Justice League Odyssey #3 – Joshua Williamson, Writer, Philippe Briones, Artist; Jeromy Cox, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Ray: We got word with the February solicitations that Josh Williamson is leaving Justice League Odyssey with the sixth issue, to be replaced by Dan Abnett. Although Williamson has not confirmed his permanent departure yet, it’s yet another piece of evidence that this title has been the odd one out in the Justice League resurgence. Stepan Sejic has already left the book and been replaced by Philippe Briones. Briones does a capable job, but Sejic’s style is inimitable and it shows. The bigger problem, though, is that this oddball team book of Cyborg, Starfire, Azrael, Jessica Cruz, and occasionally Darkseid doesn’t feel like it has the sense of urgency that the other titles do. It’s just an occasionally action-packed trip through space with a dysfunctional mini-squad. The last issue saw Starfire get infected by contact with a dying Priest, supercharging her powers. As Cyborg works to keep her from going nuclear, Jessica Cruz gets them off-planet with a construct.
That leads the team to a new planet on the Ghost Sector, where they attempt to recruit an alien doctor to help Starfire. There’s a lot of different elements in this issue, including a new villain named Rapture – dressed a lot like Azrael. This could be a way to have their cake and eat it too, keeping Tynion’s new heroic Azrael while also bringing back a character reminiscent of the insane fanatical Azrael from the early 1990s. I’m not sure the decision to turn Azrael into a cosmic character really makes sense, though. There’s also an ongoing battle between two different aliens, one a doctor and the other a local leader, and a dark reveal about what’s happened to the Coluans in the Ghost Sector after Brainiac’s defeat. A lot of these ideas are interesting, but so far the series hasn’t really combined them into a full narrative. The end of the issue sets up that we’ll be visiting Cyborg’s planet next, an impressive visual. Overall, this series hasn’t yet convinced me that it can turn this odd mix of characters into a cohesive team.
Corrina: I rather like the slow teasers and hints about the Ghost Sector, one of the most interesting recent DC concepts, as it adds a new element to their space-faring stories. There is so much potential in an entire sector that makes its own rules, lost to most of the universe.
So far, it’s been confusing, yes, but also intriguing because I have many stories questions that I want to be answered. Why does Darkseid believe he needs this team? We’ve seen Darkseid as intimidating and full of himself. Rarely have we seen him deceptive in service of some great plan. It makes him more interesting because, with a being like that, the reader rarely knows what he’ll do next.
I was skeptical of Jessica without Simon but, so far, Odyssey has shown new sides to her: her determination to do her duty, and even her evolution to leadership. Starfire and Cyborg, who used to be great friends, have rarely interacted in recent years and, yet here, Victor is so tender with his old friend. As for Azrael, I would have preferred him as a Gotham character, but if we accept there is a supernatural element to his powers, then it follows that supernatural element would span worlds and even universes. Demons do not seem to find space travel an issue.
All that is to say I’m unexpectedly fascinated by a concept with a team I originally believed was mis-matched. Except now, Williamson will be leaving in three issues, and that makes me sad.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.