Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Pete Woods
Reviewer: Rob Patey (aka Optimous Douche – Ain’t It Cool News)
VIBE is an important book. Not just because this interdimensional conduit will be the go-to FLASH buster in the newly formed JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA, aka the real JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK (when you think about their mission). It’s also not because it puts Johns back in his wheelhouse of humanizing his heroes by focusing on the family dynamics that make all of really tick. I’d say VIBE is most influential in showing us the panels we missed from JUSTICE LEAGUE 2…I mean…5…fuck, you know what I mean…years ago. I’ll also say that Johns dropped a few possible Easter eggs in here that could make VIBE the herald of the long promised opening of the Multiverse. Yes, the last point is utter conjecture on my part, but a girl can dream can’t she.
OK, VIBE, known for most of this issue as Carlos Ramone, is hired as the FLASH buster for Amanda Waller’s new JUSTICE LEAGUE buster JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA. Forgive me, I meant to say appropriate detainment measure in the event Flash requires persuasive assistance in future choices. It’s the least interesting part about Carlos, and it happens at the end of the book. Although, I will say it’s nice to see the naïve view of a team that’s essentially being founded out of cowardice towards change. For the real doings go see my review of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA.
Now, what I liked best was the book’s second virtue – family and genuine every day slices of life before our teeth get kicked in by the fantastic. It’s amazing how pivotal Detroit has become to the New 52, but I’ll allow this geographic narcissism since my first book is coming out soon and it’s set my home town, Philly. First rule of writing, write what you know. Personally I would rather see authenticity through experience than some of the trite clichés writers use about towns they haven’t been to (WE DO MORE THAN EAT CHEESESTEAKS). So once we’re intimate with the location we meet the Brothers Ramone. Good for DC on racial diversity, good for Johns for never turning to stereotypes. Between these guys, Baz and Billy though, I will say we’re having a run on of impoverished characters, but I’ve seen specials on Detroit, so this just might be closer to reality than I care to admit. Anyway, the Brothers Ramone were at ground zero when Darkseid attacked…2…I mean 5…I mean 7…dammnit…years ago. Carlos, his jocular older brother, who will be the salvation of the family by getting into college, and his younger gadfly Brother who just wants to play soccer and mooch are all the first victims of parademon bloodlust. Lil bro hides, big bro dies and Carlos is forever changed by being caught in the wake horizon of a Boom Tube. 5 years later, Carlos is trying to save more money when not phasing out of space time. It was pretty funny watching him work in an appliance store given his affliction for not showing up clearly on camera. These little moments made me care much more about Carlos’ fate when he unleashes his full VIBE awakening on the parademon that killed his Brother.
Speaking of little moments. What Johns did in 4 pages in this issue, I didn’t once feel in the first 12 issues of JUSTICE LEAGUE. This was what we needed to see more of, less posturing and big attacks. I actually would have given JUSTICE LEAGUE, leagues of leeway had it a sister book like this being published in tandem at the same time. But, since other books were in the here and now, I mean then and when, all we got were the broad strokes. VIBE shows us just how much pain Darkseid wrought upon this world. I also would recommend EARTH 2 if you want to see another close intimate portrayal of the Darkseid invasion. It’s a pivotal moment that I always felt deserved more…justice.
Now again, this is mere conjecture on my part, but again I am going to conject. I could have sworn when the A.R.G.U.S. agent was explaining Carlos’ powers he said he exists between dimensions. I could also have sworn he said that Boom Tubes are interdimensional gateways. I think when Carlos isn’t Flash busting it would be fun to see him traveling the 52 worlds. I don’t read Previews because playing out these scenarios is an important part of the hobby for me. As I understand things Morrison won’t be doing DC books shortly, and short of getting Warren Ellis on board, it would be nice to see what Johns and VIBE can do with the most controversial revelation from FINAL CRISIS.
To say I dig VIBE is an understatement. I’ll admit I don’t love his costume, but Woods supported Johns pacing in spades – to the point it sometimes in felt like individual panels were moving. Johns is the type of writer that works best on pages with more panels plain and simple. Woods just says show me where to draw.
Read KATANA and VIBE before you read JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA. No matter what the covers say, trust me.