[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Philippe Briones
Colors: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Deron Bennett
The team must act fast to save Starfire from some sort of alien infection! After escaping from a metamorphosing planet, they look for help and parts to replace their damaged ship on an old and mostly deserted planet. Meanwhile Darkseid continues scheming behind the scenes and a new figure hunting the team emerges. Crazy right?! Catch all this and more in Justice League Odyssey #3.
When looked at in isolation, there are some very interesting concepts in this issue. The introduction of a mysterious alien infection is not something that we’ve seen in awhile and had the potential to be interesting. A metamorphosing planet seems awesome and had the potential for so many possibilities within the ghost sector. This unlikely team with very different and unique personalities and power sets could be really cool.
I can also appreciate some of the homages to Wolfman and Perez’s Teen Titans run with some of the art direction, especially Cyborg and Starfire’s character designs.
Unfortunately, this issue cause Justice League Odyssey to go from bad to worse. This book honestly does not seem to have a purpose. There is no message here and Williamson is writing one of the most surface-level story lines I have seen. No one has learned anything about themselves or about the universe, and Starfire met a race of aliens who worshipped her, yet she barely learned anything from them about Tamaran. They exist as individuals reluctantly paired together by an external cause, but unlike the Terrifics, a team that best exemplifies how this model can work, all the individuals on this team are bland or insufferable. Jessica Cruz has been one of my favorite new characters in recent memory. She was flawed and human and still managed to remain super. Here she is just a jerk who wants to go home.
My positives were all things that could have been great if focused on in isolation, but act as negatives in the context of the story. Starfire’s virus briefly raised the stakes for half the issue until it was cured by a disguised Darkseid for reasons we don’t know. The virus served no purposed other than to take Starfire out of commission for an extremely short period of time. The planetary metamorphosis is briefly mentioned but barely drawn, shown, or expanded upon. Why bring up something that interesting for no reason?
Williamson also introduces a new and fairly uninteresting villain. Rapture is an Azrael servant for reasons unknown and isn’t given any characterization. He announces a war that will come but doesn’t provide anything else. He just kills. Finally, Philippe Briones, while a good artist, is still a step down from Sejic, so even the art got worse this issue. Some might argue this is decompression and that the readers need to be patient for answers, but Bendis’s Superman and Action Comics runs are extremely decompressed and each issue is still full of lessons to think about, artful characterization, and little clues along the way. Justice League Odyssey #3 has none of that.
This is a book without purpose. The book lost its artist after two issues, and even Williamson himself is ditching the title after issue 6. I have faith Dan Abnett will be able to give purpose to this team as he has to Aquaman and the Titans. Until then, the my outlook on the title is quite pessimistic.