Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Andy MacDonald, Hi-Fi & Clayton Cowles
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: May 10, 2017

Maybe you’re a dolphin.

Lobo is just about down for the count and the JLA is deeply embroiled with the fight against Aegeus. Even with their current odds, the team pushes themselves and some find that they are for more capable than they ever thought, while others reveal sides of themselves they’d rather keep in the dark.

JLA has an unrepentant flair for doing something risky. We have another team under the Justice League banner that is going on adventures that bring in everyday superhero ideas, like military takeovers, and bringing in flying creatures made of salt. Establishing itself under the ‘weird’ umbrella is a good look because it further distinguishes this team from the rest of the DC line, an important difference that makes this book feel that much more special.

Per usual, Steve Orlando’s work stands out in the team’s relationships. Comparing this issue to the first, some characters, like Dinah and Mari, are still themselves: steadfast, grounded, and assertive. Their touch on this issue recognizes them as important parts of this team. Others, like Lobo, Ray, and Ryan, bond in unexpected ways that show growth for each of them. Lobo is much more empathetic and discerning than he appears, Ryan is willing to throw a ‘bow, and Ray is becoming more self-assured in his abilities and his role on the team. The latter half of this issue especially is a hallmark of Orlando’s understanding of how people work together and what it means to combine seemingly disparate personalities.

Andy MacDonald on this issue brings a mixed bag of artistic effects. This art works well in scenes that have a lot going on, evidenced in jagged lines and rather geometric form. Chaotic panels mesh well with MacDonald’s style and portray the right amount of activity. It’s the scenes that need to capitalize on emotionality where the visuals don’t quite carry through. Many expressions feel stiff, and the feelings that need to be in these images do not resonate. I think the art gets close, but doesn’t match the tone that Orlando puts through writing.

Hi-Fi’s colors pull JLA’s illustrations closer to where they need to be. Most of the issue is mired in dark tints which address the dire straits the team finds itself in. Lobo’s appearances in particular belie his growing fondness for his teammates through much more sinister tones. I like this dynamic with him because it showcases his gruff exterior, allowing for an intriguing interplay between his presentation and his growth through the issue. The last pages have an endearing brightness, even if smaller moments hint toward something dark for at least one of the team members.

Like I said, JLA is willing to take risks, a sense of bravery that makes this comic work. Threads are slowly coming together as the team grows closer, and with each issue I have more confidence that this book will become something everyone will need on their shelves. This mix of characters has proved to be a wise choice, especially with the developments that have emerged in this chapter. Even if there were some beats in the art that didn’t mesh with the story, overall it still ended up being enjoyable and a deeper foray into the minds of this new team.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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