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Progressive Lantern

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Subj: My late reviews of "Justice Society of America" issues #1 and #2... just in case [SPOILERS]
Posted: Sun Feb 25, 2007 at 10:48:54 pm EST
Reply Subj: Re: How powerful is Power Girl now?
Posted: Fri Mar 02, 2007 at 12:43:14 pm EST

...as some may know (or not, if that's the case, I'm clarifying), I get my comics one month later due to my subscription system at my local comic shop. Not only that, when they got me the JSA stuff, they skipped issue #1! Fortunatly, I didn't have to wait so long till they actually got me a copy, so here are my impressions about these after just reading them:

Justice Society of America #1: First of all, great cover. I'm not Alex Ross' greatest fan, but I won't take any merit away from his work. He's a great artist, just not my first choice. Even then, I gotta say that I like his composition, I love covers featuring so many characters, I love the fact that every character on the cover just got the same level of carefulness and detail in it's portrayal, love the table, and the new logo is nice, very modern, but I liked the first one used in the prior series, better.
The issue opens with a splash-page of the team running to face whatever menace they got to fight during the World War III storyline yet to be published, at the end of "52", which covers the missing year. So, that first page is continuity-wise, placed before the arc written by Paul Levitz at the end of the prior volume. Just an observation, that's all.
Loved the new Mr America, I hated seeing how his story ended, but at some point it became a little obvious that it was going to end like that. Still, loved his scenes. We're introduced to him, got an explanation about his past, we see him solving a case and fighting. And then dying. Good enough for me. Still, a shame; in such a short appearance he showed much more potential than many.
The conversation between Alan and Jay at the membership selection reunion had me wondering... Hourman II and Jesse (now Liberty Belle) married off-panel. I hate that. I love superhero weddings, and they just got to marry two superheroes without even making an special issue, or something like that to honour such an event properly. At Marvel, Black Panther and Storm had been graced with a miniseries and Luke Cage and Jessica Jones with a New Avengers Annual. Why can't we have two JSAers getting married in a similar event? Yes, I know that none of either Hourman or Liberty Bell are as prominent as Black Panther or Storm, but even Black Adam (a villain) got more respect... he got married on panel, at least. Heck, we even missed their dates! This didn't happen in the days of Marv Wolfman and George Perez in The New Teen Titans! We've seen Donna dating Terry, and their wedding!
The best bit about the Damage vs Rebel fight was Hourman and Liberty Belle's appearance. Not because I was so bothered by all the unnecessary cursing (I was), or Damage being so lousy to the point of not caring at all for destroying the policemen's car (I didn't, really), or because I thought that Damage being suddenly bulkied up was done mostly due to having him fill the shoes of a prior member with a similar build, honoring the same legacy (now, THAT really bothered me... please have each character being distinctive, Damage is supposed to be honoring his father after all, he doesn't need to look like Atom Smasher, too), but because they were fun and lighthearted... and Jesse's face was priceless at the end of page 16.
That villain that Mr America fought, Catalyst... wasn't he the same that worked with Kobra and had Air Wave imprisoned at Blackhawk's Island in an early issue of the prior volume? When Sand was still the leader?
Cyclone reminds me a lot of Vanessa Kapatelis, another young redhead teenager from the George Perez era on Wonder Woman. They're very similar physically and personality-wise. Not saying that they ripped-her off, just pointing at how I've seen this type of character before. Only difference is that, unlike Vanessa, this one's a super-powered heroine.
Totally loved the Superman movie tribute with Starman saving the press helicopter in such a similar fashion, complete with a Lois Lane-like reporter and all. Something else: when he enters singing at the assylum, he says: "All four colors. Color kids and polar boys". I'm not a Legion expert but I think that Color Kid and Polar Boy were members of the Legion of Superheroes during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Correct me if I'm wrong. If I'm not mistaken, Polar Boy was even the leader of the Legion at some point.
What seemed odd to me was Dr Mid-nite not realizing about that Doctor's intentions who was hitting on him. Jeez, he dated Black Canary for crying out loud! What happened to him, there?!
"There's a star on Thanaghar, I've dreamt about it. Ha! 52!" Starman seems seriously perturbed, but I that he's just proccessing so much information coming from who-knows-where, that it makes his psyche unbalanced. Which means that he might be a key player in uncovering some mysteries and bringing a lot more understanding to things to unfold in upcoming stories. Maybe we should watch about his role in the upcoming "Countdown". Time will tell.
Now the last page definatly supports that theory. Starman makes another of his cryptic's comments ("It's the Doctor, the one with no face") and then we see Downstar's arm and she's saying "I have to go. I have to track down Starman".
Finally, the Earth-2 Superman seems to be coming out of his grave, and the Kingdom Come Superman is watching from above. To where/what? Who knows. All of these are interesting subplots, and seems to me that they are strongly pointing at the return of the Multiverse, which was already confirmed by interviews and panels at conventions.
This was a great issue to introduce the characters and full of subplots everywhere, I hope we see them resolved in proper time, but I have a feeling that most of them will be resolved during the time in which "Countdown" is being published.
The only comment I'm doing on the art, is that Dale Eaglesham totally rocked, just as much as he did in Villains United. I love his renditions of the JSAers.

