Graphic Novel Review

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  • Written By: Geoff Johns
  • Art By: Dale Eaglesham, Art Thibert, Alex Ross
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: $19.99


By Tim Janson     September 30, 2007

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA by Geoff Johns, Dale Eaglesham, Art Thibert, and Alex Ross
© DC Comics
I’ve always been a big Justice Society fan. There’s just something mythical about the team. They are the first, and arguably, truest team of superheroes. They are dedicated to the ideals of heroism and have been relatively uncorrupted by the kind of cynicism we’ve seen in so many other superhero titles in the past decade. One wonder’s why DC allowed the team to linger almost unnoticed for so long throughout the 1960’s through the 1990’s. There were multiple guest appearances, limited series, and off-shoot titles like All-Star Squadron and Young All-Stars, but finally the team received its due when getting its own title in the late 90’s and they have enjoyed enormous popularity since.
This hardcover collects the first four issues of the brand new JSA series launched in December 2006. Now I’m not crazy about the constant restarts in comics these days but I’ll take what I can get when it comes to the JSA. The story really mirrors the events in the new Justice League series as the veteran members, in this case The Flash, Green Lantern, and Wildcat begin to evaluate and choose new team members. The new team will include other recent members such as the Doctor Mid-nite, Mr. Terrific, Power Girl, Star Girl, and Hourman, along with new members such as Cyclone, the granddaughter of Ma Hunkel, the original Red Tornado, Damage, and the new Starman. The new Starman is the Thom Kallor incarnation who suffers from a mental disorder which makes him ramble incoherently, and yet displays an innate brilliance when he solves a complicated mathematical equation that Mr. Terrific was working on. We will also learn that Wildcat, Ted Grant, has a grown up son that he didn’t know about. His son will reveal that he has a startling secret of his own!
The search for new team members is framed around a story of someone engineering the assassinations of former JSA members…but they are not just killing the heroes, they are killing their families as well. They want to completely eradicate the JSA heritage and destroy their lineage forever. This makes a powerful statement about the JSA and why I said the JSA are the truest team of superheroes. While the Marvel Universe fights amongst itself and the JLA undergoes it’s umpteenth crisis, it is the JSA who is perceived to be the real threat to the villain orchestrating the murders.
The villainous muscle is provided by the Fourth Reich, a group of German supervillains led by the old Captain Marvel foe, Captain Nazi. They mercilessly attack and kill the members of Commander Steel’s family at a family reunion, leaving only one survivor. Meanwhile, Wildcat is knocked cold and left to fend for himself against the JSA’s greatest foe, the immortal Vandal Savage!
This story is great for its pure simplicity. Hero vs. villain…good vs. evil…there are no shades of gray here. Is it manipulative? Well hell yeah! But only because the superhero landscape has been so muddled in recent years that we’ve been conditioned to accept pessimism and suspicion as normal. This is why Geoff Johns is one of the best writers of superhero stories around today and the JSA could be in no better hands than his. This new team is a dynamic group consisting of veteran leaders, and fresh, enigmatic faces. The new Starman and Sandman have secrets left to reveal as does the new Wildcat. Complementing the fantastic art of Eaglesham and Thibert are the brilliant covers of Alex Ross who brings a flair for the dramatic in everything he does. Great book…and great new series!


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metalwater 9/30/2007 12:40:08 AM
A Justice Society movie would be good.
Yeoman 9/30/2007 2:37:19 AM
I read on some comic book site recently (can't remember which one) that they seem to be setting this book up (and maybe JLA and some other books) to fall in line with the Kingdom Come Story, even though Kingdom Come was an Elseworlds story. example, the new character Cyclone closely resembles the Red Tornado in Kingdom Come series. I thought the idea of this was kind of cool, even if it didn't actually happen, but to make it seem like it could fit, Kingdom Come was one of my all time favorite comic stories.
TayDor 9/30/2007 6:55:26 PM
I doubt this will go overwell. The general public will confuse it with JLA and wonder where Batman and Superman are. Most won't have heard of JSA. I used to collect comics in my college years and I hadn't recalled JSA.
EvilMonkey 9/30/2007 7:53:43 PM
Well since Kingdom Come is now one of the 52 universes in the brand spanking new DC multiverse, I doubt that will happen now. Though you may be interested to know that the KC Superman just popped up at the end of the latest JSA.
muchdrama1 9/30/2007 9:31:50 PM
I'm not sure why this is called a "Graphic Novel"...it's a harcover trade, sure...but stand alone graphic novel? No.
Yeoman 9/30/2007 10:27:25 PM
Well thanks for ruining the ending for me evilmonkey!! I didn't know Kingdom Come was considered one of the universes, how do you know that? Was that in 52, or some other series? Damn this shit is getting confusing, and what is this Countdown nonsense? Do I really care where the Atom is, or whatever character they say is missing that no one noticed? And has anyone seen the Kingdom Come Absolute Edition? 75 damn dollars!! And I can't open it to see if it's worth it or not.
Bolphunga 10/1/2007 9:07:32 PM
Yeoman, The Kingdom Come Absolute Edition is worth the money. The Alex Ross art in that format is amazing. You'll notice details you didn't before in the smaller format. Look at the walls in the Planet Krypton scene at the end. If you're a Border's reward member, wait for a 20% off coupon and get it.


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