Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Justice League of America #23 Review

Nightmares and Dreams

Written by: Steve Orlando
Art by: Neil Edwards, Daniel Henriques, Andy Owens, Hi-Fi and Clayton Cowles
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 24, 2018

It's no secret that I haven't really liked this series since it started.  Actually, let me rephrase that...I hate this book!  In a landscape where I am trying to grab onto any Justice League life preserver, I would rather sink than reach for this book.  Steve Orlando seems to be taking most of his time thinking of all the cool characters he can add (without asking the proper people), but once they enter the book, the awful dialogue and uninteresting situations they find themselves in bring the party to a screeching halt.  Just look at Prometheus.  He used to be famous for taking down the League himself and here he is taken down by a woman with a taser.  So, forgive me if I didn't get excited when the Queen of Fables revealed herself to be the big bad that has been hounding the JLA for so long.  However, I will give this issue the clean slate attention it deserves and hope it changes my mind on this series as a whole.  Did it?  Let's find out...

We start out this issue with a little history lesson.  We see how Tsaritsa became the Queen of Fables and how her narrative involved her sister, Freya as well.  Again, while the Queen of Fables is an interesting character, Orlando seems to suck the fun out of any of this to push his narrative with Frost further along.  I did laugh, though, thinking of Rhode Island as such a holy place!

The issue continues with Frost's narration and it's a combination of self-pity and anger.  In other words, it makes me not like Frost much anymore.  We do go off to Vanity to see Ray and Aztek and while I am hoping to see more of the later, she doesn't really do much here except remind Ray he should help his JLA buddies.  Back in Happy Harbor, Caitlyn does stand up to the Queen for a moment but is easily convinced that things are just dark now, but a new dawn is coming.  We all know that's a load of BS, right?

We continue on with talk of Immateria, Ray making things right with  Nadine (such a wooden conversation!) and Vixen returning to the battlefield.  This is the part of the issue that has me the most excited and worried.  Vixen tells the onlookers that the Red brought her back with planarian regeneration.  It's obvious from reading Steve Orlando's stuff that he is a big Alan Moore fan.  Because of that, I can only hope that he wouldn't just throw this planarian worm bit in all willy-nilly.  If you've read Alan Moore's Swamp Thing #21, you know what I'm referring to.  If you haven't, go and do so now, I will wait.  Now that you guys have returned from reading it...You're Welcome!  This could be a real game changer down the line.

The issue continues with a fight as Ray arrives and the JLA fights back.  It's okay, but the pace is thrown off by Frost telling the reader everything she has told us a hundred times already...most of which was earlier in this issue!  It all leads to the cliffhanger where yet another character joins the fray out of nowhere.  If you don't know who it is, the cliffhanger kind of falls flat.  If you are familiar with the character, you will likely jump for joy.  If you co-created the character, you are already pissed off that she is in this book in any way, shape or form.

This is not a horrible issue.  The art is really good and we do move forward to an interesting cliffhanger that promises some fireworks (in next issue and on twitter!)  I just can't get invested in this team the way they are presented.  The Ray was a whiner for so long, but now Frost has taken up the mantle.  The rest of the team just sits around until the fight and the Ray arriving back in Happy Harbor made me groan rather than smile.  The problem isn't just this issue.  Steve Orlando never made me like any character in this book and because of that I'm bored with it and don't care what happens to them.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue has a couple of really interesting developments, but the dialogue, pacing and the lack of any investment in any of these characters just makes me not care.  This book seems to be going through the motions and the only concern that Steve Orlando seems to have is to shove the most amount of classic characters in his pages.



  1. Promethea another Alan Moore character, DC are really going full out to piss him off.

  2. I'm not sure I can properly express just how horribly apprehensive I am to see Promethea in a book written by Steve Orlando. The fact that she's an Alan Moore character really doesn't bother me all that much. If DC owns the rights to the character, they own the rights to the character and that's that.

    Of all of Moore's ABC characters, Promethea is easily the most complex, sophisticated and intriguing. Do any of those words sound like Steve Orlando to you?

    Promethea's original series was magical (in a number of senses of the word) and pulled off that difficult trick of being both entertaining and extremely thought-provoking. (Having J H Williams III on art didn't hurt, to be fair.) I hope that Orlando manages to do the character justice, but I am *really* not convinced of his ability to do so.

  3. Who's the guy with the dinosaur(?) protruding from behind his head? Is he an actual character or just a jobber?

    1. Can I get a reply to this?

    2. sorry...I can't find anything resembling him at all anywhere, though it was hard to look up.