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JLA’s Vibe #5 – Review: Suicide Run

Justice League of America’s Vibe is not long for this world; this is something that is an unsaid and unwritten fact. In a world where old standards such as Legion of Super-Heroes are cancelled then what kind of chance does a low seller like JLA’s Vibe have? The meat of this matter is that this series has so far shown a lot of potential for an inevitably doomed ongoing.

As cannot be stated quite enough the title has been the fountain spring of a multitude of fun, light, moments that are in short supply in the overall picture of the DC Comics Universe currently. Its own genesis might have itself been a part of some sort of gimmick train (being a spin-off of the touted JLA) but the series is one of the most straight shooting books from DC’s stable. That it concerns the perpetual nobody Vibe makes the whole enterprise a grand exercise in whether or not good writing can equal sales and/or attention.

Unfortunately, going by the actual sales figures, the answer is that unless you’re making large gimmicks or swerves in your “narrative” by doing something purposefully to catch news sites people will still buy the lesser titles that do so. Vibe’s narrative is tight where others are loose. The characterization is spot-on and fleshed out where others are flat and cardboard. Plot developments are believable and work without outside influence. Due to it’s nature of being cut off from the rest of the DCU at large for the most part it is free to act within its own limits. It’s a thrilling experience.

All of that is not to forget that Vibe has to be one of the rising stars in terms of personality and overall character in the DCU right now. He’s fun, energetic, and enthusiastic. His pure natured good-hearted shtick is a quiet relief from other series trying to add false pathos and grimness to their main characters. To restate something that I've stated a lot, the family dynamic is simply sublime and adds more emotional depth to a character no one would have expected emotional depth from. Dynamics such as these are also in short supply. JLA’s Vibe #5 is no different in exacting this kind of lighthearted tone from out hero – as it concerns him trying to protect the “New 52” version of Gypsy from Amanda Waller and her "Suicide Squad".

It’s a plethora of nice, idealistic, set pieces from our hero but also coupled with interesting – vibrant – action sequences. The only flaw I could possibly put to the issue is the amazingly clear incompetence of Amanda Waller. It’s distracting and its presence causes a lot of eye rolls. The only pass it has is that it’s being played as a plot point – how terribly inept she is. Other than those small portions the issue flows well and ends on a very captivating cliffhanger.

Sterling Gates has been knocking it out of the park with this series, doing what was done in the first issues with Geoff Johns and expanding upon it with a lot of skill.  Artist Pete Woods has also brought a lot to the table with the cartoonish, but not in a bad way in the least, colorful and very slick style. Together it makes for fun, enjoyable, and light reading. This series is not going to be a hit any time soon, and will eventually get its pink slip – but I’d advise to enjoy it while it lasts. 



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