Justice League of America #4 (DC Comics)
Four issues in, and it’s clear to see that the main appeal of Justice League of America is the team dynamic. So far, Steve Orlando’s plot has been your basic “villains take over a part of the globe, and our heroes have to stop them” story that we’ve seen many times before. But where the plot has been lacking, the characters more than make up for it (especially Lobo). That’s never been truer than in Justice League of America #4, which brings the opening story arc “The Extremist Agenda” to a close.
After seemingly being on the ropes, Batman and his team of heroes turn the tables on Lord Havok and his team of Extremists. It’s really a simple set up of different scenes of JLA members battling against their Extremist counterparts, until the League member eventually figures out a way to take their enemy down. It’s a bit of a let down, but again, there was never really any threat of this team of heroes being taken out in their first real mission, so it’s not a complete deal breaker.
So yes, the battles between the two teams goes pretty much as you would expect, but like I said earlier, the real appeal of this book is the team. Steve Orlando is able to give each League member their own distinct personality, and he’s able to make every character count in terms of the story. Hell, Orlando has even made me enjoy Lobo, a character that I’ve never really liked before. Nearly every time Lobo opened his mouth to spout off a one liner, I had a grin on my face.
Ivan Reis returns to the artist’s chair for this issue, and I have to say, it looks a little more rushed than usual. If this was his only book and he just cranked out the previous 3 issues, I would cut him some slack. But with the new DC Rebirth rotating artist schedule, there’s not really an excuse that I can give him here. The last time we saw his art was in the Rebirth special. Reis’ pages aren’t terrible by any stretch, but they definitely look a little rushed in some spots. However, when Reis is on, oh man, watch out, cause there’s some doozies in this book.
While Justice League of America’s opening storyline was a little lackluster, it doesn’t really matter. The main appeal behind this title is the cast of characters. In a lot of ways, this series has more in common with a book like Batman and The Outsiders than Justice League. Where else will you see Black Canary, Vixen, Lobo, The Atom, The Ray, and Batman team up? This is the kind of out there and fun thinking that has made DC’s Rebirth relaunch such a hit. As long as Orlando can keep the character dynamics up, I’ll be coming back for more.