Home > DC Comics > JSA #60

JSA #60

April 12, 2004

Quick Rating: Excellent
Title: Redemption Lost Part One

An old evil returns, a Spectre wrestles with his own demons, and all heroes tackle matters of faith.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Don Kramer & Tom Mandrake
Inks: Keith Champagne & Tom Mandrake
Colors: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Cover Art: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC Comics

Geoff Johns jumps into some surprisingly weighty issues in this issue. Dr. Mid-Nite, Mr. Terrific and even the staunchly scienfitic Atom (who seems to be a part-time member of the JSA considering how often he’s popped up here lately) all wind up talking rather openly about prayer, religion, faith and redemption. Dr. Mid-Nite is struggling to solve the murder of one of his many operatives while Terrific and the Atom search the timestream for the lost Hourman. It’s a strong story that doesn’t shy away from very frank discussions of religion, and it is to Johns credit that he discusses all sides of the debate without maligning characters who believe in the Church or chilling those who don’t. It is, simply put, a story that is very respectful of different philosophies, and that’s something that is sadly rare.

That said, it’s still a superhero comic and we still get plenty of action. The first Hourman seems to be throwing himself back into the superhero game to keep from having to think of his time-lost and possibly dying son or the wife that believes he is already dead. The Spectre, for his part, is in real trouble, something that isn’t easy to do with a character that powerful, and it is his story that propels this first issue of a new story arc.

Kramer and Champagne do a very good job on the artwork. In some of his earlier issues, Kramer’s work was kind of sketchy and struggled to fit the characters. He seems to have overcome those hurtles. A big plus in the art side, however, is the three-page prologue featuring the original Spectre and Mr. Terrific, drawn by Tom Mandrake, perhaps the best Spectre artist ever. When I saw the green ghoul’s entrance on page two, I had to flip ahead to the credits to make sure it was him. It was a welcome surprise and made this issue even more fun.

It isn’t easy to weigh action and spandex with discussions of God and the afterlife, but Geoff Johns does it beautifully. Month in and month out, this is the best superhero comic book on the stands. This month is no exception.

Rating: 10/10

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