This book isn’t so much a special issue of the Justice Society as much as it is an extended issue from the now cancelled and fading (or being driven out with torches and farm implements) “Magog” series. It’s a “Magog” special, but “Justice Society of America Special” seems less toxic. It also, most certainly, isn’t special.
The charm (for lack of a better word) of Magog was his incontrovertible link to the fan-favorite “Kingdom Come” series. For most of his existence, however, DC has chosen to keep Magog at arm’s length (or much farther) from the “Kingdom” mythos. That’s when the character started to corrode and become less than he could be. Scott Kolins, brought onto the “Magog” title to wrap up the story of David Reid, chose to insert some elements of “Kingdom Come,” but it was too little, too late.
N.I.L.8. from “Kingdom Come” – a boyhood friend of Magog’s transformed into a weapon by a cult (only recently introduced in the final issues of “Magog”) that worships Gog – is in this issue, as are the Brain Trust. N.I.L.8. and the Brain Trust don’t get a whole lot of character development here, serving more as cannon fodder for the assembled might of the Justice Society and the All-Stars.
Scott Kolins is a much better artist than writer, but in this issue, his art falters. It seems rushed and incomplete. It’s uneven throughout the book, with some panels looking phoned in. I’m pretty sure that even if he had brought his A-game, nothing would have saved this story, since the premise is tired and has worn thin. Magog is misunderstood, and then everyone realizes that Magog isn’t the bad guy, things get cleared up, and Magog is lamented once he disappears.
This issue isn’t only stretched thin in the art; the story is inconsistent and doesn’t allow any one character to really shine. Kolins forces a bromance to develop between Wildcat (Ted) and Axel. Power Girl gets to vent her spleen about Magog, the United States army shows up to clean up the Gog-inspired mess – in Iraq! – and some comic book science gets put to use in a manner that would make Julie Schwartz fume (“Flash’s speed alone is containing all that raw power!” What?!).
This special simply isn’t special, and for the price on the cover it’s darn near painful. The worst part of it all? Magog’s story isn’t even over.