Comic Book Review: Justice Society of America #10

Justice Society of America is one of DC’s strongest titles and one that The Revolution always looks forward to reading. Alex Ross comes aboard this title to help Johns deliver this new story arc involving the Superman from the Kingdom Come world joining the JSA. I am a big Alex Ross fan and I enjoyed Kingdom Come. So, odds are that I’m going to like this new story arc. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Justice Society of America #10.

Creative Team
Writers: Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Penciler: Dale Eaglesham
Inkers: Ruy Jose

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with the Kingdom Come Superman in the JSA meeting room telling them that he saw all of them die. Starman says that Superman is from Earth-22. That Brainiac 5 has a map for such type of travel between alternate Earths.

Stargirl comments that the parallel universes were all wiped out. That Power Girl and Superboy-Prime are the last survivors. Superman comments that on his Earth the JSA was disbanded and never reformed. Superman then thinks back to the events of Kingdom Come.

Alan tells everyone to clear the room and give Superman some time to catch his breath. The JSA members all leave the room and then lock Superman inside the meeting room. Power Girl states that she is calling Black Canary. That she wants the Justice League in on this mystery.

We shift back inside the meeting room where Obsidian approaches Superman. Superman comments how on his Earth, Obsidian was part of a League led by Batman. Superman comments how this Earth still has a Justice Society of America to make sure that no one makes the same mistakes that were made on Earth-22. Obsidian retorts that they try to help people learn from their mistakes. But, that no one is perfect. That no Earth is perfect. Superman responds that at least this Earth is trying.

We cut to Brooklyn where Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite are investigating the scene of the fire where Goth was killed and Superman appeared. There are no clues as to who killed Goth or how they did it. Dr. Mid-Nite starts coughing up some blood and claims that it must be the smoke. Mr. Terrific responds that they should run some tests to make sure.

We hop back to Obsidian talking with Superman. Superman talks about the events of Kingdom Come and how suddenly, in a flash of magical lightning he woke up in a better world. Superman thinks how this world doesn’t need him and that he doesn’t belong here.

Superman then busts his way out of the locked meeting room. The JSA members try to restrain Superman. Superman shakes off the JSA’ers and takes off through the roof and flies away. The JSA members pursue Superman.

Superman flies so fast that Jay Garrick comments that Superman might be as fast as Wally. We see a teenage girl upset with life and deciding to kill herself. She throws herself off the roof of a building. Superman manages to catch her before she hits the ground. Superman tells the girl that giving up never helped anyone.

We slide over to the Batcave. Batman is watching his Bat Computer screens with reports of the Kingdom Come Superman saving the girl. Batman stares at what appears to be a green kryptonite ring in his hands.

We shift to Central City to the Flash Museum where Wally and Jay are looking for the Cosmic Treadmill. They find the Cosmic Treadmill and Wally mentions that he has never liked time travel. Jay responds that he isn’t talking about time travel. That he is talking about travelling to a parallel Earth.

We cut to Earth-22’s Superman talking with Alan Scott at the JSA brownstone. Superman asks Alan if Power Girl is all right. That she ran off when the crowd started calling him Superman. We then see the Justice League of America arriving at the JSA’s brownstone.

We then see Power Girl crying at Kal-L’s grave.

We zip to Chroma being hunted down and killed by some mysterious figure. The figure tells Chroma that Chroma is a pretender and is not a god. The mysterious figure then proclaims that he himself is a god. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Justice Society of America #10 was a fantastic read. Especially considering the fact that this issue is the set-up issue to this new story arc. And as a general rule, set-up issues rarely are riveting reads since they have to perform the necessary, but not particularly sexy, job of laying a proper foundation for the new story arc.

What made Justice Society of America #10 such a great read is the emotion that Johns pours into this issue. Johns uses his well crafted dialogue and his incredible sense of feel for each member of the JSA to give us deep and well rounded characters that pull the reader into the story. The reader is able to feel the raw emotions of the various characters. The sense of shock and dread that Alan and Jay have about the appearance of a Superman from a parallel Earth. The last time that happened, Infinite Crisis broke out. The reader feels the acute sense of loss that pains Power Girl’s heart. And the reader also feels the overwhelming sorrow that has flooded Earth-22 Superman’s heart.

Justice Society of America #10 was well paced and plotted. Johns does an impressive job laying the foundation for multiple plotlines that will be addressed during this monster story arc. Johns is the master of intricate plotlines and complex story arcs. The pacing was just right as Johns doesn’t rush anything in setting up the story arc and allows the tension and anticipation to build in the reader.

I love how Johns writes Superman from Earth-22. Johns gives Superman such a wonderful sense of sorrow and loss. Johns has Superman talk in a quiet and restrained manner. The reader can’t help but to feel immensely sad for Superman. And Johns knows that less is more when conveying the pain and trauma that Superman has gone through. The scene where Starbimbo asks Superman what happened to the JSA on his Earth, all we get are several flashback scenes with no dialogue. Superman then stares at his mug and asks for more tea. That conveys more emotion and sense of loss than an entire monologue from Superman would have.

I liked the scene where Superman saves the teen-age girl who tries to commit suicide. It was an understated scene that had much more impact that a overly dramatic rescue scene. Superman’s comments to the girl reflect his own emotional trauma and his unwillingness to give up despite the pain and sorrow. This scene shows Superman’s personal philosophy that giving up is never an option no matter what difficulty life throws at you.

Johns does a great job tapping into the pain inside Power Girl’s heart upon seeing Earth-22’s Superman who looks so much like her cousin. Power Girl has been in a fragile state ever since Kal-L died. The appearance of Earth-22’s Superman simply serves to rip open old wounds.

