JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice

By David S. Goyer, Geoff Johns, Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino & various (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-56389-937-9 (HB) 978-1-4012-0040-4 (TPB)

Win’s Christmas Gift Recommendation: Pristine Perfection for all Superhero Connoisseurs… 9/10

After the actual invention of the superhero – in the June 1938 Action Comics #1 debut of Superman – the most significant event in comic book history was the combination of individual sales-points into a group.

Thus, what seems blindingly obvious to us with the benefit of four-colour hindsight was proven: consumers couldn’t get enough of garishly-hued mystery men, so combining a multitude of characters must inevitably increase readership. Plus, of course, a mob of superheroes is just so much cooler than one…or one-and-a-half if there’s a sidekick involved…

It cannot be understated: the creation of the Justice Society of America (in All Star Comics #3, cover-dated Winter 1940-1941) utterly changed the shape of the budding industry. Happy 80th Anniversary, chaps!

From the JSA stem all the multifarious thrills and wonders associated with panel-packed pages stuffed with dozens of heroes pounding the stuffings out of each other. …And then again, there are tales like this one…

Some books you can talk about, but with others it’s simply a waste of time. This is one of the latter. Please be aware that here the JSA was and is Earth’s premiere super-team: formed to crush oppression and injustice while raising morale during World War II. They are now an organisation regularly saving the world whilst mentoring the next generation of superheroes.

Their inspired successors, the Justice League of America are currently the World’s Greatest Superheroes – and have all the characters who’ve appeared on TV and in movies. You now have all the background you need to read this wonderful example of costumed hero fiction which remains inexplicably out of print both physically or digitally.

As they have done for years, the JLA and JSA have gotten together to celebrate Thanksgiving when suddenly alien conqueror Despero attacks them and the entire world by releasing the Seven Deadly Sins. These deadly demons promptly possess Batman, Power Girl, Mr. Terrific, Dr. Fate, Green Lantern, Plastic Man and Captain Marvel (as Shazam was called back then)…

Can the remaining heroes defeat the Sins without killing their friends, and save humanity from total destruction?

Of course they can, that’s the point. But seldom have they done it in such a spectacularly, well written and beautifully illustrated manner.

This is a piece of pure, iconic genre Fights ‘n’ Tights narrative that hits every target and pushes every button it should. If you love superhero comics you should own and treasure this lovely tale.
© 2002 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.