By Jonathan Edwards
Of course, Lobo isn't dead. I mean, there was absolutely no chance that DC would okay him being killed off in a random issue of JLA. Furthermore, it's clear from all of the cookie cutter conversations that he and Batman have had that Orlando is fully intent on having Lobo stick around for whatever "big" thing the Caped Crusader keeps insisting is on the horizon. So then why even have him be struck be "atomic lightning" in the first place? All it does is create inconsistencies within the story. We've already been told that the Quantum Storms can rewrite reality. We even saw an inhabitant of the Microverse be literally thunderstruck out of existence by an errant bolt. Following that up with Lobo only losing an arm that he's also temporarily unable to regenerate is entirely non-sequitur. Tell me, what's one good reason Lobo was affected differently? I mean, just because he's practically immortal doesn't mean he's wholly immune to damage. At the very least have him explode and regenerate slowly from a limb or something.
The rest of the issue is plagued by a similar problem of internal logic. Specifically, characters jump to completely unmotivated conclusions that somehow turn out to be correct. We get our first taste of this in the opening scene, where Vixen meets up with "Gregorio" to discuss the Might Beyond the Mirror. We learn that the story everyone writes after making a deal with the aforementioned Might is some sort of fairy tale or legend consistent with certain established folkloric tropes. Then, out of fucking nowhere, Gregorio up and suggests the Might is perhaps not the subject of the story but actually the story itself. And while I guess that's kind of an interesting idea, I question how it connects to what's already been established with the character. And more importantly, how the hell did he figure that out from looking at the story for less than five minutes? This is an idea that could've had an entire issue dedicated to exploring its intricacies, but here we get a single page instead. And, I really wouldn't be surprised if such a shallow treatment left some confused as to what the hell they were actually talking about.
Now, the main focus of this issue is Ryan shrinking down even smaller to speak to Moz-Ga "on his terms." Here's my question: why does shrinking accomplish that? Since Moz-Ga is a whole living planet, wouldn't that be the equivalent of attempting to communicate with a person by becoming the size of a single cell? Wouldn't growing to be approximately the same size as him be more appropriate? These are the questions that danced in my head throughout this issue and the fact that they remain unanswered leaves any potentially positive developments null and void.
Reis's art is still objectively pretty good. I retain my design complaints from the last couple issues, but I'm not going to reiterate them here. It is worth noting that the different locations do look distinct this time around thanks to Marcelo Maiolo's colors. The surface of Moz-Ga is primarily greens and blue, whereas the microscopic inside has oranges going on, and the Ignition Point is black, gray, and white. It all does a lot to keep this one at least some kind of visually distinct, which previous installments haven't necessarily been successful at.
Justice League of America #14 sucks. The Crisis in the Microverse sucks. It might not be as structurally messy as previous story arcs, but it's boring. The attempt is an epic adventure story, but the environments and characters are dull, and there's no heart to the story. Every beat and moment of development is overly intellectualized. The result is that it's easy to see what the themes and/or intentions are, but there's nothing there to connect to or resonate with. In other words, stuff happens only because it has to happen for the story to progress, so that leaves you with no reason to care about any of it. And, that's what my experience was reading this issue. I wasn't excited, I wasn't entertained, I wasn't even enraged. I just didn't care.
Justice League of America #14