With no impending threat garnering the attention of the Justice League of America, the team is available for a mission from resident Atom, Ryan Choi. He has located the signal of mentor and previous Atom, Ray Palmer, in the Microverse — the subatomic universe that exists within ours.
Not wanting to devote the entire team to this, Batman has dedicated only Ryan, Lobo, Frost, and himself to the job, leaving Black Canary, Vixen, and the Ray in the regular universe.
Ray warned Ryan of the threats that exist within the Microverse, and the four heroes run into them very quickly. Can they survive the hazardous Microverse and find Ray Palmer?
I actually followed this comic for the first few issues, loving the wacky lineup and the first threat being the ever-bizarre Extremists, each of whom looks like they could be on the cover of a metal album from the 1980s. However, as the first story seemed to be intent on dragging on and other comics (namely Green Arrow) were doing more to attract my attention, I dropped Justice League of America a few issues in. It was and is, by no means, a bad or ill-made comic, but it didn’t do enough to stay on my pull list.
A promised return of the previous Atom and the start of a new story arc earned it another look this week with JLA #12, and, well, my feelings on the comic haven’t changed.
It’s not the most exciting or dynamic book in the world. I still love the team (with the exception of Batman, of course), but the story in this issue is far from well paced. Very little happens beyond the four characters entering the Microverse and running into resistance. A lot of time is devoted to Ryan, Frost, and Lobo fixing up the Shrinkship, and, frankly, no one needs all the sci-fi lingo to understand it. It’s a ship, it shrinks, and it’s how they are going to gain entrance to the Microverse. It’s supposed to amp up the tension between Lobo and Ryan and Frost, but Lobo being chosen for this trip is enough to give that tension.
This is only a two-page section out of the 20-page book, but it is indicative of the unnecessary weight that slows down the pacing of this book. The rest is Ryan giving lengthy detail about who Ray Palmer is to him, which could have been abridged, seeing what the JLA was doing before this adventure, which took up a lot of page space, and just faffing about once they finally get to the Microverse. Story takes a back seat to the book just wanting to do whatever.
The characters are likable when they have space to express themselves. I like Ryan’s geeky squirreliness, the relationship budding between he and Frost, Vixen and Black Canary’s kickass bravado, and Lobo being the hard-bitten bastitch he is.
Ivan Reis is an excellent mainstay artist at DC. He has a creative mind, his characters look bold and strong, and the environment of the Microverse is gorgeous. The vibrant color work of Marcelo Maiolo complements him well, and the popping colors Maiolo attributes to the Microverse give it a memorable aesthetic. The action scene, as short as it is, does look pretty cool, if a bit unnecessarily obscured.
I can recommend JLA #12 for the charms it does have, but its pacing issues are abysmal. It shows that this story probably won’t need to span as many comic issues as it is inevitably going to. If these characters really tickle your fancy, you will enjoy this. However, if your devotion to them is not great, the slowness of the plot will likely drive you away.
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