What Gog Giveth, Gog Taketh Away
What happens if you donâ€™t do what a god tells you to do?Â Thatâ€™s what the members of the Justice Society of America are about to find out as Gog makes a demand that not everyone is comfortable with.
Obviously when a more powerful being grants wishes and appears to be making the planet a better place, some might see that being as a god.Â There are sure to be many who will follow this being to the ends of the Earth, but when that being expects you to worship him or suffer the consequences, then there is going to be trouble.
As soon as the request is made, those members of the JSA who had been following Gog, hesitate.Â And while Magog and others follow the command, the heroes decide it is not in their best interest to worship at false idols.Â A storm is literally and figuratively building (pay close attention to the panel art), and to clear the battle field, Jay Garrick swoops in and removes all the civilians.
This doesnâ€™t make Gog happy, and while he pleads his case, a bigger picture begins to appear.Â As long as everyone follows Gog, heâ€™ll stay on the planet.Â During the last six days, Gog has been roaming the planet, and laying down roots – again literally, and figuratively.Â Should he decide to leave the planet, which heâ€™s been known to do on other planets, the planet will be ripped apart.Â When The Sandman makes this revelation, and a few whacks to the face (oooo, Kirby Dots!), confirm the proclamation, everyone is ready to fight.
But Gog is no slouch either.Â In retribution for removing his subjects, he hurls a bolt of lighting at Jay and turns him into a living embodiment of the speed force.Â Yup, you guessed it, he becomes the red nekkid Flash from Kingdom Come.Â If youâ€™ve been playing along at home that now makes Superman, Magog, Flash, Hawkman (see one of the one-shots to see how Johns made this work), and Wildcat (and probably a few more Iâ€™ve failed to notice).Â Want another?Â As he powers up for battle, Alan Scott turns into Green Armored (complete with green sword) Green Lantern.Â Thy Kingom Come has come indeed.
As the battle continues, Gog decides to rescind the gifts he has given to the others.Â Doctor Mid-Nite goes blind, Sandman gets his terrible visions back, Grant Emersonâ€™s face is once again a sight no one wants to see, and Nathan Heywood, who has been begging to feel something again, finally gets his wish – incredible unnerving pain.Â Even Magog is not following orders, and he gets his by issues end, too.
If you didnâ€™t jump on the three one-shot issues that bridged the story between JSA #20 and JSA #21, you only missed a few beats that are cleared up and summarized in this issue.Â The completists out there (me), who want to know every little back story, and every little nuance on what is going on, will want to pick up the issues.Â But even then, the one-shots did cause a few problems of their own.
While most of the heroes journeys witnessed in those three issues make sense in the scope of the events that transpire in this issue, itâ€™s the Thom Kallor bit that is now messed up.Â In The Kingdom, we see Thom applying for, and getting a job as a grave digger.Â But at the start of this issue heâ€™s fighting alongside his teammates, even though this issue takes place immediately after The Kingdom #1.Â Since the Kingdom and JSA are both written by the same guy, either there is some missing time going on, or I missed the scene where Jay and Alan pressed the big Calling All Heroes button.Â Regardless, Iâ€™m beginning to come around to the line of thinking that we shouldnâ€™t give a flip about continuity and just enjoy the story.
So is this an enjoyable story?Â In the sense that we are reaching the conclusion of a very long tale that could have had a few chapters ripped from it, yes.Â For the all out battle featuring all members of the JSA, which we havenâ€™t seen in some time, another point on the yes side.Â For further bringing the events of Earth-22 into this world?Â Iâ€™m going to have to say no on this one.Â I will give Johns credit, though – while the Kingdom Come story was well done, and probably needed to be left alone as is, Johns is able to bring a new twist to the event to make it interesting once again.Â Another point for art, and a point for a fast paced story, and that bring JSA #21 3 out of 5 Stars.