Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trade Waiting - Justice Society of America Vol 2, Thy Kingdom Come Part One

As I've mentioned before, I am not a fan of Alex Ross nor Kingdom Come, but, apparently, Geoff Johns is. So much so, that, with Ross's help, he wrote an epic 18 issue psuedo sequel, which included three one-shots and an annual because 14 issues of Justice Society of America were just not enough. That may seem like an odd and petty complaint, but, then again, Kingdom Come was pretty long as it was and didn't really leave room for a sequel.

Speaking of sequels, Kingdom Come already had one, The Kingdom, but Ross didn't work on the book, only Mark Waid did, so I guess this is the "official" sequel? It's marketed as the "startling sequel" on the back cover after all. Or maybe this is just Ross's take on a sequel? I point this out because it's odd to have two completely different sequels, with the second not even acknowledging the first, for one story. Either way, I was curious about Thy Kingdom Come since Johns is involved and the library had a copy, so I decided to give the trade a look. Hit the jump for my review.

Art by Dave Eaglesham, Fernando Pasarin and Alex Ross
Collects Justice Society of America #7-12

Despite the title, the story has very little to do with Kingdom Come, aside from the Multiverse version of the Kingdom Come Superman showing up. The trade is more of a "day in the life" kind of story than any sort of Kingdom Come-esque story, which is a good thing in my view.

The first two issues deal with Citizen Steel and Liberty Belle and have no connection to the Thy Kingdom Come story. I didn't care much for the Citizen Steel issue for a variety of reasons. Biggest one was because I just don't much care for the character. Secondly, the JSA forces him to become a superhero without asking, which seemed wrong to me. Finally, he decides that he's going to be a hero anyway. I know the last part sounds like a strange complaint, but it's more about the way Johns set up the character in the first trade, The New Age, compared to this issue. He seemed like that last person that would ever decide to become a hero, but does with little to no satisfactory explanation as to why aside from the fact that he liked beating up some Nazis, which was another thing I disliked about the issue, Nazis. Comics need some new generic bad guys besides Nazis. Please. Anyway, the issue wasn't bad, quality wise, it's just that it covered a lot of tropes I generally dislike.

The second stand alone issue was about Liberty Belle, which I enjoyed quite a bit. She, along with Hourman, are actually some of my favourite characters in the current JSA (more on that later), so I enjoyed the issue a great deal because of the focus on her. The main plot is about her dealing with her multiple heroic legacies - both of her parents were heroes. It's a nice little insight issue into a character that generally gets passed over with the other more popular characters in the JSA. Liberty Belle herself is a pretty fun character with some nice motivation to be a hero without being overly angsty.

The issue ends with Damage taking Zoom hostage and threatening to kill him because Zoom horribly scarred him during Infinite Crisis. However, Damage's actions are also threatening half of Atlanta at the same time. Liberty Belle talks him down, which itself is a pretty good sequence, but there is a fantastic page towards the end that is beautifully rendered by Pasarin, who did the art for the issue. His art is what makes the page work and he deserves a lot of credit for it.

The next issue, #9, kicks off the Thy Kingdom Come storyline and acts as a prologue to it. However, it barely has anything to do with the story. In fact, this "first part" is more along the line of the first two issues of this trade with the JSA going to a fire station to do a meet-and-greet/charity type of thing to make up for when Wildcat threw Vandal Savage into a fire truck in issue #4 of the first trade. There are a lot of nice little character moments that make up the issue, which is a common theme for much of the trade, but they really only work if you like the characters, which is about 50/50 for me. Eventually, there is a fire and the JSA tag along to help out with it. The issue ended with Kingdom Come Superman appearing on the last page after some super hero action at the location of the fire.

The rest of the trade is a mixture of more character moments, some Kingdom Come references and the introduction of some new characters. The Kingdom Come aspects take up the least amount space and it mostly has to do with re-establishing the fact that the Multiverse is back with Kingdom Come as Earth-22. The odd thing was that none of this is big deal to the JSA or JLA. You would think something like the return of the Multiverse would be big news to them, as I was under the impression it was not common knowledge at this point, but I guess not.

The really odd thing that struck me through out the Thy Kingdom Come issues is just how little they had to do with Kingdom Come. Well, there is some of the pointless and annoying moralizing from Kingdom Come, but that's about it. I mean, even the Kingdom Come Superman could have easily been the Earth-2 Superman from Infinite Crisis and you would basically have the same story. Even Power Girl acts like it's Kal-L returned. The story seems to rely more on people's nostolgia for Kingdom Come than the Kingdom Come aspects actually adding anything relevant to the story.

This brings us back to my complaints in the intro - all of this is utterly pointless. Johns already covered similar ground in Infinite Crisis with Earth-2 Superman, Superman Prime and Alexander Luthor of Earth-3. Thy Kingdom Come is looking like it's going to be the same thing, but with the Earth-22 Superman instead the Earth-2 Superman. So, all of this is pointless and meaningless to the story and, so far, doesn't make any sort of argument as to why Kingdom Come needed to be revisited.

