Justice League Odyssey #5 – Joshua Williamson, Writer; Carmine Di Giandomenico, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 7.5/10
Corrina: Not Quite a Team
Ray: Like its sister books Justice League and Justice League Dark, Justice League Odyssey has been a highly ambitious book. Spinning out of the cosmic events of No Justice, the title has taken the adventure to deep space where Jessica Cruz, Starfire, Cyborg, and Azrael confront a conspiracy involving ancient religions and Darkseid’s secret plan. The last issue saw Cyborg arrive on a planet full of his worshippers while Azrael faced off against a singular cultist of his – the masked Rapture. There’s a lot going on here and Josh Williamson has barely scratched the surface – but unfortunately, he’s leaving after this issue and being replaced by Dan Abnett, so the future of this title is very much in flux. The final issue of Williamson’s run doesn’t slow down at all, as we open with a huge two-page spread showing the entire team in battle against a robotic army. Carmine Di Giandomenico is the third artist to handle this series, and it’s a dramatic change but he captures chaotic battle like few others.
One of the series’ issues is how much it switches settings. That provides a lot of great visuals, but not quite so much cohesive storytelling. As Cyborg battles his worshippers to keep them from harnessing his powers to transform a whole planet into his mirror image, Azrael discovers that his acolyte is a much darker crusader than him. But the biggest player this issue is Darkseid, who is cutting a deal with Blackfire and spends much of the issue immersed in a pool. Darkseid is in no way “part of the team” as initially hyped, so there may have been some rewrites. There’s a lot of big reveals this issue, including the reveal of Rapture’s identity and a shocking twist that calls back to Brainiac’s attack and what Colu’s actual plan in No Justice was. This issue feels like the end of act one, as the ragtag group of heroes discovers the true nature of the threat they’re facing and regroups. It’s all a mess, but it’s an entertaining mess – and would be more so if it wasn’t for the fact that this story will likely be completely retooled again next month.
Corrina: This is a book with a lot on its mind. The individual issues, like Justice League Odyssey #5, have been interesting, full of action, and with hints about the greater mystery.
But It’s still unclear why entities as different as Cyborg and Azrael would have worshippers in this ghost zone. Cyborg makes some sense, given he’s connected to a Mother Box, and thus, the universe, but Azrael is a creature of the supernatural and it’s not been fully explained exactly how that connects to this. So far, the supernatural/science has not been e a good fit.
Meanwhile, the team itself doesn’t truly work together. They each seem to be on their own separate adventure, with people around them, rather than having a common goal. The Titan bond between Starfire and Cyborg helps, as she is able to reach and understand Victor but why Vic should listen to Jean-Paul hasn’t been clearly shown. They just don’t know each other that well. (And neither does the reader know the team well.)
So, the story has incredible visuals, a villain in Darkseid that’s outsmarting them, and a good mystery behind it, but these pieces don’t work together yet. With Williamson leaving, I’m not sure they ever will.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.