Comic Book Review: Justice Society of America #13

The Revolution has found the past two issues of the Justice Society of America to be rather disappointing. And that is surprising considering how consistent this title had been through the first eleven issues. It appears that Johns is finally ready to get the Gog story arc rolling in earnest. Hopefully, with Justice Society of America #13 Johns will return to form and deliver a quality read. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Pencils: Fernando Pasarin
Inks: Richard Friend

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

Synopsis: We begin with Jakeem Thunder whining to Star Girl how all the good rooms in the Brownstone have already been taken by all the new members of the JSA. Jakeem then kicks open a door and yells that whoever is in this room is “steppin’ out!” (God, I forgot what a truly annoying character Jakeem Thunder is.) Inside the room is Black Lightning helping his daughter Jennifer unpack her stuff. Jakeem is predictably smitten by Jennifer. Black Lightning tells Jennifer that there is a lot of expensive technology that Mr. Terrific has around the Brownstone so hands off. Black Lightning then leans in and whispers “You too, Romeo.”

We cut to Dr. Mid-Nite informing Mr. America that he will be all right. Mr. Terrific, Dr. Mid-Nite, Liberty Belle, Hourman and Mr. America all wonder who this “Gog” is. Kingdom Come Superman enters and says that he knows Gog.

Mr. Terrific pulls up information on Gog who was a villain named William Matthews who attacked Superman over a year ago. Kingdom Come Superman says that on his world he fought Magog who claimed that his powers where given to him by Gog. That he was the last god of the Third World. Kingdome Come Superman says that he is going to go talk to Superman.

We see Kingdom Come Superman arriving at Metropolis. He arrives at the Daily Planet and the shock of seeing Lois Lane alive and young again shakes him to his core. Kingdom Come Superman thinks about how all his friends at the Daily Planet were killed by the Joker. How Lois was killed by the Joker. Superman then appears on the scene and asks Kingdom Come Superman if he is spying on Superman’s wife.

Kingdom Superman says that he meant no disrespect. That he came here to talk to Superman about Gog. Superman says that Gog attacked him a year ago. That Gog claimed to be from the future. That he was the only survivor of a nuclear explosion in Kansas that Superman field to stop.

Kingdom Come Superman comments that maybe William Matthews caught a glimpse of his Earth and his past. That he then fabricated a new life inside of his own mind and a new Kingdom. Kingdom Come Superman says that on his Earth he did fail and that Kansas was destroyed and Lois was murdered by the Joker. Kingdom Come Superman says that if Gog is not stopped then he will choose a successor.

Kingdom Come Superman then hears Gog’s voice claiming that he is a god. Out Superman doesn’t hear anything. Kingdom Come Superman takes off and tells Superman to follow him. We cut to Gotham City where Gog is battling Hercules. Gog blasts Hercules.

Superman arrives on the scene and tends to Hercules. Hercules rebuffs Superman and punches Superman out for touching Hercules. Hercules then goes to punch Kingdom Come Superman and he doesn’t budge at all. The two Supermen then take down Hercules. The Supermen then race to get Gog, but he teleports away from the scene before them can reach him. Kingdom Come Superman finds traces of volcanic ash where Gog was standing.

We cut to the Democratic Republic of the Congo where Gog walks into a cave. Gog says that he will kill all the “gods” who walk the world. That Gog will pave the way for the return of Earth’s only savior in these terrible times. Gog kneels before a giant purple face in the stone wall of the save. Gog says that in the name of Gog there will only be one.

The Good: Justice Society of America #13 as nothing fantastic, but it was a solid issue. The pacing, though still slow, was a bit better than the previous issues on this story arc. We finally get something that resembles plot progression with this issue as Gog finally gets a little panel time.

Johns cranks out some nice dialogue. Johns clearly is comfortable with all the various characters and does a good job generating quality chemistry between the various JSA members. I really am enjoying how Johns is handling Kingdom Come Superman. Johns is able to properly convey his pain and sense of loss to the reader. And best of all, Johns manages to do it in an enjoyably restrained manner.

Johns gives us a nice little action scene as the two Supermen lock horns with Hercules. I found it interesting that Johns uses this fight scene two show that the Kingdom Come Superman is more powerful that New Earth’s Superman. And that is of no surprise. Superman is basically a solar powered battery and it is believable that an older Superman would have soaked up more solar energy and therefore gotten stronger as he has aged.

Justice Society of America treats the reader to a good hook ending. We finally see Gog on panel. And Johns teases the reader with Gog kneeling before a large purple face inside of a cave. I don’t recognize the face, so I’m curious to learn more about the identity of the face that Gog is worshiping. I’m also curious to learn a bit more about Gog and how he relates to the Kingdom Come Earth.

Fernando Pasarin and Richard Friend absolutely rock it as the guest art team for this issue. Seriously, Pasarin is quite talented and serves up a wonderful looking comic book. DC needs to get Pasarin on a monthly title immediately.

The Bad: Justice Society of America #13 is a study in decompression. Yeah, I get it. I know that this is obviously being written for a trade paperback. That doesn’t excuse forcing readers who follow a monthly title to suffer through issues that are akin to watching paint dry. It would be nice to have the feeling that I’m actually getting my hard earned money’s worth each month when I buy the newest issue of a certain title.

Even thought Justice Society of America #13 is faster paced than the past couple of issues, this is still one painfully slow story arc. I mean really slow. This issue is a plodding read. Other than the very end, nothing at all happens in this issue. Justice Society of America #13 is mostly a re-cap of the events in Kingdom Come and Superman’s brawl with Gog.

I don’t mind a slower paces issue if it involves incredibly well done character work. But, that isn’t the case with this issue. The purpose of this issue appears to be stalling for time in an effort to stretch out this story arc. Seriously, we are now four issues into this story arc and it feels like Johns is still giving us nothing but set-up.

Overall: If you are a fan of decompression then you will love Justice League of America #13. I would definitely recommend that you pick up this title. However, if you are not a fan of decompression then I’d recommend saving your hard earned money and avoiding this issue. The choice is simple. You can either spend $18 and get six unexciting reads a month or just spend $15 and read the trade paperback in one sitting and get a much more enjoyable reading experience as this story arc was clearly designed to be read in that format.

1 thought on “Comic Book Review: Justice Society of America #13

  1. The pacing’s picking up (that’s good), but the roster is still really bloated (that’s bad); having Jakeem point out the problem is not the same as fixing it.

    Most of this issue is an exposition dump on Gog/Magog (which was appreciated, because I’m not familiar with the stuff done with the character post-KC), but it also kind of highlights how little the plot has advanced since Supes showed up back in, what, issue 9?

    The fill-in art was great; I didn’t even notice it wasn’t the regular artist at first.

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