Justice League of America #25 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Miguel Mendonca, Minkyu Jung, Pencillers; Dexter Vines, Inker; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Steve Orlando’s final arc on Justice League of America before the title makes way for Scott Snyder’s run brings the story all the way back to the beginning. In Justice League of America #25, the Extremists come back into the story in a plot that feels very Kirbyesque, as well as having a stronger narrative than the initial arc did. In the aftermath of the battle with the Queen of Fables, the team is sorting out where they go next, as Ray brings Aztek into the picture as a potential new member. However, soon the team is focused on Batman’s return, and he’s not alone. He’s brought back Ray Palmer – along with the former villain Dreamslayer, the most complex member of the Extremists. Having taken refuge in the Nanoverse after the first arc, Dreamslayer has found allies in the scientists of the team. He’s revealed to be more of a victim of the catastrophe that created Angor, and one who’s desperately trying to save what’s left of his world.
Most of the League stays behind, while Batman and Black Canary enter the portal to the remnants of Angor to see if they can revive the world. However, they’re not there alone – a cosmic being named the Adjudicator is there to oversee the end of the world, and that’s where the Kirby vibes really come in strong. Orlando’s had a cosmic take on this book from the start, bringing in concepts from across DC history to tell a story that’s of a scale that only a team could stop. Prometheus was really the only exception. But here, for the first time, we see the characters go up against something of a scale they really can’t fully understand. I kind of wish the title didn’t go the route of simply having the heroes try to punch out a manifestation of God’s will, but okay. Dreamslayer’s turned out to be a really compelling character, an anti-hero desperate to save a doomed world. This title’s biggest strength has been the DC’s biggest strength as a whole – big ideas.
Corrina: There was a lot of dialogue in this issue about what it means to be a hero. Orlando seems to come down on the side of a hero is someone who makes the right choices and allows others room to correct their errors. That seems simple enough to say but not so easy in practice. But, then, this whole series has been about redemption: For Caitlin and her powers; in Ryan’s search for Ray Palmer; and even in Batman’s wish to make a better JLA, perhaps one without his flaws. (Batman seems well aware of evil versions of himself that nearly destroyed his world.)
Then we jump into Kirby-land after a quick introduction of Aztek. It’s an interesting adventure and it calls back to the theme of redemption and rebirth. I like the spotlight on Black Canary but I could do without her saying “you brought me on this team to….” to Batman all the time because, yeah, he knows that by now. This Canary is more intense and certainly less warm than other versions but, as I said, I’m glad to see her got a spotlight.
However, I also wanted to explore the fallout of Caitlin’s choices more. I wanted a scene between her and Vixen, for instance, and perhaps more with them spending time with the Ray. I’m guessing this last arc is truncated somewhat and Orlando wanted to get in as much as possible.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.