JSA #83


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JSA #83


  • Words: Paul Levitz
  • Art: Rags Morales and Luke Ross
  • Inks: Dave Meikis
  • Colors: John Kalisz
  • Story Title: Who?s Afraid of Ghosts?
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.50
  • Release Date: Mar 1, 2006

It’s One Year Later and Infinite Crisis is over. The JSA is facing an enemy from their past now but with all they’ve been through, are they ready?

DC’s President, Paul Levitz returned to writing with last month’s stand-alone story in JSA #82. Now he steps up to set the stage for DC’s venerable super-team opening the One Year Later event for the title. In the aftermath of Infinite Crisis, who is the Justice Society of America?

The various members of the JSA are revealed as having settled back into their daily routines after the yet-unrevealed end of Infinite Crisis. As they go about their lives, however, they find themselves being haunted – not by recent events, but by ghosts from their pasts! The one behind all this is an old and familiar enemy, bent on destroying the team. The question is why is he attacking now? And what does he hope to gain from their deaths? The answers and secrets may lie over a hundred years in past, in the history of Gentleman Jim Craddock!

Many fans fondly remember writer Paul Levitz for his run on JSA back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and in his return to the title here, readers can find a touchstone to his previous work. There is a bit of an "old school" feel to this story but that is by no means a bad thing. Turning to an old JSA enemy not only touches past adventures with the team, but also gives the newer members a chance to put their own stamp on a battle with a familiar foe.

Levitz’s writing is not without its problems, however. For the most part he nails the voices of each of these familiar characters but his depiction of Doctor Mid-Nite seemed a bit off. Additionally, there was an inconsistency in the story that caught my attention, although it did not affect the overall scope of the tale. The story also seemed to move a bit sluggishly, as much time was spent in setting up the various characters. As one of the stated purposes of the One Year Later event was to provide a good jumping on point for new readers though, this amount of set-up is forgivable.

Any fans reading Infinite Crisis and hoping to find some clues to how it ends won’t find them here. This story begins fresh, with no left over ties to any previous story arc and would be accessible to nearly anyone picking up JSA for the first time.

For this story arc, Levitz is partnered with pencilers Rags Morales and Luke Ross. Morales handles the current story while Ross covers the flashback pages to Craddock’s past. I have been a fan of Morales’ work since his tenure on Hawkman and his art here is every bit as good, if not better. Morales’ figures are always expressive and very human. Luke Ross on the flashback sequences is a wonder to behold as well. His softer pencils provide the right atmosphere, as if the reader were truly looking back through the mists of time. John Kalisz covers the colors and also does a nice job of going from bold coloring for the current time to softer tones for the past.

Regular JSA writer Geoff Johns has put his indelible stamp on this title and for anyone to follow him is a difficult job. Although Levitz’s writing has a few bumps now, there is every expectation that it will smooth out as the story arc progresses. This title was restarted years ago standing on the shoulders of those characters and writers who had gone before. One of those writers returns to fold and proves that ‘once a JSA man, always a JSA man.’

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