Review: Justice League Odyssey #1

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Joshua Williamson

Artist: Stjepan Sejic

Letters: Deron Bennett

 

Summary

When hundreds of worlds are released from Colu, a Green Lantern that was trapped within tries to warn the Guardians of an impending force now reawakened… and fails.  Meanwhile, the Guardians have set up a perimeter to patrol the Ghost Sector led by the one and only Jessica Cruz!  Patrol is exciting but kind of lonely until Cyborg, Starfire, and Azrael come in search of the voice that compels them to explore these new worlds.  Jessica’s not just going to let them wander the ghost sector, however, so we may be in for some trouble!

 

Positives

The art.  Stjepan Sejic is so talented it is unbelievable.  The energy bolts and orange hues from the Ghost Sector, the green hues of the Lanterns on patrol, the character designs, facial expressions, and almost every artistic choice in this book makes the story come to life in a way few artists can do.  While looking at these pages, it is as if I see Starfire, Cyborg, and Jessica in front of me on these worlds that appear so real.  The paneling is a more simplistic take that really lets the story and characters shine, and it seems perfect for this book.  I do not think I could be a bigger fan of this art.

Some of the characters are written very well.  The nervousness, excitement, and anxiety surrounding Jessica Cruz’s character is so nice to see because of how well it parallels her character from when she was first introduced.  Now, however, she is not longer afraid to go outside and accept the responsibility of Green Lantern.  Now she is nervous and excited to take charge of this new opportunity.  Starfire is currently her best self, both being confident, unlike what we saw in Titans, yet still extremely compassionate and empathetic towards her teammates.  It is really nice to see these two characters written so well.

Negatives

The rest of the characters are not written very well.  Cyborg needs a more defined personality before he can helm and series like this.  Right now, he was mainly used for exposition and raw power, but his lines had such little feeling behind them.  I think this is a larger issue having to deal with Cyborg’s character, but its hard to drive forward and issue when there is little feeling behind one of the core characters.  Azrael is also written in a very stale manner with little feeling behind his words.  The only thing that compels Azrael to be on this journey is a mysterious new voice, he stowed away on Braniac’s ship to get to space, and its not really clear how much use he will be on this mission.

Finally, the story seems to be moving in a very unclear and undesirable direction.  While it does not say for certain whether or not this team is going to trust Darkseid, it does not seem possible to me that any hero would align themselves with one of the top three most dangerous being in the multiverse under any circumstances, and Darkseid’s speech at the end should certainly not be enough.  In addition, it makes absolutely zero sense why Starfire, Cyborg, and Azrael should be considered “Gods” anywhere.  Azrael has almost no foundation in the cosmos, and nothing has happened in the other two’s histories to suggest this.

Verdict

I know some mystery, intrigue, and questioning is a good thing in comics, but it does not feel like much of a team origin here.  While Sejic’s art steals the show, the fact that Williamson is simply throwing these characters into a high stakes situation without warning or explanation and hoping reader go along for a ride, and that is not good storytelling.

 

 

 

 

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Ari Bard

I am currently a Sophomore at Case Western Reserve University studying mechanical engineering. I have been in love with DC since I saw the animated series and movies in the early 2000s. I started reading comics regularly at the start of Rebirth. My favorite character is Martian Manhunter.