JSA #86


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JSA #86


  • Words: Paul Levitz
  • Art: Jerry Ordway and Luke Ross
  • Inks: Dave Meikis
  • Colors: The Hories and Rob Schwager
  • Story Title: Where Highwaymen Rode
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jun 7, 2006

The JSA head for London to take the fight to the Gentleman Ghost but this is just what the Ghost wants…

DC President Paul Levitz continues his return to his writing roots as he reaches the penultimate issue of JSA before the title is rebooted under a new name later this summer. So what happens when an old hand returns to some old friends?

Having been given a clue to stopping the Gentleman Ghost courtesy of the spirit of the Earth-2 Batman, The JSA decides to split into teams, with one team traveling to London to hunt down Gentleman Ghost, while the other team remains at the headquarters to monitor and try to deflect any further ghostly attacks on the friends and family of the JSA members. As the home team struggles with a fresh wave of attacks, the London team faces an army of ghosts, as well as the Gentleman himself. The JSA has been lured here for one final showdown with an enemy who will not die and will do anything to live again.

Levitz’s work on the Justice Society from All-Star Comics is still fondly remembered by many. His return to the super team, however, has not been without its problems and critics. Firstly, Levitz’s run has admittedly diverged somewhat from certain stories and characterizations previously established by James Robinson, David Goyer, and Geoff Johns in their runs on both JSA and Hawkman. For new readers, picking up this title as a "One Year Later" jumping on point this is neither a problem nor an issue. Levitz has done a wonderful job of introducing all the characters and their relationships. Under his pen the JSA has truly felt and read like a family. He has also done wonders with the character of Jakeem Thunder – crafting the youth into someone who is young, and still has a few chips on his shoulder, but who has also grown into his heroic legacy and is showing new degrees of control and cleverness with the use of the Thunderbolt genie. For longtime JSA readers, however, the continuity problems must be ignored or shrugged off in order to enjoy the story. I, for one, had no problems with shrugging off the glitches as just that – glitches.

The second problem Levitz’s run has suffered from, however, is of a different nature. The story has often seemed to move too slowly. Even taking into account the sections dealing with the history of the Gentleman Ghost, the plot has seemed to plod along. With only one issue left to go the action finally starts to heat up and feel like it’s moving towards something.

Although Rags Morales handled the art on the previous issues, another familiar name has stepped up for the art here – Jerry Ordway. Another old hand with the members of the JSA, Ordway brings an iconic, comic book style in all the best traditions. Tag-teaming with Ordway, is Luke Ross, continuing to handle the flashback sequences to the life, times, and death of the Gentleman Ghost. Ross’s lush, romantic style is a treat and leaves the reader wanting more.

JSA nears its final conflagration before rising like a phoenix from its own ashes. Despite, perhaps, earlier indications, Paul Levitz is going to send this team out on a bang rather than a whimper. No matter the faults, in the end, this title has consistently shown that it is about more than a group of heroes, more than about legacies of power being passed down, it is about a team that is also a family. Levitz has reminded long-time readers of that fact and introduced new readers to the idea as well.

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