JSA: All-Stars #7

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
“Fair Enough”
Writer: Geoff Johns & David Goyer
Artists: Dave Ross & Anibal Rodriguez

“The Strange Case of Mr. Terrific and Doctor Nil”
Writer: Michael Chabon
Artist: Michael Lark

This comic contains two stories. The first features the current Mr. Terrific. After visiting his wife’s grave, Mr. Terrific is attacked by two men. After they fight, Terrific discovers they work for the US Department of Extra-Normal Operations. Terrific breaks into the offices of DEO and confronts the director, a guy named Bones. The back-up features the Golden Age Mr. Terrific, Terry Sloane. In this story, it’s the holidays and Terry’s brother Ned has come to visit. Terry is the golden boy of the family and can do no wrong, while Ned is the black sheep. He’s an alcoholic and a gambler and a screw-up. When Terry hosts a costume party, Ned discovers that his brother’s life has been threatened.

I really don’t get the point of this series. Each issue features a rather forgettable lead feature in which a member of the JSA comes to an epiphany about their life. The stories all seem short and perfunctory – they are an attempt at creating depth for the characters, but they seem to lack depth somehow. The backups, on the other hand, bring in critically acclaimed creators such as Howard Chaykin, Loeb and Sale, Darwyn Cooke and this issue’s Michael Chabon to create stories. Some of the tales have been memorable, but they just make me thirsty for longer stories by these creators. In other words, I find myself wishing the tales were reversed and the backup story was the longer story.

Issue 7 is really no exception to this, except that the backup feature is as long as the lead feature. The lead is amazingly forgettable – I’ve literally picked up this comic three times and started to read the first story before I’ve remembered I’ve already read it. The backup, written by Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon of The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay, features wonderful art by Michael Lark of Gotham Central and a charming and fun story. It’s nothing special, really, but Chabon manages to breathe some life into clichéd characters.

Final Word:
Michael Chabon is a fine writer and it’s nice to see him work in comics. He creates a nice back-up in a decent comic. Hopefully DC will commission a sequel to this series that features longer JSA stories by different creators. That could be very cool indeed.

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