Writer: Joshua Williamson / Artist: Stjepan Sejic / DC Comics
After a first issue that set things up while providing a plethora of questions, Justice League Odyssey is back and things are starting to fall into place. For a brief recap from last issue: Cyborg, Starfire, Azrael, and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz were all drawn to the Ghost Sector, where all the shrunken planets from Colu now reside. It was revealed that Darkseid called them there, and if they don’t do what he says, the entire fate of the multiverse is at stake.
It’s mad stakes out here.
This issue really expands on the conflict while giving us some disturbing answers to the questions raised in issue one. We learn that these freshly freed planets worship Starfire, Cyborg, and Azrael. Like worship worship. They’ve got statues and everything. Which doesn’t quite add up, but it definitely strenghtens the mystery. There’s definitely some timey-wimey stuff going on as they reveal that when these planets were shrunk, time didn’t pass for them, which allowed them to be generations older and the same age at the same damn time.
The character’s roles are starting to shape up as well. One of the things that I gravitated toward when they announced this title was the make-up of the squad. It doesn’t feel as commercial as a book like this normally would. You’ve got Starfire whose burdened, Azrael whose curious, Jessica Cruz whose driven, Cyborg whose guilt-ridden, and Darkseid whose manipulative. They’re supposed to be a team, but with all of these differing motivations, it’s gonna be hard for them to focus on the task at hand—which they haven’t quite figured out yet.
This issue does a good job of conveying in the scene just how much everything is predicated off of the group’s motivations. It’s literally what drives each character forward. You’d think that was obvious, but sometimes writers just don’t follow through on this fundamental craft element.
A good example of this is how when Starfire finds out an entire society of people has been somehow worshipping her for generations. There’s a gigantic Koriand’r statue that these beings pray to for guidance. Starfire tries to persuade their thinking, let them know that she’s not a god. She already feels the burden of her planet being taken by the Coluans, and she doesn’t want this burden on her shoulders as well. But Azrael wants that attention. He’s quick to ask where his statue and worshippers are, much to Cyborg’s dismay. Jessica Cruz doesn’t care about any of this; she just wants them out of the Ghost Sector, a section of space that’s off limits. It’s a simple craft tool but giving your characters strong motivations can go a long way in the narrative cohesiveness of your story, and this book has it in spades as far as I’m concerned.
Darkseid so far is an enigma…as a great villain should be. We don’t know his motivations yet, at least not fully. But that’s what makes the conflict between him and the rest of the group so much stronger, because Darkseid is always in control even when it seems like he’s not. He’s definitely hiding something from the group that would undoubtedly make them lose their focus.
Justice League Odyssey #2 reveals the strange space religions revolving Starfire, Cyborg, and Azrael, and it’s as creepy as you’d think it’d be. But the strength of the issue was how the character’s motivations pull us forward in the story by providing organic situations that convey their stances.
8.5 Starfire Statues out of 10
Reading Justice League? Find BNP’s other reviews here.
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