The character moments are the same as before - they work if you like the characters - otherwise they are just kind of there. And, as for all of the new characters, I didn't much care for them. I'm of the opinion that the JSA hads too many as it was, so adding more is not something I'm going to think is a good move. I did like Black Lightning's daughter, Jennifer, and Jakeem Thunder was kind of interesting. Same with Judomaster, but she's more of an idea than a character at this point. I didn't care for Amazing Man or David Reid and I hated Mr. America. With some work, I could find Amazing Man or Reid interesting, but not Mr. America. That mostly has to do with the fact that Johns likes to have him over narrate everything and he is kind of a boring character, which makes the narration worse.

All of this brings me to my final point - Jay Garrick, Alan Scott and Ted Grant need to die! Okay, that is a little extreme, but they do need to go away. I don't care if its Death by Crisis or if they just retire, but they are the most boring group of characters I have ever seen. Throw out Hawkman and Dr. Mid-Nite while you are at it. And maybe Power Girl, as well. The younger characters were, by far, more interesting. I would love to read a book starring Stargirl, Cyclone, Damage, Liberty Belle, Hourman, Wildcat Jr., Starman, Jakeem Thunder and maybe a few others, but I suppose you'd lose the legacy aspect of the book. Perhaps a happy medium whereby the legacy characters step back and act in more advisory roles than the proactive front and center stance that eats up all the face time in the book?

Verdict - Check It. Despite some early high points, Thy Kingdom Come Part One starts to lose its way once the Kingdom Come elements are introduced. There are too many plot lines that deal with mostly uninteresting subjects that overshadow the better aspects of the book and bring down the quality of the collection.

Like this review? Interested in this books? Purchase Justice Society of America Vol 2: Thy Kingdom Come Part 1 from Amazon.com and help support The Weekly Crisis.

Related Posts


Matt Ampersand said...

Holy crap, I hadn't realized that Thy Kingdom Come was 18 issues long!

Matthew said...

I was understanding of, if not in agreement with, your position up until the 'Jay Garrick must die' part.

oakleyses said...

michael kors outlet, coach factory outlet, michael kors outlet, coach outlet, tiffany and co, air max, louboutin shoes, coach outlet store online, burberry outlet, jordan shoes, burberry outlet, prada outlet, longchamp outlet, ray ban sunglasses, kate spade handbags, oakley sunglasses cheap, nike shoes, longchamp handbags, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, air max, polo ralph lauren, gucci outlet, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, true religion jeans, christian louboutin, michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, prada handbags, coach purses, michael kors outlet online sale, louboutin, louboutin outlet, rolex watches, polo ralph lauren outlet, tory burch outlet, nike free, longchamp handbags, tiffany and co, kate spade outlet

oakleyses said...

nike free pas cher, nike roshe run pas cher, air max, ray ban sunglasses, air jordan, michael kors, lululemon outlet online, air max pas cher, michael kors pas cher, north face, hollister, hollister, ray ban pas cher, true religion outlet, nike tn, true religion outlet, nike blazer, sac longchamp pas cher, sac guess, air max, vanessa bruno, sac hermes, polo lacoste, true religion jeans, polo ralph lauren, sac burberry, new balance pas cher, oakley pas cher, nike air max, vans pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, hogan outlet, timberland, converse pas cher, longchamp, nike free, michael kors uk, north face, ralph lauren, louboutin, nike air force, mulberry

oakleyses said...

babyliss pro, valentino shoes, nfl jerseys, north face outlet, reebok outlet, soccer jerseys, nike roshe, new balance shoes, hollister clothing store, mcm handbags, ferragamo shoes, timberland boots, jimmy choo outlet, nike roshe run, abercrombie and fitch, lululemon outlet, north face jackets, p90x, soccer shoes, mont blanc, instyler, nike trainers, ghd, oakley, mac cosmetics, chi flat iron, insanity workout, baseball bats, longchamp, nike huaraches, birkin bag, celine handbags, iphone 6 cases, air max, giuseppe zanotti, vans shoes, asics running shoes, beats by dre, herve leger, bottega veneta, hollister, wedding dresses

oakleyses said...

converse, ugg, ugg, converse shoes, swarovski, coach outlet store online, juicy couture, juicy couture outlet, pandora jewelry, toms shoes, ray ban, ugg boots clearance, karen millen, links of london, marc jacobs, rolex watches, wedding dresses, ugg pas cher, ralph lauren, sac lancel, cheap uggs, ugg boots, pandora charms, uggs, abercrombie, hollister, gucci, supra shoes, ugg outlet, swarovski crystal, uggs outlet, pandora charms, montre homme, air max, thomas sabo, louboutin, ugg, vans

Post a Comment

Thanks for checking out the Weekly Crisis - Comic Book Review Blog. Comments are always appreciated. You can sign in and comment with any Google, Wordpress, Live Journal, AIM, OpenID or TypePad account.