Comic Book Review: Justice Society of America #6

Justice Society of America has been a great read. As a long time Legion fan, I have really enjoyed this JLA/JSA story arc. There is no doubt in my mind that I am going to like Justice Society of America #6. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team

Writer: Geoff Johns

Penciller: Dale Eaglesham

Inker: Ruy Jose

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.

Story Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10.

Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: We begin with the members of the JSA and the JLA assembled together and wondering why the Legion of Super Heroes left without telling them anything. Superman holds one of the small lightning rods. Superman reflects on how time travel was never easy on their minds and that often their memories would get altered or even erased. That one of the Legion’s most historical adventures remains undocumented because none of them can remember it. It is called “The Legion of Three Worlds.” That is the last time Superman saw the Legionnaires. It was right after the first Crisis.

Superman then retells the tale of Adventure Comics #312 where Proty posed as Saturn Girl and gave his life to bring Lightning Lad back to life. Geo-Force comments how Superman’s story is not only ridiculous, but insane. Superman responds that their devotion to each other was unexplainable. Batman says that they were kids. Superman disagrees and responds that “We were Legion” and looks at his Legion flight ring. (Hell yeah, brother!)

We cut to the Legionnaires flying to a jungle. This is the location of the last Legionnaire. Dawnstar mentions how Superman and his teammates were never supposed to get involved. That the future is too dangerous for Superman now. That they couldn’t tell Superman what happened to the Legion and what has happened to Superman’s name.

Karate Kid mentions how the mental safety blocks didn’t work out for them so well, but it was the only way to conceal their thoughts from Saturn Girl or else she would be here along with Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad. Karate Kid says that the Legion needs their big three.

Thom is still acting totally loopy. Dream Girl says that it is not because of the mental safety blocks. It is because in this time period they still use pills to help with schizophrenia. That Thom spent years in a mental hospital after his gravity powers popped up. That is why Brainiac 5 didn’t give Thom medical clearance to go on this mission. That Thom tricked Colossal Boy and took his place. That the time beam wasn’t calibrated for Thom so something went wrong.

Dawnstar comments that Thom’s unanticipated path only worsened his health problems. That Thom has the mark of the Multiverse on him. That before Thom arrived at this time period he was accidentally shunted to Earth-22.

Dream Girl gets mad at herself about how she should have seen this coming. That she knows Thom better than anyone. Thom then tells Dream Girl that he did it because he loves her. Dreamy tells Thom that she loves him too and the two lovers embrace. Dawnstar then interrupts and says that they are not the first ones to arrive at this location which is none other than Suicide Swamp.

We zip over to the team of Liberty Belle, Wonder Woman, Hourman, Damage and Black Lightning searching Suicide Swamp for the final Legionnaire. Liberty Belle tries to pair up Wonder Woman with an available super hero since the perfect match for Wonder Woman, Superman is unavailable.

Damage tells Hourman and Black Lightning that he is no longer in school. That he dropped the Physics Class at N.Y.U. that Liberty Belle paid for. Damage says that the professor turned the class into a constant lecture on how his internal combustion reflected his damaged profile. Black Lightning tells Damage that he knows plenty of private tutors, himself included, who would help Damage out. Damage thanks Black Lightning and says that he will think about it.

Our heroes then arrive at their destination and oh my fucking god it is the Hall of Doom! Wonder Woman says that it is the Secret Society’s old headquarters. The flight ring signal is coming from inside. Black Lightning blasts open the doors to the Hall of Doom and out steps the last Legionnaire. It is Triplicate Girl from the Adventure Comics Era Legion.

Triplicate Girl recognizes Wonder Woman and comments that it is Wonder Woman’s daughter who wears a cape. Liberty Belle contacts the Hall of Justice and informs them that they have found the last Legionnaire. Liberty Belle is then told that the Legion have ditched the JLA and JSA. That they will arrive at Liberty Belle’s location as soon as possible.

Triplicate Girl reveals that the Legion was sent back in time to prevent the world’s first psychopathic artificial intelligence from being born. The one obsessed with the destruction of Super-Heroes. The spark of life happens in a lethal security system created and forgotten by Brainiac.

We see a shadowy figure with a Legion flight ring crouching in the corner of the room saying “It’s not real.” Suddenly, the Adventure Comics Era Computo springs to life and attacks out heroes. (Yes!! Hot damn!!) Triplicate Girl says that they need to destroy this entire base before Computo gets out. Triplicate Girl says that if Computo makes contact with a network then their future will cease to exist.

