[JSA Book Club] Week 7: Black Planet [5/17-5/30]

Welcome fellow JSA fans. Hope all of you are doing well. This week we continue our look at the stories from the 1999 JSA title. We will also take a look at a couple of stories featuring Stargirl in honor of debut of her new TV series here on DC Universe. Feel free to discuss the show here if you want. And now lets bring this meeting to order.

Roll Call

Club Leaders

@JasonTodd428 & @Aurora

Standing Members

bigblock66, Brenticus_Rex, CassTheStreet, CrazyQuilt, Daffern, december360, Don-El, frankie.lacy79, Frostbite30, HombreDeMaiz, hotstufflouie, Jay_Kay, Jflow, jlevin, jonpertwee, Kon-El, lunalane, mbpbinder, Meisaj, MisfitCMT, PrincessAmethyst, ProActress2O, ralphsix, Ravenrifft, rlynchfamily, rm, TurokSonOfStone

Week Seven Reading

* JSA Secret Files 1.3 (History 101)

* Impulse #61 (Sidekick Swap)

* JSA (1999) #9-12

Discussion (In Two Parts)

Part One: Stories featuring Courtney Whitmore in celebration of the new “Stargirl” series.

  1. What did you guys think of the “History 101” story in the JSA Secret Files?

  2. When you were Courtney’s age did you find your “family history” boring?

  3. In “Sidekick Swap” Impulse and Star Spangled Kid are set to learn about their legacies but are interrupted by the appearances of some villains. Which fight did you like best and why?

  4. How did you guys like the partnership between Impulse and S.T. R. I. P.E. and Max and Star Spangled Kid?

Part Two: JSA 9-15

  1. What did you guys think of the conclusion of the “Darkness Falls” story?

  2. Gotta love Wildcat. What was your favorite fight scene against the Injustice Society.

  3. What did you think of Mr. Terrific’s appearanin these issues?

  4. Al appears to have gained more power here. What kind of strain do you think it puts on his body?

  5. Kobra got his butt kicked here. What was your favorite part of the fight?

Well that’s all the time we have this week. Join Aurora next time for the further adventures of Infinity, Inc. Join me in a few weeks for the further adventures of the JSA as we move back a few decades to pick up with issue #58 of All Star Comics (1976) which is the issue that returned the JSA to publication. Stay safe and healthy everyone.

Join the JSA BOOK CLUB here.

2 Likes

Haven’t started reading these yet, but I did start listening to this.

2 Likes

That’s a strange coincidence isn’t it?

1 Like
  1. It’s difficult to write teens. They tend to be written as overly-childish or overly-sophisticated, Most of the Courtney Whitmore appearances in the stories highlighted here lean toward the former. She acts more like an eight year-old than a teenager, especially a fifteen or sixteen year-old. The “I’d rather be kicking butt, y’know?” panel is a good example of this in “History 101.” I always thought Fabian Nicieza’s run on New Warriors was a good example of teenage/young adult superhero writing. Courtney in JSA and Impulse doesn’t give kids much credit.

  2. I think you’re interested in the parts of family history that interest you and align with who you think you are at the moment. That’s part of the reason I don’t buy this writing. She does perk up when hearing about Syl though. That part works and aligns with how I probably felt. I haven’t been her age in quite some time.

  3. The fight with Paintball made me chuckle. “You won’t escape my artistic vision!” Ha!

  4. I’m not that familiar with Impulse. I liked Max enough to want to dig deeper. I’m not a big fan of this depiction of Pat Dugan. I prefer the Infinity Inc. version we saw earlier in the club.

I’ll tackle the rest later. Thanks!

2 Likes

I agree that it’s very difficult for some writers to write believable teens. I think some writers just aren’t able, for a variety of reasons, to get into the right headspace to effectively do so. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good writers though. Then again being able to write any specific type of character well can be an issue in general. I don’t know how many times I’ve felt that a particular writer doesn’t write some character well.

Yeah I haven’t been her age in quite some time either but I do remember thinking family history was dull back then. Well unless it was stories about my grandpa and his brothers as kids. Those bits of history were very funny. It wasn’t until much later that I became interested in my family history.

That was my favorite fight too. Paintball makes me laugh.

I’m glad. I will be doing the same as well.

