Comic Book Review: Justice Society of America #14

The Revolution has been less than impressed with the painfully slow pacing of this current story arc. Johns continues to display a blatant disregard for how his stories read in a monthly fashion and simply focuses on the goal of writing a story suited for trade format. Having said that, this story has plenty of potential and I can only hope that we get something that resembles plot progression with Justice Society of America #14. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Pencils: Dale Eaglesham
Inks: Prentis Rollins

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with Sandy at his apartment thinking how he can no longer sleep. That when he does sleep that the thoughts of murderers filter into his mind. Power Girl enters the apartment and thanks Sandy for his help in catching a sicko who was abusing a child. Sandy snaps that the child will need therapy for life and now will probably do unto someone else what was done to him.

Sandy apologizes for his reaction. Power Girl says it is alright. Power Girl asks Sandy for a favor. Power Girl wants Sandy to “talk” to the dirt that Gog left behind when the JSA last tangled with him. Sandy agrees to do so.

We cut to Africa where Gog is brawling with the Infinity Man. Gog thinks how all fraudulent gods must die and that includes the ones from the Fourth World. That the only way to kill a god is to incinerate their hearts. That Gog is a Third World god and that only through the deaths of all other deities can Gog return to power.

Infinity Man laughs stating that Gog’s time is over and that he will never return to power. Gog gets the upper hand in the battle, and Infinity Man decides to retreat and teleports away from the scene. We see Sandy watching Gog from behind some trees.

We cut back to the JSA brownstone where all fifty million members of the JSA are in the main meeting room sitting around the massive round table. The new members of the JSA are joking around while the older members are clearly worried about the threat that Gog presents. Superman rehashes what Gog and his protégé Magog caused to occur in the Kingdom Come story. Superman vows that he will not fail in stopping Gog this time.

Starman says that he was on Superman’s Earth. Starman mentions that the history books on Xanthu (Thom’s home world) all say that the JSA members all die in a war between heroes.

Alan then states that the newer members of the JSA will not be going on the mission to Africa to confront Gog. Alan then tells Wildcat that he has to stay, too. The reason being that if the older JSA members all die in battling Gog then Wildcat will be around to train the new and younger JSA members. That there must always be a JSA properly trained and ready to fight evil.

Stargirl disagrees with Alan’s decision and goes on a long speech about how the young JSA’ers have a right to go on this mission as well and can prove their value to the team like she did on her first mission. David Reid agrees saying that he has fought on the front line in Iraq and is more than ready for this mission to Africa to get Gog.

Lightning then stands up and accidently bumps into one of Mr. Terrific’s T spheres which causes her to power up and for all the power in the JSA brownstone to go dead. Mr. Terrific states that the blackout is temporary and that everything should reboot in a couple of minutes. Alan points out that David Reid’s tattoo is beginning to glow brighter.

Suddenly, Gog appears on the JSA’s meeting table with Sandy impaled on Gog’s trident. And we then have a sweet kick-ass brawl and Gog knocks heads with the entire JSA. During the fight, the combatants break through a wall and the fight spills out onto the street. The fight continues on the street. Gog tells Superman that Superman let Kansas die.

Gog ends up beating up the JSA members. All of a sudden, we see the Kingdom Come Green Lantern and Obsidian suddenly appear on the scene and says that it is time for Gog to face the brightest day and the darkest night. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Justice Society of America #14 was a great issue. Johns turns in a well paced issue that finally gets this story moving in a positive fashion. After wasting time and dawdling about with no apparent purpose other than to make this story arc trade paperback friendly, Johns gives us an issue that has such an enjoyable flow to it as Johns cranks up the intensity several notches.

Justice Society of America #14 is a well plotted issue as Johns finally cues the reader into the fact that we have something huge on the horizon. Johns’ greatest strength is his amazing ability to construct such finely crafted multi-issue story arcs with intricately detailed plotlines that all fit together in a logical fashion. Johns has an incredible eye for the future and is always looking to continually top himself.

Johns dials up some nice dialogue. I will readily admit that I don’t like many of the characters that are on the JSA’s current roster, but the fact is that Johns writes them all very well. Each character is well developed and Johns’ impressive feel for all the characters allows him to develop some fantastic chemistry between the members of the JSA. The reader truly gets a sense that this team is a family.

Johns dishes out some kick-ass action in this issue. We get treated to an absolutely jaw dropping battle between Gog and the JSA. Seriously, Johns makes it worth my while for having to slog my way through three dull and coma inducing slow issues with this sweet brawl. And the best part is we don’t get tons of talking. We get some chirping between Gog and the JSA members, but it is kept to a minimum as Johns lets the art and the action speak for itself.

I was happy to see Sandy in this issue. The opening scene with Sandy and Power Girl was well done properly conveyed how Sandy’s power is more of a curse than a boon. Sandy is a great character and I would much rather see him on the JSA’s roster than some of these incredibly lame additions to the team that we have gotten lately. And I don’t think for a minute that Sandy is actually dead. Johns wouldn’t be that dumb.

Gog is starting to get more and more intriguing. Johns teases the reader with Gog mentioning that Superman let Kansas die. I’m curious to learn how this New Earth Gog came to be and how he is connected with the Kingdom Come Earth.

