I’m starting to gather that every once in a while, DC will revamp a set of characters in order to make them feel fresh and exciting, as well as to introduce older characters to new readers. The reemergence of a JSA publication is the perfect blend of old and new, paying homage to the Golden Age heroes while welcoming new heroes to the fray.
The trade opens in the modern day. Doctor Fate has died, and Wesley Dodds (aka Sandman) is trying to find the infant who will inherit that title. Elderly and worn, Wesley gathers the first clues needed to find the child before falling to his death, a fate he welcomes with open arms because it will reunite him with his departed love, Dian.
Saddened by this sudden news, the aging members of the original JSA gather together, looking to continue the work Wesley started. Sentinal, Flash, Hyppolyta, and Wildcat vow to do what they can to solve this mystery, but not before paying their respects to their fallen friend.
While at his funeral, they are met by an attack of undead warriors, forcing them to realize that they are not the only ones who are trying to solve this puzzle. Joined by newer allies, many the descendants of original JSA members, the group splits off into three factions, all hoping to discover the identity of the baby who has been chosen to become the new Doctor Fate.
Although he’s eventually found, the members of the JSA are stopped before completing their mission, watching as the child is taken away by a powerful foe determined to take the Doctor Fate mantle for himself.
Mordru is a truly powerful enemy, easily defeating the members of the JSA. Tracked to Fate’s base, the JSA members must work together to stop him while simultaneously saving the baby.
Through the skills of The Star-Spangled Kid (a plot point undoubtedly included to lend credibility to her even being in the JSA), the child is transformed into the new Doctor Fate, a being far more powerful than Mordru himself.
Easily defeating Mordru, Fate and the rest of the JSA return to their world, vowing that a new Justice Society is needed. Everyone who fought in the battle is invited to join, with everyone except Hyppolyta (who says she will remain on reserve status) accepting.
It’s a time of changes for these characters. Not only are older mantles being adopted by a younger generation, but the well-known heroes are facing their own evolutions as well. The most notable change occurs for Sand, who has gained the ability to transform his body into sand and travel through Earth’s tectonic plates.
These changes help bring a fresh face to the JSA. Rather than reading about the exact same characters from sixty years prior, our heroes are allowed to adapt and evolve so that they feel new and exciting. The pairing of old and new here felt extremely well done, with the older generation having much to teach, and learn from, the younger one.
I enjoyed these opening issues for a rebooted JSA. The story was engaging, and I appreciated the fact that I understood the references they made to the comics of old. Granted, there were plenty of characters I wasn’t overly familiar with, and so these references were a bit lost on me. Still, enough context was given that I understood their role, even if I didn’t feel a wave of nostalgia for their reappearances.
There are additional JSA trades ahead of me on “the shelf”. With the basic group already set up at the end of this first trade, I have a feeling future issues will simply deal with the JSA facing off against any number of threatening foes. It’s what the original JSA did, and it’s a role the group will inevitably continue. Here’s hoping the blend of nostalgia and progression continues in those stories as well. It’s a key factor that makes this comic feel far more significant.