August 2, 2008

Revisiting Earth Two

At the risk of seeming flip and insincere, I would like to make a suggestion for a new disorder to be listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition:

Kingdom Come Fatigue Syndrome.

It's not that I didn't like the series when it first came out, but KC seems to be the only non-Silver Age concept that DC flat-out exploits. From The Kingdom to Chuck Austen's Superman run, the whole idea of the exploration of the nature of heroism is a great idea...but it feels like it's being revisited a little too often.

For example, recent issues of Justice Society of America - I love the characters, the concept, the thinking, but so far, the "One Nation Under Mog" storyline seems...well, just there. There are some great little touches - I like the fact that this is an all-powerful being with noble intentions that is having an impact on a world with all-powerful beings with noble intentions. With Final Crisis' subtext of a "War In Heaven", this is pretty grand stuff - there's even a nice exchange between Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite on the nature of faith that's very powerful. Take that, Richard Dawkins!

But in execution, there's no real excitement - I realize it's the middle of the storyline, but there's very little actual story. Except for a moment when Mog zaps Power Girl, claiming that he's sending her...home...

...and the story is picked up in Justice Society America Annual # 1, with the grand "return to Earth-2", where several Golden Age heroes had long careers, dogs and cats lived together in sin...well, you know what I mean.

Anyway, the story actually has some nice post-Crisis touches, including a "darkening" of Earth-2. Granted, I have to admit that I'm glad that I didn't bet Rich that this would be an exceptional book...or else I'd owe him a beer.

(Not that I wouldn't buy him a beer. But it's the difference between a quality lager and, say, PBR)

The story clips along at a pretty good pace until...well, there's a plot contrivance. It's a pretty cliche one at that - so much that, when I read it, I heard Don Adams say in his best Maxwell Smart voice, "the old-unnecessary-plot-contrivance trick." An interesting revisit of a world we haven't seen in twenty years is a good thing...but it just ended up seeming more like two middle issues of the current series.

One thing redeems Annual # 1 - Jerry Ordway's art. I doubt the man could draw a bad picture (and I'm sure that I'll get at least one comment that he has in the past), but here it's simply *gorgeous*. Like Scott via Twitter, I kind of wish several former Infinity Inc. characters weren't redesigned...but at the very least, Ordway's art gives this book a slight edge.

Admittedly, I'm a JSA fanboy. I have no problem admitting that in public. But these past two books suffer from the worst of offenses - they're not terribly good, or terrible. They're just...well, there.

And the JSA deserves better.

JSA 17: Not Recommended

JSA Annual One: Recommended

1 comment:

Rich said...

It wasn't exceptional, was it? I agree the whole storyline has just been kind of there...lots of stuff happening but it seems so dragged out.

Nice to see the Nuklon mohawk again though!