Thursday, January 15, 2009

You've Been Warned: America vs. the Justice Society

As a kid raised on JLA/JSA crossovers and the revamped All-Star Comics, Earth-2 holds a special place in my heart. I'm not exaggerating when I say that the America vs. the Justice Society miniseries stomped all over that special place. For someone who holds the JSA in such high esteem, I don't understand how Roy Thomas could concoct such a dreary story that manages to suck all of the fun out of Earth-2. The script is heavy-handed (witch hunts suck; we get it!) and very dialogue heavy, as it tries to advance this treason trial while recapping the JSA's history in its entirety. The revolving door of pencillers certainly doesn't help this come across as a cohesive work. It is just so fundamentally unentertaining (if that's not a word, it should be) that I really can't advise anyone but JSA completists to spend money on these books.

14 comments:

Argo Plummer said...

I just recently discovered your site and you and I seem to have similar comic reading backgrounds--buying similar stuff in our childhoods, etc.

However, I have to disagree with you about this mini. I know it isn't great and I agree it was heavy handed, but I remember walking into my LCS and seeing this and going crazy for it. I loved Earth-2 stories so much and appreciated this as a way to catch up on my Earth-2 history without buying older books I couldn't afford.

Plus, I am Batman crazy so having the story center around him, even from the grave in a convoluted manner, was aces for me.

All in all, I'd agree this isn't a great story, but I do love it anyway.

Chris Gumprich said...

Recently-started reader, first-time commenter...

Like you, I started reading in the early '80s, and like the other commenter I have a special place in my heart for Earth-2... the JLA/JSA teamup in JLA #197 is one of the first comics I remember collecting.

I don't have a good memory for "America vs the JSA" -- other than the horrible printing -- but as I recently inherited my dad's old collection (mostly DC, 1980-1985), I'll have to dig it up and reread it.

Scott M said...

Thanks for the comments guys. Glad to hear from you.

Argo - to each his one. Perhaps I went into this with hopes a little too high, but it just didn't sit well with me at all.

Chris - I've always just felt that this miniseries lacked that certain magic that those other Earth 2 stories possess.

craig/benday-dot said...

Sometimes if a comic book needs 10 000 words to shoehorn its subject matter into continuity (Thomas' ugly stepchild at times) it just isn't worth it. However, I must say I loved the Alcala touch to this series. His inking, over the multiple pencilers (esp. Howard Bender) brought a nice detail of weariness to the aging members of the JSA. It's not Sekowsky, Dillin or Perez, but it worked for me. Craig.

Dan Bailey said...

I *think* I tried reading this last year, after finally amassing every post-Golden Age JSA-related series & miniseries & one-shot that I know of, & gave out before I could finish the first issue.

*sigh*

Daniel Graves said...

I think I must have a very similar background because I began reading comics in the mid-70's and continued through the mid-80's. I loved the old JLA/JSA crossovers and anything Earth II related. I loved All-Star Squadron. I really lost interest after DC wiped out Earth II. At any rate, I did look forward to this mini-series and like you, was very disappointed. BUT, I do echo the other commentator, above, who loved Alcala. What a great talent. I remember some of his Batman work with great fondness.

Thanks for this great site!

Fr. Dan

Scott M said...

With 6 comments (now 7, I guess) - this has somehow been my most controversial post yet. I felt a little bad trashing something connected to Earth 2 - but it's comforting to see that I'm not alone.

Thanks to all of you for your comments. They are always welcome here.

Glad you like the blog Fr. Dan - I'll try to post something specifically on Alcala one day.

Graeme said...

Another long time listener, first time caller...

Yeah, I'm with you Scott on this one. I was a huge Earth-2 fan back in the day but this was utterly dreary-- the JSA get their first book to themselves since All Star Squadron gets canceled and we get the comic book equivalent of an episode of a TV show where characters refer back to clips of old episodes. The artwork for issue 2 by Mike Hernandez and Alcala is great, but the rest of the revolving door is pretty uninspired. When they brought in Howard Bender, a steady enough artist who worked in DC's production department, you knew they were absolutely desperate to get this issue out.

And the whole story is ripped-from-the-headlines nonsense that would make Robert Kanhiger blush: let's have Batman write the superhero equivalent of the so-called Hitler diary. Uh-huh...

Paradox said...

Graeme said...

"...the JSA get their first book to themselves since All Star Squadron gets canceled..."

Actually, this mini came out almost two years before A-SS was canceled.

And, yeah, it's bleh. Only thing I liked was the delineating of the history, and an index could have done as good, or better, a job. The story's just abysmally dumb and draaaaaaaags.

Graeme said...

Sorry, I meant All Star Comics.

stephen cade said...

I liked it--I was planning to re-read it again soon.

Izbot said...

I have mixed feelings about this series. I absolutely loved the Ordway covers, I half-liked the Batman/Hitler diaries idea but didn't feel it was developed well enough to justify the whole court case thing. I hated the interior art (Roy was always tossing pages to either Alcal or Tony DeZuniga to ink back in those days and I feel both inkers often mucked up the art more than improved it -- a difficult task to perform when inking so many hack pencillers Roy was assigning at the time) and yes, the 'Mando' format DCs always had the cheapest, sloppiest, blochiest color printing of any comics ever.

I was, however, interested in all that JSA lore that I could'nt have possibly afforded while I was in high school -- even if the whole thing smacked of a clip show.

It's biggest failing though was that Roy Thomas was just phoning this one in. Can't remember when exactly this came out in relation to All Star Squadron and Crisis but I got the impression that with the coming erasure of Earth-2 Roy really gave up. The quality in both story and art nose-dived on his DC projects around the time this came out.

But then again I'll take America vs. the JSA over any of the 'new earth' JSA stories any day.

ollieno said...

Il follow in on izbot ..

Im not sure if its related to the crisis and earth-2 erasement.. but thats the period (84-86) when all Thomas story became really lame.

just reread the Infinity inc some time ago.. and thomas seemed to have a lot of desagrement with DC management or no inforamtion at all over the Earth -2 erasement and the new continuity (Just pick infinity around and just after crisis to see )

Begining at this perdio Thomas work hasnt bee nthe same.. and IMHO isnt interesting any more.

Neil Anderson said...

finally read this. I thought the first issue was good, but the rest was just inexplicably boring. why the hell wasn't there any aggressive cross-examation, or any cross-examination at all? the only thing that could lend excitement to a congressional hearing is cross-examination, and it's completely absent from the story.