I also enjoyed Gog’s fight with Infinity Man. It was a neat twist to see a Fourth World god who is killing other gods to bring about the Fifth World battle Gog is busy doing the same thing but with the desire to bring back a Third World god. The fact that Gog could make the Infinity Man turn tail and run speaks volumes to the massive power that Gog wields.

Johns continues to utilize Starman as a literary tool to pepper the reader with fascinating and cryptic statements. Johns has Starman make a rather ominous statement that on his home world of Xanthu that all the history books say that everyone dies in a huge war between super heroes. These are the kind of little things that Johns does that gets me excited about the direction of this Kingdom Come story arc.

Johns ends Justice Society of America #14 with a sweet hook ending. We see Alan Scott in armor and wielding a sword that makes him look just like the Kingdom Come Green Lantern. Alan looks completely bad-assed and you get the feeling that Gog is staring down a serious beating in the next issue.

Dale Eaglesham and Prentiss Rollins combine to deliver some fantastic art. I found Justice Society of America to be a beautiful issue. Eaglesham pulls off such an impressive job with the massive fight in this issue. Eaglesham manages to create an incredibly dynamic fight that is brimming with so much energy and furiousness. When Steel blocks the bus that is about to hit two JSA’ers the reader can actually feel the impact. Eaglesham’s fine art is what made this huge brawl so entertaining.

The Bad: My only complaint with this Justice Society of America #14 is that the roster is just too big. Yeah, I know that sounds strange coming from a diehard Legion of Super Heroes Fan. But, the fact is that the Legion is the exception. The Legion of Super Heroes is the only super hero team that should boast a massive roster. Johns really needs to pare down the members of the JSA.

And I believe that last in should be first out when it comes to trimming the roster. I have to be honest that Damage and Citizen Steel are the only two “new” members of the JSA that I find interesting at all. I find the rest of them to be either irritating and annoying or just generic and uninteresting.

Overall: Justice Society of America #14 is exactly what I have been waiting for with this lumbering story arc. This issue is such a well balanced issue that offers up both good dialogue and great action. Justice Society of America #14 will certainly appeal to a broad cross section of fans due to its balanced nature. Johns appears to finally have this story arc rolling and the next issue should be a great one.

9 Comments

  1. Is that Kingdom Come Green lantern, or Alan Scott become KC Green Lantern? Do we see Alan get a beat down?

  2. “Johns really needs to pare down the members of the JSA.”

    I have plans for that. Mmmm…cannon fodder.

  3. This is more like it, although the crowding is still an issue.

    I really liked some of the fight moves, like Mr. America and Amazing Man’s tag-team theft of the staff.

    Ross’ costume designs range from inspired to really bad, but the KC Green Lantern outfit is one of my all-time favourite costumes, so Alan generating that (and the ultra-cool sword) was a treat.

    Lightning’s powers are very X-Men-ish in terms of being a hindrance as much as help (I’m thinking in particular of the pilot of the 90s animated series, where Jubilee kept destroying electronic stuff by accident).

  4. If I remember correctly, the “Main Continuity” Gog (since it was done pre-52) debuted shortly before Infinite Crisis in Action Comics.

    SPOILER ALERT

    It was basically that “Gog” had been a child living in Topeka, Kansas when Imperiex invaded during “Our Worlds at War”. Imperiex utterly destroyed Topeka and a fairly large amount of Kansas. The kid (future Gog) was rescued by Superman. The kid was very worried about his parents, so Superman tried to reassure him saying it would all be okay. One problem: The kid later discovered that his parents were dead (Superman couldn’t have known this). So, like a twisted version of Bruce Wayne, he swore he would have his revenge on Superman. So basically, years later, he used advanced technology and some superweapons to go back in time to try and kill Superman. At least that’s what I remember.

  5. Imposter!

    From what I understand, not all the new additions are going to stick on the team – my impression is that they’ve added these characters for this arc and then will rotate them in and out…or so I hope.

    That last page was pure awesome.

  6. Just a few thoughts…

    I doubt Sandy is dead. He is a being composed of silica and used to be able to control his body as such. Also Johns really has an adversion to killing of heroes. If you remember back to the crappy “mega” event that was “Our Worlds at War” Johns had every member of the JSA make it through his One Shot. I can’t help but think that will happen again.

    I can’t wait until this shows up in my mail box!

  7. With the possibility of Sandman, or any other mortally injured character, being dead, keep in mind that DC needs to have a lot of interesting dead bodies to pull out of the ground for the Blackest Night. Not that DC death hasn’t been plentiful anyway, but we may well see a growing body count of characters they plan to bring back as (not at all like Marvel) zombies with black lantern rings.

    I’m hoping that it turns out the black lanterns can be restored to normal life, but we’ll have to wait and see. But if anyone does die between now and that arc, maybe we at least have good reason to suspect they aren’t going away for long.

  8. I believe somewhere in Gog’s initial inner monologue he mentions that he’s seen the future, which threw me completely.

    Also, I agree Eaglesham has amazing art. I’m personally thrilled by his depiction of Power Girl. Yeah, she’s got the big rack, but she’s a powerhouse so he beefs her up. Its kinda like how you described (artist) Eddie Barrows on Rose Wilson in Teen Titans; she looks ruff and gruff.
    Apart from great individual characters, I love his action sequences, and his close attention to detail. When Citizen Steel stops the bus, you just have to cringe because you FEEL the impact.

  9. “Earth 1 Gog?”
    This isn’t Earth 1. Earth 1 is long gone.

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