Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE ODYSSEY #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Abnett
Art: Will Conrad
Colors: Ivan Plascencia & Pete Pantazis
Letters: Andworld Design
Reviewed By: Ari Bard
Darkeid is about to combine the collected relics and activate Sepulkore! He claims that returning to his former levels of power is the only way to save the Ghost Sector, but the Justice League Odyssey is too smart to just blindly trust one of the greatest threats to the multiverse. Luckily, they have a plan to undermine Darkseid, but can they pull it off?
If Justice League Odyssey teaches us one thing, it is to respect Dan Abnett. The man definitely knows how to come in to a story someone else created, make it his own, fix things up, and turn it into something special. When Abnett came on to Justice League Odyssey during issue six, the series was somewhat of a mess. The original creator only lasted five issues and the original artist only lasted two. The dialogue was clunky, the team and character motivations were confusing, and the story wasn’t very compelling. Now, however, those problems have largely disappeared. Abnett has turned Justice League Odyssey as an undeniably cosmic treasure on a grand scale, and Justice League Odyssey #11 only adds to the mythos.
One really impressive element to the issue is that Abnett really knows how to write some of the most evil characters in the DCU. Darkseid, Brainiac and Lex Luthor on one page?! You can almost feel the evil oozing out of the panels, and Abnett handles it all like a champ. These first two pages are may not be necessary to the story he’s been telling, but they are wholly entertaining. For the first time, we can feel Darkseid’s threateningly powerful aura and menacing but calm demeanor. At the same time, seeing Apex Lex and Brainiac talking in their layer is enough to send chills down your spine. Now add the fact that Darkseid is able to see and here what’s going on, and you may start to tremble with fear.
Abnett has done a great job balancing cosmic sci-fi and myth throughout his entire career. Guardians of the Galaxy, Aquaman, and Titans all prove that combine magic and cosmic elements is his forte. It’s only natural that he find new and unique stories for the unusual team of Starfire, Cyborg, Jessica Cruz, and Azrael. Now add Darkseid to the mix and you’ll have a story everyone will remember. Abnett’s Darkseid was a little shaky to begin with. He was very wordy and talked a lot for a character who has mostly shown how evil he is through action. He never needed to explain his plan or talk about his impending destruction. He just did it. This is the Darkseid we can see returning to form in Justice League Odyssey #11.
Will Conrad really knows how to draw cosmic elements and landscapes. Sepulkore looks like a brilliant mix of ancient ruins, the Death Star, and Apokolips. It’s great to see the future technology combined with a foundation seemingly made of stone. The detailed ruin work in the background and the crackle of red lightning as Sepulkore begins to activate only add further to the cosmic feeling. These details are further accented by Ivan Plascencia’s beautiful coloring which gives a weathered look to Sepulkore with faint red glows of impending doom that get brighter and brighter as the story reaches its climax. By the end of the issue, the pages are practically glowing with deep reds and purples that add to the cosmic feel of the issue. Andworld Design’s lettering only adds further with their beautiful and unique stylized word balloons for each character and wild, kinetic sound effect towards the end that seamlessly blend with the artwork and move in the direction of the visuals. It’s a great team effort to create a wholly cosmic experience.
In general, the issue’s strengths lie in its decisions. No one has really ever had to seriously consider allying themselves with Darkseid before. How could you possible align yourself with the most evil being in the universe? What if there was no other way? These are deep choices our heroes have to consider, and they’re deliver masterfully in this issue. Darkseid is more than a supervillain, you have to respect him and consider what he says in ways you would never consider doing to someone like the Joker or even regular Lex Luthor. It’s these considerations that are driving a wedge between these heroes and these considerations that will likely bring them back together. Abnett does a great job using incomprehension to convey power. After all, if we can’t comprehend that level of power, will the fact that they can enhance the experience? Instead the team uses the accompanying feelings of being overwhelmed, confused, shocked, worried, and intimidated to help us feel like we’re there with them.
This book doesn’t really have the right to be a part of “The Offer.” There is no real offer being made here, only the talk of what could’ve been. In reality, it doesn’t look like Justice League Odyssey is going to be a part of Year of the Villain, which is okay, but there was no real reason to shoehorn the first two pages in there.
Conrad’s art could use some improvement in drawing and designing characters. Of the four heroes, only Azrael’s design really stands out, while the others are a bit boring or off-putting. Cyborg’s especially is a very basic take, looking more like a costume than an actual part of his body. New God Cyborg should look like a New God. It should be inspired by the designs of other fourth world characters and feel a part of that universe. Instead, however, it looks like Cyborg with a face mask and a few extra weapons. It’s an extremely disappoint design that will hopefully feel more complete next issue.
Justice League Odyssey #11 continues to add new an exciting elements to the mythos of DC Cosmic while weaving a unique and unpredictable narrative.