JSA All-Stars: 11 issues from 2010
Writer: Lillah Sturges (1 issue, main story in 10 issues), Jen Van Meter (backups in 10 issues)
OK, so JSA seems to have finally gotten anachronistic Nazis out of its system, so… of course we open on anachronistic Soviets. Grand.
“Sorry! I hope androids don’t have feelings!” Maxine, what did your grandmother go by, again?
He gets shuffled out before too long, but it feels like kind of a stretch how much the characters, like, tolerate Magog before then. And talk him up sometimes. Like, they all complain about him, but they’re also like “oh, he’s so smart.” No he’s not! He’s an idiot! It’s very satisfying when Karen punches him the face. Just really decks him. Smashes him right in the mouth.
Shoutout to a villain threatening Magog with a “mundane staff.” It appears to be a staff intended to render people mundane, but I choose to believe that Magog’s weakness is just a stick.
I don’t usually mention this because I’d be bringing it up on like half the books I read, but yeeeeeeeesh this thing is cheesecakey. Like, I don’t even think the writer’s mind is in the gutter, it’s all, like, questionable panel framing and “I know you’re drawing Power Girl but come on, those are bigger than her head” type art choices.
He’s upstaged in the asshole Olympics by Magog, but I have to shout out how impossibly insufferable King Chimera is.
It always amuses me when writers… don’t really seem to understand how being smart works. Like, I mean with respect to smart characters, but the jokes write themselves.
One of the funniest comic tropes is funerals where every single attendee is a superhero in full costume. It’s hilarious every time.
So, this exchange:
Sonia is not Chinese, you moron.
For most of #11, Rick is running around with Karen limp in his arms, and not once does he stand and yell while people line up on platforms behind him. What do artists circa 2008-2010 have against Crisis on Infinite Earths?
This title looks kinda dumb. Now picture me with my finger and my thumb in the shape of an L on my forehead.
And, because this book hates me, there’s a backup about Rick and Jesse. And of course, Jesse…
… does… things…?
Holy ■■■■, Jesse does things. At no point is she kidnapped. She speaks to two or three separate people other than Rick, occasionally about subjects that are not Rick. Guys, this is all I have been asking for since she first got jumped from Titans to the Flash in… like… 2002, I want to say? Anyway, thank you.
I’m joking around, but the backup is just really noticeably better than the main stories in both writing and art. Like, read this book for the backup, skip the main thing.
Though the plot is still ultimately resolved by a speedster running in a circle fast.
Anyway, that’s the more modern book for this post, but there’s so much to do, so much to see.
Detective Comics #2 from 1937
Writer: Jerry Siegel
Dug this random Slam Bradley story up from a trade they’ve got on Ultra now. I don’t know about one of “DC’s Greatest Detective Stories Ever Told,” but shoutout to the sole pre-Batman Tec story I’ve been able to actually find.
Adventure Comics #51 from 1940
Writer: Gardner Fox
Same collection. You know, I don’t remember if this was in any of the Sandman stories I already read, but it’s interesting that Dian knows Wesley is the Sandman. I guess maybe it’s so early that the love interest not knowing the hero’s identity hadn’t had time to become a cliché yet.
Took me about halfway through to realize I had read this story; it was reprinted in the back of a Bronze Age JLA issue.
Superman: 6 issues from 1941
Writer: Jerry Siegel
This isn’t really relevant to the main content, but anytime I see the single-page humor strips in some of these old comics, it’s always amazing just how unfunny they are. Like, by averages, you’d think they’d be amusing sometimes, but the high end of the curve is still “any intelligible joke at all, let alone a funny one.”
Hey, wait a second. That A Foreign Poweran spy has a little symbol on his hat, a cross or X kind of thing… has A Foreign Power been Tomainia this whole time?!
someone please get that joke
I love how Golden Age Superman can go from fighting an army of giants to A Foreign Poweran spy ring to… just tormenting a bunch of petty con artists at a carnival, all in the same issue.
I like to give this book a hard time, but I do have to note that Lois Lane was an absolute treasure from the very beginning. That will be all.
Well, it’s about time. Oh, sure, Superman outpowers locomotives and leaps tall buildings in a single bound all the time, but not once has he actually outrun speeding bullets until this issue! Usually he just catches them; anybody can do that. Uh, once.
I like how every issue contains at least one saboteur story, at least one Luthor story, and at least one story about things that are not normally supposed to be giant getting turned giant. These things overlap in various ways.
Shoutout to Lois’s bizarre taste in hats:
This is probably the goofiest of them, but she goes through a lot
of ridiculous-looking headgear in these.
I like how often the book tries to make it a surprise that the bad guy is Luthor. He’s the only recurring villain, shows up constantly, and is fairly consistently involved in all of the “mad science to conquer the world” plots.
The first costumed villain in this title, or at least the first to not just be Luthor in some unnecessary disguise, is “the Archer” (who is, because Golden Age, invariably referred to as “the Archer”). He battles Superman with the devastating weapon of… a bow and arrow.
… … … I really can’t wait for this book to start having more, like, aliens and robots in it.
Also, in #13, he just… kills a car full of guys. Like, a few times he’s bailed on a crashing plane or villains have been killed by ricochets while shooting at him, but here he just… kicks a car, and it goes flying, and everybody in it dies.