JSA #83 is the first issue of DC Comics’ One Year Later storyline. This issue unveils a new creative team and supposedly a new direction.
Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciller: Rags Morales
Inker: Luke Ross
Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 5.
Synopsis: It is one year later and the JSA has not had an official meeting in that entire period of time. We don’t know why. What we do know is that the various members are seeing ghosts. Jay’s wife, Joan sees her father. Jakeem Thunder the ghost of a dead brother he never had. Mr. Terrific sees the ghost of his dead wife. Dr. Mid-Nite sees the ghosts of all the patients that died while he was their doctor. Interspersed with these sightings is the flashback story of the Jim Craddock, Gentleman Ghost as a child. He and his mother were dumped by his father who was an aristocrat. His mother was a commoner that the father had had an affair with and the Gentleman Ghost was nothing but a bastard in the father’s eyes. Evidently, this explains the Gentleman Ghost’s obsession with being a Gentleman. In the end, the team meats at the Brownstone HQ for a social event rather than an official team meeting. Green Lantern alludes to the fact that Jade is one of the characters who has been missing in this One Year later occurrence. The issue ends with all the members telling each other about their seeing ghosts and Jim Craddock, the Gentleman Ghost makes his appearance threatening the entire team.
Comments: This is the second “One Year Later” issue I have read and I have to say that, so far, I am unduly unimpressed. First, let me admit my Paul Levitz bias. I grew up with his Legion of Super-Heroes and it was by far my favorite title as a kid. So, I have a soft spot in my heart for Levitz. I’m glad to see him writing again, however, if he was to return to writing I wish it had been on the Legion of Super-Heroes. His writing is solid, but nothing spectacular. The art is good. I like Rags’ pencils. Ross does a fine job inking. All the characters are drawn well. My only complaint is Power Girl’s totally wack soccer mom hair cut. Sorry, but you can NEVER be a sex symbol with a 40-something soccer mom hairstyle. Drawing her with big tits doesn’t change my opinion. It just makes her look like some rich soccer mom with a boob job.
The story was just average. There was nothing different or particularly impressive about it. To be honest, it pretty much read like an old silver age comic. If that is what DC is going for in this post Infinite Crisis age then I think I’ll pass on it. I have always liked the JSA. I like all the characters with the exception of Star Spangled Brat. She would be vastly improved by a sudden case of death. But, the rest of the characters are great. Plus, the JSA boasts the best black superhero in any comic. Period. That would be Mr. Terrific. He makes up for that generic Jakeem Thunder.
Even though I have always liked the JSA, I get the feeling that without Geoff Johns, this title is going to suffer. Johns flat out knew how to write these characters. It was amazing stuff. Now, the JSA has that generic silver age feel that may not keep me collecting this title. I’ll give it a few more issues, but they really have to do better than this issue. And what worries me is that you would think that DC would make sure these first One Year Later issues were awesome issues. However, just the opposite has been true. Sorry DC. So far, it looks like Infinite Crisis, and this One Year Later storyline is going to be an anti-climactic bust.