JSA: The Golden Age

James Robinson, Author . DC Comics $19.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-4012-0711-3

Clearly influenced by Alan Moore's Watchmen , this reissue depicts DC's superheroes from the 1940s hanging up their capes following the end of WWII. Whereas Moore's superheroes were forced into retirement, here the heroes succumb to disillusionment, personality flaws and even madness. Robinson unpersuasively projects the dark pessimism of 1990s superhero comics onto the idealistic, committed heroes of half a century before. One of these "mystery men," Tex Thompson, alias the Americommando, enters politics and initiates a government project that uses atomic power to create Dynaman, a "superman" who becomes a living weapon against the Soviets. Beneath their patriotic rhetoric, Thompson and Dynaman conspire to become dictators. But Robinson never explains why the "greatest generation" that just defeated fascism abroad would embrace a homegrown version. By revealing that Thompson's and Dynaman's identities have been usurped by impostors, Robinson shies away from demonstrating how an American superhero could morph into a neo-Nazi übermensch . Smith's realistic artwork and mastery of gesture and facial expression bring out all the dramatic potential in Robinson's scenario. But Darwyn Cooke's recent The New Frontier paints a more convincing postwar portrait of DC's superheroes. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/20/2005
Release date: 06/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
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