03 October 2012

Faster than a DC Bullet: The Sandman Spin-Offs, XXI: JSA: Lost

Comic trade paperback, 199 pages
Published 2005 (contents: 2004-05)
Borrowed from the library
Read September 2012
JSA: Lost

Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencillers: Dave Gibbons, Don Kramer, Tom Mandrake, Jerry Ordway, Sean Phillips
Inkers: Keith Champagne, Wayne Faucher, James Hodgkins, Tom Mandrake, Sean Phillips, Prentis Rollins
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterers: Jared K. Fletcher, Rob Leigh, Ken Lopez

There are a couple Sandman elements in this volume of JSA, mostly stemming from the presence of Hector Hall (a.k.a. Doctor Fate f.k.a. the Sandman f.k.a. the Silver Scarab) and Lyta Hall (a.k.a. Fury) on the team. First off is a brief cameo from their son Daniel, the new Dream, who intervenes to keep the JSA's nemesis Per Degaton (what kind of name is that!?) off their back with a quiet word of warning. You don't actually get to see Daniel, which is okay, but what is not okay is that letterer Jared K. Fletcher completely fails to carry over the distinctive lettering style that usually accompanies Dream's dialogue. Without it, his words just lack... gravitas. (So does Ken Lopez, in a later sequence.)

The more involved Sandman-related subplot is about Sanderson Hawkins, former sidekick to Wesley Dodds. Just as the former minions of Dream, Brute and Glob, once tried to turn Hector into a replacement Dream in a replacement Dreaming while Dream was captured, they attempt to do the same here with poor Sanderson. While some members of the Justice Society track down his physical body, others must travel into his mind, including Hector and Lyta. This gives the two of them a chance to figure out what Brute and Glob did to them back in the day (apparently their memories are rather fuzzy) and get their own back. Go Lyta! I was excited to see her back in fighting form as Fury; she deserves it after the long series of traumas she received at the hands of Roy Thomas, Neil Gaiman, and Mike Carey.

I was even amused when Geoff Johns explains why Lyta never interacted with the superhero community while she was in Vertigo titles: Nabu "cast a blinding spell so that [she] might not ever see the world of costumed heroes around [her]." This is either grossly stupid or utter genius, and I'm not sure which. But other than seeming to not even know they have a son, much less that he is Dream, Lyta and Hector seem to have finally got the happy ending they deserve, and Geoff Johns deserves plenty of kudos for that.
"The last few years, I barely remember anything. It was like a nightmare. Images of strange creatures, beings I couldn't understand. I always see myself running. My whole life started that way. When I was first adopted, I used to run away at least once a week. I'd race to the beach. Looking out over the water. Wondering if I could swim to Themyscira. If I could find it on my own. I spent my summers training under Hippolyta. Learning how to use my strength and speed. Learning how to fight. How to run. But I'm tired of running."

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