Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Virtue, Vice and Pumkpin Pie
The Justice Society and Justice League again try to enjoy a Thanksgiving without incident. It wouldn’t be much of a story if they succeeded, would it?
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Don Kramer
Inks: Keith Champagne
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Carlos Pacheco & Jesus Merino
Publisher: DC Comics
In a sort-of-sequel to last year’s JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice graphic novel (which is not required reading for this issue), the two superhero teams, along with several members of their extended families, again come together in the hopes of a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner. Johns takes a real chance in this issue, splicing scenes of straight comedy in with scenes of real character development and progression of several subplots. It makes for a highly entertaining read. Some scenes, such as the interaction between Impulse and Jakeem Thunder (this issue clearly takes place before the current Teen Titans series, which is a little odd since Johns writes both books, but that’s a minor quibble) are laugh out loud funny. Some, like Stargirl’s reaction to the seating arrangements, make you smack your forehead in exasperation.
Some are just really good – Dr. Mid-Nite’s confrontation with Black Canary, the obvious attraction between Hourman and Jesse Quick… the big plus this title has over its sister book, JLA, is that Johns is the sole custodian of most of these characters, and therefore has much more freedom to develop them as characters, delve into their personal lives, and tell really great stories. Even with that particular handcuff on him, this book makes me wish DC would give him a crack at the regular JLA title.
Kramer’s artwork is good, but seeing the artwork of the original Virtue and Vice team of Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino on the cover makes you wish they could have done the whole book. Their work on Arrowsmith these days is spectacular, and they really should be full-time on a major title.
Holiday-themed comics always run the risk of becoming too schmaltzy. This one doesn’t. It just tells a good, sweet and solid superhero comedy.