Thus far, Steve Orlando’s run on Justice League of America has been a mixed bag. There’s a lot of potential in this series, but uneven writing and artwork have made it a good (not great) title at best. After all the promise that the last issue showed, does issue #6 signal a shift for the better?
Writer: Steve Orlando
Artist: Andy MacDonald
Publisher: DC Comics
No. I really wish it did, but this may be the worst issue of the series thus far. A lot of my qualms are with the artwork. Andy MacDonald is back on pencils, and his work in this issue features the same cons as last time, but few of the pros. Characters’ facial expressions are consistently wonky throughout, as is the anatomy. Aegeus’ army isn’t rendered as effectively as last issue; they’re more generic than cool. The same can be said for the soldiers’ chimera steeds. What should be fierce beasts just come across as being forgettable. This issue lacks a lot of the last issue’s good composition choices, and the images as a whole feel very static. The action scenes lack a strong sense of motion.
I would probably find the static art more forgivable if the writing was dynamic, but it isn’t. The only events of particular note are the League hiring Aegeus’ former weapons dealer (in keeping with the series’ theme of redemption) and some foreshadowing of events to come revolving around Killer Frost. I want to like her character and be interested in what’s going to happen next with her, but this series has been so inconsistent quality-wise that it’s hard to feel excited for its future possibilities.
Inconsistent handling seems to be a theme with the entire cast. I want to like the Ray and the Atom, and Orlando did a good job of introducing them in their one-shots, but I’m not satisfied with how they’ve been portrayed since. It’s also worth noting that this issue wrapped up an arc named after Lobo and I don’t feel like I’ve gained any further insight or appreciation for the character. The most memorable thing Lobo does in this issue is deliver a strange monologue about how the Atom is a dolphin. It feels like an attempt to build a bond between the characters and comment on the Atom’s passive, accepting nature, but the delivery just feels awkward.
I wish I had more positive things to say about this issue, but all of its pros feel like cons in disguise. Not every single panel is poorly drawn, and not every single line of dialogue is clumsy. Neither statement is much of an endorsement. I want to like this series, and I know that its creative team has talent, but they’re simply not showing what they’re capable of here.