Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Why I'm Enjoying JSA Right Now.

You know, it's funny, a while back I stumbled onto a criticism of JSA that basically had to do with all the Kingdom Come love. I didn't save the link, but I'm sure you get the jist and it's really not a criticism that I can argue with. It IS very Kingdom Come heavy right now. It did get me thinking because well, I've never been all that interested in Kingdom Come myself and I'm really rather antagonistic toward the multiverse aspect in general, and particularly I've never liked Superman as a member of the JSA. Oh, and considering my favorite character has very little panel time, I SHOULD be frustrated by the inclusion of more characters.

But I'm really enjoying JSA and honestly, I suspect that it's the comic I look forward to most every month. Well. At least until Ice proposes to Guy. (Hope-hope-hope it's not a trick. <3)

It's just weird. I should hate this arc, but I'm really enjoying it. I suppose that's down to a few factors.

1) Sand actually has panel time. I'm shallow, but there was a good portion of two or three YEARS when he got nothing but a throwaway mention! Here he might be asleep, but that's actually significant to the plot! And really, they didn't need to waste a panel showing him asleep at the manor, but they did. And I'm glad. I'm looking forward to seeing if his little present has some backfiring elements like Mid-Nite's and Starman's so far. It'd be nice if Obsidian had more of a role, but considering he's had a nice liplock with Damon in Manhunter, I can't get too irate on his behalf.

2) I like the new members. Cyclone and Wiley-Kat (I'm sorry, I never remember Wildcat's kid's real code name and I watched way too much Thundercats as a wee one) are very likeable, though I don't think the latter's done much lately. I like the Cyclone-Damage-Judomaster thing going on. I'm leery about Judomaster herself, but I'm willing to give Johns a chance. I like Citizen Steel a LOT. And I also enjoy Lance Corporal Reid and his giant pink ray of doom. The Roosevelt connection always felt a bit tacked on for me, as there are plenty of unused All Star Squadron members to connect him to if one must, and I'm leery about basing characters as relatives of actual people. But I suppose if the Roosevelt family doesn't mind, *I* am certainly being over-sensitive.

3) In retrospect what happened to Reid was incredibly predictable. But at the time I was genuinely surprised. I like this sort of thing. I SHOULD have seen it coming, but I didn't. :-)

4) Much to my UTTER shock, I LIKE Kingdom Come Superman. As I said, I never really liked the idea of the big three in the JSA. That always seemed like a very Silver Age revision, when the original JSA barely featured them at all. Moreover, I liked the way the post-Crisis revamp forced them to feature new/lesser known characters where they would have just gone with the standard three. I've always thought Sandy in Young All-Stars probably would have been Robin before the Crisis, since the important aspects to his use there was being the most established member of the group as well as being the doubter/racist. (Though to give Thomas credit, when he wasn't being the tacked on racist, his personality was probably the most developed of the group and was the very loyal to the original Kirby/Simon incarnation.)

I don't think Arn Munro would be used so well in Manhunter right now if Superman were still in JSA-era continuity. Alan Scott, Wes Dodds, Jay Garrick and Ted Grant all had stronger roles I think as the most senior members without Batman and Superman there, while Hippolyta filled the Wonder Woman role nicely.

(Dumb question: Why, instead of all the stupid time travel stuff, didn't they just retcon Hippolyta as having left Themyscira briefly during WWII and fought with the JSA. It wouldn't retcon Diana's early post-Crisis appearances any MORE than the time travel had done, and it would have given Donna Troy back her original origin.)

Anyway, I've always been antagonistic to the notion of putting the big three back in there because I felt it would take away from all the creative and interesting developments of post Crisis. But I think that the Kingdom Come Superman is actually a brilliant compromise.

I LIKE KC Superman as a character and what they've been doing with his past. I like the interactions between KC Superman and our Superman and the sympathy our Clark has for him. Also his interactions with Power Girl. I like how he generally seems to fit with the JSA crowd, and lets them have a Superman while still keeping to the post-Crisis history I like so much. I don't think I'd even be adverse to an AU Batman, though I'm not sure he wouldn't be redundant with Mr. Terrific, Wildcat and Sandy around.

It does bring us some interesting options with regards to bringing back some version of Earth 2 characters that people love and miss, even if they're not ACTUALLY Earth-2 characters. Huntress for example. I know a lot of folks who'd be thrilled to see a Helena Wayne in an ongoing again.

5) Focus on Power Girl is very good. And I like the way they're dealing with her origin. I'd imagine some people are frustrated by the Annual, but I enjoyed it. (Obviously there had to be SOME catch, or we would lose us a Power Girl.)

6) I think they're doing a good job with Gog. The storyline is a bit too stretched out, which is a problem I've always had a bit with Geoff Johns. I like his work a lot, but I've often thought most of his storylines could be told in far fewer issues. The whole nine-issue Hal-is-back set up arc for Green Lantern, I honestly felt, could have been pared down to four or five fairly easily. Infinite Crisis itself probably didn't need to be more than three or four. (With a fourth or fifth for the kind of neglected superheroes vs. escaped criminal stuff and the fight against Superboy.) I THINK the problem is that Johns is so busy adding cool character moments and subplots that the main story tends to get a bit out of control.

