Wednesday Comments – JSA vs. Kobra vs. The New 52

I recently read JSA vs Kobra, the 2009 six-issue miniseries, for the very first time. Yeah, I’m a little behind on some of my reading.

I’m trying to remember why I put off reading it for so long. If I recall correctly I’d missed one issue, but kept picking up the series. I eventually found the issue I’d missed at a con and them promptly put the mini in my “to read…someday” stack.

JSA vs KobraWell that “someday” finally came.

I’ve got to say that it’s kind of tricky reading that mini in 2015. I don’t really think I can judge it on it’s own merits, because even though it’s only six years old there’s still a ton of nostalgia that it brings to the surface. Though, not everything that it brings up is pleasant.

One of the cooler aspects of JSA vs Kobra is how it utilizes the locales of the DCU. Opal City, Fawcett City and the Rock of Eternity all play important roles in the series. I genuinely geeked out when Opal popped up. Part of was that I hadn’t “been to” Opal City in years so seeing it again was really cool. But another part of the coolness was that it really gave the story scope. Just the fact that Opal City actually existed made the DCU feel so much larger. And the trip to Fawcett was equally impressive.

There were other cool moments too. I loved the use of Erdel Gates (and honestly the concept of Erdel Gates). Being the DC guy that I am, I knew who Dr. Erdel was and what an Erdel Gate did. But just that name “Erdel Gate” evokes so much.

Nth Metal also pops up and is used perfectly. Granted Nth Metal has been mentioned in Justice League United quite frequently, but that’s part of the problem. Nth Metal will always be tied to Hawkman, but it felt like there was a concerted effort to both make Nth Metal more rare and more special. (For me, the mentions of Nth Metal in JLU felt a bit overdone.)

Both LexCorp and S.T.A.R. Labs play roles in JSA vs Kobra, which again, makes the DCU feel like a fuller place. I’ve been reading comics for quite some time, so I can remember when S.T.A.R. Labs was the premier lab in the DCU. I was pretty pumped to see it elevated to that stature again.

JSA vs Kobra #6Again, as a longtime DC reader, I really appreciated the numerous characters who appeared. The appearance of Jason Burr gave the character some development and actually made him feel more like a viable threat. The cameo by Clara Kendall was a great touch. And of course I loved that we not only got to see Sasha Bordeaux reunited with Michael Holt, but she kind of got that happy ending you always want for a character.

Speaking of Mr. Terrific, it was great to see him as a three-dimensional character again. It’s really great that he’s playing important roles in two of DC’s weeklies, but despite being a character who has been around since the dawn of The New 52, he still feels like someone who needs to be fleshed out. JSA vs Kobra literally gets into his head.

But like I said, JSA vs Kobra isn’t always a pleasant walk down memory lane. It immediately reminded me of the period of JSA when the book suffered from enormous bloat. There are way too many members of the JSA, like an almost Legion of Super-Heroes size of team. Did anyone really ask for Cyclone or the Tom Bronson version of Wildcat?

Would I have enjoyed JSA vs Kobra as much had I read it when it was originally released? Probably, but I certainly wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do now.

Eric Trautmann and Don Kramer really knocked that one out of the park.

Anyway, it’s Wednesday so go out and buy some fresh new comics from your local comic shop.

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