Justice League of America #13
Written by: Steve Orlando
Art by: Ivan Reis
Inks by: Ivan Reis and Julio Ferreira
Colors by: Marcelo Maiolo
Previously on JLA: Ryan Choi has continued the search for his mentor Ray Palmer, who’d left a series of increasingly worrying messages before his sudden vanishing. When Choi discovered a signal coming from the microscopic realm known as the Microverse, Ryan took Killer Frost, Lobo, and Batman along with him to investigate. Before long, they were met by a mysterious hooded figure, wearing Ray Palmer’s signature size-changing belt.
This Time: Picking up from the cliffhanger, we quickly learn that the hooded figure is not Ray Palmer, but a fellow explorer of the microverse, an alien going by Preon. She says Ray Palmer gave her the belt as a gift during their adventures before being separated in a quantum storm, and Choi feels a little hurt when Preon reveals Palmer had taken on a partner by the name of Aron Aut. Preon informs the gang that tears in the fabric of reality are threatening to destroy the microverse, and that Palmer and Aut got lost as they were trying to discover the roots of the storm.
Back in Seattle, the Ray and Black Canary share a meal discussing the current flurry of problems the Ray has been going through, before being interrupted by Afterthought, a mysterious teleporting meta who had previously taken on Killer Frost.
In the Microverse, Preon welcomes Choi and the others to Moz-Ga, the thinking planet. It was once the more miraculous world around, but the JLA soon sees how much poverty and strife the natives have been forced to bear. The natives begin to pick up on something, recognizing Preon as some sort oof messiah, claiming that she’ll be the one to save them all, and start to mob, before Palmer’s partner Aut returns from the crowd, and immobilizes Preon with a shot of his blaster. He claims that Preon was a pirate, the culprit who got the three of them trapped in the Microverse, but Batman doesn’t know who to believe.
Before anyone else can react of do anything, the quantum storm strikes again with full fury, scattering everyone in bursts of lime green fire and fury, leaving the JLA to flee, but not quick enough. Lobo gets a bolt of flame straight to the shoulder, severing an arm from his side and leaving him a hulk of flaming meat, as Choi and Frost try to take a calm moment in the chaos to focus. Choi believes in Palmer, that he sent out a distress call for a reason, he needs their help. Choi wants to do everything he can for his mentor and the natives, and Frost gives him a parting kiss as Ryan does the thing the atoms do best, going off to shrink to the core of the planet; deciding the only way to understand a thinking planet is to talk to it face to face.
Reed Strong’s Strong Read: The Microverse is neat to look at, and it’s a fun place to explore. We didn’t get a whole lot of interaction between the JLA and the inhabitants, but we learn enough about the problem of the storms to establish some stakes, and the ‘twist’ with Aum freezing Preon in a time loop is interesting enough. The purpose of this arc is just to figure out what’s happening with Ray Palmer, from how I’m seeing it, and it mostly does that well. The Ray usually helps provide the emotional core to this team, but with getting interrupted by another dude to punch, him and Canary didn’t get to do a whole lot this time. There’s nothing wrong with this arc, it just feels like it’s still finding its way to the next big point of the run. I’m a fan of thinking planets, and if Moz-Ga is half the dude Mogo is, he’ll be an interesting conversation.