Justice League of America #24
By Steve Orlando, Neil Edwards, Hi-Fi
Justice League of America #24 is the finale to the Deadly Fable series which sees the team tested to the limit against the Queen of Fables whilst pushing Caitlin in the direction of a terrible choice that she is forced to make. It’s certainly an action-packed issue that doesn’t leave much room for a slow-paced approach, preferring a straight up combat-heavy read that flows nicely towards its climax.
Every character gets their moment in the sun here and Orlando continues to juggle the Justice League of America well. The book, and much of this arc, has been told from a Killer Frost perspective and her narrative is the focus of much of this issue as we explore her dilemma that she’s facing. One of the best things to come out of this series so far has indeed been Caitlin’s characterization, as the readers really get an insight into her mind and the state that she’s in. Does she side with the League and doom herself? Or betray them to the Queen of Fables?
One of the most exciting moments of last issue’s cliffhanger ending was the appearance of Promethea, but unfortunately, she is one of the weaker characters in the book that takes away the attention from the League itself and where it stops to slow down it often focuses on her. She’s an Alan Moore creation that new readers may not be too familiar with, but given her depth and history we could have had a far more complex and substantial encounter than what we got, which was essentially a much more traditional brawl. There’s no real depth to this issue as a result and moments that should feel epic aren’t as deserving or as rewarding as they should have been.
The artwork is fantastic, and every panel is good. Whether penciller Neil Edwards and colourist Hi-Fi are showing us Vixen in the Red conversing with those who cast their lot in with the Queen of Fables, or whether Promethea is going toe-to-toe with the Queen herself, everything looks stunning. The expressions on characters’ faces are crisp, and it’s always clear to tell which member of the League is which even in the thickest of confrontations. The more emotional moments of the book land, and Orlando is at his best when he’s focusing on the rare lower-stakes moments rather than the action.
There isn’t enough depth to Promethea’s return to make it stand out or memorable enough to leave an impression and it feels like a case of deus-ex-machina unfortunately, not helped by amount of characters Orlando also has to give time to. The Killer Frost-centric story makes this a must read for fans of Caitlin Snow, and fans of Vixen will also like her role in this issue too. Lobo continues to be enjoyable right the way through. But Justice League #24, for all its strengths, underwhelms in its most epic moments. It’s an enjoyable enough of a read and isn’t bad, but for all its strengths, it just leaves readers wanting more.