This is the best issue of Justice League of America to date! That’s all you really need to know!… Ok, fine, and there’s a sentient planet! Are you happy now?
I have to admit, so far, “Crisis in the Microverse” is succeeding my hopes, and is completely living up to the potential I thought JLA had prior to the book’s launch! We’re two issues in, and this chapter brings us to the halfway point! I praised the first issue for the one-eighty it pulled concerning quality, while the second issue suffered a bit from exposition. Granted, that exposition was definitely needed considering we’re in an entirely new universe. I wish we could have learned the details revealed in the second issue through more natural circumstances, but on a positive note, by laying everything out on the table, Orlando is now able to focus on telling a kickass story… Which is exactly what he does here!
For those of you who haven’t been tuning in, you’re missing out! Ryan has located Dr. Palmer’s signal, and asks the Batman and the JLA for their help bringing him back. Batman agrees to bring Lobo and Frost with him to assist Ryan, while Black Canary, Vixen, and Ray stay on Earth (proper) to maintain the JLA’s presence. There have been minor plots involving the team that remained on Earth proper to address some current relationships and tease future stories, but the heart of this story is with Ryan, Batman and team.
The team recently traveled to the Microverse, a mysterious, new universe, and are trying desperately to find Ray Palmer, who has been lost there since DC Universe: Rebirth. In all of this, they’ve faced immense odds and variables ranging from Ryan’s belt malfunctioning, unwelcoming locals, disastrous storms, and conflicting stories of people who claim to be allies of Palmer, and more. It’s left us with a high-energy, high-action story that’s full of suspense!
In this issue, the narrative builds upon itself as the story races towards a climax! Ryan attempts to confront Moz-Ga, a sentient planet, and the stakes are dire. The entire mission relies on this interaction, and success doesn’t necessarily look promising. Meanwhile, Batman, Lobo, Frost, and Aut try to survive the current storm, while also attempting to contain a riot. Their efforts become even more challenging when soldiers from the universe come to Moz-Ga to end the lives of its civilians as an act of mercy to spare them from the storm.
The pacing of this chapter is perfect! There’s a sense of urgency in the story that helps propel the narrative forward with great moment, and the action and plot twists deliver the suspense. Orlando’s script is perfect in nearly every way, and by the time I reach the last page, I desperately wish I could get my hands on the next chapter! There are a lot of great elements within “Crisis in the Microverse,” and I’m genuinely excited and curious (and concerned for these characters) to see how all of this will wrap up over the next three issues! If Orlando continues to build upon the story as he’s been doing, then we’re in for a real treat, because this arc is already amazing!
The Art: Good Lord, Reiss’ art is fantastic! His work is always outstanding, but this issue in particular looks better than the previous two! The issue starts off with a moody, somber, beautifully drawn scene between Vixen and Gregorio, before transitioning hellacious storm and riot occurring in the Microverse. Reis’ technique, along with his clean lines, are worth the highest of praise as it is, but he also manages to capture the identity of every planet, hero, and Micro-race incredibly well! Each panel and page has a specific tone or energy, paralleled with a mirroring or opposing emotion from the characters. It’s subtle, great work that is accented spectacularly by Marcelo Maiolo’s range of bright, rich colors. This is easily some of the best art I’ve seen this week, and quite frankly is worth the price of purchase on it’s own!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
The balance. Last week I commented on how the scenes with Canary and Ray felt as though they took away from the main arc. This is partially because I felt those scenes were out of place within the issue, but also because I felt they weren’t needed/ were a bit forced. This week, however, I feel as though Orlando executes this technique perfectly. The scene that occurs on Earth-proper is the very first scene of the issue, and it feels more like a relevant continuation of an arc, rather than an emotional aside. Vixen reaching out to Gregorio (whom you may recognize from Midnighter & Apollo) takes the entire Might Beyond the Mirror threat to a new level, and I’m hopeful this is just foreshadowing of something much bigger to come in the future!
Lobo. The one consistent aspect of JLA we’ve been able to rely on… is Lobo. The character with the biggest question mark looming over his head going into this series, has managed to deliver the best lines and scenes in every single issue! In this chapter, he beats rioters and soldiers with his severed arm, and says lines like, “Not that I can’t entertain myself with one hand…” I don’t care how out of character it is for him to be on the team, if we’re getting great moments like this, then it’s worth it!
Anger Management. Control has been a running theme with Killer Frost, but lately it’s taken an interesting turn. Before Justice League of America even started, she proved that she had a good heart. Her “control” was less over whether or not she would be “good,” and more over how can she feed of people/ heat without killing them. Over the past few issues though, she’s been suffering from a big of anger management. This lack of control has led her to kill two people now, and if she doesn’t get it together before the team finds out, it won’t end well.
The Right Ally. In the last issue, our heroes were faced with a decision of who to trust… Well, we find out who isn’t the trustworthy friend of Ray in this issue, and it creates one of the best, “Damn! I knew it!” moments I’ve experienced in comics recently.
Ryan’s Recap. Ryan has roughly an entire page of him recapping what’s occurred in the past two issues. It’s presented as if he’s psyching himself up and convince himself he can complete this mission, but all I kept thinking while reading the page was, “Is he really going to go through everything that’s happened or needs to happen?” I understand that some people might need the refresher – especially when this arc takes place in an entirely new universe – but I feel as though this could have been done better. Perhaps spreading this pep talk out would’ve resulted in it feeling less like a, “in case you’ve forgotten why we’re here…” recap.
- You want to see Lobo beat people with his severed arm.
- You’re curious to learn who is, or isn’t, trustworthy from the Microverse.
- Because it’s a damn good issue/ arc!
Overall: Look, I know Justice League of America has been rough. I know that assessment might be too kind… But I also know that this arc is incredibly entertaining! If you haven’t read this book, or you dropped it after a few issues, check out “Crisis in the Microverse.” Everything has improved! The story is great, the dialogue is great, and the characters are great! There’s suspense, wonder, and a sense of excitement due to the newness of the universe! Steve Orlando is doing some great work here, and it deserves your attention!