Sunday, October 01, 2006

Review: JSA Classified #17 & Series Comparison

JSA Classified 17
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley.
JSA Classified #17 hits the right notes with part one of a two part tale showcasing the two Hourmans- Rick Tyler and his father Rex. Titled “The Venom Connection”, Rex is attacked in his own home by Batman villain Bane. Buoyed by a future-flash, Rick hurries to get to his father before it’s too late. When he and his father discover what exactly Bane is after, and their connection, the stakes are higher then either thought possible.

Written by Tony Bedard with art by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens, the tale is a fast-paced romp, interspersed with revelations from the past. I especially appreciated the dialogue between Rex and his wife Wendi, and the way with which the closeness of their relationship, and their reconnection was played. To see a tale being told from a more family-oriented angle, and to see the repercussions of the elder Tyler’s youthful studies really added an impact.

I liked McDaniel’s artistic rendering of Bane, and am a big fan of his ability to draw fight scenes. His characters are in perpetual motion, and his pacing is true and sure. The exaggerated and overstated movements coupled with the powerful rendering of size and scale of the characters was a nice touch. Andy Owens is a perfect partner to McDaniel, and it is nice to see the symbiosis therein.

“The Venom Connection” is a two part story, and with a journey to Santa Prisca imminent, the stakes are only sure to be raised. With the revelations in this issue, I can only wonder how it will affect the upcoming Justice Society of America series. From what I understand, Rick is the Tyler in this new incarnation, so what happens to him here is anyone’s guess. The connection to Bane and what happens to him as a result of this tale is another thing I am interested in seeing.

Looking at the series as a whole, I would say that JSA Classified has found its niche. Focusing on shorter stories that focus on one or a few members rather then the team makes this book a compelling companion read to the main series. Starting with the Power Girl arc, and following up with an Injustice Society tale worked well for me. I also enjoyed the Flash/Wildcat team up and the Vandal Savage tale. Seeing that after this arc is a Dr. Midnite spotlight leads me to believe that this book is on the right path.

JSA Classified has been much more successful in my eyes then the other similar title JLA Classified. I am dropping the JLA title, because I am really disillusioned by the focus on team stories there. The past few arcs in that book have been lame, and this new arc doesn’t appear to be any better. I would rather see the focus be on a few members, or a solo spotlight like happens here in the JSA book.

Having quality two issue tales like this one featuring the father and son Hourmans is where I would rather spend my $2.99. I am looking forward to seeing more stories like this in the future. A shorter story with an in-continuity focus is where I have seen more success, and what I want to support.


Anonymous said...

I agree. I also prefer the Classified books concentrating on one to 3 characters. That's why I haven't been reading JLA: Classified. Well, one reason.

Heidi Meeley said...

Shelly, I have really liked the "spotlight" issues over in JSA Classified. JLA Classified just hasn't held the same allure. I can't stand it anymore, so I am done there. It is a shame, because the original thought process behind JLA Classified has been lost. Showcasing new or hot talent and their take on the team just hasn't happened.

I appreciate JSA Classified and it's more minimalist approach for sure!