The JSA One Year Later storyline has been less than impressive. We here at the Revolution absolutely love and respect Paul Levitz for what he did with our beloved Legion of Super Heroes. So, out of respect, you aren’t going to see me rip Levitz for this current JSA One Year Later storyline. Let’s just say that I think it is rather pedestrian and leave it at that. Let’s head on to the review of JSA #86.
Writer: Paul Levitz
Artists: Jerry Ordway, Luke Ross, Dave Meikis
Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: First off, there are flashback scenes of the Gentleman Ghost as a young man mixed into the present day storyline. These flashback scenes detail Jim Craddock becoming a rather accomplished highwayman stealing and killing from anyone that he crosses paths with. Craddock was eventually caught and hung. Luckily for Craddock the gypsy woman’s prophetic words came true and Craddock became the Gentleman Ghost and once again stole precious items and fought with the JSA. (In one of the flashback panels we even see Hawkman! Yay! I wish he would re-claim his title back from Hawkgirl. *sigh*)
Now that we have the flashback scenes done, let’s start the present day storyline of this comic. The issue starts with Mr. Terrific sending the Jakeem, Wildcat and Power Girl to London to follow up on the advice from Earth-Two Batman’s ghost. Flash and Stargirl stay behind to protect the JSA’s family members. Suddenly, Alan Scott appears. Dr. Mid-Nite complains that Alan is in no condition to go to London. Alan insists that if catching the Gentleman Ghost was important enough for Jade to come back to life to save her father then no matter how weak he is he is going ghost hunting with the JSA. (Alan is a stud.) With that Green Lantern teleports his teammates to London.
Suddenly, Mr. Terrific gets an alert on his computer system that there are ghost attacks in four locations at once. Mr. Terrific, Jay Garrick and Stargirl take off to fight the ghosts. Of course, the Gentleman Ghost immediately appears at the JSA HQ and confronts Joan Garrick and Ma Hunkle. Stargirl comes flying back into the JSA brownstone and dives at Gentleman Ghost but goes right through him, again. The Gentleman Ghost then disappears.
We cut to the JSA’ers arriving in London. Alan says that Jade left him a connection to her ghost in his glowing green eye and it is enough to see traces of the spirit world so that they can track down the Gentleman Ghost. Suddenly, the JSA are attacked by a bunch of the Gentleman Ghost’s ghost henchmen. And it is official! We have a braaaaaawwl!! Alan Scott ends up summoning Jade’s strength and blasts all of the ghosts to pieces. Alan then tells Thunderbolt to find the Gentleman Ghost. Thunderbolt tracks him down to the Tower of London where the crown jewels are kept. There is a big explosion from the tower and the JSA’ers enter it to find the Gentleman Ghost. The Ghost says that he is here because the gypsy woman told him that in the castle of the king he will have the ones he hates the most. And that if he kills them tonight then Jim Craddock will live again. End of issue.
The Good: I have to be honest. I thought that JSA #86 was a pretty boring issue. I did like the way Levitz wrote Alan Scott. Alan is a stud and once again shows why he is the spirit of the JSA. Nothing will keep Alan from doing his job.
Unfortunately, that is about the only positive thing I can say about JSA #86.
The Bad: This story has read like pure filler. The pace has been terribly slow. It seems like the story is getting no where. Once again, we have to read more boring flashbacks of the Jim Craddock and him becoming the Gentleman Ghost. I just don’t find the Gentleman Ghost’s character that interesting that I need this much information on his history growing up and becoming a criminal.
Aside from more boring flashback scenes, all we got was another run in with the Gentleman Ghost where he keeps blabbing about the same thing. That he is going to get his revenge on them all. We have a quick and uninteresting fight in London and they finally track down the Gentleman Ghost in the Tower of London. That is it. Nothing else happened. This has really been such a slow and uninteresting storyline.
I don’t really understand the purpose of this One Year Later storyline. The JSA gets cancelled after the next issue. Then it will get re-launched as the Justice Society of America with a new line-up. I would have rather DC have cancelled the JSA at the same time that Infinite Crisis started like they did with the Flash, Wonder Woman and the JLA. It would have been better than have this purposeless One Year Later storyline. It isn’t developing any of the characters. The only thing that this storyline has achieved is in creating a continuity gaffe with Alan Scott. This title should have just been cancelled. There was no point to this the JSA’s One Year Later storyline.
To make things worse, the artwork in JSA #86 was really poor. It may be the fact that three artists combined to handle the art duties. Multiple artists usually results in a poor artistic showing. I think that some of the panels were down right terrible. Power Girl seemed to suffer the most. In some of the panels her face and hair looks like that of an old soccer mom.
Overall: JSA #86 was unimpressive and a boring read. This entire One Year Later storyline was pretty pointless. I’ll go ahead and get JSA #87 so I can have a complete run of JSA comics. Hopefully, the new Justice Society of America will be a much better read when Johns returns to the writing duties and unveils the new lineup.