Saturday, July 12, 2008

Justice Society of America #17 review

Wish Fulfillment

Issue starts with Cyclone chasing her monkey.

Hey, that's always a fun way to start an issue.

Cyclone and her monkey eventually run into Damage. Cyclone sees his face for the first time, surprised, and basically starts crushing on him. It starts off slowly, but right after this we zip on over to Gog. A week has passed since the last issue and Gog has amassed himself a following, performing miracles left and right. Needless to say, such a powerful being doing so much good freaks out the JSA and the JLA. Superheroes are a paranoid bunch, aren't they? Like a bunch of fascists they are, no one gets by without being vetted and newbies are guilty of some wrong doing until proven otherwise. Guess that's why they all look up to Superman, cause he has his head on straight that way. So, after some discussion, Wonder Woman manages to get Gog's attention. He's heard good things about her from the birds flying around his head. Wonder Woman voices her concern, where upon Gog declares his intention to be the protectors of the capes and tights crowd. Skip to a moment in Church between Dr. Midnite and Mr. Terrific; quick moment between Hawkman and Hawkgirl; Lance, Jay Garrick and some Marine Corps General; then it's back to Gog. After an offhand comment from Stargirl, Gog turns to the heroes and starts performing miracles on them to prove his good intentions. This is where things get...interesting. He puts Sandman to sleep, for a 24 hour period, where he will dream pleasant dreams instead of nightmares. For Dr. Midnite, he restores his sight. For Starman, he restores his sanity. For Power Girl, he sends her back to Earth-2. Oh shit. Yeah, this is where they start trippin balls. Before any answers can be had, or before any more miracles can be performed, Gog decides it's time to put an end to war.

I...REALLY...liked this issue. I've been pretty tepid on this series for a while, but this issue and the last have kicked my ass. Gog is a bit of a flighty god. Lots of good intentions, but must not really think things all the way through. It's the reactions people have to him that are cool. The cult of people that do nothing but follow him around, the heroes that are totally either in love with Gog or weary of Gog and ready to put him down. This is pretty well encapsulated in the scene between Dr. Midnite and Mr. Terrific. For a lot of these people, it comes down to faith and their personal conflicts with the issue. For Dr. Midnite, he's assured in his own faith in God but still believes in an inherent goodness. Mr. Terrific, the scientist, being a rational empiricist scientific kinda guy (also an atheist), naturally, has serious problems with Gog as everything Gog is flies in the face of what Mr. Terrific knows. It's a strain for him. Johns treats this whole scene quite thoughtfully and I was very impressed. On the first page of this scene, in the second panel, the priest is speaking about Gog and the dialogue feels very real. Too often it seems a writer will approach the notion of faith and religion in cliched and overbearing ways. Ya know, as the crazed fundamentalist. I don't know if this was Johns or Alex Ross, who is credited and whose father is, I believe, a priest. Contrast this with that two part story that Fabian Nicieza did in Action Comics last year with the faith powered hero, that shit was lame. Like everything Nicieza knew about evangelical Christianity came from Air America or some shit.

I shouldn't overlook the scene between Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Hawkman is examining the artifact that gave Lance his powers. Hawkman estimates that the artifact is a piece of Gog's original body as he's seen the symbol on it in several places over the mid east and Africa. This should be interesting. The moment was also very cute as Hawkman rejects a chance to join the JLA as he thinks Red Arrow is even mouthier than Green Arrow. Funny stuff.

Artwise, Pasarin does another bang up job. Flows smoothly, looks good. I think hes got a thing for bookish girls, as Cyclone probably comes out looking better then the other females.

Again, I am very very pleased with this issue overall. This is the most excited I've been about this book since I started picking it up last year. Excellent read and I would highly recommend picking up this story line. I wasn't originally planning on getting the annual, but I think given the events of this issue I will. I might keep up with this book a little longer then originally intended as well.

Excellent job, Johns and Ross!


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