I haven't been reading the books since Johns left, so I'm curious: Why did the JSA split into two groups? Was it the standard Outsiders/Cry For Justice rationale: "You're not proactive enough, so we're striking out on our own," or is there a different (and probably better) reason?
Green Lantern said, "James Robinson's going to take over Justice League of America soon, so we're going to do a pointless, but probably best-selling, miniseries setting up the new team." Black Canary responded, "Well, heck, you're taking our most popular members and leaving us running in place for seven months. Screw this. I'm going back to my own title, where I've got top billing." All the other characters with their own books agreed to do the same. Then Vixen said, "I guess those of us who don't have a title or a writer with vested interest in us are stuck with the sinking ship. Maybe somebody will buy the book by accident."
Not a dumping ground, but it couldn't use any of its own major characters while Cry for Justice was using them. So the JLA was Vixen, Plastic Man, Firestorm and Dr. Light for several months, with absolutely no story logic for them doing anything together. After all, Black Canary had disbanded the team (for no good reason), and they weren't exactly bosom buddies. Dr. Light doesn't seem to like anybody, and nobody likes her, and she doesn't appear to enjoy being on the team. Why is she there? Oh, yeah -- because Robinson's going to use her on his team. There doesn't seem to be any in-story reason. Just as there was little reason for Green Lantern to storm off from a perfectly good team with enormous resources to achieve his goal, or for bleeding-heart Green Arrow to cheerfully go along with GL's torture tactics (abandoning his wife, team leader of the JLA, in the process), or for Black Canary to cave so easily and quit, taking the team down with her. But it all happened.
Of course, Rob reminded me that he asked about JSA, not JLA. D'oh! And I don't have any explanation for that one, except that maybe sales are good on Justice Society of America.
The cyclicality of these things is defintely getting to me these days and affecting my interest in new comics.
In retrospect, Morrison's JLA looked like simple logic. Bring in the big guns and tell great stories with them in it. Then to look at the 10-15 years before he did that is to wonder what DC thought they were doing with their 'premier team'.
But its all cyclical. Just before Morrison all the big names were in their own upheavals, just as Superman, Batman and Green Lantern is now. Flash and GL were new heroes finding their feet etc (and Superman was dead.) The time came to make them great as a team again, as will happen again eventually, when things settle down once more. For now, a team led by Hal the Jock won't be that great. :-P
Interestingly, Morrison's blockbustng run was plot-driven, rather than character-driven as they have been trying to do since. It goes against the grain of our times, but it was a great way to handle characters that had the 'important stuff' going on in their own books.
And isn't there something that Gay for Justice takes place, what, at the end of the current set of stories of the JLA, or something? Or the current set of stories started after the end of Robinson's mini-series?
ITEM: Well, the Power Girl comic seems to be selling well (it's pretty good anyhow, and I've heard nothing of any cancellation rumors.) JSA has been selling well consistently, so why not publish another book? 'Sides, if it sells well with Magog, then DC has a reason to push a Kingdom Come 2 book (or even that "The Kingdom" series that was talked about after KC.) Note that I know nothing of any such plans; but it seems logical. Look how well Marvel did with their "Earth-X/Universe-X/Paradise-X" books, right? Right...?
ITEM: Shucks, it's easy. If a book or character is selling big, push it to the limits. Look at Spider-Man, Batman, and Wolverine. They each have five or six books still, don't they?
ITEM: Mark Ogilvie noted, "...[t]he way you describe it Cap the JLA became sort of a dumping ground..." Oh my dear boy! I have three words for you: Justice League Detroit.
ITEM: Cap, this is for your discussion (well, and anyone else's.) I STILL maintain that, once past the Gardner Fox era (sigh...), the Justice League became the "home book" for characters without their own strips, with only incidental treatment of characters with books. Green Arrow, Black Canary, Red Tornado - these characters had no "home", and so Justice League started featuring them. Superman and Batman (and Flash and Green Lantern to a lesser extent) were in the books - sometimes in a significant role - but NOTHING was done with them, because they were "owned" by their books. They were there to sell the book. And Hawkman, Aquaman, Atom had had their own books, which didn't do so well - so Justice League wasn't going to spotlight the losers so much. Think I'm off? Check out the JLA from around 75 or so through... probably the 160s. Count how many stories DIDN'T feature Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary. Not so many.
ITEM: Of course, DC is seeing JSA riding on the success of Geoff Johns' writing and a great storyline, crossing over into "Kingdom Come" and Superman/Magog chemistry, and Alex Ross art. Now that all of that is gone, will the main book keep selling? And what, then, of the main JSA book which now has NO younger/original characters? I think DC is being a little short sighted here... but then, they can always just cancel the new book and bounce everyone back into JSA.
John Jackson Miller's Comichron site estimates sales on the October issue as 44,858. But the decision to do another title will have been taken several months back: Jackson estimates it was selling in the high sixty-something thousands at the start of the year. The month's issue of Power Girl sold an estimated 27,044.
Oh, I totally get the sales/publishing reasons to split the books *even if I think they're foolish)... this isn't my first time at that rodeo. I was just wondering if there was an in-story reason for it. And it sounds like not even the standard "proactive" excuse was given? Half the team just got angry at the other half?
JSA is one of two DC super-hero titles that I buy. I have no plans on getting the new title. I don't care for the Magog character and I have a feeling the new title will be a darker one than JSA is currently. JSA is dark enough as is, and if it keeps going that way I am dropping it.