Or – “This Is The Plot That Never Ends… It Just Goes On And On My Friend…”
On the one hand, even the worst issue of JSA to date has been above and beyond a lot of the drek that litters the comic book shelves each month…Â On the other hand, the streamlining of the ‘Kingdom Come’ Superman into the mainstream DCU has left a lot of the things that I usually love about JSA (the group interaction, quirky characterization and interpersonal bits) if not at a standstill, at least relegated to the background.Â Still, this issue promises the introduction of Alex Ross’ Superman to his regular DCU counterpart, so it’s at least gonna be interesting to see how that goes…
Previously, on Justice Society of America: An unidentified person or persons has been cutting a swath through the DC Universe, murdering characters who feign godhood, killing the pretenders for reason unknown.Â When Goth (a Marilyn Manson lookalike from the Devin Grayson run on ‘Titans’ a few years ago) bites the dust, his powers cause a chain reaction that could destroy an entire city.Â Thanks to the powers of Starman, that didn’t happen, but his gravity powers triggered a collapsar that somehow transported an alternate Superman to our reality.Â The JSA has a great deal of trouble getting used to the idea of having a Superman in their midst, especially team chairperson, Power Girl, and before they can deal with the full ramifications of that, the core members recruit even more new blood, in the form of Black Lightning’s daughter, Amazing Man’s great-grandson, Mr. America’s grandson’s ex-partner, and FDR’s great-grandson.Â (I’m not kidding…)
Also back on the JSA scene is Jakeem Thunder, a familiar face who finds that his de facto family is much larger than he is comfortable with.Â As Stargirl leads him through the new headquarters, Jakeem is irritated to find that all the rooms are taken by new guys, and finally loses his cool, kicking a door open, and screaming that this room is now his…Â only to find Justice Leaguer Black Lightning and his family moving in.Â Stunned by the (apparently) attractive young hero that I hope to Ayesha that they don’t call ‘Lightning,’ Jakeem stammers out, “Uh, yeah… uh… I got a genie.”Â Heh.Â I remember being that uncomfortable around women.Â ” ‘Ello, Sue.Â I’ve got legs!Â Do ya like… bread?”Â While Jakeem flirts awkwardly, the elder JSAers work on debriefing and healing Mr. America, who crashed into the HQ last time ’round.
Mr. A (whose costume is pretty awesome, evoking the Golden Age version, while seeming very modern) explains that he had a run-in with the murderer, who kept referring to “Gog.”Â It’s a name unfamiliar to everyone, save Superman Mark II, who explains that he used to know a villain in his world called ‘Magog,’ who embodied every single thing that annoyed me about comics in the early 90’s.Â Doctor Mid-Nite points out that those names recur throughout history, even in a bibilical context, and that Superman Mark I fought someone called Gog recently, causing Supergeezer to seek out his counterpart.
Big Blue flies to Metropolis, and is momentarily overcome by the familiarity, listening to the sounds of the Daily Planet, chuckling at Perry White’s gruffness, Jimmy Olsen’s general idiocy, but his reveries is interrupted by a familiar (and beloved voice.)Â His eyes fill with pain, as he remembers the murder of his wife Lois, and suddenly, the best moment of all time occurs.Â “Excuse me,” asks a voice.Â “Are you spying on my wife?”Â The younger Superman hovers over him, stern but concerned, and I again marvel at how strong Dale Eaglesham’s art is.Â The scene is virtually identical to the cover, but it contains so much more power and emotion that Alex’s rendition thereof.
The two Kal-El’s compare Gog-Notes (like Cliff Notes, only with more decapitations) and even bonding just a little bit, when Mark II hears a voice in Gotham City (!) snarling in defiance.Â Faster than twin speeding bullets, the Kryptonians race to Gotham, only to find Hercules (last seen in Wonder Woman, being a schmuck) getting tossed around like a toddler full of gin.Â Our Superman gets a bloody nose, but the older and tougher K.C. Superman takes Hercules’ strongest punch without flinchign, and I get a little annoyed.Â Though the moment is nice, it feels very much like the ultimate “Mary Sue” moment, punking out the most powerful hero in the DCU to show how this is the bestest Superman ever and ever and ever!Â The Supers don’t quite catch Magog before he teleports away, but we, the omniscient readers see him worshiping a giant stone face which seems to be Gog himself…
The meeting of Kal-El and Kal-El was very well handled, and avoided the usual “punch then ask questions” cliche of superhero meetings, and I liked Jakeem’s interactions with the new girl, but overall this issue was just kind of a placeholder.Â The bizarre and twisted timelines of Gog and Magog aren’t that interesting to me, and I still wonder why there’s so much focus on Superman in what is ostensibly a team title.Â It’s not a bad issue, by any means, with really beautiful art by Eaglesham, and even the Alex Ross overtones of it all don’t bother me as much as recently, but overall it felt like an interlude, a middle chapter of something that I’m still not sure I’m onboard with.Â It’s a 2.5 out of 5 star issue, with the strength of the Supermen and the art carrying most of the load, but I’ll be really happy when we actually go somewhere OTHER than Kingdom Come… and I hope it happens sooner rather than later.