The Return opens in an unexpected place with a surprise hero.
OMAC, One Man Army Corp of The World That’s Coming, going about his regular business of fighting the tools of evil corporations. But who’s that in the tube in the corner?
Another surprise. Hawkgirl in the future. Of course, she’s also in the past, organising a party in the Hall of Justice to celebrate Wonder Woman’s return to the League.
Before anyone can so much as break into the trifle, up pops OMAC, thrown back through time, but so disorientated that he, too, soon winds up in a tube.
Superman’s Fortress of Solitude major domo, Kelex, piped into the Hall of Justice, pops up with a trouble alert (the AI is apparently so troubled that it makes a couple of typos…).
What to do but split the core JL into sub-teams to investigate the energy bursts.
I love it when the Justice League splits into mini-squads, it’s classic. We don’t get individual logos as in the Silver and Bronze Age, but we do get numbered chapters starring Wonder Woman, Hippolyta and Naomi; Green Arrow, Black Canary and Aquaman; and one-man band Black Adam. Batman, Hawkgirl and Flash stay back to watch OMAC.
Before long, though, the latter two and Superman Jr Jon Kent have joined Green Arrow, Black Canary and Aquaman at Blackgate Prison, where a raging monster from beyond is causing quite the ruckus.
And now we see why writer Brian Michael Bendis may have gone old school – he’s bringing back a Silver and Bronze Age baddie. I love love love the Lord of Time, he’s DC’s Kang without the convolution. Also, he had one of the funkiest outfits ever…
… which we don’t get to see here, sadly! Still, we do get a thoroughly entertaining romp with room for characterisation and future plot seeding. As usual with Bendis JLA, specific uses of powers are rare, with fight scenes a free-for-all, but not everyone is Gardner Fox. Bendis’ speciality is entertaining back-and-forth dialogue, and we get plenty here.
Artist Sanford Greene does a bang-up job in a rare foray into DC territory. The dynamism and vibrancy is wonderful, making the action scenes feel like they’re going at a million miles an hour.
The calmer moments are terrific too, from the cover on; Greene’s versions of the familiar heroes are fascinating to look at, even portly, sleepy Aquaman. Dig those ruddy snub noses, it looks to have been a top party! There’s an especially great page with four versions of the Lord of Time explaining stuff, with particularly fine colouring. The colours for the issue come from both Greene and Matt Herms, but as the issue credits don’t break down who did what I shall simply note that the colours are excellent throughout. Ditto so far as Josh Reed’s letters go, especially on the chapter openings, where Bendis seems to have given the note ‘Jack Kirby Fourth World MELODRAMA!’
I enjoyed this issue hugely, it’s so refreshing to have an annual that, while linked to current doings in the regular series, is a proper, old-fashioned done-in-one. They do make ‘em like that still – but not nearly often enough. Thanks to the JL team for giving us this treat.
13 thoughts on “Justice League 2022 Annual”
This Lord of Time was a major character in Justice League Odyssey – Dan Abnett’s part of the series. I really came to love that book, and that character was fun – weird, but fun.
Sanford Greene’s art was quite different from what we usually see, and I liked it as a change of pace.
I’ve noticed quite a few typos lately, including in this book. It seems not enough proofreading is happening these days.
So I have no idea what happened, but I guess that’s ok. It looks like when OMAC touched Hawkgirl in her stasis chamber, that is what sent him back in time — except apparently no, it was all Epoch’s fault. And then Hawkgirl returns in some fancy costume that immediately disappears? And I don’t know what the point of Doreen the android at Blackgate was, but I guess she came from the future and got swapped in for Solomon Grundy, who wound up still in the present but relocated to Leviathan City (or whatever it’s called) where Black Adam finds one of the Lords? Seems like those elements just got dropped from the story. But in the end Flash says “All the time stream damage was reversed” so we’ll just go with that. Time/space anomalies – here today, gone tomorrow.
I wonder what a sparring match between Wonder Woman and Naomi would look like, given we have no idea what Naomi’s powers are. I guess it would be her energy bursts vs. Wonder Woman’s lasso, so pretty much anything could happen.
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Man, I REALLY loved Odyssey, particularly when it became the ‘How will Jessica Cruz be bad ass in this issue’ series, while also featuring some good work with other characters.
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Where is Jessica these days?
