Thursday, June 14, 2007

Justice Society of America: The Liberty Files review

Good evening America. Gabriel here broadcasting from on top of the Empire State Building. Tonight's entry is brought to you by Luxor Soap.

DC Comics has a special place in my heart. I don't know what exactly but something about DC has always appealed. Marvel (after the disgusting, so-called Circulation Wars) has repulsed me. They pretty much have turned their back on what made their characters so great. Even their movies are shit. But this entry isn't about why Marvel sucks (that's for another time).

Getting back... I've always like the team books. Seeing the group dynamic, the contrast in personalities, MO's and costumes is such an immersive thrill. The Outsiders, the Justice League of America, the Green Lantern Corp,the Teen Titans. All great titles. But there is one title which I always liked. The Justice Society of America. Something about this team REALLY speaks to me.

My friend Mitch summed it up nicely in 3 words. "They're old school." He's quite right. Many, many heroes of the JSA have been around since WW2. And if not them, then the names. That's right. Their names. The JSA is about passing on the torch. The legacy of being a hero. If I can paraphrase a quote I heard from two writers at the 2007 Comic-Con in NYC - "The Titans teach you to be a team. The JLA teaches you to fight but the JSA teaches you to be heroes." Oh very true. The adventures the JSA have are much more... Well... Adventurous, more human, more dramatic. Even their villains seem much more intriguing than the ones the JLA or Titans have face.

Moving along. Being a fan of the "old school" I naturally picked up anything and everything about the JSA. JSA issues, trade paperbacks, crossovers et cetera. Their new series is simply amazing. Anyway, on to the main point of this entry.

At the NYC Comic-Con, I was browsing through the boxes of various vendors when this caught my eye.

Whoa. Such an interesting look. I scan the back, skim through the book and I was suitably impressed. WW2 espionage! Holy shit! Well I'm sold. It's a decision I was quite pleased with.

It takes the idea that the JSA were an espionage group operating for the US Government. Every character has an intriguing look to them. Batman (codenamed the Bat) is dressed like an army commando for example.
  • The Good - The art is amazing. The color, the inking, the penciling, the character designs. The dialogue, I'm pleased to say, isn't a cliché of 1940s speak like so many other comics set during that time. The story, involving a Nazi secret weapon, is simply thrilling. The surprise ending will really give you a kick to the balls.
  • The Bad - The 2nd story set during the Cold War seems too much like regular super hero stories. I wasn't too impressed with it. I felt as if it was too rush and there some glaring plot holes with regards to continuity.
  • The Ugly - While the sheer number of heroes set in the "mystery men" mold is truly amazing, one can't help want MORE heroes and villains.
I recommend this book to anyone who's a fan of the JSA, WW2 espionage and pulp fiction mystery men.

From Booklist
The first generation of superheroes arrived just in time for World War II. To that era Jolley and Harris return, but not quite, for they conjure a world subtly different than even standard comic-book reality. Batman is called in to help two other costumed crime fighters apprehend Jack the Grin (i.e., the Joker), thought to be carrying plans for a German superweapon. The mission is accomplished, and the captured document indicates that the Nazis have a "super-man."

Fortunately, Uncle Sam also has a superman--namely, Superman, though he is top secret. He has a secret, too: the reason he was sent, or, rather, expelled, to Earth. The action stays hot and heavy, through WWII and into cold war H-bomb espionage. Batman and peers encounter several horrifying supervillains, capped by their most dangerous opponent ever. This Batman is a domineering, rather paranoid good guy in a dangerous world that Harris' active compositions and sharp lines, colored in dark shades lit by explosions, make more exciting than, to date, Batman movies have been.
Ray Olson

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


Don said...

Good... God...

Now I have to go buy ANTOHER book!


That is a collected edition, right?

Oberon said...

.....i did like the supernazi action figure.....weird.