Review: The New Golden #1 One-Shot & Justice Society of America #1 (AKA; The Return of Geoff Johns)

By | December 3, 2022

The end of November and the start of December brought with them the re-start of one of the classic books / teams of the entire DC Universe.  The Justice Society of America makes its much awaited return, and with Geoff Johns also returning to writing duties, what was once old is now new again, or is it?

The New Golden Age one-shot sets the scene, giving the reader an up to date version of this particular version of the JSA and their new threat.  It all starts with the death of Doctor Fate, a secret watcher and the death of Batman.  Things progress to JSA #1, where a Helena Wayne in her prime is the Huntress has founded a new JSA made up of Power Girl and a host of villains all in an effort to find out what had happened to Fate and the previous JSA.  Its Johns world building at its best!

Geoff Johns has been involved in a range of big books, encapsulating big ideas of late, from Doomsday Clock, to Three Jokers and more recently, Flashpoint Beyond.  Now some of these books have promised much and failed to deliver, probably the Three Jokers after such a huge lead in from the Rebirth book.  Still, on the flip, Beyond Flashpoint was a tightly written piece.  These books fall well within Johns wheelhouse.  Looking to make the Helena Wayne Huntress the key piece is smart, as is the reintroduction of Power Girl.  These two effectively represent the new generation of the JSA.  Johns does well, seeding the books with little breadcrumbs to move things along, whilst also taking the time to reflect on the past with some classic JSA appearances.  True, there are a couple of Johns-isms and a reluctance to move on from ideas which includes Mime and Harlequin from Doomsday Clock and aspects used from the recent Beyond Flashpoint run.  These additions could be seen as an ego who refuses to believe that his previous ideas didn’t work or a confident person who has complete faith in his body of work.  For me, I think that the truth falls somewhere in between these two distinct points.

The art is provided by a host or people; some keeping the book fresh and some enjoying a bit of a flashback style to mirror the love of the old team.  Looking at The New Golden age book first, Diego  Olortegui with JP Mater and Scott Hanna are joined by the classic style of Jerry Ordway, Steve Lieber, Todd Nuack, Soctt Kollins, Viktor Bogdanovic, Brandon Peterson and longtime Johns collaborator Gary Frank who all get to mix it up.  The pages with young Helena and the death of Doctor Fate are gorgeous, with Power Girl getting a new outfit, even if she is a little out of perspective.  With many artist can come many colorists with Nick Filardi, John Kalisz, Matt Herms, Jordan Bird and Brad Anderson, with Rob Leigh on letters on both books.  Normally many cooks spoil the broth, but here, thanks to the different time frames in play, the changes ups work.  Thankfully Leigh is here to keep an even keel.On the Justice Society however, the smooth lines of Mikel Janin are excellent.  Please keep him on this book!  The lines work well, the new suits, Power Girl back in her thigh highs, and strong facial elements that demonstrate the emotions in play which is a huge part of Helena’s motives.  Jordie Bellaire is the main colorist.  If you know anything about me, through the reviews or podcasts, you will know the regard in which I hold colorist Jordie Bellaire.  Here, she drops and absolute dime with a schemes that works extremely well.  With the JSA of old being involved, there are a slew of guest artists and colorists in the shape of Jerry Ordway, Scott Kollins, Steve Leiber and Brandon Paterson, John Kalisz, Jordan Boyd, some of which were held over from The Golden Age one-shot.

Two issues in and there is a lot to content with.  You need to keep your head on a swivel as time travel is in play and we all know how complicated that can get!  For me, Johns kind of had  a return to form in the Beyond Flashpoint mini, meaning that whilst I may have been more cautious about the JSA than his more high profile work, I had faith that his return to the team with which he started making his name, would bring a comfortable confidence to his writing.  I am glad that I wasn’t wrong.

Writing (Both) – 5 Stars

Art (New Golden Age) – 4 Stars

Art (Justice Society of America) – 5 Stars

Colors (Both) – 5 Stars

Overall (New Golden Age) – 4.5 Stars

Overall (Justice Society of America) – 5 Stars

The New Golden #1
Written by;  Geoff Johns
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists:Diego Olortegui with JP Mayer and Scott Hanna, Jerry Ordway, Steve Lieber, Todd Nauck, Scott Kolins, Victor Bogdanovic, Brandon Peterson, and Gary Frank

Justice Society of America #1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Mikel Janín
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Rob Leigh
Guest artists: Jerry Ordway, Scott Kolins, Steve Lieber, Brandon Peterson
Guest color: John Kalisz, Jordan Boyd, Peterson