Justice League of America #18 review

JLA 18

“Surgical Strike” begins in this week’s Justice League of America, and it’s the perfect title for this story!

The conclusion to “Panic In the Microverse” disappointed me, but if I’m being honest, I let my expectation of the story overrule my judgment of the issue itself. Do I feel the story had problems? Yes. Did it deserve a higher score than I gave it? Yes. But this is a new story, and I’ve had time to digest everything before stepping into this chapter.

So far, Orlando has approached Justice League of America by telling quick stories. Overall, I prefer stories that take their time – especially when it’s a team book so that the issues can include deep characterization, rather than devote most of uts pages to plot – this is simply a preference of mine. I feel that taking time with a story can allow stronger foundations to be built for each individual story. While we haven’t necessarily gotten this focus for each story, Orlando now has enough stories under his belt that a foundation has been established for the book itself. In addition to that, textures of characterization are starting to add up and show through. It’s taken a while to build this, but we’re starting to see some of the benefits and payoff.

“Panic in the Microverse” wrapped by revealing that Prometheus had received a wish by the Might Beyond the Mirror. He used the wish to restore his body following the events that occurred in Midnighter (which I highly recommend), and now that he’s back. Instead of seeking revenge against the man who crippled him though, he’s going after the most public symbol of justice: the JLA! And to do so, he’s going to use the League’s openness to the public to serve as their greatest downfall.

This issue kicks off with a documentarian, John Porter, covering the Justice League of America. He makes his way through the headquarters, and also interviews each League member. Noticeably absent, however, is Batman – who apparently is away on another mission. As Porter interviews each League member, it becomes clear that something isn’t right as Porter identifies opportunities within the team and explores them. Following the interview, an attack occurs on the base, and things take a turn for the worse.

It’s a solid issue that does better than any previous story in creating conflict right out of the gate. Orlando takes more of a psychological approach in attacking the JLA with Prometheus, and I find that more interesting than previous villains. The writing can be a little heavy-handed at times, so prepare yourself going into this issue. There’s also not much in the way of action, so that too may turn some readers off as well. Despite these potential set-backs, I found the debut of “Surgical Strike” quite satisfying, and it definitely made me excited for the next chapter.

The Art: To say that Justice League of America  has had a tumultuous history with artists would be an understatement. The fact that Reis’ has moved on to another project only amplified my concern for how future issues would look. For now, we have Hugo Petrus covering art, and he does a respectable job! This is definitely the best art to grace JLA other than Reis,  so I hope he remains a regular with Orlando. While Petrus’ technique and pencils are good, there is some room for improvement concerning layouts and his approach to storytelling.

Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.


Recommended if:

  • You want a little more attention to characterization in JLA.
  • You like the storytelling approach of classic Justice League and JLA stories.
  • Prometheus

Overall: I’ve come to realize that I need to accept Justice League of America for what it is. I’ve been hard on the book, and while I won’t walk my criticisms, I do realize that I’ve let my expectation rule a piece of my opinions. But now that I’m choosing to approach each issue with this outlook, I’m finding strengths in the story I wouldn’t have allowed myself to see before. “Surgical Strike” is a perfect title for this arc, and precisely describes Prometheus’ approach to confronting the JLA. There are moments of heavy-handed dialogue, as well as an unnecessary reveal, but overall the issue works. The highlight here though is a subtle commentary on terrorism, and it couldn’t come at a more perfect time. The idea is tastefully approached as Orlando presents a reality, and allows us to form our opinions from there rather than shocked a stance down our throats.

SCORE: 7.0/ 10

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