[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Abnett
Pencils: Daniel Sampere
Inks: Juan Albarran
Colors: Ivan Plascencia
Letters: Andworld Design
Blackfire is assembling an army to take out Darkseid, and whomever may be working with him, once and for all, even if it’s her own sister. Meanwhile Darkseid has one final chance to convince Jessica Cruz, Cyborg, Azrael, and Starfire that working with him is their only hope to save the Ghost Sector and the universe. Will they be forced to align with one of the most formidable threats the DC Universe has ever faced? Tune in to find out!
The difference a creative team can make to a book is astounding. Writer Dan Abnett has turned around a lot of struggling books over the years, and the way he can learn and understand characters and ideas he didn’t necessarily come up with. He often takes over concepts from other creators and turns them into something entirely his own, and it’s a sight to behold. In Justice League Odyssey, this team takes on the idea of a cosmic team adventure. Cosmic is, by itself, an interesting term in the comics mythos. We think of cosmic stories as those taking place in space, often on a grand scale. The stakes couldn’t be higher as entire populations, planets, or galaxies usually hang in the balance. The reality is that the idea of cosmic is different to anyone and has a nebulous quality for everyone, but we know it when we see it, and Justice League Odyssey #8 is undeniably the definition of cosmic.
Bringing a cosmic story to life, however, is an extremely difficult task. You aren’t just building a world but many worlds. It requires creating entire populations, species, planets, abilities, technologies and more. It requires creating elements so incredibly imaginative that it inspires wonder while keeping it grounded enough to be relatable. It’s one of the most difficult lines to balance, but Abnett, Sampere, Albarran, Plascencia, and Andworld Design do so almost perfectly. It all starts and ends with the art team. Sampere’s pencils provide a great foundation. There is so much determination and focus in each of his expressions and poses, so that even if you can’t fathom where they are or what they can do, you can understand their purpose and why they’re there. Abnett’s dialogue and sense of urgency lands because each character talks and acts with their entire body. Albarran’s inks are the logical next step because they add so much texture and depth. The holograms were remarkably well textured, and each panel and planet felt as though you could step or reach through the panel and be on that world, and at other times, it felt like Darkseid was going to reach out and grab us.
The universe of Justice League Odyssey also felt extremely weathered, which is usually difficult to pull off, especially in space. The dirt on Azrael’s armor was particularly effective and stood out in the closeup panels. The depth and texture were further accentuated by the lettering from Andworld design. They showed how effective lettering can be by adding an incredible amount of character to the story. The depth of the Onomatopoeia that was fired into the page was astonishing, and little jagged edges of the word balloons from digital transmission added a lot of character to what was being said. What was most powerful, however, was Azrael’s nebulous word balloons that truly epitomized the voice that binds. Lastly, we cannot forget Ivan Plascencia’s colors. He added that characteristic cosmic feel to the story. The pop and flare of the lasers, the crackles of the visions that swirled around our heroes, and the radiant glow that can never be captured on Earth all made the issue stand out as definitively cosmic.
Justice League Odyssey #8 masters the intangibles in ways that few other comics can. The use of light, sound, and texture are all impactful and shine through clear as day, and it’s a collaborative effort from the entire team. There may not be any noise in space, but the issue roars with style in a very refreshing way.
Darkseid’s has a very clear and focused style and purpose in this book, and it may not be what everyone is used to. He is desperate and largely out of tricks, not the powerful despot he’s largely known as in other books. That may throw some people off, but its a style that really fits the book and the other characters in it. Nonetheless, any use of Darkseid is bound to raise eyebrows, and a use this unique is worth mentioning.
Justice League Odyssey #8 is just that: an odyssey that is undeniably cosmic. With a marvelous art teams that brings a remarkable style and texture to Abnett’s vision, the feel of this book is that of a stunning adventure that stands out from the other team books in the DCU.