Script: Geoff Johns
Art: Dale Eaglesham & Art Thibert
What, no zero issue?
It’s nearly impossible to read this restart without making comparisons to the revamped JLA title Brad Meltzer is penning. These sister titles may have roots separating them by a generation and a slightly different sensibility about them, but there is still great commonality between the them.
So let’s get the comparison out of the way early: this is a much better start than JLA. Geoff Johns accomplishes more in one issue than Meltzer has in four -- although if Meltzer would drop all those annoying verbal ticks he’s introduced to the script we’d only be on issue two -- he has a better sense of character development and, unsurprisingly, a better feel for how to tell a story in this medium. Johns’ writes like the seasoned pro you’d expect, Meltzer more like the novelist he is, who gets to play with some new toys he’s always wanted but not quite sure how to use.
This isn’t to say the book is flawless. After 70 some-odd issue of the previous JSA run it seems almost imponderable he would get Wildcat this wrong, although I do like the plot development dropped at the end. And is there something in Johns’ contract requiring a certain number of gruesome acts of violence per book? Maybe I’m just old school, but that business with Mr. America’s family should have happened off-panel.
The JSA was lost a bit in the INFINITE CRISIS shuffle and what little has been addressed in the pages of 52 has shed no real light on their planned direction. So it's nice to see Johns do a reset here in regards to the group itself and its direction. He also takes the opportunity to introduce a few new characters and revamp some old ones. I like the new Red (Green?) Tornado character although her backstory is a bit contrived and I’m not sure how long it will be before the goofy, awkward teenager shtick wears thin. I really like the new Starman, he strikes me as quirkier, more interesting Sentry. I guess every super team needs a character with a personality disorder these days.
The art in this issue is solid I only wish Eaglesham had taken as much care in distinguishing the younger male heroes as he does with the big three (Flash, Green Lantern, and Wildcat, that is.) All the male characters are overly muscled stereotypes while the women are typically brick shit-houses. I could have done without the scene where Liberty Belle and Hourman appear to be in a pose-off for the semi-finals of the superhero body-building championships. Beyond these things, the storytelling is solid and Starman’s costume rocks. Here's hoping for another solid 70-80 issue run for Johns.