Thursday, July 24, 2014

Society Dame: Justice Society of America #6


Justice Society of America #6 is written by Len Strazewski with pencils by Tom Artis, inks by Frank McLaughlin, and a cover by Tom Lyle featuring Black Canary and Solomon Grundy.  The series is edited by Brian Augustyn along with Mike Gold, who edited Black Canary's miniseries, her ongoing series, and her first arc in Action Comics Weekly.  The issue is cover dated August 1991 and hit the shelves in June.

The last issue that Tom Artis drew for this series was the Hawkman-centric issue #4.  That was a shame because I love Hawkman, but Artis' art was pretty lifeless and boring.  This time it's even worse, which sucks because this chapter focuses on Black Canary and Green Lantern fighting in the sky.  But, as we'll see, Artis' art is boring and awful.

"Vengeance from the Stars Chapter 6: Danger Flies the Skies" opens with Black Canary slowly regaining consciousness, pleading with her husband, Larry Lance, to let her sleep ten more minutes.  Then her eyes open fully and she realizes she is dangling high in the sky in the taloned clutches of a giant energy bird, the latest form of the constellation monster Sagittarius.

Green Lantern, caught in the bird's other talon, tells Canary to shut up so he can concentrate.  Real nice, Alan, coming from the crime fighter who can fly if the bird drops you!

Green Lantern struggles and manages to free his left arm from the talon.  He doesn't use his free hand to escape, though, just scratch his nose.  Black Canary tells him that the bird is also carrying a box full of stolen Egyptian relics from the Gotham Museum, and while she's recapping events from issues #2 and #3, a crop-duster soars nearby.

This is no random airplane flying near the bird's path, though, this "borrowed" crop-duster happens to be piloted by Doiby Dickles, the buffoonish cab driver that took palled around with Green Lantern before usurping his feature in All-American Comics.  Dickles flies close enough to tell Green Lantern he brought the special item, but the bird takes notice.  Sagittarius swoops down to attack the crop-duster and Doiby leads it on some fun little aerial acrobatics that make Black Canary nauseous.

Well, they should have been fun aerial acrobatics, but Tom Artis' layouts and panel construction are so flat that the motion and energy of the stunts is lost.  Anyway, Doiby gets out of the pilot's seat and hands Alan Scott the green power lantern.

Sagittarius doesn't like this at all and dives down toward Doiby who is trying to regain control of the plane.  Green Lantern uses this time to speak the oath that powers his magic ring.

Alan creates an energy projection to pluck the bird's hind feathers, causing Sagittarius to drop Green Lantern and Black Canary.  Green Lantern creates a green parachute for Dinah, allowing her to settle gently on Doiby's plane while Alan turns around to combat the bird monster.

Meanwhile, on the ground below, Vandal Savage's henchmen watch the fight in the sky while Solomon Grundy rages about wanting to kill Green Lantern.  The henchmen use reverse psychology on Grundy to get him to pick up the fallen box of Egyptian loot and put it in another plane.  Then they take off for New Mexico and the Mt. Pride Observatory where their evil master awaits.

Back in the sky, Green Lantern tries to cage the bird with his power ring but it doesn't work.  The bird is too powerful and it shoots energy beams out of its eyes that knock Alan unconscious.  He begins to fall, but the ring keeps his descent slow and steady.  But that puts him in danger of Sagittarius' beak and claws.

Doiby flies the plane near the bird and releases its tanks of insecticide smoke in Sagittarius' face.  The monster is distracted enough fro Black Canary to climb out onto the plane's wing and catch Green Lantern.

Black Canary brings Alan around and asks if he can absorb the monster's energy using his lantern and he thinks it's a great idea.

Green Lantern flies out again, but this time when Sagittarius fires its deadly eye-beams, Alan catches them with his green power lantern and siphons the monster's stolen energy.  Weakened, the bird flies off.  Green Lantern and Black Canary are able to follow the bird, sending Doiby off on his own to hopefully die a horrible death.

The heroes follow Sagittarius to the Mt. Pride Observatory where their friend, Ted Knight, works.  Sagittarius disappears into the massive antenna relay that has been constructed around the observatory.  As the heroes get closer, they find Vandal Savage gloating over the half-conscious forms of Hawkman and The Flash.  They witness William Wildeagle shoot Ted Knight's Cosmic Rod out of Savage's hand, but then Solomon Grundy sneaks up on Wildeagle.

After the awesomeness of Mike Parobeck last issue, it really sucked to endure Tom Artis' pencils in this issue.  They're not terrible on their own, but they don't compare to Parobeck or Rick Burchett or Grant Miehm.  And the greatest problem is the uninspired panel construction and layout.  Every page is based on a six panel grid.  Occasionally, two panels will merge into one or he'll give us a splash, but they're never anything impressive.  I don't know if he was trying to emulate the simplistic style of Golden Age comics.  I also don't know why this eight issue series needed four different artists.  Either way, this issue suffered.

It's also not the best story.  It's just as formulaic as the rest; the aerial combat with the energy monster really isn't powerful enough to take up two thirds of the book, and the last two pages cover stuff we already know.  Plus, Doiby Dickles is lame.  All in all, this isn't a great way to lead into the final two issues of the series, but they should pick up.

Come back Monday for the next chapter of Justice Society of America...

No comments:

Post a Comment