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Friday November 21, 2008 1:45 am

DC Comics Review: Justice Society of America Kingdom Come Special: Magog




Posted by David Torres Categories: Reviews, DC Comics

Magog

This issue was written by Peter Tomasi with the art provided by Fernando Pasarin.  It’s a very good issue featuring Lance Corporal David Reid who was resurrected as Magog in the current “One World Under Gog” storyline. I liked the introduction of David Reid to the team by Geoff Johns and Alex Ross. The character is the great-grandson of President Franklin Roosevelt who was a part of the formation of the Justice Society of America (JSA). I love American history and I always love comic stories that weave real history into their storylines.

This issue has some JSA members following Gog on his “mission” to help the people of the world. The group comes across a river with dead bodies floating in it.  They discover that it has been poisoned by militants and it will kill everyone in the immediate area who use it for water if they don’t block it’s path.  The river is blocked by Gog and he and the JSA members make their way to locate the militants.

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A battle is fought against the militants and Reid is about to force two of the militants into the poisoned water, when he is stopped by Amazing Man. Gog intervenes and says their is an alternate form of justice that can be taken and turns the two men into water that cleans the poisoned water. Still angered by the militants actions against the local people, he fires his weapon into the water saying that they got off light compared to what he was going to do to them. Reid then gets a distress signal from his old unit saying that they’re in trouble. Reid chooses the needs of his old unit over looking after Gog and takes off.

As Reid looks for his former unit, we are shown the history of David Reid from when he was child discovering his family’s heritage of service to the country since the American Revolution, to his enlistment in the Marines after September 11th, to the accident in an Iraqi cave that gave him his powers. Reid finds that his unit has been murdered by the African militants and he exacts revenge.

Most heroes in the DC and Marvel Universes do not kill. It is a moral code that writers have given them by saying that if they cross that line, they are no different than the villains they fight against. We know from the original “Kingdom Come” mini-series which all of this spins out of, that a “hero” named Magog leads a revolution of sorts for a new type of hero in the world, when he kills the Joker after the Joker had killed everyone at the Daily Planet. With the arrival of the Superman from the Earth where “Kingdom Come” took place and now the transformation of David Reid into Magog, we are now made to wonder if what happened in “Kingdom Come” will happen on this Earth as well.

Of course it won’t happen, but I have a moral question to ask you. Are the actions of our superheroes outdated? We see over in Marvel the new Captain America picking up a gun to fight evil. How many more times can Batman bring the Joker back to Arkham? The Joker has crippled Batgirl, killed Jason Todd, and killed Commissioner Gordon’s wife Sarah. At some point there has to be some kind of breaking point where you cross that line.

How many good men and women who have watched loved ones die at the hands of evil people kill that person? I don’t know if we should start going down that road in comics with our traditional superheroes. I don’t want Batman becoming the Punisher, but could we forgive Batman if he does kill the Joker one day. Would you blame him?

David Reid/Magog ends up being more of a Punisher type figure in this story. Maybe heroes like Reid could work side-by-side in the DC Universe and be that moral debate to the readers. What kind of hero would you be? Superman or Magog?

The issue also has a short six-page story by Geoff Johns with art by Scott Kolins: “The Secret Origin of Starman.” With Starman cured of his schizophrenia by Gog, he now realizes the mission he must complete. The story references the current storyline of “Legion of Three Worlds,” but I won’t go into that here. We do know that the mission is something Starman says he won’t be proud of if he does it. Does he have to kill? This story makes reference to when Starman was with the Legion of Super-Heroes and he killed a man in self-defense.

I’m intrigued by what Starman has to do and where the story of Gog and the JSA ends up. Will the Superman of “Kingdom Come” still be around after the story is over? As I said in my review of “Justice Society of America” #20, there is supposed to be a new line-up. What will the future hold for this title and other DC titles after “Final Crisis”? We’ll soon find out. I hope it’s good.

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