Thanks for the reply. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

1 Like

It was okay. It was neat to see her interested in her own personal legacy as a hero. I didn’t like this artist’s rendition of Sentinel, though. What was up with the hair?!

Not at all! I’ve always loved history. I did not, however, enjoy hanging out with “old people.”

I love the Gentleman Ghost. He’s a villian I really think about, but every time I see him I get excited. There’s just something cool about him.

It was cute how much they realllly are better at handling their own protege.

2 Likes

I wondered about that too. I didn’t care much for it myself.

There were plenty of “old people” I didn’t like hanging out with when I was a kid but my grandpa was not one of them. He always had fun stories to tell about things he’d done and places he’d been. Those sorts of stories excited me as a kid.

I agree that there’s just something about him. He might be just a minor villain but I think that may be what makes him special. At least no one can complain that he is overused. :grin:

3 Likes

Down vote:

1 Like

Honestly, I read this a couple of weeks ago because I couldn’t just not finish, but it was a satisfying conclusion from what I recall. Felt sorry for GL and Jade. I would rather have Obsidian as a depressed good guy than a deranged bad guy, though.

Well, I liked him using the remnants of the one side as a toothpick at the end, so let’s go with that one.

I liked him better here than in a lot of his later appearances. He comes across too conceited a lot of times, but I didn’t get that too much in these issues.

I don’t know, but it sure was fun seeing Angry Giant grab Kobra and almost crush him. That was great art.

That crushing part mentioned above. I also like it when Catalyst was all, “Nope! Ain’t dealing with this nut!” and hightailed it outta there.

3 Likes

The reviews are pouring in today!!

Pt 1: Stargirl stories

  1. The History 101 story was enjoyable where the older JSAer was speaking, but hard to take when the bubble gum popping petulant bored Courtney would interact. I honestly didn’t care for her initial presentation, I was a much bigger fan of Stargirl in the later run of JSA when Cyclone shows up etc.
  1. At Courtney’s age, I actually enjoyed hearing about my family’s origins.

  2. Thanks for featuring this Impulse story. When Impulse was coming out monthly, I was scooping it up. I enjoyed the concept of the character (I lean towards the impulsive side) but especially the slow roll out of the other speedsters’ storylines like Max Mercury. I’ll say I enjoyed the Gentleman Ghost bit more, although a little more explanation on why he was cooking in their kitchen would have been appreciated.

  3. The temporary switching of adult mentors was fun to read. It reminds me of a former job I had with a S&P 500 tech company with exemplar HR and training / betterment focus for employees, we would get a manager from a separate department to mentor us individually for a year, have assignments to work on, report back at least quarterly. Mentoring is helpful to both parties.

3 Likes

I apologize to you both for the late reply but I’ve started back to work this week and the schedule there is a bit wonky.

Yeah, I really feel for GL and Jade here. Neither one of them noticed Obsidian spiraling into depression and it cost them. I really felt for Obsidian too.

I agree with you. To be honest I don’t really care for his character most of the time because of his coming across as conceited. I find it annoying.

That was part made me laugh.

I really enjoy Impulse as well. I actually wasn’t able to stop reading it once I got started. As for Gentleman Ghost I did wonder why it was he found it necessary to cook in their kitchen. Seems odd.

I enjoyed the switch in mentors as well but then again I enjoy seeing characters working with other mentors besides their own. It brings a fresh perspective to the one being mentored.

3 Likes

Again the cards and letters are rushing into this fan site!!!

Issue 9, the end of the darkness saga was a pretty good read. You got to love the ending of older Wildcat talking to Catwoman and then the new Injustice society comes in to his house. They look familiar like something I’ve seen on TV recently…

2 Likes

When I was younger I thought the same about things I wasn’t interested in. Why would I need to look at things I think are useless. But superhero stuff I’d have been excited to see.

Actually quite the opposite. My family is a mixed bag so I wanted to know about my fathers side from Puerto Rico and my mothers side because they came from Ireland. I was intrigued about family.

I think I enjoyed the Paintball fight a bit more. It’s a character I don’t really remember but thought he is kinda cool. The Gentleman Ghost fight was like Ghostbusters. HA

Well it seems like both teen heroes are quick to the fight and jumping the gun but ultimately getting the job done with the older hero with them.

