Sunday, June 12

JSA All-Stars #18 (7/11)

“A Better World, Part 2 of 3”

This was a series I've known for a few months was ending with this issue, even before the big announcements of the past couple weeks. Frankly I'm not going to miss it that much. Don't get me wrong – I love the Justice Society, and have ever since first meeting them back in the 1960s in annual “Earth-1/Earth-2” team-up events in the pages of Justice League of America. And I've long been a fan of the modern incarnation of the JSA, which had them as the elder generation of heroes who emerged during the World War II era now undertaking to train the “legacy” heroes who have some kind of tie back to their generation. But I didn't think it was a concept that warranted two separate books per month, which was brought about by something I didn't like even more, a rift in the society basically between the old guard and the “young Turks” (that's a bit oversimplified, but the essence). The stories on this book have been fine; the art not so much. I have liked Williams' art in the past, but the sketchy/distorted style he affected for this series just did not work for me. I found it downright ugly. But now, within three months, it looks like we're going from two JSA books (this one and Justice Society of America), to one, to none. It is a great disappointment to me that there was no Justice Society title announced over the past week; I hold out hope that perhaps something is coming down the line, that with the recent return to the idea of a multiverse compounded with what appears in the new continuity to be introduced in September to be Superman emerging as the “first super-hero,” that DC may be planning a second roll-out of a new “Earth-2” staple of titles which would include the JSA and all its related heroes. Perhaps we may see the return of Power Girl, even. I hope so. If not, I may be looking back to this run as part of “the good old days....”

Anyway, this issue closes out the run with the second part of a two parter which had a mysterious figure appears claiming to be a member of the JSA, but whom they do not know. Discovering that he is a delusional schizophrenic is only the beginning of the story. It turns out his “delusions” are actually visions of the life of his doppelganger in an alternate time-line inadvertently created by his mother but which now exists separately. He wants that life, in which he is a great hero – even at the cost of this universe. It's an interesting story, looking at an oft-used trope of multiversality from a different perspective. Usually its our heroes trapped in an alternate time-line trying to set things “right.” Here he is for all intents and purposes a hero from another world trying to restore his world. It's all relative, of course, and it seems too often that when these things happen (as they always do in comics), the “other” world's heroes too readily concede that ours is the better world. As much as I liked it, the 52-week event of a couple years ago, Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley's Trinity comes to mind. Overall it was a pretty good issue, albeit a bit confusing as to exactly what happened at the end. Nevertheless, it had a nice closing page of the team, with Power Girl answering Cyclone's question of “What do we do now?” - “We do the same thing we've always done. We make a better world.”  I hope they are allowed to continue doing that at some point in the future.

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