Friday, July 16, 2010

Comic Book Review: Justice Society of America #40

Book Information
Written by Bill Willingham
Penciled by Jesus Merino
Colored by Allen Passalaqua
Inked by Jesse Delperdang & Merino
Lettered by Rob Leigh
Cover by Merino & Passalaqua

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Huh, I had kind of forgotten about the whole “Alan Scott turning evil” bit. Which is why I think JSA #40 had to wrap up like it did…or at least that’s what Bill Willingham thought he had to do. I’ve enjoyed Fatherland so much that I was certain the ending was going to be fantastic! But instead, it turned out to be something that seemed rather forced. I don’t know if Willingham’s hands were tied by the higher forces within DC Comics, or if he really wanted the conclusion of this arc to be this way. Whatever the case may be, #40, while still being a decent issue, is not a worthy addition to such a great story.

Willingham decides to enter into the inner monologue of Obsidian and turn the bulk to the issue into a narrative epilogue where he describes how the time paradox was resolved and things brought back to normal, this takes a mere four pages to accomplish. Then we go into a few moments where Obsidian faces his inner demons with Power Girl and confronts Mr. Terrific about how he knew what the 4th Reich was actually up too. A few fighting sequences here and there, but overall, very unsatisfying. I typically don’t mind it when comics use a superhero’s thoughts as a way of telling a story, but for what this story arc had become, this ending just didn’t suit it.

This is not too say that #40 wasn’t fun to read as nearly half of the book kept my attention engaged and ready. The very hilarious lie that Obsidian makes about being cured of his homosexuality could not have been timed better. And I did appreciate that Willingham did show the JSA beating the Reich and didn’t just cop out with Obsidian’s opening line “And that’s how we beat them.” But I think this issue would have been much better if, say, the team hatched Obsidian moments before the Reich’s engine had been turned on. But hey, that’s just me.

Artistically, Merino stays very consistent with what he’s been producing in this arc. His and Delperdang’s work on the cover is arguable the most impressive aspect of the whole book, even though I’m not sure I understand why the team is suddenly popping out of the Obsidian egg. But overall, the art is very good.

My Profoundly Climactic Conclusion
Disappointing ending to an incredible story arc, but not entirely bad in and of itself. I guess that’s what happens when to try to write stories involving time travel…you can never quite wrap things up efficiently. Oh well, Thanks Willingham for writing such a cool story!

Writing: 7.5
Themes: 6
Art: 9
Overall: 7.5 out of 10

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