Friday, September 28, 2012

Unearthed: JSA - All-Stars#4

"Stellar Collapse: Constellations, Part Three" by Matthew Sturges & Freddie Williams II.

The cover depicts Sand, asleep at a table and surrounded by pills as the King of Tears engulfs the city behind him (or is the city a representation of his dream power?). It looks as though Sand crawled on the table before he went to sleep, kind of like a cat-nap.

At his apartment, Sand shaves himself and dons his costume while recalling how when his mentor Sandman died, he passed along his prophetic dreams to him. Sand has felt tormented by the dreams but now is trying to honour Sandman's legacy (it feels like he's already been over all these character points in the Goyer-Johns years of JSA, but whatever, it's a recap). Sand heads to the Star-K Ranch and informs the All-Stars he saw them all in one of his dreams.

In Carthage, Maine, the Injustice Society have drawn an immense star on the ground and begun preparing a ceremony using the heart of Killer Wasp. Wizard is very dubious about performing the ceremony, meant to summon King of Tears; he even cries out he "won't be a party to his any longer!" but doesn't actually leave or turn against Sorrow; I don't know what that's about. As a portal begins to form, releasing the King of Tears, Sorrow declares the demon will obey him now, rather than the other way around.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Sand tells the team he saw Sorrow raising the King of Tears in his dream but knows it's already too late to stop him. Sand also sees a strange black field surrounding Damage & Stargirl, but doesn't share this with the others. Hourman asks Sand to join the All-Stars on their mission; he asks if they should bring in the other team, but Power Girl responds, "It's complicated," whatever that means. They also say Magog has left the team: "Even more complicated." Could you please bring your audience up to speed on why the two JSA teams don't work together and where Magog's gone? Like, anytime soon?

Stargirl is really happy to see Sand (picking up on her dialogue from issue #1 where she complained of missing the other team) and he tells her Sorrow's claims about loving her aren't true and he shares some secret information with her (secret from the audience as well). One thing you can say about this comic book, things of some nature are definitely transpiring. Cyclone carries the team to Carthage and the creators again save some time by repeating the same panel three times. King Chimera conjures up illusions of Green Lantern, Doctor Fate & Captain Marvel to make their forces seem more impressive. Power Girl calls out "A-Team" and "B-Team" assignments similar to those Magog made in earlier issues. It doesn't mean anything, but makes it look as though they have a plan (remember, before Magog left the team were drilling themselves for a fight with the Injustice Society).

Sorrow realizes some of the heroes are illusions and, spying King Chimera, removes his mask, causing Chimera to die (well, seemingly die). Citizen Steel fights Icicle and wonders if he'll shatter when punched (so much for boning up on the Injustice Society's backgrounds!). Tigress and Wildcat fight again (as in #2) and Tigress again calls him "Tomcat." This time, Wildcat decides he likes the name, suggesting it's going to be his new codename. Yes, Wildcat needed to hear it twice before reacting to it. Sand moves in to confront Sorrow... or rather, he stands back and the two exposit dialogue at each other, reminding themselves how Sand was responsible for sending Sorrow into the "Subtle Realms" which granted him his powers. The King of Tears continues to grow and grabs almost all of the heroes with its tentacles; tentacle rape for everyone!

Shiv pulls out a gun to shoot Stargirl, but Sorrow stops her and promises to call off the King of Tears if Stargirl surrenders to him. She agrees and even snaps the cosmic rod in half when he orders her to. Sorrow then teleports away with Stargirl, leaving the rest of the Injustice Society and All-Stars to face the King of Tears.

Stargirl finds herself in another dimension populated by strange red shards, Roman pillars and animated skeletons. Some of the skeletons attack her, but Atom Smasher appears and drives them off, then welcomes her to the Subtle Realms. To be continued.

We last saw Atom Smasher being held in chains by a cloaked figure; now he's at his liberty in the Subtle Realms. Something has definitely happened.

I love that Sand comes in with special intelligence on the enemy they're facing and who should help them, then proceeds to do jack squat in the fight.

Roxanne had only one line of her typically interminable dialogue, which is an improvement in the same way one brick to the head is more pleasant than two.

JUDOMASTER DIALOGUE METER: No dialogue. In the span of four issues, she had exactly two dialogue balloons, both in the first issue! Perhaps there is no such person, she's really one of King Chimera's illusions?

This concludes my look at JSA: ALL-STARS. Why? Uh, because I don't have the rest of the series. It staggered on until issue #18, because that's what the marketplace is like.

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