Writer/Artist: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Daniel Henriques
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Bryan Hitch presents JLA #4, the fourth chapter of the “Power and Glory” story arc. The story takes a turn in this issue, as our heroes are confronted with the realities behind Rao’s seemingly irresistible influence.
The art continues to impress in this series. Vibrant colors move the reader through the panels and pace the story well. With JLA, the colors signal not only mood and tone, but also indicate which character is being highlighted. With this many heroes in one story, colors are even more important than stand-alone books. Here, Hitch and Sinclair are well paired and deliver striking colors and movement throughout the issue.
In JLA #4, we learn what we suspected all along: Rao is not all he’s cracked up to be. Green Lantern meets an elderly Rao on ancient Krypton, and learns an unnamed rival who “remained hidden in a citadel of metal and glass” tried to turn the people away from his teachings. The 300-year-old Rao implores Green Lantern to assist in ending their civil war and making peace between Krypton and Argo.
On Earth, Batman gets closer to answers. It seems Rao is able to alter the genetics of people, which manifests itself in utopian belief. This “religion-as-opiate-to-the-masses” theme has run throughout JLA and continues here – with more direct, internal impact on the people. Superman, himself, seems to have predisposition toward belief in Rao, stemming from his Kryptonian origins. At this discovery, the gentle prophets of Rao turn violent, attacking Batman.
Armed with this new knowledge, the heroes are seen gearing up to confront Rao and his prophets in subsequent issues.
Hitch continues to deliver crisp storytelling and vibrant art work with JLA. Readers are getting closer to discovering the truth behind Rao’s sudden appearance on Earth, and the backstory to his alluded involvement in ancient Kryptonian affairs. My interest is peaked and I’m excited to see where this story leads and how these beloved JLA characters continue to develop through this story arc over the coming months.