Hello everybody, and welcome back to the Pull List, the apartment down the street from the House of Ideas. Here we are — the very last Pull List of 2017. We made it through the fire and flame, and in honor of the break we all deserve, this will be an extra-short column, with just one comic to review — which just so happens to be an issue of Ace of Geeks‘ second-best comic of the year.
Before we dive into the review, let me just take a second to say: thank you. This has been one of the darker years of my life, for all the obvious reasons, and my mental health this holiday season has been especially bad; but getting to share the joy of comics with our readers has been a highlight of this revolution of the globe.
Now then, let’s get to this year’s last comic standing!
Justice League of America #21
Writer: Steve Orlando; Artist & Cover: Steven Byrne; Letters: Clayton Cowles; Variant Cover: Doug Mahnke & Wil Quintana
Oh, yawn, a story about the Ray fighting Aztec cultist/gang members and corrupt cops and teaching a lesson about proper superheroism to an edgy superhero. How run-of-the-mill for this awesome freaking comic that strikes gold even in its most basic storylines. I don’t want to oversell it — this issue is not perfect. Orlando follows two story threads about two individual Justice Leaguers, and the points where it cuts from one to the other are not always points of maximum coherency. There are more than a few spots where the narrative feels rushed — like the dialogue is meant to deliver more data than it’s actually delivering, to the point where it failed my Flip-Back Test a couple times. But what does hold together holds together very well — three major character arcs are advanced, along with the main thrust of the series plot, and everybody feels very well-represented (well, those who get to speak — a lot of the JLA is absent or appears in the background only). The new character introduced in this issue also contributes to the feeling of a larger, wider DC Universe out there, and keeps the four-color feel clear in an issue that is a bit more gritty and street-level out of necessity. Also a shout-out to Byrne’s art, which is really impressive here — the use of color is amazing, and his faces are expressive without being too over the top. All in all, a nice little second-act issue for this new JLA, and a good setup for the story going into 2018.
Power Level: 7/10
Quote of the Week:
“The thing is…I get your anger. I know it. I’ve even felt it. And it’s easy to just let it take you. But there have to be other ways to use it. Ways that don’t hurt you. I’m here to stop you, yeah. Not for him. For you…think about it. For now, though. This is over.”
– The Ray
And that’s all Orlando wrote, and therefore all I wrote. I hope you all get to see 2017 off in whatever manner you prefer, and that you have an auspicious start to your new year. Until 2018: keep loving comics!