Last month’s issue of “JSA All-Stars” was a lot of fun, easily one of the better issues of the series so far. Sturges pushed the team off into space for two issues, and took the opportunity to focus on the largely-ignored Cyclone. It was a nice change of pace, focusing on her “civilian” life as a student at Harvard, and gave her more to do than several years worth of “Justice Society of America” issues.
This month, though, it feels like a step backwards. All the fun and excitement? Gone. Now it’s just a lot of technobabble about Cyclone’s missing powers and how she’s going to retrieve them, and why there are twelve duplicates of her all running around. In explaining what’s going on and how it’s going to get fixed, Sturges loses sight of what made the first half of the story interesting. Now it feels like just another superhero story, although in this case it’s also a not terribly exciting one to boot. Boo.
It doesn’t help that Sturges uses three of the pages to check in on the rest of the team, and it feels like three pages that could have been better used to do something more interesting with Cyclone. I suspect I’m not the only one who felt like they were all expendable pages, and that there are no readers who really cared about the All-Stars helping an alien race we’ve never seen before (and probably will never see again).
Howard Porter and Art Thibert’s art this month also looks much more rough than the previous issue, which is a disappointment. Pages look cluttered and lacking energy, and that’s certainly part of the problem with the issue. Even when the money shot shows up as the twelve Cyclones take down the source of their problems, it’s an interesting layout of the characters but somehow still feels lackluster. Porter’s pencils are normally bursting with energy, so this is a problem I wasn’t expecting.
“JSA All-Stars” continues to be frustratingly up and down; some issues are good, others not so much. And, it seems, that’s a trend that will continue. Hopefully things will eventually stabilize here, because I’d like one good JSA comic to tide me over for now. With a little work, this could be the one.