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The Society's Worst Day

August 5, 2009

     Bill Willingham and Matt Sturges begin their what is likely to be whirlwind run on Justice Society of America with a single, pure black egg.  Jay Garrick finds it, and the JSA tries to figure out what it is.  Elsewhere, the new All-American Kid and the arrogant King Chimera, the JSA’s two newest members, meet each other.  Alan Scott realizes that the egg is Obsidian, who seems to be hurt, but before they can examine it further, the alarm goes off.  Some nobody villain named Tapeworm wants to fight Wildcat, and if Wildcat doesn’t show up, he’ll kill his hostages.  The team, minus the two new members and Mr. Terrific, who is examining Obsidian, head out.  Tapeworm reveals that this was a trap, and dozens of supervillains come out to face the team.  Each of the JSA members faces off against a villain or villains whose powers give them a tactical advantage against their opponent.  The JSA begins to crumble, but for some reason, none of the villains will fight Stargirl.  Back at JSA headquarters, All-American Kid seems to be possessed by something and stabs Mr. Terrific.  As the battle goes poorly, with Jay and Stargirl standing alone against their foes, Mr. Terrific seems to be dead or dying.

     There’s some good and some bad stuff with this issue.  On the good side, I love the way that Willingham and Sturges treat the individual characters.  As they showed with Cyclone and Wildcat, they seem to have a pretty good grasp on all of the members of the team.  Admittedly, Magog shines a bit less, but they do well, considering how odd a character he is.  Why he’s getting his own series, I don’t know.  However, the plot itself is peculiar.  The JSA is a legacy team, and aside from people like Mordru and Vandal Savage, I can’t say that they have a long list of villains who would go to these lengths to try and kill them.  That’s only a minor gripe now, but that may change depending on where the plot goes.  As for two new characters, I don’t think that this team needs any more.  Very few writers can balance a massive cast, and I don’t think that Willingham and Sturges need to make it any harder for themselves.  Now, I know this is partially in preparation for JSA All-Stars, which will split up the team for no apparent reason into two groups, but it’s still too many.  And I can’t say that it’s very inspired to have the newest member of the team kill Mr. Terrific.  It leaves just so much suspicion.  By the way, Mr. Terrific is one of my favorite characters on the team.  I’ll be very sad if he dies.  I do like Jesus Merino’s pencils, since they echo those of his frequent collaborator, Carlos Pacheco, who has worked with the team before.  At times, they have this great statuesque quality.  All in all, this has a lot of potential.  But the idea of two JSA series isn’t one that I fancy, and the fact that that’s what’s in the future makes me a bit nervous.  I get solo series, but you shouldn’t split up a team for the sake of multiple books unless it’s like the X-Men.

Plot: 7.8      Art: 8.2      Dialogue: 8.1      Overall: 8.1

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