• July 2020
    S M T W T F S
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • On Facebook

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • Comic Blog Elite

    Comic Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

Justice Society of America #27 [Review]

Ghost in the Darkness

Script and Pencils: Jerry Ordway
Inks: Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Hi-Fi Designs
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Associate Editor: Rachel Cluckstern
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover: Jerry Ordway
Publisher: DC Comics

As the various JSA members go about their lives after the latest incident with Black Adam and their membership issues, a new threat shows up. First, Alan Scott’s son traps several members in the house, forcing the team to act against him, despite his claims of just trying to protect them. It’s quickly discovered that there’s more at play than first suspected, and that it is yet another “ghosts issue” for the team.

I passed on this issue when it first shipped last week–I wasn’t interested in sticking around post-Johns, and was content to go out on the high note Johns left this book on. But guilt at being in a comic shop and otherwise walking out empty-handed, I chose this issue as my token purchase…based largely on noticing Ordway’s name on the cover.

I was definitely correct in my assumption that the visuals would be top-notch for the issue, given Ordway’s being the artist. This is beyond a passive “no complaints” about the art–this is an active recognition that the art is very strong top-level stuff that I greatly enjoyed.

The story on the other hand feels rather…generic. I’m not a fan of generic “ghosts” stories, and actually avoided the Gentleman Ghost arc that closed out the previous version of this series around Infinite Crisis.

Though the characters here all seem familiar, and I want to like ’em with OR without Johns…there’s still a shift all around, and I can’t honestly say one way or the other whether I’ll be picking up the next issue or letting this title go.

Recommended for the art and for the die-hard JSA fans. Those following the book specifically for Johns’ writing may be disappointed–at the least, don’t leap into this issue thinking it a seamless change from Johns’ tenure on the series.

Story: 6/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Justice Society of America #25 [Review]

Black Adam & Isis part three: Family Feuds

Story: Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway
Pencil art: Jerry Ordway
Ink art: Bob Wiacek & Jerry Ordway
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Jerry Ordway)
Publisher: DC Comics

We resume the story with “Black Mary” asserting influence on Billy–creating “Black Billy” and illustrating an interesting point of the nature of the Marvel Family’s use of the power that flows through them. While the Marvels clash with the JSA, Jay Garrick accompanies Billy’s father as things race toward pivotal “Marvel family” events.

The art on this issue is fantastic, and for me works perfectly with this story. In addition to being high quality art, the fact that it is Ordway–who has more than just passing familiarity to the Marvel family–is icing on the cake.

The story itself is accessible to me as a reader who never paid much attention to any of the Marvel family characters until relatively recently, and yet it is so obvious that this draws on continuity put down over the past couple decades (Ordway’s involvement is testament to that!)

As part three of an only four or five-chapter story, this isn’t the best point to simply jump in exactly, but as a whole if you’ve any interest in the Marvel family, this is a story you ought to be reading. And if you’re looking for a crash course or playing some wikipedia-catchup and the cover intrigues you, give this a shot!

Highly recommended.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9/10

Justice Society of America #23 [Review]

Between a Rock and a Hard Place part one: The Power of Shazam

Story: Geoff Johns & Jerry Ordway
Pencil art: Jerry Ordway
Ink art: Bob Wiacek
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Jerry Ordway)
Publisher: DC Comics

Having survived the Gog ordeal, the team finds itself picking up the pieces left behind. We see Hawkman reprimanded for initiating a divide in the team, as well as seeing where several of the characters are at present, post-Gog. The latter part of the issue focuses on the Marvel family in its current incarnation, and sees Isis returned to her husband a changed woman, and the stage set for much trouble to come.

Given the emphasis on the Marvel family, it’s great to see Ordway involved with the writing alongside regular series writer Johns. Together, they compose a story that is quite compelling and interesting–and despite coming off a year-long saga, this issue is fresh and interesting, dealing with ramifications while also ramping up the new story in a great blend of the two points. Though I’ve not read The Trials of Shazam nor The Power of Shazam, I have no real trouble following along–and am actually interested just from this issue in tracking those down to read.

The art is quite good…I enjoy it in and of itself, as well as for the fact that Ordway’s had a significant hand in the Marvel family in earlier stories and thus is a very appropriate artist to take things on now.

As the first issue in a new arc, this is a great point to jump on to check this series out…and honestly, if you’re not reading this series, you should be. If you enjoyed Black Adam in 52 or elsewhere the last few years, and have any interest in the character, this is not an issue to skip.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9/10

Justice Society of America #22 [Review]

One World, Under Gog part VII: Thy Will Be Done

Story: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencilers: Dale Eaglesham
Painted pages by: Alex Ross
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Eaglesham & Hi-Fi)
Very special Thanks to: Mark Waid
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue wraps up the ongoing “Thy Kingdom Come” saga in this title. This issue jumps a lot, beginning with the JSA doing their thing with Gog while Superman and Starman have a few moments together before the former is sent “home.” The rest of the team deals with the effects of the loss of the “gifts” that Gog had bestowed, and the issue ends with a slight twist on the signature Johns end-of-saga look-ahead.

