25 October 2012

Faster than a DC Bullet: The Sandman Spin-Offs, Part XXIII: JSA: Mixed Signals

Comic trade paperback, 136 pages
Published 2006 (contents: 2005-06)
Borrowed from the library
Read October 2012
JSA: Mixed Signals

Writers: Geoff Johns, Keith Champagne
Pencillers: Don Kramer, Dale Eaglesham, Jim Fern, David Lopez
Inkers: Keith Champagne, Art Thibert, Mick Gray, Fernando Blanco
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Rob Leigh

This is the last JSA collection with a Sandman connection, taking place amidst the chaos of the Infinite Crisis. Apparently, in the previous volume (Black Vengeance, which I skipped) my favorites Hector and Lyta Hall, parents of the second Dream of the Endless, were transported into Hell for defying Nabu, the Lord of Order.

I didn't understand much of what was happening in this book; heroes and locations are thrown at you like mad, and no one takes the time to explain who they are. Hal Jordan and Alan Scott chase Air Wave (a superhero who is apparently Hal's cousin), being driven mad by strange transmissions, into space, and end up at the source of the signals. "New Cronus," exclaims Air Wave upon seeing a planet, as though it explains everything. But what's New Cronus? Then Wonder Girl appears, and takes Air Wave with her. Why? Much of the book is just as confusing.

But since I was there for just Hector and Lyta, that was all right: they had no more idea what was going on than I did. Every chapter of Mixed Signals gives a couple more pages to them, as they travel through a desolate mountain range, under assault by demons for reasons they don't understand. In the end, Lyta has a dream that she's talked to their son, and they travel through a portal into the Dreaming, finally safe.

Awww. It's a great moment, and a great ending for these long-suffering characters, though to my knowledge they don't pop up in the Dreaming in any later stories. Their corpses lie on the ground after they travel through the portal-- was it all just a dream of Lyta's? But even if it was, would that matter in the Dreaming? From the Silver Scarab to Brute and Glob to the Furies to Nabu, Hector and Lyta have always lost control of their lives to supernatural entities, and it's fantastic for them to finally get some peace. Thanks, Keith Champagne.

1 comment:

  1. C'mon, this book makes perfect sense! You just need to buy a dozen other Infinite Crisis books to work it out! :-)

    Agreed that Champagne had a nice send-off for Hector and Lyta in this book. I mean, who'd even thunk Hector and Lyta would even *get* a send-off one day? One of the things I like most about JSA was not just great storytelling, but that Johns went to the far corners of the DCU -- Infinity Inc., Hawk and Dove -- not really because he did a whole lot with them, but because Johns is a fan and he knew fans would appreciate it. Whenever I start to question Johns's choices, I've still remember some great fan service in JSA.