Justice League Odyssey #19 review

Darkseid has taken over Starfire and she’s working with a couple of other minions to take down her former Justice League allies.

Said allies are hiding out with Epoch, the Lord of Time, whose mastery of time energy means he can hold off the bad guys. Heck, he’s even got time to run scenarios showing what happens when the two sides meet.

And for the heroes, it’s not pretty – eight inglorious, grisly defeats. But if they can come up with a plan that works, Epoch can finish his pet project.

Bring on the bad guys!

I’ve not read this series since issue #2. I gave up, then accidentally bought the third digitally but could never be bothered with it; I wasn’t especially enamoured with any of the characters. Cyborg and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz didn’t excite me and I actively hated two, Azrael and the suddenly slim Darkseid. Starfire, when written well, I like, but she wasn’t enough to keep me reading after two issues of Leaguers faffing about in space for the sake of… I’m not sure I even knew at the time.

But I read somewhere that this issue featured the Lord of Time, a villain whose plots I’ve always enjoyed, and what I heard about his plan sounded most intriguing. And boy, is it ever.

Cyborg, Azrael and Darkseid are absent this time but are all still involved in the storyline. The active Justice League now seems to consist of Jessica, Orion, moggie Red Lantern Dex-Starr, Starfire’s evil sister Blackfire, Hax and Gamma Knife… those last two I had to look up as they seem to be new characters created for this series. Arla Hax, apparently, is a Zamoran scientist, and Gamma Knife is, I think, the daughter of Space Ranger.

OK DC Comics, someone sacked Dan DiDio, so how about likewise dumping his ban on recaps? I’m a fan of many, many years and couldn’t really work out what was going on in Dan Abnett’s story. We don’t need to lose a whole page, just add a little box on page one bringing everyone up to date, like editors did when comics were selling gazillions. You could easily whip it out for the collections.

And a roll call, too. This is a Justice League book and roll calls are a grand tradition… I could have seen Hax and Gamma Knife, realised I had no idea who they were or why they’re here, wiki-ed them and had a much better time with the story. Instead, I was waiting for an info-dump that never came.

Epoch’s astronaut look is very dull compared to the Lord of Time’s original red and yellow get-up, but artist Cliff Richards gets points for giving him a weird creepiness – just look at that daft grin as he’s relaying the many deaths of his allies. Every page, really, is a winner – Richards, with his flair for design, storytelling and character work should be getting the highest profile gigs. Few artists nail unusual angles so well, and theres a wonderful feeling of motion throughout. And if he can always be paired with Rain Beredo on colours, perfect – the artist gives us out-there cosmic shades without ever missing a mood… Epoch’s room for rearranging time is particularly eye-catching.

It really is terrific to see a classic JLA villain back and with such a massive plan – the Lord of Time was doing the ‘cowboys riding dinosaurs while being shot at by Nazis’ thing long before Crisis on Infinite Earths. And while it’s weird that he and the other heroes are using the term ‘continuity’, Epoch has to be aware of the Multiversity layers of reality, so perhaps a comic book term is exactly what he should be using.

As for why he’s allied with the heroes, again, no idea – probably it’s an ‘enemy of my enemy’ thing even though last time I read an issue of this, Darkseid was an ally of the League.

There were lots of incidental pleasures in Justice League Odyssey #19, such as this exchange about time talk.

And we used to think Snapper Carr was hard to understand!

The lettering by Andworld Design isn’t showy, but it is precise and pleasing. And the cover by José Ladrönn is just gorgeous – I love this, presumably, temporary design for Starfire, in which sparkle meets smoulder.

If the DC Universe app were available to UK readers I’d go back and read more of this series. As it is, I’ll be back next time to see what happens with the Lord of Time’s plan.

It’s the living qwev.

11 thoughts on “Justice League Odyssey #19 review

  1. As for why he’s allied with the heroes, again, no idea – probably it’s an ‘enemy of my enemy’ thing even though last time I read an issue of this, Darkseid was an ally of the League.

    If the last issue you read was #2, then yeah, you’ve missed a lot.

    As much as I like Joshua Williamson’s writing in other books (the excellent Birthright especially), it didn’t really work on this title and it wasn’t until Dan Abnett took over with #6 that the series moved up a gear. It’s never set my world alight – I prefer Justice League Dark – but it’s pretty solid. Gamma Knife, despite the terrible name, has some promise with her links to Space Ranger, not that they’ve been explored yet, and you’re right, it’s always good seeing the Lord of Time back in action.

    By the way, loved the little moment with Red Lantern Dex-Starr batting the Kryptonian memory ball around!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have missed a lot, but still, comics should be doing such basic things as properly introducing regular characters and recapping plot within the chapter, it could be a fun challenge for writers. I wish I’d known Dan Abnett was coming on the book, he’s always interesting,

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  2. When did Starfire start cosplaying Jean Grey? Despite the title of your review being right there I still thought it was Jean on that cover at first. Oh and I lasted longer on this title than you did and that’s precisely why I won’t be touching this issue…

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  3. Will Conrad is probably still the main artist on this, and his work is just stunning, but you are right, Cliff Richards did a really nice job here. He’s filled in on several JLO issues, sometimes with weak results, but he’s been getting much better. (Looking ahead, it seems that Conrad and Richards are going to be taking turns for the next few months.) The only thing I’d wish different is his tendency to add scraggly facial lines, most particularly on Jessica Cruz.

    The color is just beautiful. I love the dreamy red eyes Hax and Blackfire have. And that page of the Revision Mechanism shows how good a spash panel can be.

    BTW, if you don’t know, Darkseid blasted Cruz several months ago and she died, but fortunately her ring absorbed that blast (as they do), so she returned, now Darkseid-energy powered. So now she shoots out energy blasts and is surrounded by a flame, not green energy, in space. And had to learn a new way to fly.

    So: through confusion, Gamma Knife and then Epoch have been calling this a Justice League. But this is no JL, and this GL is not currently a GL. And I love it!

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  4. Thanks so much for filling in some things, I’m intrigued by the Jessica business especially… she could be the new Kyle, always getting her powers tweaked but having them stay basically the same.

    Will Conrad is indeed superb, did you see him on The Fall and Rise of Captain Atom?

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  5. I have actually enjoyed most of this series a lot more than a huge part of Snyder’s Justice League, and frankly, JL Dark and this have been the best JL books for some time. This story seems to be going on for a long time, but unlike Snyder’s, it has kept me interested because it has been working in chunks of rather interesting stories that are all part of one, and while this ghost sector thing always seemed silly to me, I have enjoyed the way Darkseid has manipulated everything and everyone around him.

    Frankly, I have enjoyed this Darkseid more than most other depictions of him of late because he hasn’t been cartoonish, and the extended story has allowed him to really show what a master of manipulation he is and how with immense power, he seldom has to actually use it as he gets others around him to do what he wants them to do.

    I’m sorry you found the characters uninteresting, and I agree that Azrael and Cyborg are both rather uninteresting, but this book has actually made them both interesting to me again. Not so much Azrael, I have to admit, but Cyborg has been more fun in this book than he has been in ages.

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