As Batman and Superman, along with the Justice League storyline, begin to wrap up; Hell Arisen ties the two plots together with a series whose first issue showcases more standout writing than art.
James Tynion IV, author of Justice League Dark and soon to be, Batman, worked under Scott Snyder before getting his own series. During this time, we saw the rise of another strong author from DC, and it shows in everything he does. Tynion IV has written great storylines for Justice League Dark and its Witching Hour arc. We also saw a touching Annual with Swamp Thing from Tynion IV. In Hell Arisen, we instead see an author with a lot of talent, as hey adapt the final Apex Lex fight and join together Snyder and Williamson’s ideas.
In the beginning, Snyder had laid plans for this inevitability, and the mini-series revisits that moment, as Lex and He Who Laughs talk. This is followed by Rip Hunter getting held hostage, while Lex recruits the Crime Syndicate. By the end of the issue, we get a fight sequence between Supergirl and Lex, albeit a short moment, before we have to wait for the next issue.
As a merger between two ideas and continuing in his former mentors footsteps, Tynion does a solid job at conveying the difference in power levels between Lex and The Infected. We Also get the joke of Batman always winning and having a backup plan. In this series, we’re seeing the Dark Multiverse Batman already steps ahead of Lex the whole time, resulting in what’ll soon be the dark Multiverse joining the current world.
As a plotline, we are getting a story that will result in Lex Winning, while Snyder has Perpetua’s defeat by Martian Manhunter. This will allow Hell Arisen to focus on Apex Lex stopping Batman from destroying the world, and result in impacting the world, as Supergirl will still be infected by the end and rely on Wonder Woman’s help. This is seen in the upcoming Supergirl issues and storylines that we see get adapted.
While setting the stage for future events, this issue suffers in the art department. A large amount of the panels involve someone’s head in a close-up shot as they are speaking to someone. The only standout moment was when Perpetua addresses the Crime Syndicate. The throne and galaxy motif on her dress were both well composed. Seeing the sheer size of her as the Syndicate address her was the most impactful imagery in the whole issue.
Compared to the rest of the Apex Lex and He Who Laughs storylines, this issue has the start to something big, but the execution and payoff need to amp up quicker. The art holds back Tynion, along with the sequences depicted. As the next issues come out and more fighting begins, I expect this event to be more impactful than the Event Leviathan series.