Current Reviews


Justice Society of America Annual #2

Posted: Friday, February 12, 2010
By: Andre Lamar

Keith Giffen & Matthew Sturges
Tom Derenick, Rodney Ramos (i), Allen Passalaqua (c)
DC Entertainment
Power Girl thinks Magog is out of control, believing he freed inmates from Haven Prison. The JSA locate Magog and question him about the jail break. During the interrogation, the team realizes they’re being surrounded by a handful of dangerous criminals. While fending off the thugs, Power Girl continues to get to the bottom of the matter and finally discovers that things aren’t what they seem.

Keith Giffen and Matthew Sturges continue to increase the rift between Magog and Kara by using numerous opportunities to show the heroes quarrel with one another. For example, Lance Corporal becomes tired of Kara’s snooping around and body slams her through Haven‘s brick wall. Giffen and Sturges include more fallouts, thus creating extra mayhem, especially when Corporal violently assaults another superhero with his lance.

As well, the writers attempt to balance this script with comedy. In particular, there’s a scene in which Mister America confronts a crook that’s holding a toilet paper roll. The criminal dubs the tube as his “heat lance” and creates a torch with it. He remarks, “A pity I can only do this once. Cardboard, don’t you know.”

Tom Derenick, and company, have their work cutout for them. Due to the amount of chaos from Magog and the inmates, nearly every panel contains a battle sequence. Visually, one of my favorite moments displays Alan Scott manipulating his ring into a hammer in order to pummel Magog. The panel depicts a nice over-the-shoulder perspective of Lance, as Scott thrusts the forged weapon into his teammate’s gut. Afterwards, another intense scene occurs as the brutal hero bulldozes Scott through a brick wall.

Sadly, the second Justice Society of America Annual is plagued with countless setbacks. Initially, the first page of artwork appears to look decent. Yet, the remaining pages are inconsistent, as the visuals seem to diminish in quality. Rather than illustrate close-up or medium shots, Derenick uses a plethora of far-away shots to depict his characters. This decreases the detail in his work, allowing panels to appear shorthanded and rushed.

As well, Allen Passalaqua’s color pallet and special effects appear drab. Although this isn’t the case for every panel, it’s evident Passalaqua’s execution of color on smoke effects, and fire, leaves more to be desired. The disappointing thing is that these artists are capable of contributing consistent visuals. And there’s certainly evidence of this too, upon completing the book.

In short, this issue is a disappointment. Lackluster drawings and color did this book in. Unfortunately, the artists failed to provide dynamic and exciting work.

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