Spoiler warning for Justice League #56!
The Justice League is at its lowest point, but its salvation came from the most unlikely hero in the DC Universe. DC’s Death Metal event has torn the traditional Justice League apart, leaving the actual superteam to a band of stragglers that are closer to an unprompted Teen Titans reunion to a real League. When all hope seemed lost in Justice League #56, one animal stepped up to keep the team going and complete their mission: Detective Chimp, an ape with alcoholism and self-esteem issues.
Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the main Justice League team have been scattered across the multiverse to stop The Batman Who Laughs and his takeover of reality. As a result, the current storyline is a tie-in titled Doom Metal featuring backup Justice League members in the wastelands of The Batman Who Laughs’ version of Earth. Starfire and Cyborg, half of the spacefaring team from the recently-ended Justice League Odyssey, have joined up with old Teen Titans partner Nightwing, mainline Leaguer Hawkgirl, and the side-switching Lex Luthor. Nightwing also dragged along Detective Chimp, the curmudgeonly hero from the magic-based Justice League Dark.
Detective Chimp is exactly what he sounds like: an ape who magically became intelligent and uses his smarts to solve crimes. On his better days, he’s fond of pointing out that Batman is only the world’s greatest human detective. On his rougher ones, he’s lost in depression and drinking, haunted by the guilt of his mistakes; he wields a sword given to him by a fallen friend whose death he feels responsible for. Nightwing convinced him to help this ramshackle Justice League destroy the tower that the villain derives their energy from, but Detective Chimp doesn’t like their chances, suggesting they should really call themselves a new Suicide Squad.
When the team does arrive at the tower, they’re in over their heads: the tower is guarded not just by an evil Batman who stole the powers of Martian Manhunter, but by the Omega Knight, a giant monster made using DC’s toughest cosmic beings. Nightwing is about to throw in the towel, but Chimp overcomes his panic and rescues him on the back of the team’s fancy new robot horse Comet. Detective Chimp figures out why Wonder Woman gave Nightwing the horse in the first place: it uses Amazon cloaking tech to conceal them from the Omega Knight, giving them a chance to regroup rather than be annihilated. As Hawkgirl takes on the evil Batman/Mindhunter, the rest of the team looks for a way to destroy the tower and free the supervillains imprisoned inside. One final time, Detective Chimp comes to the rescue. He climbs the tower and taunts the Omega Knight into firing its weapon at the tower, blasting it open and seemingly disintegrating Detective Chimp.
Detective Chimp, the ape formerly known as Bobo, is one of DC’s most troubled but enduring heroes. He doesn’t feel like much of a fighter or a hero, but in a crisis, he steps up, whether it’s Death Metal or the zombie apocalypse of DCeased. When the world ends, the DC Universe looks to the smartest hero walking on two hands.
Justice League #56 is written by Joshua Williamson with art by Robson Rocha, inks by Daniel Henriques, color by Romulo Fajardo Jr., and lettering by Tom Napolitano. The issue is in stores now.