Best Shots Extra: Justice Society of America #26
Written by Geoff Johns
Penciled by Dale Eaglesham
Inks by Nathan Massengill
Colors by Hi-Fi
From DC Comics
Saying goodbye doesn't alwaywasys have to be sad.
Dale Eaglesham and Geoff Johns have been at the helm of the single best superhero-team book for over two years now. They rebuilt the team, pitted them against some of their greatest adversaries ever, and told great stories filled with distinct and diverse characterization all along the way. They did all this, and there was nary a misstep or letdown issue along the way. Kudos are deserved.
Perhaps feeling that they had climbed this mountain, both creators made the decision to take on new challenges and depart from this stage. But there was one last curtain call to be had.
Johns and Eaglesham have both described their intentions for this book as “Norman Rockefeller superheroes,” and what could be more Rockefeller-ian than a surprise birthday party? Further, given his long history in first creating, then truly developing the character of Stargirl, it should be no surprise that Johns puts her at the center of this swan song, in the role of birthday girl.
It isn't just that Johns created Stargirl that makes her the right choice to be the center-point here. As a character, she represents all the themes that came to define the Justice Society of America title. She is a legacy character who values family above all else. She is a character somewhat in flux between youth and experience. She's a happy character, and she's just lovable. All of the same could be said for this book.
Being an ensemble book, it has been the responsibility of artist extraordinaire Dale Eaglesham to convey the diversity of this family. More than anything else, Eaglesham has soared in his capacity to deliver some of the finest, hammiest acing of all comics. The overacting in this title is vital, because it holds one of the most important lessons of the book; sometimes family can be annoying and obnoxious, but that pales to the overwhelming love it can generate. It isn't worth it to take the time to define the familiar role each member of the team occupies, but it is easy to see that Starman is the weird uncle and Cyclone is the overeager little sister, and Eaglesham nails their excitable fervors perfectly each time. Here, every character gets his or her moment, and each gets an earned form of resolution to their story.
Overall, this is a different kind of farewell tale. There are no shocking revelations, no mega-brawls, and no major pieces are taken off the table. It's just a celebration of all that has been right with this book for 26 issues, and all that is good about this superhero family. There are no shortage of iconic full splash images to remember this one by, and an insider's wink on the last page. Farewells can be bittersweet, but this one goes just heavy enough on the sweet.
It will be quite a task to follow this run up, but Johns and Eaglesham have given this title the same thing that's formed by any strong family-
A solid foundation.