Thursday, April 16, 2020

Justice League of America: Vixen Rebirth #1 (2017) Review

On The Hunt

Written By: Steve Orlando, Jody Houser
Art By: Jamal Campbell, Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 11, 2017

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Now that we've gotten to know our Atom for the JLA book, it's time to get to know a bit about Vixen and boy, it's been a long time coming.  Thinking back, the only thing that I can right off the top of my head remember Vixen appearing in is a photo in the first issue of Justice League International, where Amanda Waller passed on her membership into the group and her possibly showing up when the Justice League opened up membership before Forever Evil hit...... but even that, I'm not sure about.  Yeah, we've really gotten the shaft when it comes to Vixen, but hopefully that changes now that we get this Rebirth issue and know that she's going to be kicking ass and taking names in the new JLA book in February.  Let's jump into this issue and see where Mari McCabe started out so that we know where she's headed.  Let's check it out.

Explain It!:

Our issue begins with us being introduced to Mari McCabe on a talk show she's appearing on and learning how she's a runway model, a reality TV star and a philanthropist.  Too bad that this interview was all for shock value and on par with an episode of Mauri because waiting in the Green Room is a girl who took part in one of Mari's programs to give young women a leg up in the world and it turns out that this girl isn't too happy about being snubbed by Mari because she's apparently been trying to get a hold of her for weeks because her mother's gone missing.  Yeah, this makes Mari look like an asshole who's all talk about how much she cares about her programs and the disenfranchised.  Really though, without knowing Mari's backstory and that she holds a magic amulet, why the hell would you try to get a hold of her in the first place?

Anyway, with this ambush on TV, Mari decides to go and actually do something about this missing woman herself and pulls out the Tantu Totem that her father gave her after its original owner, her mother was shot down in their African village.  Yeah, it seems that her preacher father's brother was all about getting his hands on the totem and even killed Mari's father to try and get it, but when Mari witnessed his death, it looks like she left her village and never came back.  Now, it seems she's hoping that the totem has the power it's said to have because she'll need it to track down whomever kidnapped the girl's mother.  Mari accessing this power is really cool and the visuals surrounding it are perfect in my mind because we see her become connected with the Red and access the power as she needs it, like a hawk to fly, a bear to sniff out the scent of the kidnapped woman at the crime scene and even a elephant and dolphin to take on the kidnapper.

In the end, we see Mari locate a whole shit ton of missing women and their kidnapper, who goes by Spider Bite and while I was enjoying this issue up to this point, the whole background and even the fight between Mari and Spider Bite comes off odd.  I mean, Spider Bite has a really weak backstory about why he's kidnapping women and it seems that he becomes too afraid of Mari before anything really happens.......... or becomes afraid after she hits him with the power of an elephant, but if that's the case he shouldn't be able to be afraid, he should be completely wrecked.  Anyway, as we leave this issue Mari takes out the bad guy, frees the women and goes back on TV so that she can tell the world that she's going to become more proactive than she's ever been and she's going to do it under the name Vixen.

That's it for this Rebirth issue of Vixen and it gives you pretty much everything you need to know going forward with this character, from her backstory, her current celebrity status and even her motivation to become a superhero, but like The Atom Rebirth, everything feels really rushed and we miss out on having a really personal story that propels Mari into her change in life.  Instead we're left with her simply being ambushed on TV and then dusting off an old necklace that belonged to her mother and just hoping it was magic and going out and doing something crazy that she's never done before.  It's enough though to get you going with Vixen and the art depicting it was really enjoyable.  All in all, this is just another so-so issue to get us to where we need to go moving into the new JLA book.

Bits and Pieces:

While you'll get all the information you need to get a basic idea of the character, this one-shot comes off really rushed to get us there without ever really giving a reason that's believable to why Vixen would even become the hero that she is.  It's not a bad issue though and it allows you to understand her power set and I like the art a lot here, but overall I found myself wishing that we just got a little more.


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