JSA #3: The Return of Hawkman
by various writers & artists
(DC Comics, 2002)

It's almost a shame that the JSA's battle with Johnny Sorrow in "Injustice Be Done" was packaged with "The Return of Hawkman" in JSA #3. Because, frankly, "Injustice" is a powerful story in its own right, but "Hawkman" is epic.

The book begins with a rash of attacks on members of the JSA by their counterparts in Injustice Unlimited. It's a hectic beginning to a series of battles, large and small, that mark the heroes' progress towards the vengeful, immensely powerful Sorrow. Before it's over, the Spectre joins in the fray, as does the new companion to Thunderbolt and the once and future villain Black Adam. It's a story that proves once again why JSA, even moreso than the JLA, Teen Titans or other team titles, is an ensemble book that relies heavily on all of its members.

But the action picks up even more when Hawkman comes calling. Hawkman, variously defined as an alien cop and a reincarnated Egyptian prince, is now all that and more as he finds his way back to life and his undying life partner, Hawkgirl. But this Hawkgirl isn't quite the same person he expects her to be, and their relationship's twists and turns must take a backseat to the needs of Thanagar, a world beset by a demon.

I was slow to come to the JSA, but now I find myself preferring it to the more popular, mainstream JLA. It's grittier and, in many ways, more human. It also has a sense of history that the JLA -- constantly revamped and revised for the times -- never attains. As Jay Garrick, the original Flash, remarks near the end of this book, "The people down there in the streets -- the people that really matter -- they look up to teams like the Titans and the League. But the Titans and the League -- they look up to us." You tell 'em, brother.

by Tom Knapp
10 February 2007

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