Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Ivan Reis, Scott Hanna, Joe Prado, and Marcelo Maiolo
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: April 12, 2017

Issue #4 wraps up the current “The Extemists” storyline that started in issue #1. After a four issue struggle with Lord Havok and his captains they are finally able to resolve the situation. We also get a brief look at the events that happened on Havok’s world hinting a possible return in the future.

Orlando’s writing on the issue is just OK. Although the entire storyline itself is a great premise, it seems wasted or “stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” There are too many cliché phrases being used and everyone seems to be repeating the same dialogue that has been used in prior issues. All that they keep repeating back and forth is that one side is here to save the planet while the other side says Earth doesn’t need saving.

Thankfully though, the story moves quickly and each member of Havok’s team is given a satisfying take down. It’s almost too easy, though, and may make the reader wonder why the JLA didn’t do this sooner. It would be understandable if they had to learn how to work together to win in the end, but they don’t. They take down each captain separately and only come together to give Havok a major hit. In the end, even he is taken down by Vixen by herself. (Why doesn’t she just use the poison frog first against every opponent she comes up against?)

A team that is so diverse in character needs time and experience to learn to work together successfully. There is a failure to see this growth in the team both as individuals or as a whole. The ending, though, was interesting and further development of the story of Angor would be welcomed.

Reis’ artwork overall is really good. The action scenes, especially, are drawn vividly and capture the ferocity of the moment. Lobo’s fight scene feels gory and visceral, and Batman in a couple of close-ups looks mad enough to eat nails. Look for the scene with Batman wielding the shield and gritting his teeth; you will be able to hear the enamel on his teeth grinding.

However, there are also a lot of scenes without not any action and these just aren’t drawn very well. It almost seems as if two different people drew them.

The coloring, though, is what really brings the characters alive. Maiolo’s colors are exceptional; especially the shading and highlighting done with darker and lighter tones. The highlighting is eye catching and gives a much better feel of depth on the characters than just the ink shading by itself.

A good example is the lighting on the shield, it has a beautiful warm glow, the highlights on Black Canary’s profile and hair after her battle with Gorgon, and though a small moment, the highlights on a close-up panel of Blue Jay’s mask.

The inking done by Hanna & Prado is good at not losing details in fine lines and especially the line work done on Black Canary’s hair. Beautiful.

Overall the book is enjoyable but lacks originality and brevity. The entire storyline could be told in three issues instead of four and would probably work better. The idea for the story, however, is intriguing and hopefully in the future we will return to it. The JLA seems like it will be a lot of fun and has potential for some great adventures as long as they don’t need to do any teamwork.

The Verdict: 6.0/10

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