Justice Society of America #3 review

The Huntress of decades from now has been bouncing around the timestream, watching various iterations of Dr Fate die. Now Helena Wayne is in 2023, facing contemporary Dr Fate and future JSA teammate Khalid Nassour and his Justice League Dark colleagues Deadman and Bobo the Detective Chimp.

He’s understandably perturbed to learn Huntress has seen him die in her present. Could the ornament she has with her prevent his death at the hands of time travelling Nazi Per Degaton?

While Deadman and Bobo head for Madame Xanadu’s shop, Khalid takes Helena to see the rest of the JSA who, it turns out, are mid-scuffle with an army of Bizarros. Seeing the members sets her thoughts racing.

With Helena’s help, the situation is sorted and everyone repairs to the JSA brownstone to hear about her time quest. Meanwhile, so far as the term is relevant when talking time travellers, Per Degaton’s instincts kick in.

We’ll see Madame Xanadu next time, I hope. This time we have the best issue yet of Geoff Johns’ JSA revival. As well as the stuff I’ve outlined there’s a prologue drawn by the ever-brilliant Jerry Ordway featuring the Unknown Soldier and Easy Company.

That raid connects to Degaton’s long comics history in a neat way; I also like the scene showing Sgt Rock has died – creator Robert Kanigher always insisted Frank Rock was killed by the last bullet fired in the Second World War, a thrillingly romantic, tragic notion.

As regards the main action of this issue, it’s terrific to see Huntress hook up with the present day JSA and get clarification as to how she fits with the Huntress we’ve seen over the past few years – she’s a tribute act, both in terms of given name and and adopted identity. (That doesn’t explain the ugly outfit the excellent Mikel Janín has her in, mind; OK, all costumes don’t have to be super-sexy – I’m happy not to see Helena’s abs – but there’s no excuse for those dumpy trousers.)

The casual reinsertion of Wildcat and Dr Mid-Nite (sic) – killed in the long-ago Eclipso: The Darkness Within event – pretty much justifies the recent Lazarus Planet business. I also enjoyed the references to the future of the JSA, from Helena’s perspective – they’re dramatically intriguing, but this being comics, we’re not tied to them. They’re imaginative possibilities, that’s all.

And is Wildcat off with a Legion Academy-style B-team?

Great line, Alan, I’m so with you. And who knew Green Lantern would look so great with a beard? It’s a nice choice by Janín, who also does a great job with Power Girl’s new look, almost making me like it. (This issue was delayed by a few weeks, I wonder if Janín was told to rework Karen’s costume, and perhaps tie into the Lazarus Planet event.) Speaking of characters looking good, I still can’t get used to Per Degaton, catalogue model, but as Johns reminds us, one of his earlier JSA stories did see the formerly stunted soul remake himself.

The big fight with the random Bizarros and their surprise benefactor looks superb, as does that 1945 flashback… I wonder why Jerry Ordway didn’t draw that one, though, it seems a logical choice. Not to worry, one way or another every page of this issue looks great – Janín and Ordway are both fine storytellers, their big difference being the feel – slickness vs grit.

With Jordie Bellaire colouring Janín’s work, and John Kalisz handling Ordway’s, the final art looks ruddy marvellous, while Rob Leigh’s letters are exemplary.

I also like Janín’s cover a lot, it reminds me of All-Star Comics #42. I’m still not sold on the new logo, but I do like use of gold.

I never reviewed Justice Society of America #2 as it felt so similar to the debut issue. This time, though, things kick up a gear, with questions answered, new ones raised, a cracking superhero adventure and a reminder that once upon a time DC had a whole line of wonderful war comics. I loved it.

3 thoughts on “Justice Society of America #3 review

  1. I was hesitant but am fully on board with this and with “Stargirl.” I kinda lost interest in Johns’ work after his first “JSA” run. But man, these two titles FEEL like DC to me. Not the CURRENT company, but the one that went away in 2011 when the New52 reboot was launched and has never quite returned. Just the fact that Wildcat and Doc Midnite are THE ACTUAL versions of those characters who were killed off 30 yrs ago in the “Eclipso” series and Johns bothered to reference that goes a long way to restoring my faith in him. I figured he was just gonna revive them and use the New52 reboot or Doctor Manhattan to vaguely explain it and pretend these are just brand new heroes and not even touch that old continuity. And it is so great to see Ordway working with these characters and getting steady work on this high profile project. And the Unknown Soldier!!!!!!! THIS is all that wonderfully rich DC history/continuity I’ve been missing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you’re happy too! It looks like the Stargirl and the Lost Children story will be continuing in JSA; I wonder how they’ll deal with Stargirl already being active in the JSA series rather than questing with Emiko.


  2. Another fun installment — I like how things are coming together. It’s a nice surprise to have characters like Deadman and Detective Chimp involved in a JSA story. And Angle Man! A great callback to a character that I thought was a much bigger deal when I was just starting to read comics in the 70s. (Blame the Secret Society of Super-Villains special where they took on the JLA!)

    I loved seeing Beth and Yolanda back — fresh from their stint on TV! — and the acknowledgement that they’re the same characters that died in the Eclipso series. As with recent issues of World’s Finest, it really is nice to see older stories being referenced, not just given a winking homage.


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