Overview

Justice Society of America #5

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Justice Society of America #5

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns
  • Art: Fernando Pasarin
  • Inks: Fernando Pasarin
  • Colors: Jeromy Cox
  • Story Title: The Lightning Saga, Chapter 2, Dreams and Fire
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Apr 25, 2007

JSA/JLA strike teams fan out to find the missing Legionnaires and Batman, Sandman, Geo-Force, and Starman must enter an Arkham Asylum under siege by nightmares.

It is really not an exaggeration to say that no one understand superheroes like writer Geoff Johns. In this issue he provides a perfect example of a superhero team-up story that pays homage to the past but keeps things fresh with some modern touches. But is it enough?

Someone is driving the inmates of Arkham Asylum insane… well… more insane than usual by manifesting their nightmares. It is into this volatile situation that the first of the combined JSA/JLA strike teams must walk in search of the missing Legionnaire. Sand Hawkins, recently rechristened as Sandman, has already seen horrible future visions of this mission in his nightmares but forewarned is forearmed…. right? Meanwhile, the second strike team makes some startling revelations of its own and readers learn a little bit more about Cyclone’s past.

Forget the fact that Sandman graces the Alex Ross cover of this issue. Even forget the fact that Sand basically narrates the first half of this issue. This is Starman’s story and the slightly insane character really shines here. In fact, he is probably the best thing about this issue. Geoff Johns manages to write the mentally broken Starman as funny, sympathetic, and ultimately a character full of pathos. At no point, though, is Starman’s condition itself a point of ridicule and in a cheer-worthy moment, Sand defends Starman against a barbed comment by Geo-Force. Along with the characterization of Starman, Johns also gives readers a very nicely done Batman. As few other writers manage to do, Johns perfectly captures Batman’s vast intellect and understanding of fear but allows the character’s human side to come through as well. This is combined with fast-becoming fan favorite Maxine Hunkel/Cyclone who, although not having a large part to play this issue, continues to enchant and endear.

Unfortunately, the "Lightning Saga" still seems to be meandering, even under Johns’ pen. A few more clues are dropped like puzzle pieces in front of readers but the problem is, it’s hard to put the puzzle together if you don’t know what the picture is supposed to look like. The bigger picture is still missing here. Also, part of the Sandman sequence ends up not really going anywhere which is highly disappointing.

There may be some who may wonder what happened to regular Justice Society of America penciler Dale Eaglesham but replacement artist Fernando Pasarin does a fine job here. Pasarin makes all of the characters wonderfully expressive and carefully keeps the unique body language of the otherwise faceless Starman. There are even some fun little art Easter Eggs thrown in for DC fans in the Arkham sequence. Pasarin even manages to make Cyclone’s costume as cute as the character wearing it (and believe me, I never thought anyone could actually get me to like that costume). I dearly hope that DC keeps Pasarin around and gives him more work to do.

Despite some great art, excellent characterizations and story elements sure to thrill fans of DC’s Bronze Age, Justice Society of America #5 is ultimately an entertaining but flawed issue. This crossover story arc feels like it is moving too slowly with too many dangling plot threads and no clues as to how they will weave into the greater whole.

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