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Mild Mannered Reviews - JSA Comics

Justice Society of America #12 Justice Society of America #12

Justice Society of America #12

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 6, 2008

Cover date: March 2008

"New Recruits"

Writter: Alex Ross and Geoff Johns
Penciller: Dale Eaglesham
Inker: Ruy Jose

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Click to enlarge

Thunderbolt and Jakeem arrive at the JSA mansion only to find Wildcat testing Judomaster with his son, Damage, Citizen Steel, and Starman.

Green Lantern, Flash, and Hawkman (JSA) debate their next recruit, and settle on a blond gentleman.

In New Orleans, Amazing-Man, a black hero with ties to the civil rights movement, stops a robbery. Superman (Kingdom Come) appears, and helps them remove debris from New Orleans.

Mr. America pursues murders of "demigods," finding each with a hole in their chest.

Amazing-Man asks to have his daughter, who has electrical powers, train under the JSA. Cyclone is ecstatic at the idea.

The senior members find the blond man, "Lance," and offer him a position with the JSA, given his relation to Roosevelt, offering to take him off the front lines in the middle east.

At the boxing ring, Wildcat is near beaten. Mr. America walks in, asking if they've heard of Gog.

4Story - 4: I thought I'd never say this, but I think Geoff Johns might have bitten off more than he can chew, here. The guy can handle intergalactic war, a huge event, and he's a heck of a writer, but I think he's so enamored of the characters in JSA that he doesn't realize that he has to GO somewhere with them.

It seems, since issue one, he's been adding character after character after character to the JSA, but not really doing that much.

This could be good, this could be bad, I don't personally know, but I know something has to be streamlined here. I'm still enjoying the heck out of this book, but for the first time, this issue, my enjoyment was lessened by the fact that the mainline plot, that of Gog/the mystery, took a back seat to character antics. That's something Infinity, Inc does, but not Geoff Johns.

The hard part is that the character antics are so well written and awesome, it's hard to come down on.

But, I mean, heck. This series has TWENTY-ONE MAINS right now. Green Lantern, Flash, Jakeem, Thunderbolt, Damage, Amazing-Man, Mr. America, Superman from Kingdom Come, Power Girl, Lance, Judomaster, Stargirl, Starman, Citizen Steel, Wildcat, Wildcat's son, Cyclone, Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Liberty Belle, and Hourman.

Oh, and Amazing-Man's daughter. Twenty-two.

All but Hourman, Midnight, and Hawkman appear in this issue, so it's hard to have any one focus. I'm amazed Johns is holding this together, but if the strands don't start weaving into a mainline plot soon (it's been twelve issues now, which is more than enough time to set and establish the scene) it's going to lessen my love of this title, which would kill me.

The hard part is, each story is so compelling. The harder part is that each story is its own story, so squishing it all together makes it a bit difficult.

Amazing-Man was great. Loved him. Lance, ah, not so much. Amazing-Man's daughter was neat. The Gog storyline is cool. Judomaster and Wildcat was a bit stretched out, but had a good payout. I have no idea what Jakeen and Thunderbolt's point was.

Thus the four. A few elements not wrapped up. And it's hard to blame Johns. There's no possible way to wrap all of that up or make it all coherent in 22 pages. But he chose and systematically introduced so many leads, so it's his job to rein it in a bit, too.

Still, all in all, very enjoyable, and I believe he'll pull this out from the complexity to a running narrative. Because I've seen him do it before.

5Art - 5: Eaglesham went, from two years ago, being a guy I liked but didn't cheer avidly for to one of my favorite artists in comics, and this issue is a good example of why. None of these pages showboat, but they're all packed FULL of story in addition to Geoff's. His characters are all unique and definitive, the action strong and flowing, and he's one of my favorite pencillers in comics for work like this issue. Flip through this comic and try to find a single lazy panel or page. Even the few "no background" pages are moments of profound revelation, and are thus sensibly put.

Fine work.

3Cover Art - 3: Like last issue, the cover is impacted a bit by having too much of a light source for my taste. I'm a fan of bold, darker coloring in painted works, and this has the feel of too much contrast. Still, it's a good pose for the characters involved, and the background is subtle. It's still just a bit off for me.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2008

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