Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Justice Society of America #21 Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Dale Eaglesham and Nathan Massengill

I'm having a love / hate relationship with JSA and this Gog storyline. The dreadful two steps forward, one step back pacing in which Johns has been using has only made it worse.

Take this issue for an example. Based on what has been happening throughout this story and the current pacing, I imagined we'd be receiving some explanations as to Gog's machinations and what he's been doing. At the very least, I expected some fallout as to each of Gog's followers reaction to his 'kneel before Gog' request.

Instead, Johns kicks the story into overdrive in an attempt at a big finish and simply throws as many random Kingdom Come references in as possible, even going so far as to have Alan Scott suit up in his KC armour for no reason and having Gog turn the Flash into the KC Speed Force version.

If we look past all the nostolgia for Kingdom Come and the sudden final battle with Gog starting up out of nowhere, none of this really adds up from a story standpoint. It's like we went from A to D and skipped B and C on the way and the reader is expected to ignore the fact we went from build up to conclusion with no real middle ground, even after the slew of one-shots that added nothing major to the story.

Now, that's not to say I didn't enjoy this issue. I'm just puzzled over Johns' decisions. Perhaps the teaming up with Ross is resulting in the psychitsophrenic pacing. Citizen Steel is probably the best part of this issue. I was pleasantly surprised to see Steel outright refuse Gog in this issue. It was a great payoff to his constant waiting on Gog to bestow him with a 'miracle' from earlier in the storyline.

Also, while the fighting came out of nowhere, I liked the way in which Gog systematically 'took back' his miracles from each of the JSA members. Will these be permanent or merely temporary changes for each affected member, all of which had their miracles turned back many times over.

One thing that has me confused, though, is Gog's power level. He seems to be able to grant and remove these miracles at will, yet it appeared as if the JSA were actually hurting him and he was in danger at one point. Why doesn't he simply turn everyone into trees or kill them outright if he's that powerful? Why is he letting the JSA fight back at all? I'm hoping we'll see some form of explanation in regards to just how strong he is before the end of this storyline.

Verdict - Check It. While the storyline has its problems, it looks like it will be ending with a bang based on this issue.

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