Archive for Justice Society of America

Blackest Night #1

Posted in Blackest Night, Comics, DC, Green Lantern with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 20th July, 2009 by Red Baron
Black is the new Green.

Black is the new Green.

Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Inker: Oclair Albert
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Associate Editor: Adam Schlagman
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Cover Artists: Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert & Alex Sinclair
Alternate Cover Artists: Ethan Van Sciver & Hi-Fi

If you had of told Dan DiDio four years ago that Green Lantern, under Geoff Johns’ guidance, would not only stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Batman and Superman in stature and following, but would also spawn the biggest comic book event of 2009, he probably would have slapped you twice and thrown you to the Crises.  Well, that was then, and this is now, and let me tell you, I was more than excited to be opening the first issue of Blackest Night proper.  In fact, I can’t remember ever being this excited for a comic book event in all my years of reading comics (which I’ll admit, is not very long at all compared to some).  Well, it turns out that all that anticipation is paying off in spades, and that Blackest Night is every bit the bee’s knees it promised to be.

Naturally, Blackest Night #1 picks up where Blackest Night #0 left off, in Gotham Cemetery.  It’s a dark and stormy night, and Black Hand ushers in the Age of Dark and Stormy Nights with a decidedly sick and twisted invocation.  The first thing I noticed about this issue was, damn, it’s great to have Ivan Reis back on a Green Lantern book.  Then of course I noticed the striking visuals, the epic presentation, et cetera, but honestly, there’s so much going on here that I really don’t know where to start.

This book is a great jumping-on point for newcomers, but they’ll also find a lot to digest here; while long-term Green Lantern and DC Comics readers have plenty of Easter eggs to scour through.  Sure, there’s a fair bit of background that the DC faithful will already know, but Johns is clearly highlighting which parts to pay attention to (and believe me, there’s a lot to pay attention to) and fleshing them out to augment the emotional impact of future events.  It’s actually surprising to see which untended plot threads he does highlight – without giving too much away – fans of Keith Giffen’s Justice League will no doubt be intrigued by the developments they see here.  It’s pretty clear by the end of this issue that Blackest Night represents his life’s work, drawing on every major DC storyline he’s had a hand in, from JSA to Hawkman to Infinite Crisis to 52 and everything in between right up to Flash: Rebirth.  Perhaps contrary to his original plans (though not by much), Blackest Night encompasses the entire DC Universe (or is it ‘Multiverse’?).  That is to say that its scope is far greater than just the Green Lantern universe – which is already massive thanks to Johns – and centres upon his two no-doubt-favourite heroes, Hal Jordan (Green Lantern) and Barry Allen (The Flash), as our anchors to this epic tale.

The core of this super-sized issue takes place appropriately on the anniversary of Superman’s death; once a national day of mourning, now a day used to honour fallen superheroes.  Geoff Johns has stated in interviews that this issue mentions all the major players in this storyline, and I believe it – many names are checked by the mourners, which may as well be a roll call for the Black Lantern Corps – some are expected, though many may surprise you.  In point of fact, the first Black Lanterns to reveal themselves surprised the hell out of me, and their first dark deeds shocked me all the more, due in no small part to Ivan Reis’ grisly depiction.

It’s getting very dark in the DC Universe, and I, for one, am loving it.

Justice Society of America #26

Posted in Comics, JSA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 8th May, 2009 by Red Baron
From their family to yours!

From their family to yours!

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.