Review – Justice League Odyssey #12: Darkseid’s Checkmate

Justice League Odyssey #12 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Justice League Odyssey #12 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Will Conrad, Artist; Rain Beredo, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 8/10

Corrina: No More Victories

Ray: After taking a year and a variety of creative teams to get here, Justice League Odyssey delivers a strong climatic issue to its first major storyline in Justice League Odyssey #12 – but the events that happen within seem so destined to be reversed that it sort of blunts the impact.

The game of chess between Darkseid and this makeshift four-person League has come to a close, and Darkseid has the upper hand in the battle for Sepulkore. He anticipated Cyborg’s betrayal and has used his fail-safe to take control of the machine-man, using him to activate the relics around the Ghost Sector and seal it off from the rest of the Multiverse and Lex Luthor’s march of doom. The rest of the heroes try to fight back, but Darkseid is three steps ahead of them. Starfire, whose upgraded energy powers were a gift of Darkseid’s, turns out to be the power needed to spark the machine, and Azrael’s loyal minions are the blank canvas Darkseid needs to create a new race of “Paraangels”.

That leaves one person left – Jessica Cruz, who had been a stowaway trying to apprehend the off-the-book Leaguers at the start of the run and was the only one not a part of Darkseid’s plan. With her ring barely active, she winds up making a stand against the mad God in the second half of the issue, and it’s some of the best scenes of the series so far. I do wish we had seen a bit more of her struggles and anxiety over the course of this run – it seems like she’s easily overcome most of them, which makes her stand here seem less impressive given what we’ve seen before. But there’s a sense of hopelessness to her battle, that her ring will expire and so will her last chance, and it plays out brutally in the last few pages. But her fate and the fate of her teammates telegraphs so clearly that this will all be reversed, there’s little impact. It’s a good story that makes more of an impact than most of the series, though.

Justice League Odyssey #12 page
The beginning of the end. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Sometimes, when there’s a series that takes a ragtag group of characters who don’t belong together, it works. And even when it doesn’t fully work, the stories provides new insights into those characters.

Unfortunately, Justice League Odyssey hasn’t reached even that low bar. It seems, from a reader’s perspective, to only have existed to re-create Darkseid. There’s been little insight into the relationships between the characters. (I almost added I’d have loved to have seen ex-Titans Vic and Kory interact more but then I realized, Vic was never a Titan in this continuity and ::deep sigh::)  There hasn’t even particularly been an insight into each one of them individually. Vic, so far, is still (again!) struggling with his non-human side, Jean-Paul has been somewhat lost in his role as savior, Starfire is still estranged from her people, and Jessica has been little used, save for her last stand this issue, which ends badly.

I do not consider Jessica’s presence in this series as anything close to the spotlight she had in Green Lanterns. And we lost Simon Baz with that series as well.

So, the bottom line is that Darkseid is back, with a new army, and our heroes are temporarily under his control. Likely, as Ray said, it’ll be reversed quickly enough–well, Darkseid will remain but the heroes will be back to heroes–but that only makes the whole series seem rather pointless.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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