Justice Society of America #2: This issue's cover isn't anywhere near as spectacular as #1's but it follows on the trend of Alex Ross' covers to the prior volume during Geoff Johns' last storylines, before Levitz's story-arc. It features Starman, and I think that despite being a typical pin-up cover, it just hits on the nail, as Starman is certainly the character that the direction of the book seem to be revolving around, despite existing other parallel story-arcs that are being developed as well.
The issue starts introducing us at the new seemingly future carrier of the Steel (Commander Steel) legacy that was also followed by the late former member of the "Justice League Detroit". He's interesting, I think. I'm looking forward to his future appearances.
Near the end of the prior issue, Wildcat was introduced to a missing son of his, and here they get to know each other. The kid was very down to Earth, and I thought that he had a lot of repressed resentment, and was as heavy an smoker as John Constantine... but he was still likable, somehow.
It was very interesting to see the reactions of all the JSAers at Trey Thompson's body after he crashed through window. Notice Damage with his hand raised, covering his mouth. His way is more male-ish, but he's doing the same than Cyclone. He was really shocked. Even then, the one who really cracked was Starman... boy, what a reaction! Everything got to levitate, when gravity was negated by Starman's powers... which confirmed my theory about him (specially after his explanation of how his powers work) being the same character from the Legion of Superheroes of the Crisis on Infinite Earths era, when characters like Dawnstar and Sensor Girl were around, and the original Supergirl was dating Brainiac-5 before getting killed.
By the way, we got another hint to Kingdom Come-related events at the end of the scene, when Starman says: "...there's a storm coming. A lightning storm!"
Mr America's autopsy raised a point that I haven't thought about when I finished reading issue #1: not only Mr America was killed, but all of his bloodline as well. Which makes me think about Jack Knight. Jeez, I hope they just leave him alone. Please, Geoff...
Those villains at the picnic, even the one who was fighting Hawkman... they're all from Kingdom Come, right? I know that Swastika is.
Final page, Starman unmasks. I was right, he's the Legion guy, and he's somehow, a link to events to come involving the Kingdom Come Universe, which points at some Multiverse related story. That is very clear, now I want to see those stories unfold!

"Alright you primitive screw-heads, listen up. See this? This is my boomstick! It's a 12-gauge double-barreled Remington. S-Mart's top of the line. You can find this in the sporting goods department. That's right, this sweet baby was made in Grand Rapids, Michigan; retails for about one hundred nine, ninety-five. It's got a walnut stock, cobalt blue steel, and a hair trigger. That's right, shop smart, shop S-Mart!"
(by Ash Williams, from Army of Darkness).

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