Collectibles

Review: Celebrate the Justice League with This Gorgeous New Ultimate Guide

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Justice League Ultimate Guide

They set the standard for all superhero teams. You’ll see why in Justice League: The Ultimate Guide.

This handsome, lavishly illustrated hardback from DK follows the Justice League through five decades of thwarting villainous schemes for world domination, repelling alien invasions, taking down extra-dimensional monsters, and enduring mind-bending shifts in the DC Comics multiverse.

When the League beat back Starro the gigantic, mind-controlling starfish in its 1960 debut (The Brave and the Bold #28), only seven superheroes were on its roster. But what a roster! The Ultimate Guide’s author, Landry Q. Walker, calls them “a latter-day pantheon of demigods.” These charter member champions – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter – each get two-page spreads that detail their origin, powers, and pivotal moments.

The League’s lineup has changed many times but has always been in the thick of the action. And so The Ultimate Guide becomes a wide-ranging “who’s who” of the wider DC universe. Major and minor heroes and villains make appearances, including some only die-hard DC devotees, may recognize. Zenturion, the energy whip-wielding Martian? Grail, Darkseid’s repentant daughter? Prez, the forever young teen chief executive? They’re all here. While other teams show up, too, including the Teen Titans, the Outsiders, and the Suicide Squad – further proof that all roads lead to the Justice League.

In clear, crackling text, Walker wrangles Byzantine backstories and sprawling arcs into a seemingly coherent, unified narrative. It’s sleight of the author’s hand, of course. Writer Gardner Fox, artist Mike Sekowsky, and editor Julius Schwartz had no master plan in 1960. But Walker almost makes you believe they did!

The art makes The Ultimate Guide a true delight. You’ll linger over classic issue covers. You’ll examine two-page enlargements of key panels. And you’ll marvel at the wealth of artistic talent that has given so many extraordinary characters full-color life on the comic book page. Silver Age, Bronze Age, and modern styles mingle throughout. You’ll lose yourself in a world that is vivid and vibrant, even in its darker moments.

Whether you’ve followed the Justice League’s adventures for years or want a crash course before they hit the big screen next month, Justice League: The Ultimate Guide belongs on your bookshelf. It’s an entertaining and engrossing tribute to some of the most enduring and influential lore in superhero comics.

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