By Steve Orlando, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, Joe Prado & Marcelo Maiolo
Justice League of America is another relaunch of the JLA that has undergone several incarnations in previous years. This time Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis are on board and despite a rocky, formulaic start with plenty of potential, there are signs that the book will quickly be able to make a significant improvement as the series progresses.
Spinning directly out of the events of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, which was a fun blockbuster event that pit the two seemingly mismatched groups against each other, Batman has assembled a new team of Justice League of America members including the likes of Black Canary, The Ray, Ryan Choi, Lobo, Vixen and Killer Frost. It’s a book that really benefits from a truly diverse section of characters and it’s great to see Killer Frost taking center stage here as her character is starting to undergo a transformation from a villain towards an anti-hero, thanks to the help of Batman, who she’s won the trust of. Whilst it’s still early stages for this team dynamic, it was great to see the characters being assembled even if it was a fairly typical set-up issue for a team book. Orlando writes some excellent interactions between this new and diverse cast. Outside of Batman it’s mostly a group of B-List characters and it’s going to be really interesting to see how Orlando chooses to flesh them out coming forward.
Even if the script may not be perfect just yet, Ivan Reis’ artwork is certainly worth the price of this issue, as his pencils are just spectacular. The characters’ facial expressions are really given depth and they all feel real and fleshed out. There is plenty of background detail added to the multiple locations, with impressive depth that is really helped by the additions of inkers Oclair Albert, Joe Padro and colorist Marcelo Maiolo. Maiolo manages to help give every location a distinctive feel as well, meaning that there is no mistaking Seattle for New Jersey and this added attention to detail is appreciated even if we only spend a few pages in each city in this issue.
It’s clear that Justice League of America is a flawed book, not bringing enough originality to the table in how it approaches the assembling of its new team. The involvement of Batman does little to help it stand out on its own despite the vast amount of otherwise diverse cast members attached, if only because Batman seems to be the go-to person for creating superhero teams in the DCU nowadays. However, it is still early stages in this book and there is plenty of potential to explore going forward. With more of Steve Orlando’s script, the promise of further interaction between these particular characters and Ivan Reis’ artwork to look forward to, it hopefully won’t be too long before this book finds its feet.