Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, 1 Book, Day 4?

Hal Jordan, I am not. Unlike a true writer I sometimes fail to realize that even after work, I still have Work to do. I'm sorry. With any luck, there'll be no more hiatuses in the near future. One review a night, 5-6 nights a week.

Justice Society of America #22
Writer: Geoff Johns
"Story": Alex Ross
Artists: Dave Eaglesham and Alex Ross

Could the king of all left-field plot twists be tapped out?
Geoff Johns's promising, wholly unnecessary sequel to Alex Ross and Mark Waid's beautiful miniseries Kingdom Come finally came to a close last week after almost a year and a half of slowly building tension between the JSA's old guard and its over a dozen new recruits over the questionable righteousness of Gog, a hidden, seemingly benevolent "Old God," a predecessor of DC's trippy "New Gods" (for further information on them, read Grant Morrison's Final Crisis, in stores now, or just Google for "jack kirby" + "dc comics" + "mescaline").
Gog is... was... whatever, a thirty-foot-tall purple-and-gold vaguely-human (0ver-hyphenated) self-proclaimed god whom the Society accidentally awoke from his fifty-million-year nap. Once roused, he became determined to put an end to war, famine, disease and all the other things we humans employ to keep ourselves entertained. Some of the JSAers were all for this new proactive plan; some weren't. Those in the former category, though, were mostly in it because Gog did something for them first. Typical human nature. Gog healed Starman's schizophrenic mind and Damage's horribly scarred face. He gave Dr. Mid-Nite his sight back and brought another guy back to life (that guy didn't have a code-name, so... y'know, screw him). Hawkman just joined up because Gog was killing people who stood in his way. Hawkman is always in favor of the faction doing the most killing. I really don't know how Hawkman is a DC character and not a backup story for Spawn.
A big part of this story, though, centered around the older, jaded Superman from Kingdom Come being brought back to "our" time/dimension through some poorly-explained explosion and/or portal. So two Supermen is better than one, right? Uh, sure. Except that Superman-22 (he's from Earth-22... just... just don't ask) mostly stands around, fearing that whatever he does is going to be what turns this timeline into a replica of his, which, if you've read Kingdom Come, you know means a nuclear bomb wiping out the world's superhumans and making life a lot less colorful and interesting (and deadly, but whatevs)."I'm gonna touch yer privates!"

So you've got a Superman from another time who may or may not know this world's fate, an insanely unwieldy (25 members) superteam that's one poorly-timed "yo' mama" joke away from an internal fight the likes of which Guns 'n' Roses has never seen, and an alien god who wants to fix everything that's wrong with you or else he'll kill you. What the hell's the payoff for all that?

Oh, they fight each other, and then Gog, and they win and Superman goes back to his Earth.
Yeah. That's it.
No last minute saves. Maybe two or three hints at character development, which is usually one of Geoff Johns's strong suits, the others being wacky plot twists and third-string characters no one under 40 who's not a virgin has ever heard of (at least in a meaningful context). Nor were there any surprise guest appearances, except by Alex Ross, who decides to paint an expanded/re-edited epilogue to Superman's experiences at the end of Kingdom Come. Thanks, I always wanted to see Superman picking genetically-enhanced redwood corn and living to be an old and decrepit Kryptonian. Mr. Ross, you and I have our differences, but I'm begging you: don't continue this trend. Do not be the George Lucas of comics. In that context I am now racking my brain wondering who would be the Jon Waters of comics. I myself aspire to be the Aaron Sorkin of comics (minus the freebasing crack part).
I've gotten way off-topic here, but as there wasn't that much left to talk about concerning the actual comic book issue itself, I don't mind so much. Those three plot threads have been going on for so long I've forgotten what the hell else this comic could do. Hopefully we'll find out next month-- shit. I forgot. Johns is off the book after next month. Who's going to fill his shoes? Winston Churchill? Seriously, I don't always like what Johns does, but at least (present issue being the only exception I can think of) he has neat ideas. I will slit my own throat if it's Dwayne McDuffie. He's the guy writing Justice League right now. He's the guy who wrote up an alternate universe character who was a fat white guy who became a muscular black Captain Marvel by yelling "Black Power!" I'M NOT KIDDING. THIS GUY IS WRITING A FLAGSHIP TITLE. What are the editors at DC smoking? Because I don't want any. In fact, I want to salt the earth where that plant grows.
Rating: The overarching story gets Three Tom Collins, because it had its good moments. The single issue gets Two White Russians, because I could have written it while staying up all night in my old dorm and doing my laundry and drinking shitty warm sangria with my roommate. In fact, I think it would've turned out better if I'd been writing it that way.
Album: Iggy Pop- Lust for Life

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