The art on this story was just what I’ve come to expect for the book. It’s high quality and yet looks like a comic book. There are also painted panels/sequences interspersed done by Ross that as usual are top-notch. While it’s a bit jarring to go from one style to the other, I for one would not trade it–it’s great to see the “Kingdom Come” world done by Ross–it lends a certain authenticity to the world, as well as a bit of a notion of things coming full-circle.

The story aspect of this issue is also quite good. There’s not a lot of “conflict-action” in the issue, as it seems largely about tying up loose ends and capping off this huge saga. A number of characters get “moments” that kinda set their status quo post-saga, showing us where they are at right now, moving forward.

After just over a year–12 prior issues, 1 annual and 3 specials–the saga concludes in this single standard-sized issue for $2.99. No extra-sized, extra-priced issue; no spinning off to another title or special for the actual conclusion; no weaseling in a virtual “to-be-continued” to get one buying even more books.

We have high quality art, solid high quality story, and a fitting conclusion to all the events. The story is capped here, though it by no means slams the door or leaves stuff closed. The scenes of Earth-22 prompted me to grab the original Kingdom Come story–I was curious if there was “recycled art,” but no–the words were the same, but the angles different…and something about the way it was done, I thought it was fantastic. (It was also quite classy that Mark Waid is thanked in the credits, as so much has been built upon his original story).

This really is not an issue for new readers–new readers can probably pick this up and appreciate it in general, but this issue is very much for the long-term readers who have followed this story, and is quite the reward for doing so. Of the comics I picked up this week, this was by far my favorite.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 9.5/10

Justice Society of America #21 [Review]

One World, Under Gog part VI: Saints and Sinners

Story: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencillers: Dale Eaglesham & Jerry Ordway
Inkers: Nathan Massengill & Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Dale Eaglesham and Nathan Massengill)
Publisher: DC Comics

Coming off of the Kingdom Come Specials, the story picks up with Gog having asked those he’s helped to worship him. While some are ready to kneel immediately, others are less than comfortable at this proposition–that you don’t ask worship for helping, you help TO help and nothing more. The JSA is divided and fighting amongst itself, and we see the older members who have either not been helped or who have refused help confronting those swayed by Gog’s “persuasion”…and things begin to unravel as Gog starts to show a side previously unseen by our heroes.

The art on this issue surprised me a bit–something about it seems slightly “off.” It is far from being bad, but just doesn’t seem quite what I expected. However, the characters are all plenty recognizeable and look like they (mostly) should (I feel like they have a “90s look” to them somehow). It’s interesting to see several characters (Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, Hawkman) taking on a Kingdom Come appearance–it’s a nice nod, but for me forces a comparison to the original–visually–which might be part of what seems “off” about the art…this hardly compares to Alex Ross’s painted imagery.

The story is quite solid–after however many issues it’s been of building, things are coming to a head, with the JSA split and fighting within its own ranks and Gog finally showing what’s been hinted at: an actual menace/threat to the JSA…and the world as a whole. I would assume Green Lantern creating the green armor around himself, and what happens to the Flash to be an intentional story element and not just the art team giving us an homage to Kingdom Come. While it at first doesn’t make much sense, upon further reflection, it does, as Superman gets to see these people becoming more and more like those he knew on his world, which really ups the ante a bit, so to speak.

I was a bit disappointed, somehow convincing myself that this issue would be the resolution of the story, that the specials all led to this. At the same time, I’m actually anticipating the next issue–it will be something I’m looking forward to, actively interested in reading, and not something to be read just because it’s something I bought “last month” and so buy “this month.”

All in all, if you’re following the JSA, this issue’s well worth while. I’m not sure it’d be the best read if you’re coming in cold. Quality wise, this is a title that has held my attention for the last half-year, and I’m interested enough in the backstory to want to track down the earlier issues I’ve missed.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

Please note: Credits for this issue acquired from a pdf preview found at DC’s website…it appears that they were to have printed on a black bar, but the colors have zero contrast, effectively nixing creator credits for the issue. Preview found here

JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom [Review]

The Kingdom

Story: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Fernando Pasarin
Inkers: Mick Gray, Jack Purcell, Norm Rapmund & Fernando Pasarin
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Earth-2 Pin-Up: Jerry Ordway
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Fernando Pasarin)
Publisher: DC Comics

The main thrust of this issue follows several JSAers as they react to Gog’s “gifts”–reactions both positive and negative. Damage is very much in support of Gog–who, after all, healed his face. Others point out that Gog sent Power Girl to an Earth 2 where she was hunted as a traitor, and we see Dr. Mid-Nite and Sand both dealing with the negative repercussions to their being “cured” of what had seemed on the surface to be a curse. As “war” breaks out within the JSA, it appears that Gog might finally tip his hand, as we approach “The Seventh Day” which may or may not usher in–through Gog–the end of the world.

