Justice Society of America (vol.3) #5 (June, 2007)
“The Lightning Saga, Chapter Two: Dreams and Fire”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Aritst – Fernando Pasarin
Colorist – Jeromy Cox
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Adam Schlagman
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
Moving right along with The Lightning Saga! If you’re interested in checking out Chapter One, be sure to check out yesterday’s discussion of Justice League of America (vol.2) #8.
We open at Arkham Asylum where Commissioner Gordon and the GCPD have the gates surrounded. It’s feared (ha!) that the Scarecrow has done his toxin-thang… however, a certain caped crusader believes differently. Having traced the Valorium in a Legion Flight Ring, Batman and an amalgamated Justice-crew (including Geo-Force, Sandman and Starman) have just arrived on the scene. Batman deduces that this is likely not the Scarecrow’s handiwork, as his gas creates illusions… and these folks are being affected by temporary physical manifestations of their worst fears.
Starman begins to panic, claiming that a “doctor… with no face” is inside and behind all the hoopla. Also, Dream Girl. The faceless Doctor is Dr. Destiny… but we already knew that. Sandman is a bit incredulous, knowing that the Dr. D’s Dreamstone had been destroyed… Batman suggests that he must’ve found another. Fair enough…
We go “off subject” for a moment to a bit to illustrate that Geo-Force has similar powers as Starman and Sandman combined, by Geo-Force bragging that he has similar powers as Starman and Sandman combined… which really feels out of place. I mean, are we trying to make him look like a jackass here? Sure feels like it. Anyhoo, Batman pulls the team in to discuss strategy, but doesn’t notice that Thom has wandered away.
Inside, Thom has found a bank of monitors… all of which features his gal-pal Nura. There’s a sizzle, and the monitors blink off. Batman approaches to clue him in on Dr. Destiny’s standard operating procedure, before suggesting that ol’ John Dee might be about to tap into the worst fear of the Arkham inmates and use it against them… wouldntcha know it, their worst fear is Batman! Not quite as impressive as Man of Steel #37, but it’ll do.
While his partners fight off the colony of Batmen, Starman makes like a cartoon character and proceeds to burst through walls on his way to Dream Girl’s cell. Dr. Destiny wastes no time tapping into Thom’s worst fears… which include his murder (in self-defense) of Kenz Nuhor.
While the manifestation of Kenz pummels poor Thom, he is able to utter something in Interlac… which, thanks to our handy-dandy Interlac translator (see below) we know to be “L-i-g-h-t-n-i-n-g-L-a-d”… which, I dunno… there’s a symbol specifically for Lightning Lad (sorta looks like Captain Marvel’s “thunderbolt”), so why not just use that? Oh well. Either way, this is what snaps Nura back to wakey-ness. She slams Dr. D into a wall, revealing him to be… just some bald dude, not scary in the slightest. She and Thom embrace.
Meanwhile Superman, Red Tornado, Stargirl and Cyclone arrive at the Fortress of Solitude. Courtney comments to Maxine that she hasn’t been her normal fangirly self… which can be attributed to being around the “new” (as in non-Hunkel) Red Tornado. Court suggests she chat him up… ya know, legacy and what-not… Hal and Alan get along fine, right?
Superman leads the crew into a room labelled… (thanks to our handy-dandy Kryptonian Translator) “Trophy Room and Museum”. Inside, he procures his Legion flight ring, and begins telling the story of how he met the kids from the future. Among his exhibits is one featuring dozens of Legionnaires! It’s really quite the scene.
While Superman continues the Secret Origin of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Maxine notices that there’s a dupe in the exhibit… there are two Wildfires! Superman immediately realizes that one ain’t a statue… and is, in fact the real deal. And so, he Interlacs some “L-i-g-h-t-n-i-n-g-L-a-d” to bring Drake to his senses.
Wildfire collapses to the floor warning of a great storm… before ejecting Batman’s Utility Belt from his chest? Ehh??
Okay, we’re two parts in and we’ve already found four out of seven Legionnaires! Moving right along…
I enjoyed this issue a heckuva lot more than the first chapter… but that could just be me digging Johns’ more than Meltzer. I might be projecting (okay, I’m almost certainly projecting), but this feels like a much more “personal” story to Geoff. Like, this is a story he needed to tell… whereas, perhaps not as much for Brad.
Johns was always the guy who could stuff his stories full of nods to the past, while still making things appear to be moving forward. It’s not terribly often I get a Legion reference (without a visit to the DC Wikia, anyway), so when I do get a nod to the past, boy… it’s sort of a rush.
For the Legionnaire “awakenings”, I gotta say, it feels pretty samey and convenient. I’m not sure why I’d expect more… especially since we’re going to need the sevensome awake and assembled before we find out and deal with the actual threat of the Saga… but, it still feels like things are moving a bit too fast. I mean, you ever play an RPG where you collect party members along the way? It’s like… if I’m only playing for an hour or two, and already have my entire team… it’s kind of a let-down. I like meeting and aligning with new team members deeper into the story… but, maybe that’s just me.
Overall, I thought this was pretty good. Having no real tether to the Legion, I can’t say for certain how “right” this all feels. If I were a bigger fan of the franchise I suppose I might really love (or really hate) this story/take. As a relative neophyte, however… I guess I can say that I’m having a pretty good time with it.
As a post-Crisis kind of guy, I am a bit “iffy” on the whole Superman was Superboy thing… and while that isn’t said outright, the allusions were definitely there. I mean, unless they’re saying that young Clark Kent hung out in the future instead of Superboy… which, I suppose could be the direction. For all I know, it’s been made clear elsewhere… and I’m just talking out my backside.
As with the previous chapter, this issue has been collected several times over, and is available digitally.