Part three of the Supertown story sees a new player show up - the delightfully named Dr Chaos. He steps off a train, full of light-hearted banter, but when we see what he's left on the vehicle - carriages full of corpses - it's obvious he's no joke.
The JSA are trying to put the city of Monument Point back on its feet after the devastation caused by mysterious villain Scythe. The members are run ragged rescuing people and stopping disasters, but at least they have assistance, in the shape of guest star Blue Devil. Dan Cassidy is helping out because it's the right thing to do, though The Flash, Jay Garrick, is surprised - he's looking at Blue Devil and seeing only his demonic facade.
Still, the Golden Ager is knackered, having barely slept for several days, which may also explain the overconfidence and lapse in judgement that allows someone to be murdered at the close of the issue. At least he gets help from Dr Fate - cheekily referred to as the 'Sorcerer Surpeme' - when Lightning, Jennifer Pierce, falls victim to the bad doctor's ministrations while guarding Scythe's cell.
himself is across town, in a wheelchair, making gallows gags and planning a no doubt elegant new costume to help him return to the frontline ...
Good on writer Mark Guggenheim for addressing the issue of how Alan can be seriously injured when he's made of living green flame. The writer also links Alan's inability to regenerate to the fact that just before his run kicked off he created a new community on the moon for magical beings, maintained by the Starheart that powers him. It works for me (click to enlarge).
|Has Alan actually met Oracle? Guess so!|
I'm less happy with Obsidian's portrayal as a near-lunatic hothead after he calmed down a couple of years back, but sadly, most writers consider this his default setting.
This is another good issue, with intriguing wrinkles in the overall storyline. Jay's super-speed quest to do everything he can to help citizens knits the issues various scenes together in a pacy manner while giving us a focus on the man. I think 'driven' is the word for Jay; even when he's knocked out for a second, he bounces right back. I just wish the team members on guard duty at issue's end didn't come across as naive chumps. Let's be kind and say Wildcat and Mr America are too tired to be on their A-game.
Regular artist Scott Kolins is absent this issue, but chameleon-like illustrator Mike Norton steps in and, partnered with equally talented series colourist Mike Atiyeh, keeps the current feel of the book. Rob Leigh letters gracefully, while Shane Davis, Sandra Hope and Barbara Ciardo gift us another gorgeous cover illustration (OK, so it's not a great cover for this particular issue, but Come the Paperback ...).
If you've not tried this run yet, give it a crack. There are some good ideas and splendid moments of characterisation as the JSA embraces a new purpose, all tied up in an attractive package.