Justice Society of America (vol.3) #13 (2008)

Justice Society of America (vol.3) #13 (April, 2008)
“Thy Kingdom Come, Supermen”
Story – Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Penciller – Fernando Pasarin
Inker – Richard Friend
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99

Now, there’s the cover I’ve been waiting for… 

Jakeem Thunder is back in the brownstone… and he ain’t happy.  Ya see, the Justice Society has swelled in membership to the point where he’s having trouble finding a bedroom to crash in.  He decides he’s just going to “take” a certain room, kicking in the door… only to find, Black Lightning’s family, including young Jennifer who he’s immediately taken by.  It’s pretty cute, he introduces himself by saying “I got a genie.”  Jeff leans in and offers him a “hands off”.  It’s really a funny little scene.

In the monitor room, the new Mr. America is being given the once-over by Dr. Mid-Nite.  He’s going to survive.  They discuss the carving in the subway pillar from last issue which read… GOG.  Mr. America asks if that means anything to any of them… which is overheard by Superman-22, who it happens, has experience with not Gog, but a… Magog.

After a biblical history lesson from Dr. Mid-Nite about the origins of the names Gog and Magog, Mr. Terrific reveals that Superman (the real one) had a run-in with a man calling himself Gog not too long ago.  On this Earth, Gog isn’t a God… but a dude named William Matthews who was once a missionary that disappeared while in Africa.  It’s a reference to, of all things, a Chuck Austen story that ran through Action Comics… which isn’t the first thing I’d think Johns would cite!  Anyhoo, Superman-22 decides to pay our Superman a visit to chat.

On the way to Metropolis, Superman-22 overhears much of the hub-bub going on at the Daily Planet… and thinks to himself how this Earth’s analogues aren’t all that different from the ones he knew and loved.  Everything’s going well until he catches a glimpse of Lois Lane… this throws us into a Rossian flashback to Kingdom Come wherein he found his friends and wife murdered at the hands of the Joker.  Worth mentioning that “our” Lois has a rather off-putting and very Joker-esque smile on her face during this scene.  That couldn’t be intentional, could it?

Anyhoo, Clark notices that Superman-22 is loitering about, and heads to the skies to inquire as to why.

The pair share their Goggy stories, and finally Superman-22 comes clean about what happened to Lois Lane on his Earth.  But that’s not all, he also shares what happened to the Joker at the hands of Gog’s successor Magog.  He warns that they need to put a stop to this Earth’s Gog’s antics before such a time where he picks a successor of his own.  So, basically… we’re trying to stop the events of Kingdom Come from ever happening.  Decent enough premise to go on!  They pick up some Goggian noise emanating from Gotham City… and off they go!

There they find Hercules… getting his butt whupped by Gog!  Well, they don’t exactly see Gog, they just see Herc flying out of a building and crashing into some stonework.

Now, Hercules in the DC Universe isn’t a “thumbs-up chucklehead” like Marvel’s, here he’s a bad dude and thorn in the side for Wonder Woman.  Upon seeing the Supermen, he winds up…

… and swings for the fences…

Whoops.  The Men of Steel thrash him with the quickness.  Afterwards, they head inside to confront Gog… just in time for him to teleport away…

… to somewhere in the Congo.  We join him as he walks down a flight of stairs that have been carved into a mountain.  All the while he vows to put an end to all the false gods that walk this Earth in order to pave the way for the one true savior!  We end with him kneeling before a giant purple head.

A solid issue that I might have found just a bit less enjoyable than what came before.  Not sure how much of that is due to the art making this feel a bit less important, or just a bit of Gog-fatigue.

Let’s address the art so we can move it out of the way.  Yeah, I was disappointed not to see Dale Eaglesham’s name here.  That’s not to say Pasarin is untalented, or turned in poor work… he’s actually really good, he’s just not Eaglesham.  I wanted to see Dale’s take on the Supermen meeting, and was a bit let down that it wasn’t him.

Okay, with that behind us… let’s chat up the Supermen meeting.  A bit… underwhelming.  I suppose if their chat wasn’t so Gog-centric, it would have been a bit more interesting, but considering that we’re in the middle of a Gog story, I can’t really fault them.  It’s just that, while Gog and Magog pretty much define Superman-22 (and his Earth), Gog was just someone that Superman-1 fought this one time.  Their stakes just don’t feel comparable.

I did appreciate Superman-22 getting stuck in voyeur mode though.  That made a lot of sense to me… and is really quite heartbreaking.  It’s hard to think of an analogy… so I won’t.  Just couldn’t imagine seeing people I loved, who I had failed… back living their lives, happy as clams.  Though, I gotta say, this would have likely been more powerful a scene under Eaglesham’s pencils.

I gotta admit I will never not like someone winding up and socking Superman with all of their might… only for it not to affect him in the slightest.  That always tickles me… and likely always will.

Silly as it may sound, the strongest scene here for me was the brief opening bit with Jakeem, Courtney, and the Pierces.  I guess I’m just a sucker for these little character moments.  They’re really what makes this volume so special to me.

Overall, this still gets a high recommendation.  There is a ton to enjoy here, and despite it not being Eaglesham, it’s still a rather pretty book to look at.

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