Written by Keith Giffen &Matthew Sturges
Art by Tom Derenick & Rodney Ramos
Magog attempts a loner expedition in thwarting a massive escape attempt by Haven’s most vile and evil criminal masterminds. However, confusion hit the JSA’s (both versions) radar as the call is made claiming Magog to be the culprit. With tensions rising, and the team constantly questioning Magog’s crime fighting methods, is this the last straw for the team? Is Magog truly the one instigating this terrible criminal escape attempt, or is there dirty work afoot at Haven’s doorstep?
I hate Magog, that’s all there is to it. He’s an obnoxious character that equals the stupidity that came along in the creation of Lobo and Arm Fall-Off boy. He was cool in Kingdom Come, but I really hate seeing him anywhere else in the DC universe. I would honestly prefer brushing my teeth, and then drinking orange juice then having to continually see that idiot Magog on any more pages of a DC comic every again. However, Giffen and Sturges do make this a “better than your average comic” yearly annual.
There nothing in this issue that’s mind blowing, or allows you to come to new realizations about any of the characters...until the end. This is without a doubt an explosive and loud comic from start to finish. 90% of this issue has either an explosion, a light show, or fist to fist combat, with the occasional one page consisting of calm, yet tension building plot twists. The two paged spread towards the end of the destruction of Haven was breathtakingly astounding. Points go to the artistic team for given us a visual masterpiece on every page turn. I can only imagine how exhausting that had to have been, and even then I probably fail to fathom it.
The story itself for the first chunk of the book made me think that this was going to be nothing more than a slug fest with no successful or meaningful conclusion. With Power Girl’s constant bickering, Wildcat II’s whining, and the persistent yelling at fellow teammates while they duke it out with the escaped convicts, I wondered if this issue was going to have any thought provoking end at all. Much to my surprise, it had just that. The last page shows the splintered JSA, torn between one another’s differences. Questions are raised about loyalty, leadership, authority and responsibility. The approach that Giffen and Sturges took in tackling this dilemma of the teams wanting to be together, yet feeling as if they can’t was perfectly done. The emotional impact that fighting amongst family or those you are closest too is one of the deeper and more consistently conflicting aspects of life that anyone could write about. I think this JSA split up is going to be a lot better than I initially thought.
Exceptional issue. While being a punch drunk, fist happy, explosively violent comic, it ties all of that rage together into a realization that fighting amongst family and friends will bring nothing but more destruction in addition to what has already been caused. This issues attempts to showcase the very age old question, “Can we disagree without becoming violently disagreeable?”
Rating: 9 out of 10 stars