Story: Steve Orlando
Pencils: Felipe Watanabe
Inks: Scott Hanna
The Man From Monster Valley Part One
Justice League of America is back in action this week with a brand new story arc and I’m trying to hold back my cringes and stay optimistic. This book has been one of the bigger letdowns of DC Rebirth because of the high expectations that I had for the series going in. But because of the sub-par characterizations (both visual and intellectual) and a reliance that Steve Orlando has on Lobo’s bad language and attitude, the book has suffered. But I’m going to stay optimistic and read this one with an open mind, just trying to have a little fun along the way. Let’s see what happens!
***Non-Spoilers and Score at the bottom***
We open up on a beautifully drawn page of a weird world with weird monsters. A Tarzan looking dude is running with the monsters and being chased by what looks like sci-fi bad guys. But the JLA is here to protect the Monster Man and get him safely back to modern American civilization. This all seems a little shoehorned it, the JLA just happens to be at Monster Valley. But Bats explains to Lobo that they’re there because S.K.U.L.L. has a new backer, they have to get in the way. Whatever that means.
So the JLA rescues Tarzan looking dude and brings him back to American civilization. He’s being interviewed on a talkshow where he tells the host his “origin” story, which is a lot like Iron Fist on Netflix’s origin story. His parent’s airplane crashed, he ended up in monster valley, and a monster raised him. But Batman isn’t fooled by this story, he can tell that Monster Man is lying.
Dissension Among the Ranks
After we learn that Batman things the Monster Man is lying, we get a shot of Atom, Ray, Killer Frost, and Vixen talking about how Batman is kind of a dick in real life. Which, go figure, right? He doesn’t trust people. He doesn’t show up when he says he will. And Ray thinks he’s a hypocrite. Ryan zooms off the The Sanctuary, where Batman, Lobo, and Canary are talking about how pissed off they are that Monster Man lied to them. Ryan shows up and Batman tells Ryan that he now knows where to find S.K.U.L.L. Still so very confused on this whole S.K.U.L.L. thing. Meanwhile, Monster Man is holding some kind of press conference. Batman, Lobo, Canary are on Infinity Island breaking into a S.K.U.L.L. base. Ryan is breaking into Monster Man (Markson’s) apartment. Through some radio contact, we find out that Markson’s family are the one’s backing S.K.U.L.L. and Markson knows this. This was all a plan for him to get revenge on them. And the last page shows us him reuniting with his family.
Did it get better?
Not really, if I’m being honest. Maybe a little, but not enough to really recommend buying it. The Monster Valley thing is a cool angle, but the way that Orlando writes these characters still doesn’t quite jive with me. I just don’t really like how he writes the dialogue, it comes across as SUPER scripted. The art in this issue was much better, so definitely giving points for that.
Sum it up!
Overall, this was more of the same issues that I’ve had with the JLA run in Rebirth. But it did get a little bit better with the start of a new story arc. I’m still not a fan of how Steve Orlando writes dialogue that seems super scripted. But the artwork was much better and the story is at least a little easier to understand than it has been in past issues.
Ben DuPey | NCR