Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Justice Society of America #54 review

Jay Garrick, by a graveside, is joined by the villainous Per Degaton. They don't fight, they're here to mourn. We flash back to learn the story behind the coffin

Stupidly named god D'arken has leeched power from the JSA and is on the rampage. The full complement of members show up, but even with the added muscle and brains of the Challengers of the Unknown, nothing seems to stop him.

And Jesse Quick falls.

But she gets up again.

Then Wildcat falls.

But he gets up again.

And Obsidian ... oh, you get the picture? Yes, this is one of those 'who's died?' stories which has fun pulling the rug from under the reader. And readers who don't know there's a universal reboot coming that could bring anyone back to life might even be worried for their favourite hero. (Is there actually anyone out there who doesn't know about Flashpoint and the New 52?)

As it is, Alan Scott apparently dies defeating D'ork, but he'll be back. He's the original Green Lantern, more magical energy than man. He may look more human, but he's like Wildfire of the Legion of Super-Heroes - he'll reform in whichever sliver of the multiverse contains this continuity, without the clunky containment costume he's been sporting of late.

And in some New 52 version of the JSA - rumoured to be coming from James Robinson and Nicola Scott - Alan will be back. And hopefully he'll have plenty of the current JSA members beside him ... but not all. The likes of Red Beetle and I-can't-even-remember-their-names, introduced recently, then given nothing to do by writer Marc Guggenheim, can enjoy a one-way trip to comics limbo.

Readers of last week's Justice League of America #60 may be wondering how the non-pregnant Jesse Quick fits in with the heavily pregnant heroine we saw there. All we can assume is that JLA takes place later/Jesse had the baby/Jesse lost the baby - really, it's anything goes when the universe is changing. Remember how the original Supergirl picked up an extraterrestrial husband off-panel? Things just get wacky.

The appearance by Degaton comes to nothing, he's played as a harbinger of things to come, a passive figure who simply vanishes from the book, forgotten. It's a rare misstep from Guggenheim, whose JSA service has been exemplary.

Jerry Ordway pencils once more, giving the team a fine artistic send-off. As well as his superb draftsmanship, he pays attention to characters, ensuring that the beaten-down Jesse Quick looks suitably mussed up, and Jay Garrick races as he did in his Forties series. And just look at Mike Atiyeh's wonderfully coloured speed trail. There's also good work from letterer Rob Leigh.
Inkers Bob MacLeod and Sean Parsons likewise deserve a nod for their professional finishes.

Overall, though, this issue feels a bit flat. D'arken never shows any personality, and the JSA simply pile on until someone gets lucky. While the team's determination to rebuild at the end is a note of hope, I'd prefer a moment of true triumph.

Happily, there's a wonderfully grandiose cover from Darwyn Cooke, I love it when logos go big.

So that's it for another DC book. Justice Society of America has been a decent series, but I'm ready for a change of tone. With luck, DC will announce the successor title soon.

5 comments:

  1. This is another book I shall miss in the re-vamp, as always an excellent review.

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  2. I hated Guggenheim's run on JSA so much I may never try one of his books again. I might even avoid books written by his children, and his children's children. Bad writing like that does not skip a generation.

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  3. Cheers Rob.

    Ah Pip, you make me smile. But I'm sorry this run wasn't for you. Let's hope the upcoming Earth 2 book pleases the both of us.

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  4. I gotta go with Pip on this, maybe just a bit less extreme. I bailed on the series a few issues back as I just wasn't digging what Guggenheim was doing. I definitely look forward to the reboot

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  5. I just wish the new book would be scheduled :)

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