By Jonathan Edwards
This fucking book. I was so close to not even bothering with this and dropping it all together. And then, I realized this was the finale of the first bullshit arc, so why not? I've been reviewing this series since Justice League of America: The Atom Rebirth #1 anyway. One more couldn't hurt. At least not that much. For anyone who might happen to be in suspense over whether or not Justice League of America #4 is any good, the answer is no, of course it isn't. It's not a good issue, and it's definitely not a good conclusion. It doesn't even feel structured properly. Some of the scenes feel like they should, logically, have their order switched, and for some reason, we need just about the whole JLA present for the last fight against Lord Havok, even though Vixen and Batman are still the only two that really do anything substantial. It's clearly meant to be parallel storytelling, but that only works when the separate stories have similar weight to them. And, it's really hard to care at all about most of the fights when Lord Havok is the only member of the Extremists that's been consistently developed. It wasn't good development, but I don't even know what Gorgon's deal is, yet I'm still supposed to give a shit the Black Canary is fighting him. For all I know, Gorgon could be the weakest member of the team.
You'd think we pick up with Batman, Vixen, and I guess Bogna fighting Havok, since that's where issue #3 left off. But no, instead we start back with The Ray and Dreamslayer for some reason. If that weren't enough, their interaction is fragmented more than necessary and strewn throughout the issue. This is despite the fact that all that really happens is Dreamslayer saying he needs orders to function properly, Ray saying he doesn't, Dreamslayer saying he does, Ray reiterating he doesn't, and then Dreamslayer suddenly decided that maybe Ray is right. Of course, because all you need to do to win a philosophical debate is reiterate the point you've already made, and the other party will willingly change their entire worldview. I shouldn't be surprised though. It pretty much goes hand in hand with how much of this series has been people recycling the same garbage dialog.
Although, characters still manage to contradict themselves. Like Havok being surprised that someone under his oppressive rule would want to overthrow him. Like, I don't care if he thinks that "oppression is the only way to save humanity" or whatever. It's still oppression, and he should know that many people will be against it. Not understanding that just make Havok look like an idiot using a word he doesn't actually know the definition of. And then, Batman goes and talks about how he "did fight an entire nation. And [he] won." No you didn't, Bruce. You got a handful of revolutionaries to help the JLA storm the capital, and then you fought Havok while they sat back and watched. That's it. In all reality, the plan probably would've worked just the same if Vixen and him just snuck in, which they are fully capable of doing.
The art's fine. Ivan Reis is back with the pencils for this one, so there's really nothing to complain about. Well, there is the cover. I don't usually talk about covers, but this one stood out to me as particularly stupid. Why is the defeated JLA lying at the feet of Lord Havok? And, why is the implication that he was the one who defeated them? Nothing close to either of those things happens in the book. Does DC think that representing anything that actually happen will stop people from buying the book? If so, they're probably right,
And with that, the first storyline of Steve Orlando's Justice League of America comes to a close. Don't buy it. Not now, and not after the trade comes out. More so than the money, it's just not worth the money. The only reason I'm not scoring it lower is because the art is legitimately good, and it always has been. As for me, this might be where I call it quits with reviewing JLA. It's really been a journey, starting with so much hope then ending up here. Of course, it all depends on what happens next issue. If things manage to get even worse (or somehow get substantially better) you better believe I'll be back for more.
Justice League of America #4