Justice League of America #5
Written by: Steve Orlando
Art by: Andy McDonald
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Colors by: John Rauch
One of the biggest challenges that I think this series will have to take on is keeping Lobo in line. Or at least, finding a way to keep him engaged in the task in front of him. In Happy Harbor, the JLA are holding a press conference with Vixen in the lead. They are seeking to make the team accessible to the press and by extension, the rest of the world. A task that isn’t easy when facing pretty harsh questions about team members Batman, Lobo and Killer Frost. Meanwhile, in Penn City, a supernatural threat is emerging that prompts a reporter to go to Ray directly and appeal to him on behalf of the people of the city who have sold the town to a local cartel in exchange for food and jobs.
Apparently, the cartel and their leader Nikos Aegeus have taken over the entire town and made the mayor’s mansion their base of operations. The warlord is flush with weapons powered by mystical artifacts and he is selling them to the highest bidder. Under the cover of darkness, Batman and the JLA infiltrate the city at strategic locations and begin to take out the guards. Batman is left with Lobo, who isn’t too happy to be on a leash at all, let alone with Batman. It seems Batman and Lobo have an arrangement whose conditions are unknown to everyone but the two of them, but they are enticing enough to Lobo that he actually follows orders and takes on the militia at the mansion.
As the mercenary tears his way through the hordes of troops protecting Aegeus, he arrives in time to find The Atom already with Aegeus and not where he was tasked to be. As the rest of the League tries to get information from the townspeople as to why they would let Aegeus take over the way he has, the warlord fires a weapon that blasts Lobo across the city and releases a force that the team was not prepared for.
This was a well-paced issue. Steve Orlando is really good at writing these characters and their interactions with each other feel natural. While the overall story is not particularly compelling, the scenes between Batman and Lobo are very well done. I want to know more about that story and, to a lesser extent, why Atom was not in his position. Andy McDonald’s artwork was really effective in telling the story, but there were moments in the fight scenes where they felt jumbled and confused. The story was decent overall, but the side stories seem more interesting and compelling to me.