JSA #2 (September, 1999)
“The Wheel of Life”
Writers – James Robinson & David Goyer
Penciller – Stephen Sadowski
Inker – Michael Bair
Letterer – Ken Lopez
Colorist – John Kalisz
Separator – Heroic Age
Assistant Editor – L.A. Williams
Editor – Peter Tomasi
Cover Price: $2.50
It’s going to be tough trying to start a synopsis off without “It’s Christmas Eve…”, but we’ll give it the ol’ college try.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and are looking forward to a happy and prosperous New Year.
Today’s comic comes to us courtesy of me having to rearrange my front room (where I’m keeping the collection while we mess about with furnishing the rest of the place) for our annual Christmas
Eve family photos.
So let’s get down to it… but first, one last shot of my “workspace” (otherwise known as my kitchen island) for the past couple of weeks.
We pick up shortly following the events of JSA #1 (which, ya know… makes sense). Atom Smasher and Star-Spangled Kid are checking out the former Sandy the Golden Boy’s Sandman Trophy Room, while the latter kvetches that she’s being kept out of the Justice Society meeting room. Inside, the Scarab is preparing to spill the beans on the fate of… Fate.
Jay tells the team that he swore for a moment that he saw Kent Nelson during the Dodds funeral. The Scarab suggests that this was actually Nelson… well, his spirit anyway… drawn to the event just as he had been. He continues, claiming that Fate has just been born anew into the world… and resides in the body of one of three newborn babes (whichever one has a convenient ankh-shaped birthmark). Luckily for our page count, it will require the JSA to split up into three teams. They must rush off to grab the baby before it falls into the hands of the “Dark Lord”.
The nine Society members all blink to their destinations (British Columbia, Tibet, and Venice respectively). Courtney pops her head into the meeting room to see the Scarab talking to… perhaps the spirit of Kent Nelson. They vanish into a portal… and Courtney decides to tag along!
First stop, Tibet… with Sand, Green Lantern, and Hippolyta. Upon arrival they are attacked by the Sons of Anubis!
The trio of heroes take the baddies down handily. They check in with a delegation of monks to see if they have the right baby. Alan does a quick scan (instead of, ya know… just looking at it) and declares that the baby they seek is in another castle… or city.
Next stop, Venice where Starman, Black Canary, and the Flash are also battling Sons of Anubis. Jay parts the sea revealing a nearly drowned Dinah, allowing her to decapitate the final baddie.
When the dust (and seas) settle, they take a look at their tot… and wouldn’tcha know it, they don’t have the right one either! Also, the baby pees on poor Jack… ain’t that always the way?
Last stop Vancouver B.C., where Atom-Smasher, Wildcat, and Hourman are visiting the Neonatal ward of a hospital. The attending physician reveals that the child does have a birthmark… in the shape of one of those “new ager symbols”. They enter the ward only to find that they were a few seconds too late! The baby has already been snatched… by a Hawkgirl?!
She may be quick, but proves too slow for the picosecond travelling Hourman. The trio grabs the gal, and they learn that she was basically on the same quest they are… protect the Fate-baby at all costs, from someone called the Dark Lord. Hmm…
Suddenly, the skies turn black… and swirly. The chat is interrupted by the arrival of that very same Dark Lord… also known as Mordru! We wrap up with him snatching the babe.
Great second issue… such a smart format to boot!
It’s hardly ever assumed anymore that some characters might be unfamiliar to some readers. Splitting this large group of heroes into three smaller strike-forces is a great way to give each member some panel-time… while also not overwhelming “new” or at least “unfamiliar” readers.
This volume of JSA was where I was introduced to a lot of these characters. Many of them I could identify at a glance, but couldn’t tell you a whole lot more about them than their codename… and mayyybe their powers. Issues like this really helped me to get a firmer grasp on who these folks are… why they were part of the team… and really just aided in my forming an attachment to this amazing franchise.
The story itself was fairly formulaic… but that’s not always a bad thing. It’s a scavenger hunt, however, it’s vital for what’s to come. The watchword at DC for quite some time at present is “Rebirth”… these early issues of JSA feature that same theme. I recall what Geoff Johns said in the Rebirth announcement video in early 2016… “I love this universe, but there’s something missing”. I think for many seasoned-fans around the turn of the century, the Justice Society is that thing that was missing. Hell, I guess I can say the same thing about the seasoned-fans of today.
The art here is wonderful. Stephen Sadowski isn’t an artist we hear from nearly as much as I’d like. His work here is great. The Alan Davis cover is also quite nice.
Overall, if you dig the Justice Society… you’re going to dig this. I’d say it’s well worth picking up, but I say that about all JSA books. This one’s been collected several times over, and is available digitally.
That’s it for today… tomorrow I’ve got something special planned for my birthday post… if I can dig it out of the mess!