, you know he would not hesitate to kill.

Even though there’s been some high-octane moments in this Justice League series, I find myself more intrigued by the Legion of Doom “break” issues. After decades of reading comics, I don’t need huge, catastrophic, end-of-the-world events month after month. Character development and a look at motives makes a fascinating read. How many times have we been creeped out by Joker’s actions? Seeing what he’s capable of here against Lex and the Legion of Doom along with his reasons are more frightening.

This issue also reunites Tynion with Guillem March. The two previously did wonders on the Talon series. March’s art along with Arif Prianto’s colors are fabulous. We often see Joker with his hair slightly disheveled and parts of his face hidden in the shadows. This sets up the perfect vibe as he prepares to make his move against Lex. There’s a great mix of detail and grit that fits perfectly with a Joker story.

If you’re currently reading the Justice League series, there’s no question as to whether or not you need to pick this one up. The Legion of Doom may not have been fully present in the Drowned Earth story arc, but Lex is continuing to weave his plans to rule the Multiverse. James Tynion IV and Guillem March deliver a superb showdown between Batman and Superman’s greatest enemies. Is it possible for Joker to outsmart Lex Luthor’s genius mind? You have to read Justice League #13 to find out how it plays out. You’ll discover just how much you wanted to see this clash, and there will be big changes for the future of the Legion of Doom.

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