I feel like a victim of abuse every month I read Justice Society of America. It's like an old girlfriend that you just can't get out of your head, and you want to love, but every time you go back to her she beats you, treats you like crap, or just steals your money. Ya know, that last one actually fits JSA to a tee. It steals your money. Money you could have spent on a much nicer, sweeter, wholesome comic book.
So why do I keep putting myself through these feelings every month? Well it's not because I have to--my editor isn't sitting upon his throne handing this assignment out to me just to watch me squirm. And I don't consider myself a practicing masochist. I guess it's this everlasting hope that Geoff Johns will always deliver A+ superhero work. This hope that for Johns' final Justice Society story he would knock it so far out of the park, returning the series to it's glory days last seen during "Next Age" and leave the book in his wake being considered one of the greatest writers to ever grace the pages of JSA. Well that seems horribly unlikely at this point. And maybe it's because Geoff Johns is sharing the pilot seat with Jerry Ordway on this Marvel family romp but I couldn't be more bored for a final JSA story from such a great superhero writer.
So you now know my feelings towards Justice Society of America #24, but let me break them down, starting with the art. Jerry Ordway has never been a stand out artist in my book. Sure the guy has earned fans' approval by delivering work that is consistently on time as well as defining the current DC family, but here in issue #24 he's just sloppy with his pencils. Black Adam fluctuates in figure size and muscle mass, Stargirl looks like a hooker far overdue for retirement (do they have 401ks?), and all the action sequences just seem flat and lifeless with the angles Ordway has chosen to frame them at. The only time the art is JSA #24 passes for something worthwhile is when Ordway puts down his pencil and hands the baton to Fernando Pasarin for the "Origins and Omens" section of the issue. And it's not that Pasarin's art is fantastic, it's simply adequate, but when stacked next to Ordway's, it looks magnificent.
Writing duties are also handed around amongst a crow. Not only do we have both Geoff Johns and Jerry Ordway writing the main story together, but Matthew Sturges handles the "Origins and Omens" of the book. I'll say, much like with the art of this issue, the strongest writing comes from Sturges' back-up. While it doesn't do a whole heck of a lot to foreshadow exciting coming events, or have me salivating at the potential of the new writing duo (Willingham and Sturges) when they take over, it was still a well written piece carried by the strength of the character vignettes. JSA might have a cast too big for its own good, but it's hard to imagine the book without some of these guys and it was nice to see Sturges return the book to that sense of a character drama instead of an exposition-heavy romp where the characters are backdrop to the actions they need to carry out.
It's going to be hard going to the comic shop next month, seeing Justice Society of America's new issue on the shelf, and not pick it up. Not only because I continue to have faith that Johns could turn this sinking boat around but, like a lot of comic readers, I'm a completest. And being only two issues away from John's farewell seems like reason enough to just stick with the title and see it through. However, I know that's a bad idea, because it means I'm literally throwing money in the trash. I think it's time to move on.
What did you think of this book?
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