Saturday, March 15, 2008

Review of _JSA Classified: Honor Among Thieves_

I picked this book up because of its cover -- it had some nice dark shadowy pictures of members of the Justice Society -- and because the JSA seems quirky and I thought I'd learn more about it. But most of it isn't about the JSA, but their opponents. The first couple of pages hooked me and landed me fast: a story from the villain's point of view.

I don't know these characters very knowledge of the wider DC universe past the big names like Superman and Batman is pretty limited. What was interesting about this one, though, was that the authors carried off a solid story with some rather silly characters. What unfolds is a story that you might get if you took a crazy supervillain scenario and looked behind it. Why do they put on their silly getups? Why do they attack the superheroes, when they know they're likely to lose?

Well, the story doesn't go too far into the last, but it provides strong motivations for the characters, and makes the formation of something called the Injustice Society seem to make sense, at least for the duration of the tale.

"The woman -- is she with us?"
"Ava? Nah, villain groupie. Imports expensive chocolates."

By the end of it, I'm heavily rooting for the villains. The main character, Icicle, has a strong voice and displays honor and passion; what more could you want? Further, he plans out his escapades carefully, so there's the fun of a caper plot. And given that they're all villains, there's an edge-of-your-seat, who-might-turn-on-who-next quality to the story.

The characters are a motley bunch with wildly different a lot of super teams. But they clearly have a lot of history together; they struggle to survive; they support each other. I recommend it.

Oh, there's a completely separate story at the end of this volume. It's pretty good, but I was all caught up in the villains by this point, and in no mood for irrelevant JSA stuff. :)

2007. Written by Jan Van Meter and Peter J. Tomasi.

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