Starfire’s blood reaches its boiling point as the cacophony of plasma blasts, explosions and racing heartbeat drowns out her friends’ voices. Glowing with ethereal flames, her eyes attempt to alleviate the rapidly mounting pressure in a manner similar to a steaming teapot. Unfortunately, where there was once complete control, now there is only unbridled rage. Flames erupt from the heroine’s eyes and hands with volcanic fury. Consumed by her own fire, she barely recognizes the voice coming from her own mouth.
“Blackfire dies for this!”
Justice League Odyssey #6 largely served as Dan Abnett’s introduction to the series through acquainting the readers with his take on each of the characters and the series’ overall concept. The end result was largely enjoyable, with Abnett’s narration standing out, but in some aspects felt a little too redundant. Now that all of the introductions are out of the way, Dan Abnett is free to sail this Skull Ship toward better horizons. As a result, it is not a surprise that Justice League Odyssey #7 is markedly better than the previous issue, even if it provides few to no answers regarding the series’ ongoing mystery.
Although Abnett’s narration was a highlight of the previous issue due to his strong scripting, it is nonexistent in this issue. I think that this is mostly for the best here, even if the change in storytelling structure is a little jarring. Some of the narration in the previous issue felt unnecessary, as the storytelling could have benefitted more from the “show-don’t-tell” approach. The same mistake is not made in this issue as Will Conrad’s pencils with Rain Beredo’s colors are given adequate opportunities to convey action sequences as well as the personal moments between the characters. The art team’s work here is one of the true standouts for this issue as it provides the proper tone for each of these moments. Will Conrad expertly conveys the characters’ range of emotions, which allows you to invest in their story.
Although the action packed sequences with Blackfire and the Eskaton are wonderfully illustrated, it is the quieter moments with Azrael and Starfire aboard the Skull Ship that stand out to me. Complementing the artwork, Dan Abnett’s dialogue is great as Azrael comforts the Tamaranean Princess following her volatile eruption. He is able to empathize with her current struggle in a manner that the others cannot. Character moments like this are the reason for this issue’s inclusion in the overall story. The entire point of this narrative is to show the cumulative effects that the Multiversal Key has had on Starfire. Her quick temper has been shown in previous issues without pointing out that something is wrong. The fallout from losing her cool as well as Azrael’s pep talk go a long way in showing how these members are trying to bond as a team. It also provides characters like Azrael with moments to shine when they are often completely outclassed in battle. I’ve said it before, but Azrael’s struggles with The Order of St. Dumas are the perfect justification for his inclusion on the team. His insight in these matters will be vital in helping the team save The Ghost Sector.
“All we need to do is unite against the darkness.”
One of the things that concerns me with this title is that it feels like it is starting to fall back on a pattern established in the first few issues. Although the structure was been played with in subsequent issues, the first part of the narrative is spent resolving the cliffhanger from the previous issue. The members of the team are given their next set of coordinates, quickly hop aboard Brainiac’s Skull Ship, and resolve any character drama as they fly to their next destination. Upon reaching their next mission, the team encounters their next emergency which ends the issue in another cliffhanger.
Justice League Odyssey #7 follows his structure to the letter as the characters resolve their issues with Blackfire, discuss Starfire’s outburst, then meet up to confront Darkseid only to discover his defeat against the Eskaton. The storytelling structure here is effective in that the cliffhanger ultimately has me wanting to see its resolution in the next issue. However, it is not a storytelling structure that I think I would be enjoyable each month. Justice League Odyssey #6 toyed with this structure by providing increased focus on Darkseid and additional layers via some “Easter eggs.” This issue is a return to form without the extra layers or answers to the overarching mystery. Justice League Odyssey #7 is straightforward and enjoyable, but ultimately feels like it is missing something.
“I do not know myself. I am becoming something… something angry and reckless. As though my fire would consume me if I let it.”
I can’t think of a better quote from the issue to describe this series than the one above. With the constant changes in artistic teams, and the recent change in writers, Justice League Odyssey feels as though it doesn’t truly know itself. The changes in art are jarring, with certain issues standing out above others. Additionally, the change from a narration heavy storytelling to its complete absence is a little distracting. Hopefully as Abnett settles into the series, we will find more consistency. Although this does not fall solely on Abnett’s shoulders, the lack of answers regarding the series’ overarching mystery is also making matters worse. His character moments are entertaining, however, I felt like I left the issue without feeling as though the story truly progressed.
Ultimately, Justice League Odyssey #7 is markedly better than the previous issue despite the fact that it provides no new answers regarding the series’ ongoing mystery. Dan Abnett’s character moments make the issue entertaining through showing Azrael’s empathy to Starfire’s struggle. Additionally, Justice League Odyssey #7 allows Conrad and Beredo’s artwork to shine. Conrad expertly gives us insight into the characters’ emotions, without the need to be told what they are feeling.