Sunday, March 23, 2003

JSA: The Unholy Three #2 - A Review

Written by: Dan Jolley and Tony Harris
Penciled by: Tony Harris
Inked by: Ray Snyder
Colored by: J.D. Mettler
Lettered by: Ken Lopez
Editor: Pete Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics

DC Comics’ Elseworld tales tend to be a mixed bag at times. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, Elseworlds stories take classic characters we all know and let us see how they are changed as they are placed into new settings, new times periods and alternate worlds. Half the fun of these stories is playing “spot the character” as the story progresses and fans of Elseworld stories will enjoy the second chapter of “The Unholy Three” if only for this reason. After the pervious chapter in which reference is made to an entire organization of covert costumed heroes, we finally get to see some of these heroes of the Golden Age of comics, though in altered costumes which are gorgeously rendered by Tony Harris’ exquisite pencils.

The plot is a seamless mesh of James Bond and mystery men heroics. It involves a rogue agent within the ranks of this secretive, 1940’s Justice Society and their efforts to recover a doomsday device known only as “The Trigger”. The agent’s surprising identity was revealed in the first part of this mini-series and their background and motivations are quickly explored in the introduction to this second and final part as the rest of the team is assembled to face off against the rogue.

The fight between the team and the rogue makes up the better portion of the book and makes up for the somewhat limited focus upon three heroes (The Bat, The Clock and The Super-Man) in the first chapter. Harris’ pencils are brilliant in conveying the action, leaving me to ask once again why he is not working on a monthly book right now. Jolley’s dialogue is wonderfully understated in the fight scenes, letting Harris’s art do the job of telling the story during the fights. And when there is not any fighting, the dialogue expands to flesh out all characters, giving us a bit of personality even in those members of the team that we only see for a few pages.

Both the writing and art mesh well to create a tale well worth its’ hefty 14 dollar total for both parts of the story; nearly the cost of most TP’s today! Still, fans of Harris’ work on Starman and the JSA could do much worse and cannot do much better than to give this story a try. I hope we can expect a third part to this series sometime in the near future.

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