by Michael Vance & Dr. Jon Suter
August 25, 1999
Reviews in this issue:
Browser and Sequoia
- Justice Society of America - Guns of the Dragon
Browser and Sequoia - Justice Society of America - Guns of the Dragon
Published by SaberCat and marketed for youngsters. This pseudo-American Indian folktale about gentle sky spirits, cute animals and evil hunters portrays Creation as more important than Creator, and culture as more important than truth. The truth is out there, and this is not it.
Society of America
After a fairly
dull summer, things are looking up, at least for DC Comics.
The first issue
of JSA comes as no surprise to those who followed the two-issue revival
of All Star Comics earlier this year and the "Crisis Times 5"
storyline in JLA.
JSA and JLA
are, of course, shorthand for the Justice Society of America and the
Justice League of America.
The first JSA
story is well written and well drawn. If James Robinson and David Goyer can
maintain the intriguing scripts and Stephen Sandowski can maintain his initial
art, the future looks bright. (There have been other bright starts in the JSA's
history that have not held up.)
The new JSA has
some returning members from its earliest days: Wildcat, Green Lantern (now known
as Sentinel), and Flash. Many of the new members are children of early members:
Black Canary, Atom and Starman. There is a promise of a new Hawkwoman and a new
The first issue
begins with the funeral of the original Sandman and the death of the latest
version of Doctor Fate. It ends with a mysterious summons to recreate the JSA in
order to save the world. There are hints of other menaces to appear in later
issues. All in all, this is an auspicious blend of old and new.
desirable reprint of the 14 "Cataclysm" stories from the various Batman
titles has appeared. Although those stories are barely a year old, demand has
been so high that back issues are very difficult to obtain. Reading the stories
at one setting certainly increases their impact although there are small
glitches in continuity. For $17.95, this is a bargain.
DC has had
stories about similar catastrophes, but they rarely affect subsequent plotlines.
The impact of the "Invasion" series soon faded. The destruction of
Coast City in Green Lantern has surprisingly few ripples. That dilutes
the impact of such stories, but "Cataclysm" may be more significant.
Review by Dr.
of the Dragon
late 1998, a curious four issue series from DC Comics slipped into comic book
stores. At first, I was rather aghast at the concept behind Guns of the
Dragon, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. The hero should have
been dead before the time of the story.
still remember the impact in 1965 of DC's Showcase #'s57 and 58. Joe
Kubert's first "Enemy Ace" stories were unlike anything my generation
had seen. The brooding hero, a German pilot of W.W.I, quickly became a legend
but was never able to generate a long running series.
was hinted many times that the Enemy Ace, Rittmeister von Hammer, would perish
in the closing days of the Great War; therefore, it was a shock to see him on
the cover of Guns of the Dragon with Bat Lash (a disreputable, humorous
character from DC's westerns), and a dinosaur.
did buy all four issues, partially because of the artist. I have always
respected artist Tim Truman.
story, set in 1927 Asia, is deeply influenced by Terry and the Pirates, a
classic comic strip of the 1930s, and Steve Canyon. Some of the political
intrigue also reminds me of Mr. Moto novels, but this story is far more
fantastic. The flavor of pulp magazines in the 1930s is strong.
that dinosaur? In the 1960s, long before Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park, DC's Star
Spangled War Stories featured stories about Dinosaur Island. In Guns,
von Hammer, Bat Lash, and others agree to find the legendary isle.
cast includes Vandal Savage, the immortal villain; Miss Fear (a rewrite of
Caniff's Dragon Lady) and a Japanese werewolf Even Mao Tse-tung and Chian Kai-shek
figure briefly in the story.
story holds together better than I expected, but purists will probably protest
the use of Enemy Ace in such a context. Even if you don't care for or want this
story, you should have some of Kubert's original version in your collection.
by Dr. Jon Suter
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