There are scenes in this week’s Justice League of America that have some of the most visually engaging artwork I’ve seen on this title to date. Using repeated panels to evoke a sense of deja vu and some nifty clockwork backgrounds, there’s a sense of… let’s call it poetry, as the Justice League of America fight an enemy who has control over time itself. As a result, the fight sequences are incredibly fun, highlights of a surprisingly fun comic.
I won’t dwell on this run of Justice League of America and its successes and shortcomings, as both have been covered by both Josh and myself many times over. As the first issue of the final run of this comic, “Out of Time Part 1” is a great entertainment. No surprise when the opening page has Ray Palmer fighting Chronos, the latter whom is armed with blades that look like clock hands.
Back in Justice League of America #22, the “god of superheroes” Ahl touched the ground beneath what would one day become Happy Harbor. Stemming from this point came all superheroes, up to and including the members of the Justice League of America. Chronos wants to prevent that contact, so as to prevent the rise of superheroes.
I mean, there are worse plans, I guess.
It’s all pretty straightforward, to be honest, and even a tad silly. Especially when Chronos shows up in new duds that are… definitely a step back.
Yes, the better costume in this equation is the one with hour and minute hands on the bridge of the nose and the long, flowy cape. Not surprising that I would think that, of course, but come on. Classics never die.
I do kind of dig the hourglass on the back and the cog emblem on the chest, though. Those are pretty rad.
Anyway, this issue moves along at a pretty fast clip, and it’s all the better for it. Instead of bogging down the narrative with pages of backstory and unnecessary flashbacks, Orlando pushes the story forward through several action scenes. There’s still plenty of dialogue within these scenes, of course, but the interplay between the words and the visuals helps keep the quick pace.
There’s lots of back and forth between Ryan Choi and Chronos, with Ryan becoming more confident and comfortable in his role as a hero. Orlando’s proven remarkably adept at humanizing several of the characters on this team, and I’ve enjoyed the “hero’s journey” that Ryan has been on. While I’ve always felt that Lobo was the best-written character in this book, Ryan has been a solid second. His arc has been compelling and, while some of the beats are repeated, it’s nonetheless helped Ryan grow as a character. His personal insecurities have been chipped away thanks to the support of Ray Palmer and his unlikely romance with Caitlin Snow, so seeing him stand up to Chronos is particularly rewarding.
Hugo Petrus’ work here is often inspired, particularly with the time-based effects, but it’s not perfect. His Batman is pretty inconsistent, with his cowl’s ears going from having a slope to being more pointed and back again more than once, and there were some continuity errors between panels as well. Nothing major, just things like characters switching orientation between the frames (one character will be on the right and the other on the left, then in the next panel they’ll be switched). It’s not enough to drag the issue down, but it would have been nice had there been another editorial pass.
In all, this is Ryan’s story and I enjoyed it just fine. There are some narrative and technical problems that keep it from being great, but it’s a strong start to the series’ final arc.
- You like Ryan Choi.
- And also weird time manipulation stuff. That stuff is rad.
Overall: Sometimes a book just needs to be entertaining, and that’s exactly what this issue of Justice League of America is. There’s not a whole lot of depth to it, just a few exciting scenes strung together to tell a story. Orlando hits on some good character beats, particularly with both men who bear the mantle of the Atom, and despite a few iffy panels there are lots of interesting visuals. A good time, and that’s good enough.