Justice Society of America #26
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Dale Eaglesham
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor: Harvey Richards
Editor: Michael Siglain
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Geoff Johns’ Justice Society of America is the kind of comic book you can read to your kids by the fireplace. You could even read it to your grandmother in the retirement home. That’s no slight on the book, either, just sayin’ – the Justice Society is good, wholesome fun for the whole family. It’s a bit late to be telling you this now, as number 26 marks Geoff Johns’ final story with the team, but I would definitely recommend picking up his entire run on the series, whether in trade paperback format or back issues if you can find them.
It’s weird, because the Society honestly hasn’t done much in the way of superheroics – mostly they’ve been going to barbeques, helping out at soup kitchens, and on this occasion, throwing a surprise birthday party for Stargirl – during Johns’ tenure. That he managed to juggle such an unbelieveably large cast for so long (and made it progressively larger to boot) and still give me a sense of each who each character is, really speaks to his strengths as a writer. It doesn’t matter that they don’t throw a single punch in this issue; it doesn’t matter that a whole page is devoted to Hourman and Damage trying to decide what ice cream they want at the corner store; it doesn’t even matter that this issue and indeed Johns’ run itself culminates in Stargirl’s dentist appointment (in uniform, no less!) – these are genuinely interesting characters that I care about on a human level – due in no small part to Geoff Johns’ expert characterisation. It would be remiss of me not to acknowledge Dale Eaglesham’s involvement in all this – the man draws perfect facial expressions – and that goes a long way toward making these spandex-clad stalwarts believeable human beings.
The more I think about it, the more amazing it all is. Probably my favourite character of the series has been the utterly deranged Starman – a chemically imbalanced superhero sent back through time from the 31st Century – who, in this issue scarfs down four tubs of ice cream and buys out a lemonade stand for thousands of dollars! Sure, it gets a little corny at times with the old-timers spouting platitudes left, right and centre, but the book’s just so damn charming. I can’t fault it.
Okay, one thing: I’m so damn sick of all these 5-page previews at the back of my DC Comics. Give me (and the writers) five more pages of story, not five pages of stuff I didn’t ask for and probably won’t buy anyway. Last week it was Power Girl; this week it’s Animal Man. The only Animal Man you’ll find me reading is Grant Morrison’s, and the only Power Girl you’ll find me reading is contained within the pages of Geoff Johns’ Justice Society. That’s it. That’s the only negative thing I can come up with. Get this book. Go back to issue 1 and read the whole damn series. It’s different. It’s the book with heart in a sea of meatheads.
It looks like Johns agrees with my initial assessment. A family audience is assumed in the issue’s final greeting:
‘From our family to yours, thanks for reading!’
No, Geoff, thanks for writing.