“Justice League International Annual” #1 tries to be a lot of different things and do even more, but it mostly comes down to a confrontation between O.M.A.C. and Booster Gold. Since migrating to “Justice League International” after his own title was cancelled, O.M.A.C. simply hasn’t been the same. Granted, part of that could be the way that series ended with Kevin Kho becoming forever trapped as O.M.A.C. or perhaps it was a handoff from Dan DiDio and Keith Giffen writing his adventures to Dan Jurgens, who had to squeeze the big blue beastie onto a team of developing characters.
Naturally, a return of one of his co-writers would straighten things out, right? Wrong. Dan DiDio and Geoff Johns decide to set O.M.A.C. back to pre-relaunch mode, bringing in Brother Eye and Batman. In eight issues of his series, O.M.A.C. never crossed with the Dark Knight and seemed to have advanced to a different place storywise, but this issue sheds that. This issue breaks down the relaunch a bit, bringing in elements that I thought were eliminated. My concern here is that it’s not made clear if this is a sign of a grander undoing of some post-“Flashpoint” changes or a simple creator faux pas, but it certainly drives the course of this issue and generates more than a handful of questions that need to be answered. As this is the final issue and nothing has been indicated to immediately follow up on threads discarded here, it feels like a bit of a dead end.
The creative hiccups aren’t simply “Flashpoint” reset related. While Jason Fabok fills his art with details and nuance, some of the correlation between art and story simply falls apart. The opening scene is the biggest instance of this as I’m not sure what Batwing didn’t see when he made the claim that a suicide bomber’s “device was small and undetectable.” The bomber I saw, which is what Fabok drew, had sticks of dynamite and cabling all over his torso, not to mention more pouches than a Rob Liefeld character design which were all undoubtedly connected to the explosives.
I will admit to having low expectations coming into this issue, but even those were unmatched. DiDio and Johns filled “Justice League International Annual” #1 with lots of teases and contradictions, scattered character bits that do little to define the characters and plenty of lead-ins for things elsewhere. In essence, it’s a skinny version of what “Countdown to Infinite Crisis” represented, without the grand scope, interesting characters or drama. Love or hate the outcome, this issue is going to prove to be a must for New 52 O.M.A.C. fans, of interest to Booster Gold fans, and completely forgettable for most others although references will almost certainly be dropped in the near future, especially in “Blue Beetle” #0. At least I presume as much given how Jaime was shunted out of this story almost as quickly and awkwardly as he was brought in.