Our team of heroes break free from the Hall of Doom. There they come face to face with the other Legionnaires just arriving at the Hall of Doom. Suddenly, the rest of the JSA and the JLA also arrive at the Hall of Doom. We then get treated to a massive battle between the combined forces of the JLA, JSA and Legion of Super Heroes versus Computo.

Hal Jordan comments how his power ring is unable to analyze Computo. That something has shut off his power ring’s voice communicator. Dawnstar tells Wildfire that their Legion flight rings won’t keep Green Lantern’s power ring from talking for long. That the JLA and JSA are going to see it soon. Wildfire tells Dawnstar to make the switch. Karate Kid says that he hates doing this to Kal-El. Dawnstar comments that it is for Kal-El and his teammates’ own protection.

We cut to Dawnstar approaching the shadowy figure inside of the Hall of Doom. The figure keeps saying “Create it and they will go away.” Dawnstar tells the figure that they did a good job and then says the word “Lightning Lad.” The figure tells Dawnstar that she remembers everything now.

During the battle Sandman tells Dream Girl that he has dreamt about her. Nura responds that most men have. We then see Computo killing one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies. Superman then says that he has seen all this before. That this isn’t right. That this has already happened. Superman tells everyone to stop. Superman tells Power Girl to use her X-Ray vision and to look around. There is nothing there. Computo, the Hall of Doom and the Legionnaires are all an illusion.

Superman says that Triplicate Girl, the Hall of Doom and Computo were never here. That Sensor Girl was responsible for all of these illusions. We see the Legionnaires flying away from the swamp. Sensor Girl tells Karate Kid that she has the coordinates that they need. Wildfire comments how the storm is approaching. Dawnstar tells the Legionnaires that they know where to go and it is time to say goodbye and good luck. The Legionnaires then all fly off in different directions. End of issue.

Comments

The Good: Damn. Justice Society of America #6 was simply a fantastic read. Johns delivered a well plotted and paced issue. This JLA/JSA story arc hasn’t moved at a blistering pace, to be sure. However, Johns picks up the pace with this issue as we get some quality action and have the final Legionnaire revealed.

I know that many people have an issue with the plotting of this story arc and how long it has taken to put all the various players into place. Here it is the penultimate issue and we just finally found the last Legionnaire and have the Legion embarking on their secret mission. That is certainly slow and a massive build up to the final issue of this story arc.

While that is a legitimate complain, I don’t have a real issue with it. The main reason is that I don’t see this JLA/JSA story arc’s purpose as providing an action packed and fast paced story. The purpose of this JLA/JSA story arc is to re-integrate the Legion of Super Heroes back into prominence within this New Earth and the New Multiverse. Johns and Meltzer are using this story arc to give new readers plenty of exposure to the Legion, who they are, what they stand for and their relation to Superman. This is DC’s concerted effort to rebuild a franchise that has been gutted and left to die ever since the first Crisis.

I love that Johns continues DC’s effort to re-integrate Superman into Legion lore. I geeked out watching Superman talk about the two Adventure Era storylines involving bringing Lightning Lad back to life and the mission where Computo kills one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies. It is so cool that Superman has knowledge of all the various Adventure Era storylines.

Plus, it means that DC is definitely brining the Adventure Era Legion back into the DCU’s history. The Adventure Era was wiped out by the first Crisis. I am absolutely thrilled to see that DC is giving the Legion back its storied history.

To me, even though the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion is my favorite version of the Legion, the Adventure Era Legion is the true essence of the Legion. The Adventure Era Legion fully defines what it means to be Legion.

Johns handles the JLA and JSA members’ reaction to Superman re-telling the Lightning Lad story perfectly. Geo-Force comments how it sound not only ridiculous but totally insane. And it does. Johns uses Geo-Force as the literary tool to voice what is probably the viewpoint of most newer modern readers when reading Silver Age stories. Like most Silver Age stories there is an inherent ridiculousness to them. And that is what makes them so great.

But, what was so perfect was Superman’s response to Geo-Force’s comments. Superman says that the Legionnaires had a close bond with each other and would gladly sacrifice themselves for each other. Batman comments that they were just kids as if trying to dismiss the Legion’s loyalty as some irrational act of adolescence.

Superman’s response that “We were Legion” and looking at his Legion flight ring was fucking awesome. I actually got chills up my spine. I loved it. In that one panel, Johns pays tribute to the incredible close bond of the Legionnaires and what it meant to be a part of the Legion. That the JLA and JSA are close knit teams, but they don’t compare to the intense loyalty and willingness to die for each other than the Legion of Super Heroes displays.

