JSA #1

The marathon is winding down with JSA #1. I’d like to think of myself as a JSA fan. I haven’t read any of their comics but when I see characters from the series I want to read it. With this #1 I hope that this is a good jumping on point.

The issue begins with Kid Eternity, a hero with the power to bring historical figures to help him fight, being chased and eventually killed in a sewer. We then see a dream where the Sandman turns into sand and then dies in real life. At his funeral, Wildcat and Starman talk in a scene meant to introduce the JSA members. At the funeral more death and a fight breaks out. We end on a cliffhanger where another character, who says he is well known but I’ve never heard of him, ¬†arrives.

As a #1 issue I quite enjoyed this one. They mention a lot of things that have happened previously to the characters without sounding very expository. There are a lot of characters and they all get a moment to shine in the fight scene. One odd thing is Wildcat’s dad, who would be very old based on Wildcat’s age, but they don’t mention him having some anti-age power. ¬†He’s the supervisor for Johnny Thunder, another old guy, and Star-Spangled Kid or Stargirl as she is known now. Star is the stereotypical teenager in this and I’ve seen her written better in other books. Art is some high quality stuff and the artist or writer put in a reference to the Red Bee of all people. Overall it’s a fun read.

Writer: David Goyer & James Robinson

Artist: Stephen Sadowski

Rating: Full Price

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Rann-Thanagar: Holy War

[Spoilers for Rann-Thanagar: Holy War ahead]

With the recent announcement of Jim Starlin putting an end to his most famous creation, Thanos, I thought it was a good time to review one of his miniseries, Rann-Thanagar: Holy War.There is a lot of history from multiple series going into this, including the the original Rann-Thanagar War, Hardcore Station, 52, and other cosmic stories. I can just break down the plot into our heroes fighting against religious freaks and overly hyped up villains in space. Sounds like a short summary, but for eight issues that’s your lot. What I really want to talk about in this series are the characters, and boy are there a lot of them.

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Our main heroes are Adam Strange and Hawkman, the representatives of their planet, who have some pretty good camaraderie with each other. Tigrar from the Omega Men, Starfire, Chief Justice Max from Hardcore Station, and Animal Man all serve little purpose in the series. However, Animal Man is treated like garbage throughout the series, constantly being injured and insulted by the other characters. Captain Comet, when he’s not acting like the original Booster Gold, and Bizarro are here to show off how strong the villain Synnar is when he blasts down Bizarro and causes a strong telepath like Comet pain using his mind. My favorite character throughout it is Starman (Prince Gavyn,) who manages to tame Bizarro with cartoons and food, and then battle an evil god called Lady Styx. The real character problem is The Weird, who’s power of intangibility allows him to defeat both main villains, and save everyone multiple times.

There’s also a lot of nonsensical and quite frankly preachy dialogue and plot points. Hawkman is beaten up by Rannians for trying to tell them how evil Styx is and is about to be executed. Then they look outside and a volcano disappears, so they let Hawkman go. Adam Strange’s stepfather becomes very religious for no reason, and tries to push it on everyone, akin to a Jehovah’s Witness. The metaphor isn’t exactly deep or insightful is what I’m saying.

Final Notes: It starts off pretty strong when they are gathering up a team and the scenes of intentional comedy like when The Weird lives up to his name, or the occasional side conversation are promising. But then it gets all muddied with too many cults and depressing moments with no satisfying resolution. The characters are mostly pointless, with The Weird, Captain Comet, and Adam Strange pulling most of the weight. It’s just a mostly boring and preachy story with a couple character highlights from Bizarro and Prince Gavyn.

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Rating: Borrow from a mate