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JSA: Classified #7

Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2006
By: Michael Bailey



"Honor Among Thieves Part 3"

Writer: Jen Van Meter
Artists: Patrick Olliffe (p), Drew Geraci (i)

Publisher: DC Comics


Plot: The search for the Cosmic Key reaches its conclusion as Icicle and his crew have to contend dual betrayals at the hands of Talia and Rag Doll.

Commentary: Before I get to the meat of the review, I'd like to take a paragraph or so and discuss the cover of this book. Normally I don't focus a whole lot on the cover in the reviews I write for this site, but this one struck me as awfully uncommonly odd. Comic books covers are a tricky business. You want to have a striking piece of art that will grab the attention of the potential buyer as they peruse the shelf looking for reading material. To me, the cover should not only be a sweet piece of eye candy, but it should also have a little something to do with the story. While I appreciate a great looking cover, if it has little to do with what is going on inside the book then it seems a tad gratuitous.

JSA: Classified #7 had a fantastic cover. This was a great shot of the JSA, and I loved the reflection of the Icicle and his crew in Stargirl's bubble, even if the thought of chewing gum that would somehow produce a shiny surface gives me the creeps. All of the characters look good, especially Dr. Mid-Nite and this is a definite, "We're going to hand you your ass," type of cover. The problem is that this story was not about the JSA. They were in it, but only as a means to an end for the Icicle's group. The battle was pretty short, and the main conflict stems from Talia's crew trying to take the key from Icicle's crew. So putting the JSA on the cover like this seems a bit misleading.

I'm also kind of sad to admit that this was the first time I noticed that Mister Terrific had a T on his face. God, I'm slipping.

Despite what many will perceive as a minor quibble concerning the cover (mainly because it is minor) I enjoyed the heck out of this final installment of the "Honor Among Thieves" storyline. Jen Van Meter wrote a solid story and stayed true to the characters and themes involved. The twists and turns the story took played out nicely, and the action and story came together in a very organic way so that one didn't overpower the other.

The characters were what sold this last chapter for me. Van Meter really had a good handle on them, and it gave the fight scenes a sense of drama. I wanted these people to win even though they are technically the bad guys. I was especially fond of her vision of the Icicle. The internal dialogue went a long way to flesh the character out, and I was taken by his relationship with Tigress. I have to admit their affair really sucked me in, which is a testament to Van Meter's ability as a writer.

Then again I am always a sucker for a good romance.

The Icicle's characterization caused the wheels in my head to turn. At the beginning of this issue, he states that he is trying to be a hero, albeit on his own terms. I liked this. If heroes can do what they do for a variety of reasons (vengeance, altruism, personal glory, etc.) then villains can have their raison d'etre come from similar stock. I'm not suggesting that the only thing separating the heroes from the villains is the law because that would be a rather simple way of looking at the matter and goes into some murky philosophical territory that would take up more time than I want to spend on this review. My point is that if DC is going to bring their books up to the next level of storytelling then the villains need to be just as complex as the villains otherwise it would make for some rather boring stories down the road.

In The End: This story arc was a wonderful set-up for the new Injustice Society. While I have never been the biggest fan of Johnny Sorrow, it was worth it just to put the Icicle, Wizard, Solomon Grundy, Tigress and the rest of the group together. It was a fun ride and had just about everything a good comic book should. The art lived up to the standards set in the previous chapters, and I commend Patrick Olliffe and Drew Geraci on their efforts. Despite the fact that this was only a three part story arc, it felt longer. Jen Van Meter told a tight story that could have been padded out to six issues, but this wasn't the case and the story was better for it.



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