Justice League #27

"Justice League" #27 continues to focus on the members of the Crime Syndicate with Johnny Quick and Atomica spinning through the spotlight in this issue from writer Geoff Johns and the art team of Ivan Reis on layouts with Joe Prado, Jesus Merino and Vicente Cifuentes on finishes and colors from Rod Reis with Dezi Sienty lettering things up. In addition to exploring the depths of the Syndicate's lovebirds, this issue also delivers on the promise of the Doom Patrol from "Justice League" #25. The Doom Patrol appears here in the post-2011 DC Universe for the first time beyond a mention and a panel.

Unfortunately, the Doom Patrol members represented are two short-lived characters from Paul Kupperberg's contributions to the mythology of the team once created by Arnold Drake and Bruno Premiani. Scott Fischer, or Scorch as his teammate calls him, and Wayne Hawkins, better known as Karma. Seemingly reintroduced in the current DC Universe as cannon fodder, Johns and crew keep the focus on this duo's inability to pose much of a threat to Quick and Atomica. In doing so, Johns leaves the door open for other members of Kupperberg's run, including Negative Woman (shown, but not given any significant opportunities to contribute), Tempest and Celsius. This is not the greatest debut of a superteam ever, but in every ending, there is a new beginning, which Johns hammers home for readers. Johns devotes seven pages to kickstarting the existence of the Doom Patrol, and then turns his attention to Victor Stone.

Stripped of his powers and technology, Vic spends four pages of the remainder of "Justice League" #27 discussing and debating the world's need for Cyborg with his father Silas Stone and T.O. Morrow. Through this discussion, readers join Vic on a trip into the Red Room of S.T.A.R. Labs Detroit and are treated to some Easter eggs in standard Geoff Johns' fashion. Johns' story for Vic intersects with the ongoing developments of "Forever Evil," but keeps Cyborg to the outer edges of the action. The current state of technology under the Grid's control certainly informs this story and prescribes Cyborg's updates.

I didn't really realize how much I've missed art from Ivan Reis until I started reading "Justice League" #27. Reis is only credited with layouts, but his trio of finishers in Joe Prado, Jesus Merino and Vicente Cifuentes do a bang-up job of bringing those layouts to life. Fischer and Hawkins are finely updated for the modern DC Universe, but retain their visual essence harkening back to their 1980s debut. The real visual punch from this crew, with specific regards to the Doom Patrol comes through in the eerie shadows of the (presumed) Chief's office. Here, Rod Reis adds dingy colors and crestfallen shading to describe the emotion present in the aftermath of the Patrol's defeat. Rod Reis' colors are spectacular throughout the story and really spring to life in the Red Room, where the streamlined Cyborg gains new life, thanks to a sleeker design from Ivan Reis and company. In addition to a slimmer profile, Vic Stone's dialog has a new look too, hovering on the edge of technology text while retaining the appearance of humanity through Dezi Sienty's lettering.

"Forever Doomed" is somewhat predictable with regards to the appearance of the Doom Patrol and the motions Cyborg goes through, but "Justice League" #27 is nowhere near boring. This comic book serves very well as "Doom Patrol" #0 or even "Cyborg" #0 (maybe now Vic Stone will be able to find his way to a solo series) or a companion piece to "Forever Evil," but lacks the Justice League for which this comic is branded. All the same, this is a fun, adventure-filled, character-driven study certain to please fans of Detroit's greatest hero or DC's strangest team of misfits. As a fan of both, and a resident of metro-Detroit, I found a lot to like in this comic. No, it isn't the world's greatest comic book, but it is a damn fine read filled with bombastic fun and plenty of nods and winks for longtime DC readers.

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