But I am enjoying it. We all know Gog is bad. But the process of getting there is pretty interesting. And I always like seeing the JSA ram up against high-powered or godlike villains. They do it a lot and they're good at it. And I think they're doing a good job of differentiating things FROM Kingdom Come even while paying homage to it. We know things are going to end differently. It'll be fun to see how.

(Speaking of God-like villains, can we have a Johnny Sorrow story again soon? I miss that sick sick bastard.)

7) Mr. Terrific's atheism. I know they're not really doing this part well. But I do like that they're TRYING.

8) I'm not actually finding Starman tedious. I'm sure I will again when this is all over and he's likely absurdly insane again. But then I'm also hypocritical there too. Really though, between this and the Legion story, I'd imagine he can be placed on the back burner for a little while after this.

9) Sand had panel time! And actually a monologue an issue or so ago! I hope somehow he ends up flying. I know he's kind of overpowered already and it doesn't really make sense with the rest of his nature/powers life really sucks and I'd like to see him get something nice for once.

10) Um. I dunno. Naked pink-themed people with horns amuse me?

But anyway. Those are things I'm enjoying about JSA right now, even if it is very very much a Kingdom Come wankfest. :-) It's still a lot of fun.

And my favorite character gets panel time. I don't think I mentioned that factor previously. :-P


  • At September 07, 2008 8:58 AM, Blogger Matthew E said…

    I'm sorry, I never remember Wildcat's kid's real code name

    I say we call him Wildkitten.

  • At September 07, 2008 10:37 AM, Blogger jhota said…

    isn't the kid's code name "Wildcat"?

    it's like they couldn't think of anything else.

  • At September 07, 2008 11:43 AM, Blogger SallyP said…

    JSA has been excellent, and I say that in spite of the Kingdom Come plotline. I rather like the KC version of Superman, he has an element of pathos to him that is appealing.

    And yes, it's nice to actually see Sandy for a change. Even if he IS ust sleeping. And where else can I get my Alan and Jay fix? I love Alan and Jay.

    Now, if they'd only have the Shade show up.

  • At September 07, 2008 1:20 PM, Blogger Ami Angelwings said…

    His code name should be RAWR :D

    Come RAWR, there is evil about!


  • At September 07, 2008 2:00 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    jhota: I'm pretty sure it is just "Wildcat" which I have nothing against. We have like 80 Green Lanterns and 3 Flashes after all. :-)

    But I like tweaking fun at him, so "Wiley-Kat" he remains for now.

  • At September 07, 2008 2:58 PM, Blogger Nick said…


    You've been hanging out with Rich too much, lol

  • At September 07, 2008 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said… "Black Reign" they had the Fury talk about training under Queen Hippolyta as a girl, and in a later issue she reminisced about gazing out to sea, wondering if it were possible to swim to Paradise Island. I don't see how that's possible unless Superbrat punched Hippolyta's time as Wonder Woman into shape.

    Of course, that was before Lyta and Hector were dragged back to the Vertigoverse and Infinite Crisis mixed everything up again, so who knows?

  • At September 07, 2008 4:32 PM, Blogger kalinara said…

    I don't remember the line but Black Reign wasn't one of my favorites, so you're probably right.

    I remember the Infinite Crisis had something about her meeting Steinam, who wasn't prominent until after the 8 year period Hippolyta was supposed to have been back in time. So between the two, I'd take it as Geoff Johns retconning out Byrne's weird idea.

    Shame it's too late for Donna Troy.

  • At September 07, 2008 7:37 PM, Blogger Diabolu Frank said…

    "I don't think Arn Munro would be used so well in Manhunter right now if Superman were still in JSA-era continuity."

    Shoot-- he wouldn't even exist, and that would be a shame. I've liked Iron Munroe since I followed "Damage," and hadn't heard he was in "Manhunter," which failed to grab me on the first try. I'm still waiting for DC to use peripheral characters like the Young All-Stars to fill in from '60s until the Modern Age. It seems increasingly unbelievable that there was no need for super-heroes for half a century because of McCarthyism.

    I've never liked Superman and Batman in the JSA either. Those characters don't work for me in a WWII setting, and I prefer others to get the spotlight there.

    Dumb Answer: DC wanted Diana to remain the first Wonder Woman, forcing the Hippolyta time-travel and global amnesia nonsense. When I'm King of the World, I'll either retcon that complication out or have Diana be the one to leave Themyscira in the 40's. Huntress and Nightwing will also gain entry into the JSA by my decree as Grand Poobah-- possibly to help form an Infinity Inc. that doesn't suck.

    I'm enough of a Post-Crisis baby to wish all this Earth-2 business away. Integration now! That includes Power Girl. I know the Atlantis business was a bust, but I prefer her as a character independent of the Superman family. Having her interact with Supergirl bugs the crap out of me, as it always seems unnaturally imposed.

  • At September 07, 2008 11:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You just summed up almost everything I love about JSA.

    It's funny about KC Superman. I love him WAY more than I love regular Superman, whom I have no interest in. And I too want to see where the Damage-Cyclone-Judomaster thing goes. And I just love Sand. I'm really hoping things get better for him so he doesn't have to be all depressed like at the beginning of 14.

    Thanks for spreading the Johns/JSA love. When I posted positive comments about the current run on Chris's ISB blog everyone there tore into me (it didn't help that I accidently mis-spelled Johns' name).


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