Justice League of America #3 is better than its previous issue, but don’t get too excited because it’s still far from great… or even good.
Considering Orlando’s previous work with DC, I’m surprised at how disappointed I am with Justice League of America. Forgetting the fact that the roster of the team stretches the imagination, the narrative itself has been a bit of a mess.
The first issue wasted no time in introducing and setting up the current threat (Havok and the Extremists). I originally assumed that Orlando chose that pace for the first issue so readers wouldn’t have to wait to dive into an engaging story since we were teased for months leading up to JLA (Justice League vs Suicide Squad and the JLA: Rebirth one-shots). But then the second issue rammed through the narrative at an equally break-neck pace… And then again with this issue, so I’ve learned that this is what I should expect.
Unfortunately, the approach and pacing Orlando has chosen, neglects any chance to become invested in the story. Everything just feels as if it’s going through the motions. In fact, I’ve come to realize that when I read Justice League of America, I don’t feel like I’m getting to experience the story. Instead, I feel as though Orlando is providing a play-by-play summary of a story. I’m getting all of the major points, but I’m not really getting the moments or details.
What makes matters worse, is that despite moving the plot forward, it almost feels as though nothing really happens in this issue. Each member of the League gets a page to show off some action, Havok continues his plan, the Extremists continue to have domestic troubles, and some the locals of Kravia aren’t happy with their new dictator. Clearly this is a very condensed description of the issue, but it packs roughly the same amount of emotional impact.
What happened to the motivational, inspiring tone that made each of the JLA: Rebirth one-shots a worthwhile read? What happened to the great team dynamic that made the first issue a blast? Currently, the only character I look forward to seeing, is Lobo. Every other character comes off as a generic person that could easily be filled with a laundry list of other heroes. And even though Lobo is what I look forward to the most, this issue only offers one or two quick moments to even try and redeem the issue.
Another negative about this issue, is that a random civilian is introduced to lead a rebellion against Havok. She has no backstory, hasn’t been featured previously, and she’s getting more feature time than any individual league member. On top of that, because there is no foundation for this character, it’s hard to get behind her and root for her. Nothing emotional exists. She’s apparently done enough for the JLA and Batman to seek her out and say, “We want to help you!” Come on DC! Show the struggle. Give us a reason to root and care for this character, and subsequently, get excited when she teams up with the JLA… Cause right now, you’re giving me nothing.
Beyond the structural issues, this chapter is simply boring. There’s no dynamic in the plot or characters, and the action is less than stellar. The fight sequences don’t even make that much sense, they’re just there for the the sake of having some action. Even the art is quite lackluster. What happened to Reis? Did he sign on, start reading the issues, then suddenly remember he had a prior commitment? I mean, I can’t say I’d blame him.
- You’re looking for more of the same lackluster JL stories.
- You want to see Lobo make good use of his cigar.
Overall: Justice League of America continues to misfire, and it doesn’t appear to have any hope of course correction in the near future. It’s not a terrible book, it’s just so for from meeting its potential that it makes reading it even more frustrating. Logistics and details are left to the imagination for most of the plot threads, and the art will leave you wanting more. I’m not certain why DC is having so much trouble delivering quality Justice League books, but they need to figure it out.