Justice Society of America: The Next Age (1-4)

I’ve been slacking off on the Wrecks lately, so I’m going to try to play catch up. Flipping through the backlog for a starting point, we have one of the newer titles to my list, JSA.

Welcome to the first storyline of the new Justice Society of America! Infinite Crisis took out the old title, and One Year Later brings us a new day for the JSA! Why, you ask? Well, I can’t really figure it out. This, like JLA, didn’t really need a relaunch…the storyline very easily could have started in the old book…but who cares? New issue number one! Let’s jump right in!

The immediate problem that this “new title” has is that it’s a whole lot like the old title. The team is made up of a lot of the previous one (Green Lantern, Flash, Wildcat, Hawkman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Stargirl, Hourman, Liberty Belle, Sandman, Mr. Terrific, Power Girl – not to mention Jakeem Thunder being on the cover of issue one), with a few new faces (a new Wildcat, Obsidian, Damage, Cyclone, Starman) added in for a new bit of flavor. This becomes a bit of an issue when, after four issues, this team of sixteen members is together and ready to go. Some characters, like Cyclone, the new Wildcat, and Starman, get some characterization, readers are expected to be familiar with all of the others. It begs the question of why starting over with a new number one?

The story itself sets the pace of the JSA – or resets the pace. Unlike the JLA, which is the heavy hitters coming together to save the day, the JSA is a legacy team. All of the members are in some way connected to other members of the team, past and present. Damage is the son of the original Atom. Sandman was the sidekick of the original. Stargirl is the stepdaughter of STRIPESY, former sidekick to the Star Spangled Kid. That’s nothing new for the JSA. It’s brought into focus when Vanadal Savage unleashes a plan to wipe out the entire bloodline of American icon heroes. It’s hinted that a new Commander Steel will shortly turn up, which along with the new Wildcat, is what we get out of the story.

It’s a good story, but just not a good opening story. The JSA is not heavily featured in 52, and more of an introduction for new readers might have been advisable. With this title going straight into a JLA crossover, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting much more for the next couple months. It’s good for those familiar with the JSA, but not very friendly to everyone else.

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