JSA by Geoff Johns Book Five

JSA by Geoff Johns Book Five
JSA by Geoff Johns Book Five review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 978-1-7795-2164-4
  • Volume No.: 5
  • Release date: 2023
  • UPC: 9781779521644
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Due to the involvement of other writers, then down to Geoff Johns finding his feet on the JSA series, the previous four volumes of JSA by Geoff Johns have been an improving experience. Book Five, though, is solid gold, combining two classic paperbacks Princes of Darkness and Black Reign.

However, the title story of the first inclusion here is co-plotted with David Goyer. Individually Eclipso, Mordru and Obsidian can match entire superhero teams, so their teaming is the biggest threat the Justice Society have faced to date, and spectacularly delivered by departing artist Leonard Kirk.

New regular penciller Don Kramer is just as impressive, and signs on just as Johns finally becomes solo writer. He begins with a series of one-off stories, all entertaining, with the best of them an unashamedly sentimental Christmas story. As it’s been a series theme, Johns returns another long-unseen character from the Justice Society’s 1940s days, again viably repurposed for the modern era.

Whereas most of the Justice Society cast are very well employed in enthralling superhero material, there’s little character progression. Flash, Dr Midnite and Wildcat are already the fully rounded personalities who play to type. The one character who bucks that trend most obviously is Black Adam, almost since his introduction pushing at the principles the JSA stand for. Revived in the early 21st century still the imperious ruler he once was, he understands raw power, but doesn’t understand why it’s no longer the world’s defining factor. Neither does he have any comprehension of why the world pussyfoots around murderous rulers, nor why criminals are treated so leniently by being jailed rather than executed.

Having questioned the JSA’s policies on several occasions, he’s little seen during the first two-thirds of this selection, but his actions near monopolise the final third, having come to conclusions about his place in the 21st century. He’s not alone in his views, but is challenged by Hawkman, hardly a stranger to single-minded excess himself, and sharing a connection with Black Adam (and Doctor Fate) dating back to antiquity. The original story switched between the JSA and Hawkman’s solo title, expansively drawn by Rags Morales.

Irrespective of whether or not you’re familiar with a Justice Society cast who’ve again largely fallen back into disuse, these are thrilling and thrillingly drawn superhero stories designed to surprise and keeping those surprises still. Alternatively, they’re available in the massive hardcover JSA Omnibus Volume Two.