JSA Classified is a title I have every issue of. I enjoy the JSA comic alot and have enjoyed these stories that fill in the background of that comic. Does the current Vandal Savage 4-parter live up to the comic’s short history ?
Writer: Stuart Moore
Penciler: Paul Gulacy.
Inkers: Jimmy Palmiotto & Paul Gulacy
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
This is part 4 of 4, so we start in the middle of the end. Vandal Savage gives a soliloquy worthy of his villainy. He explains in a few pages what has been hinted at over the last three issues; why he considers Alan Scott his first, best nemesis. Alan tries to reason with him, to help him, but Vandal Savage is having nothing of it.
Importantly for the end of the comic, he explains that the “Sandman” clone that lead Alan Scott, Green Lantern, into the trap last issue, was a clone built on Savage’s DNA, but with the ability to mimic anyone. Vandal intends to replace this Green Lantern with his clone.
Alan Scott manages to turn the tables and get free, and while he is eventually beat down by Savage, he is free of restraints, and is able to maintain consciousness and call in an air strike from Checkmate (an organization that Scott is a part of, something we are reminded of in the third installment of this tale). Scott escapes, and when Savage climbs out of the rubble, he laments what he believes to be his loss.
This is when the clone asks what he can do for his “father”. Savage then realizes he has created a “descendant” upon which he can, disgustingly enough, feed. His quote at the end says it all “I am Savage. I live. If this has truly been my lowest point… Just wait till next year.”.
The Good: The story reaches a satisfying, logical conclusion that leaves us (or me, at least) looking forward to seeing Savage’s next appearance. While the plot is at some points basic, the story illuminates the character and motivation of the main characters in a worthwhile and interesting manner, and Savage’s rise at the end was grimly fitting. The art tells the story, and is clear, and best of all, makes Savage appear savage through his actions as well as his words.
The Bad: This issue, by itself has very little to be critical of. The art feels a little sparse, but still does its jobs, so one can easily attribute that to the deadline driven demands of monthly comics. The writing is the tiniest bit formulaic, but sometimes cliche works. The only real complaint, writing wise, is that this could have been a three issue tale and it may have had a little more punch, story wise.
Overall: A good, solid yarn, worth every cent. The art and words combine to tell a fun story, one that feels like it means something to the JSA’s world. It also manages to let the good guy and the bad guy win. Neat trick.