Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Bullet Review: Justice League Of America #5

I wasn't sure if I was going to collect Steve Orlando's Justice League of America when it was announced. I am sort of a Big 7 sort of a League reader. And when not the Big 7, I like the idea of a legacy league, sort of what James Robinson did with the Dick Grayson Batman, Supergirl, Jessie Quick, Donna Troy model.

But the roster was a bit too interesting for me as a reader to ignore. There were too many characters I like solo to not want to read them as a team. Black Canary? Killer Frost? Vixen? I mean seriously! Even the presence of Batman and Lobo couldn't deter me from trying the book out.

The first arc had the team fight The Extremists, a group of villains committed to creating an orderly society, even if the means to that end are evil. The latest issue has them mobilizing to fight a group of villains trying to bring about total chaos. That is an interesting hook.

There is also a ton of character arcs for these heroes. Can Vixen lead a team with Batman as a member? Can Killer Frost redeem herself from her villainous past? Can Lobo be reined in? Where does Canary fit in? It has been a very enjoyable read so far.

But the last issue had two small moments worth showcasing, important for this blog.

One thing that I have loved about Steve Orlando's books has been his knowledge of the DCU. There are plenty of historical names and characters woven into these stories. So hearing Thayer Jost mentioned in this issue was as appreciated the inclusion of Lar-On, the Kryptonian Day of Truth, and Dr. Ecks in Supergirl.

And he has leveraged current characters into the stories as well. We see a little bit of that expanded universe here. The League has an introductory press conference at the now not-so-secret Secret Sanctuary. The members are present and Vixen announces the team's goals. And the reporters present ask the tough questions.

One is the CatCo team of Ben Rubel and (in an uncredited cameo) Kara Danvers. Ben asks about the League's open door policies. So seeing these two at work in another book adds depth to their work in the main Supergirl book. It would be akin to Lois appearing in a Booster Gold issue.

And we also see Lana as a reporter for the Daily Star. She asks about the 'of America' moniker. We have already seen that the team considers itself a peace-keeping force for the whole world.

But this was a reminder that at the beginning of Superwoman, Lana was now a reporter for the Star. We didn't see much of that before the Lena Luthor story collapsed under its own weight and then was erased from continuity.

I am hoping that Lana will again be a reporter. This adds some credence to her job as well.

One more moment I felt I needed to share. In the book, Lobo is something of a wild card. First he sits the mission out, I think out of spite. He laughs at Batman's attempt to control him.

But then he jumps in whole hog, deciding to slaughter as many chaos thugs as he can.

Why do I love this moment? Well, Lobo says that things are about to get his kind of hectic. And immediately I began saying

"It's gettin'
It's gettin'
It's gettin' kinda hectic!

It's gettin'
It's gettin'
It's gettin' kinda hectic!"

From  I Got The Power . by Snap!

And that made me chuckle. I don't know if Lobo sings dance tunes from 1990. But it would be cool if he did.

Anyways, the book is a good read. The team is a weird and interesting mix. And I loved the Lana, Ben, and Kara cameos. This issue would be a good jump on point.

Overall grade: B/B+


Martin Gray said...

This was loads of fun, much more my cup of tea than the Extremists business. Mind, the hero who showed up at the end is one of my favourite underused Leaguers...

Anonymous said...

"I am sort of a Big 7 sort of a League reader. And when not the Big 7, I like the idea of a legacy league, sort of what James Robinson did with the Dick Grayson Batman, Supergirl, Jessie Quick, Donna Troy model."

That's my preference as well.

The current JLA sounds interesting, but I can not wrap my head around the idea of Lobo being a JLA member. Lobo. Seriously. Killer Frost, I can understand. Her fall in evil was a result of unfortunate circumstances and she is seeking redemption. But Lobo? An unrepentant and proud mass-murderer?

I don't get it.

I wonder what Kara thought when she saw Lobo (okay, different Lobo, but still...). Then again, I think she had gotten over him when she joined the League (calmly stating "I hate you" and punching him across a valley is a "bit" more sedated than "You've got this coming! I'm done with users and with you!")

It's a good thing that Kara is seen in other books. Supergirl must be fully integrated in the DCU if DC wants the character to thrive.

Orlando is really knowledgeable. I like how he includes all kind of nice Pre-Crisis DC Universe easter eggs. The History of DC must be acknoedlged and celebrated rather than erased and rebooted. I'll never understand why DC thought it was a good idea make fifty years of comics irrelevant to new readers...