Review: Justice Society of America #3

by Matthew Lloyd
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Review: Justice Society of America #3
{Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Mikel Janin and Jerry Ordway
Colors: Jordie Bellaire and John Kalisz
Letters: Rob Leigh


Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd



Helena Wayne and the Justice Society meet for the first time?  Well, at least for the JSA- and the hunt for Degaton begins, or is it the other way around?


There’s that old saying, “the devil is in the details,” and Justice Society of America #3 starts out with such a detail.  The issue opens at the end of World War II with the death of Sgt. Frank Rock.  For the overall story it functions as a detail of the extent of Degaton’s influence over world events.  But, for a longtime DC Comics reader, it is another detail that Geoff Johns ads to connect this series to the overall context of the DC Universe.  Sgt. Rock is a DC Comics character who has spent most of his time in his war comics like Our Army at War which was eventually became simply, Sgt. Rock.  However, he has appeared in DC’s superhero books as well, sometimes in Brave and the Bold still in World War and a team up with Batman, and even with a time displaced Superman in Ton King, Andy Kubert and Sandra Hope’s outstanding “Up In the Sky,” which was originally serialized in the late, lamented Superman Giant from the Walmart exclusive Giant series of comics DC published from 2018-2020.  Plot wise, it’s nothing huge, but this is the type of connective tissue which ads so much to the big picture.  It incorporates an obscure bit of continuity, the original demise of Sgt. Rock, killed by the last bullet fired World War II, and as such connects this story to the tapestry of everything that is the DC Universe. 

On that same note, the bulk of Justice Society of America #3 begins to connect Helena to the Justice Society.  As the team examines her and her story, she relates to the reader her association with the Justice Society.  While readers here on Earth-Prime know that Helena is a JSA legacy character, the first one after Power Girl, in the continuity of the current DC Universe the daughter of Batman doesn’t seem to fit.  When one of the JSAers suggests calling in Batman since she’s Batman’s daughter, in an inspired bit of a characters speaking for the reader, Power Girl exclaims, “Batman? Why does he have to be involved in everything.”  It’s not only funny, but incredibly insightful as there is a lot of Bat-fatigue to be found in DC fandom.  It’s great that DC can acknowledge this.  Now if only readers can step up and support other really great DC comics like Justice Society of America, Stargirl: The Lost Children, The Flash and Wonder Woman which aren’t part of the Bat-Family.  (I know what you’re thinking- Helena is Batman’s daughter, this is connected to Batman!).  But, as Helena herself is quick to point out, “This (Degaton) is JSA business.”  While Batman has always had a connection to the JSA, it was always peripheral.  He was along with Superman listed as an honorary member when the team was introduced in All-Star Comics #3, and only appeared in a single JSA adventure in the Golden Age.  Helena, however, was as mentioned already, the second legacy character to be added to the Earth-Two ranks and was a fan fan favorite and staple of the JSA in the Bronze Age.  This is truly JSA business.

Positives Cont’d

Another DC war character makes a cameo in Justice Society of America #3, the Unknown Soldier graces page one as he delivers important information to Sgt. Rock.  More connections, and it just continues to ad to the world building.  The World War II segments are illustrated by the amazing Jerry Ordway, himself a staple of the JSA in the Bronze Age.  It’s always a treat to see his art, and it’s even more special in a JSA/ Earth-Two/ Golden Age related title.  It’s the equivalent of seeing a Curt Swan drawing Superman in the ’80’s after the John Byrne reboot, you never get tired of certain artists doing what they do so well with the characters with whom they have an unbreakable association.  Mikel Janin turns in another stellar performance as well.  He captures the personalities of the JSAers extremely well.  His is beautiful, and he knows when to thicken up the lines for atmosphere as we see in the sequence with Helena, Dr. Fate, Deadman and Detective Chimp.  


Tough to find a negative here.


Justice Society of America #3 is another fantastic chapter in “The New Golden Age.”  The execution is great, and the nostalgia is still strong.  The character and world building makes this an engaging series as the JSA and Huntress come together to stop longtime foe, Degaton.  Like most great stories, it’s a journey.  If the DC Universe is going to continue to grow it will be because series like this expand beyond the real of the Bat-Family, and this is a great place to start.

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