Justice Society of America (vol.3) #10 (December, 2007)
“Thy Kingdom Come – What a Wonderful World”
Story/Writer – Geoff Johns
Story/Painted Art – Alex Ross
Penciller – Dale Eaglesham
Inkers – Ruy Jose & Drew Geraci
Colorist – John Kalisz
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99
Time for another Society-Sunday… which I wasn’t planning on, but if one day, you review Justice Society of America (vol.3) #9, and see sitting behind it in your longbox a cover that looks like this… ya sorta have to give it a go. I don’t make the rules.
We open at the brownstone with Ma Hunkel showing a bit of uncertainty as to the true identity of their current “house guest” while holding aloft a semi-familiar stylized Superman costume. Who might she be talking about? Welllll, inside the conference room sits a man who looks a whole lot like an older version of Superman… not entirely unlike Kal-L of Earth-Two. This is another amazing two-page spread… just showing the Man of Steel drinking some tea, but there’s a feeling of isolation and trepidation that the empty space provides. Excellent work!
This Superman, we’ll just call him Superman… tells the Society’s elder statesmen that he saw them all die. They try and wrap their heads around what’s going on… is this Kal-L resurrected? I mean, that’d be a quick turnaround, even for comics! Is this Superman from the future? Wait, did somebody say future… because that’s Starman’s cue! He, and several other members, enter as he explains that this Superman is his friend from Earth-52 minus 30… so, Earth-22 then, who he (somehow) ran into while making his way from the 31st Century.
And then… we see Earth-22 in all its Rossian glory. I mean, as if the art in this book wasn’t already bananas-excellent, this just puts it over the top. It makes you feel like you’re holding something special… something that should most definitely not cost only $2.99.
Stargirl turns to Power Girl and asks “what gives?”… following Infinite Crisis, they were led to believe that the multiverse had been wiped out… again… or something, leaving Pee Gee as the sole survivor. Welp, not exactly, I guess. Anyhoo, Superman refers to Cyclone as “Red Tornado” and shares with the group that the Justice Society on his Earth disbanded and never reformed… because, ya know… Kingdom Come and Magog.
The Society decides to back off for a bit, and leave Superman to relax… and so, they leave him in the conference room… and lock him in. Talk about an exercise in futility, right? Especially when you consider that he can hear you locking the door…
Speaking of super-hearing, the Society chats about their house guest in the hallway. They worry as the last time an “older Superman” showed his face Infinite Crisis happened. Power Girl suggests bringing the Justice League in on the case… which isn’t the worst idea. Wildcat questions why they felt the need to leave the room to have this discussion because… ya know, if he is Superman, he can most certainly hear every word they’ve said. Inside the conference room, Superman is visited by our security system… Obsidian! They chat, and Superman scans this Earth… seeing hope. He sees the Kents, heroes acting heroically, and criminals in jail rather than executed on the street. Obsidian tells him that hope and learning from mistakes is what the JSA is all about.
We shift scenes to the burnt paint factory from last issue… ya know, where Goth was killed. Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite are investigating and trying to figure out who might benefit from killing some lame rock star bad guy. Dr. Mid-Nite begins coughing… which he waves off as being from the dust, but we know Chekhov’s Cough when we hear it… or something. The pair leave, and we can see the letters GO carved on a wooden beam. Hmm…
Back at the brownstone, Superman shares more tales of Earth-22 with Obsidian, when suddenly… his super-hearing picks up a weak and hopeless little voice. With urgency, he rises… and beats his way through the locked door. He switches into costume and makes a run for it. The Society dogpiles him, and Starman increases the gravity. Initially, this appears to have worked… however, it’s not long before Superman shakes them all off and escapes through the roof!
He soars across the city, where we see a young girl just about to step off the top of a building. Before she can go splat, however, he swoops in and catches her. With her in his arms he tells her that giving up is never the answer… which is probably something he wishes someone had told him all those years ago.
We’re winding down, which means… vignette time. We hop over to the Batcave where Batman is watching the news of this new Superman… while holding the Kryptonite ring. In Central City, the Flash and the Flash… er, Wally and Jay are at the Flash Museum looking for the Cosmic Treadmill. Elsewhere, Choma is being chased through… I wanna say, a sewer (?), and Power Girl is knelt before Kal-L’s grave… for reals this time.
We wrap up with the Flashes finding the Treadmill, and Jay revealing that he plans to use it to travel to a parallel Earth… the Justice League arriving to the brownstone… and Chroma being killed by a shadowy figure proclaiming itself to be a God!
Alright… who wants to hear more of me gushing about the Justice Society?
Nobody then? Okay, I’ll get the gushing out of the way early. This is a great run, and I would say this is must-reading if you’re a fan of DC Comics. The writing is excellent, and the art is insanely good.
So, the issue itself… it’s crazy that what we get here feels both like a “down time” issue, and one where so much happens. We “officially” meet the Superman of Earth-22, and learn a bit about where he came from. For Kingdom Come fans, this isn’t new information… for a guy like me who hasn’t read Kingdom Come in almost 20 years, I was glad for the catch-up… and, c’mon now… Alex Ross art in a $2.99 comic book. I had to double-check the cover price… seems like today (or most definitely across the street/country at Marvel) they’d have tacked one at least a buck for that.
Superman saving the jumper is important… and not just for the act of saving a life. The Earth he comes from… he lost hope, and exiled himself allowing Gog and the gang to run amok. On this new-to-him Earth, he sees things like hope… like family. He sees the Justice Society as a force for good, and perhaps through that drew inspiration to be the best (super)man he can be. It’s not exactly subtle, but it really doesn’t have to be. It’s also not exactly breaking any new ground, but again… it really doesn’t have to. A man without hope is inspired… and uses that to be the inspiration for others.
I appreciate how the Justice Society is shown as having different generational tiers of membership. We see the “big guns” in the old-timers (Chairwoman, Power Girl would have likely been present too, if she wasn’t so affected by seeing a man who might be her dead cousin)… there are the young adults who are out and about on Society-business… and then there are the adolescents. Seeing Maxine not quite know how to conduct herself in front of Superman was great. I like knowing that a new member of the superhero community can still become nervous (or star-struck) and not be over the top with it.
I really dig how we wrap up with vignettes… this is something that’s happened a few times in this series, and really does a lot to make me chomp at the bit for the next issue. We don’t just get a cliffhanger… we get three! Let’s parse ’em out a bit.
The Justice League arrives at the brownstone… which means, we’re just about to get a Superman-Superman face-to-face. That’s always a good time. I even remember being super-psyched when I read the solicit that promised the post-Crisis Superman meeting The New-52! Superman… then being really ticked when they pushed the meeting back a few months.
We get a distrusting Batman fondling his Kryptonite ring… which is fair enough. Batman is always great as the group skeptic… except for the fact that he’s
almost always right about everything.
Then, we get Chroma. Chroma is a villain from… somewhere in the pre-Crisis Roy Thomas corner of the DC Universe. I can’t say that I have a whole lot of interest, but I do appreciate the fact that we’re using like an inversion of the bits that started this volume. Shadowy villain going around picking people off… we opened with Vandal Savage trying to chop down heroic “family trees”, now we have another taking down B-list baddies.
Overall… I said it before… and I’ll say it again (and again, and again), this volume is worth your time.