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Justice Society of America #20

Posted: Thursday, November 6, 2008
By: Erik Norris

Geoff Johns, Alex Ross
Dale Eaglesham & Jerry Ordway, Nathan Massengill & Bob Wiacek (i)
DC Comics
Itís a weird feeling to look at my stack of weekly comics and pin-point a Geoff Johnsí book as the one Iím least looking forward to reading. But thatís how I feel every month now when Justice Society of America hits shelves. The book started off so well, with such a highly emotional, kick-ass first arc that itís disappointing when each subsequent story has drifted farther and farther into mediocrity. Now thatís not to say the writing is any different, a poet hasnít been replaced with a monkey hammering keys on a keyboard. Itís just that JSA has lost a lot of its appeal; being a book focusing on super-hero character studies vs. bombastic action.

I donít think itís fair to place all the blame on Geoff Johnsí shoulders. When you look at the credits for the past ten plus issues you will see another name along side Johns, credited with developing the story: Alex Ross. To create his true vision of a Kingdom Come sequel, Ross has, in a sense, hijacked Johnsí book for his own means; erasing the memory of The Kingdom as being the true sequel to his and Mark Waidís epic. But whether back-door politics factored into this storyís existence or not, the real reason people want to read it is because they hope it delivers a good story. Unfortunately, it hasnít. There are speckles of greatness found inside, but in order to find them, you need to wade through a massive amount of crap. Issue #20 of Justice Society of America is no different.

The main problem with issue #20 is it serves as an interlude to the Kingdom Come sequel that Justice Society of America has been peddling since issue #9. A story-arc that has gone on far longer than it should, has an interlude two issues before it concludes? Am I the only one out of the loop on why this is? The entire issue covers Power Girlís return from Earth-2 and the struggle between the JSA and the Justice Society Infinity (JSI) that followed her from that Earth. Arguments are had, irrationalities are made, and fighting ensues. Then the JSI disappear with an explanation that seems rather easy and not too revolutionary for comic readers even slightly familiar with the concept of DCís multiverse.

I also wasnít huge on the excessive use of Jerry Ordway in this issue of Justice Society of America. I understand the nostalgia factor of having one of the figureheads of Earth-2 pencil that castís segments, but next to Dale Eaglesham, Ordwayís art is just plain boring. People just look ugly and stiff. So seeing both of these artists contribute to varying pages in a single comic is quite jarring because their styles are so wildly difficult. Cool idea in theory, but bad execution.

But Justice Society of America #20 doesnít do everything wrong just like I mentioned before. The whole ďglimmer of greatnessĒ thing. What it does is provide us with some tasty nuggets about Starmanís true mission, and the fallout of the JSAís struggle with the JSI leads to an interesting curveball in regards to Alan Scott and Mr. Terrific. But the truth is, Iím just anxious for this ďsequelĒ to Kingdom Come to wrap up so the series can move on. Itís almost gotten to the point of this story is sullying Kingdom Come more than honoring it.



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