Evil cult Kobra embarks on a suicide bombing campaign, apparently aimed at taking down the Justice Society of America, and rival faiths. Mr Terrific, personally targeted by Kobra for his Checkmate connections, narrates part of this issue. Sharing the chore is someone from Kobra – presumably the current leader – and it’s through their words that we see there’s more going on here than meets the eye. I’m being non-gender specific ‘cos that big lady on Gene Ha’s groovy cover may be the current boss – I dunno, I generally avoid Kobra stories, they bore me.
This one, though, I bought because I’ve enjoyed writer Eric S Trautmann’s Checkmate work, and penciller Don Kramer has served the JSA well in the past. And I’m so glad I did . . . this is the best-written JSA for years. In just a few pages we see that despite its size, this is a team that truly meshes, both on the field and off. The couple of pages with the heroes in the meeting room is a model of how the Society should work – old and new heroes, each bringing something to the table. And wonders never cease, look at this! Yes, it’s Power Girl, leader of the JSA, leading. When does that happen? Trautmann writes Kara well throughout, showing her as resolute, but not obnoxious. Her position relative to Mr Terrific on implanted memories (and yes, I said ‘memories’ not . . . never mind) makes perfect sense given her past. Or rather, pasts.
This story seemingly takes place after Final Crisis – Checkmate operative Sasha Bordeaux is here in her post-FC comatose state – but Hawkman is here too, and he was injured far more badly than Omac poster girl Sasha. Well, he was killed, actually, but Dan Didio reckons readers imagined that. Let’s just assume Katar got better and enjoy the story.
I’ve not come across inker Michael Babinski previously, but he works well with Kramer, supplying some tremendous textures – Citizen Steel has never looked more metallic, or Obsidian creepier. And colourist Art Lyon is on his A-game, showing a painter’s knowledge of hues and lighting. There are no throwaway tones here; if you don’t believe me, consider the floors and marble table (complete with reflections)in the JSA meeting room. Gorgeous.
I hope this creative team – and that includes you too, letterer Pat Brosseau – remains for the six issues this series runs. That way, it’s JSA vs Kobra and the reader wins.