Plus, it was cool to see Superman once again as a member of the Legion of Super Heroes. For such a long time Superman’s only group affiliation has been the JLA. No more. And even thought Superman loves the JLA, you can tell that the Legion strikes a more passionate side of his soul.

Johns delivers plenty of his usual well crafted dialogue. Johns has a great feel for the various personalities of each character. This leads to some excellent chemistry between the characters. I dig how Johns has the JLA and JSA members interact with each other. Johns really plays up the fact that these two teams are not just old friends, but that they are practically family.

Little touches like how Liberty Belle playfully talks about various super heroes who would make a good romantic match for Wonder Woman and how Black Lightning personally offers to tutor Damage re-enforce the family style relationship that the JLA and JSA have with each other.

Johns also gives us some vintage chemistry between the Legionnaires. I’m talking chemistry better than anything we get over on the Legion’s current title. It was great to see Timber Wolf trading barbs with the always sarcastic Wildfire. We got to see Wildfire’s trademark fondness for Dawnstar.

It was nice to see Thom and Dream Girl together again and sharing a tender moment. And that scene also shows Johns good feel for the Legionnaires because that tender moment automatically makes Wildfire uneasy and causes him to turn away. Wildfire has always been sensitive to physical affection between couples since Wildfire lacks a body and will never be able to have that kind of relationship with his long time crush in Dawnstar.

The chemistry between these Legionnaires was some of the best that we have gotten in a very long time. It was just so nice to see all of them in action together once again. It put a huge smile on my face.

I dig how Johns is handling Thom’s character. Johns has certainly done his research on Thom’s character. I like that Johns is playing up Thom’s history of mental illness and how the time travel has compounded Thom’s mental issues. I have a feeling that Johns has plenty in store for Thom’s character and I can’t wait to see what it is.

I had a total geekgasm over the appearance of the Hall of Doom from the old Super Friends cartoon! How awesome was that! First, Meltzer debuts the Hall of Justice over on the Justice League of America and now Johns answers back with the debut of the Hall of Doom. I loved the old Super Friends cartoon, so I’m in absolute heaven with this.

What is also interesting is that Wonder Woman references that the Hall of Doom was the old headquarters for the Secret Society of Super Villains. The Secret Society first appeared back in their own comic book back in May of 1976. This was a very cool move by Johns to mix the Pre-Crisis Secret Society with the Legion of Doom from the Super Friends. I absolutely love how DC is really making a concerted effort to re-establish their incredibly deep and textured history.

Seeing Computo again was awesome! That was my second geekgasms while reading this issue. For me, Computo has always been one of the best Legion villains of them all. It was so cool to see Computo back in action again even if it was just an illusion.

What was really interesting is that this scene confirmed that DC is re-establishing the Adventure Era Legion’s history. That Superman already had knowledge of the mission when Computo killed one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies.

Johns ended this issue with a great hook ending. The final Legionnaire is revealed to be Sensor Girl. While I much prefer the Pre-Crisis Levitz Era Princess Projectra, Sensor Girl is still better than having the return of Sneckie. What is neat about having Sensor Girl as the final Legionnaire is that she is the only one of the Legionnaires who is a Post-Crisis Legionnaire? I am very curious to see how Johns explains the inclusion of a Post-Crisis Legionnaires with all the Pre-Crisis Legionnaires.

I also found it curious that Johns has Karate Kid mention how they had to have the mental safety blocks to conceal their plan from Saturn Girl. Or else, Saturn Girl would have gotten Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad to come with her to stop them. Karate Kid then mentions that the Legion needs their big three.

Now, the big three for the Legion has always been Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl. I was under the impression that the Legionnaires were here to bring Lightning Lad back to life. However, Karate Kid mentions Saturn Girl brining Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad with her so they couldn’t be on a mission to save Lightning Lad.

But, who else could they be on a mission to save? Superboy? He is the only other big name Legion member that I can think of. The Legionnaires make several cryptic comments about how Superman can’t know about their mission and how the future is too dangerous for Superman now. That something has happened to both the Legion and to Superman’s name.

Johns also drops a bomb on the reader about the “The Legion of Three Worlds.” That one of the Legion’s most historical adventures remains undocumented because none of the Legionnaires can remember it. It is called “The Legion of Three Worlds.” That this was the last time Superman saw the Legionnaires and that this adventure occurred right after the first Crisis.

This is pretty cool twist. Could the Legion of Three Worlds include the New Earth’s Legion that we currently have on their title, another Earth where the Adventure Era Legion exists and a third Earth where the Pre-Crisis Levitz Era Legion exists?

