JSA #29 (2001)

JSA #29 (December, 2001)
Writer – Geoff Johns
Artist – Peter Snejbjerg
Letterer – Ken Lopez
Colorist – John Kalisz
Separations – Heroic Age
Assistant Editors – Morgan & Dontanville
Editor – Peter Tomasi
Cover Price: $2.50

It’s a very Grundy Halloween for Star-Spangled Kid and Jakeem Thunder.

It’s Halloween night, and the Flash, Green Lantern and Wildcat are off to find the rest of the missing Justice Society.  This being a rather dangerous task, they have decided to leave their two youngest members behind this evening.  Star-Spangled Kid and Jakeem Thunder are tasked with not only holding down the fort… but getting along as well!

The kids argue a bit over “who’s in charge” and “who is babysitting who” until JSA Museum curator Alex enters the room.  He’s dressed as Sonny Bono (the date that stood him up was set to be Cher), and he invites the duo to help him hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters.  Suddenly, there is a loud crash… not only did Alex’s pumpkin get smashed… the Jokerized head of the Statue of Liberty has just landed in the middle of their street!

Spectators begin to appear… all surveying just what in the hell is going on.  Lady Liberty’s face is painted up like the Joker’s… now who would do such a thing?  Perhaps a fella who was born on a Monday… 

Grundy nabs Jakeem and nyoinks his magical pen from his pocket.  This pen is where Thunderbolt… lives?  Like, when Jakeem clicks the pen… Thunderbolt shows up.  Courtney gives Grundy a helluva kick, knocking him into a subway entrance.  Jakeem runs off after him, as he’s got his pen-djinn… when a subway car comes flying out from underground… narrowly missing the boy, and crashing into the severed head of Liberty.

Courtney kind of makes light of Jakeem’s loss.  She thinks he’s upset that Thunderbolt is his only “power”… Jakeem corrects her and states that Thunderbolt is not only his power… but his friend… Courtney… is kind of a jerk to him about that, giving him the dreaded “whatever”.  Perhaps as a defense mechanism, Jakeem starts razzing Court about her dad being a super-hero, and that being the only reason she’s even on the team.  She corrects him… it’s her step-father.  Her dad ran out on them many years prior.  Jakeem is all “well, I’d leave if you were my daughter too”.  There’s that line ya probably shouldn’t cross kid.  He clearly realizes this as well, as he tries to rescind it immediately.

The pair reach the tracks, and its not long before Grundy creeps up behind them.  Star-Spangled Kid unloads a torrent of “shooting stars” at the beast, before noting that since Grundy is… ya know… dead, her nerve-based powers are kinda worthless.  When all seems lost, Jakeem manifests a can of spraypaint… and empties it into Sol’s face.  The monster relinquishes the pen… but the boy bobbles it right into a sewer grate.

Grundy turns his attention toward Courtney once more.  Jakeem sticks his fingers into the grate… but the pen is just out of reach.  Then… a little trickle of electricity forms between his fingertip and the pen… the pen somehow rises from the grate, and Jakeem is able to push that magic clicker.

The lad instructs Thunderbolt to “burn Solomon Grundy from the inside out”… and he does!

Once that’s outta the way, Jakeem asks T-Bolt to re-affix the Statue of Liberty’s dome to her body.  As this is occurring, the kids take a moment to kind of clear the air.  They both apologize for… ya know, acting like children.  Jakeem mentions that he wishes he could speak to Johnny (Thunder) to get a better understanding of his pink electrical pal.  At this point in time, Johnny Thunder was afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease… and certainly not able to conduct himself on the front lines of superherodom.  We learn that Jakeem’s middle name is Johnny here as well, which is a neat touch.

Speaking of Johnny… we wrap up with a visit to a… skilled nursing home, perhaps.  Where Mr. Thunder has left his room.  There is a doctor nearby, who is flabbergasted.  Apparently Johnny has somehow made a full recovery!  We close out with Johnny telling a nurse that he’s going home.

Man… I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… there’s gotta be some day in the far-flung future where I’ll have all the time in the world to read though my library.  I remember absolutely adoring this run of JSA… and even just dipping my toe back in with this issue, all those feelings came rushing back.  Such an awesome book… such a great time at DC.

Well… maybe not a completely great time at DC… this was, after all part of the Joker’s Last Laugh crossover.  (Most) Every title in DC’s line-up took part… and featured “Jokerized” villains.  I thought it was fairly horrid then… though, I’ll admit… I haven’t read it since.  Perhaps a reread would tell me something different.

Never been a big Grundy guy… maybe if I grew up on Super Friends cartoons I’d dig him a bit more.  I always… for whatever reason, conflate him with Bizarro.  Like I see “Me am hate you” coming out of his mouth.  So, yeah… never really gave a toss about ‘im.  Here, I feel he was a great fit.  It’s a Halloween story starring a pair of kids… he’s a decent enough monster.

The whole fighty-fighty bit is just the backdrop for the wonderful character work between Courtney and Jakeem.  They are the only kids on the team… I suppose it would make a bit of sense for them to be at odds.  It’s a great done in one, and helps bring the pair together… they now have a better respect for one another, and maybe even understand it was their own respective insecurity that kept them from bonding sooner.  It’s interesting… they have, at the same time… a whole bunch in common, and nothing in common at all.  Man… this was a great series.

Overall, as if I hadn’t made my position clear yet… this entire volume of JSA is something DC Comics fans should definitely check out.

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