The last time I left off with the Justice League of America, they were squaring off against Kingbutcher in one of the most emotionally wrenching issues of comic-dom I’ve ever read. Then I went on vacation, and the resolution to that little arc wrapped up in the form of the Ray and Vixen working together to smash the Kingbutcher’s crown and send him packing. Batman gives some lip service to having to build a better world, and that arc is over.
Now we’re on the search to find Ray Palmer, the original Atom!
Ryan Choi has been trying to track some signal that lets him know Ray is still alive this entire time. And voila, he’s finally pinpointed one! He calls the team together to present his findings, and we get to find out that not only is there a multiverse, Palmer found out that deep beyond the atomic level there is also a microverse. And the microverse is what keeps everything balanced and running. Choi claims that all the anomalies with time were what drew Palmer there in the first place. He shrunk himself down and was then somehow betrayed and attacked, and Choi’s been trying to find him ever since.
Bruce splits the team, deciding if Ray was willing to risk going down there, it must have been important. Vixen, Black Canary, and the Ray will stay topside and hold the fort down. He, Lobo, Killer Frost, and Choi’s Atom will go to the microverse.
We get a little scene of Caitlyn and Ryan talking science over the ship that’s supposed to help them navigate the microverse, and they end up calling on Lobo to step in and help them finish the job. It’s a nice little reminder that Lobo’s not just the mean merc; he IS, after all, a smart little fucker who managed to unleash a planetary plague that wiped out his people while he was in elementary school.
With their vessel ready, our intrepid explorers shrink themselves down and enter the microverse.
They manage to follow Choi’s readings, before their ship crashes and they have to land. Whatever they land on looks like the old school cartoon version of Journey to the Center of the Earth, and it’s not long after landing that they’re attacked by a group of humanoids calling themselves the Null. They make an ominous allusion to “the decay,” and claim that the universe is broken beyond repair. They want to hasten the end so they can be reborn again. Then their speaker is immediately blasted from behind by what looks like to be a very dashing if shadowed, Ray Palmer.
On the one hand, I’m excited about the Ray Palmer arc. The talk of the microverse and its importance is a nice meaty plot for the Justice League of America to sink their teeth into as far as superhero daring-do goes. And I’m all for Ray Palmer getting some time in the spotlight. The art, as usual, is on point, especially the renderings of the microverse.
I wish Orlando had more time to let his arcs breathe. The Kingbutcher arc is obviously not resolved, but it was a two and done for now arc. The themes and issues that Orlando was really starting to dig into with that felt cut short, just like what happens with the people the JLA hop in to save and then flounce back out again. Maybe that was the point, and Orlando and Co. are building up to something bigger.
Still, it feels like some of the heavier arcs leave me hanging, that their weight is touched on juuuuuuuuuuuuust enough to get the maximum impact, but then they have a quick save and we’re up and moving on again without giving enough time for a more meaningful resolution. Maybe the advent of the microverse adventures and Ray Palmer will kick things into gear, and maybe this big “thing” Batman felt necessitated recruiting Lobo to the team for will help weave these strands into a more recognizable design.
Fanfinity Rating: 7/10
Justice League of America #12
Writer: Steve Orlando
Art: Ivan Reis
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Letters: Clayton Cowles