Review: Justice Society of America #5
[Editor’s Note: This review CONTAINS spoilers]
Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Mikel Janin and Jerry Ordwa
Colors: Jordie Bellaire and John Kalisz
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: Matthew B. Lloyd
This is it! Helena (Huntress) Wayne and the Justice Society face off against Degaton in a finale that changes the history of the JSA.
The opening sequence of Justice Society of America #5 focuses on Helena and her father, Bruce (Batman) Wayne. Johns recent DC work has all grown out of Doomsday Clock. Flashpoint Beyond plays into this current Justice Society series as well. It’s a well constructed set of comic series that connect and build a larger world. For this particular issue, the personal connection between Bruce and Helena is very compelling. Batman acts as one would expect, and Johns brings out how Helena is just like her father. It’s a nice character moment for both of them.
The art by Janin and Ordway looks great. It always does. These two artists never fail to make a comic look great. They both communicate atmosphere and action. Janin gets to draw JSA characters from multiple eras including a classic looking Power Girl and it’s a stark reminder that her new costume just doesn’t work. Johns make sure to remind readers that she’s Helena is PG’s best friend.
There are some details in this issue that really stand out. Some of them plant seeds for future stories. Helena’s fate is left up in the air, she shouldn’t exist now that time has changed. Batman doesn’t believe that she shouldn’t stay, but it beautifully sets her up in the same position as Power Girl- remnants from worlds that no longer exist, worlds in which they were best friends. With this conclusion, it almost doesn’t matter that they aren’t from the same world. It puts the two in the same space as they were in The New 52 and in a sense restores the majority of their pre-Crisis history.
Additionally, as we get to see the future, the Legion of Super-Heroes makes an appearance. Geoff Johns has written the Legion before so it’s not surprising. In addition to bringing the classic Legion back into continuity in The Lightning Saga, the Legion, Saturn Girl specifically was at the core of the conflict in Doomsday Clock. In that series, the Legion returns. It’s not the classic Legion that was depicted in the beginning of Doomsday Clock, however, it was the Legion as reimagined by Brian Michael Bendis in a lackluster attempt to bring the team back into the DC Universe. In Justice League of America #5, the classic Legion as they were depicted pre-New 52 in Johns work with the team. This is a great tease for Legion fans! Will Johns bring the classic Legion back?
The issue ends with Judy Garrick and Hourman showing up at the JSA meeting following directly from Johns’ Stargirl: The Lost Children. We were told at the end of that series that it would continue in Justice Society of America #6 and this is the continuation of that.
While the specifics of the resolution of the story arc ore solid, this issue does seem to to resolve things quickly. The denouement is certainly important and interesting, but the showdown with Degaton could easily have lasted until the end of the issue. As is the pacing feels off. Reading it all in one sitting may provide a different experience that flows better.
There are some unanswered questions about Helena and the new characters from her future. Does the change in history eliminate them as well? One hopes these are addressed specifically in the next story arc.
Despite the quick ending, Justice Society of America #5, there are lots of details that are satisfying with the resolution. Additionally, the big picture view is a fun and exciting look at a special corner of the DC Universe that relies on character, nostalgia and compelling plot lines.