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JSA #55

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2003
By: Bob Moser



"Be Good For Goodness Sake"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Leonard Kirk (p), Keith Champagne & Wade Von Grawbadger (i)

Publisher: DC Comics

Plot:
The remaining old-time members of the Justice Society make a holiday trip to visit a former team member and extend an invitation to rejoin.

Comments:
I really appreciate Geoff Johnsí reverence and respect for the golden-age of comics and its characters. JSA #55 continues Johnsí ongoing appreciation of what has come before and gives a new lease on life to a beloved member of the Justice Society which had faded from the minds of modern-day readers. Abigail Mathilda ďMaĒ Hunkel, the original Red Tornado from the golden-age was a comic-relief character that often made appearances in All-American Comics along with her children the Cyclone Kids. She assumed a secret identity and donned an impromptu costume consisting of red long-underwear, dish gloves, a blanket for a cape and a cooking pot with eyeholes cut into it as a helmet; and mostly fought against neighborhood thugs in an effort to create a safer place for her family.
Johns crafts a simple and lighthearted holiday tale, but doesnít forget to keep his actors within character. And although the story is upbeat, Hawkmanís moodiness cast a foreshadowing upon the next story arc tilted Black Reign.

Leonard Kirkís pencils are detailed and dynamic. Given that much of the story depends upon conversational interaction, his facial expressions convey the emotion of the characters as much as their dialog. I especially liked his rendering of Ma Hunkel in that she appears to be a fit and capable woman around the age of 80. Not to be too sentimental but his depiction reminded me much of my old German grandmother who as a farmerís wife raised eight children.

This issue apparently had two inkers which I only became aware of when reading the credits to start this review. Itís rare when you canít tell there have been multiple delineators on the same comic and as such it speaks volumes for Keith Champagne and Wade Von Grawbadgerís skills. Although I donít know who at Hi Fi did the colors, I must also give them credit for a fine job; never did Santa look so good.

Lastly I want to compliment the cover, not so much for Carlos Pachecoís pencils, which are always good, but for the dialog caption attributed to the little girl in line for Santa. Itís a true rarity when a comic has me laughing before I even open the book.

Final Word:
Rare are the Christmas stories in comics that are both touching and lacking in cheese-corn. As a stand alone issue JSA #55 is a great story of friendship and will be treat for fans of golden-age DC characters.



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