For a character as obscure as Vibe, it was a long shot that Cisco Ramon’s adventures would last very long in the New 52. Fortunately, writer Sterling Gates was able to keep readers interested for most of the year, and gave himself the chance to end the series on a high note.
** SPOILERS AHEAD, VIBE FANS! **
Justice League of America’s Vibe #10 brings the series to a close on a positive note. Cisco is able to free his brother, Armando, from the mental hold of the evil Mordeth, he saves Gypsy and gets her back to Earth Prime, and Agent Gunn is reinstated as Vibe’s handler going forward.
The drama of the Ramon brothers is one of the best running storylines of Vibe, and Gates does an exemplary job making the tension and emotions between them feel meaningful. The veil of evil is lifted from Armando’s mind and he makes a noble sacrifice to save his brother and stop the incredibly powerful Mordeth from breaching the multiversal walls and invading Earth. Frankly, the interactions between Cisco and Armando are the best parts of Justice League of America’s Vibe #10.
The series-long running theme of challenging authority is also present in this issue. From the opening pages with Vibe breaking into Amanda Waller’s A.R.G.U.S. office, to Armando’s rejection of Mordeth’s command, the challenge of authority has never been more palpable than in this issue of Vibe. The difference here in issue ten that sets it apart from the first nine is that this time around, it actually works. Vibe is able to leverage his knowledge of the multiverse to get back on A.R.G.U.S. and Waller’s good side, while Armando is able to clear his mind of Mordeth’s hold and actually make his own decisions for the first time in years.
Because Vibe was cancelled and did not come to a natural end, Gates was forced to write an ending that doesn’t feel as satisfactory as it could. The fact that Vibe is describing his final showdown with Armando-Rupture instead of it actually playing out shows that Gates did some fancy script work to get everything he wanted to say down on paper for fans to read.
Derlis Santacruz’s art isn’t anything to write home about. While it’s not necessarily bad, it doesn’t have the same dynamism of earlier series artists Pete Woods or Andres Guinaldo.
Justice League of America’s Vibe #10 is a fantastic end to a fun, exciting series that DC had faith in probably longer than it deserved. This isn’t to say that Vibe wasn’t worthy of being on the stands because of the writing or the art, but the sales just weren’t there and other series would’ve been cancelled after eight issues. Getting even ten issues of Vibe was more than most could have hoped for. Remember, before Geoff Johns reimagined the character for the New 52, all we knew of Vibe was that he was a short-lived member of the JLA in the 1980s and he loved to break dance. A lot changed for the vibrational-powered youngster in the 21st century, and it was all good.