1970s Justice Society: Sorry, Roy Thomas
A few months ago, I raised hackles by casually dismissing the work of Roy Thomas. Turns out I was wrong about that, I was attributing to him some crappy comics by Paul Levitz and Gerry Conway.
My first exposure to the Justice Society was the early-1990s revival, where they're shown as these aging workhorses. I was a big fan of the 1999-2006 series, which depicted them as the elder statesmen of the DC Universe. So I was looking forward to reading the 1970s version, which kept the flame alive for my generation.
It's really kind of not good.
Writers Paul Levitz and Gerry Conway try to bring back that goofy Golden Age stuff, but it's pretty stale.
Then, they try to show the JSA as real people with real problems, but then they all come off as kind of unpleasant. Here's Wildcat, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder:
I knew from the 1999 series that Wildcat and Power Girl had some kind of rivalry, but in the 1970s version it's pretty explicit. Wildcat's just sexist, as are the rest of the Justice Society.
Here they are rooting for her to get her comeuppance from a group of mole men.
The Star-Spangled Kid tries to take her side, but he does it in an "I'm trying to get in your pants" kind of way. Or maybe a stalker way. Anyway, ew.
I guess I got to give them props for making Power Girl a feminist, but she's such a man-hating ball-buster that he may as well not have bothered. If your conception of feminism begins and ends with "don't call me babe," you should probably look for a new angle.
The series spends a fair amount of time trying to bring our WWII-era heroes into the present-day, and it mostly falls flat. Here's the Golden Age Green Lantern struggling with Nixon-era cynicism.
Endless angst, attempts at relevance, desperate attempts to revitalize the crappy comics from your youth ... I think the cancer that's killing comics starts right about here.
Just testing the comments feature...
Yeah, I think "stale" is a good way to describe the writing here. It's not horrible, but it's also not terribly interesting or exciting.
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