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JLA’s Vibe #3 – Review: Flash or Substance?

Justice League of America's Vibe is continually one of the standout titles of "The New 52" at this present moment. For a book with such an astounding amount of doubt and general bad-will it has preserved writing wise – even if it is surely (and quite rapidly) in it’s way toward getting cancelled. In such little time, given that it has just been up to this third issue, it has already set up an entertaining and widely useful status quo.

From familial set ups to inter character relationships and bonds a lot of work has been done by Arrow mastermind Andrew Kreisberg for the first two chapters of JLA’s Vibe. That’s what made this issue so worrisome in that the series has had its first creative shake-up so soon – switching out Kreisberg for Supergirl alumni Sterling Gates as it heads into DC Comics’ “WTF Month" and Vibe’s first crossover – that with Teen Titans regular Kid Flash! New writer, gimmick month, and a “hero vs. hero” crossover? These were all troubling signs of damaging editorial interference, but surprisingly enough for this title about an obscure hero – Gates was able to pull out an interestingly built up single issue.

One that not only continues to further cement Vibe’s own mythology but also adds onto the still vague and in-doubt timeline for Kid Flash – of which little is known even within Teen Titans. Instead of going for simplistic and formulaic “let’s get these two heroes to fight” type scenario (something that has been over done in the last decade or so) Gates instead pulls it into an area of growing the budding “Vibe vs. ARGUS” subplot – something that has been brewing since the first issue. And something that receives solid continuation here – with Vibe and Kid Flash bonding instead of coming into annoyingly misunderstood conflict. Kid Flash gets something resembling pathos within the few pages he has here than he has had in months over in Lobell's Teen Titans - a book where he is nothing more than a one-dimensional punch line.

Another aspect that has served to endear Gates to whatever audience is still left reading Vibe – a dwindled amount that includes members such as myself – is the attention that is still paid to developing Vibe’s core secondary characters. While it seems that Vibe will start to heavily forge into the DCU proper (with crossovers from such characters like Batman and the Suicide Squad) that Vibe’s brother and father – both of whom are big “character moment” catalysts – have not been pushed to the sidelines as of yet is encouraging. As is the ongoing Gypsy subplot that finally goes into it’s own with this issue and judging by future solicits will be one of the tipping points into the future schism with ARGUS.

Overall Gates does a splendidly entertaining job keeping the various characters of the book and the tone of the book itself consistent with what was already shown. It’s still one of the lightest books that DC Comics has out right now and that is definitely not a bad thing. It’s fun, peppy, and much like a Saturday morning cartoon in the way it’s set up – and there is a sore lack of that. The art, courtesy of Pete Woods and Fabiano Neves, also help to evoke a very fun atmosphere. Here’s to whatever amount this titles has left before it surely reaches the chopping block.




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