Justice League of America #17
Writer: Steve Orlando
Penciler: Ivan Reis
Inkers: Juuo Ferreira and Oclair Albert
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Ivan Reis and Marcelo Maiolo
Previously on JLA: Dr. Aut was revealed as the villain Null, facing off against the JLA as we finally got to learn what happened to Ray Palmer. When Ray attempted to strand both himself and the villain after Null decided to live up to his namesake and see the world destroy itself to start anew, Null ended up meeting up and getting brought along with the team, before Ray told them all that they had only brought doom.
This Time: Null decides to even the odds, as he takes his broken bio-belt that Ray gave him as a gift to shrink the JLA, leaving both Atoms now two-on-one versus the nihilistic threat. Ray again laments Ryan bringing Null to the source of the damage to the microverse a second time, but Ryan decides there’s only one way to stop Null’s acceleration of the end; going smaller. Ryan pulls Null down with him, explaining that the closer they get to the source, the more they can figure out how to actually stop it. Ryan gets ready to sacrifice himself, leaving Null afloat in the void as Ryan goes even smaller. Two last minute hands of Killer Frost and Ray come to guide him to his finish, as Batman and Lobo watch Null’s devoice explode in a beautiful flare of Kirby Crackle, Ryan and Frost embrace, and Ray congratulates Ryan on an atom-ing well done. Batman starts to realize that the entry point wasn’t just for the microverse, but the Multiverse itself, as a giant, cosmic blue hand twinkles ominously in the sky. Ray unites with Preon in a touching embrace, as Ryan doubts his duty as a hero. Ray explains that he did about everything Ray would have done himself and better, hands sparkling as he gifts Ryan with a new, real duty; from now on, Ryan Choi is officially The Atom, spandex included. Off in a space in between space, a grey, twisted house holds a madman and his accomplice; as Prometheus reveals himself, ready to take revenge on not only Midnighter, but the JLA itself.
Reed Strong’s Good Read: The panic in the microverse has officially come to a close, but it’s only another beginning. We get another huge rebirth revelation with the reveal of exactly how the hell Doctor Manhattan got into the DCU, and Prometheus mounts a surely glorious return. Ryan’s been a legacy character without a mentor for this book’s whole run, and getting to really explore everything that’s happened to him with Ray is a moment that’s been a long time coming. It’s great to see Ray officially bless Ryan with the mantle, and it’s also great to start to move on to whatever stories JLA has to tell next. Orlando is a guy really gifted at weaving some interesting story structures, and while Null and the Microverse fell a little below my personal standards of interest, it’s a story that’ll surely blaze by in the trade. Now, we’ve just got another Prometheus ready to happen, and I couldn’t be more excited.