I’m just going to come right out and say it… Justice League of America is a waste of time.
I’ve struggled with JLA since its debut, and finally felt that we were going to receive a good story with “Panic in the Microverse.” I fully believed this story would meet the quality we’d expected from the beginning, and change the course of this title. In fact, I’d even say the first three issues of “Panic in the Microverse” successfully accomplished this task… And then we got the back half of the story, where we were forced to suffer through an exposition-filled recap of Ray Palmer’s life in the Microverse, before coming to this frustratingly bad conclusion.
Since the beginning, JLA has suffered from pacing, poor plots, and exposition. I’ve often described Orlando’s stories for this book as feeling more like a synopsis of the story rather than actually getting to experience the story. That same thing is what hinders this issue, and in turn, the entire story of “Panic in the Microverse.” With one issue left to wrap up the story, Orlando quickly knocks through all of the remaining plot points, offering up a sorry excuse for an actual conclusion. I’d hoped “Microverse” would at least serve as a turning point for Justice League of America, and I’m sad to say that we don’t even get that. We just get more crap. Crap plots, crap characterization, and a story that continues to chase its own tail. Even the one redeeming part of “Panic in the Microverse” – Ray Palmer – results in a major disappointment.
Yes, the story does wrap up (through exposition) while also remaining open to a degree that allows the Microverse to be explored further in the future, and there are some teases for future plots that do encourage some excitement. The problem is that Orlando has yet to give us a reason to believe he can deliver a successful story for Justice League of America. He has failed to deliver anything worthwhile or of quality while helming this ship, and I think it might be time to cut the losses before things get worse…
The Art: The only redeeming aspect of this book is Ivan Reis’ art! I mean that. He delivers exactly what you’d expect from him, and his work is incredible, but everything else about this issue is so frustratingly bad that it fails to save the book.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Someone Came Through. There’s promise for this reveal that someone punched their way through into the Microverse. Naturally, it made me think of Superboy because of he’s punched through a universe before, but it also made me wonder if it was referencing Dr. Manhattan considering the hand is blue… Or perhaps it’s just an additional nod to the character that is teased later in the issue.
Teases. Two characters are teased in this issue: Blue Jay (Jay Abrams) and Prometheus. Blue Jay has ties to the Extremists, which helps bring JLA full circle as a book. There’s also the tease of Prometheus, who has been restored by the Might Beyond the Mirror. He’s also recruiting Afterthought and is planning an attack on the JLA. I enjoyed Orlando’s use of Prometheus in Midnighter, and that alone has me excited for this role in the future.
Shrinking. Yet again, Ryan realizes that the way to save the day is to shrink… And yet again, the reasoning behind this isn’t even remotely explained, nor does it make sense. Even if this did make sense, it’s insulting that Ray Palmer – whose been researching this issue for months – wouldn’t have even thought of approaching the problem from this perspective, while Ryan comes with it in a matter of minutes. Nope, Ryan needed to be the hero because he’s the actual JLA member, and it comes at the expense of everyone around him.
Atom. The most exciting aspect of “Panic in the Microverse” was Ray Palmer’s return… So you can imagine how pissed I am that he’s not actually coming back! Nope! Ray’s choosing to stay in the Microverse. What a freaking waste… There’s also this weird moment where he grants Ryan the Atom suit and declares him the Atom… even though he’s practically already done that before.
Why Are You Even Here? I have a very simple question to ask. Why in the hell are Batman, Lobo, and Killer Frost even in the Microverse? They served absolutely no purpose in this story. They are literally just standing in the background for six issues. Seriously? All this does is help solidify my belief that “Panic in the Microverse” should have been covered in a The Atom book. I think Orlando is a great writer, but this only proves he hasn’t figured out how to write team books.
- Just don’t. JLA is nothing more than a waste of time and money.
Overall: Justice League of America #17 is a frustrating conclusion to “Panic in the Microverse.” Most of the story is wrapped up using exposition, coupled with poor dialogue. To make matters worse, when all is said and done, this story doesn’t matter. It serves no purpose in the grand scheme of things. What should have been one of Rebirth’s greatest moments, is easily one of it’s worse! If you jumped back on to the JLA book because I urged you to early in “Panic in the Microverse,” then I apologize. This story clearly wasn’t worth your time like I thought it would be.