Current Reviews


JSA All Stars #8

Posted: Wednesday, December 10, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Sal Velluto (p), Bob Almond (i)

Publisher: DC

As the members of the JSA gather back together having each embarked on separate missions to resolve an unresolved conflict from their pasts, we see they are a bit unsettled by the Spectre's odd insistence that they contact the JLA for help before they can rescue their teammates. However, the JSA are able to uncover the truth of the matter, as well as discover the true identity of the villain as they rescue their captive teammates.

While I'm glad I picked up this miniseries, the story that has acted as the framing device for the individual issues has to be one of the most uninspired pieces of writing I'm ever seen from Geoff Johns. I mean, the JSA run up against a villain that feeds off negative emotions and in order to keep the identity of this villain from the readers Geoff Johns decides the best way to do this is to give an old villain completely new powers. I mean it's a bit like having a group of heroes arrive in a town that has been ripped apart by a massive green brute, and then expecting the readers to be surprised when you offered up a gamma irradiated Daredevil. I mean there's a difference between a genuine surprise that took some thought, and one that is simply manufactured to service the needs of the story. I'd also hesitate to use the word "story" to describe this issue, as it's more a plot recap posing as a climax, which is rather annoying considering the fact that this is a miniseries, and as such I seriously doubt anyone would be picking up the final issue without having first picked up the previous issues. There's as the lame-duck plot resolution as once the identity of the mystery villain is revealed the JSA can't have an easier time of taking him out. I did enjoy the wrath/vengeance aspect of the Spectre making a brief return though, as it gives the character a much needed edge.

As for the art, it's great to see Sal Velluto and Bob Almond are sticking around this corner of the DCU as they make for a wonderful pinch hitting team, and while I'd prefer to see them on a monthly title again, theirs is a nice sense of security to the idea that Peter Tomasi has such a capable art team warming the bench, ready to step in should he need them. They provide a highly detailed style that always impressed me when they were able to provide it on a monthly basis over of "Black Panther", and this issue looks fantastic, as the art not only offers up a wide mix of characters, but there's also a nice range of backgrounds, as we move from the comforts of the JSA base, to devastated ruins for the final battle. The action is also quite solid, as the various attacks convey a nice sense of energy, and the impact shots are also very impressive.

Final Word:
An utterly conventional final chapter and in my mind if one had dropped the opening and closing chapters of this miniseries than this miniseries would've been a far more enjoyable reading experience. Nothing really works all that well in this final issue, as Geoff Johns seems hard pressed to come up with an entertaining finish so instead he tries to fool us into thinking he's crafted a clever story by offering up not one but two moments where the identity of the villain is exposed, and I have to say the true reveal was the more annoying of the two, as it seems like the only reason this character was chosen because it's highly unlikely the readers would've guessed his identity. There's also a bit too much self congratulatory dialogue going on here, as Geoff Johns appears like he's under the obligation to sell the readers on the idea that these are good characters, by having the characters stumbling over themselves to praise their teammates. In the end this is probably the most disappointing effort I've seen from the normally reliable Geoff Johns.

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