Review: 'Justice League of America's Vibe' Had Untapped Potential
2.5Overall Score
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This is a big collection. But given that Vibe's run was 10 issues I am glad they decide to collect the run in one trade. This is DC's New 52 reintroducing a character from the late 1980s Justice League run (remember this fact because it will be mentioned again later) into today's Justice League of America.

The story starts out with Cisco Roman and his brothers Dante and Armando from Detroit stumbling into the first BOOM TUBE arrival of Darkseid's army. Like is true in most clichéd origin stories, Cisco's brother Armando falls victim to the attack, leaving Cisco a bitter youth. But because of his contact with the BOOM TUBE, Cisco is out of sync with the world and gained a "vibrational frequency" like power. Now, years later, he is approached by A.R.G.U.S to become member of the Justice League of America and become their border cop who can locate beings from other dimensions. He agrees and gone is '80s ethnic stereotype Vibe and in his place is a new costume to go with his new powers.

This is a strong launch into a solo book for a C or D tier hero. Writers Johns and Kreisberg set Vibe up in a world that has one foot in the superhero world and the other in the covert world of A.R.G.U.S.. Cisco isn't a born hero as much as he is created to be one by Amanda Waller and his Handler Dale Gunn. He is given his the name, his costume and his role without any input and is introduced to the world as Vibe. The only person that questions his role as hero is his brother Dante. Cisco does have some stars in his eyes and his heart seems to be in the right place, but it is A.R.G.U.S pulling the strings.

This is sort of where the book goes off track. After this moment the JLA become a footnote and A.R.G.U.S takes over…almost literally. This coincides with Sterling Gates taking over the writing. The problem isn't in the voice of the book — the transition is flawless — but it slowly becomes less about Vibe (who apparently has potential to be one to be one of the greatest heroes ever) and more about A.R.G.U.S's past "subjects" and their prisoners. One prisoner in particular is named "Gypsy" – readers of the '80s Justice League Detroit might get excited – but she doesn't become a character as much as she becomes a plot device. She's part of the multiverse thread that starts to run through the latter half of the book which brings back Cisco's "dead" brother Armando as the evil Rupture.

Predictably the two fight and Cisco is wounded and floating through dimensions until he is picked up by possible allies. The leader of these allies is Breacher, Gypsy's father, who is trying to save Earth and other dimensions from his wife, Mordeth, and her lackey Rupture. This all leads to the grand finale, for story and series, as Vibe must fight his brother; rescue Gypsy; defeat Mordeth and return home. Needless to say Vibe does all this tying up the loose ends and learns what is to be a hero. He returns and with a better understand of his powers to sense breaches he demands that Waller works with him to prevent evil like Mordeth from coming to Earth.

For all its mishmash of plots there are good moments in this collection that provide us with some understanding and sympathy for Vibe. When Vibe tracks Kid Flash and we get a look at his powers and good nature and sense of heart. The escape and recapture of Gypsy was interesting – at least until the Suicide Squad appears. The Squad seem a little heavy-handed for the situation and in the end come off looking a little inept.

During these events we start to see Vibe's distrust of his "employers". I expected some more point of view of the DC universe from a character like Vibe, but it felt the book was unsure of what direction it wanted to go. We are subject to a variety of starts and stops like sitting with a driver learning a standard transmission.

The collection has a variety of artists as well. Sometimes different artists in a larger collection can disrupt the flow. Vibe is lucky in that the artists -with a lot of help from consistent color artists- involved had similar styles and the transitions, while not flawless, were not disorienting to the eye or story.

Vibe had a strong start and could have made an interesting series if it had had a better sense of direction. Instead it turned into a book that should have been a miniseries to explain the multiverse in the New 52. In the end its vibrational frequency didn't excite me.

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