Review: Justice League Odyssey #20
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Cliff Richards
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letters: Andworld Design
Reviewed by: Seth Singleton
In my review of Justice League Odyssey #20, Darkseid threatens reality as we know it. Epoch, the Lord of Time, has a plan. However it might end in even greater disaster for the Multiverse. Jessica Cruz and the Justice League Odyssey B-team have one chance to avert catastrophe. They only have to steal Epoch’s time technology to do it. Oh, and risk unraveling the entire history of the DC Universe!
Positives — Jessica Cruz
The biggest positive in this issue is Cruz. I have loved watching her fight to become more than just an unwanted stowaway on this journey. Her willingness to push and keep hope alive for the people she loves has led to some of the best moments in the series. It even directly led to the new powers she possesses.
In this issue she is almost broken by the death of two of her teammates. But that desire to crack on is what allows her to see that there is more to this story than what is happening in the present. You have to see the whole board.
So why does this matter? Because soon Jessica has an opportunity to discover an option that is almost as risky as the one being offered by one of the many so-called masters of Time.
Positives — Time Travel
This chapter is like a great time travel story that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The kind where characters realize they can go into the past put the things where they need. Think Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
Then have them magically available at the moment that time speeds forward and becomes the present. The events can change the future and create a new time stream. Besides how often does that ever go wrong?
The problem in this example is that despite all the best efforts it doesn’t always work that way. In this case the message doesn’t get through in time. Instead of being something that can change the course of events instead becomes a focus or mantra for Vic. Or as I call him, Ping.
Like Starfire and Azrael, the Ping version of Cyborg is trapped in a bad situation. His only choice is to make a change for the greater good if not for the good of himself. Which is the opposite what Jessica’s hope had always been.
Which is actually what brings us to the mantra. Deny Darkseid. I want a shirt and a hat now, please. Cyborg agrees with Cruz that the time plan using Epoch’s Revision Mechanism is wrong. However that doesn’t mean that the raw power within the machine is not something that can be used.
Darkseid has seen the Revision Mechanism. It’s why he sent his gods after them. Darkseid wants to use it to rewrite all of history and turn it into a Universal Horror.
This means Cyborg, who Orion has warned is now corrupted by Darkseid and not trustworthy wants Jessica Cruz to destroy the machine.
Positives — Art
Artist Cliff Richards pencil work is matched only by Rain Beredo’s colors. Together they create the best panels for every scene. Quiet moments feel claustrophobic and time-sensitive. The violent space surrounding the ships floating amongst The Reef is haunting.
The fight scenes are realistically choreographed while still capturing beautiful details that keep the moments grounded. A perfect example is the panel at the bottom of page 9 when an attacking Azrael lunges downward with a strike.
Dust swirls upward from the lower right corner of the panel. Jessica is falling away from the strike. In the next panel Blackfire launches a mortal attack. Dust, cosmic rays, and ashes explode in a rainbow of colors and shadow.
Negatives are actually really hard to find in this story. The storytelling perspective keeps the reader close enough to Jessica and her mindset. Even when her decisions or actions feel emotional they are based on the emotional consequences that have created them. It feels authentic and justified instead of forced.
After so long it can be a question and a wonder if books that have been beautiful and brilliant will feel that way after the recent break. The answer is that the fire and fury of this series has only grown hotter during the time we have all been waiting.
If you have been waiting for great books like Justice League Odyssey to return. Breathe in every word and drink in every image. Your patient wait is over. Your faith has been rewarded. Great comics are returning.