Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Thoughts on JSA

Well, I FINALLY caught up on several weeks worth of comics, which makes me feel remarkably accomplished. Law school can be a bitch sometimes. :-)

One of the comics I finally got a chance to catch up on was JSA, which is fun, because it's still in the introduce new characters phase. Though, I still wish my favorite would get a speaking line or two, I was happy to see him mentioned. He confirmed something! He's still alive, yay!

I take what I can get. :-)

I've got mixed feelings about the new additions, mostly on account of the fact that my favorite character got a two page monologue in the last three years or so, and I wonder at adding so many people to a team that barely features certain characters enough as it is.

On the other hand, I really like the new folks. So instead, I'll just resume my wish that JSA-Classified would take a more varied approach rather than spotlight only a few characters at a time. Or that it'd just once spotlight MY favorite. I'm hypocritical that way. I do like the idea of the JSA as more of a society though, the JLU cartoon, but I want my favorite character to get panel time darnit.

I think my favorite of the new characters so far is actually Thunder's sister. I think that's mostly for that whole scene where Jefferson Pierce and his wife-whose-name-I-didn't-catch are talking with Mr. Terrific. I know it's yet another child that Pierce never showed any sign of in decades of comic history, but hey, she's cute. I like how normal their family dynamics seem to be as well. I'm all for angsty hero backstories, but I also like when heroes come from families or backgrounds that are...well...normal.

It's the same reason I've been enjoying the Flash un-reboot, essentially. I like seeing the way families deal with superpowers and heroic legacies. I like that Jefferson and his wife looked at Anissa's difficulties and decided to go a different route. And really the JSA probably is the wisest choice. Consider the trauma undergone by most child sidekicks and teenaged heroes, or the Teen Titans in general in their various incarnations.

Meanwhile, Stargirl, aside from a brief period of a temporarily dead family, is relatively trauma-free. Jakeem's had it rough, but very little of that can really be placed on the JSA's head. They're well-respected and reasonably stable, with a lot of responsible adults who'll do their best to see that she gets training and stays as safe as reasonably possible.

I don't know where the wife and girls came from really, but I'm really glad Jefferson Pierce has a family now. Besides, his daughters kind of rock.

I've always been kind of leery about the Amazing-Man character, mostly as the All-Star Squadron issues I'd read never seemed to know what to do with him. But I really liked the way the issue weaved in the history/legacy of Amazing-Man. I never felt the lack of a modern day Amazing-Man, but I'm intrigued to see more of him. Likewise Mr. America. I'm actually enjoying this version a lot more than I thought I would.

Aside from Jennifer Pierce, I think I'm most interested in Lance Corporal David Reid. Mostly for the idea that so many superpowered characters are in the U.S. Military. I mean, it makes sense, and certainly with Checkmate/Suicide Squad we've seen a bit more of uniformed/militarized heroes, but I don't really think the subject's been addressed much. I'd like to see a comic dealing with that branch of metahuman/superheroic experience. I also dig that the man's power seems to be, seriously, a pink raygun.

I'm less certain what to make of the whole great-grandson of FDR thing. I get leery about using fictional characters as related to real life people, since it seems kind of disrespectful to me. On the other hand, I'd imagine they'd have to have gotten permission from his surviving family to do so, and if they don't have issue with it, then it's none of my business. I think I'd rather they play up the active-military element of the character rather than the FDR's descendant aspect though.

I still think Cyclone and Citizen Steel are adorable, and to my surprise Kingdom Come Superman isn't annoying me. I think because he's so different than "regular" Superman, though I reserve the right to be annoyed by him later. I even didn't hate Starman for a second (when he went "I'm from the future, woooeeeoooo" heh). I had thought Judomaster spoke English, though. Oh well, I notice that unlike Bushido in Infinite Crisis, Judomaster talks in squiggles instead of Japanese. On one hand, at least it avoids the obvious pitfall of a teenaged boy speaking like a proper young lady. Still, it seems kind of lazy.

I might be one of those people for whom somethings never win. I like that between Jennifer, Judomaster, and the new Amazing-Man (oh, and the return of Jakeem Thunder), the team's seeming a lot less white-washed. And I like that a good portion of the new recruits are female. I like seeing such an obvious, conscious effort being made to make the team more diverse. It'd be nice if Obsidian got a bit more than one lousy pep-talk, but then Manhunter's supposed to be returning in June, so I suppose he'll get his panel time again. Still...

Overall I'm very happy with JSA. I'd be happier if my favorite character got more than the occasional passing mention though. Hmph.


  • At February 24, 2008 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I was originally skeptical about adding so many people, but they're good editions. I still reserve the right to mope about perfectly good characters being neglected though ^_^

    I'd love to see Manhunter dress down Wildcat, or her and Power Girl working on something though. But she has the Birds, which is better for her I think.

  • At February 24, 2008 11:08 AM, Blogger Neil said…

    I think it's sad that DC dropped the ball on JSA: Classified. I'm not usually one to complain about what DC does, but this is a really sore spot for me.

    Don't get me wrong, I like seeing Alan and Wildcat in solo stories, but they do get play in the Justice Society title, as well as in other places around the DCU (Alan in GL and previously in Checkmate, as well).

    While I think we all wanted the Classified title to dip into stories from the JSA's long history, I would have been okay with the "contemporary" stories if they chose characters who don't often get the spotlight (like Sand).

  • At February 24, 2008 8:48 PM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    This current Amazing Man is actually the second "modern" version of the character. The previous one, who was a grandson of the original, got killed by the Mist 2 in Starman...

  • At February 24, 2008 10:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have to say, the integration of the original Amazing Man with the civil rights movement was amazingly natural and such a logical outgrowth of the DCU I was boggled. Was this the first mention of anything like that?

    I worry about the new Judomaster, though. Her power seems like it could easily become overwhelming, and, if this is the same "new" Judomaster who showed up in Birds of Prey, she's been established to speak idiomatic English (having been part of the "Mega-Rod" banter).

    -- Jack of Spades

  • At February 25, 2008 6:13 AM, Blogger LurkerWithout said…

    Its the same Judomaster. But Simone had her able to speak English and Johns doesn't....

  • At February 25, 2008 10:41 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    I'm fine with Jefferson's family actually. I just assume that the only reason we haven't heard of them until now, is that he has been unusually successful about keeping his work separate from his family.

    It would be nice to have Todd say something or DO something, not to mention Sandy. On the other hand, I do find Wildcat Jr. to be just adorable.

  • At February 25, 2008 2:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Where's the whole "Black Lightning never had a family before" thing coming from? He's certainly always been married -- in fact, he was married, then divorced, then remarried to the same woman, if I recall correctly. The daughters, I believe, are new, but the operating rule of JSA seems to be that every itsy-bitsy character in Kingdom Come must be ruthlessly crammed into the DCU, so there you go.


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