Justice League of America #29 // Review
Justice League of America #29, by writer Steve Orlando and artist Hugo Petrus, brings this volume of the JLA to a close, and it ends on a pleasing, but somewhat confusing note. Chronos has traveled back in time to intercept Ahl, the God of Superheroes, and successfully killed him before he could leave his impression on Earth. With his death comes the end of the concept of superheroes on Earth for all of history. But thanks to the 4D battery in Aztek’s suit, the JLA stands outside of time, and still has a chance to fix things.
First, the good: Orlando continues to make the newer members of the JLA shine. The Atom steps up in a big way after Killer Frost saves his life and actually tilts the battle back in the League’s favor, effectively proving his worthiness of the mantle Palmer passed to him. Aztek also plays a key role, with her battery and suit being instrumental in controlling Chronos’ time traveling device to save the history of superheroes. The veterans don’t have much to do, but that’s fine, because they’ve saved the day countless times, and this version of the League has really been all about newer heroes coming into their own.
Being the final issue of the series, Orlando had a lot to accomplish. Not only did he have to wrap up the Chronos story, he had to wrap up the story of his take on the League. With a limited number of pages to do so, it can be argued that he accomplished his goal, but it certainly didn’t tie up into a neat bow. The Chronos story ends well enough, with the villain getting his just desserts and the heroes fixing time in fun, “timey wimey” sort of way, but the overall arc of the team feels open-ended. Yes, the younger heroes truly earn their spot on the team, but Orlando also almost seems to be starting a new chapter with his ending, and it’s not entirely guaranteed we’ll ever see any more of his story. The final two pages assure us that the League has just evolved into something else, but, with the book ending and Snyder leading us into “Justice League: No Justice” next month, will any of Orlando’s story be heard from again? Only time will tell, but the second to last page certainly does leave the reader with a ‘wait, what’s going on now’ kind of moment.
Hugo Petrus’ art was fine, as usual. He tends to clutter up the panel at times, especially with action scenes, which can be confusing, but in the latter half of the book he really delivered. His panels featuring close-ups of characters really bring them to life with detailed facial expressions, and he draws a great Lobo in a fun, little scene towards the end of the issue. Nothing tops his final, full-page drawing of the Vixen though. If they ever do a solo book with her, Petrus would be the artist to draw it. Hi-Fi colors also does a great job, as usual. They have become a go-to for DC comics on many books these days, and it’s obvious why, because their track record is phenomenal.
In the end, this book could have used another issue to wrap up its overall story instead of cramming it onto the end of the Chronos arc, but it still concluded on a satisfying note. Hopefully, Scott Snyder will pick up on the giant concept that Orlando left on the table when he starts his Justice League run next month, or alternately, they can give Orlando another book to explore that idea. Either way, there are big things ahead for the team, so the story will go on regardless.