Thursday, September 16, 2004

JSA #65 - A Review

Written by: Geoff Johns
Penciled by: Don Kramer
Inked by: Keith Champagne
Colored by: John Kalisz
Lettered by: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics

This is a great book, plain and simple. The artwork is never sub-par and the writing is everything you can hope for. The one complaint I have about the book? That it is somewhat difficult for new readers to get into, due to the large number of regular characters in the book and the extensive amount of history that Geoff Johns routinely draws upon.

True story: I have a regular at my store named Joshua. A few weeks ago, Joshua was looking for a new book to take up: something that was good, totally unlike anything else written today and above all else, about superheroes being superheroes.

A week later, he came in and said that he was a little confused about the whos and whys of what was going on. Still, he could tell a good ripping yarn when he saw it and that he wanted to know more. Such is Johns’ gift that he inspires people to read more with his complexities than turning them away. This month’s issue is a key example of this, building upon the subplots of two past issues and one of the more interesting, if unappreciated, new characters in recent memory.

A few months ago (or five weeks comic time), Rick Tyler was critically injured during a battle. Using a time-travel gauntlet given to him by Matthew Tyler (a robot from the far future, so advanced that his software is based off DNA), he went to a point in time where time doesn’t flow. It is here that Rick’s father, Rex Tyler, is being kept for one relative hour so that the two may have a chance to reconcile before Rex must return to the point in time when he died. All three of these men called Tyler have another common link: they are all heroes who bare the name Hourman.

As this issue opens, Rick Tyler (the son) is bleeding to death, but frozen in time so that he is not yet dead. Rex Tyler (the dead) has switched places with his son, and spent the past few weeks trying to fight the urge to go see the wife who thinks he is dead. And Matthew Tyler (the robot) shows up having just returned from the future, to return everyone to their rightful place and get Rick the medical help he sorely needs.

Small wonder some are overwhelmed by this title, huh? You have to have a full blown degree in DC Comics History to know who is who and what is going on and why. This comic is a total blast for those of us who can keep up with it (and mind you, even I get confused as to some of what happens in this title sometimes) but a total misery at times for those of us who can’t. Still, for those like Joshua who are willing to muddle through it, JSA can be a real treat and quite the education.

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