Justice Society of America #3 (1991)

Justice Society of America #3 (June, 1991)
“Vengeance from the Stars! Chapter 3: Dead Air”
Writer – Len Strazewski
Penciller – Mike Parobeck
Inker – Rick Burchett
Letterer – Janice Chiang
Colorist – Tom Ziuko
Editors – Brian Augustyn & Mike Gold
Cover Price: $1.00

Had so much fun yesterday, I figure why not take another look at the 1991 Justice Society of America limited-series?  I have a feeling this one is going to give all new meaning to “rings and arrows”.

We open… well, the same way we did last issue.  Alan Scott is delivering the news of the intermittent blackouts via GBC news.  He is more than a little bit irritated when the network’s emergency back-up generators go on the fritz and they lose air.  Like, I don’t wanna say he goes full-on “we’ll do it live!” but he does throw a little fit.  Gotta wonder though, if there is a city-wide power outage, who is he hoping will even see the broadcast?  I dunno.  Anyhoo, the GBC staffers are then alerted to a bright light coming in from the window… and when they check it out, they find out the reason for the generators losing their juice… Sagittarius has struck!

And so, Alan slips into his office so he can “Lantern-up”.

Outside, Sagittarius is in some sort of odd state of nirvana… just sucking up all the energy.  Alan arouses the constellation construct with a caffeinated one of his own.  Sag’ doesn’t appreciate being bothered while he, uh… feeds?  So a fight is on.

In the alley down below we revisit Black Canary being walloped by the blackjack.

Then… the GBC staffers run right by shooing the nogoodniks, the kayoed Canary… and Solomon Grundy out of the way so they can shoot the Green Lantern/Sagittarius bout for the news.  You couldn’t ask for a more aloof group of geeks!

In the sky above, Lantern and Sagittarius continue their energized brawl.  When Sag’ goes to nyoink an arrow from his quiver, Alan recognizes the pose (and the design on his “outfit”), and identifies the baddie as the constellation Sagittarius.

We jump back to Ted Knight’s Observatory, where our shadowy big bad is on the phone with the nogoodniks who kayoed the Canary.  It’s clear this is all connected… the baddie suggests coming at Green Lantern with wood… because that’s his weakness.  Ted, nearby in a wheelchair, promises that the Justice Society will still win the day.

Back in Gotham, Lantern manages to wrap Sagittarius up in a construct-straitjacket.  And so, the archer transforms into a giant eagle… which, I didn’t know he could do (I guess it has something to do with the Symbology… which I remain clueless on).

Alan ensnares the big bird in a construct cage… just long enough for Solomon Grundy to hurl a (wooden?) phone booth right at him!

Alan is smashed from behind by the booth, which messes with his concentration… dissipating the bird cage.  The Sagittarius Eagle then sucks up the rest of the GBC generator juice.

The nogoodniks plop Alan down next to Canary… but that’s not good enough for Grundy.  He’d like to kill Green Lantern straight away.  Thankfully, the Sagittarius Eagle has other ideas… and takes off with the heroes.

After revisiting this issue it’s suddenly a little bit more clear as to why this hasn’t (to my knowledge) been collected.  Things happening concurrently in subsequent issues… might not make for the clearest trade-reading experience.  Actually, considering the way DC Comics used to mutilate stories for trade collections back in the 1990’s, I’m almost glad this didn’t get collected!  Could you imagine how this might’ve been reworked?  What might’ve been omitted?  Yikes!

I think this issue gave us a little bit more “meat” than last… though, it was largely also just a fight scene.  We got some added “flavor” with the goofball GBC staffers, which was pretty cool.  We also get a bit “more” from our shadowy big bad.  All in all, I felt a bit more momentum this time around.

I think what a lot of folks will notice straight away is the JSA debut of Mike Parobeck.  I gotta say, his talents were completely wasted on me the first time around.  I really didn’t go for the animated style… I think I felt like it came across as “cheap”… like Archie or something.  Ehh, no accounting for an early-90’s X-Men kid’s tastes, right?  In revisiting this, I’ve really found an appreciation for his work.  It’s just beautiful… and really makes this team stand out from everything else that was on the shelves.  There’s definitely a “retro” feeling here… but not in an “old fashioned” kinda way… ya know?  It reminds me of old “pop-art” advertisements.  The same way something like the Fallout games do.

Overall… this was a good time, and I’d even go so far as to say that it made me appreciate the issue that came before even more as well!  Most definitely worth a read.

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0 thoughts on “Justice Society of America #3 (1991)

  • I haven't read this series in a long time, but remember enjoying it. I feel that, in the late 80s/early 90s, DC really wanted to do something with the JSA but could never quite decide what.

    I quite liked the idea of a team of older super-heroes set in the (then) present day, but DC seemed to shy away from it. I think some really interesting and different stories could have been told about a group of heroes who, although having super-powers and abilities, were also dealing with the aging process which would have meant them having to adapt how they went about their superheroism.


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