Justice League of America #21

by Hussein Wasiti on December 27, 2017

Writer: Steve Orlando

Artist: Stephen Byrne

Letterer: Clayton Cowles


The Ray has been a problematic character for the past ten issues or so. Steve Orlando, understandably, wanted to implement a "ticking time-bomb" element to the JLA which I personally don't find very interesting, and the Ray was the most outspoken character when it came to not wanting to deal with Batman's supposed shenanigans. While I don't exactly understand why the Ray feels the way he feels, I think I can understand the general direction of the character and I actually came to admire him in this issue.


What the Ray needed was to go back to his town, Vanity, and just be a hero. This is what I really love. Aztek appears in this issue and it got me thinking about Grant Morrison's JLA run, where Kyle and Wally used to have this playful animosity between them and that was essentially the most that team came to blowing heads with each other. They were heroes, and this issue reminded me of that JLA run. Aztek, as seen in the last issue, is a woman now and her story fits right in with the usual DC legacy hero stuff so I don't mind it. Aside from the Ray storyline, Frost and Atom have something going on between them that the ending got me interested in. No spoilers, of course.


Still, Orlando chooses to focus on some weird stuff. A group called the Sons of the Earth play a confusingly big role in this issue and as far as I can remember, they weren't established in the previous issues and Ray's personal journey could have been achieved without delving way to deep into this rando group.


Stephen Byrne's art is alright when handling actual people, but his costumed characters look a lot better. I don't like his colouring though, as it gives his art a bit of a rubbery or amateur feel to it.


This is by far one of the better issues of the series, but Orlando still needs to work on his plotting and exposition. Byrne's art is more than passable but I'm not a big fan of his art style in general.

Our Score:


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