Justice Society of America (vol.3) #43 (November, 2010)
“Emerald City, a Dark Things Epilogue”
Writer – James Robinson
Penciller – Jesus Merino
Inker – Jesse Delperdang
Colorist – Allen Passalaqua
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Associate Editor – Rachel Gluckstern
Editor – Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $2.99
Well folks, we finally did it… “The Dark Things” ends today!
… and we shall never speak of it again. Okay okay, the next time we cover a book that is this mindbogglingly dull, I might mention it.
Worth noting, and I’m not sure why anyone would (I am my own best promoter), you could check out all eight-parts of “The Dark Things” at the Collected Editions page.
Let’s put this bugger to bed.
We open with Alan Scott and Obsidian having a chat. Alan tries to convince his boy that everything’s going to be a-okay… by showing him what the Starheart has become. What it’s become is a sprawling magical mosaic megalopolis which will house all of the mystical, spiritual, and chaotic folks of the DC Universe on the dark side of the Moon. The first of those folks that we meet are the “Fae”… who are overly pompous in their manner of speak.
Todd is incredulous that all of these disparate mystical races will be able to coexist… to which Alan informs him that they’ll all have their own “areas” which will best suit their lifestyles and customs. So yeah, not entirely different from the Mosaic world. Curiously, Alan also mentions that Monolith is here. I’d forgotten that this short-lived series/character was actually part of the DC Universe (and not just published by DC). The rights to the character have since reverted back to creators Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, and I wanna say it’s been reprinted in the years since.
Alan continues his tour, and reveals that he’s basically the lynchpin of this Starheart construct. It’s left to him to hold it all together… and requires his full and complete focus. Also that it will spread to accommodate every group that takes up residence. He refers to himself as the “Sentinel” of the Starheart, which I suppose is cute considering.
Todd then figures, if his Pop controls the Starheart… then maybe he can be “fixed”. If you recall, he had that weird “wanna be one with” moment with his sister earlier in the arc. Well, he still feels that way… though, I’d imagine he’d prefer not to. Alan tells him there’s nothing he can do to “fix” that. Todd and Jennie will just have to stay as far away from each other as possible… forever.
Todd’s all “screw that noise”… and so, Alan shows him a few possible futures should “Jadesidian” re-merge. They use really cute “dates” here “One year from now, on a Thursday”, because it being “on a Thursday” is vital. Yeesh. Anyhoo, if they merge on that Thursday, the Fae of the Starheart civilization will go crazy… and a war will break out between the heroes and vampires or some crap. I think this was just a way for Robinson to mention I, Vampire. Remember this was pre-The New 52! so nobody gave that character a second thought.
If Todd and Jennie meet up in three weeks… all of those characters with Earth-powers will go mad, and destroy the planet. Of those characters is Geo Force, Sandman, the (other) fake Terra, and… Daredevil in his motocross outfit.
If Obsidian and Jade merge in two years… they will try and kill Alan Scott. They will fail, forcing Alan to murder his merged children.
Todd finally gets the point… and then Alan awkwardly changes the subject to awkwardly chat about Todd’s boyfriend.
We wrap up the issue with a nonsensical reveal that the Justice Society is also hanging out in the Starheart City. The end? Okay.
You ever come to the conclusion that… outside of maybe one really good work, you don’t really care for a particular writer? This adventure through “The Dark Things” has been… ironically, illuminating for me. I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on the works of James Robinson, and realize that… for the most part, it’s just not for me. Outside of Starman (vol.2) and the early JSA (for which he had a co-writer), I can’t think of much from the man that I actually dug.
I feel like that’s something that happens a lot in comics. A writer has themselves one amazing critical (like reader-critical, not 10/10 shill factory-critical) success, they garner something of a cult of personality around them… and kinda just coast. I’m having a Vision of something similar going down right now. Was that too mean? Probably. That’s what we in the blog business call “writing backwards from a punchline”, and it works about 30% of the time.
Onto the issue… it, really wasn’t all that bad. It wasn’t “great” and it most certainly wasn’t a story that needed twenty-pages to be told… but it was probably the strongest “chapter” of this awful “event”.
This was, of course, a book-length chat between a sorta-estranged father and son. I guess that might make a good story, if only I could muster up the interest. I wasn’t kidding yesterday when I said I never needed to see Obsidian again.
As for his “need” to be merged with his sister. Well… okay. I suppose we’re going to have to discuss this. I want to include a panel here where I feel like we (as the collective “reader”) are being nudged in the ribs by Robinson.
Ya see that? This comes before several double-page spreads which will show just how terrible things might go should Jade and Obsidian re-merge… and we get a “ewwww, creepy” line from Alan Scott?! So, is this serious… or not? Is this Robinson just having a reader-aimed-chuckle due to the ridiculous nature of this “bond”… is he just telling us “I know this is gross, you guys… let’s laugh at it”. Whatever the reason, it just doesn’t work.
You can’t expect us to take any of this seriously (or much less even give half a damn) if we open by playing up the “eww, creepiness” of the situation rather than the danger. Isn’t Alan trying to make Todd feel… I dunno, like less of a freak here? What a rotten, useless, “omg, for the laughs” panel. Suddenly The New-52! doesn’t seem like it was all that bad an idea.
I can’t for the life of me figure out why I didn’t hate this the first time around. All I can guess is that I just stopped reading it when it got boring… ya know, like any normal human would do. I really need to practice at being a “normal human” again.
Overall… this event was bloated, bland and boring (a real BBB!). The Brightest Day tie-in was tenuous at best, and I can’t think of a single (non-art related) reason for you or I to spend another moment on it. You really don’t need this.
On that note though… I wanna letcha know that there is some good out there, including…………….
Reign of the Super-Blogs:
Y’all remember #SuperBlogTeamUp, right? That group of fine content creators who would come together on a semi-regular basis and share posts with a common theme. Y’all True Believers might recall that we all “died” last Summer.
Well, we’re still “dead”… but there is definitely something strange going on. Who are these… four blogs? They… they look like #SBTU members… heck, I’ve seen reports that they are #SBTU members.
Who can they be? Are any of them the Real #SBTU Deal? I guess we’re going to have to visit their sites to find out! (Click the covers or links below)
Super-Blog Team Up returns in full-force the Summer!