Monday, July 28, 2014

Society Dame: Justice Society of America #7


Justice Society of America #7 is written by Len Strazewski with pencils by Grant Miehm, inks by Rich Buckler, 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.

Miehm previously pencilled the Black Canary-focused second issue of the series, which looked pretty great.  That bodes much better for this issue than the last chapter by Tom Artis.

"Vengeance from the Stars Chapter 7: The Return of the Justice Society" opens with Green Lantern Alan Scott and Black Canary happening upon the nefarious Vandal Savage and his undead henchman Solomon Grundy just before they destroy the heroes' compatriots, Hawkman, the Flash, and William Wildeagle.

At the sight of Green Lantern, Solomon Grundy loses what little remains of his mind and rushes to attack.

The Flash uses his super speed to catch Black Canary before she hits the hard ground.  Green Lantern uses his power ring against Grundy, but the magic has little effect, so he calls the Scarlet Speedster back for reinforcements.

Nice of Black Canary to be able to mock the damsel in distress trope as--while she is the least powerful person in the area--she was also the first one to step up and throw down against Grundy.

Meanwhile, inside the Mt. Pride Observatory, a manually and emotionally battered Ted Knight watches his old friends battle valiantly and perhaps futilely against the power of Vandal Savage.  The same power that crushed Ted.  He thinks back to the glory days of the Justice Society of America, before the team broke up and members went their separate ways... before Ted retired his Starman duties to focus on astronomy.

But now, Ted sees that he was wrong to walk away from the responsibility of being a hero.  And for the first time since the first issue, he stands upright in defiance.

Outside the observatory, Vandal Savage is struggling with the damaged Cosmic Rod he stole from Ted while the rest of the heroes try to subdue Grundy.  Hawkman grabs the not-so-gentle giant and lifts him into the air, only to drop him from a great enough height that Grundy leaves a crater in the earth when he lands.  Green Lantern knows, sadly, that's not nearly enough to keep Grundy down.

As the four heroes (and Wildeagle) close in on Vandal Savage, they come under fire from Savage's hired guns, the same hoods who robbed the Gotham Museum and fought with Black Canary back in issue #2.  The boys finally arrive with the stolen loot and Savage dives into their car.  He throws a hook around Grundy and drags the brute back to the observatory where an energy force field goes up, preventing the Justice Society members from following them.

Inside, Ted Knight is frantically working to construct a means of fighting Vandal Savage with spare parts, when the ancient evildoer tosses Ted's own Cosmic Rod at him and demands Ted fix it.  Then Savage takes in the stolen relics from Ancient Egypt: tools, he informs the men, that will grant him total control over the energy monsters he creates and the power to rule the world.

Outside, the four heroes recap the events that brought them to this point.  Realizing they will soon be faced with three different energy monsters when none of them could even defeat just one, they decide to storm Mt. Pride and stop Savage before he can attack.  But they still have the force field to contend with.  William Wildeagle suggests using his ancestor's tomahawk, a wooden weapon that Hawkman used to some success in his battle with the giant woman.

Hawkman throws the tomahawk against the force field, causing a massive energy spike.  Or maybe it has nothing to do with the tomahawk and everything to do with Vandal Savage making a dramatic re-entrance in his best pharaoh fashion.

Savage goes on to monologue about how the monsters went into the modern world to steal "the powers that drive the modern age: electricity, radio and television waves, and atomic power."  He also boasts that he is Cheops, returned to greatness once again.  Hawkman takes issue with that claim because he's a reincarnated Egyptian prince himself and knows who Cheops really was.

Then things take an... interesting turn, when Savage unleashes the three constellation monsters in their true form, which appear to be three television celebrities.

Simply solid issue with some great action beats from Black Canary and The Flash.  It's great to see the heroes working together as a team and interacting rather than fighting electric giants one-on-one.  It's also great to see Ted Knight get his balls back and start to resist the crippling influence of Vandal Savage.

And Miehm's art is without question better than Artis' work on the last issue.  It's not always clean but it is dynamic and energetic.

Come back Thursday for the final chapter of Justice Society of America...

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