Current Reviews


Justice Society of America #17

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Geoff Johns, Alex Ross
Fernando Pasarin, Prentis Rollins & John Stanisci (i), Hi-Fi (c)
DC Comics
This is more like it! This is the first issue of the Kingdom Come tie-in arc that actually feels like it carries some weight. This is the type of stories I have been expecting from Justice Society of America since the series re-launched with the excellent “Next Age” arc. Justice Society of America’s greatest strength has always been in telling compelling stories about the relationships and family dynamic of the team, not about the bombastic super heroics. Well issue #17 delivers the goods throughout the course of this entire issue.

Spoilers Discussed Below

Where do I start? Well I guess I will remind readers of my own stupidity from last month’s review. With Justice Society of America #16 I disliked how they handled all the plot progression with Damage, claiming that they ended his story arc and how he will now begin to step into the shadow of the overly large cast, never to be spotlighted again. Well god damn, I was wrong. The opening of Justice Society of America #17 makes me more intrigued with the character than I have ever been. It shows a chipper Damage as he parades around the Society halls sporting his new face. Cyclone is astonished at Grant’s fine looks, and Grant knows it. It was a truly memorable scene that makes me excited for the Damage / Cyclone dynamic in future issues, as well as how the rest of the cast reacts to a character whose angst has completely disappeared. The scene also sets the stage for the barrage of epic face-melting JSA #17 delivers in regards to wish fulfillment.

I think we need a roll call for everyone that gets their heart's desire in this issue. Sand gets a full night’s rest with wonderful dreams. Dr. Mid-Nite gets his eyesight back. Holy shit! This scene was by far the highlight of the book for me and you can probably tell by my written words, I was totally geeking out over this. And for bashing Fernando Pasarin no less than a month ago for his lack of rendering emotion, he knocked this particular scene out of the park. Pieter’s reaction is perfectly rendered, showing him as surprised as the reader. Then there’s Starman, finally making sense, though his foreboding words do not sit well. And finally, Power Girl, who gets sent home to her friends and family on Earth-2 (continued in the JSA Annual about 2 weeks away). All of these sequences come in rapid succession that you barely have time to dwell on the epic nature of each, taken on their own. These are huge, huge, huge plot developments for this cast. And the point is perfectly driven home by Hawkman’s discussion with Hawkgirl that something gigantic is about to happen, and the depth of this roster is about to be shaken to its very core.

Mr. Terrific also gets a great character piece in this issue when he visits Dr. Mid-Nite in church with mixed feelings about his choice of atheism since he has literally set his eyes on a walking, breathing god. He recounts the death of his wife and his desire to believe even though reasoning and science permits him. It’s a powerful moment that I’m sure will be expanded upon as “Gog” continues.

Though I still feel the first arc of this epic over-arching storyline, “Thy Kingdom Come,” ran a bit long without proper resolution, “Gog” is already started to deliver the payoff of the entire epic by its second installment. The scope has been turned up to 11, at least, and “Gog” looks to be aiming at really shaking up the status quo of the Justice Society, and maybe even the entire DC Universe. Let’s just hope Geoff Johns and Alex Ross’ stomach is as big as their appetites and the story doesn’t fizzle out by carrying on for too long and drowning out the momentum. Justice Society of America #17 is a perfect example of the type of superhero comics I look for today; one’s whose emphasis is delivering a sense of epic simply through rock solid characterization.

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