DC’s decision to cancel mid-level performer Justice League International and replace it with a new title by a high-profile creative team was understandable. The main Justice League title is a top-tier title for the publisher, and with writer Geoff Johns at the helm, Justice League of America is bound to bring in the bucks for DC as well. What surprised by about the move was the decision to launch two spinoffs from the new JLA title in the same month as the first issue (with one spinoff beating the mother title to the stands).
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ed McGuinness
Inks: Dexter Vines
Colors: Marte Garcia
Cover artists: McGuinness & Vines (regular)/Adi Granov, Marcos Martin, Joe Quesada/Danny Miki & Scottie Young
Editor: Stephen Wacker
Publisher: Marvel Entertainment
Price: $3.99 US
I don’t have any particular affection for the Nova concept, nor has my previous exposure to this new incarnation of the character (on the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon) fostered a particular interest in him. But I have to admit to having a soft spot for the bombastic, basic super-hero storytelling of the creative team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. The maturity and nuance Loeb brought to his writing more than a decade ago isn’t to be found anymore, but his latest approach has been to bring a more traditional, fun tone to the genre, which is reflected by the over-the-top, cartoony qualities of McGuinness’s style. Their performance on this latest project is certainly straightforward and capable, but it was a little underwhelming as well. This is the beginning of an origin story, and so far, I’m not invested in these characters. After reading the first issue, I found I wasn’t all that interested in seeing what comes next, nor was there much of a hook to lure me back to find out.
Avengers #4 (Marvel Entertainment)
by Jonathan Hickman & Adam Kubert
I like Jonathan Hickman’s writing. I like how it challenges the reader and approaches familiar genre subject matter in new ways. That being said, this issue — a welcome, standalone story — doesn’t quite click the way in which it was meant. I appreciate the narrower focus on Hyperion. While the character has been floating around the Marvel Universe for decades, his status today and how he came to be a member of this broader team of Avengers aren’t clear. Unfortunately, after reading this issue, I’m really not much clearer on the situation. The removed tone of the narration is meant to reflect the disconnected feel of the central character, who’s lost his own world and friends, but rather than a connection to and understanding of Hyperion, the disjointed, vague qualities of the script cause him to seem even more alien and enigmatic. I enjoyed Hickman’s portrayal of A.I.M. as a bunch of evil scientists intent on mad experimentation rather than terrorism and profit. I applaud Hickman for taking time out to focus on individual members of this new incarnation of the Avengers, but I feel he might have explored the wrong one here. At the end of the previous issue, our attention was focused on the new Captain Universe, and the plot and script in #3 certainly piqued my interest about this new character. It seems like it would’ve been a more natural progression to delve into her story now rather than Hyperion’s (it appears she may get the spotlight in #6, but it still strikes me as a couple of issues too late).