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?

Justice Society Of America Special #1
Written by SCOTT KOLINS
Art and Cover by SCOTT KOLINS
Letters by TRAVIS LANHAM
Colors by Hi-Fi Designs
Published by DC COMICS

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.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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15 Comments

  1. Ricco
    September 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm — Reply

    “Has there ever been a character you dislike so much that you couldn’t even enjoy a GOOD story because of their heinous presence?” Batman, no but seriously Tom Welling Prime hurted my enjoyment of Sinestro Corps War alot.

  2. jurman
    September 17, 2010 at 11:20 pm — Reply

    For me it’s got to be Hank Pym. Not the old school Hank I remember as a kid but the new wife beating, head biting, creepy sex-bot creating, scientist supreme (gag), total screw up Hank Pym. I have heard nothing but good stuff about the new Avengers Academy but I just can’t bring myself to look at it because Pym’s in it.

    Don’t care much for Red Hulk or Rulk or whatever his name is, but to fair I haven’t read much of him to give the character a fair analysis.

  3. Brian
    September 18, 2010 at 12:20 am — Reply

    Wait, no Max Lord involvement? Isn’t his mission supposed to be stopping Magog? Seeing as how failure would probably result in Max’s death, I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Magog. Crap….

  4. brainypirate
    September 18, 2010 at 1:07 am — Reply

    Q of the Day: Most of the New Gods characters are that way for me. I groan every time I see Darkseid mentioned. It’s a little bit that I just don’t care for them as characters, and a little bit that I don’t like the costumes and design-style that Kirby gave the team. I’m okay with Scott Free, and to a lesser extent Barda, but otherwise I just want that whole quadrant of the DCU to disappear forever!

    The same goes for Mongul (or as I call him, Darkseid Lite).

    And back in the 80s, I was immensely annoyed by the fact that every episode of the JLA had to include Supes and Bats, whereas the other heroes rotated. I really disliked the concept of the Trinity series, in which S, B and WW were metaphysically holding the universe together. They’re already over-exposed as it is!

    • September 18, 2010 at 5:54 am — Reply

      The same goes for Mongul (or as I call him, Darkseid Lite).

      I think technically, Darkseid Lite is Thanos.

      • Damascus
        October 6, 2010 at 9:31 pm — Reply

        So would Mongul be Thanos Ultra-lite?

  5. Slappy
    September 18, 2010 at 7:11 am — Reply

    wolverine.
    I used to love him, but want to kill him,
    I used to love him, but want to kill him,
    I want to put him
    Six feet under
    Then the fanboys will complain

    • September 18, 2010 at 7:34 am — Reply

      I second that emotion. It’s one thing to have fans gushing all over you, but when editorial and the writers do that too…

      Let’s just say I liked him better when he was just an X-man and not Mavel’s Second Coming and more important than Spider-Man.

  6. arcee
    September 18, 2010 at 8:45 am — Reply

    “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.”

    LOL! THAT part of the review made my day!

    • September 18, 2010 at 4:44 pm — Reply

      LOL! THAT part of the review made my day!

      Happy to be of service…

  7. Robbie
    September 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm — Reply

    The same goes for Mongul (or as I call him, Darkseid Lite).

    I think technically, Darkseid Lite is Thanos.

    That makes Mongul the Tab of super-evil…

  8. September 18, 2010 at 8:04 pm — Reply

    “(mostly with some super-obvious puns about the similiarity between “Gog” and “God.”)”

    Seeing that the names come from pretty much biblical (and other religions) from back in the day, it shouldn’t be a surprise. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gog_and_Magog

    Two characters i loathe, Cable and Mongul. Both of that “nothing will kill them, nothing will make them interesting” type. All the Mongul bs in Sinestro Wars and Blackest Night really turned me off. :P

  9. September 18, 2010 at 8:53 pm — Reply

    Punisher and Cable– I can’t read anything that these two are in.

  10. Luis Dantas
    September 19, 2010 at 12:35 am — Reply

    Sure, lots of such characters for me. Venon, Kyle Rayner, Wolverine, Guy Gardner (post-Englehart) all spring to mind.

    • Damascus
      October 6, 2010 at 10:13 pm — Reply

      UGG… knife right to the heart! Some of my favorite characters, albeit poorly written at many times. Ha ha, hey to each their own. I’m not a huge Hal Jordan fan, nor big on Wonder Woman (just find her boring lately and for a long time), I hate Norman Osborn right now too. If I see Red Hood, I tend to want to skip the book.

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