JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 by Steve Orlando, Hugo Petrus, and Hi-Fi
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
When you add time-travel to superhero stories, you're going to have a good time, and this proves true in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27. Despite some confusion and pacing issues, this is an action-packed story that relies on the best elements of the Silver Age of Comics.
85 %
Timey-Wimey Fun
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The Silver Age was a fantastically weird time for comics. Many publishers had to resort to whacky characters and storylines to abide by the strict rules of the Comics Code Authority. Despite the strangeness of the time, though, fans love these stories. When DC Comics enacted the New 52 reboot, the new brand of serious storytelling meant that many of these characters were lost.

Thanks to Rebirth, though, some have started to make their return. In JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27, a longtime Atom foe strikes back at the DC Universe. The time-traveling thief Chronos has arrived to tear apart all of history. Can the champions of the JLA keep up with Chronos’ trek through history and stop him before he kills the god of superheroes?

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Stealing Time

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

If you love over the top superhero action, then JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 is for you. From the very first panel, this issue consists of one long, drawn-out fight scene. Steve Orlando has managed to create a battle that mirrors the best of the Silver Age style.

The best thing from that era came from supervillains who wholly bought into their themes. Chronos’ primary weapons are time-slowing sundials and exploding hourglasses. Thankfully, this never takes away from dialogue moments. The banter between the JLA and Chronos’ army is brilliantly hammed up in the best way. It isn’t the best or most realistic writing in the world, but in a story about the core god of superheroes, this structure works. It feels more like an homage to the best weird parts of the Silver Age than bad writing.

With that said, I did find myself somewhat confused in this installment. I’m not one hundred percent sure if this is an issue with plotting or with the visuals. Regardless, some of the story is muddied in the overarching fight scene. We lose a sense of where characters are in the midst of this huge action sequence.

All of a sudden, someone will pop back into existence or something will happen with seemingly no outside cue. It didn’t ruin the reading experience, but it did have an impact. I can’t tell you the number of double-takes I had to do in while reading this story. As I said, this could just have been an issue with the visuals of the action sequence, but I think it has more to do with too much stuff happening all at once.

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Traveling to the Past

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Surprisingly, I found myself really happy with the characterization in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27. The main focus falls on Ryan Choi’s Atom, and his internalized monologue about his role as the hero works really well. He doesn’t feel like he is living up to his mentor Ray Palmer, and this character work helps to really ground the story.

The team, meanwhile, get their own chance to prove themselves in this fight. They don’t necessarily get moments of deep characterization, but the focus on their teamwork does go a long way to make up for that. The JLA feels like an elite fighting unit, as they should. Everyone works together so well, and while individually they don’t have a voice, the team does inspire a lot of faith.

The villain, meanwhile, is fairly faceless. Chronos basically takes the fight to the JLA as a means to get back at Ray Palmer. His reasons behind this over-exaggerated vendetta never get properly discussed. He’s a thief, so he’s going to “steal” superheroes from the world? Even then, the motivations still don’t fit. Chronos is just bad for the sake of being bad, which does nothing for his character. What he brings to the story is a threat big enough for this heroic team. In terms of his character, though, he has no place among all of these strong personalities.

Splitting Atoms and Ink

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Hugo Petrus mans both pencils and inks for JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27, and this series has never looked better. His characters carry so much energy in their movements, and they’re so expressive. As I said, there are no true character moments in this lengthy battle sequence, so the ability to show a narrative with expressions is crucial. I also have to give Petrus credit for his varied and realistic anatomy. The characters need to move believably for this fight to work, and I could have sworn they were leaping off the page.

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In charge of colors, this month is the Hi-Fi studio. I have seen and enjoyed their work in other series, and that continues with JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27. Their art fuels much of the energy and Silver Age feel of this story. All of the colors are bright and highly saturated, giving way to a story that feels inspired by Jack Kirby. The science-fiction elements come through in the bright purple and blue lights of Chronos’ technology and the heavy saturation of golds. More importantly, the whole book is colored over with a layer of light reds, adding to the feelings of tension and unease.

Final Thoughts: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 is a lengthy fight scene with huge explosions and fantastic allusions to the Silver Age of comics. While the pacing and events sometimes elicit confusion, the overall plot feels incredibly satisfying. Very few writers are willing to tackle the “villain of the week” style of superhero storytelling, but Steve Orlando manages to make this work. It isn’t a perfect set up, but it’s one that should excite a great many readers.

It doesn’t come across as a deep story, but it really doesn’t need to. The narrative succeeds for what it is: a superhuman slugfest dipped into the best science fiction that comics can offer.

One Comment

  1. Dc4life

    March 28, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    How do they time travel? What is 4-d energy? Explain the imprint and the AHL. This is easily the worst book DC puts out and I’m glad is done for.

    Reply

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