One of the criticisms of the Goyer & Johns comic JSA is that the reader must be well versed in the history of the DC Universe in order to fully appreciate it. Basically, only nerds really like it. This may be true - having never not been a nerd, I can't say what a normal person would make of the continuity-steeped JSA books, with their emphasis on history and tradition.
I'm a big fan, however. In JSA, Geoff Johns and David "Blade" Goyer resurrected the venerable DC superhero team the Justice Society of America in a modern context. Staffed by veteran members and descendants of former team members, the JSA is a small army of heroes dedicated to crushing evil; cats like Dr. Fate, Hawkman, Wonder Woman 1.0, Black Canary, Captain Marvel, Wildcat, and Power Girl, to name a few. They mostly fight pimped-out versions of old fashioned villains, as in this issue.
I love JSA #10.
It's not a particularly original story: Wildcat fights alone against a squad of supervillains in the JSA headquarters. But as my man Roger Ebert says: "A [comic] is not about what it is about, but about how it is about it." Writers Goyer and Johns, with art team Stephen Sadowski and Michael Bair, cheerfully deliver a simple tale about one hero beating the shit out of the bad guys who are hunting him. Sound familiar? Yes, it's the plot to every other Wolverine story.
But this time, we gets us some Wildcat! In a bath towel, no less.
Next he kicks Icicle on to some sort of laser table in their infirmary for the Farrah Fawcett Logan's Run cosmetic surgery treatment. I'm not sure why the JSA have a laser torture table in their headquarters - I'm sure they use it for something. Maybe slicing huge wheels of cheese?
Wildcat drops Blackbriar Thorn down an elevator shaft and beats the holy bejeesus out of The Wasp, who he also tricks into electrocuting The Tigress, below:
It is fucking awesome.
I'm not an apologist for comics that deliberately aim low, but sometimes I like to read straight-up superhero violence delivered to me in an un-ironic way. There's nothing wrong with comics that aim to entertain on a base level, as long as they're done well, and JSA #10 is done very well indeed. Sadowski's penciling and layouts are tight and effective, and I think I may like Michael Bair's inking more than his pencils. The story is brisk and delivers the goods with a bit of wit and a lot of tough-guy dialogue.
Plus: Wildcat! How can you not like Wildcat, the guy who taught Batman to box? The guy with the floppy ears? Belching, skirt chasing, beer drinking, towel wearing man's man? The guy who beats up an entire team of villains with a broken arm and then wonders if Catwoman is around for a quick shag?