Johns also does a good job making this story arc new reader friendly. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, but Kingdom Come came out 11 years ago. So, there are plenty of current comic book readers who probably aren’t all that familiar with the Kingdom Come story. Johns makes sure that readers unfamiliar with Kingdom Come will have no problems enjoying this story arc.

We get just enough back story about the events of Kingdom Come through Starman’s rambling speech and the dialogue between Superman and Obsidian. Johns only gives the necessary information about Kingdom Come and doesn’t get bogged down in the details or waste too many pages re-telling Kingdom Come’s story.

I enjoyed the scene between Obsidian and Superman talking about how the JSA tries to make others learn from their mistakes, but that no one is perfect and no Earth is perfect. Superman’s response that at least New Earth’s JSA trying is Johns contrasting Superboy Prime’s view of New Earth with Earth-22 Superman’s view of New Earth. While Superboy-Prime can only see the negatives of the heroes on New Earth, Earth-22 Superman can only see how the heroes on New Earth keep trying to do the right thing. That at least their refusal to give up makes them better than the heroes that populate Earth-22.

And what is up with Dr. Mid-Nite’s health issues? Clearly, the good doctor has something going on with him. I’m not too sure where Johns is going with this plotline, but I’m curious to learn more. Could Dr. Mid-Nite be coming down with the same disease that has Karate Kid coughing up blood over on Countdown #26? Dr. Mid-Nite was exposed to Karate Kid during the JSA/JLA team up in the Lightning Saga story arc.

A loyal follower of The Revolution astutely pointed out that Dr. Mid-Nite may have been coughing up smoke. That Dr. Mid-Nite might be transforming into the disembodied cowl and the thick black smoke reminiscent of his “blackout bombs” that we saw in Kingdom Come. The Kingdom Come Dr. Mid-Nite claimed to be the spirit of Dr. Charles McNider.

Johns serves up one sweet ending with multiple hooks that dig into the reader and get you yearning for more. We see Batman watching the news feed of the Superman from Earth-22. Batman appears to be holding a green kryptonite ring. Obviously, Batman cannot be happy about the appearance of another Superman. Batman already doesn’t trust the Superman that we already have. Two of them just makes Batman even more nervous. Plus, Batman has got to be putting the clues together and realizing that the Multiverse exists once again.

We also see Jay and Wally going to fire up the Cosmic Treadmill to travel to a parallel Earth. This made me so psyched! It brought back all those childhood memories when Jay or Barry would travel to the various alternate Earths. God, it is so great to have the Multiverse back. I’m am excited about watching Jay and Wally travel to some of the various parallel Earths and seeing their stunned reactions as they realize that the Multiverse is back.
We also see the mysterious killer who killed Goth strike again. This time the killer takes out Chroma. I am really curious to learn more about this killer and what he is up to. I’m sure Johns has something wild in store for us.

We also see the JLA arriving at the JSA’s brownstone. You know something huge is in store for the reader when Johns brings together both the JLA and the JSA. And that something huge is that the JLA and the JSA are finally going to discover that the Multiverse is back and better than ever. I have been waiting for this moment when these two teams figure out exactly what happened at the end of 52. It should be a blast watching our heroes react to the return of the Multiverse.

I dig Eaglesham and Jose’s artwork. They are such a dependable art team. They always crank out quality artwork and in a timely fashion. I absolutely love the old school way that Eaglesham draws Earth-22’s Superman. Eaglesham gives Superman such a beautiful quiet suffering and an aura of massive power.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue at all.

Overall: Justice Society of America #10 was a great set-up issue that does a nice job laying the foundation for what should be a fantastic story arc. Justice Society of America continues to be one of DC’s strongest titles and Johns clearly loves these characters and knows how to get into their heads and deliver wonderfully crafted issues. I think that this story arc will appeal to both readers who liked Kingdome Comes and to readers who aren’t that familiar with Kingdom Come. I definitely recommend giving Justice Society of America a try.

3 Comments

  1. Someone had a theory that it wasn’t blood that Doctor Mid-Nite coughed but smoke and that he maybe changing to his Kingdom Come.

  2. I think this was a decent start, but I found it kind of slow. Also, the excuse to have KC-Superman fight the JSA is pretty silly (why not just leave by the roof? Or speed through, since he can outrun the Flash?), although it does establish his power-level (apparently more powerful than Power Girl).

    It’s weird to think that almost no one knows that the Multiverse is back, even though that’s been the main thrust of DC editorial ever since 52 ended.

    In terms of Power Girl’s disappointment at it being KC-Superman instead of Kal-L, it’s especially pointed in that it’s the Earth-22 Superman instead of the Earth-2 Superman.

    I’m particularly looking forward to seeing KC-Supes meet Diana, even though he’s from before they get hitched.

  3. Sigh, well theres a first for everything and I guess this is the first time ive strongly disagreed with a review on this blog. and i dont take it lightly since you turned me onto Legion, and have my deepest gratitude.

    But nothing happened in this issue that couldn’t have been covered, even in this age of decompression, in 6 pages, 7 pages tops.

    The pencilled art was pretty sub par, a Rags Morales clone (I guess it had to happen) with very little of the panache and style. And the coloring, which is standard DC, is flat and lifeless.

    And the writing was pretty standard fan fiction fare, nothing you couldn’t have gotten in a convention round table style panel.

    Beyond that, though I tried not to let it color my perception of the issue, is my disdain for this whole sad misadventure. I’m sure the continuity-slobs were jst dying to shoe horn in Elseworlds books into rgular continuity, totally ignoring the reality that being outside continuity let these stories just BE stories, not just another brick in the geekgasm wall of their imaginary kingdom.

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