Sunday, February 28, 2010

Comic Book Review: Justice Society of America #36

Book Information
Written by Bill Willingham
Art by Jesus Merino

The attacks on Obsidian and Mr. Terrific weren’t just meaningless hits, they were apart of a much bigger plan that even the JSA will have trouble dealing with.  With a silver age aura to it, this issue deals with a super villain team that has been gone for some time, but still packs a punch!  With war quickly approaching, and three key members out of the picture, this wont be an easy task for the JSA.

My Thoughts
What makes the Justice Society so cool is its classic, silver age feel with every issue.  Geoff Johns did a wonderful job during his time on this title, but it always remained a little too contemporary for me.  Issue #36, with Bill Willingham at the helm, truly takes us back into the past of the silver age era.

Anyone in their mid to late 20’s can’t deny that the Nazi theme definitely takes us back to when our parents were kids; how every TV show, comic, and other related media was mainly focused on brain washing the youth to believe America was right, and every other country in the world was wrong.  By utilizing super heroes, comics were able to capture their readers with big booming adventures, while keeping the government happy and the Comics Code Authority off their backs.  Now while I’m glad comics have so much more room to expand and give us top notch story lines, Willingham’s approach was fun and exciting.

The campy, over dramatic approach was humorous, yet serious at the same time.  When you have characters that call themselves Baroness Blitzkrieg, Captain Swastika, Baron Gestapo, Count Berlin, Shadow of War, and my all time favorite, Captain Nazi, you’re first reaction is to laugh.  The way the villains are integrated into the story, however, is no laughing matter.  Apart from the Black Lantern zombies, I don’t think I’ve been more freaked out by an evil villain than I have with Kid Karnevil.  Baroness Blitzkrieg may be a campy name, but she sure knocked Liberty Belle out of the park.  And the brute strength of Captain Nazi is nothing short of damned impressive.  The hokey approach to this book does not over shadow its dark demeanor.

The sudden death of Green Lantern was a huge upset for me.  Jesus Merino does a fantastic job with the explosive art, but I wonder how DC is going to play out this catastrophic occurrence.  Alan Scott is incredibly popular among fans, so to kill him off is a bold move where DC had better have a backup plan to help give his death some pretty heavy significance within the DC universe.  It was a nice touch on Willingham’s part.

I can’t complain about the art work, it’s probably the best stuff I’ve seen Merino do.  Again I say his one page panel of Alan Scott being blown to smithereens was a gorgeous piece of art work.  The body sculpting of every character was very well done.  My favorite thing about Merino is his proportional accuracy of the human figure.  No one’s biceps are bigger than their heads, none of the women’s boobs were so big that you wondered if it was their super powers or magic that was holding them up so perfectly, and the facial features specifically fit each individual character perfectly. 

This is a fantastic book!  My only problem is that it still has more to come, which drives me nuts!  Obsidian has been stuck in his egg-like state for a few months now and the JSA are still being attack, and no one ones why!  I certainly hope Willingham keeps this good work up because this story arc is off to a fantastic start!

Rating: 9.5 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming March 24th, 2010
The war takes a turn for the worse for the JSA as the enemy fires up their super power-negating "Darkness Engine." But the terror rises when the team learns that the machine is powered by the black egg that used to be their colleague Obsidian!

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