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Tpull's Weekly DC Comics Review – Part Two

JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom 1

by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross, and Fernando Pasarin

The Bible allusions continue as Gog talks about things that happen in accordance with a particular day. Gog offers the choice to hang out and party or spread his word. We switch to the other heroes, who have all been “healed,” and see the consequences of Sand without his mental connection to horrors, to Dr. Midnight with his sight, and the new problems they face because of their new, allegedly fixed, status.

This special has a lot of stuff packed in it: Starman goes his own way, Wonder Woman meets with KC Superman, and Atom-Smasher confronts Damage. Alex Ross on the cover, and Pasarin on the inside reminds me that JSA has consistently had top-notch artists for its entire run to date. Jerry Ordway also does a two-page poster of the alternate universe JSI. The kicker is at the end, when Northwind’s people bring an offering to Gog, and he is pleased. Then he orders everyone to get on their knees and worship him. OMG WTF?!?!? Well, duh. He’s running around healing the sick and promising to fix everything, and you’re surprised he wants tribute? It seems our little half-dozen heroes who followed him will be doing some re-examinations of their choice when this story picks up in the next regular issue of JSA.

Madame Xanadu 6

by Matt Wagner and Amy Reeder Hadley

It’s a good time for tarot cards in DC, between this title and the Trinity series. Trapped in prison and deprived of her potions, Nimue is aging rapidly and can only think of one thing to stave off death: to confront Death. Gaiman’s classic personification of Death shows up in a pleasant surprise and has a very interesting conversation. By the time Nimue is finished, she sort of has Death on her side.

Once back to her youthful self, Madame Xanadu learns something for the reader from the Stranger, that these world events unfolding will bring about the recovery of the helmet of Fate, which eventually brings Doctor Fate back into play in the war of balance between good and evil. The Stranger’s abrupt departure finally sparks a violent reaction in Nimue, who declares her opposition to anything and everything she thinks the Stranger wants to do in the future. Hmm, for all her age and wisdom, she certainly gets things wrong a lot, doesn’t she? Hadley’s art is superb, successfully depicting an aging crone, Death, a young Nimue, etc. A very enjoyable issue.

Reign in Hell 5

by Keith Giffen and Tom Derenick

This issue is mostly more of the same, a stepping stone as the large cast of characters moves around on the playing field. It’s hard to take each of them in turn, but the main things are that Lobo is out of Hell-prison, Neron is going to confront Satannus in person, and Zatanna is forced to consign her father’s soul to oblivion.

The art is still pretty good, but the backup story by Giffen and Chad Hardin is still a weak spot. Doctor Occult finally links up with Rose, and then they all get caught in one of the skirmishes in a war front. Hardin’s pencils look okay at the beginning, but begin to look rushed near the end. If they can wrap up the backup stuff and just give us more coverage in the main story, that would be much better.

Trinity 26

by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley, Fabian Nicieza, Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens

Every time I think Mark Bagley can impress me no more, he does it. Purely from an art perspective, I think Trinity is going to be a strong classic that is collected by readers not yet born. I want to see better individuality on his faces that he draws, but you can’t beat everything else he puts on the page. Plus, Jim Lee and Scott Williams on the cover, and the covers have provided a very good complement to the series as well.

Rita Covas has gone to charity to find a guide, but really the roles seem reversed, as Rita finally understands that she is a focal point, linked to the worldsoul. Her tarot cards gives her a glimpse of the world and help her to guide her actions and knowledge. We learn that if the universe is not fixed, Rita will die, and so will the world. We also get to see the past links to the worldsoul, and one of them is Zatanna’s mother, Sindella, who was taken form our world to another place, which possibly contributed to the current state of affairs, or at least acted to numb the presence of the worldsoul when it transferred the linkage to Rita.

The backup story is cool, and we find out that Despero was never supposed to be the third person in the spell to change the world: it was supposed to be Konvikt (although I do wish there had been a more subtle name for this character than “convict; I mean, really!). We get to see his history, and he doesn’t seem to be a regular villain, but that doesn’t stop Morgaine from appealing to him. Just to make things really interesting, we see that Morgaine also has a connection to the tarot, and possibly to the worldsoul, which makes things interesting! Notice that for a series about the trinity, we still didn’t see them. Don’t worry, it’s still just as good a read, even without them getting any screen time. More on that next time.

Bottom line, for a series that sounded like the concept could have made it another Superman/Batman title with a little Wonder Woman thrown in, we have a very intriguing story that is single-handedly helping DC out major time on the sales charts, and deservedly so.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.

You know I think this is the first time that I haven't disagreed with any of your reviews. (either in part 1 or part 2) Great reviews.

Side note:
I dropped the LoSH and I am eagerly awaiting their next incarnation. I'm pretty sure that we'll see a return of the Legion that has been in the Superman titles and JSA. Geoff Johns seems to have the incarnation that appeals the most to me and many that I talk with.

-- Posted by: richard at November 30, 2008 8:03 PM

Thanks Richard. Johns does seem to be talking up the Legion from time to time, and with his record, I would definitely like to see him tackle them when he has the time. His schedule seems pretty full at the moment!


-- Posted by: tpull at November 30, 2008 8:56 PM

Keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming relaunch of Adventure Comics. I'm betting its an anthology title with stories including LoSH and other Superman-Centric characters such as The Guardian.

-- Posted by: Ryan at November 30, 2008 10:27 PM

Geoff Johns continues to rock JSA. I have to wonder why these one shots are not part of the main JSA title. Not that I'm complaining. Any month I can get more JSA I'm very happy.

Glad to hear that Madam Xanadu is a good read. I'm eagerly awaiting that trade as I love Matt Wagner's work.

-- Posted by: Simon MacDonald at December 1, 2008 9:22 PM