Monday, January 12, 2009

Justice Society of America #22... Finally!

So, I got a package of new comic books today, but none of the other comic books I received today matter to me, until I read JSA #22. I've loved EVERY moment of this 11 part storyline, OK to be completely honest, I could have done without the Earth-2 stuff, but JSA is the BEST written comic book on the market today. With the exception of Brubaker's work on Captain America, nothing else can come close to touching JSA. Enough gushing, let me dig into this book, and bust out a review.

Overall- This was a..... Very good comic book. There was no way this book could have possibly lived up to the expectations I had for it. With that said, I don't know, I was hoping for a little something more. This comic begins with Gog unkilling(?)Magog, and giving him one final chance to worship Gog, and thereby stay alive. Magog tells Gog he'd rather die then live under Gog's boot heel, and before Gog can kill Magog(again), the entire JSA attacks en masse. Gog stands up to the attack of the JSA, and Damage tells the team to back off. After his teammates take cover, Damage unloads the full force of his powers on Gog in a semi-nuclear explosion.

When the smoke clears, Gog is damaged, but still standing. Gog knocks Damage aside with the wave of his hand, and begins to taunt the JSA. Yep, taunt... You've got to love super-villains! Instead of vaporizing his foes, Gog seems determined to taunt them to death! Anyway, Citizen Steel has enough of Gog's taunts and walks up to Gog and topples him with 2 enormous punches to the leg. With Gog finally off his feet, the JSA renew their attack, and with the help of Magog, the team manages to decapitate Gog.

Old Superman grabs Gog's detached head, which is still complaining by the way, and Starman opens a portal to the Source Wall at the edge of the universe. Once at the Source Wall, Old Superman hurls Gog's head into the Wall, basically killing Gog. Before dying, Gog blasts Old Superman in the back and taunts Old Superman one final time, accusing Old Supes of abandoning his home Earth. With Gog dead, Old Supes asks Starman to open a portal back to his own Earth, realizing that no matter what had happened there, that is his rightful place.

Back on Earth, the JSA are left picking up the pieces. It seems that all of Gog's "miracles" have been undone now that he is dead... With the exception of David Reid, who is still Magog. Judomaster and Damage share a kiss, even though Damage is hideously scarred again, and Power Girl and Hawkman both feel that this whole situation isn't quite over yet.

We also get to see what became of Old Superman upon returning to his home, the Kingdom Come Earth. In a totally cool touch, all of the action with Old Superman is drawn by Alex Ross, who drew the art for the original Kingdom Come mini-series. Old Supes returns to the exact moment the bomb devastated the super-human population in his world, and is surrounded by the bones of his allies and enemies. Supes then flies off to the U.N. building and goes on a rampage, since it was the U.N. that authorised the nuclear strike on the super-humans. Before Superman can go too far, he realizes that many of his friends survived the explosion, and he ceases his attack.

We then go in rapid fashion to 1 year later where Old Supes and Wonder Woman fall in love, to 10 years later, where we see old Superman, who must have been very BUSY with Wonder Woman, playing with his 4 children while Old Batman looks on happily. 20 years from then, we attend the funeral of I'm pretty sure Old Batman. 100 years later, Old Supes looks on proudly as the Earth's super-humans soar towards the heavens, 200 years from there, we see the Earth devastated by massive flooding, but 500 years later, the Earth is rebuilding, with Old Supes still tilling the soils and growing new crops. Finally, we end our story 1,000 years in the future where a very old figure wrapped in a red cape looks proudly to the sky and watches the Legion of Super Heroes soaring by overhead.

I'll admit, the scene at the end, where Old Superman, over 1,000 years old, is looking up at the Legionnaires with a smile gave me goosebumps, because it kind of brought the entire Kingdom Come mini-series full circle. Even though I was somewhat disappointed by the modern day fight with Gog and the JSA, the Alex Ross penciled stuff with Old Superman and the way Alex and Geoff Johns wrapped up the saga of the Kingdom Come Earth in such a happy manner was VERY nicely done. As an avid fan of the Legion, I was very happy to see the nod to them at the end of this comic book.

Overall, I kind of feel that there should have been some long lasting effect to the Gog saga, you know, something to really shake up the team, a death, or something like that would have been totally appropriate to a storyline of this magnitude. Basically, with the sole exception of Magog, everything went back to normal for the JSA. Dr. Midnite is blind again, Starman is crazy again, Old Superman is back where he came from, nothing really earth-shattering happened here. I don't usually condone killing off any comic book characters, but in this situation, in this storyline, SOMETHING more should have happened.

With all that said, for this comic book as a single issue, I'll give it a score of a 9 out of 10. Anyone who read and enjoyed the original Kingdom Come series should pick up this comic just to see how the saga of that Earth's Superman comes to a close. Overall, for the entire 11(!)part Gog storyline, I'd give it a score of a 10 out of 10. Even though Gog's defeat came a little bit too easily for my taste, I loved the rest of this storyline, and would strongly recommend it to anybody.

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