By: Adam Basciano
“THE GREEN LANTERN, THE FLASH and HAWKGIRL in action! The debut of the all-new ATOM SMASHER! A monstrous evil claws its way out of the poisoned soil of EARTH 2! It’s the final showdown with GRUNDY! The Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and The Flash take on Grundy and the military’s hero, The Atom! The Green Lantern makes a choice that will change the course of Earth 2 forever!” (DC Comics)
Fans of the DC Universe were excited when it was announced that the JSA would be a part of the New 52. The result was this title. While the first three issues have been great, each one has largely focused on one of the books central characters. Issues #4 and #5 mark the first official team-up of the JSA, although they don’t call themselves that…yet. All three have bandied together to take on Grundy, the big reveal from last issue and they’re failing miserably. A large portion of that is because of Grundy’s regenerative capability, but part of it is the trio’s inexperience. What’s unique about the situation is that while The Flash seems like the rookie of the group, Alan Scott is just as inexperienced with his power ring as Jay Garrick is with his speed. It’s just covered up better because Alan is written as a natural-born leader. Oddly, the character with the most “superhero” experience is the one readers know the least about. Hawkgirl, a.k.a Kendra Saunders. The bickering banter between Hawkgirl and The Flash added just the right amount of levity, in the midst of the world going to hell in an handbasket….again!
While these two issues largely focus on the teams battle with Grundy, they expand more on the larger Earth 2 Universe. We see more of the World Council. Think S.H.I.E.L.D. but with a larger influence and scope. The World Council sends Captain Al Pratt better known as the Atom, to take down Grundy and wrangle up the three new “wonders” for further study. On that note, why does the solicitation refer to him as Atom Smasher? While that may have been his code name in previous continuity, it’s just the Atom here. Maybe they should start double checking their solicitations before releasing them, it’s not the first time there’s been an error. Green Lantern’s struggle is essentially the green vs the grey/the rot as referred to in the book. These concepts are remarkably similar to the war going on in Swamp Thing. That’s not a bad thing as both books have taken the concept of good vs evil, managed to keep it simple, while at the same time approaching it from a different angle. While the concepts in the two books are similar, Swamp Thing approaches it from a horror standpoint, while this book gives you a more traditional superhero version of that struggle. Is it me, or is Grundy much more coherent and intelligent than his previous incarnation? Also, Green Lantern being able to connect to the earth’s energy from the internal matrix within the world! I’m confused as hell as to what exactly that means, but it’s cooler then any construct his ring could create!
Nicola Scott is one of those artists that you have to try really hard to criticize her work. The only thing I’ve managed to come up with over 5 issues is The Flash and Hawkgirl’s head-gear. It looks uglier than helmets worn by russian hockey players in the 70’s! Other than that, her work is pure perfection. Having to draw so many characters in the same scenes over the course of two issues didn’t faze her at all. The quality and detail remained, no matter how chaotic the action got. Green Lantern throwing a flying punch at Grundy, the Atom landing on Grundy, Grundy rising from the rot, were all some of the best action splash pages in the book. If you aren’t fully in the throes of this book from the get go, Green Lantern’s descent into the internal matrix of the world will get you there.
Overall Grade: 10/10