Deep in the Ghost Sector, an entire religion has been built around Cyborg! The intrepid foursome of Starfire, Jessica Cruz, Azrael, and Cyborg himself are brought to their high priest, aptly named The Programmer, who demands Victor prove himself as their god.
Too bad that proof involves being forced into combat with Azrael!
Needless to say, Victor isn't much into being worshipped, but after he quite handily defeats Azrael, even he begins to succumb to the adoration of the crowd. The Programmer accepts him as their god returned, and reveals his ultimate plan...
Meanwhile, Darkseid meets with another party who has a vested interest in our heroes... Starfire's sister, the lethal Blackfire!
Let me say this right up front: this is a very straightforward issue. Worshippers find Cyborg, worshippers demand proof he’s who he says he is, proof is issued, worshippers accept him. Oftentimes, this approach can be pretty dull, but sometimes it’s exactly what a story needs.
Case in point: Justice League Odyssey #4.
This title has spent its first three issues pinwheeling all over the place as its leads explore the Ghost Sector, and not much has coalesced in terms of story. But now, with this issue, we have a simple story that serves to give the overall narrative some much-needed focus. It also drives home one of the over-arcing questions of the series thus far: Why in the world are our heroes being worshipped as various gods when they’ve never been there before?
Cyborg and Azrael take center stage this issue, with Jessica Cruz and Starfire relegated to supporting characters, at least for now. That’s okay, because it allows writer Josh Williamson some time to focus on the former two characters’ personalities, and play them off each other. Cyborg is a reserved and stoic type, uncomfortable in the spotlight; he’s contrasted against Azrael, who’s brash and eager to show out before the crowds as he battles Victor (which turns out to be a bad mistake).
It’s a basic set-up that yields predictable though fun results.
This issue isn’t without its qualms, though. For all the table-setting, though, it’s really just a set-up for the issue’s ending, which without getting into spoilers winds up being a bit underwhelming. Similarly, the confrontation between Cyborg and Azrael gets short-shrift, despite being the issue’s centerpiece. It’s over almost as soon as it begins.
As for the art, Phillipe Briones is a more than capable draftsman, and spreads like this paint a clear reason why he was chosen for this book:
However, it cannot be escaped that he needs to work on his faces a bit, because they just look… weird:
As an aside, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note how much cover artist Stjepan Sejic’s depiction of Cyborg reminds me of the late Michael Turner’s art. I doubt that six-pack serves any useful function, but it definitely looks pretty sleek.
This issue helps bring the series into better focus, and has a fun time doing it. I'm still not sure where the book as a whole is going, but I'm interested to find out as the slow-reveal of the bigger plot paints an intriguing picture.
Justice League Odyssey #4: All Hail the Machine
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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