JSA #11 (June, 2000)
Writers – David Goyer & Geoff Johns
Breakdowns & Inks – Michael Bair
Pencils & Inks – Buzz (Aldrin Aw)
Letters – Ken Lopez
Colors – John Kalisz
Separations – Heroic Age
Assistant Editor – L.A. Williams
Editor – Peter J. Tomasi
Cover Price: $2.50
After discussing the first appearance of Hal Jordan yesterday (I know, I know), I had to decide which thread to follow. Do I look at another appearance of Air-Wave/Maser… or do I maybe throw a curve ball and look at another appearance of Roy Harper’s band, Great Frog?
Well, we’re going with the first one… today, anyway. Jumping all the way up to the turn of the century too!
We open on board a airplane about to make its descent into JFK. It’s here that we meet Atom-Smasher’s mother, who is heading into the city for a visit… and is currently chatting up a prospective PYT for her boy. Just then, the plane is electronically hijacked by… Kobra! He appears on the in-flight movie monitor and tells them all they’re about to crash and die… and, unfortunately, he’s not jokin’ around.
We shift scenes to D.E.O. big-wig, Mister Bones giving a presentation at the JSA Brownstone. He’s informing the Justice Society that Harold Lawrence Jordan has been abducted by Kobra, and locked in a Faraday Cage (which would cancel out Air-Wave’s abilities, natch). Kobra is using some stolen S.T.A.R. Labs tech to harness Jordan’s abilities… which would give him control over the elecromagnetic spectrum… heck, he might even be able to crash an airplane.
Mister Bones pauses to give his condolences to Atom-Smasher… who, understandably, doesn’t seem terribly receptive.
Off to the side, Star-Spangled Kid awkwardly stands in the doorway. She’s clearly uncomfortable. When Hawkgirl inquires as to why, Courtney mentions how it was during the days of Infinity, Inc. when Mister Bones’ “cyanide touch” killed the original Star-Spangled Kid, Sylvester Pemberton. Wouldn’tcha know it, right at that very moment… Sly saunters in!
The entire Society kinda freaks out… and lemme tell ya, Pemberton isn’t exactly comfortable with the sight before him either. Hourman realizes that somebody is mucking with the timestream… causing timelines to converge. It’s not Kobra’s doing, however… it’s Extant!
Who?! Well, we know that guy… it’s just a little weird seeing him mentioned again, ain’t it? Jay Garrick gives the quick ‘n dirty on Extant and all the messing about he did during Zero Hour.
Sand decides that the team needs to split up… one following up on Kobra (who is hankered down on Blackhawk Island), and the other pursuing Extant through the timestream. Boarding Hourman’s Timeship will be: Hourman, Hippolyta, Flash, and the Star-Spangled Kids. As soon as they enter the timestream… Extant knows.
dry ground solid ground Earth, the rest of the JSA is heading to Blackhawk Island in the South Pacific. This lineup includes: Sand, Black Canary, Atom-Smasher, Dr. Mid-Nite, Wildcat… and a new member. Since the electronics are likely to get wonky the closer they get, they are being led in by Jack Knight. Sand claims that this “new member” has already done re-con of the Island.
When they get close enough to Blackhawk, they head underwater so they might get the jump on Kobra’s forces… and they do! We get a couple of pages of infiltratin’ and punchin’ fun, before meeting that new member… Mr. Terrific! After freaking Jack out with his T-Spheres, Terrific shares the schematic for the Island Base. We learn that Holt was the perfect person to perform the re-con, as he cannot be photographed, sensed by infrared, or picked up by audio recorders. That’s pretty handy.
The JSA ventures deeper into the base, with Sand phasing directly into the lab where Harold Jordan is being held. A few pumps on the sleep-gun is all it takes to put down all of the Kobra guards.
Instead of looking relieved, Harold begins freaking out… pounding on the Faraday Cage. Sand doesn’t realize that one of Kobra’s bigger-bads is standing right behind him.
This is Catalyst… former teammate to Harold Jordan during his time as Maser of the Captains of Industry. What a goofy bunch of stuff. Anyhoo, Catalyst causes Sand to seize… and drop to the floor.
Then, Kobra himself monologues for a bit… live on television (thanks to Jordan’s powers)! He invites a world-wide audience to watch as be executes the Chairman of the Justice Society… and with a WVVVASSSH, he does just that!
I wanna say it was around this time that I started picking this book up. Probably drawn in by some good word of mouth from Wizard Magazine (I think JSA was listed as their “best book” around here)… and, first time going through… I was lost. Not quite “hopelessly” lost, but I didn’t know enough to get the most out of what was going on. Making me realize that I really ought to prioritize revisiting some turn-of-the-century DC fare… at the time, I lacked so much of the context to truly appreciate the books of that era.
Now, having a “better” grasp on these characters and their histories… I’m actually a bit taken aback by just how great this run is. I mean, sure… it’s well-written, and all of the “nuts and bolts” are there… even a newbie (like me, at the time) could pick it up and enjoy it… however… if you were a seasoned DC Comics fan, there’s so much more to love.
It’s crazy that the team that I’d always looked at as being part of “that old DC” that I wanted no part of, has now become the very team that defines DC for me. The legacy… the family… the continuity. The DC Universe just doesn’t feel right without them (so, yeah… finish Doomsday Clock already, so maybe we can get them back!).
Now, for this issue… it might not be the “Air-Wave tour de force” we (err, I) might’ve hoped for… but, I can’t say that he wasn’t treated with respect. That’s always been one of the strengths of Geoff Johns, especially when he’s writing JSA… taking a wackier character from the Golden/Silver/Bronze Age and doing them a proper service when bringing them back. Not just doing it for the “funny, ha-ha”… but, accentuating their strengths, power-wise or narrative-wise.
Infiltrating Blackhawk Island provided a great opportunity to shine a light on Sand’s leadership… as well as facilitate Mr. Terrific showin’ his stuff. Really well done, feels like a lot of thought went into how to best depict the characters. The timstream stuff… I don’t remember where this is going, but I gotta say… happy to see Extant get a moment to shine. He’s another one… easy to write off as a “funny, ha-ha” due to the perceptions many have of early-to-mid 1990’s comics (that a lot of folks probably haven’t even read).
Overall, this was a fine fine issue… superb art too! Really enjoyed this revisit (especially with all of the context I’d lacked the first time through). Well worth a read… it’s been collected a number of times, and a number of ways… it is also available digitally.