JSA: All-Stars #17 review

It’s a quiet day at the All-Stars ranch when a gaudily garbed stranger appears among them, claiming to be a member. What’s more, The Prince announces to Judomaster that she’s his wife – or was, before reality changed. The Prince is, he says, the son of Regent, the world’s greatest hero, who once led the Justice Society of America, the organisation which eventually became the Justice Guild  of America. That group counts among its members heroes we know from the JSA, JLA and Titans, and they’ve helped make the world a paradise. But the serpent in the garden is Regent’s evil boffin mother, who has transformed time so that The Prince has been forgotten.

Can the newcomer convince his alleged former teammates to help him right reality? Not if Power Girl has anything to do with it – she’s already had a call from the local metahuman psych ward telling her of an escaped prisoner who believes he’s a teammate. Then again, his room is teeming with time-charged tachyons. And Power Girl knows a thing or two about being orphaned by a suddenly warped world …

JLA readers who remember forgotten friends Triumph and Tomorrow Woman might find this issue’s storyline a tad familiar. I certainly did, but I wasn’t bored, because the details are different, and the presence of Power Girl means at least one member can’t be closed minded over The Prince’s story. Seeing the plot play out so well here felt like flopping down in my favourite chair – comfortable, well-crafted, pure pleasure. And Matthew Sturges is easily a good enough writer to twist the time-lost hero trope before story’s end.

The subplot has JSA holographic know-it-all Roxy upset by the threat of eviction from her new, human body. Who knew she wanted to be a real girl? Actually, she never did, but humanity has brought with it pesky emotions.

Conflicted Roxy, pugnacious Power Girl and compassionate Judomaster are the only regulars to get any real attention this issue. I suspect we’ll never learn the background of magical rookie Anna Fortune before the book’s coming cancellation. But for now we’re afforded a fun romp, with a definite conclusion – I’ll take it.

The artwork of Freddie Williams II serves the story just fine. He knows his cast and conveys their emotions well. And there’s a splendid spread depicting the Justice Guild in traditional charge pose. Mind, he still likes to draw were-panther Wildcat III/Tomcat looking like a deranged frog – check out that cover. And the Prince might gain more credulity with the All-Stars were he to present himself as a thrusting modern man rather than Vincent Price by way of a Sigmund Romberg operetta. Plus, he looks nothing like his father, whom we meet in either flashbacks, or lies.

Nor his mother, for that matter. That’s Dr Hate – rhymes with Dr Fate, not to be confused with Batman baddie Dr Hurt or JSA foe Dr Chaos – and let’s not even touch Wonder Woman’s gallery of mad medics. Still, Dr Hate comes up with a great cliffhanger, and I look forward to seeing how things wrap up, along with the series, next month.

3 thoughts on “JSA: All-Stars #17 review

  1. We have seen so many timeline altered stories that I almost rolled my eyes when I read this. But the interaction with Power Girl saved the day. And it doesn't hurt that it's only 2 issues long.

    I like PG, JudoMaster, Stargirl fine. I could care less about Wildcat Jr, Citizen Steel, or goggled magic girl.

    I love Williams art, probably the reason I have stuck around here.

    So I'll be sad to see this title finish.


  2. I won't miss it myself, it never found its identity and I just did not like the art.
    I'm a JSA fan but being honest I haven't cared for a lot of the decisions in the last few years since the relaunch, JSA All-Stars was a clear attempt at breaking the team out into a franchise and that's a cynical marketing move I've really tired of in comics.
    Having 12 Batman books does not make the character more appealing or sell more copies!

    I will say I have if there's one thing this book gave us that deserves to be carried on its Anna Fortune, she's an interessting concept and a welcome addition to DCs mystical line up, she's got a rather unique and well thought out set of abilities with an interestingly mysterious background. Hope to see more of her.

    Oh, did smile a little at the Tardis interior used for this issue… 🙂


  3. Anj, I'd be OK with Wildcat Jr disappearing into the kitty litter forever, there's nothing very interesting about him that we've seen. I do quite like Citizen Steel now he's stopped moaning, but then, I've always had a soft spot for that costume.

    I wish Freddie would go back to pencils and inks, or whatever he used prior to the digital tools. I used to enjoy his work more consistently.

    Dave, good spot on the Tardis interior. I suppose Dr Hate IS a Time Lord of sorts.

    I think part of the reason I like Anna is that she's Briddish, like me.


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