I really enjoyed it. Especially after reading Infinity, Inc, All-Star Squadron, and Young All-Stars a few years ago. I love the rich history that James Robinson and Geoff Johns tap into.

I think mine was against the Killer Wasp. He gets the character to fight him in a bare knuckle fight but finds out that his opponent has real wings and its not just a costume.

Knowing now that that is just his character it was cool to see him from the beginning. He does seem a little full of himself but he is very similar to Ozymandias.

When Atom-Smasher grabs his plane while he’s trying to flee. He gets larger than normal and crushes Kobra nearly to death.

Yeah me too.

There were bits of family history that caught my attention periodically.

-I loved hearing about my grandfather on my dad’s side who came here via steamship as a kid. He was from Italy and came here to start a new life. My dad always talked about him and the struggles he faced raising his kids alone and the prejudice he faced being an Italian during WWII. (I’ve since found his name on a passenger list as well as the name of the ship that brought him here.)

I do love it when writers tap into the rich history of these characters or any characters really. There is so much depth with the JSA in particular. I think a lot of that has been lost across the board in comics. In some cases writers these days are too intent on “leaving their mark” on a character or team and very often don’t bother to look at the actual history involved with them.

Having recently read Watchman I did notice the similarity as well.

1 Like

1. What did you guys think of the “History 101” story in the JSA Secret Files?

I found it quite interesting. I think it was kind of the point for Courtney to at first come off like a bratty know it all, and then start to come around.

2. When you were Courtney’s age did you find your “family history” boring?

Actually, I always liked listening to my grandparent’s stories. I miss them more and more now that I am older, and they are gone now.

3. In “Sidekick Swap” Impulse and Star Spangled Kid are set to learn about their legacies but are interrupted by the appearances of some villains. Which fight did you like best and why?

I rather enjoyed the Gentleman ghost story. It’s explained much much later why Courtney has such a hard time when fighting him, and why he can’t hurt her (but I am not going to spoil it for those that haven’t read that issue yet)

4. How did you guys like the partnership between Impulse and S.T. R. I. P.E. and Max and Star Spangled Kid?

It was interesting seeing Pat react to the difference between dealing with the little bundle of attitude, and the little hyper pingpong ball. I can see where that would be a complete headache for a non-speedster.

Part Two: JSA 9-15

1. What did you guys think of the conclusion of the “Darkness Falls” story?

I think Obsidian makes an absolutely terrifying villain, even if he’s mentally unstable and it’s not completely his fault. It’s really sad to see him going off the deep end that way.

2. Gotta love Wildcat. What was your favorite fight scene against the Injustice Society.

I really liked that entire part. I can’t pick just one fight, but I thought him sitting in the tub having phone naughty with Catwoman was hilarious.

3. What did you think of Mr. Terrific’s appearance these issues?

I’ve always liked the character as a concept. I can see where he could at times come off as conceited. People with that overachieving sort of personality often do.

4. Al appears to have gained more power here. What kind of strain do you think it puts on his body?

I know it’s been implied that the more he pushes his abilities, the more of a strain it puts on him physically, and the more pain it causes him. He can grow to some astounding heights, but it’s extremely painful for him to do so past a certain threshold.

5. Kobra got his butt kicked here. What was your favorite part of the fight?

As someone else has already said seeing Al literally ripping that plane out of the sky. I think Al showed a remarkable amount of restraint even with the emotional pain he was going through. He could have squashed Kobra like a bug and didn’t (even if he was very much thinking about it)

1 Like

I miss mine as well. My grandparents all had such interesting lives and I wish now that I could hear more about it from the source as it were.

Bart is a bundle of energy that’s for sure. He reminds me of my oldest nephew in a way. Always on the move and chattering a mile a minute about everything.[quote=“Aurora, post:15, topic:1010474”]
I think Obsidian makes an absolutely terrifying villain, even if he’s mentally unstable and it’s not completely his fault. It’s really sad to see him going off the deep end that way
[/quote]

He was very terrifying and, for me, knowing he was slipping further and further over the edge made him even more so.

That last was hilarious to me too.

He did at that. I have to think that maybe it was in part because his turning into a killer would not have been something his mother would have wanted.

Of course, we all know Al was my first big comic book crush as a kid. I really wish they would bring him back as more than just a baddie of the week on Flash. :frowning_face:

1 Like