Return of a
JSA: The Return of Hawkman TPB
Writers: David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns
Artist: Stephen Sadowski
December 17, 2004
By Avi Green
This is something I’m quite proud to review, though it doesn’t start
all at once with the return of the Winged Warrior. Before that, we
have a story in which the JSA faces the menace of one of their old
foes, Johnny Sorrow and the new Injustice Society.
Before the former arrives, the latter is what proves a threat for
starters. Count Vertigo, who may also be a foe of Green Arrow,
attacks Black Canary and Dr. Mid-Nite in a resturant where they’re
going on a first date. The Rival, Jay Garrick’s old nemesis, who
appeared in the last issue of the first volume of the Flash from the
time he was the star, has also reappeared, and is out to murder his
loving wife, Joan. And the son of the original Icicle, and the
daughter of the original Tigress, Artemis Crock, along with the
Thinker, whose memories now exist in computerized form, infiltrate
the JSA’s NYC headquarters, and when attacking, injure Alan Scott,
the first Green Lantern, with the spawn of Blackbriar Thorn, who’s
by no means dead from his last encounter with Wildcat, and use the
Thinker to lock the openings to the building. Happily, Star-Spangled
Girl and Hawkgirl save the day, ditto Mr. Terrific when he works to
save Alan from death, and Dinah and Pieter succeed in downing Count
Vertigo. And Jay, well, to beat Rival, he’s really got to go to some
extreme measures, and that means siphoning off his own power supply
via the Speed Force, which renders his own body a bit dark as well
for a short amount of time.
Blackbriar Thorn was a druidic demon first seen in DC Comics Presents in February
1984, when pre-Crisis, Superman teamed up with Etrigan/Demon, the
Jack Kirby creation who dealt with occult threats and spoke in
rhymes whenever he could. Here, he’s a simpler villain who’s made of
tree wood, what the original one turned into when he sought to evade
the Roman troops who invaded Britain in ancient times, but certainly
a dangerous foe for Alan Scott, given how his power ring is useless
against wooden objects. And Crock, the daughter of both the original
Tigress, who was also the first to bear the name Huntress prior to
Helena Wayne/Bertinelli after she went over to the crooked side
during the Bronze Age, certainly makes a fitting foe for Hawkgirl
here. And Rival/Edward Clariss, he escaped jail years ago, and in
doing so, accidentally entered the Speed Force, but was able to
emerge in time, thanks in part to Sorrow’s meddling. His premise
here is also an interesting one, that later got explored in the new
Kid Flash’s series from the time he was Impulse.
I also liked the pairing between Black Canary and Dr. Mid-Nite, who
make a smart couple here, and work well together when faced with the
danger of this villain who uses sound waves as a weapon.
Now, let’s turn ahead to Johnny Sorrow.
When Johnny Sorrow first appeared in the Golden Age, he was a silent
movie star put out to pasture when the talkies took over the movie
theaters, one of the cleverest premises for a villain at the time.
He often used a special teleportation device to elude his pursuers,
and it was when Sandy Hawkins, at the time he was the original
Sandman’s sidekick, Sandy the Golden Boy, shot a special arrow at
the device itself, that it sent the mechanism haywire, and Johnny
ended up being disintegrated into the afterlife.
But it wasn’t over. Soon, Sorrow made a deal with the devil of some
sort in which he was able to return from the dead as a figure
wearing a mask, that, when removed, whatever face was shown behind
it was likely to kill anyone who beheld it. And that was precisely
what happened when Sorrow paid a visit to his wife, and put her to
death when he foolishly removed his mask. For this, he tried to
murder Sandy as well, kidnapping him to a playhouse in Chicago where
he could offer him his last wishes before doing him in. Luckily, the
Justice Society, with the Spectre in tow, comes to his rescue,
although Jim Corrigan, the original Spectre, finds cleaning up a
nasty threat left around by Sorrow more than he can handle.
Now, Johnny Sorrow is back again, in a world conquest scheme, and
with him comes a huge army of giant beetles to stir up trouble in an
around New York. And it looks like even the Spectre, this time being
Hal Jordan, may be hard pressed to stop him. But it’s quite amazing
how they do, with the help of Black Adam, who’s trying to reform and
tries to help the goodies, and with Jay’s help, they’re able to
knock him back into the afterlife…though Jay ends up knocking
himself back to the Egyptian era in the process, which makes for the
next storyline, presented in a JSA
Secret Files and Origins issue.
The aforementioned special is where we also get a look at what’s
really the main focus of this enjoyable compilation, and that’s…the
return of Hawkman to the spotlight!
Jay finds himself in Egypt at the time when Hawkman was prince Khufu
Kha-Tarr, and Black Adam was Teth-Adam, an aide of his who flew and
had superhuman speed and strength, though is still less so than
Superman. And Kendra Saunders, she’s also recently been starting to
voice dialect that sounds more like her great aunt Sheira
Sanders-Hall, who’d been killed in a merger she and her husband had
with the second Hawkman, Katar Hol, during Zero Hour. Sandy Hawkins turns to her grandfather,
the compulsive adventurer Speed Saunders, and learns that Kendra had
tried to commit suicide when she was 17 years old, but, after having
been presumed dead for a few minutes in the hospital, she suddenly
recovered – or was it more than just that? Her eyes, which had been
green, were now suddenly brown, just like her great aunt’s, and it
was when seeing this that Speed suddenly realized that Sheira must
be reincarnated within the body of his own granddaughter, though her
memories apparently clashed with those of Sheira’s, so she hadn’t
realized she could actually be her own great aunt. It was then that
he began to encourage her to train for taking up the role Sheira
excelled in years before.
Kendra meanwhile, goes to visit her parents’ grave, and is met by
the angel Zauriel on the way, who explains to her the possibilities
of what’s happened. But she’s understandably confused and in despair
by all this, though soon after this experience, she’s transported to
Thanagar, quite by surprise, where she discovers that the planet’s
facing a conquest by a cruel dictator named Onimar Synn, (though he
is honorable enough to put a prisoner to death out of mercy) who
uses Ninth Metal to his advantage in several ways. And when the rest
of her teammates come to find her and to save the planet, they too
are captured when taken by surprise by both the dictator and his
cohorts. And it’s during this adventure, that Kendra, in quite an
amazing way, “pulls” Carter out of a pit filled with fire, from the
limbo his spirit was stuck in. He maintains a lot of Katar Hol’s
memories, given to him by his erstwhile successor when sacrificing
his life to enable Carter to return.
And what a grand reappearance it is indeed for Carter Hall. His
hair, once blond, is now brown colored, probably a side effect of
what he’d been through in the mid-90’s when merged with Katar Hol,
and now, he’s back to help avenge the planet’s innocents, the
Hierophants and Downsiders, from the enslavement they’ve been
subjected to. And how he and Kendra succeed in bringing down Onimar
Synn is an idea that really pleased me a lot.
This is a wonderful story of how a legend returns to business in the
DCU, with even some interesting commentary on how a few of the
Golden Age superheroes have outlived their Silver Age counterparts,
and which even connects perfectly between Carter Hall’s origins as
Hawkman and Thanagar’s Ninth Metal, and how Carter acquired it when
he was a prince in Egypt.
And it’s all very well worth reading about, with some great
characters to make all the more worthwhile.
Update: I no longer stand by this review. This too, like the prior
entries in the 1999-2006 JSA series, is garbage.
Copyright 2004 Avi Green. All rights reserved.
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