Let's start this bullet review off with an confession. I never ever ever ever thought I would be buying a comic with Vibe as the lead. One, I never thought that there would be a Vibe comic. Two, I had no interest in Vibe at all. I thought he was something of a joke in the Justice League Detroit book. And I really didn't like the Detroit books to begin with. So two major hurdles would need to be cleared for me to even try an issue.
And yet, here I am bullet reviewing Justice League of America's Vibe #3.
Why am I here?
For one, Sterling Gates took over as writer with this issue. As long time blog friends know, I loved Gates' run on Supergirl. Vibe is a young character, just developing his powers and learning the ropes. Thematically, it sounds like it is right in Gates' wheelhouse. So how could I not try this book. Knowing Gates' was coming on, I bought the first two issues, penned by Andrew Kreisberg and Geoff Johns.
Furthermore, Pete Woods is on art and he is one of those artists whose work is so appealing for me. I have loved his work on everything he's done so right writer and right artist to grab me!
But also, I have to say I am a bit intrigued with this version of Vibe. This isn't just a kid with sonic powers. He is vibrationally attuned to the planet. He can detect incursions from other dimensions and as a result can be used to detect invasions. With Apokolips having done some major damage to Earth years ago, the government wants to be prepared. If Vibe is going to detect these interdimensional incursions, it means we, as readers, might see a bunch of older DC characters. Characters stuck in comics limbo might end up back here.
So those are the reasons I am here. Here is a brief look at the last issue.
I think DC must realize that they have an uphill battle convincing the comic audience that Vibe is something new and different and important.
So opening scenes like this with Amanda Waller walking through ARGUS and telling Dale Gunn that Vibe is a crucial player in the defense against interdimensional breachers. Not only can his powers potentially shake the Earth apart but he could become ... wait for it ... one of the world's greatest heroes.
I don't mind hearing it this early in the series but I hope it won't become a monthly statement. Remember when every issue of James Robinson's JLA that he had someone pointing to Congorilla and Jesse Quick saying 'THIS IS THE JUSTICE LEAGUE!' I get it. And I am willing to accept it!
But one thing I like about this is the dichotomy of the book. On one side is ARGUS wanting to train (and control) Vibe, using him as a soldier in their war. On the other side is the sort of innocence and optimism of Cisco who wants to embrace his new super-hero persona by patrolling and representing.
This isn't an angsty teen weighed down by his powers. This is someone who wants to use his powers for good.
Unfortunately, Cisco has been keeping his powers and new role with the JLA and ARGUS from his father. The problems of a secret identity are part of the undercurrent of the book. It is a classic conundrum for the young hero.
Now the main story here is Waller sending Vibe to face off against Kid Flash. While not a breacher, Kid Flash's speed is vibrational and Vibe can hone in on him. Somehow this cross-reactivity allows Vibe to psychically link with Bart, peek into his history, and learn about him.
Despite being told to 'bring him in', Vibe breaks rank figuring the right thing to do is to help Kid Flash.
For me, this is going to be the gold of this series. Vibe is going to continue to run into problems with ARGUS; he is going to realize that maybe ARGUS isn't 100% on the level and he is going to need to follow his own moral compass. That is an angle that I hope will be explored more and more.
Again, we hear how powerful Vibe is, even if he doesn't realize it. There could be negative feedback of this connection that could unravel time!
But my favorite part of this book is 'The Circus', the area of ARGUS where breachers have been imprisoned. In the first issue, we saw some familiar faces. Pariah! A Scissorman! And Gypsy.
Gypsy gets the most face time and is clearly going to be a player here. When Vibe's powers, from a distance, temporarily knock out the power grid at ARGUS, Gypsy uses her powers to escape. It is the oldest play in the book for a shapeshifter, appearing as a captured guard. Once freed, she takes out the real guard and takes off. Now Gypsy, in the old DCU could camouflage herself. Here she is something new.
Who else is down there? I have some suggestions!
So not a bad beginning for a title I am surprised to be buying. The friction between Vibe and ARGUS's goals is going to be the big draw for me. The possibility of classic inter-dimensional characters showing up is some nice spice. And Gates' sensibilities on a young hero along with Woods' slick art.