** A SPOILER OR TWO LIE AHEAD. REGRETTABLY, NONE ARE STEPHANIE BROWN **
JLA’s Vibe might not be a title at the top of everyone’s pull list, but it’s one of the most consistently entertaining titles DC publishes each month. Though it was launched with Geoff Johns and Andrew Kreisberg penning the story, Sterling Gates has stepped in since and has made the title his own.
There are a lot of good things to say about Vibe #6. One of the best elements of this series is how Gates is able to juxtapose Vibe’s importance against his street-level adventures. Yes, Cisco was recruited by A.R.G.U.S. to be a member of the Justice League of America, but in this solo series, he’s not out fighting the Secret Society of Super Villains, he’s learning how to manage his superhero time against his real life. Cisco feels akin to Silver Age Spider-Man, when Peter Parker was still in high school trying his best to shoulder his great responsibility. Cisco and Peter’s stories differ greatly—obviously—but Gates is able to capture the same essence of a young man overwhelmed by what he’s become.
At the end of Vibe #5, Cisco was forcibly brought back to A.R.G.U.S. after helping teenage inmate, Gypsy, escape to find a way back to her home dimension. Though Cisco is the focus of this series, Gates has developed a vibrant supporting cast that fills in while Cisco is stuck in suspended animation at the order of Amanda Waller. Cisco’s brother Dante confronts Agent Dale Gunn—Vibe’s handler—who in turn agrees that Waller’s detention of Vibe is harsh and unnecessary.
Last month, I explained how one of the themes of Vibe is challenging authority. Thus far, this idea has only applied to the teenagers, the ones who are more likely to oppose the adults pulling the strings. In Vibe #6, however, Agent Gunn has his own conflicting ethics regarding Waller’s treatment of captive metahumans.
Gates’ theme of challenging authority is becoming more and more prominent. It’s also fantastic that Gunn has a long-term boyfriend; most agent-types are typecast as loners or family men. It’s refreshing to see a prominent side character under a different light.
Near the end of the issue, Vibe uses his powers to unlock dozens of holding cells at A.R.G.U.S. like the one he and Gypsy were held in. It’s a big deal. There are now a number of new super-powered characters running around the DCnU that have a vendetta against the organization that’s supposed to be helping superhumans.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about this issue. Seriously.
Vibe is a series I never imagined I would enjoy that I now never skip. Sterling Gates has found an amazing niche that very much feels like what Scott Lobdell attempts to achieve with Teen Titans and formerly Superboy. There are two extremely emotional moments in Vibe #6, and both feel sincere and earned.