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JSA: The Unholy Three #1

Posted: Sunday, February 23, 2003
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Dan Jolley, Tony Harris
Artists: Tony Harris(p), Ray Snyder(i), J.D. Mettler(c)
Publisher: DC

JSA: The Unholy Three is a masterful presentation that without losing heroic content uses fully its status as an elseworld graphic novel. World War II is over, and the cold war has begun. According to the authors however the presence of the super-hero changes what we know as history. For instance, the Martian Manhunter's existence in the last series gives NASA a ten year head start and the U.S. victory in a space race that Russia didn't even know started.

Against this well-reasoned backdrop, Batman adjusts to civilian life. Less grim, more positive about his mission, Batman seems to be having more fun as he weeds Gotham. The attitude shows Batman to be sane and without exposition contrasts peacetime with the horrors of war. While everybody knows Tony Harris can sketch, he shows a cunning in the design within his artwork. Batman drives a big boat of a car that's slightly Utopian, and his non-lethal tools are cool and clever not mean-spirited and edgy.

The Clock (Hourman) returns to his field at Tyler Chemicals. He also seems to be as happy as Bruce and must be prodded back to "active status." Although still taking Miraculo, no references to drug use are explored. The book isn't the place for such discussion, and the authors wisely leave out such "maturity."

Both Rex and Bruce do a lot of smiling, seem more human and exhibit more emotion than the typical clenched teeth range of the super-hero. The banter and interaction between the two heroes further lightens the mood and contrasts the terror instilled by a smart updating of a classic Superman villain. These heroes almost seem at play in this first chapter of what I predict will be an enjoyable series, and you get a sense that no matter how bad or gruesome things look, nothing can compare to the horrors of the Nazis.



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