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Tuesday, January 30, 2024 

Geoff Johns wrote his last insult to DC fans on his way out

I'd long come to view Johns as one of the worst omens to befall comicdom, ever since he got his foot in the door in 1998, and just recently, I discovered this review page on ComicBook from a few months ago of a Justice Society volume he wrote, which tells the following about the 7th issue, where he regurgitated allusions to one of the worst moments in the past 20 years of the DCU, and a story which, even if he didn't write it himself, he certainly gave it backing in more ways than one:
Even seven issues into its run, Justice Society of America remains primarily focused on introducing new characters and assembling its team, which would be sufficient drag without the lackadaisical pacing evident in issue #7. Many characters appear for a single sequence and hardly establish anything new before disappearing again; the choice to include the briefest of interrogations with Jean Loring, former host of Eclipso (a piece of, fortunately, largely forgotten DC lore) does so little in these pages that it's questionable whether readers will remember it at all next month. An excessive number of splashes, including some truly underwhelming uses of space, like the depiction of Icicle in a jail cell, suggest a story being stretched too thin despite possessing dozens of characters. Defining exactly what Justice Society of America is about or who its central characters are is difficult and with single issues stretched as thin as this one, it's becoming increasingly difficult to care.
Well, Johns certainly has gone to quite some cynical lengths to recanonize one of the most repulsive results from Identity Crisis, one of the worst titles along with Avengers: Disassembled that got me into blogging to deal with abominations like those. I suppose he made sure to keep the claim Jean murdered Sue Dibny intact, at least in this rag of an issue? I don't know where this story's been going, if it still is, but I do know that the whole notion Johns would continue to troll the audience that cares about the casts from the Golden/Silver/Bronze Ages is truly disgusting. And if Johns tries to stuff as many cameos as possible into a story, it's nothing new. What matters is that it never added anything to an already flaccid story.

Here's also a Multiversity review, which is regrettably more favorable in contrast to ComicBook's, which is suitably negative, but does admit:
The scope of the current “Justice Society of America” series is baffling on so many levels. On one hand, the book appears to be somewhat siloed, with its events not really effecting much outside of its own title and the ancillary titles that spun out of it (“Stargirl: The Lost Children,” “Jay Garrick: The Flash”). On the other hand, this one issue references the 31st century, the first Geoff Johns run on “JSA,” the most reviled DC story of the 21st century (“Identity Crisis”), and continues the introduction of the lost sidekicks into ‘main’ continuity. This must be the single most ambitious, yet dammed off book in years.
I'll give them this - they do acknowledge IC was one of the most despised comics of its time, 2 decades ago. But that's exactly why it's appalling they proceed to grant this tale an otherwise favorable review despite that. Mainly because, if they're supporting this comic, they end up giving their backing to a most reviled story, even if they didn't intend to.

DC Comics News also gushingly reviewed this story even worse than the above, and they note that it might even be going so far as to retcon away characters created by writers far better than Johns will ever be:
Certainly, one of the intriguing things about the Justice Society of America and The New Golden Age is the new characters. Justice Society of America #7 finally gives the reader something more on The Harlequin’s Son. With Alan Scott’s history suffering a severe retcon in Alan Scott: The Green Lantern, his erstwhile wife, Molly Mayne- The Golden Age Harlequin– gets a parallel treatment with the introduction of a son, Michael Mayne. With the changes wrought on Alan Scott’s past, it’s unclear of how much of his history from the Bronze Age up until The New 52 in 2011, especially his history with Molly, is still in play. However, this issue begins exploring where The Harlequin’s Son is right now.

Having Helena go after Solomon Grundy as an ally (she’s already done it in the future) plays on a couple of details from past comics. The Huntress faced off against Solomon Grundy in a solo story from Wonder Woman #273, and in the ’80’s in Infinity, Inc., Alan Scott’s daughter, Jade was close with Grundy. In Justice Society of America #7, Helena calls Grundy her friend. While things don’t go as planned, the fact that the Solomon Grundy nursery rhyme is used to add some understanding is not only fun, but cleaver. Taken these elements with Grundy and the Harlequin’s son, it makes one wonder if Obsidian and Jade, Alan’s children with Rose Canton (Golden Age Thorn) are being replaced by Michael Mayne and Helena Wayne in some sense. Or perhaps, it is not Helena who is replacing Jade, but rather, Ruby Sokov. We haven’t seen much of Ruby Sokov, yet, but, not only is Ruby a precious stone that is also a color like Jade, what we do know about Ruby describes her power functioning like Jade’s as well as turning her skin red.
The subject of Jade & Obsidian's potential omission from today's DCU - and it won't be shocking if that's the case - was also discussed over here, with the author concluding in an otherwise defeatist position, by which I mean it looks like he considers it all fait accompli, and won't call for a boycott of DC, explaining perfectly why his gushy review of the 7th issue of the 2022 Justice Society volume. It sounds like, not only is Johns unwilling to reverse the damage to Obsidian first inflicted by the disgraced Gerard Jones in 1995, he apparently believes erasing both Rice and Jenny-Lynn Hayden from canon altogether is the sole answer to anything. An utter disgrace, doing a terrible disfavor to Roy Thomas once again. And all the while, Johns' erstwhile parter in writing, James Robinson, has never apologized for the retcon he did to Alan Scott.

I also looked at Geekdad's review, also regrettably gushy, which says:
Due to the launch of Ghost Machine in the coming months, we now know this will be one of the last DC works of Geoff Johns—putting an end to a DC career that dates back to the 1990s with no real interruptions. Given that, it’s a little odd that this final chapter comes off as so vignette-esque—or maybe not. Johns is telling a story here that’s so spread out and creates countless new narratives for future writers to jump off. [...]
At least they get one thing right - this kind of story makes a perfect jumping off point, if not for the fact that DC's turned only so much that warrants staying away for years already. If this is to be Johns' last writing for them now, and he's shifting to Image instead, he won't be missed, but he'll still be despised as one of the worst writers to ever litter the DCU since the turn of the century. Christopher Priest wrote a story in Justice League 7 years ago where he appeared to be at least undoing much of the damaging status quo of Identity Crisis, and now, Johns tries to undo even that much? Truly abominable. Even if this take on Justice Society exists within its own "continuity", it's still no excuse. After all the harm Johns caused to the DCU, including political, that's why I won't even buy his Ghost Machine comic at Image. One of the best things about creator-owned products is that it's far easier to make a judgement whether to finance their works, based on specific deeds of theirs.

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