JSA Classified is a fun and clever way to tell a number of short arc stories that don’t’ tie directly into the main comics ongoing storyline. In this case, Vandal Savage’s story is occurring in DC’s “current day”, but that has not always been the case. Issue #12 is the third issue in the “Fall and Rise of Vandal Savage” story arc. I’m with it so far, so sit down in a comfy chair, and read on..
Writer: Stuart Moore
Penciler: Paul Gulacy
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We start with a flashback, and Vandal Savage ranting about the “Green” that he associates with Alan Scott, the Golden Age, original, non-Oan Green Lantern. The flashback is to 1887, and a discussion with a daughter of Vandal Savages’. They are obviously not on good terms, and his wife is most certainly an opponent of Vandals’. When his daughter makes it clear that she shares her mother’s opinion of him, he tells her how disappointed he is in not having his daughters love (something echoed from the first issue) and kills and eats her pet cat, in front of her, although thankfully off panel.
Back to the present, Vandal is ranting, almost insanely about the “Green” and how Alan Scott is going to get it. He gives himself an adrenaline shot to his brain to “arrest the tumor” he has there, and dons an armored vest to give him physical strength. He thinks he sees Alan already, but is hallucinating. He realizes he is doing so, but uses this, and other hallucinations to what he thinks is his advantage.
Alan Scott is flying in to confront Vandal, and accompanying him, and guiding the way is the original Sandman. Sandman says he tried to contact the other JSA members, but cannot reach them, to which Alan replies that the JSA “is not.. together at the moment”.
Alan asks Sandman how he survived his reported death in Tibet ( in the first story arc of the actual JSA title) . He states that his whole heroic life has been that of “shadow play of illusion and concealment” and that allowed him to fool Mordru. As a personal aside, I believe you’d have to look to the events of IC7 and “Superboy’s punching” to explain this correctly.
If he was even there at all. After the two land, and Sandman confirms that Savage is dying, Sandman vanishes off panel, as Alan enters Vandal Savages lair. Vandal attacks him, getting in a bite on the neck, and combat ensues. Savage captures Alan in some sort of beam (he is inventive) and the two have a back and forth discussion that leads Savage to say that he and Alan are a lot alike, they both were not their for their daughters.
Save tries to drive this point home, and eventual angers Alan enough to break free, both beating Savage soundly, and telling him just how sad, depraved and evil he is. At the end of his soliloquy, he is beat from behind by a bat, and knocked unconscious. The batter is what appears to be Sandman, but is revealed to be some sort of grown being, or clone that Vandal created to help him. Vandal vows to ruin Alan’s life as he stands over his unconscious form, and the issue ends.
The Good: The story is playing along nicely, giving us more insight into this villain, tearing him down quite a bit to what I assume by the title will be a build up in the next issue. The art is solid, and personal without being too stylized. Savage’s evil is shown here without being too over the top or hard to take. The conceit of whether the hero of this tale will survive, however, is completely neutered by another title out this week. Alan Scott is alive and well in Checkmate #2, although short one of his “two good eyes”.
The Bad: By far, of the three issues in this arc, the least happened in this one. Hopefully so much happens in the next issue that it is a forgivable thing.