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‘Justice League Odyssey #6’ (review)

Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico
Published by DC Comics

 

“I will stop Darkseid. It is the one thing I can still do.
His cherished plan cannot be fulfilled if it’s missing some vital pieces…”

 

I am pleased to report that the combination of Justice League Odyssey with new series writer Dan Abnett is an absolute winner.

This is a huge relief.

Not only was this book rapidly beginning to lose my interest under Josh Williamson’s rather slapdash writing style, but after navigating a distinctly choppy run over in Titans (now rapidly winding down to its final issues), Abnett has been in need of a project in which his talents can truly shine.

Well, it looks like the stars have finally aligned even through the chaos of the Ghost Sector, because that’s exactly what has happened, and everything is better off for it.

Abnett is an excellent match for the grand sweeping operatic backdrop of Justice League Odyssey. He’s good with lots of moving pieces, he’s adept at capturing the scope and feel of cinematic epic storytelling, and he is particularly good at dramatic character interplay against the urgency of high-stakes tension.

He seems to know this, or perhaps it’s just that he is comfortably in his element, because the scripting he’s turned in is, out of the gates, some of the best work I’ve seen him do in quite a while.

Granted, a lot of the underlying mystery of our Odyssey has by now been revealed, or at least the basic premise has, so there’s not much need for a lot of explication. And yet the summarizing Abnett does provide is both clear and entertaining.

And it’s good to get his take on what’s going on. Because for all that the conceit of this storyline is both a little crazy and a little overwhelming, it is also, at its core, pretty good – particularly now that the events over in Justice League have brought us to the cataclysmic advent that Darkseid’s millenia-long scheming has sought to prepare for.

All well and good, but of course the rest of our cast cannot yet quite know just how dire that cataclysm is. Not yet. Not pocketed away in the Ghost Sector as they are.

But they certainly know what they’re up against with Darkseid. And Cyborg and Starfire still have a mission to complete – the whole reason they braved their kamakazie mission into the Ghost Sector in the first place: Finding Kory’s abducted homeworld Tamaran.

The twinned tensions of urgency while flying solo and fairly blind, particularly against the backdrop of Darkseid’s horrific agenda, is fertile ground for team conflict, and Abnett does not hold back. His dialogue is tight and believable and enjoyable, and quickly establishes both the individual motivations and the relationships between our core four. Even as developing concerns ratchet up the pressure.

All of this is done against the brilliant visual storytelling of Carmine Di Giandomenico, which is enjoyably dynamic and expressive. Ivan Plascencia’s bold, full-spectrum colors are an excellent match, and it is a delight to see a fine balance struck between line artistry and computer color effects finally come together in this book in a satisfying way.

In the end, of course, the team does make it to Tamaran, where Kory’s sister Komand’r is of course waiting, with less than open arms. It’s both appealing and appropriate that Dan Abnett is shifting from one Titans legacy to another as he takes the reins of this book, and very gratifying that it’s happened in the issue of the fateful reunion of Tamaran’s royal sisters.

Not that it’s a pleasant meeting by any means. Komandr’s none too happy with Darkseid either, and she has plans for the Dark God. She’s no dummy either. Darkseid himself may very well be beyond her immediate grasp (and dealing with his own problems). But she knows quite well how to throw a wrench in the master manipulator’s plan.

And that’s bad news for her sister and her friends.

Next Issue: Escape from Tamaran

 

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