Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Review: JSA: All Stars
JSA: All Stars by Geoff Johns
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This was a very interesting graphic novel. The Injustice Society attacks the JSA, but they are under the control of a demon called Legacy. The original members of the team - Hawkman, Flash, Wildcat and Green Lantern (or Sentinel) - are taken my the IJS while those that are left, all of whom are legacies to the names they hold, need to figure out how to stop them. Oh... except for Sand. His silicone body has actually been fused into glass. The Spectre appears, telling them that this demon feeds on their psychic pain so they need to go confront the pains of their past.
So far, pretty standard graphic novel set-up. It's when we get to see the characters face their issues that the real brilliance of the graphic novel comes to the fore. For each character, there is color spread taking up 3/4s of the page. The bottom quarter has two paragraphs of information. The first is for the new version of the character and the second is for the originator of the name. Then we see a story about the new character confronting their past in their own way and it is followed by a story involving the old character.
I thought it was very clever of them to set it up in this way. It gave those younger readers (or newer to comics such as myself) a better sense of those that passed the torch. I now had a glimpse of Terry Slone, the original Mr Terrific, where I'd never before known he existed. I got to see the original Hourman bring a murdered in the armed forces to justice and realize that his true power doesn't come from the Miraclo that gives him his strength but from himself. For these glimpses alone, I'd have to say that this is probably my favorite new-read comic this year.
I was also impressed with the artwork. The drawings for the legacies were modern. They fit well with the current timeline that they were exploring. But the drawings for the older comics... it wasn't 100% like the older comics from the 40's and 50's, but it evoked that feeling in me. I felt like I was actually reading two different comic books - one from now and one from my father's childhood. It really kept me in the moment.
The end of the story went back to the traditional pattern of good guys together beating the bad guy and rescuing their friends. It took some special insight to do it (and I don't want to share too much because of spoilers, sweetie), but it felt believable. It's one that I probably wouldn't mind owning. And it makes me want to see if I can get my hands on some of the original JSA stories so I can read a bit more about these originals.
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