There’s a lot going on in this issue, and a lot of characters juggled. While it’s easy enough to lose track of everyone, Johns still manages to keep things engaging by focusing on several characters and let us see their arcs unfold in context of the larger whole. What began with the apparently simple premise a year ago of “Kingdom Come Superman arrives on New Earth” has become a lengthy, enjoyable epic that has drawn me back to the Justice Society and made the team a favorite. This is a story that will likely go down as one of the definitive Justice Society runs.

The art is–for the most part–well-suited to the story. There are a few points where characters appear a bit “off” (one panel has Superman looking like he ate too many burritos too quickly)…but as a whole, no significant complaint art wise. It’s easy to follow visually, and none of the characters seem unrecognizeable.

I’ve enjoyed these specials. While a bit pricey–both cover price, and simply by their very existence at all–I think they make for a great addition to the JSA narrative, and allow for far more than we could get with just the core title alone. It is unfortunate, though, as we have important events in these that are certainly key to the overall story, such that if one wants the full story they are essential and one will have missed a great deal reading “only” the core JSA title.

There’s a double-page pinup-style spread of the Earth-2 Justice Society included–I’m not sure I “get” exactly why it’s included…but it’s a cool little “moment” of that team sitting for team photo…there’s a lot going on in that one image that says a lot about the characters without dialogue needed…it would make a great poster.

All in all, a good package that–despite the higher cover price–feels like something special and important,and is worth the money paid. You could do so much worse by way of out-of-core-title tie-in specials in a major story.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 8/10

JSA Kingdom Come Special: Magog [Review]

Thy Kingdom Come – Magog: The Real Me

Story and Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Mick Gray
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Dale Eaglesham & Mark McKenna)
Publisher: DC Comics

We get a look at the new (true?) Magog in this issue–the former marine known to the JSA as Lance Corporal David Reid. Reid was recently “killed” but immediately ressurrected by the entity known as Gog, and seems to be Superman’s worst fear come true, a sign of his “history” repeating itself. The story takes a break here to follow Reid/Magog to some old comrades, allowing for flashbacks to fill us in on his past and what they meant to him. As Reid lashes out at those who captured his old friends, he becomes more like the Magog known to readers of Kingdom Come.

The story is pretty straight-forward, and nicely fleshes out the David Reid character, filling in details hinted at but not fully revealed. We get the background to his motivation, and what makes him what he is at present. This adds depth not only to him, but to the Magog we know from Kingdom Come…and gives cause to see Reid’s potential here.

Once more I’m unfamiliar with the artist, so I have no point of comparison on quality. However, in terms of this story I have no complaint. The visuals follow the story, and there’s a nice level of detail that does not disappoint. The visual style is very much that of a super-hero comic book…showing Magog as a recognizeable figure, but distinctly contrasted with Alex Ross’s rendition as seen on the cover–like comparing a live-action product with the comic adaptation.

We’re also treated to a back-up story, focusing on:

The Secret Origin of Starman

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Scott Kolins
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Lettering: John J. Hill
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain

This back-up story fills us in on the origin of this latest Starman as well as his costume. The art is a real treat…no complaint there, as I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s also cool to see well ahead time that for however it’ll play into Final Crisis, that Legion of 3 Worlds has some bearing on how we got this version of Starman. I find it interesting the “mythology” I’m beginning to really notice with Starman, the way the various people to use the Star- name are linked…something quite enjoyable.

This backup does feel almost like it was crammed in, though…rushed to explain stuff before the overall Thy Kingdom Come / Gog story(ies) finish. Almost segmented TO get the information told where there may not be room in the main JSA series or even these specials to tell it otherwise.

On the whole, this was another strong issue, giving further background of major players in the Gog saga as we head (presumably) toward its conclusion soon.

I’m not sure this is essential to the story, but if you’re diggin’ the story and are interested in more about Magog and Starman and how they play into the ongoing saga, this issue’s worth picking up despite the higher price tag (justified, I suppose, by this being a special and not just a regular issue of a series).

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8/10

Justice Society of America – Kingdom Come Special: Superman [Review]

Written and Illustrated by: Alex Ross
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh
Asst. Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Dale Eaglesham & Brian Miller)
Publisher: DC Comics

My first thought of this book: With an interior by Alex Ross, featuring this particular character…why would I have any interest in a cover by another artist when Ross provides the main cover to go with the interior?!?

