Justice Society of America (vol.3) #12 (2008)

Justice Society of America (vol.3) #12 (March, 2008)
“Thy Kingdom Come, New Recruits”
Story – Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Penciller – Dale Eaglesham
Inker – Ruy Jose
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99

Ya know, I’ve seen this cover a whole bunch of times… and never realized it’s a Rossian homage to Giant-Size X-Men #1!

We open with the return of Jakeem Thunder and (erg) Yz the Thunderbolt to the JSA brownstone.  The stickers on his luggage give the impression that he has been rather well-traveled during his time away… and is a bit disappointed the team didn’t amp up the pomp and ballyhoo for his return home.  He overhears some hoopla from down the hall, and follows it to find… some Society members who are completely new to him, which he doesn’t seem to like one bit.

We witness some awkward, and almost contentious introductions… and see that Wildcat is just about to begin sparring with Judomaster.  Ahhh, here comes that scene I was expecting back in issue #9… where the veteran Wildcat gets schooled by one of the kiddos.

We scoot over to the elders as they do that thing where they pore over a table-full of photos as they discuss their ongoing JSA recruitment drive.  When they come across one photo in particular, it’s decided that there’s one new recruit they should visit in person.

Speaking of visiting in person, we pop over to New Orleans… home of Amazing Man.  Not the original, of course… he’d be over 100 by now.  This is his grandson, Markus Clay.  Superman-22 and Power Girl are headed down to the Big Easy to make their pitch.  Along the way, Pee Gee provides the origin for the first Amazing Man, Will Everett.

They touch down, and meet the man himself.  He’s cool with the idea of joining the Justice Society, however he’s got a lot of work to do in (post-Katrina) New Orleans before he can leave.  Superman and Power Girl help him hoist a huge barge back into the gulf.

We check in with the new Mr. America, Jeffrey Graves.  Remember, he was Trey Thompson’s FBI insider and pal… who got fired when the FBI found out that he was Trey Thompson’s insider and pal.  He’s found some more dead villains… and we’re starting to see a trend.  All of these baddies proclaimed themselves to be demigods… or just gods in general.  The newest are Maxie Zeus’ old running buddies, the New Olympians!  As Graves investigates, we see a shadow creeping up on him.

Next stop, Chicago!  More specifically, the home of Black Lightning, Jefferson Pierce.  Mr. Terrific, Stargirl, and Cyclone are having some coffee with the Pierces while discussing the manifestation of powers in their youngest daughter, Jennifer.  Their older daughter, Anissa currently (pun!) displays electricity-based powers as well… and serves as Outsiders member, Thunder.  Well, if Jennifer doesn’t wind up going by Lightning, I’ll eat my hat!  Okok, I already know she becomes Lightning.

After tripping out the electricity, Jennifer comes downstairs… and we get a pretty cute scene between her and motormouth Maxine.  Now, we know Maxine is an excitable gal… who loves to talk, but this is all new to Jennifer.

Back at the New Olympians death-site, Hourman and Liberty Belle arrive on the scene.  While Jesse chats up an FBI Agent, Rick snoops around… and finds a column with the letters G-O carved in it.  Hmm.  At the same time we can see Mr. America frantically fleeing across the rooftops.

We shift scenes to Afghanistan where that one fella from the photo is fighting back the insurgency using a strange lance-looking gadget.  Later, he is joined in his tent by Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Flash.  We learn that his name is David Reid, but most folks call him “Lance”.  We see that he has a strange tattoo/brand on his left bicep that pulsates and glows.

He’s unsure why he’s being visited… he’s heard of the JSA recruitment drive, but isn’t sure how that applies to him.  This prompts Green Lantern to ask him who his Great Grandfather was.  Turns out, that man was Franklin Delano Roosevelt!  The heroes tell him that FDR was the man responsible for putting the Justice Society together in the first place… which makes Mr. Reid their most important legacy!

We wrap up back at the brownstone, where Wildcat is… still getting schooled in the ring by Judomaster.  A great time is being had by all… until they are interrupted by disheveled and beaten Mr. America.  He asks the question, “Any of you ever heard of Gog?”

The Society just keeps growing!

Another fun issue, though one that actually feels more like a “chapter” than anything.  Even though the past issues have all been “chapters” as well, this one really felt like just a part of a story.  It wasn’t bad or unenjoyable, just a bit slight.

Before we talk about our new friends, I wanna say something.  I don’t think I’ve given Geoff Johns enough credit when it comes to bringing up potentially controversial or divisive situations without outright “picking sides” or turning the book into a “livejournal lecture”.  I think I’ve been reading too many contemporary books where everything is a lecture or commentary.

Last issue, there was that brief aside about Atheism/Agnosticism… which treated both sides with respect, and did not diminish the belief(s) or lack/speculation thereof.  This issue, we had mention of Hurricane Katrina… which, I will admit… I was preparing myself for Mr. Johns to drag out the soap box… but the lecture never really came!  It was cited as the tragedy it was, and there was mention of mistakes being made… but the main focus was on helping the people of New Orleans, and not losing sight of them amid posturing and finger-pointing.  It’s all about subtlety!

Now, let’s talk some newbies!

New Amazing Man, Markus Clay.  Really dig his altruistic nature and how he is at the same time a man of the people and someone the people look to for guidance.  He walks that fine line quite well.  While on the subject, I love that the original Amazing Man (which I’ve typed as “Mazing Man” nearly every time up to this point) is tied in with the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King.  Feels like such a Roy Thomas thing to do, and it makes me smile.

Lightning… while we don’t get to know all that much about her, works for me just on account that she’s tied to Black Lightning.  I really like the idea of Jeff having a pair of super-powered daughters… and just trying to stay sane.  We get to keep the legacy aspect of the recruitment without digging back to the Golden-Age here, which is also kinda cool.  Her interaction with Maxine and Courtney was a lot of fun too, and I look forward to more.

“Lance” is another interesting idea.  I’d totally forgotten about his heritage.  His character is going to go through some pretty big changes soon, and I guess I only remember him from that.  Him being a descendant of Franklin Roosevelt is another awesome “Roy Thomas” touch, that tickles me.  I was going to do some research on some actual FDR descendants as a gag… but realized it wouldn’t be terribly funny, and probably not even all that interesting!  I do dig the Eye of Providence tattoo on his arm… that thing always makes me feel a bit uneasy!

We finally get an ID on our bid bad (for those of us who hadn’t already figured it out, that is)… and it looks like we’re in for a doozy.  Johns has figured out a way to pull all these disparate murders together in a way that feels organic and meaningful.  This entire arc up to this point has been exceptionally laid out.

Overall, if you read (and dug) last issue, you’re gonna wanna read this one.  It’s another great issue of a book where every issue feels somewhat like an event… minus the inflated price-point and skatey-eight hundred variant covers.

DC Nation (warning, may feature nudity):

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