As pretty much anyone who’s been reading this series could have guessed, the arrival of the Kryptonian god Rao on Earth isn’t as blissful or wonderful as it first seemed. Although the focal point of Bryan Hitch’s plot is a bit worn and predictable in “Justice League of America” #6, the twists he adds to his story keep it somewhat fresh, and these seemingly disparate touches now begin to finally bring a little more cohesiveness to the story as they’re brought together in this issue. Even so, Hitch’s story feels like it’s grinding through all the necessities as it approaches its conclusion, with no real escalation of the tension or excitement.
Hitch’s story spans galaxies and millennia, yet it doesn’t quite have the kind of epic feel it should. The Flash finds himself trapped decades in the past, while Green Lantern has been transported to unfamiliar, ancient times on a world readers have seen before. Despite that, though, there’s no palpable sense of concern in either case; these asides come across more as distractions from the main story rather than as part of it, and the heroes’ largely passive roles don’t really generate much in the way of excitement. The elements that tie them together are all that provide any kind of relevance, but they only show readers that there’s a connection, rather than drawing them in emotionally.
Unsurprisingly, Hitch’s art is stronger than his script, but he seems to be trying to use his skills as an illustrator to mask the shortcomings of his story. His spreads and larger panels look great but come across as the equivalent of big budget special effects in a film that has little else to show. Ironically, the strongest sequence of the issue is Superman’s smackdown with Rao, which is mostly dialogue-free action and benefits from Hitch’s skillful layouts and pencils. In other scenes, though, his spectacular-looking pages often appear to be little more than well-placed eye candy.
Aquaman and Wonder Woman’s battles with Rao’s prophets similarly look great, but are emotionless fisticuffs and suffer from some posturing and weak dialogue. Hitch gets some help on the inking from Daniel Henriques and Andrew Currie, who provide a clean, smooth look that nicely compliments Hitch’s natural style. Regardless of the strengths of the overall issue or the individual sequences, the art team — along with colorist Alex Sinclair — provides a nice issue that’s easy on the eyes.
“Justice League of America” #6 has its moments and works better as a part of Hitch’s overall story than it does as a single chapter. While Hitch is a capable writer, the issue reminds readers that he’s even better as an artist.