Justice Society of America (vol.3) #17 (2008)

Justice Society of America (vol.3) #17 (August, 2008)
“One World, Under Gog – Part II: Wish Fulfillment”
Story – Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Penciller – Fernando Pasarin
Inkers – Prentis Rollins & John Stanisci
Colorist – Hi-Fi
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99

Due to our Green Lantern: Rebirth series, we missed out on this weekend’s visit with the Justice Society.  Well, better late than never.

We open with Maxine’s monkey running amok throughout the Justice Society brownstone.  There’s a sentence I never thought I’d type.  Anyhoo, if you recall, the monkey came through Gog’s (that is, the little Gog’s) portal.  He’s wearing some cute little duds with wings on his back as though he’s from The Wizard of Oz.  Turns out Maxine’s a big Oz fan… even named the little beastie Frankie after L. Frank Baum.  Anyhoo (again), she runs into the newly-pretty Damage and homnina homminas at his dreaminess for a bit.  He’d rather chat up Judomaster though.

We hop over to Africa to check in with Gog… big Gog.  Looks like he’s still up to all-good!  He’s healing the lands, cleaning the water, bringing about peace… doesn’t seem like a half bad God-dude.  The Justice League have arrived to assist the JSA with the Gog-following.  Looks like they’re doing it in shifts to ensure nothing horrible goes down.  Wonder Woman introduces herself to the big purple fella… but he already knows who she is.  He thanks her for protecting the Earth, and says that he is now there to protect her.

We shift over to a church in Portsmouth where Dr. Mid-Nite is taking in a service.  He is joined by a conflicted and concerned Mr. Terrific.  They talk about faith, and we get some reasoning as to why Michael can’t allow himself to believe.  He confesses that he’d like nothing more than to believe… and in light of everything he’s seen while Mr. Terrific, has little reason not to.  There’s just something inside him that keeps him from embracing it though.  He mentions how great it would be to believe, as then he would know that he would eventually be reunited with his late wife… but again, he just can’t.  Excellent scene… respectful of both points of view.  I wouldn’t expect anything less from Mr. Johns.

Bounce over to St. Roch briefly to join Hawkman and Hawkwoman as they discuss Lance, and a pending invitation to rejoin the Justice League.  Hawkman ain’t all that keen on being on a team with an Arrow… be they Green or Red.  Speaking of Lance, he and Flash are at the Tuzla Air Base in Bosnia-Herzegovia… and they’re talkin’ Gog.  Lance says if Gog is who (and what) he says he is… this could be the greatest day in the history of our great sport the world!

Back in Africa, Gog continues… flanked by the natives and locals he has aided.  Mr. Terrific and Power Girl discuss the logistical problems this is causing worldwide… as, folks all over the place want to stand in Gog’s presence.  Superman-22 hovers silently… emotionless.  Stargirl also hovers nearby… but she’s not so silent.  She talks about how useless she feels in the shadow of Gog.  Gog turns and smiles… telling Courtney she’s anything but useless.  Suddenly, Sandman slumps to the ground.  Gog informs the Society that he granted him the ability to sleep… and dream!

He next turns toward Dr. Mid-Nite.  He thanks him for his undying faith… and restores his eyesight!

Citizen Steel gets excited… if Gog’s handing out “blessings” maybe he can be given the ability to feel again!  His pleas toward Gog go… ignored?  Maybe Gog just didn’t hear him?  Either way, Gog next turns to Starman… poor brain-addled Starman… and makes his mind “good again”.  Thom pulls off his mask… and is coherent!  Power Girl insists Gog stop… despite poor Citizen Steel not having yet been blessed.

Gog looks at Power Girl… and instantly knows that she wants to go home… and so, he opens a portal sending her to be with her friends?!

Superman-22 confronts Gog… and is asked if he wants to “go home” too.  Superman-22 informs him that he has no home to return to.  Before Gog can explain… he senses violence!  Ain’t gonna have none’a that on his watch!  We wrap up with Gog stomping through the jungle preparing to “eradicate war”.  Oh yeah, and Kara arrives on… Earth-2???

Gog giveth… and man oh man, the air is thick with “the sinister”.  Such a great foreboding tension throughout this story.  Gog is a terrifying character… and the idea that he might be “on our side” somehow makes him even more so!

Let’s start unpacking…

I’ve said it a couple of times already, but Johns’ handling of the potentially sensitive subject of faith/non-faith was handled wonderfully here.  His work on the friendship/mutual admiration between Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific is particularly spectacular.

Michael’s apprehension and envy of his pals faith are wonderfully human.  I’ve several friends with deal with similar struggles.  They’ve “seen some stuff” in their lives where it makes it difficult to imagine there being a divine (or any) afterlife.  They’d like to believe… because, faith does make things easier for many.  It helps folks with acceptance, and gives them hope that there is “something better”… that, like Michael says, they will be reunited with the people they’d loved… and lost.  It’s a subject that it’s hard not to see both sides of… and by now I’ve written more words about it than Geoff did… and somehow said so much less!

Let’s talk blessings.  Dr. Mid-Nite can see again… Starman can think… Sandman can sleep… Damage is handsome… Power Girl went… home?!  It’s been so long since I’ve read this that I’ve forgotten how “monkey’s pawish” these will turn out to be.  I do love how this plays into our everyday cynicism… used to be that when someone did something to help, you’d thank them… nowadays you just either wonder what their angle is… or when that other shoe is finally gonna drop!  Excellently done.

Not sure where we’re gonna go from here… haven’t decided if we’ll discuss Kara’s “homecoming” in the Justice Society Annual (featuring the awesome Jerry Ordway having a bituva “homecoming” of his own!)… or just move along to our next Goggy issue.  Either way, it’s sure to be a good time.

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