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.