This is the official beginning of the Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges era of the JSA. Comic book GOD Geoff Johns has left this book and Bill and Matthew will be trying to fill Geoff's rather large shoes. Well, that's enough of an intro, let's see what Bill and Matthew can do!
-This issue begins with the team discovering an egg of complete darkness in the JSA headquarters. Green Lantern(Alan Scott)calls for his son Obsidian(who happens to control dark, shadowy matter), but doesn't get an answer, which in and of itself is kind of strange, considering Obsidian is aware of everything occurring in the JSA brownstone.
-At the same time, Mr. America is showing his new teenage sidekick, All-American Kid, around the JSA's building. We get a quick breakdown of who this All-American Kid is, for the record, he's the great-nephew of the original All-American Kid, who was briefly active during WWII before getting shot by Nazis. Mr. America brings Kid to the room he'll be occupying, and Kid discovers he'll be sharing the room with another newcomer to the JSA, King Chimera. Chimera reveals he is the son of King Standish, who was a crime fighter as far back as WWII. FYI, Chimera has the abilities to create life-like illusions.
-Back with the main team, Alan learns that the egg is actually Obsidian. Before the team can experiment on the egg any further to figure out what the hell happened, the emergency alarms go off, prompting the team(as well as Mr. America and the two newbies)to rush to the security room. It appears some c-list villain named Tapeworm(Tapeworm??? Are you kidding me?!?)has gathered a bunch of hostages and is challenging Wildcat to a battle. Wildcat is perplexed, since he can't remember ever running into this Tapeworm, and the entire team, sans Mr. Terrific(who is staying behind to continue looking into the Obsidian situation)and the two newbies, run off to battle the villain.
-So, 16(!!!)members of the JSA head to the hostage scene and confront Tapeworm. Should be a piece of cake, no? Flash manages to get the hostage out of harms way, but before the team can engage Tapeworm, over 20 villains arrive to back-up Tapeworm. I think you know what's coming next. The heroes and villains begin to fight, but the villains seems ready for the JSA, and each villain pairs off against a JSAer who they would have the most success against. For example, Blackbriar Thorn, who is made completely of wood, attacks Alan, whose power is ineffective against wood. Every villain goes to great lengths to avoid fighting Stargirl though.
-Back at the JSA brownstone, Kid and Chimera are in their bedroom, where Mr. Terrific ordered them to remain. Chimera is trying to meditate, and he tells Kid to leave the room so he can concentrate. Kid explains that he can't leave, as per Terrific's orders. However, some outside source seems to take over Kid's mind and he leaves the room repeatedly chanting the word "obey". Kid sneaks up on Terrific, who is still running tests on the Obsidian egg, and stabs Terrific in the back with a knife!
-Things aren't fairing any better for the the JSA as every member has fallen, with the exception of Flash and Stargirl, and they are surrounded by an angry mob of super-villains. A visual of the bloody Mr. Terrific concludes this issue.
Hey, you know what? This was a very good comic! I was pleasantly surprised! As one of the biggest Geoff Johns fans out there, I was definitely expecting a pretty big letdown with a new creative team taking over, but this comic was up to the high standards Geoff established in this series for years. The two new characters seem like a good fit for the team, and I hope they both stick around for a while, although I'm not sure that's going to happen, but I'll get into that later.
Mr. Terrific getting stabbed kind of bugged me, because he has developed into one of my favorite JSAers. Over the course of the last two weeks, I've been reading through the JSA series from the late 90's, and Terrific really managed to grow on me. Originally he didn't do much for me, but after reading 70 some odd JSA books, I gained much appreciation for Terrific's character. Here's hoping he isn't going to get killed off.
Getting back to the new members, I think they both have some serious potential. Right off the bat I was a little disappointed when King Chimera revealed that he was the son of King Standish(whoever the hell that is!). I had my fingers crossed that he was the son of the Shade! His look and attitude was reminiscent of the Shade, but alas, it was not to be... Still though, I like the contrast between the chipper, bright looking All-American Kid and the darker, gloomier Chimera. Of course, all signs point to Chimera as the threat currently facing the JSA. He can create life-like illusions, which would explain the sudden attack on the JSA by so many villains, and after he told Kid to leave him alone, Kid became possessed and stabbed Mr. Terrific. I can't believe that Bill and Matthew would make the threat facing the JSA that obvious though. I figure Chimera is a red herring, and that the real threat will be revealed in future issues. For a score, I'll give this issue a 9 out of 10. I really enjoyed this issue and wholeheartedly hope Bill and Matthew can keep up the great work!Kids these days...