I have no idea where Johns is going with this, but he has successfully captured my attention. Johns is doing a great job creating plenty of suspense with this plotline and I can’t wait to see where he goes with this. I do know that it is obvious that DC is taking serious steps to try and re-establish the Legion’s glorious past and to really re-energize this long time floundering franchise.

Eaglesham and Jose supply plenty of great looking artwork. Eaglesham does a great job drawing the Legionnaires. Eaglesham also turns in some wonderful looking action scenes.

The Bad: I can definitely see where some readers may be less than pleased with the pacing of this story arc. And I can also see where this story arc may not be particularly captivating to a reader that is not a long time fan of the Legion of Super Heroes. It is a risky move by Johns and Meltzer, but I think it is worth it if it is the first move in an attempt by DC to fix the various massive mistakes made in handling the Legion of Super Heroes ever since the first Crisis.

Overall: Obviously, I am biased. I will readily admit that bias up front. I am an unapologetic fan of the Pre-Crisis Legion of Super Heroes. There is absolutely no comic book that I loved more than the Pre-Crisis Legion. So, it comes as no surprise that I absolutely loved Justice Society of America #6. I found it to be wonderfully captivating and geeked out over all the little nods to the Adventure Era Legion as well as the Super Friends cartoon.

I think this JLA/JSA story arc is a great introduction for new readers into the wonderful and glorious history of the Legion of Super Heroes. This is a cool way for new readers to be exposed to the Legion of Super Heroes and why it is such a fantastic franchise.

6 Comments

  1. But, who else could they be on a mission to save? Superboy? He is the only other big name Legion member that I can think of.

    My guess is the Earth-Two Superman.

  2. It’s really starting to feel like Kal-L, Kon-El, or Barry Allen are the options– like the Legionnaires aren’t back trying to save a Legionnaire, but trying to save their timeline (which has popped back into existence) by somehow correcting something having to do with the New Earth/ Earth-1/ Earth-2 relationships. (I also assume that those are the Three Worlds, and that we’re somehow seeing the forgoten adventure right now.) Somehow they’ve got to save Earth-1’s future, that is to say their own. (New Earth’s future remains the WKRP Legion.)

    I have the awful feeling that it’s going to be Barry– the Earth-1 pre-Crisis figure par excellence, and the first multiversal traveller restored for the new multiversal era. The ‘lightning’ connection, now that Lightning Lad isn’t a participant, is just too obvious. But I won’t be happy about it.

  3. I hope it isn’t Barry; he had a perfect heroic sendoff in COIE, and he’s been gone for 21 years; if he comes back, it’s just another case of DC editorial looking backwards rather than forwards.

    Of course, I thought the same about Kal-L, who saved all creation and went to live in paradise with Lois; and Johns brought him back just to turn him into a putz, and then kill him.

  4. The problem with bringing back Barry Allen is that his was a “good” death. He shouldn’t come back to life. There are ways around it, of course, that we’ve already seen – pluck him from the time he was in the 30th century married to Iris and fathering Don and Dawn, before he went back through time and died.

    But we’ve already heard that Barry is coming back somehow in “Countdown”, and it appears Kal-L might as well from the teaser in JSA #1. But if Kal-L does come back, that takes away his sacrifice at the end of Infinite Crisis.

    It seems obvious to me that the “Three Worlds” are the pre-Crisis Legion (which we never saw the end of), the post-Zero Hour Legion (last seen on Earth-247 in Infinite Crisis) and the current version. The Giffen/Bierbaum Legion might be one, but we saw it end at Zero Hour.

    By the way, the Secret Society of Super-Villains never used any HQ that looked like the Legion of Doom HQ. That’s a retcon.

  5. Barry made a sacrifice– he gave his life to save the universe.

    Kal-L didn’t make a sacrifice. He just got the hell kicked out of him gratuitously to no useful effect.

    In short: Barry died because he won. Kal-L died because he lost.

    I’d have been perfectly happy for Kal-L to stay in his Heaven dimension. Failing that, I won’t be too upset to see his stupid death reversed– except for the general way that it continues to weaken any sense that any particular comics story matters for very long.

  6. I am so thrilled that Superboy is back in Legion continuity. And when I say Superboy, I mean the kid who grew up to become the Superman we knopw, and not some pocket uinverse duplicate. The Legion has been so messed up since the original Crisis. I’m glad to see it getting back on track after 20 years of screwed up continuity changes.

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