Justice Society of America #53 review

The government wanted superheroes nowhere near the town of Monument PointMore than a mile below it, the JSA and the Challengers of the Unknown learn the what while, on the surface, Wildcat and Green Lantern learn the why. It’s all to do with an ancient god who absorbs metahuman powers, setting him up as the final foe to be faced by the JSA in this run.

But that’s next issue, let’s stick with the current number, which has plenty to commend it. For one thing, there’s Marc Guggenheim’s sprightly script, which has the JSA and Challs bouncing off one another marvellously. The dialogue crackles as the Challs show that they don’t need super-powers to make a difference – they have guts and, more importantly, knowledge. There’s precious little Ace, Rocky, June, Prof and Red don’t know about history, myth, archaeology, pet grooming … if the DC Universe had a quiz league they’d be at the top. And the JSA are a lot of fun too, especially married couple Jesse Quick and Hourman.


And when ancient beasties start appearing to attack our heroes, things get even better (click on image to enlarge) .


The scenes with Green Lantern, WIldcat and Scythe are darker, as the villain explains something of the history of Monument Point. Scythe’s initial silence, then his slow doling out of arcane knowledge, adds to the creep factor and allows him to command the scene.

As well as a top quality script, there are wonderful illustrations by the team of Jerry Ordway and Sean Parsons. Ordway’s pencils are never less than superb – he really knows the DC cast, and how to lay out a page. And Parsons delicately sharpens and stylishly embellishes the lines, making for a gorgeous piece of superhero artwork. It’s clean, it’s classical and it works with the script; I’d love to see this team on the JSA regularly, should the book return after DC’s New 52 launch and a new art team be needed. And if hard-working colourist Mike Atiyeh and letterer Rob Leigh also make the jump, so much the better.


Guggenheim, meanwhile, should be writing a Challs book. He makes the gang come alive and I suspect he has a fistful of ideas for them.

The JSA meeting room table appears so often on covers, it may as well be inducted into the team. This issue’s illustration, by Mario Alberti, is similar in concept to #46 but the Joe Kubert vibe makes up for the deja vu. A fine cover fronting a fine issue.

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