Best Shots Extra
Justice Society of America #29
Writers: Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges
Art: Jesus Merino
Color: Allen Passalaqua
Letters: Rob Leigh
Review by Troy Brownfield
Let’s kill the white elephant in the room, shall we? Some people will be naturally predisposed to dislike this book, as they loved the run of Geoff Johns on this title. That’s their prerogative, but it’s hardly within the realm of giving something a fair try. To be completely honest, I’m not sure that one issue, particularly one that’s part of a larger story, is going to convince them to stick around either. What remains , as always, is the most basic question: on its own, is it good?
Really, if this issue suffers from anything, it’s that there’s too much happening with too many people. However, it’s kind of refreshing, given how many books I look at in a month where NOTHING is happening. New writers Bill Willingham and Matthew Sturges introduce two new team members, establish their backgrounds, set up a mystery with another team member, send the team out on a mission, get the team way in over their heads, then end with a brutal, bloody cliffhanger. If there were a review chart based purely on keeping things moving, this one’s a 10.
Slowing it down a bit, I have to say that the intros of All-American Kid and King Chimera work pretty well. While the AAK gets more explanation, readers that don’t get the King Standish reference need to know that King Chimera is a legacy descendent of DC’s character “The King”, a master of disguise from the 1940s who has popped up in a couple of All-Star/JSA books over the years.
Frankly, I kind of see the need at this point to split the book, given how many characters wind up standing about without dialogue. Still, it seems that when anyone speaks, they’re fairly in character and doing things that you’d mostly expect them to do. After so many years under Johns, it’s a decent accomplishment to see other writers get this right.
On the art side, Jesus Merino comes in with guns blazing. He’s gotta take on the JSA, some new heroes, and about two dozen villains. And to my eye, he’s not cutting any corners. This is good, strong, super-hero work, and if he can keep up the pace, he’s going to be a fan-favorite in no time.
The ending is sure to ignite message boards, but it’s the first part of a multi-part story. Give it a chance. In fact, I have to say: if you’re a fan of the JSA, you’ll give this one a chance. There’s a ton of action, some quick and elegant character work, and a whopper of a finish. Sounds vaguely familiar, doesn’t it?