I wasn't expecting to have an issue devoted to the secret origin of Ice within the pages of "Justice League: Generation Lost." After all, this is a book about the reunited Justice League International going up against Maxwell Lord, there's no room for anything else, right? As it turns out, wrong.
It's not a bad little diversion for this issue, and when you have two issues published a month, it gives your series a little extra breathing room to stop and do something else without losing momentum. Judd Winick might make some enemies of Ice fans who won't like this new take on the character, but as someone who didn't have a long-standing abiding love for the character, I'm fine with it. It's a good if slightly predictable story about parents trying to protect their daughter, and it gets inside of Ice's head and gives us a little more insight onto how her brain ticks.
The one downside, though, is that as I've been finding myself enjoying "Justice League: Generation Lost" more and more, having this sudden near-screeching-to-a-halt of the rest of the story feels a little odd. There's still nothing else on the Metal Men that were defeated at the end of the previous issue, or even the mission that Fire, Ice, and Rocket Red were on. (Seriously, what happened? It's like everything else just wandered away for this issue.) It's just tossed to the wind, although at least the last two pages touch on Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, and Captain Atom. But in terms of pacing, so much of the issue being about Ice definitely derails things just a bit.
Fernando Dagnino and Raul Fernandez are unfortunately the weakest of the three art teams on "Justice League: Generation Lost," and being perpetually right after Aaron Lopresti and Matt Ryan doesn't help matters because it's hard to keep from comparing Dagnino to Lopresti. Still, it's not bad art, but overall it's much more standard superhero. Ice's new appearance shifts from something soft and flowing and interesting to a form that has six-pack abs, veins bulging off the neck, and a snarl on her face. His forms just are much more every day ordinary for this sort of book, and that's too bad. On the bright side, his drawings of Fire and Ice fighting show a great amount of movement, especially how Fire flies through the air. She comes across fluid and lively, and it's that energy that is Dagnino's strong point and ultimately always has me come around to his art.
"Justice League: Generation Lost" has quietly turned into a rather enjoyable book, after a slightly rough start. I think Winick's developed an ear for these characters, and even despite this sudden detour out of the main plot, I feel like it's going somewhere interesting. With the next issue being the halfway point for the series, it's hard to keep from wondering if this was just a delaying tactic to have a big mid-series climax. Fortunately, we only have to wait two weeks to find out.