Justice Society of America (vol.3) #20 (2008)

Justice Society of America (vol.3) #20 (December, 2008)
Story – Geoff Johns & Alex Ross
Pencillers – Dale Eaglesham & Jerry Ordway
Inkers – Nathan Massenhill & Bob Wiacek
Colorist – Hi-Fi
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99

Alrighty, having read the Annual… we can now move forward with, what’s that word… context!

Picking up where we left off last issue, Power Girl has emerged, seemingly from Starman’s chest.  Great news, right?  Well, if you recall… she didn’t come through alone!  She was followed by Earth-2’s Justice Society Infinity… who we formally met in yesterday’s discussion of the Annual.  See, we do a lot of “table-setting” here!  This double-page spread in particular is quite wonderful, featuring (I assume) both Eaglesham and Ordway art!  Just awesome!

Power Girl-2 is leading the charge… still ranting about her lost cousin.  Of note, we see some odd “reunions”, including one between Alan Scott and Jade.  In stereo, one informs the other that they are… dead… well, on their respective Earth anyway.  This just might become important in a bit.

It isn’t long before Power Girl-2 lays eyes on Superman-22.  He is apologetic and informs her that the Superman she’s looking for is in a different castle (or under one)… and so, she blasts him with her heat-vision, and before we know it… we got a rumble!

Well, a brief rumble anyway… which ends with Huntress opening a box containing a Kryptonite Ring to depower Power Girl (“our” Pee Gee), before the JSI can nyoink her through a portal back to Earth-2.  Green Lantern, Flash, Mr. Terrific, Stargirl stow away, and Starman… since he is the portal, joins them.

The Justice Society crashes onto Earth-2… right into the office of Professor Michael Holt!  The Misters Terrific and the Society put their heads together to figure out just what is going on.  Holt-2 claims that to send Power Girl back, he had to tap into Starman’s costume… which, he’ll tell you was designed by three whole Brainiac-5’s, and that’s almost as good a single Lex Luthor!

Alan thinks about how his daughter is still alive on Earth-2 (an Earth where his analogue is dead)… and wonders what he must’ve done wrong on Earth-1 for her to die.  He is interrupted by the arrival of… Paula Holt.  Michael Holt-2’s wife… and Mr. Terrific’s dead wife.  The Society is shocked… and wonders how their Michael is going to conduct himself.  Being the stand-up (and terrific) guy that he is, Michael simply shakes her hand and tells her it’s his pleasure to meet her.

Meanwhile at the Batcave, Huntress, Robin, and Power Girl-2 continue their interrogation.  They are overly concerned as to why she attempted to “infiltrate” to the point where Karen-2’s search for Superman almost becomes secondary.  Huntress tires of the torture, and seals the Kryptonite Ring back in its box.  Pee Gee-2 grabs Pee Gee-1 by the chest thing that holds her cape, and again asks where her cousin is.  Power Girl repeats that he died saving the universe.

Power Girl-the-second proceeds to pummel the hell out of the first… tossing her around the Batcave.  Finally, Power Girl-the-first has had enough… she heat-visions the box containing the Kryptonite Ring shut, and grabs Helena by the shoulder thing that holds her cape… she’s tired of being trotted out every time there’s a multiverse storyline as a punchline to a cosmic gag… and to be fair, I’m pretty tired of that as well!  Sorta like folks droning on about how many times Jean Grey died… when these days characters die and come back seemingly every single month.  Phoenix has some catching up to do!

The Justice Society Infinity arrives on the scene as Power Girl faints, and they have Brainwave read her mind while she’s out.  Wonder why they didn’t do that when she first showed up?  Anyhoo, they deduce that, barring a few divergences, she shares brain patterns with their own Power Girl.  Then, Starman leads the Justice Society of America into the scene, trying to explain that this whole mess was just one big misunderstanding.

He goes on to explain that the map of the multiverse he had sought was (literally) under his nose the entire time… it was his costume!  From here we get a quick and dirty on Crisis on Infinite Earths, starting with curious Krona doing his thing, through to the Anti-Matter Universe and the collapsing of the Multiverse… all the way to the (then recent) Infinite Crisis, where Alexander Luthor and Superboy-Prime triggered the rebirth of the Multiverse… and ultimately the rebirth of this Earth-2… er, I think.  So, that explains why there are two Power Girls from Earth-2… right?

Okay, so now our Power Girl knows that this Earth-2 isn’t her home… and never was.  And so, she decides to return to… whatever we were calling Earth-1 post-Infinite Crisis.  Also worth noting, Jay suggests to Power Girl-2 that her Superman might still be out there somewhere… suppose this stands to reason, if this is an all-new all-different Earth-2.

We wrap up with Power Girl getting the once-over from Dr. Mid-Nite, while Stars-Man and Girl chat about everything that went down.  Thom claims to have seen some of Power Girl’s future, and suggests that her business with the Justice Society Infinity is far from done.  From here we join Mr. Terrific, who is looking at a framed photo of his wife.  He is joined by a troubled Alan Scott who asks if he thinks Gog might be able to bring Jade back to life.

Ooooooh boy, that was a lot of information.  I definitely want to apologize if anything I wrote during the synopsis (or now!) makes things even more difficult to understand… I have a knack for over-complicating… and misunderstanding things.

Let’s start with the easy stuff.  We had a pair of reunions here that are worth exploring.  First, Alan and Jade.  On “our” Earth, Jade is killed during one of the Rann-Thanagar Wars (if I recall correctly)… on Earth-2, Alan is dead.  Alan blames himself for Jennie’s death… and as we wrap up, wonders if Gog might bestow upon him a blessing, and bring Jade back.

Now, that takes us to Mr. Terrific… who just had an unexpected run-in with Paula Holt-2.  He chose not to further complicate her life by explaining who he really is… which was noble, and probably incredibly difficult.  Gotta wonder if he might be coming around to the idea of asking for some Gogly intervention himself.  The storytelling here really couldn’t be better… so much uncertainty… and so much tempered and desperate hope.  Really well done… there’s a reason why this run is among so many people’s favorites.

Now… the Multiverse.  If I’ve got this right (and there’s a big possibility that I don’t), the Crisis actually did result in the collapsing of the Multiverse… and not simply the spawning of an amalgamated “prime” Earth, as was posited during the Annual.  Many years later, the appearance of the Earth-lost characters during Infinite Crisis (and perhaps that reality-shattering punch), triggered the dawning of a new Multiverse… with a new Earth-2 as part of it.  So, we now have a pre-Crisis (on Infinite Earths) Earth-2, and a post-(Infinite) Crisis Earth-2… right?  Maybe?  I think?

If that’s the case, at least it explains why there are two Power Girls… right?  Crazy, so much thought put into building a Multiverse… when less than three years later, it’s all gonna be flushed!

This issue leads directly into three one-shot specials… and unfortunately, I only have two of them… still need to track down Justice Society of America, Kingdom Come Special: Superman (now that’s a mouthful!).  I’m sure it won’t be too terribly difficult to find… hopefully we’ll be able to continue this story pretty quick.

Overall… as I’ve been saying since the get-go (Gog-go?), this is one I highly recommend… however, you’d probably do yourself a service by grabbing it in collected edition.  I’m enjoying this greatly just reading issue to issue, but I will concede this is likely a more satisfying read in a single-optic-gulp.

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