Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Friday, July 07, 2006

Reactions to JSA 87 (very minor spoilers)

So. That's it. That's how it ends until the new series starts in the fall.

I've mixed feelings about this arc in general.

Now a part of it is simply because I *still* have no idea where my favorite character is, barring a random mention in JSA Classified which was nice, and a glimpse during a crowd scene in 52.

It's nice on one hand because I'm pretty sure he's alive (yay), but I've no idea if he's going to be on the team later. And while I'll read JSA anyway, I really really hope he'll be on the team and not end up in limbo.

I mean they brought back Johnny Sorrow. And Johnny Sorrow would be a pretty lame villain without his primary target. He's one of those sorts of villains that works best because of the personal scary ties to a single character.

There's also no sign of Hourman, Hawkgirl, or others which I find a little anxious as well. Hawkgirl's got her own series, and future covers indicate Hourman (Rick or Rex??) will still be around, but where...I'm not sure...

The thing about this OYL story arc is that it's a very weird mix for me. When Mr. Levitz is good, he's very very good. I like his Stargirl. I like his Power Girl. I like Terrific and Green Lantern. And when he wrote Jenny, well honestly, in that brief set of scenes as a ghost, she was more likable than I *ever* remember seeing her.

Mid-Nite was good for the most part, though in the first OYL issue, he felt flat. More like Mr. Levitz was writing McNider instead of Cross. But he seemed to have settled into it an issue or so in. Which I liked.

I suppose part of my problem is really that I don't really care about the Gentleman Ghost. He's an interesting novelty naturally but when I think of great villains for the JSA, villains I'd consider to be worth spending this pre-reboot time on, well, he's not really on my list.

Mordru, perhaps, for the full circle thing with the beginning, though he's been defeated pretty recently. Obsidian's not an issue anymore, being cute and sane now. But what about Ian Karkull. I mean he's the guy who manipulated Alan Scott's son, bathed earlier JSA in neat deaging rays...definitely a long history. He also showed up in the first issue, allowing for more of a parallel.

The Ultra Humanite could have been a good choice I think. He's tricky. And you can't go wrong with Monkeys.

Failing that, I'd have really liked to have seen a villain/plot that's tied more into the history of the DCU. I mean, for me, that's when JSA works best, playing off of nostalgia. This, well, felt like a place-holder. A cute charming one, naturally, but a place holder.

In general, I like Mr. Levitz's plotting and use of character, but I thought the Ghost's flashbacks were much too long. I don't mind villain origin flashbacks that take up a good portion of a single book (see Johnny Sorrow) but when that origin starts to take up a good portion of *five* books, that's a little much. He's not that interesting a villain.

Still, the characters had some nice moments. And I liked his choice of hero. The fulfillment of the prophecy was a nice twist.

I'm not sure how I feel about the use of E-2 Batman there. On one hand, it's a nice nod to the old multiverse fans. On another, it honestly, felt a little tacked on and forced to me.

Now what does bother me is the destruction of the Brownstone. This I don't feel is much of a spoiler because it's on the damn cover. I've no intention of explaining how it happens though. Now I'm sure anyone who's read my Rebirth-destruction of Warriors rant won't be surprised that I didn't like this part. And I don't. At all.

I get why the headquarters needed to go boom in a thematic sense, but I'm bothered as well. I suppose it's a good sign actually. After 80-some odd issues of JSA, the house seems as much a character in its own right as the people inside it. There's sadness in losing it.

But I'm a little upset too. Because while the house might be "nothing more than stones and wire" to certain characters, there are others who might have more of a connection to this house. One who's parental figures lived in that house until their death perhaps? One who set up the museum in their honor?

I'd like to think there's a reason for his absense, but it still strikes me as a little cheap to destroy the Brownstone without a single panel of reaction from the man who owned/cherished it. I know it was kind of destroyed once already in Virtue and Vice, presumably rebuilt, but it still seems like the sort of thing that Sand should be there for.

Even if they do give him a reaction-flashback later, it won't be the same.

That said, now that I've got the arc in front of me, reading it in order, I'm much more appreciative of the overall structure and character moments. Mr. Levitz has a very different feel to his nostalgia than the Robinson/Goyer/Johns form I'm used to. It makes for an interesting contrast and a nice interlude. I just wish I connected to the story more.

But honestly if they ever resurrect Jade, I really hope they have Mr. Levitz write her a miniseries because the way he wrote her's fantastic really. He made Jade likable without ever really changing any of the core elements of her personality. She was still recognizable as the same woman, but...

I don't know. But he made me like her. And that's no small feat. I'd like to see him do it again.


  • At July 07, 2006 5:46 PM, Blogger Rich said…

    I'm with you on didn't really feel like the end of the series to me. Gentleman Ghost is a bit of a non-entity for me really, and Karkul or Mordru would have made much better villains.

    Plus was that an anti-climax or what in the end?

    Generally, I get the feeling that the book would have been better served if it had been cancelled pre the OYL jump.

    Still, I'm looking forward to October!

  • At July 08, 2006 12:01 AM, Blogger Doctor Polaris said…

    The Gentleman Ghost is a total ass. He cheats at cards and he *never* brings snacks to our Supervillain Poker Nights.

    I know he doesn't eat, but that's no excuse.

  • At July 08, 2006 12:03 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    He could at least bring beer.

  • At July 08, 2006 12:27 AM, Blogger Scott said…

    Per Degaton could have been fun. Or a truly nasty Injustice Society with *all* Big Bads - Degaton, Ultra-Humanite, Karkull, Mordru the Wizard (yes, have him take over the name), Vandal Savage, and maybe Johnny Sorrow as well.

  • At July 08, 2006 2:03 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    That would be damn awesome.

    Yay, Sorrow! My favorite abhorrent villain!

  • At July 08, 2006 4:43 AM, Blogger Brandon said…

    JSA is what brought me back to DC. I hope they don't mess with the formula too much with the relaunch.

    Kalinara-you've worked some voodoo on my brain, because I'm starting to miss Sand as well. Maybe they've got extra special plans for him and they're purposefully building up the levels of anticipation.

  • At July 08, 2006 5:20 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I'm hoping that's the case.

    And hooray, I'm a corrupting influence! Sweet!

  • At July 11, 2006 9:13 PM, Blogger Emperor Nerd said…

    It felt like to me that all of the big JSA villains were off limits due to the impending relaunch. Like DC thought 'we don't want to waste the Ultra Humanite, or the Injustice Society or Saradin on a book that is being relaunched in 4 months.'

  • At July 11, 2006 9:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    You're probably right. Still, I'd have liked to see it go out with a bang.

    Mr. Levitz's arc would have been a nice interlude, but I'd wish for something a bit more dramatic to go out on...


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