Heading into “Vibe” #1, I was unsure why “Katana” was trusted to elevate herself based solely on her name brand, but Vibe was saddled with the qualifier “Justice League of America’s.” After reading the first issue, written by Geoff Johns and Andrew Kreisberg with art by Pete Woods and inks by Sean Parsons, the weight of “Justice League of America” is not so much a qualifier, as it is a co-brand. Johns and Kreisberg make it clear within the issue that the JLA needs Vibe and vice versa. The depth to which one needs the other is not fully investigated, but becomes the basis for future issues of “Justice League of America’s Vibe.”
In this issue, readers are introduced to Cisco Ramon and given an overview of his origin and his new skillset, as well as how it immediately affects his life. That’s quite a feat for a twenty-page comic that also introduces other concepts and characters. Cisco’s power stems from Darkseid’s invasion that launched “Justice League” and, in a sense, the entire DC Universe in the New 52’s status quo. Through that origin, Kreisberg and Johns deliver a fair amount of character building between Cisco and his brother, Dante. Most importantly, the writing duo chooses to build the world around Cisco. That comes through the filter of Dale Gunn, agent of A.R.G.U.S. (Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans), who recruits Cisco and tests his abilities by pitting him against a Parademon.
Kreisberg and Johns don’t stop world-building there. They introduce the reader to the Circus, a top-secret storage facility or prison for A.R.G.U.S. that is filled with Easter eggs, including a character that, at the very least, bears the same name as someone Vibe worked alongside in the original Motor City Justice League. That was years and realities ago, so those connections need to be defined, which appears to be the plan. These are the additions a title like “Justice League of America’s Vibe” can contribute to the grander canvas of the DC Universe.
In drawing a story that features a down-to-Earth character trying to comprehend the world changing around him, Woods’ art is expectedly solid, giving Anderson ample opportunity for effective and dynamic coloring. Parsons’ inking gives Woods a more refined crispness that isn’t consistently present when Woods inks himself. The artistic side of the book establishes some striking visual effects for Vibe’s powers, especially during his fight with the Parademon. Woods, Parsons and Anderson bring more visual popcorn to the A.R.G.U.S. facility, giving “Justice League of America’s Vibe” #1 a solid visual treat.
This is a nice start to a new series, but an odd choice for an ongoing. I could see it as a miniseries or backup, and with an announcement about this series switching writers in the near future, I remain cautiously optimistic, like the citizens of Detroit. So long as “Justice League of America’s Vibe” carries wide-eyed enthusiasm in the form of a hero from Detroit, I’ll be checking in.