Sunday, June 23, 2024

Justice League Odyssey’s Debut Shines Bright

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It’s finally here! Back in the spring many titles in the DC universe were either beginning or reestablishing themselves from the events of the Justice League: No Justice mini series. Alongside the regular Justice League launch, we were also given other team spinoffs that would come into direct relation with the aftermath of the major crossover that preceded them. Justice League Dark was released in July and met with mixed reviews at best, even though it was coming from James Tynion. I eagerly awaited the issue due later that month, Justice League Odyssey, but it was delayed twice. Here we are now at the end of September and we finally have it, so of course I read it as soon as I got my hand’s on it. I must say, the wait was worth it.

I’d give some background on No Justice but that article already exists, so you should definitely read that if you have no idea how this issue relates to the aftermath of that event. After the events on Colu in No Justice, hundreds of thousands that Braniac had collected were released in a single area of space now known as the Ghost Sector. Of course, releasing that many different worlds, species, and cultures both ancient and modern into one place is a very bad idea. Due to a heavy radiation-filled maelstrom surrounding the Ghost Sector, it’s up to everyone’s favorite Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, to make sure no one is stupid enough to try and enter it!

That’s really what sold me on this comic, the team. The book is filled with four characters who for too long have sat in the shadow of greater heroes but were never really given the chance to have their own series. Now they do, and  not only do we see their true worth as a team, but also how well their chemistry is together. As explained throughout the course of the issue, we see their reasons for coming. For Starfire, after all the worlds were released from Braniac’s ship her one and only hope was to find Tamaran again. Cyborg was happy to help her as he received a signal from the Ghost Sector on his mother box, a loud one. Jean Paul had an inner voice previously silenced by his time with Batman begin to call again, beckoning him to hitch a ride with Cyborg and Starfire on Braniac’s skull ship. Jessica, as I mentioned before, is stuck on guard duty.

The issue opens in two different ways. The first is very enigmatic and features various alien forms on different planets within the Ghost Sector praying to their Old Gods. We get a brief glimpse of what looks like to be a former Green Lantern trying to escape their confinement to send word to the rest of the Corp, but she is destroyed by an unknown beast. On the other side of the Maelstrom, Jessica is quietly going insane in solitude. A call from Simon helps but then the area is rocked by Braniac’s ship losing control and heading straight past the storm.

The story plays out very simply for now as Jessica follows them into the storm knowing full well her Lantern shield will not protect her for long. Kori risks her own life in the radiation to save her which is both exciting and worrying. We see teamwork at it’s best in varying ways: Starfire overpowering Cyborg’s mother box with her star power, Jean Paul using his pure will and faith to control Braniac’s ship, and of course Kori using her resilience and perseverance to save Jessica.

All doesn’t end well, however, as they all crash land on a planet that’s not exactly hospitable at the moment. It only takes a few moments for things to go wrong and a fight ensues as the beast that appeared at the start of the book makes another appearance. However, he doesn’t last too long as we see the all too familiar red glow of Darkseid’s omega beams. It was teased early on in the previews that he would be a possible ally in this series, but to what end is still quite a mystery. We find out that he sent the call to Cyborg’s mother box, as they share a connection through it.

It seems that Darkseid is trying to usher in a new age within the multiverse. Whether for noble or malicious intent remains to be seen, yet it is clear that he’s taking advantage of the turmoil surrounding the Ghost Sector. The issue ends with him explaining that Starfire, Cyborg, and Azrael are now seen as Gods and worshiped as such by the various aliens seen at the start of the book.

This first entry into a promising series was quite entertaining with a perfect balance of story, action, and exposition from its predecessor. Many factors and mysteries were shown off to keep us coming back for more. The team is now stuck in this Ghost Sector; how will they escape? What is Darkseid up to and how will the team respond? Will Starfire find her home? These are just a few of the questions I hope are answered in the coming issues. If you haven’t picked up this title yet, I implore you to do so.

Images Courtesy of DC Comics

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