Justice Society of America #46 review

Part three of the Supertown story sees a new player show up – the delightfully named Dr Chaos. He steps off a train, full of light-hearted banter, but when we see what he’s left on the vehicle – carriages full of corpses – it’s obvious he’s no joke.

The JSA are trying to put the city of Monument Point back on its feet after the devastation caused by mysterious villain Scythe. The members are run ragged rescuing people and stopping disasters, but at least they have assistance, in the shape of guest star Blue Devil. Dan Cassidy is helping out because it’s the right thing to do, though The Flash, Jay Garrick, is surprised – he’s looking at Blue Devil and seeing only his demonic facade.

Still, the Golden Ager is knackered, having barely slept for several days, which may also explain the 
overconfidence and lapse in judgement that allows someone to be murdered at the close of the issue. At least he gets help from Dr Fate – cheekily referred to as the ‘Sorcerer Surpeme’ – when Lightning, Jennifer Pierce, falls victim to the bad doctor’s ministrations while guarding Scythe’s cell.

Actually, the biggest threat to Lightning is an out-of-control Obsidian, who rushes back from his new home on the moon and slaps her out of the way with his dark energy. Having heard that his father, Green Lantern Alan Scott, is a quadriplegic because of Scythe, he has murder in his heart.

Alan himself is across town, in a wheelchair, making gallows gags and planning a no doubt elegant new costume to help him return to the frontline …

Good on writer Mark Guggenheim for addressing the issue of how Alan can be seriously injured when he’s made of living green flame. The writer also links Alan’s inability to regenerate to the fact that just before his run kicked off he created a new community on the moon for magical beings, maintained by the Starheart that powers him. It works for me (click to enlarge).

Has Alan actually met Oracle? Guess so!

I’m less happy with Obsidian’s portrayal as a near-lunatic hothead after he calmed down a couple of years back, but sadly, most writers consider this his default setting.

This is another good issue, with intriguing wrinkles in the overall storyline. Jay’s super-speed quest to do everything he can to help citizens knits the issues various scenes together in a pacy manner while giving us a focus on the man. I think ‘driven’ is the word for Jay; even when he’s knocked out for a second, he bounces right back. I just wish the team members on guard duty at issue’s end didn’t come across as naive chumps. Let’s be kind and say Wildcat and Mr America are too tired to be on their A-game.

Regular artist Scott Kolins is absent this issue, but chameleon-like illustrator Mike Norton steps in and, partnered with equally talented series colourist Mike Atiyeh, keeps the current feel of the book. Rob Leigh letters gracefully, while Shane Davis, Sandra Hope and Barbara Ciardo gift us another gorgeous cover illustration (OK, so it’s not a great cover for this particular issue, but Come the Paperback …).

If you’ve not tried this run yet, give it a crack. There are some good ideas and splendid moments of characterisation as the JSA embraces a new purpose, all tied up in an attractive package.

4 thoughts on “Justice Society of America #46 review

  1. *Spoiler*

    What upset me is that they killed Lightning. She was literally the only remaining young kid on the main team. Plus she had the most dynamic look (Alex Ross designed) – and she had a very relatable and topical condition, of not being able to touch electronics. (Any teen's worst nightmare). She just had so much potential, but didn't get a chance to show it. Sure – she defeated Sythe at the end of the first issue — but killing her two issues later is just not cool.

    Also, she's black. It just has to be said – DC killed off another minority super-hero. It just plain sucks.

    With the JSA All-Star book having stolen all of the young team members, the entire Legacy/Mentor aspect of the series has been completely lost; much to it's detriment. These have been good issues despite that – but in the long term, this book is just going to keep suffering if all we're seeing is Jay and Alan being focused on.

    I hope there might be a save for Lightning next issue – but I doubt it. It's just too easy for a writer to just kill off a character to lazily build tension. Lightning had a lot of potential. It's just a damn waste.


  2. Hi Erik, great points as ever, but I don't believe Lightning is gone. I'm calling fake-out, with the narration relating to the dead mayor giving the impression it applies to Lightning too to fool us. Yeah, Jay has his helmet off, and may think she's dead, but she's a lightning hero, she likely only needs a spark of life to be reinvigorated. The girl's her own defibrillator!

    I can't see Marc Guggenheim choosing her for his team then offing her immediately, unless she's there in the first place precisely because he considered her the most expendable.

    I reckon Jennifer Pierce will be back in action very soon.

    As for her being designed by Alex Ross, surely his design was based on the Jonni Thunder character created by Roy Thomas and Dick Giordano?


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