Justice Society of America (vol.3) #15 (2008)

Justice Society of America (vol.3) #15 (June, 2008)
“Thy Kingdom Come, The Good Fight”
Story – Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Penciller – Dale Eaglesham & Alex Ross
Inker – Prentis Rollins
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99

I thought I missed an issue for a second.  This is the only one from this run that isn’t the Alex Ross cover.  It’s not a bad cover, but really sticks out when flipping through the collection.  Not something I feel an urge to remedy or anything… that would just leave me with a “double”… and those kinda make me itch.

We open on Earth-22, where a battle rages until… the bombs are dropped!  Superman-22 narrates the utter hopelessness of the thing, and mourns the loss of his Earth and those he held dear.

We return to the here and now, where Gog is about to face off with the Brightest Day and Blackest Night combo from last issue, Green Lantern and Obsidian.  He’s able to hold off the onslaught well enough, really… it looks like he’s being jumped by a gang here… until, Obsidian uses his shadow powers to enter the baddie’s bod.

After providing a psychological assessment of Gog, Obsidian attempts to blind him… this allows for Superman and Power Girl to briefly go on the offense, while Starman and Flash can direct traffic to keep civilians out of harms way.  Gog eventually “evicts” the young fella and regains his footing.

Stargirl and Lightning arrive, with the former instructing the latter to take out all of her frustrations on Gog… which leads to her blasting the baddie with her namesake while kvetching that she can’t drive a car.  It’s quite a bit cuter than I’m making it sound.  Amid this distraction, Liberty Belle jumps back into her old gimmick and calls upon the speed formula [3X2(9YZ)4A] she used while she was Jesse Quick to bum rush Gog… but gets blasted nonetheless.

By this point, the Justice Society just go ahead and dogpile Gog.  It’s really quite the scene!  It’s probably worth mentioning that it’s the “kids” who are getting the upper hand here… Judomaster, Mr. America, Amazing Man, Citizen Steel, Lance… ya know, the newbies.  When one on one with Judomaster, Gog uses the environment against her… almost as though he’d sussed out her Achilles heel straightaway!

Ma Hunkel watches the whole thing unfold from the busted up brownstone.  Several Society members in various stages of kayo are with her… including her granddaughter Maxine who meets a new friend.  Sandman (who I think I’ve been calling “Sand” up to this point… because that was his name… it’s the former Sandy the Golden Boy) arrives and tells the remainders that the villain is not Gog.

In Battery Park, the Society regains their bearings and heads in to head off Gog… before he can “head off” Judomaster.  Faced with pretty bad offs, Gog realizes discretion is the better part of yadda yadda, and so he activates a Boom Tube (!!!) to retreat.

Unfortunately for him… several Society members manage to teleport with him… in particular, Lance!  It’s made pretty clear that Gog recognizes Lance… this will become important later.

Sandman shows up and demands (not) Gog spill the beans.  (Not) Gog reveals that Gog wants to save them all… and needs them to believe in him, and only him.  Suddenly, that giant purple Thanos-looking face from a few issues back activates.

The giant head’s giant mouth opens… and (not) Gog is split in two!  It’s a really cool visual… it’s almost as though he’s atomized from the inside out.  At the same time, Lance’s… lance starts to glow even hotter than usual.  The rest of the Justice Society arrives just in time to see the mountain come apart.  Power Girl sees the giant head, and asks Sandman what it is she’s looking at.  He reveals that, while speaking to the Earth, he learned that this stone head “didn’t belong”… as in, it’s not from this world!

The issue wraps up with Gog… the real one, stood tall… across an amazing vertical two-page spread.  He reveals to the Justice Society that he has come… in peace.

Okay, we’re getting somewhere!

It’s been awhile since I read this, and I was bracing for another cliffhanger with (not) Gog facing off with another Justice Society member… was really glad that wasn’t the case.  Not saying that this arc overstayed its welcome or anything… it just felt a bit repetitive over the past two or three chapters.

This issue is mostly an extended fight scene… but it’s so well done, both in pacing, and art that it’s a pleasure to experience.  While I’m a sucker for “talking heads” JSA stories, this was just as great.  Doesn’t hurt that Johns managed to cram a who’lotta characterization into this bit.

Keeping with the fight, let’s discuss that crazy dog-pile.  It’s almost surreal to see all of these supremely powered characters have to actually bum-rush the threat of (not) Gog.  If I were a fella who got excited by superhero movies (I’m not, by the way) I’d say this would be an interesting scene to watch play out.  I especially liked Liberty Belle tapping into her old persona for a moment.  I feel like a less-invested writer wouldn’t have “went there”, and I’m glad Johns did.  It’s the best kind of (and I hate this term) “fan-service”.  If I didn’t know about her past, this would have been something that prompted a Google search for sure.

It was neat seeing the newbies get their chance to shine.  Johns did this in a way that didn’t cut down the establishment to make his point.  What we see is the new recruits having conviction and willingness to put themselves on the line to live up to the team, rather than bringing the team down to a lesser level.  That whole, if everyone else takes a step backwards… the people who simply stood still look better by comparison type of mentality.  I feel like that’s the way a lazy (or agenda-driven) writer would’ve handled it, and I’m glad not to see that here.

And then there’s Maude Gog!  We finally meet the “real” Gog here.  I mean, we saw his giant craggy head a few issues back, but we didn’t know it was a living, breathing sorta thing.  I often gush over Dale Eaglesham’s work… but, boy oh boy… Gog raising out of the mountain?  Friggin’ incredible.  I could almost hear orchestral music… like as though you were about to fight a boss in Final Fantasy or something.  I hate the word “epic” because in the past decade of internetese, it’s been rendered meaningless… but, c’mon… this was a pretty epic introduction!

Overall… yet another wonderful issue of Justice Society of America.  We wrap up this leg of Thy Kingdom Come and prepare for One World, Under Gog.  Well worth your time… and as loath as I am to promote a trade collection over single issues (not floppies, dammit), I’d recommend just hopping into the hardcover or tpb.  You’re going to get an amazing story all in one bite.

(Not the) Letters Page:

I’m pretty sure I have every issue with SIGHTINGS on the cover… and still haven’t the foggiest idea what it means! 

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