Sunday, August 06, 2006

The NEW Justice Society of America

As FanBoyWonder counts the hours until the stroke of Midnight when we become one year older, we give special thanks to FBW’s Kemosabe John Micek for sending us this Newsarama link featuring an Alex Ross original of the NEW Justice Society of America, which will roll out in December.

Kemosabe was killing time at the airport after a no doubt thrilling weekend in Columbus, Ohio…we hope he had a safe journey home.

We first noted in May with glee the news that the cancellation of JSA this year will be followed up by the re-launch of a new title Justice Society of America. Writer Geoff Johns had definitely lost his mojo on JSA following the departure a year or two previously of co-writer David Goyer (who can be forgiven since he went on to script Batman Begins), as well as being stretched multiple directions with Infinite Crisis.

In May we noted some of the storylines and outstanding plot threads we would like to see the new Justice Society of America address.

One point in favor of the JSA relaunch is the addition of Alex Ross as a “creative consultant,” which even he says is a fancy title for his calling up Geoff Johns and suggesting plot threads. He’s a JSA fan who happens to have a lot of influence.

His JSA covers during the last year are the most evident example of his support for the World’s First Super-Team but FBW’s own theory is that if not Ross’ support, DC Comics may have been tempted to yet again screw the JSA into creative limbo.

As we look at Ross’ as-usual stunning cover patterned after the original JSA “class picture” from All Star Comics #3, circa 1940—here’s our speculation, with a dash of back-story, as to who will make up the new JSA roster.

From the center moving clockwise: Seated on the table is Stargirl, the former Star Spangled Kid II—step daughter of Pat Dugan, the original Kid’s sidekick Stripsey.

As we’ve heard the story, Geoff Johns created the new Kid, whose secret identity is Courtney Whitmore, in honor of his late-kid sister Courtney, who was a killed aboard TWA 800 when it blew up over Long Island 10 years ago.

Moving left, we have the new Starman—a la the version from Kingdom Come. Word has it that Alex Ross asked his Starman be included on the roster—something Johns was more than happy to grant.

Power Girl—One of the few good things about the recent Infinite Crisis was that it finally straightened out PG’s origin…once again she’s the last daughter of Krypton—Krypton 2 that is…sole survivor of a planet, from a universe that no longer exists. After years of wondering around the DC Universe, PG is back where she belongs…with her family in the JSA.

Jakeem Thunder, master of the Thunderbolt, who displays is cool fashion sense with the Captain Marvel tee-shirt.

Sandman??? –It’s unknown to us if the individual wearing the classic fedora and gasmask is Sand, the former Sandy the Golden Boy, more recently the former JSA Chairman, or if it’s a back from the dead Wesley Dodds or someone else altogether.

Mister Terrific II—we’ve been enjoying his exposure in Checkmate but the smartest man in the world belongs in the JSA.

Behind Mr. Terrific resembles Atom Smasher but we surmise that he is Damage. We are basing it on his chest symbol, that we just read in Wizard magazine that Damage is joining the JSA and the fact that Damage is the biological son of Al Pratt, the original Atom (we’ll get into the how if that another time… it’s a LONG story.)

Next, The Flash—Jay Garrick, the ORIGINAL fastest man alive. Nuff said.

The gal behind Flash, we’re stumped. It’s not a great likeness and we can’t see much of the costume so no clues there.

Next, Hawkman. Apparently back from M.I.A. status after that cosmic mess known as the Rann-Thanngar War. With Hawkgirl now haven taken over the former Hawkman title and apparently a solo-hero now, Hawkman belongs with the JSA. We will be glad to see Johns writing Hawkman again…the character hasn’t been the same since Johns stopped writing him.

Wildcat—Ted Grant, former heavyweight champ of the world and classic tough guy. Wolverine kind of tough. They’re may be heroes and villains more powerful than Wildcat, but no one is as tough.

Dr. MidNight II—We like this character but he hasn’t been used as well as in the early days of the first JSA book. We also sensed the seeds of a budding romance between he and Power Girl—both orphans of the world. We would like to see that. The guy deserves a break after falling for Black Canary only to have her former love Green Arrow come back from the dead—talk about not seeing that one coming.

The ORIGINAL Green Lantern—Alan Scott, along with Jay Garrick, Ted Grant and Carter Hall (Hawkman) are all charter members. Having fought the Nazi menace and also having lived far beyond their expected lifespan (with LOTS more fight left in them), these guys are the elder statesmen of heroes. Disrespect them at your peril

Also, we want to see more of the plot thread developed by Johns that has alluded to Alan Scott being more than human because he channels the Green Flame/Starheart—the magical source of his power ring.

Not pictured here, but Alan Scott’s son Obsidian is also reported to be joining the JSA.

Next, Hourman II. Rick Tyler, son of the original Hourman Rex Tyler, carries on the legacy by using his father’s invention of a drug-induced hour of super-strength…plus an added power of having pre-cognitive abilities of being able to see an hour into the future.

As an aside, we were also glad to see Rex Tyler saved from death via time travel a couple of years back. If only they could find a way to save Al Pratt and Charles McNider, the original Dr. Mid-Nite. But alas!

Next to Hourman, appears to be Liberty Belle, of the World War II super-hero group All Star Squadron. We surmise that it’s Jesse Chambers—daughter of Libby Laurence, the original Liberty Belle and Johnny Chambers—the speedster Johnny Quick.

Jesse was first introduced in the short-lived early 1990s series also called Justice Society of America. Later named Jessie Quick, she carried on her father’s name as a speedster but Johns removed her powers during Flash (Wally West’s battle with Zoom) in Flash 200.

We are glad that Jesse has come home to the JSA but we are disappointed that she will apparently not have her speed (yet look closely at the lighting bolt on her bell symbol). Jesse Quick, like Johnny Quick was a speedster we loved. As a female super-speedster, she was a rarity but she was unique in that she could fly.

Finally, our last member is wearing the uniform of Commander Steel, formerly of the aforementioned All Star Squadron. When last we saw Hank Henshaw, he turned up as the benefactor of the Detroit JLA (biggest mistake of the 1980s) and grandfather to JLA member Steel (now deceased). Is it a rejuvenated Commander Steele or a back from the dead JLA-er or someone new? Stay tuned.


Blogger The Mercurial Vagrant said...

Hello. I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. Your love for your fandom is nice to see.

2:37 AM, August 08, 2006  
Blogger Bunny Z said...

Hey, Charles: Been loving your blog. My husband and I both enjoy reading your intelligent and funny comments about comics. This Alex Ross illustration is AMAZING. Just two quick points: My hubby (who really likes the golden age characters) thinks the lovely redhead in green might be The Thorn. Also, Obsidian (The original Thorn's son) is pictured. He's standing behind Wildcat and Hawkman and his shining eyes can be seen right over Wildcat's right ear.

Keep writing. Your sense of comics and your sense of humor are both refreshing.

Bunny Z

P.S. I keep your family in my thoughts, and hope for the best for you all.

6:25 PM, August 10, 2006  

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