Isn’t Cruz a heroic Yellow lantern now? That she’s the first is a surprise because inspiring fear is a Batman thing too (he was almost recruited) and Sinestro shouldn’t be able to force every ring to choose only scum.
I enjoyed this so much I just went with the narrative failings you mention I am ashamed! I’m glad the costume vanished, it’s too clunky. It would’ve been funny if Hawkgirl’s new helmet had vanished, but she had the OMAC mohawk underneath.
I’ll definitely give Justice League Odyssey a full read if the DC library is ever made available online outside the US!
I’m getting very tired of Naomi being non-specifically awesome!
A caveat – JL Odyssey started slowly and even poorly. It was one of the 3 books to spin out of No Justice – Snyder’s JL, Tynion’s JL Dark, and Williamson’s JL Odyssey. It was delayed many times, then the first 3 books were thrown out completely, with no art re-usable. Stepan Sejic had been on board for the first arc but after having to start over, he only finished the first 2 issues (plus some additional covers). The only thing that kept me reading it, at first, was the art. Hard to imagine how awful the original scripts were, because Williamson’s story concept was a mess, with a few characters who really didn’t fit together – Cyborg, Starfire and — Azrael of all people! — drawn to the Ghost Sector, where they encounter Cruz keeping guard. (The Ghost Sector was part of that No Justice mini-series – when Colua was destroyed, all the bottled planets on it were released, and they formed into the Ghost Sector. Yeah, an area of space with planets that are not orbiting any stars? Never explained. I guess we shouldn’t ask.)
Azrael in space? Just what anyone would imagine, right? Starfire, and Cruz – sure. Cyborg? Maybe. But AZRAEL? (In one of his recent appearances in some Bat book, he did mention he’d been in space. The less said, the better!)
The story then goes down some kind of strange rabbit hole where these heroes get treated as gods on various planets in the sector.
Abnett took over with #6 and it took a while for him to right this ship. Hard to say how much he followed Williamson’s original plans.
I guess Williamson has grown a lot since then, since he’s now the principal architect at DC.
Will Conrad came on board the art with #7 and was a revelation. He got better and better. Sampere drew a few. Cliff Richards ended up doing most of the fill-ins when Conrad was taking a break, and Richards started out weak but he too got better.
But make no mistake – if you do read JL Odyssey, you’ll be one of 15 people who did. You won’t find anyone to talk about it with.
As for where Cruz is – you’ll get no spoilers from me regarding her incredible role in Odyssey, but in the current Green Lantern book, after getting depowered along with all the other Green Lanterns, she joined the Yellow Lantern corps. I think that happened 6 months ago and I don’t know if her story has been revisited since. I stopped reading it.
Hopefully Season 2 nails down her powers more. I love her characterization but she pulls too many unspecified powers out of her ass. She’s like original run Thor.
Plus Darkseid. Darkseid is definitely a big player in the series..with a convoluted ‘create new New Gods’ plot…
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I thought it was a very solid story on its own while seeding things that could and some that shouldn’t come to fruition. Greene isn’t my favorite artist but I choose books for the writer and i will always worship Bendis (unless it’s the Bendis who did Moon Knight). I will say Green’s Aquaman was so off model that at the start of the chapter with him, Black Canary, and the hero unworthy to lick her boots, it took serious time to figure out he wasn’t an off model Killer Crock. Do love the noses tho’ and adam’s face caving in.
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The Aquaman was so weird it was hilarious. It’s a nice change from cookie cutter heroes, at least!
I’ve never known what Dinah saw in Ollie either, especially once she stopped being 20 years older.
It was a joy to see such distinctive, idiosyncratic art on a fun done-in-one story. If they published this one as a Treasury Edition, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.
“Plastic Man! We need you to be a stretcher.” Fantastic!
And color me curious — I now want to read all about the adventures of OMAC and Hawkgirl in the future.
If Diana doesn’t know what Brother Eye is, does that mean the Max Lord neck snap is out of continuity? Or was it already – am I remembering that that Mariko Tamaki storyline with Max was based on him knowing that an other dimensional Diana snapped his neck?
Ugh. Why am I even bringing this up? 😛
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Im sorry I can’t shed any light, I packed in that run too. I pack in every Mariko Tamaki series, it seems. I think you’re right, though, that it was a different Max. Then, anyway.