*This review contains spoilers for Justice League Odyssey #6*
Threatening to raze all reality, cataclysmic energy billows throughout the multiverse as the Source Wall collapses. New Genesis and Apokolips are the first worlds to crumble under the tremendous shock waves, leaving Darkseid as the only New God in all of existence. The only heroes who can stop Darkseid and prevent reality’s extinction: Cyborg, Starfire, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, and Azrael. Unfortunately, this unlikely band of misfit heroes is on a collision course with Blackfire on Tamaran. Will they be able to garner the Queen’s help to stop Darkseid’s nefarious plot or will our heroes discover they merely pawns in the villain’s grand scheme?
“Reality is stricken, but it is not dead. Life can be salvaged.”
Dan Abnett starts off his first issue of Justice League Odyssey with a bang. Literally. With the destruction of the Source Wall, New Genesis, and Apokolips, and a promise for more wanton destruction on a cosmic level, Abnett cranks the series’ notch to eleven. Through establishing the stakes from the very beginning, he is able to instill a much-needed sense of urgency for the series.
Unfortunately, a lot of the momentum that had been built throughout the previous issue has been lost due to a few storytelling choices. To Abnett’s credit, Justice League Odyssey #6 feels like a fresh new start for the series that builds on the previous issues without undoing the other creator’s work. In particular, Justice League Odyssey #6 feels more focused than prior issues due to Abnett’s focus on establishing his direction for the series as well as the consequences for the team’s failure.
However, due to the fact that this issue serves as Abnett’s introduction, a decent number of panels and narration are dedicated to reintroducing characters as well as their motives. This is extremely useful for those individuals jumping onto the series. However, how many times do we need to be reminded that Azrael is a stowaway? I’m pretty sure that this has been brought up in every issue since the series’ inception. Moments like this can be expertly used to establish the team’s dynamic. Unfortunately, overuse can lead to this sense of redundancy. Using more recent, questionable, character actions can help to explain the sense of mistrust without feeling repetitious.
“A war-scorched ruin. Radiation crisping the wind. A burned-out shell of the world she loved.”
One of my favorite things that Dan Abnett does in the issue involves the use of the narration boxes. Through using the boxes to punctuate certain character moments, he allows the reader to understand what the character is feeling or experiencing when the art may not allow it. Additionally, this provides some exposition without the need for incorporating it into their dialogue. The result feels as though you are reading an amalgamation of a science fiction novel and a comic book. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea, due to the fact that some of the pages feel narration or dialogue heavy. Through the use of Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art, the creators are able to break up this exposition so that we don’t feel like we are reading a wall of text.
Moreover, I feel like there are some missed opportunities here. Dan Abnett wonderfully describes Starfire’s anguish at the destruction of Tamaran as Di Giandomenico’s art depicts the destruction. However, as a reader there is a part of me that believes this moment could have been elicited more emotion through using Di Giandomenico’s wonderful art to convey the range of emotions she experiences beyond her righteous fury and need for retribution. In this instance, “show-don’t-tell” may have been a better narrative choice.
These narration boxes are also used to provide new information regarding Darkseid’s new world, Sepulkore, and the Eskaton. Abnett’s inclusion of these two concepts show a level of detail that has me excited for his vision for this series. The word Sepulkore sounds a lot like the word sepulcher, which means, “a small room or monument carved from stone.” This elicits the thought that Darkseid’s new world will serve as a monument to the old universe, more specifically Apokolips, following the collapse of the Source Wall. Additionally, Darkseid describes Eskaton as, “The carrion-eaters of anti-life.” In Greek, this word means, “Dawn of a new day.” Will the Eskaton consume Darkseid and the dying fourth world in order to usher in a new universe? Hopefully, Abnett won’t string us along for too long before revealing some answers.
“I’m guessing it didn’t used to look like this?”
Carmine Di Giandomenico’s art does a great job conveying the story. From the battle with Darkseid, to conversations aboard the stolen skull-ship, Di Giandomenico’s art with Ivan Plascencia’s colors do a great job conveying the cosmic nature of the story. Some of my favorite panels throughout the issue involves Darkseid’s battle on Aeolon as well as the destruction from the Source Wall’s energy. I am looking forward to their depiction of the team’s battle with Blackfire in the next issue.
Ultimately, Justice League Odyssey #6 feels like a fresh new start for the series that builds on previous work. Unfortunately, a lot of the momentum that had been built throughout the previous issue has been lost due to a few storytelling choices. Abnett’s narration boxes are entertaining to read, but I think some moments would benefit more from the “show-don’t-tell” approach.