It’s been a long few months, waiting for the story that went with this cover. When it was solicited by DC I could barely type for laughing. Alan Scott’s new Green Lantern look is noted within the tale, the conclusion to Supertown, but incredibly, not one character tells Alan that he looks ridiculous. I get that everyone’s pleased he’s working around a spot of paralysis, but seriously, Wildcat is on this team. And Blue Devil. And walking case of foot-in-mouth disease Cyclone, for crying out loud.
Cyclone? Yes, this issue sees the JSA All-Stars return to the fold, as their own book heads for cancellation. And they’re bringing friends with them, new characters such as the Red Beetle and old favourites like Liberty Belle. Not that we see much of them, mind, as they’re mostly relegated to the status of fight scene cannon fodder while the story remains with Alan, Flash, Mr Terrific and the rest of the regulars.
Villains Scythe and Dr Chaos are taken out in fine style, leaving almost half the issue for epilogues. It’s then that the All-Stars ask to rejoin the gang, we learn that Lightning remains undead (but not Undead) and that Mr Terrific is an idiot. Mind, he should be a bigger idiot; this storyline has seen his IQ drop massively and rapidly, yet a month passes during the course of this issue and Terrific’s still able to converse. He asks a concerned Dr Midnite to keep shtum about his little problem rather than call in help. I suspect Midnite’s an idiot too, as he seems to concede to Terrific’s unreasonable and reckless request.
The JSA are awfully respectful of one another’s privacy, it seems – Jay waits three weeks before tackling oldest friend Alan over his ‘Steampunk Human Torch’ look. And then he lets Alan get away with aloof non-answers.
Answers would also be nice so far as Scythe is concerned – we still don’t know what his deal is, only that he’s awfully potent, and has ratty hair. As for Dr Chaos, we must accept that for some reason he can hold his own against more than a dozen JSAers before leaving the battlefield in a happily mangled state. I’m surprised someone didn’t break both his hands within ten seconds of recognising his mad bomber MO.
Quibbles aside, this has been an enjoyable first storyline from writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Scott Kolins. Their talents complement one another well, and suit the team. At the very least they get points for sending the JSA off in a new direction – most members decide they’re staying in Monument Point to help rebuild the shattered community, and Jay is named mayor. But Guggenheim and Kolins achieve so much more, giving the book its own tone in terms of script and art; they leave no doubt that however dark the day, the JSA are heroes who will get the job done.
Kolins departs for pastures new soon, but he’ll be remembered for bringing a lush realism to the oldest surviving super-team in comics. From the sinister, corpse-like senator to the monument to heroism that is the Flash, Kolins gives everyone their own look. Crucial to the overall effect is colourist Mike Atiyeh, who really knows how to light a scene. He provides pretty explosions too. And let’s not forget Rob Leigh, whose attractive calligraphy is underappreciated.
Next issue is an extra-sized 50th issue celebration. I suggest you join the party.