Saturday, August 02, 2008

Justice Society Infinity—The Best of Both Worlds??

Sometimes you know you are going to love a comic book from the moment you see it solicited—that was us back in April when FanBoyWonder first spied the beautiful Alex Ross cover for Justice Society of America Annual #1. We were NOT disappointed.

The Upshot from DC Comics: Welcome to Earth-2! Power Girl has made a life for herself on our world, as a member and chairwoman of the Justice Society of America and as a hero in her own right. But she's never stopped dreaming of one day returning to her Earth — the parallel world where the members of the Justice Society were the only heroes. Where her best friend was Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman. And where evil was a little easier to fight…wasn't it? As her greatest wish comes true, Power Girl's about to find herself back on Earth-2, surrounded by friends she thought she'd lost forever.

FanBoyWonder’s Takeaway: This issue was really quite good. Better than our high expectations with a plot twist that was a shocker yet seems so obvious in retrospect. After months of nearly boring us to tears with his agonizingly slow Gog storyline, JSA Annual #1 is Geoff Johns at his best and the art by Jerry ‘Mr. Earth-2” Ordway was some of the best of his career.

Quick History Recap: Prior to 1985’s DC Universe shattering maxi-series CRISIS on Infinite Earths, Earth-2 was an alternate reality, a parallel universe home to the Justice Society of America and the “Golden Age” versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Women who made their debut prior to World War II and who aged with the passing years.

Earth-1 by contrast was home to the younger counterparts of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman and of the Justice LEAGUE of America and was the hub of the DC Universe.

On Earth-2, Power Girl was introduced as Superman’s cousin. PG’s Earth-1 counterpart was Supergirl but PG was much cooler because she picked her own distinct hero name rather than follow a “super” shadow (the costume didn’t hurt her standing with fanboys either).

Also on Earth-2, Batman and Catwoman got married and had a daughter named Helena while Robin grew up. Helena became The Huntress after her parents died and Huntress and Power Girl became fast friends, as well as the vanguard of the next generation of Earth-2 heroes, followed a few years later by Infinity Inc.

The smaller, more finite multiverse and what appears to be Earth-2 was restored following the events of 52. In the last issue of Justice Society of America, Gog sent Power Girl “home” and here we all are.

We had been hungering for a spotlight on Power Girl since the events of [the god-awful] Infinite Crisis restored Power Girl’s pre-CRISIS on Infinite Earths origin and making Kara Zor-L the last daughter of the Multiverse.

Remembering her true origin has been a truly mixed blessing for PG as she knows who is she is and where she came but truth comes with a terrible price. She can never go home again to Earth-2 because following the CRISIS, Earth-2 never existed.

So it seems a dream come true for both PG and FBW to see her crash land on Earth-2, found by her best friend The Huntress—Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman.

From the aforementioned Alex Ross cover—appropriately hazy like a window back in time— we thought we were going to see the pre-CRISIS Justice Society and Infinity Inc. as we remembered them—circa 1983 with Jade who is alive and well, as is the Silver Scarab, Fury, and The Atom/Al Pratt.

This wasn’t the JSA frozen in place from the early 80s (despite Nuklon’s unfortunate Mohawk straight out of “Flock of Seagulls”). Rather this was Earth-2 for the new millennium—Justice Society Infinity.

Featuring Star Spangled Kid/Sylvester Pemberton as Chairman, JSI is the logical progression of the Earth-2 that we once knew had the CRISIS never occurred. On this Earth-2, the members of Infinity Inc., the team made up of the sons and daughters and next generation of Earth-2 heroes, succeeded their parents to carry on their tradition of Justice while at the same time making their own mark on “Society”—hence Justice Society Infinity.

One can tell that Ordway missed these characters just as much as we did. His layouts are rock solid—including a clever couple of pages featuring JSI that that were reminiscent of Todd McFarlane’s style when he was Infinity Inc.’s “penciler in residence” for writer Roy Thomas.

Thanks to his run on Thomas’ Infinity Inc. and before that World War II-based All Star Squadron, Ordway became the artist most associated with heroes of Earth-2. There’s no doubt that Geoff Johns crafted a first-rate story here but it wouldn’t have had nearly the emotional punch that it did if it were not for Ordway’s retro-visuals—he really did bring us back to Earth-2.

Unfortunately for Power Girl (and FanBoyWonder), you really can’t go home again. This isn’t the Earth-2 of the pre-CRISIS but an incredible simulation.

The way that we and Power Girl finds out is nothing less than Johns at the top of his game. Two-thirds of the way through the issue, when Kara has finally accepted that she is “home” and has re-bonded with her best friend The Huntress, who shows up but …..Power Girl.

Irony alert: Power Girl has a parallel Earth doppelganger. As Kara tries to explain to her angry double (who punches first and asks questions later—again with the irony) and an enraged Huntress who just opened her heart to this “imposter”—the wackiness ensues.

Power Girl-2 mobilizes the JSI and now the hunt is on. Great Krypton indeed!

What we really didn’t like: Huntress admits to PG that the secret (and unrequited) love for her life is Robin. Her father’s adopted son and her older brother in all but blood. Yuck! Come on Geoff Johns. That’s just wrong!!!!! We’re willing to over look this if you never so much as mention this again.

What we really liked: We thought this Annual would be a one-off story in which Power Girl sees her old friends of the “original” Justice Society, realizes that she can’t go home again, resolves her feelings of loss and comes back to the JSA of “New Earth” changed for the better and her burden lifted.

Instead, Johns drop kicks PG and the reader right into the next big story arc even as the Gog story-line plays itself out. We are excited beyond at the prospect of the Justice Society of America and Justice Society Infinity meeting.

To Infinity and beyond!


Anonymous ~Steve said...

Very nice history re-cap! That was really well done. Good Work. Keep it up!

5:59 PM, August 03, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Review

6:14 PM, August 03, 2008  
Blogger FanBoyWonder said...

Hey again Steve,
Thanks again for reading.
I'm defintely excited about this new story line. I'm hoping that JSI will stick around even as I enjoy the Justice Society of "New Earth."

5:40 AM, August 05, 2008  
Anonymous Maria said...

Thanks for the info, really good explanation. I'm just wondering,did Power Girl ever have a guy she liked? You know like Huntress loves Robin...And also didn't the Huntress already like had a fiancee; Gotham District Attorney Harry Sims, am I right? What's up with that? Cheating on someone you agreed to marry? Oh come on!

But anyways thanks for the history :)

7:37 PM, December 23, 2008  

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