The Huntress is on a mission through time, but the real question is, why does Power Girl want to punch her back into next week? Your Major Spoilers review of Justice Society of America #4 from DC Comics awaits!
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #4
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Mikel Janin and Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire and John Kalisz
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Katie Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Previously in Justice Society of America: Helena’s journey through time continues! Each new time period gives her one more piece of the puzzle, but is Degaton too far ahead in his quest to eradicate the JSA to be stopped?
Is this truly the end of the Justice Society?
IN THE GREAT HALL OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY
We open this issue with Justice League Dark, or at least several of their members, trying to puzzle out the magical mechanisms of Huntress’ snow globe, which seems to allow her to travel in time. Their investigations reveal the murder of the Justice Society in 1940, something that is literally impossible. Why, you may ask? Because the Justice Society is still active in the present, with several of the same members, all of whom are facing off with Per Degaton. The time-traveling jerkface almost effortlessly negates The Flash, Green Lantern, and Jakeem Thunder’s genie pal, but can’t defend against The Huntress, thanks to her status as time paradox. The battle costs him a finger and slows his plan to create a multi-century blood sacrifice, but the problem of the murdered ’40s heroes remains. Worse still, as the issue ends, The Huntress has left New York for Gotham City, in the hopes of catching up with her father, knowing that it’s just another paradox waiting to happen.
JANIN IS AMAZING, ORDWAY IS A TREASURE
Once again, the pages of Justice Society of America are beautifully rendered. Mikel Janin makes the one-sided battle between the JSA and Degaton a thrilling sequence, including Jay Garrick in some of the best-looking super-speed action in recent memory. The issue’s splash page, showing the murdered JSA founders around their shattered meeting table is a blood-chilling sight as well, thanks to Jerry Ordway, and even the anticlimactic final page of Huntress meeting Batman is lovely. I’m less enamored with the coloring, which is heavy on pastels and light on dark blacks, but even that doesn’t completely stunt my enjoyment of the issue. Johns’ scripting, however, is a major problem as, four issues into her story, we still have little understanding of Helena’s motives or personality outside the unnecessary focus on her father. This issue also features a few trademark Johns Mystery Cues (“Don’t trust the Witch Girl!” is the most noteworthy one, but there’s also a reference to Eclipso, and something ominous about the new Golden Age Red Lantern) that frustrate me. It’s the fourth issue of the series, with a fifth in the form of the New Golden Age special, and we’re still unboxing the various plot points and puzzle boxes of the book.
BOTTOM LINE: QUITE SKIPPABLE
The underlying problems of Justice Society of America #4 continue to be a lack of central focus, a main character who is a complete cypher, and more foreshadowing than the story framework can actually support, paired with excellent comic book drawings and sort of okay coloring for 3 out of 5 stars overall. As a long-time reader who loves these characters and has waited more than a decade for the JSA to return after the Flashpoint retcon, I’d love to say this is the triumphant return to greatness. Instead, it’s a cautionary tale of why a single creator should not be given exclusive control over particular characters, as even the most hardcore fans can probably give this a pass.
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JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #4
When you stretch 4 issues out into 12, there's bound to be some slow parts, and this issue proves it. The art is pretty fabulous, though.