Justice League of America #26 – Steve Orlando, Writer; Miguel Mendonca, Penciller; Dexter Vines, Wayne Faucher, Inkers; Chris Sotomayor, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Second Chances
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Steve Orlando’s penultimate arc on wraps up in Justice League of America #26, bringing the story of Angor to a satisfying conclusion. Where we last left off, Batman and Black Canary had journeyed back to the ruined world with Dreamslayer, only to be met with a cosmic Adjudicator there to preside over its end – as well as a revenge-obsessed Lord Havok there to claim his birthright. The first few pages are just a standard battle between Havok and the heroes, but once Havok and Dreamslayer go head to head, things get a lot better. The longtime allies turned enemies finally face off, with Dreamslayer breaking free from his former overlord’s control and getting through Havok’s army both figuratively and literally. However, the fate of the planet is still up for debate, and Batman proposes a terrible bargain to the Adjudicator – a life in sacrifice to create the world anew for another chance, and of course, he’s offering his own.
I could quibble with the fact that while Batman is always willing to face death, he’s rarely willing to choose it. I could also say that Havok’s face-turn and eventual sacrifice is a bit rushed, but then it’s sort of fitting for his inspiration of Doctor Doom – Doom is all about the ridiculous grand gestures. Angor restored and tribute paid to the fallen, the heroes return back to their own world for the fallout. Killer Frost doesn’t have all that much to do this issue, but her one scene reminds us of why she’s the strongest character in this run. The best segment of the issue, though, is clearly Atom and Lobo’s meeting before Lobo heads off to parts unknown, his debt to Batman repaid. Lobo’s been by far the biggest surprise in this run, turning from a one-note 90s antihero to a Wolverine-like figure, a lone wolf with an odd core of honor. The final arc brings in a classic Atom and JL villain for an arc that promises to deliver more twists. I’m hoping there’s room for an oddball JL book like this in the DC line in the future.
Corrina: It’s clear that Orlando has much invested in the story of Havok and Dreamslayer and their world, having spent time crafting them as the ultimate villains for his run on Justice League of America. In one way, they’ve worked quite well because Havoc is a mirror image of Bruce, wanting to do anything to preserve his world. But the means is the difference between a hero and a villain, and Havoc never understood that, while Dreamslayer does.
But Havoc does understand the grand gesture, so it makes sense his ego would have to be the one that insists he should be the sacrifice.
However, sometimes I think the plot of Havok and Dreamslayer and the world of Angor might have played out better in an independent comic. They overshadow Batman and Black Canary in this issue, as they did the last issue, and there was much time spent on them in the first arc as well. I still don’t believe Orlando has the same understanding of Dinah (or Vixen), as he does for Killer Frost, Ryan Atom, Ray, and Lobo, but at least it was good to see Dinah this issue.
It’ll be interesting once this is over if Orlando is able to use any of the developments for Ray, Ryan, or Caitlin in another book.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.