TITLE: All-American Comics #1
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
COVER DATE: May 1999
COVER PRICE: $1.99
WHAT I REMEMBER...
It's been a while since I've read The Justice Society Returns! mini-series, but I've always assumed in the intervening years that this mini-series was instrumental in bringing the JSA series back. After re-reading this issue, I don't think that's the case. This would appear from all intents and purposes to be a standard throwback tale in the original Justice Society style, albeit this one stretched out over nine issues.
For those unfamiliar with the format, it goes a little something like this. The whole team is confronted by, or introduced to, a threat. They then split up into smaller groups to accomplish their individual tasks...finally, regrouping to take down the bad guy.
The format of this miniseries is the same, but instead of smaller chapters featuring the individual group members, they get a whole issue to themselves. The opening and closing issues are both written by James Robinson and David Goyer, which I'm sure is why I originally picked this up on the strength of Robinson's Golden Age which was a surprise hit for me.
So yeah, it doesn't really tie in directly to the JSA title that would start up later in the year, but I still remember enjoying it. Let's see how good my memory is.
- Writer: Ron Marz
- Artist: Eduardo Barreto
- Letterer: Kurt Hathaway
- Colorist: Carla Feeny
- Editors: Peter Tomasi and Dan Raspler
THE ELEVATOR PITCH
During the waning days of WWII, the Justice Society is trying to defeat Stalker and his seven Disciples, who aim to end all wars on Earth by destroying all life on Earth. Green Lantern and Johnny Thunder are sent to stop one of the Disciples who seeks to disrupt the Yalta Conference. If you're unfamiliar with the finer points of WWII history, I'm sure this picture will ring a bell or two, ably reproduced by Eduardo Barreto.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW?
Not really. The story is narrated by a GI soldier cum Iowa farmboy writing a letter to his family, who is suitably impressed by the arrival of our heroes.
Followed shortly thereafter by the nameless disciple, doing the bidding of the mad god Stalker, which was to kill all life on Earth in case you forgot.
OBLIGATORY FIGHT SCENE
Here's Green Lantern doing his thing...
...and Johnny Thunderbolt doing his...kind of...
Hmmm...I'm getting the feeling someone's going to learn a little bit about what it really means to be a hero.
Yikes, I guess he learned that the hard way.
AND HOW ARE THE REAL LIFE HISTORICAL FIGURES HOLDING UP?
Is that Churchill pushing the wheelchair bound FDR into the line of fire?
Luckily for Roosevelt, Johnny Thunder mans up--
--giving Green Lantern and the Thunderbolt time to finish the Disciple off.
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL?
Pretty much. The heroes succeed and are teleported away by Doctor Occult to continue the battle against Stalker, and the Yalta Conference happens just like it's said to have happened in the history books.
And never you mind about any of that nonsense with superheroes, demons, and mad gods that you just read about...that part never happened. Or at least it never happened if you believe everything your government tells you.
It's just another war story that our Iowa farmboy will take with him to the grave.
SO, WHAT DID WE LEARN...
There's always more to history than what's written in the textbooks, just don't use a comic book to press your point. And you're just going to have to trust me on that one.
Ron Marz and Eduardo Barreto give us a pretty standard twenty-two pager. Nothing flashy or groundbreaking, but it tells a story and it tells it well. Both of these guys are pros, so you know at the very least you're getting a competant comic book. Unfortunately, that's about as much as we get.
As I mentioned in the previous post, the last decade has treated the Justice Society very, very well. On purely sentimental terms, I'd say that that time period has been the golden age of DCs' Golden Age heroes. It's through that prism of Robinson, Goyer, and Johns' vision that, unfortunately, this story is viewed. After all that they were able to do with the characters, this story just seems a little lightweight in comparison. I'd probably classify this mini-series as essential only for the Justice Society completists.
All characters and artwok reproduced are (c) DC Comics