Justice League of America #5 review


What the *beep* is this? Come on, DC! This is some bottom of the barrel $#!% that gets passed up on Free Comic Book Day!

Oi… Look, I honestly don’t know where to start… I hoped this issue would see a bump in quality because most of my dislike with Justice League of America to date has been because of story structure and the break-neck pacing that doesn’t allow for any detail or character development. I honestly didn’t expect much, but I thought there might be some improvement. I was wrong.

I’ve never found myself thinking, “God, that was awful!” concerning a title penned by Steve Orlando, until I started reading Justice League of America. Orlando usually appears to have detailed, well thought stories, and tends to execute them with strong character interpretations as well… You don’t find any of that here. I’m convinced that an imposter is actually writing this book. Every aspect of the script feels as though it were thrown together with barely any effort. Justice League of America has problems.

First and foremost, there is no reason for me to believe, root for, or even care about this team. When a reader has this outlook about a team book – much less one that contains the Justice League brand – things aren’t great. The roster of the team felt like a stretch when it was announced, and I assumed Orlando would explore their personal motivations over time. I’ve since come to the conclusion that we will never see or experience this.

Yeah, Mari and Caitlyn have received some attention and development, but both mostly occurred in their Rebirth one-shots and haven’t been explored further since then. In fact, there hasn’t been much exploration of any of the characters since those issues. Sadly, one character desperately needs this attention to help make this book somewhat believable. Lobo. There’s no way he would join the team for the sake of a favor. It just wouldn’t happen. I want to see him working an angle, and know that Batman is also working an angle, but not know what either of those angles actually are. It’s a simple concept that would add a ton of dynamic into the narrative… but nope. Nothing. It’s all pom-poms and “go team” around here.

This arc kicks off with some weird hippy, head bomb blowing up in a city. What’s going on? No clue, but I know we’ll find out, and I’m pretty certain I’ll wish I hadn’t. The very next scene features Vixen leading a televised press conference with the JLA standing behind her.


They’re essentially making themselves public to the world, and all I can think is, “Who thought this was a good idea? You have murderers on the team!” For a moment, I thought Orlando would redeem himself when various members of the media express concerns of Killer Frost and Lobo (though I’m not too certain how they know of him), but the idea of Orlando’s redemption doesn’t last long. The concerns are immediately brushed off with a generic, “They’re working to be better.” Uh… yeah, great, but they still murdered people and live in a nation where the law won’t forgive those actions just because they’re doing better now. They would be arrested on the spot.

It’s at this moment that I find myself thinking, “How is it that I get stuck with titles that completely neglect logic?” I mean, really! The struggle/ joy of being a writer, is problem solving. Working a script to find issues and opportunities, then create a resolve is the name of the game. Throwing cheap answers like this feels lazy. Do the work! Find a suitable explanation and/or solution! Fans deserve that much at the very least.

After this nonsense, we get to the actual plot of this story.


Yeah… I’m sooooo not interested. A city that approves someone to come in and build weapons just so they can have jobs? I mean, I get it, but no. It’s clear that Orlando is pushing to make a political statement, and he’s trying to draw comparisons to the Trump administration and his supporters. He did the same thing with the first arc. I wouldn’t mind if it were done well, but it isn’t.

The notion feels unmotivated, forced, and cliché. It almost comes across that he’s more concerned with how he can try and depict these scenarios instead of focusing on telling a good story. What I mean by this, is that the story itself takes a backseat to the desire to depict metaphors of political situations or happenstance. I believe that if you’re going to make political statements, ensure that at least one of two things happen. Either craft a story that forces readers to stop and think, or at least translate the story in a way that makes it relatable and engaging. Neither of these aspects occur here, nor did they occur in the previous arc.

When all is said and done, I just don’t care about this book, the characters, or the story. If I stopped reading now, I would feel no love loss. I wouldn’t even wonder if I were missing anything worthwhile because everything has been executed so poorly! I’ll admit that there are some moments that aren’t terrible in the issue – specifically one concerning Lobo – but these moments are few and far between. I do appreciate the attempts, but they won’t save this train wreck. I’ll honestly be shocked if JLA lasts for more than 15 issues.

Now, I know I can be harsh with books, so you might think I’m just being mean again. Well, this is how this issue ends, and it pretty much sums up everything I hate about this title.



Really? That’s the simple plan? For who? How did you come up with this? What will the light armor do? How did Ray learn how to do this?

*Sigh* I feel like my sanity is slipping ever so slowly.


The Art: Andy MacDonald covers art for this issue, and all I want to do is yell, “You give the MacDonald clan a bad name!” Yes, I know that sounds personal, but my last name is “McDonald,” so it’s relevant. And yes, I also know that our names are spelled differently, but they sound the same, so it’s still relevant. Finally, I’m aware that I’m not talking about the art in the “art section” of my review, but it’s because the art is so bad that it isn’t worth talking about.

On a serious note though, the art is bad. There’s no finesse, and the panels are inconsistent from one to the next. There also isn’t any subtlety or character/ expression to the faces of the characters. And most notably, MacDonald’s proportion of people is weird. They look like their either tweens or little person. It’s odd.


Recommended If:

  • If you like bad comics from the 80’s/ 90’s, this might be the book for you.


Overall: This is one of three books I cover that I would drop if I could. I dread reading this title every other week. I’ll literally spend an hour or more trying to find something else to do so I don’t have to read this book (along with Mother Panic and Birds of Prey). Wash dishes, fold laundry, clean up dog poop… They all feel like better options. Let that sink in for a moment.


SCORE: 3.5/10