Comic Book Review: JSA #84: One Year Later

JSA #83 was one of the few “One Year Later” issues that didn’t really impress the Revolution. Hopefully, JSA #84 can kick start this new story arc in the right direction.

Creative Team
Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciller: Rags Morales
Inker: Dave Meikis

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Total Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with the JSA under attack by the Gentleman Ghost. The try to hit him but everyone just passes through him. He then disappears and the JSA is left wondering what just happened. Thunderbolt then tells them that despite what the JSA has known about this villain, the Gentleman Ghost is not a trickster, he is actually a ghost!

We then cut to Jakeem walking with Thunderbolt to the graveyard where Jakeem’s family is buried. Thunderbolt captures the ghost of Jakeem’s brother and he tells Jakeem that the Gentleman Ghost told them to come back to scare Jakeem.

We then cut to Flash and Green Lantern. Green Lantern tells Flash that the ghost that attacked him was the spirit of a fellow college student who Green Lantern accidentally killed while they set up a giant broadcasting antenna. When Green lantern and the Flash arrive at that old antenna, the angry ghost comes back and attacks both of them. The ghost then tells Green Lantern that the JSA’s deaths will bring the Gentleman Ghost back to life.

We then cut to a flashback scene of the Gentleman Ghost as a boy when a gypsy tells him that he will come back to earth as a ghost one day and if he kills his enemies he will live again. Or something like that.

We then cut back to Flash and Green Lantern as the Gentleman Ghost appears. Flash and Green Lantern are unable to capture the Gentleman Ghost who disappears once again.

We then go back to the JSA’s mansion. Mother Hunkel is cleaning when the Gentleman Ghost pops in. The Ghost asks where Wonder Woman claiming there is a debt he needs to pay back to the lady. Power Girl suddenly swoops in and tries to hit the Ghost. Once again, the Gentleman Ghost disappears. End of issue.

The Good: The writing is solid. Levitz doesn’t tear it up or do anything great. If nothing, Levitz is a very good technician who knows how to craft a solid, if unspectacular, comic. The dialogue is good, but again, nothing amazing.

The Revolution liked the creepy revelation that Green Lantern accidentally killed his college roommate. Very cool. Also, the fact that the Gentleman Ghost is an actually ghost rather than some trickster is a nice plot twist.

And what about this debt between Wonder Woman and the Gentleman Ghost? Very interesting.
Of course, the art kicks butt. Rags Morales is an excellent artist. Any comic with Morales’ art is a joy to read. And, Meikis does a great job inking Morales’ pencils. Any complaints with the story are at least eased by Rags’ great artwork.

The Bad: Maybe it isn’t Levitz’s fault. Maybe this storyline isn’t so bad or uninteresting. It could be that Geoff Johns was kicking so much butt and had the JSA cranking at such a high level that anything coming after Johns would have a tough time succeeding. Wow, long sentence. Anyway, Johns had an uncanny feel for the golden age characters that very few writers, if any, have every had. It is a real pity that DC let Geoff Johns off this title! So, Johns is a hard act to follow. The Revolution is trying to keep that in mind when we criticize this current creative team and their direction.

Having said all that, this story arc just seems a bit too formulaic for the Revolution. The other “One Year Later” issues really shook up their respective characters and stories. The JSA just seems to be treading water. So far, this story is not doing anything to get the Revolution excited to read the next issue. And that is the whole point behind a good comic.

Maybe that old sly fox, Levitz, is just suckering in The Revolution. Maybe he is slowly pacing himself. Getting us to lower out guard before he pounces on us with some serious surprises. I hope so.