Or – “Finally, An Ending To All This Magogery!”
The Justice Society and Magog have been at odds for a couple of years now, but it is finally time for the really and truly final battle. Who will stand? Who will fall? Who will annoy me beyond belief?
Previously, on Justice Society of America: The story of Lance Corporal David Reid is one of the saddest in the DC Universe. Initially empowered by a strange mystical thingy from beyond the pale, he was recruited by the Justice Society of America as one of their legacy heroes (since his great-grand-uncle or some such was actually Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the man who suggested that the JSA become the Justice Batallion, and whose actions indirectly led to the formation of the team.) Through a complicated series of events, David became Magog, transformed by a giant god-thing from the long-dead Third Age and somehow went from basically likable to overexposed douchebag in less than five issues. After being mostly responsible for initiating the argument that led to the JSA splitting in two, Magog was such a tool that he was summarily dismissed from the team. He led a few solo adventures, during which he apparently met Queen Amidala and gained his very own abusive Frank Castle/Microchip relationship and found that he may still be possessed by the mind of Gog. But, if that IS the case, what designs does Gog have on the DC Universe?
The issue opens with a strange alien voice from beyond, recapping the life and times of Magog, explaining all that has happened while giving praise to Gog (mostly with some super-obvious puns about the similiarity between “Gog” and “God.”) Meanwhile, Power Girl tries to take a night off, only to have Wildcat and Tomcat encounter a strange creature in the streets of New York. Whatever magic powers the thing sets Tomcat’s hair on end, but the timely intervention of Doctor Fate keeps things from escalating out of hand, and the Doc identifies the power behind the monster as belonging to Gog himself. I have to say that Scott Kolins’ art is pretty impressive here, but there’s an odd issue with the coloring. As seen on the cover, everything has a strange pinkish cast. I can’t tell if it’s intentional or not, but it’s weirdly off-putting, especially the odd pastel tones of Power Girl’s skin. Magog’s pal Axel interrups her relaxing bath, causing her to bring both JSA and All-Stars together (just like the JLA/JSA crossover, which means that they’ve actually been together MORE than they’ve been separated in the time they’ve been separated) to investigate Magog’s whereabouts.
Alongside a couple of other characters from Kingdom Come (N-I-L-8 and the telepathic conjoined twins whose names escape me) Magog has been running wild, tracking down Gog power traces all around the world in the hopes of glorying their alien overlord and bringing him back to life on Earth. There’s some implication that David has been trapped in the form of a possessed Magog, which would explain the vast change in his demeanor and attitude upon transforming, but as quickly as we have the possibility raised, we’re off again. The Justice Society arrives, and fighty-fighty ensues, during which Magog comes to his senses just in time for N-I-L-8 to be possessed by his own armor. Magog watches in horror as his friend Eric is literally eaten alive by the technology that powers him, and the resulting hollow shell attacks them all. David sacrifices himself to to save the day, and the JSA marvels that Magog was a hero after all. In some strange netherworldly dimension, Magog meets his mother (last seen in the short-lived Magog solo series) who tells him that he can come rule Albion with her. He demurs, and sets out to walk the earth, while we find that the N-I-L-8 armor may or may not still be out there somehow…
I’ll tell ya the truth… I greatly dislike Gog, Magog, and all they represent. I am of the opinion that the Kingdom Come subplot in JSA lasted about a year longer than it ever should have, and that it was a case of a storyline disappearing up it’s own @$$ trying to be super-crossover geniusness. Magog was designed as a throwaway parody of Cable, and was best used as a cautionary tale and NOT the center of a crossover involving much more entertaining characters. Even with all those cards on the table, this issue wasn’t a bad one. Scott Kolins delivers some awesome imagery, especially during the giant fight-sequence near the end. The plot is relatively clear and simple here, and with a couple of exceptions, works quite well. (Power Girl’s interrupted bath is a little out of place, and the multiple codas at the end of the story end up just confusing matters further.) If we factor in some plotting issues, add the huge plus of no more Gog, subtract weird and distracting coloring, carry the one, and bring in the fact that the title characters put in the equivalent of cameos, and we shake down thusly: Justice Society of America Special #1 earns a slightly below average 2 out of 5 stars overall, even as the art is pretty spiffy throughout.
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Has there ever been a character you dislike so much that you couldn’t even enjoy a GOOD story because of their heinous presence?