As a fan of comics since my teenage years the JSA was never on the forefront of my buy list. In fact, it was never even recommended to me at my local shop. The characters are from another time, another era. Unlike Superman, Batman, the X-Men they never evolved. Now that I’m beyond my formative years and can better appreciate comics on a broader spectrum of value; I love them for that.
The Justice Society of America has had myriad writers over the years, but it’s hard to argue that Geoff Johns has done more with these characters than many if not most of them. He found a way to make the team relevant in today’s society without placating to a younger generation by arbitrarily changing the dynamic of the characters themselves. Instead he approached it from a legacy perspective.
What happens when heroes retire? What happens when they fall in love? Generally they make super-powered offspring who eventually are bent on stepping from the shadows of their parents to prove they aren’t merely progeny, but their own person. Johns walks the line between preacher and harbinger by bringing the generations together.
Teaming with Alex Ross on several issues from these next arcs in the JSA storylines the Elseworlds Superman appears in regular continuity and claims he was sent to prevent the events that ruined his world. Along the way a long-forgotten god named Gog lying dormant in an African mountain is awoken and turns out to be benevolent. Acting by a desire to help and provide answers to the prayers of so many he: cures Dr. Mid-Nite’s blindness, Sends PowerGirl back to “her” universe and fixes Starman’s addled mind.
What he couldn’t have perceived and none of them had the forethought to realize was the adverse, tragic and dangerous consequences these actions would result in. In the end, Dr. Mid-Nite, without his “special sight” is unable to save a fellow hero who had been attacked and Gog steps in again to resurrect the felled solider and creates the monster Superman feared most.
Much like any Johns storyline there are so many active characters it seems impossible that he could keep all the plots and subplots correct in his head much less on the page. But with the aid of several masterful artists the panels and pages flow with ease and the characters grow with each new situation.
The thing I enjoyed most of all of it, is the Earth-22 tie-in and the ending of the story. It’s a treat for all us Kingdom Come fans out there. Don’t miss it.
Johns made JSA a relevant team again and he did it with solid writing, excellent character development and skilled choices. Overall he set the franchise up to be successful after he took his leave of the property.
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Till next Wednesday…