Sunday, May 3, 2009

Review: Justice Society of America #26

Justice Society of America #26

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Dale Eaglesham
Inker: Nathan Massengill
Released: April 29, 2009

This cover says it all. Look at these costumes. The bright primary colors and outdated lines clash with eye-gouging vehemence and strain the very limits of fashion taste enough to make a New York editrix sling "Glamour Don'ts" like ninja stars. Some of these heroes look like they could be collecting Social Security and receiving newsletters from the AARP. The Norman Rockwell styled family portrait would look perfect above a fireplace mantle, preferably in a ranch home in suburban Los Angeles. Yep, this cover practically screams "Golly, gee" while stroking the sweet tooth right out of your mouth. It's pretty darn perfect.

The Justice Society of America has always been a bit twee, favoring a down-home style of Golden Age heroism over the gritty urban sprawl of Modern Age cynicism. The greying hair and deep facial fissures of the old guard stand defiantly against the onslaught of time and trend, and like Superman's tights, emerge as classic, not dated. Leave the uncanny members of other super teams to their bondage leather and blood-soaked banter. Jay Garrick and Alan Scott are here and ready to give out hugs.

Issue #26 marks the end of Johns's and Eaglesham's run on this title, relaunched in 2006 following Infinite Crisis, and it demonstrates how much more of a family the JSA is than just a costumed super team. Here we see the members do something that would seem ridiculously out of joint for the Justice League, gather together for a comrade's surprise birthday party. As close as Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are, I don't see them sitting down to cake and ice cream, let alone even knowing when each other's special day falls on the calendar. Jay and Alan seem the type to have everyone's birthdays circled in green in their dayplanners and have the local florist on speed dial. They are fathers, not leaders. The brownstone in Manhattan is a home, not a headquarters.

Boy, oh boy! As a final issue in a 26 issue arc this one has it all:

GASP IN AWE as superheroes shop for ice cream! SHIVER WITH SUSPENSE as gifts are exchanged! QUAKE WITH ANTICIPATION as candles are blown out and wishes are made! TREMBLE IN TERROR as our heroes visit the orthodontist! It's All HERE! Don't miss this 22-page blowout spectacular! This month in the JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA!

More importantly, see the ideals of The Golden Age live on as costumed adventurers strive to be good citizens, true friends, and real heroes. Nothin' dated 'bout that, mister. 

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