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Saturday August 1, 2009 10:45 pm

DC Comics Review: Justice Society of America #29




Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, DC Comics

JSA29

Rating: ***

I have given Geoff Johns a lot of praise in numerous posts over the past few months.  So I won’t go into that here.  I mentioned before how I was disappointed that he’d be leaving the Justice Society of America and hoped that the new writers would do well because I love these characters.  After a two-issue guest stint by Jerry Ordway, the new writing team of Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges begins here in issue #29.  Jesus Merino is the new artist for the title and begins his run here as well.  I liked his work here.  It’s strong and it reminds me a bit of the work that was done by the previous artist, Dale Eaglesham.  Willingham and Sturges do a good job, but they didn’t knock my socks off with their first issue in control.

The two writers are best known for their critically acclaimed work on the Vertigo title Jack of Fables a spin-off of the Vertigo title Fables which is also written by Willingham.  I’ve never read these titles, so this is the first time I’ve been introduced to their work.  The story here was okay.  It revolves around two things that may be connected somehow by the end of the story arc.  Flash discovers a black orb in the JSA headquarters.  It’s a mysterious orb and the team doesn’t know what it is or where it came from.  After some investigating, the team discovers that the orb is in fact their teammate Obsidian.  Somehow his body has transformed into this orb and Mister. Terrific takes it upon himself to investigate why this has happened.

A smaller side plot is also intertwined between the two major events that occur in this issue.  In this issue we see two new junior members join the team.  One is a sidekick to the current Mister America.  Evidently the Golden Age Mister America had a sidekick called the All-American Kid.  I did some research and I didn’t find a reference to the character on Wikipedia so this might be a retcon.  The original Kid was killed during World War II and the new one is the great-nephew to the original.  The second is a young boy named King Chimera.  He is the son of a Golden Age character named King Standish.  A little known character who didn’t show up immediately after a Google search.  He’s arrogant and has the power to create illusions.

As all of this is going on, an emergency call comes in as the super-villain Tapeworm has taken some hostages and is calling out Wildcat.  He says that if Wildcat doesn’t come down to face him, he will start killing hostages.  The JSA decides to all go down and face off against Tapeworm in order to squash the situation quickly.  Mister Terrific stays behind to try and solve the mystery of Obsidian.  The two new junior members are told to stay behind as well. 

After the JSA arrive at the scene, they soon realize it’s an ambush and they come face-to-face with a whole bunch of super-villains.  What makes the situation interesting to the JSA is that each villain seems to have been hand-picked to face off against each of the JSA members and they are able to take them out easily one-by-one.  For some reason, Stargirl is left alone and both she and the Flash are the only ones standing at the end of the battle.

At the JSA headquarters, the All-American Kid becomes possessed and makes his way to Mister Terrific and begins stabbing him in the back.  The last page shows Terrific bleeding to death on the floor.  I’m not sure how all of this is connected, but it would seem to make sense that someone is targeting the JSA from the attacks at the headquarters to the one-on-one battle.  The group of villains are mostly B-level characters and I don’t think they are an official team.  So who is behind all of this that caused Obsidian to become an orb, possessed All-American Kid, and got a whole bunch of super-villains to take out the rest of the team?  I don’t know enough about DC history to start going down the list of possible suspects, but I’m intrigued.

As I said, the story was okay, but I wasn’t pumped up after all was said and done.  I don’t know about adding two new members.  How many people are on this team now?  I do like All-American Kid.  He seems cool so far.  Maybe they’re going to split the team in two.  All-Star Squadron maybe?  I would prefer that.  When there are too many characters on a team, sometimes characters get lost in the shuffle.  I would have Power Girl lead the JSA and the Flash or maybe Hourman lead the second team. 

I’ll be sticking with this title.  I love these characters and the story so far is good enough to keep me interested.  I hope things pick up and maybe when James Robinson comes on the Justice League book in October, we can have an old-fashioned JSA/JLA team-up.  I thought the last one DC did was a bit of a letdown.  So pick this up if you’re a hardcore JSAer like I am.  I wouldn’t recommend it if you were a casual reader.  Until next time, people.

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