Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Some Thoughts from JSA 2:

Okay, so while rereading JSA #2, I found a scene that reminded me of how when I first read through the series, I'd actually expected them to go with something of an Atom-Smasher/Sand rivalry. This was of course before I'd really had any notion of who either character was, but it was very interesting to me.

This is the scene in question:

Specifically, this exchange:

"What's Sandy's bag, I wonder? With Wesley dead, I bet he gets that whole fortune. Dian's too. She was Sandy's aunt. So what is it with him? He doesn't need to work. He doesn't need to do anything."

"He looks up to the old guys nearly as much as you seem to."

"Yeah, I guess. But it's almost like he's trying to buy his way into the superhero business."

I don't know. To *me*, Al's lines imply a certain sort of resentment almost. Which actually makes a lot of sense when one thinks about it. First there's the obvious issue of class/socio-economic status. But more importantly, and more interestingly, there's the intriguing elements that their compared experiences have.

On one hand you have a former member of Infinity Inc, a group that had to struggle tooth and nail for any sort of recognition or support from the Justice Society. He's spent years not being taken seriously and has both re-imagined himself from Nuklon to Atom-Smasher, and is finally getting the respect he deserves. Though one could wonder if he would even be in this version of the Justice Society if he hadn't been at Wesley Dodds's funeral.

On the other, you have a man of the same approximate age (not counting monster-dom) whose presence appears to not only be unquestioned, but even expected in this group. He has no powers (as of yet) and hasn't been an active hero (from the sound of it) since he woke up six years before from the Velvet Cage. And he's pretty much, through money and the house(obviously far beyond Al's own means), got an automatic in with the hero crowd.

There's an added convolution too. While I don't believe it's been stated for sure whether Sandy the Golden Boy was ever an official member of the original Society in his own right, we can assume that he had some involvement through Wesley, something like Robin's involvement in the Silver Age Justice League (or for that matter, the Superfriends cartoon). We definitely see the boy fighting alongside the group in flashbacks in the current JSA series. And certainly, there were no doubts about his abilities at the beginning of the series except maybe from Sand himself.

And that's got to grate a little. Al's fought for recognition for so long, when decades earlier, a *child* was fighting along side them with presumably only token complaints. (Wesley does mention Alan saying something about bringing children into this life in the storyarc where they go back to 1951). And now that he's back, the team's welcoming him open-armed.

I'm not really surprised that they dropped any rivalry potential pretty quickly. It really would be as unevenly matched as the Carter-Sand thing later on in the series. Same approximate physical age or not, the difference in their attitudes and life experiences make for one hell of an uneven playing field. (In a way, like the early conflicts between Superboy and Robin in World's Finest and Young Justice, before their friendship really settled in). However, once Sand was named Chairman, any sort of rivalry was impossible. The role firmly established Sand as one of the "adults" of the group while Atom-Smasher was, through the Extant stuff and the conflicts with Black Adam, relegated to basically one of the "kids". And Sand isn't Carter, to actively pursue any such thing with a "junior" member.

But it still makes for an interesting inverse parallel. Heck, even Hector, though his Doctor Fate-ness gave him a bit more distance from his II status, might have had an interesting element too. Heck, Hector did end up running around as "the Sandman" while Sandy himself was in the Cage.

I think there's a really interesting story to play with here, even if only as a subplot to some more important action, and I'm kind of sad that no one ever really went anywhere with it. If it were me, I'd have Al and Sand as forced partners, like Sand and Carter in the Roulette arc, or even better...a *roadtrip*! Mwa-ha-ha.

Well, if the rumors are right and Obsidian and Atom-Smasher do end up working with the Society some time in the next few years, (presuming of course Johns was telling the truth about the line-up ultimately remaining unchanged so Sand'll still be there), maybe some of this will get played with after all.


  • At May 12, 2006 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I have wondered about this ,how does money,fame, rank,effect all of this"crime-fighting"activity? In other words,do all these different groups actually treat each other the same....or differently?

  • At May 12, 2006 10:18 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    It's an interesting thought. I know one of the Secret Files...maybe for the Golden Age, has a great short bit showing the rift in the 1940s JSA. You had the wealthier/upper middle class members at one table, and the lower class at the other. And at the upper class table, a discussion about the importance of, well, breeding to crimefighting comes up.

    Characters like Mid-Nite and Sandman (though Wesley was much milder about it) were a bit classist, which was offending Alan (being a train engineer and thus closer, in many ways, to the lower class members than the upper class), and resulted in someone being snooty toward Mid-Nite because of his owl.

    It was really a great story, and part of why I started thinking about this stuff to begin with.

  • At May 13, 2006 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Another thought many of these folks have regular day jobs?I mean,the money has to come from SOMEWHERE...

  • At May 13, 2006 8:01 AM, Blogger kalinara said…

    Well, most of the JSAers did have jobs at least back then.

    Nowadays, I'm not sure who has jobs at the moment (Terrific and Mid-Nite, certainly), but considering Sand's using his inheritance from Wesley and Dian (apparently enough to buy a small country) to fund the JSA, they probably don't need them. :-)


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