We open with Superman vs. Superman, then cut to “the Kingdom Come Superman” talking with Cyclone, who encourages him to talk about his past, the world he lost. Following their conversation, Superman looks up Norman McCay, the pastor he’d briefly met shortly before his world died, and determines to meet the man. Noticing a green cloud at the Daily Planet, he rushes there first, fearing a repeat of his history…things aren’t what they appear, and he briefly encounters our Superman. Following a quiet visit with a now-retired Norman McCay, Supes meets our Lois, and she learns details to how her counterpart perished.

I recall the debut of Marvels, and later, Kingdom Come–I’ve been amazed at actually reading the first couple individual issues of Kingdom Come given what it’s become in the 13 or so years since as a graphic novel. I remember the first time I read the entire story–in the collected format, as one of my earliest graphic novels purchased. I’ve always enjoyed Ross’ art, and generally credit him as the first comics artist whose work I could recognize specifically by sight. Additionally, Kingdom Come has long been one of my favorite stories–I can even credit it with some of my earliest interest in studying the bible, for context of the passages quoted.

Given all that, this issue honestly impressed me. I didn’t think anything would measure up to the original Kingdom Come, but while placed squarely in current JSA continuity, this also fleshes out Kingdom Come itself, providing a follow-up without being an exact sequel–leaving the original intact, but adding details that serve to enhance that story should one recall it.

The story here is quite good and totally believable to me of this Superman. We get to explore with him what it is to meet “alternate-world-counterparts” who look exactly like those we know, and yet are not the people we know…the heart of the individual that is noticeable regardless of the infinite variables of their lives. Offhand, this issue’s story is exactly the sort of thing I’ve wanted to see since this mega-arc began late last year.

This is Alex Ross’s art–I’d recognize it regardless of hype, promotion, or issue credits. The quality is there, the consistency is there, the tone is there…the detailed familiarity visually…is there. Visually, this is one of the best-looking comics I’ve seen…if you’re a fan of Ross’ work you shouldn’t be disappointed; if you’re not a fan…well, this probably is not for you.

There’s also some back-matter: sketches, commentary, layouts–all that give insight into what went into the creation of this issue; it’s all pretty interesting even though I’m not usually a fan of this sorta stuff…it certainly helps round the issue out, giving me little room to really complain about the cover price.

My sheer enjoyment of this issue comes from the story, and the art, AND the nostalgia. Offhand, this is definitely one of my favorite issues of the year, and very much worth having picked up.

Story: 9/10
Art: 9.5/10
Whole: 9.5/10

Justice Society of America #20 [Review]

Earthbound

Story: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Dale Eaglesham (Earth-2 Sequence: Jerry Ordway)
Inker: Nathan Massengill (Earth-2 Sequence: Bob Wiacek)
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover: Alex Ross (variant by Dale Eaglesham & Mark McKenna)
Published by: DC Comics

Without a “previously…” page, I don’t recall EXACTLY how the previous issue ended…but this seems to pick up on a cliffhanger of the Justice Society of Earth-2 busting in on the New Earth JSA seeking the “rogue” Power Girl imposter. Accusations (and punches) fly, and ultimately several New Earth JSA members are dragged (along with Power Girl) back to this Earth-2, where elements of the Multiverse are re-revealed and discussed…while painful memories are dredged up as people who have died on New Earth are still alive on Earth-2. The two Power Girls have it out, before the nature of Earth-2 is revealed, and both find information to make their lives a little bit easier.

The art here is just fantastic. Perhaps because it just really fits the story–even down to having a different art team on the Earth-2 sequence (an art team that I vaguely recall has some significance to the characters). I have zero complaint with the art, and really quite enjoyed it. The cover by Alex Ross is quite cool as well…if slightly on the inappropriate side given the viewer’s angle.

The story continues to overall story that’s been going on the entire time (since #10 or so) that I’ve been reading this title, and I’m enjoying that. There’s real progression here that resolves old threads, opens some new ones, and just really holds my interest. I’m interested in the character interactions–in what happens to Power Girl and how her interaction with Earth-2 will affect her. I’m interested in Starman and his character’s evolution. I’m interested in the team dynamics–the old and young and the cross-generational stuff. I’m especially interested in the unfolding story of Gog–and even though this issue seems to be an “aside” from the ongoing Gog/Magog saga–it takes us aside to explore ongoing story elements and I don’t feel that this issue is at all out of place–it’s a great spot for such an aside after so many issues following Gog.

All in all, simply another very strong issue of a solid series. This truly seems to me to be if not the flagship, then certainly a flagship title of the DCU. Fan of the Justice Society, or of Johns, or Ross, or Earth-2, or Power-Girl…I see no real reason to skip this issue. New readers may not get a whole lot out of this given the ongoing arc–but at the same time, there’s a roster at the issue’s opening that will get new readers brought up to speed on the WHO (if not the why/what or ‘previously’) necessary for the issue at hand.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 8.5/10

%d bloggers like this: