Justice Society of America #27 ramblings

'Ghost in the Darkness' is a fill-in prior to the new creative team coming on board, but if we're going to have guest creators, I'm always glad to see writer-artist Jerry Ordway help out. The All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc artist here revives the latter team for a flashback and it's great to see them again. Ordway focuses on two of their alumni here, Atom Smasher and Obsidian.

Atom Smasher presents no problem, as his Geoff Johns-created character arc looks to be a straightforward redemption deal, but Obsidian? Bit of mess, truth be told. Having been a useful supporting cast member in Manhunter he was transplanted here and given the invisible man role of JSA security sentinel, consigned to his shadows with little to say or do. This issue Todd is chattier, but his role remains muddle-headed - having detected a menace at JSA headquarters, rather than brief the team to tackle it, he splits the membership inside and out and plays the part of ambiguous drone, interpreting his duties over literally.

Thankfully, Obsidian's bid to avert trouble comes to nought and a villain unseen since the Second World War (pretend you never saw him in Allan Heinberg's Wonder Woman relaunch a few years back) shows up. That leads to a fun cliffhanger that guarantees I'll be back next month.

Ordway's script and pencils aren't flashy, but as his badly underrated Power of Shazam and Superman work shows, he really knows how to tell a comic story. Characters are sketched economically, situations quickly presented. There's plenty of action and even more fun dialogue (the banter between Atom Smasher, Cyclone and Stargirl is lovely, though my favourite moment here has Wildcat quoting Ghostbusters). And he even allows Power Girl a moment of leadership (but loses a point for the inevitable breast gag).

Big kudos to Ordway for having Atom Smasher share a drink with old pal Mr Bones, though I refuse to believe the spymaster would threaten visiting barkeep Bibbo with his cyanide touch. And Jerry the penciller needs to speak to Jerry the writer about drawing someone Stargirl refers to as Asian, as Asian - yes, the villain of the peace is from the East, but at this point she hasn't seen him and means a white, brown-haired chap. Other than that art snafu, it's a big congrats to Ordway and inker Bob Wiacek for a good-looking issue. I look forward to the conclusion.

Views: 106

Comment by Rich Lane on May 30, 2009 at 4:56pm
I really, really disliked this issue, and if this was going to be the regular creative team for the foreseeable future, I'd be dropping this book right now.

It was so poorly written it felt like fan fic, starting on the first page, "It seems like twenty years ago, but it really wasn't" Al narrates to Bones. How clever...it seems like twenty but it wasn't...but it really was! Get it? GET IT?


And why is he telling Bones this? Bones was there for a good chunk it. He started out in the Infinity, Inc. book. Al's too young to be losing his memory like that.

And of course there's the dialogue that oh-so-cleverly let's the readers know more about these characters.

"Why didn't you just come in and get me [in the bar]?" Al asks the two obviously teenage girls whose ages he knows all too well.

"We're underage, Atom Smasher!" says Courtney, because she obviously realizes his memory's slipping.

And Wildcat also gives us some handy dialogue to show his age. When told they'll be fighting a ghost, he says, "You don't s'pose it's the ghost of Joe Lewis, wanting to go toe-to-toe in da ring?" You're old and you're a boxer. We get it.
Comment by Jason Marconnet (Pint sized mod) on May 31, 2009 at 10:34am
I didn't care for this issue either. About half way through I started skimming through the pages to get to the end.
Comment by Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) on May 31, 2009 at 12:34pm
I didn't think the issue was great -- I liked the art and the plot more than the dialogue, certainly. (It seemed very reminiscent to me of Ordway's first two full-art-chores issues of All-Star Squadron, in which Green Lantern had a Brain-Wave induced vision of himself destroying a Japanese city.

But of all the dialogue I had a problem with (and you nail a few, and I'd add "romeo" to the list), I didn't take issue with the "We're underage" bit. I thought it was cute (superheroes usually go where they please, regardless of the law), and also -- and it would probably read differently if I were a teacher -- it's easy for an adult without kids to forget that kids can't always go where they please, especially if the person is in other ways a peer. We play D&D with a bunch of friends in our late 30s & early 40s... and one teenager, another player's nephew. At the table, it's not a huge feat to forget that if he want's to see a band, he can't go if they're playing in a bar. So that scene worked pretty well for me, in an issue of mostly clunkers.

(But what's what the Atom-Smasher/Courtney "romeo" subplot? That's *creepy*)
Comment by Rich Lane on May 31, 2009 at 12:41pm
(But what's what the Atom-Smasher/Courtney "romeo" subplot? That's *creepy*)

That was hinted at way back in the first volume of the modern run. There was a flashforward to years from now where Courtney is an adult writing in her journal about whatever the adventure was at the time, and it's obvious that she an Al had hooked up. Of course, since she was an adult in the flashforward, there was no problem with whatever their ages were.

Courtney in the present is at best seventeen. Al's obviously at least twenty-one, probably a bit older. There's a definite ick factor for this high school teacher there.
Comment by Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) on June 1, 2009 at 11:21am
Overall I enjoyed this issue. Like others I found some of the dialogue clunky. As for the "Romeo" bit, at first I wasn't sure if he was talking about Al and Courtney or Al and Todd.

"And Jerry the penciller needs to speak to Jerry the writer about drawing someone Stargirl refers to as Asian, as Asian - yes, the villain of the peace is from the East, but at this point she hasn't seen him and means a white, brown-haired chap"

This was my biggest problem with comic though. It threw me right out of the story.
Comment by ClarkKent_DC on June 1, 2009 at 11:49am
I wonder if the problem wasn't Jerry the penciller or Jerry the writer, but that neither of them spoke to the colorist, who gave the man blond hair ...
Comment by Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) on June 1, 2009 at 12:49pm
I wondered that as well, Clark, but isn't colorist told what the color it is supposed to be? Or at least given a general idea?
Comment by Martin Gray on June 1, 2009 at 12:56pm
They're certainly given the script.
Comment by PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod on June 4, 2009 at 10:07am
Maybe he was supposed to have gray hair?


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