In terms of the original comics collected, this second JSA by Geoff Johns volume may not seem to be great value, as used copies of The Return of Hawkman are readily available, and that forms the bulk of the content. In terms of page count the next biggest allocation is of the teaming with the Justice League, Virtue and Vice. However, this also includes contemporary short stories from the same era missing from the original paperbacks. They were, however included along with the content of Book One in the first JSA Omnibus.

A this stage Geoff Johns is still sharing the writing with David Goyer, a situation that won’t change until well into Book Four, and unusually for a superhero series, magic and the supernatural feature strongly. It’s present in all three of the longer stories, beginning with the Injustice Society’s new member Johnny Sorrow. He’s creepily designed by Stephen Sadowski as a guy in a suit, but with a floating mask replacing a head. When the mask is removed, anyone looking at him is crippled by terror. However, it’s the weakest of the longer material, losing its way long before the end.

Personal tensions are cranked up in the next story, which returns Hawkman, and mixes his past with that of Black Adam. It’s a smart reconciliation of Hawkman’s messy continuity including uncomfortable revelations for Hawkgirl, and takes the JSA to assorted locations connected with previous incarnations. By now Goyer and Johns are working the interactions between the assorted cast members exceptionally well, accounting for age and attitudes, and that’s brought out when assorted reserve members congregate for a chapter tying in with a crossover. It bulks an already large cast considerably, yet the writers ensure everyone has a moment, and the story stands alone, with no knowledge of the bigger picture required.

Goyer and Johns extend their policy of having an interesting observation about everyone in ‘Virtue and Vice’ which teams the JSA with the Justice League, and their diligence extends to reviving obscure villains and having something to say about them also. The concern large enough to unite two super teams isn’t obvious, but an immediate manifestation is several heroes exhibiting uncharacteristic behaviour, which is fun. It’s a high octane and unpredictable thriller with layers of revelation, enjoyable to the end.

Stephen Sadowski handles the bulk of the art, with Carlos Pacheco stepping in for the JSA/JLA team-up. They share a capacity for manifesting big moments while never forgetting it’s the cast that make the series special, so giving them subtle emotional weight.

The previous collection was good enough without really showing why JSA is still a fondly regarded series. Book Two delivers that and the series continues with Book Three. Alternatively this is available in the first JSA Omnibus.