Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Amanda Conner
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Power Girlís mental breakdown continues as she struggles to piece together her unknown past. Hoping to find some solace from fellow superhero, Huntress, she journeys to Gotham City, only to discover that the force behind her hallucinations is none other than the dreaded mind-controlling villain known only as: Psycho Pirate.
Comments: You have to hand it to Geoff Johns; he certainly knows to how write one hell of a comic book. Indeed, it seems like Johns has made a career by taking B-grade superheroes and villains and revitalizing them with modern sensibilities. Case in point: his work on the recent JSA: Classified. Now on issue #3, this time Johns has turned his attention to Power Girl, who... letís face it... is probably best known as a superhero whose most recognized feature is the fact that she has a rack on her big enough to make a Hooters waitress blush. In the past, Power Girl has largely been relegated to comic book obscurity with a convoluted history and only a few interesting story-arcs. Now Johns is once again mining the rich DC Universe continuity to not only flesh out Power Girl (who I will admit, is pretty damn fleshy as it is), but polish her into a character with substance and emotion. Most impressive of all, Johns has managed to develop her into a real character while capturing the nostalgic Golden Age feel of the JSA and with plenty of raunchy humor thrown in for good measure (because letís face it, you can never have too many boob jokes).
Fortunately, JSA: Classified #3 is no exception, continuing the development of Power Girl that Johns began in the first two issues. This time Power Girl is in Gotham City where she hopes to have a heart to heart with the ass-kicking, fellow scantily clad super-babe, Huntress. Huntress is in the process of taking down the voodoo spouting villain Houngan, as well as the blob-like Plasmus. Power Girl shows up to lend a hand. The two superheroes then discuss the pitfalls of being an outsider shunned by the majority of the superhero community (Huntress having been kicked out of the JLA on two separate occasions, and Power Girl being a bit of a loner). Itís a great moment with some spot on dialogue, but their brief bonding moment is quickly disrupted by yet another schizophrenic episode on the part of Power Girl. This time she is bombarded by hallucinations of characters from all aspects of the DC Universe, all claiming to be some part of her past.
Meanwhile, JSA members Mr. Terrific and Golden Age Flash are at S.T.A.R labs, looking into the original rocket that carried Power Girl to Earth. Their investigation, however, runs into a snag when they discover that several Checkmate operatives are overseeing the study of the rocket under the guidance of Director Bones (currently the head of the Department of Extranormal Operations). The situation worsens when the emotion-altering villain Psycho Pirate (seemingly the force behind Power Girlís hallucinations and mental breakdown) shows up and all hell breaks loose. With Mr. Terrific and the Golden Age Flash taken down, Psycho Pirate leaves the scene and confronts Power Girl herself in Gotham, immobilizing her and setting the stage for the revelations set to occur in future issues.
JSA: Classified #3 is Johns at his best. Itís light, entertaining and fun, yet Johns never lets us forget that he is also developing Power Girl as a character with real emotions and history. With the ramifications from JSA: Classified #3, it will also be interesting to see how Johns ties Psycho Pirate to Power Girl's past, as well as if there will be any implications for DCís current plans for Infinite Crisis. There are few other writers working in comics today who can walk the careful tight-rope that combines character development, with interesting plots and superhero action, yet Johns manages to do it time and time again. JSA: Classified #3 is no exception. His dialogue is spot on with some hilarious banter and a story that moves with perfect timing.
Johnsís script is complemented beautifully by the artwork of Amanda Conner. There arenít enough good things to say about Connerís work. Her panels are, in a word, stunning, with a quirky and sharp style that suits the JSA perfectly. From close up character expressions to full blown battle scenes, Connerís dynamic style is spot on. Iíve always been a huge fan of her work (back since I picked up Garth Ennisí The Pro) and itís clear that Conner is a major talent. Itís about time that DC started giving her the props she deserves.
JSA: Classified #3 is literally as good as a comic can get. Itís also a great place for new readers to jump on, with no real prior knowledge of the JSA or Power Girl required to enjoy the story. With a great plot, memorable character development, plenty of action and humor, and incredible artwork itís clear that with JSA: Classified Johns and Conner are a real force to be reckoned with, and I for one canít wait to see what else theyíll do with this series. Power Girl is back, because even a blonde superhero with a bad attitude and giant jugs deserves a second chance.
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