Review: Justice Society Of America #44 By Marc Guggenheim and Scott Kolins

Justice Society of America #44
Written by Marc Guggenheim
Art by Scott Kolins

So this is the new and exciting JSA that’s going to redefine the team for the months and years to come? Well, right off the bat I can tell you that it’s the best issue with “JSA” on the cover that’s hit stands in quite a few months, so there is that. It’s better than what Bill Willingham was doing, and it’s better than All Stars, and definitely better than the JLA/JSA: Starheart crossover, but does any of this matter? Most of that is pretty bad, so is this book good or just better than they are?

The book is pretty good. It’s by no means perfect, especially the dialogue from Alan Scott, which is almost painful at one point, but it’s a solid read. The villain is relatively one note, despite that it is very clear that we’ve not seen the last of him, and it works for this issue. It’s an obvious set up issue as a few subplots are addressed (Jay’s potential retirement and Mr. Terrific apparently losing his intelligence), but for the most part the entire issue is just one giant fight scene between the team and this super powered terrorist that lasts, according to the clocks, about seven and a half hours.

So what are the highlights? Jay Garrick gets some much needed love from Guggenheim, who does a good job with a character he chooses to set as considering retirement and yet becomes a cornerstone of action for a portion of it. Mr. Terrific was well handled, though I’m not sure how to feel about his IQ dropping as I do feel that in recent years Michael Holt has been on the wrong side of a lot of situations, and his profile has dropped significantly. Lightning is the lone non-veteran member of the team, and Guggenheim does a good job showing why she is important, even if it is by using the time honored “You’re young and are more powerful than you expect” tradition. It works.

To be honest, the majority of the issue is spent making us understand just how huge of a threat this unnamed super terrorist is, and it works. He’s a badass. He’s a super terrorist. And how do you really beat someone who is completely invincible and expresses no motivation other than to destroy stuff? He’s a generic villain.

The real story draw comes with a semi-twist at the end of the issue as Guggenheim reveals in a single sentence just where he’ll be heading with this story. Well, combine that with the way the book opens. He’s said for a while he intends to build up Monument Point, this new city that he created that will house the JSA going forward, and I can get behind that. It’s different than I would have expected.

Scott Kolins is the best part of this issue though, without a doubt. The style he brings to the table for the issue fits perfectly, and he works some magic from cover to cover. The action is crisp and fast paced, and you always know what’s going on. It’s got just the right level of detail to everything, from the action to the cities to the faces of the heroes. This is Kolins bringing his A game to the table and hitting a homerun.

So what’s the verdict? Do you like the JSA but have found them to be hard to read lately? This might be the book for you. It’s only one issue so far, and it’s still pretty raw, but I’ve got a good feeling that this book is going places.



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