Overall- Wow, this was one great comic book. That should be obvious, considering my unabashed love for Geoff Johns' writing, and how much I've been enjoying the Gog storyline, that has been running through JSA for what seems like forever. I could happily sit through another year of this storyline, if that is what Geoff chose to do. With the exception of the inclusion of the Earth-2 heroes, the Gog storyline has been pure perfection, plain and simple. Now, before I continue to declare my love for this comic book, let me tell you what this issue was all about.
Gog has decided that his followers should get on their knees and worship him. Magog and the people who had been trailing after Gog immediately drop to their knees, but the JSA members present hesitate. Hawkman respectfully voices his discomfort with the request, and Gog smiles his big, sincere smile and says to Hawkman, "This world's God turned His back on you shortly after creation. But I am here. I will save you. My friends, what is there to be uncomfortable about?". Oh baby, right after reading that line, I knew this comic was going to be something special.
The rest of the JSA, the ones who didn't follow Gog as he began his trek across Africa arrive, and Jay Garrick whisks the regular folks away, leaving just the entire JSA alone with Gog and Magog. Sand reveals that Gog has begun to form a parasitic relationship with the Earth, literally rooting himself to the planet. This means that if Gog were to ever leave the Earth, the planet would be torn apart. Gog claims that he would never leave the Earth, as long as people worshipped him on bended knee. When asked what would become of those who refused to worship him, Gog responded that they would provide sustenance for his followers, as fruit or shade... So, there it is. We finally see the true colors of Gog after all of these issues. Either you worship him, or you die.
Gog then whips up a wind storm that tosses the JSA all over the place except for Citizen Steel, who cannot be moved, thanks to his indestructible body. Gog stands over Steel, and tells him that if Steel were to worship him, he would cure Steel of his curse, his unfeeling, indestructible body. With the wave of his hand, Gog tells Steel that he would be able to feel the embrace of his family and loved ones again, and be free from his unfeeling shell, provided he dropped down and worshipped at Gog's feet. Steel pauses for but a moment to consider Gog's offer, and responds with a decisive "No.". It's important to note that after this, for the first time, Gog loses that enormous smile that perpetually stood on his face. Jay and Alan attack Gog, telling him that he can't help people and then demand something in return. Gog responds by striking Jay with a bolt of lightning, which causes Jay's body to begin to dissipate into pure speed force energy. As Jay lays on the ground, vibrating out of control, Old Superman walks over and literally punches the lightning bolt that was striking Jay, disrupting it.
The bolt of lightning deflects off of Supes hand, and strikes Gog, staggering him... The visual of Superman punching the bolt of lightning was a thing of beauty! It's at this point that the entire JSA realizes that Gog has to be stopped, and they decide they have to topple him in order to disrupt his link to the Earth. Doing this would break the roots Gog has been digging into the planet. The team attacks Gog from all sides, staggering him, but only for a brief moment. Gog regains his senses, and unleashes the fury you would expect from an enraged god.
Gog lashes out at every member of the JSA who benefited from his gifts. Dr. Midnite is blinded again, Starman goes insane, Sand is cursed with his night terrors, Damage's face is returned to its destroyed state, and just for the hell of it, Gog forces Steel to experience pain in every nerve of his body. Gog continues his god-sized tantrum by causing the dead wife of Mr. Terrific to crawl out of the ground, covered with maggots. Alan gets the same treatment, being forced to watch his dead daughter climb out of the ground, half decayed and covered with maggots... Damn, Gog is one evil bastard... Old Superman tries to reason with Magog, forcing him to witness the terrible acts his "God" is committing to Magog's former JSA teammates. Gog dispatches of Superman with an enormous bolt of energy. After this action, Magog asks Gog to stop his rampage. Shocked by the words of his herald, Gog asks Magog if he was daring to defy him. Magog says yes, and Gog takes his blessing away from Magog, which would seemingly kill Magog, since it was Gog who resurrected Magog from the dead.
This was the comic I think everyone reading JSA these last few issues has been looking forward to. Gog isn't a god, as he claimed to be, but more like the devil, tempting people with their heart's desire, as long as they worshipped him. Gog's tantrum was a sight to behold, and Dale Eaglesham's artwork does a masterful job showing just how vengeful Gog truly is. Once again, this story is an amazing accomplishment, one which Geoff Johns and Alex Ross should be lauded for.
Yes, this issue was part 10 of 11 in the Gog storyline. And yes, I think if the useless stuff with the Earth-2 characters was left out, this storyline probably could have wrapped up in 8 or 9 parts. With that said, the main story, the stuff involving Gog is just about some of the best comic book storytelling you'll ever read. After reading this issue, there is really no doubt left in my mind as to what the best series of 2008 has been. JSA has been off the charts good all year long, and this issue continued the trend. Take a wild guess what I'm going to score this comic. For those of you who guessed 10 out of 10, pat yourselves on the back! Damn, the last couple of nights, I've really lucked out with the comics I've been reading. Besides this issue, and the amazing "All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder" issues #1-9, I'm in comic book heaven!