Justice Society of America (vol.3) #14 (2008)

Justice Society of America (vol.3) #14 (May, 2008)
“Thy Kingdom Come, Gog”
Story – Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Penciller – Dale Eaglesham
Inker – Prentis Rollins
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99

On the Blog,
I think it was the Justice Society…

Ehh, too many syllables to make that one work… let’s just get to it.

We open in the bedroom of Sandy, the (former) Golden Boy… current “Sand”.  He’s lamenting the fact that he’s been avoiding sleep of late due to persistent nightmares.  He gets a knock on the door, and it’s Power Girl.  She congratulates him on recently saving a young boy from a creep (likely part of the reason for the nightmares), and asks if he still has his “talking to the dirt” powers.  He responds in the affirmative, and is tasked with tracking a sample of volcanic ash found where Gog teleported out.  From here we shift to the source… and see Gog in battle with another who thinks himself a god… a New God, in fact!  It’s Infinity Man from the Fourth World.

We get some expository narration from the big bad… he confirms that his name is William Matthews and he took the mantle of Gog after discovering an ancient temple in an African Jungle.  Now, before Gog can land the killing blow, Infinity Man ‘ports out.  We can see that Sand’s “dirt-talking” ability yielded accurate results, as he has observed the whole fight going down.

What follows is… oh boy… a meeting of the Justice Society at the big table, and wow, there be a whole lotta heroes here!  I think this is the first time we’re seeing the entire lineup huddled around the table… there’s over two-dozen of ’em… plus an owl!  Amazing.

Many of the younger Society members think the elders might be overestimating this Gog… which leads to a (somewhat familiar) history lesson from Superman-22.  He warns that should Gog remain, he will eventually pick a successor… Magog.  Magog would change the way heroes “did business” by straight-up murdering bad guys… and not paying too much mind toward “collateral damage”.  He further warns that the world he comes from is one that no longer has a Justice Society.

It’s here where we begin to see a subtle schism in the ranks.  Green Lantern starts giving marching orders… and it’s basically all the seasoned-members (minus Wildcat) will hunt down Gog… the newbies (plus Wildcat… both Wildcats) will remain at the brownstone.  David Reid (“Lance”, Franklin Roosevelt’s grandson) takes particular exception, and pretty much says he’s going regardless.

For some reason this page looks pretty rotten in my copy…

Amid the “grown-up” blibbuh-blabbuh, Maxine turns to Starman and asks why he’s being so quiet… she’s used to him “Deadpooling it up”, I suppose.  Somber Thom explains that he had been on Earth-22… and it wasn’t a particularly pleasant place to visit.  He continues to say if Magog is allowed to be “born” here… there will be a war in which the heroes are all killed… after all, that’s what all his history books on Xanthu said.

Lightning suggests that if this threat is as big as they say, it might be wise to reach out to the Justice League for assistance… her father, Black Lightning, is currently a member.  She stands up and… unfortunately bonks her head on one of Mr. Terrific’s T-Spheres… triggering her electric powers, and causing a brownstone blackout… whoops.  Jennifer is mortified… but that doesn’t stop Jakeem from trying to spit a little game in her direction.

Dr. Mid-Nite looks over to David Reid, and notices that his lance is still “on-line”… which is because it’s not electrical in nature, but somehow tapped into his biology.  Suddenly there’s a static-hiss sound, and from it, emerges… Gog!  He’s not alone either… he’s got Sand… impaled on his staff!

Gog immediately goes after the youngsters… or maybe it’s just that the newbies are the first ones to spring into battle.  Either way, he mops the floor with the lot of ’em.  This royally ticks the old guard off… and so, they swarm!  Gog notices Superman-22, and is none too happy… after all, he’s responsible for the fall of Kansas!

An enraged Gog bursts through the brownstone and takes the fight into the New York City streets.  Here’s where the young-guard gets some licks in.  Mr. America lassos Gog’s staff away… right into the waiting arms of Amazing Man… who transmutes it’s metal into his body, and clobbers Gog into… er, well, whatever it was… it’s rubble now.

Gog decides enough is enough… and grabs Amazing Man by the throat.  Superman-22 leaps back into action… and gets snatched by the throat as well.  It looks as though Gog might be about to stand triumphant… until he turns and finds himself starting into both the Brightest Day… and the Blackest Night, Green Lantern and Obsidian!

Another solid installment of Thy Kingdom Come.  This time it’s heavy on the action… and it’s a welcome change.  As much as I love the quiet character moments, I really dug seeing the Society work together in battle here.

As this is a chapter in a very “for the trade” kind of story, there really isn’t a whole lot to say without getting too repetitive… not that I’ve let that stop me before.  I will say that I’m glad to have Dale Eaglesham back in the penciller-seat.  I mean, these super-crowded panels and pages… damn, so good!

I know the first time reading this is was left pretty unsatisfied after each “chapter”… sort of the same way I was left unsatisfied after reading Ultimate Spider-Man.  Like, I enjoyed every minute reading it… but at the end of it all, it took too few minutes to get through an issue.  This was a quick read… not a bad one… just quick.  Waiting a month for the next installment… kinda sucked.  O course, the trade reads beautifully… but I ain’t “reviewing” a trade here today.

Anyhoo, back to the story… we get to learn a bit more about Gog.  Although he’s really an ordinary fella from… whatever prime “real” Earth post-Infinite Crisis was called… either Earth-One or Earth-Zero… I’m not sure if they’d decided yet… either way, he’s from “here”, but still recognizes Superman-22 as being unable to save Kansas.  That raises some questions to be sure.

We get a bit more of a “subtle schism” between the old and the new members of the Society… which is pretty neat, and I gotta wonder if there were already eyes toward spinning them off into JSA All-Stars at this point.  It wouldn’t surprise me.

Overall… another fine issue, but it’s becoming harder and harder to recommend as a stand-alone read.  It’s pretty clear that this is supposed to be read in trade format… which is one of the more challenging things about attempting to cover more contemporary offerings here at the humble blog.  So many of them are written this way… but, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.  I guess it’s a good thing that Thy Kingdom Come is definitely worth checking out in it’s collected form.

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