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Last Days of the Justice Society of America

de Roy Thomas, Michael Bair (Il·lustrador), Mike Clark (Il·lustrador)

Altres autors: Jerry Acerno (Il·lustrador), Tony DeZuniga (Il·lustrador), Bob Downs (Il·lustrador), George Freeman (Il·lustrador), Michael T. Gilbert (Il·lustrador)8 més, Tom Grindberg (Il·lustrador), Mike Gustovich (Il·lustrador), Dave Hunt (Il·lustrador), Luke McDonnell (Il·lustrador), Steve Montano (Il·lustrador), Dave Ross (Il·lustrador), Dann Thomas (Col·laborador), George Tuska (Il·lustrador)

Sèrie: Justice Society of America

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Green Lantern, the Flash, Starman, the Atom, Doctor Fate, Power Girl and the rest of the JSA were once the celebrated champions of Earth-2. But then came the Crisis, a cataclysm so great that it reached across realities, destroying all parallel worlds and leaving only one Earth. The Universe was saved, but the Justice Society was left in a world that is already filled with other heroes. But just as the team is on the cusp of disbanding, they receive a dire message from the Spectre, sending them on perhaps their greatest mission ever... The universe is in jeopardy, and to save it the JSA must journey back in time to the heart of Hitler's Germany. If they fail, all they fought for in the Crisis could be lost once more. LAST DAYS OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA reprints the title story from Roy Thomas (CONAN: THE BARBARIAN) and David Ross (AVENGERS WEST COAST) for the first time, as well as the SECRET ORIGINS of the Golden Age Justice Society-featuring artists Michael Bair (HAWKMAN), Mike Clark (ALL-STAR SQUADRON) and more!… (més)
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Access a version of the below that includes illustrations on my blog.

This trade paperback collects the triple-length Last Days of the Justice Society of America one-shot from 1986, as well as twelve Secret Origins stories from 1986 to 1988 about members of the JSA. I dipped in and out of the volume while reading Infinity, Inc., reading the Last Days special where it was set chronologically, and interspersing the Secret Origins stories where they were released. This definitely added to the experience: origins, in my experience, can be kind of tedious read one right after the other, but I liked them as breaks from the ongoing storylines of Infinc that were nonetheless loosely related.

The Last Days special is an odd one. It was designed to kill off the JSA, which 1980s DC management felt was irrelevant as a present-day concern in the new unified post-Crisis DC universe-- why do you need the JSA when the Justice League is the world's preeminent superhero team? An answer to this question would emerge in the 1990s and 2000s, but DC was as yet only groping towards the idea of "legacy." But writer Roy Thomas and co-plotter Dann Thomas didn't want to kill kill the JSA; they rightfully realized someone would want to bring them back someday. It also seems like they wanted there to be a last "Golden Age" adventure as well as a last present-day one.

So what happens is this: gathering for the funeral of the Earth-Two Huntress and Robin (they died in the Crisis, and were eventually eliminated from history, but early post-Crisis stories still had some of the pre-Crisis characters remembered), the JSA discovers that when they gathered for the funeral of President Roosevelt back in 1945, they ended up going on a mission to Germany to stop Hitler from using the Spear of Destiny to summon Ragnarok, and died in the process, so the 1980s JSA has to travel back to the stop the 1940s JSA from dying, and prevent Ragnarok.

In the process, the JSA ends up joining in Ragnarok, merging with various Norse gods in the story and dying-- but then coming back to life and fighting again and again.

I'm of two minds about it all. As a moody, atmospheric story about the doom of the universe, it mostly works. A real sense of fatalism permeates both the 1940s JSA and the 1980s JSA segments, especially thanks to the pencils of David Ross. It hurts when the JSA are gunned down by Nazis; it feels inevitable when they get sucked into playing roles in the Ragnarok cycle. And what better way to go out than in preventing the end of everything?

On the other hand, we get a lot of thaumababble, but really makes it not totally work is that in the end, the JSA feels kind of irrelevant. They get pulled into Ragnarok, and that's it: there's no big moment of choice, no big moment of heroism, they just become subject to whims of the universe. Yes, they do the right thing, but the choice doesn't land like it ought to, it feels like someone else made the choice for them. It's not really based in their characters, but rather it feels like it could have happened to any group of characters. So it's unsatisfying in that sense.

Of course, it would be all undone, so the Thomases played it right. In addition to what this story implies itself about its reversibility, Neil Gaiman would actually reveal in The Sandman that it wasn't the real Ragnarok at all that the JSA entered, but a simulation run by Odin. I look forward to seeing if this fact is used when the JSA is eventually returned to the normal universe in the 1990s. And speaking of Gaiman, reading Last Days cleared up a long-standing mystery for me, of why the corpses of JSA members turned up in the 1940s in Legend of the Green Flame, though I admit to not being entirely certain as to how those corpses still managed to be there once the Ragnarok timeline was averted!

The Secret Origins issues collected here cover all of the post-Crisis 1940s JSA members (i.e., there's no origins for the Golden Age Superman or Batman), plus the Star-Spangled Kid (who didn't join the JSA until the 1970s). They're mostly pretty satisfying; I got bored reading about incarnation in the Hawkman one (that shit is tedious), but otherwise these were generally satisfying updates of where a lot of classic characters came from. Highlights included the Star-Spangled Kid one (despite his centrality to the 1970s All Star Comics revival and Infinity, Inc., his origin wasn't really covered in either series), the atmospheric Spectre one, and the charming one for the Atom. Roy Thomas writes all of them, and some are co-plotted by Dann Thomas, but the real star in many of them are the excellent art teams who really bring these 1940s stories to new life.

I didn't really get the point of the new JSA origin, though. I know the previous JSA origin by Paul Levitz from All Star Comics is out of date because it has the Earth-Two Superman and Batman in it, but this story is pretty much that one over again minus those two characters, and with somewhat obscure art. (I find Michael Bair hit or miss.) Just reread Levitz's version and pretend Superman and Batman aren't in it.

The Justice Society and Earth-Two: « Previous in sequence | Next in sequence »
  Stevil2001 | Nov 6, 2020 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Thomas, Royautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Bair, MichaelIl·lustradorautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Clark, MikeIl·lustradorautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Acerno, JerryIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
DeZuniga, TonyIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Downs, BobIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Freeman, GeorgeIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Gilbert, Michael T.Il·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Grindberg, TomIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Gustovich, MikeIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Hunt, DaveIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
McDonnell, LukeIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Montano, SteveIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Ross, DaveIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Thomas, DannCol·laboradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Tuska, GeorgeIl·lustradorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
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Green Lantern, the Flash, Starman, the Atom, Doctor Fate, Power Girl and the rest of the JSA were once the celebrated champions of Earth-2. But then came the Crisis, a cataclysm so great that it reached across realities, destroying all parallel worlds and leaving only one Earth. The Universe was saved, but the Justice Society was left in a world that is already filled with other heroes. But just as the team is on the cusp of disbanding, they receive a dire message from the Spectre, sending them on perhaps their greatest mission ever... The universe is in jeopardy, and to save it the JSA must journey back in time to the heart of Hitler's Germany. If they fail, all they fought for in the Crisis could be lost once more. LAST DAYS OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA reprints the title story from Roy Thomas (CONAN: THE BARBARIAN) and David Ross (AVENGERS WEST COAST) for the first time, as well as the SECRET ORIGINS of the Golden Age Justice Society-featuring artists Michael Bair (HAWKMAN), Mike Clark (ALL-STAR SQUADRON) and more!

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