A light week, for a change:
- Justice Society of America Annual #2, by Keith Giffen, Matthew Sturges, Tom Derenick & Rodney Ramos (DC)
- Criminal #4, by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips (Marvel/Icon)
- Nova #34, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Mahmud A. Asrar & Scott Hanna (Marvel)
- The Boys #39, by Garth Ennis, John McCrea & Keith Burns (Dynamite)
The early contender for “worst comic book of 2010” is Justice Society of America Annual #2. This thing was terrible.
The cover is awful. The characters’ faces look grotesque. The prominent feature of the cover is Power Girl’s breasts (really?? That never happens!). And although it’s presumably depicting the other characters’ disgust for Magog (a disgust which, frankly, I share), the composition is such that it’s not portrayed very clearly (at first I thought it was a standard “team vs. team” cover).
The interior art is a little better, but nothing special. The story, though, is truly terrible. The way the JSA has split into two teams was handled ham-handedly, and this story features the spin-off team, the All-Stars, showing up at a prison (a large, rather palatial prison, it seems) to deal with a riot purportedly started by Magog. None of the team (his own team!) really trusts Magog – especially Power Girl – even though these are supposedly the characters who left the core JSA with him to form their own team, seemingly because they sympathized with his outlook. Then the villains in the prison show up and it turns into an all-out fight, between the heroes and the villains, and between Magog and his supposed teammates. Then the other JSA team shows up and everything gets thrown even more into chaos. Meanwhile, some apparently-villainous group I’ve never heard of is using the prison as a lab facility, which is why Magog went there in the first place.
None of this makes even the first lick of sense. Magog seems about as bright as a couple bags of hammers, but his communication skills are near zero. How’d he find out about the prison being a cover? Why did he go in alone? Why was his own team so willing to believe the worst about him? And the fight isn’t even well choreographed.
The point of the story seems to be to get Magog off the All-Stars team, to which I say: Good riddance to bad rubbish. But almost all of the characters behave badly, the plot is nonsensical, the art isn’t much to look at, and it feels like a routine 2-issue story for some reason shoved into an annual. Was it really necessary? Haven’t there been plenty of opportunities to show Magog the door in the last six months?
The regular JSA book has been rather dour since Bill Willingham started writing it – it’s been well over a decade since someone’s done a JSA series which captures the spirit of the team – and this annual piles a muddled story on top of that feeling. It may be time to bail on this series.