JSA Classified #33 (February, 2008)
“Ghosts of Christmas Past”
Writer – Junior Thomas
Pencillers – Staz Johnson & Mike Norton
Inkers – Rodney Ramos & Mike Norton
Colorist – Allen Passalaqua
Letterer – Jared K. Fletcher
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Michael Siglain
Cover Price: $2.99
Feels like it’s been a long time since we covered the Justice Society… and, I suppose it kinda has! Haven’t read any JSA since I landed in the new house… I’m assuming when the movers “arranged” things, all the boxes I had toward the top of the stack were moved toward the bottom. It also doesn’t help that over half of them were put down with the box numbers facing the wall!
Anyhoo… came across this issue in a cheap-o bin not too long ago, and held on to it for our Twelve Days of Christmas on Infinite Earths special.
JSA Classified… hell, all of the Classified books… felt to me kinda like X-Men Unlimited. It was a slot on the shipping schedule… however, after their “big” initial arcs quickly fell to being something of an afterthought. Just “try out” stories… that didn’t really matter, and were largely forgettable.
Does this Green Lantern issue live up to my expectation? Let’s find out…
We open on Thanskgiving, where Vandal Savage has just torn the Starheart from Alan Scott… and used it to manifest a specter of Alan’s late daughter… Jennie-Lynn “Jade” Hayden. Savage taunts Scott… claiming that this Jade “puppet” is currently under his control. Nearby, a woman holds her child… a young girl that the Starheart drained the life force from in order to concoct the Jade manifestation. Ya got all that?
Savage continues to taunt Green Lantern, and threatening the Jade entity. If she doesn’t agree to do his bidding, he promises there’ll be dire consequences. Not sure how much that might trouble someone who’s already dead… but whattayagonnado? Alan, having heard all he can standsk (he can’t standsk no more), lifts himself up and wallops Vandal with a willpower-fueled uppercut.
Savage finds the physical assault almost cute… and delivers retribution in the form of… Jade! Jade starts ripping into Alan for being such a lousy father… you’ll remember that they didn’t even meet until Jennie (and Todd) were adults back in the Infinity, Inc. days.
Alan absorbs one of Jade’s blasts before going back on the attack against Savage. He smashes the baddie so hard, it actually knocks Jade off of her feet. Alan rushes to her side… and it looks as though she’s trying to fight off Savage’s control of her. It doesn’t last long, however.
Savage begins to stir once more, so Alan nabs the Jade entity in a construct bubble to take her away. They don’t get all that far, but far enough so they can have a brief chat. Jade realizes that she no longer belongs in this world… and intends to return the Starheart energy to her father… and the life-force to that little girl (remember her? I didn’t!).
Jade and Green Lantern return to the fray… and, with their powers combined, make short work of the ol’ caveman.
Alan and Jennie share a final hug before he reluctantly draws the Starheart energy from her back into his ring. No sooner does she vanish than that little girl begins to stir… no worse for the wear.
As the dust settles, Lantern’s teammate Wildcat arrives on the scene. He’s confused, thinking he’d just seen Jade. Alan asks that he remain to help with the clean-up efforts… and leaves.
We jump ahead about a month… and it’s Christmas Eve. Alan arrives at the Justice Society brownstone, and is invited inside by Ma Hunkel. We see the team trimming the tree… but Lantern just can’t get into the holiday spirit this year.
He decides to leave the party early… claiming he has “a lot to do”. He takes off for a night flight over New York City, eventually arriving at Rockefeller Center. He spies the young girl from Thanksgiving ice skating with her mother… and realizes that he’d made the right decision… hell, the only decision, four weeks earlier.
We wrap up with Alan returning to the brownstone to celebrate with his friends.
Well… this was alright. I definitely feel like it had a stronger second half… though to be honest, the art was a bit more solid during the first!
The opening Vandal Savage fight felt like it went on a bit too long… and felt a bit overwritten. It was as though Thomas really had a lot to say here… perhaps enough for a second issue, but was then told he had to do it all in one. There are some rather wordy captions… and dialogue balloons here.
I feel like the bit about the Jade entity taking the life force from the young girl didn’t get enough play. It was mentioned very briefly… like, blink and you miss it briefly… but would ultimately be a main factor. First time through, I missed it… and didn’t understand the urgency. Though, perhaps I shouldn’t blame the story for that. I just feel like this should have been more central during the fight.
I get that Alan’s going to be conflicted seeing the specter of his late daughter… but, I mean… dude’s been a superhero for a hundred years at this point, like he’s never seen something like this before? I feel like priority one should have been saving the little girl the whole way through.
The second-half was a treat… storywise. The art felt quite a bit looser… there were two pencillers listed here, but I’m not sure who was responsible for what.
I swear I could’ve read an entire issue of the Justice Society trimming their tree. For whatever reason I always associate the JSA with the holidays… really not sure why, but it just feels “right”. It’s always nice to see the group together. DC teams of this era (and today) so rarely feel like they’re a “family”. I think I just assume that teams like the Justice League and Teen Titans celebrate the holidays separately… so, it’s neat that the JSA comes together.
Overall… if you’re a fan of the Justice Society, you’re going to really enjoy this… at least the second half. Does it feel like an afterthought? Well, sorta. Is that a bad thing? Well, not always. I’d say if you come across this on the cheap, don’t hesitate to grab it. I don’t see this one becoming a “Holiday Tradition”, but it’s enjoyable enough nonetheless. Available digitally.
On the Ninth Day of Christmas on Infinite Earths, I give to you JSA Classified #33, The Spirit #13, Justice League Unlimited #28, Shade the Changing Man (vol.2) #19, Action Comics #762! Young Justice #40, Superman: The Man of Steel #109, Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special, and a Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #2 Review.