Current Reviews


JSA: All Stars #8

Posted: Monday, December 15, 2003
By: Shawn Hill

ďAnd Justice for AllĒ

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

Publisher: DC

The legacy heroes are all thatís left of the JSA, as the originals have been spirited away by their devilish foe Legacy. Will they prove up to the task of rescuing their idols and mentors?

This is a mostly enjoyable issue of a rather mixed-bag series I havenít followed that closely. I couldnít pass up this one once I noted Vellutoís art. I loved him on Black Panther, and think heís a great choice to depict this mix of oldest and newer DC heroes.

Velluto adds a seriousness and sense of realism to the story that, even by Johnsí standards, is full of familiar whimsy, magical solutions and tweaks of a very standard formula. Which is not to say itís a bad read, not at all. This denouement issue recalls classic tales of old, with a rather stock villain, a dire series of plots (including the standby one of forcing the heroes to face their worst fears), and a series of last-minute saves brought on by (you guessed it!) teamwork. Even from surly Kendra!

The most interesting parts are the conversations, Johnsí innovative answer to the usual formula of breaking the group into smaller teams to combat their foe. Dr. Midnite admits some of his regrets to Hourman, while Kendra and fate explore their feelings about their ancient shared past. Mr. Terrific and Stargirl get into a theological discussion, a typically Johnsian one where the characters poke right through the edge of their fictive universe (in this case, wondering if itís possible to be an atheist in a world where the gods are demonstrably real) before getting luckily distracted.

When their less than compelling foe proves a little too simple to be true, Johns and Velluto let loose an absolute battle royal that is as rousing as it is old school. While Iím not sure anything new is said that couldnít be (or hasnít been) covered in the main title, this is the most human Iíve ever seen the Green Spectre behave, a welcome deepening of Halís role, and one that, like so much else about this nostalgic series, doesnít forget older precedents.

The cover, by the immensely talented Cassaday, is as beautiful as they all have been. How clever that the oldest heroes get his realistic touch, while their kids are rendered in antique pointillist dots.

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