Review: Justice Society of America #54
This is it, the last hurrah, the nail in the coffin for the JSA. And I have to admit, I wish my favorite DC team book would have gone out with a bang instead of limping off into that goodnight!
In no way do I blame Marc Guggenheim for the way this storyline wraps up. He was a breath of fresh air on a book that had become too convoluted with characters that no one cared about because we never really got a chance to know who they really were behind the masks. It's easy to create a character if all you have to do is conceive a costume design and then throw them into amazing situations. It is much harder to do what Giggenheim did, weaning back on the abundance of characters to truly focus on the evolution of a few. His stories were outstanding and brought a humanity back to the book after such a long hiatus. He crippled Alan Scott, mentally damaged Michael Holt and retired Jay Garrick all within the first story arc! Amazing!
But alas, the winds of change are blowing and there is no room at the inn for the JSA in September. What was going along splendidly, is now suddenly being wrapped up in a neat little package to be shipped off to hiatus land like so many other books recently. Mr. Terrific's diminutive mental state, which I thought was an outstanding story that gave great depth to the character, was turned around in the blink of an eye (just in time for his new book!) and everything just became rushed and unimportant. The final story arc against D'arken was just fodder to cycle the book through the months before the reboot, relaunch, whatever, call it what you will -- it still should have been something to invigorate the fans and let them cheer on their heroes one final time before the curtain closed. But what this last book gave us was the most lackluster of send offs, something that, even though a major character falls to save them all in this book, feels cheap and disheartening. But like I said, I don't blame Guggenheim for the poor send off, it just seems to be the way the "Big Two" do things nowadays. No matter how classic or endearing the characters are, no big numbers means a quick and painless wrap up that leaves the readers numb and beaten.
If you are a JSA fan and want to get this book to finish out your collection -- pick it up. At least the cover by Darwyn Cooke is respectful to the iconic images this team once brought to DC. But if you are a casual reader -- keep your three bucks until next month when DC will actually give you a story worth paying for.
By the way, I would just like to say thank you to all the creative minds that have worked on JSA over the past fifteen years. You gave your all to make quality stories from quality characters that meant so much to so many. As the final page says, "Never the end," and I wait with bated breath until Ted Grant, Alan Scott and Jay Garrick emerge again to show the future icons just what it means to be a hero!