Saturday, April 15, 2006

Personal Archive, II

Who Are These People?

Justice Society of America #67 was a revelation for me; it was my first (and for a long time, only) exposure to Earth-Two. While the the captions and the characterizations made it easy enough for me to understand the setting and to get my bearings, it did take me some time to get used to the fact that Bruce Wayne was the Police Commissioner, and not wearing his mask and cape.

I especially liked that the generational distance between the old-timers and the youth was put to good use in the story. But what really grabbed me about this comic was that all of the action, and all of the people in it, moved in an orbit around the character of Power Girl. I wasn't aware of who she was before picking up this book, and when I finished it I felt cheated that no one had informed about her beforehand.

From the way she's drawn on the splash page, Power Girl's body language places her in opposition to her male teammates:

The book's plot is set into motion by her deduction that the key to unravelling the Injustice Society's sinister plan lies at the bottom of that nearby pit. And Power Girl does everything she can to ensure that the entire JSA ends up down there with her, even though they think she's screwey and doubt her line of reasoning. By the time the older members of the group do arrive, she's already thrown down with several bands of underground dwellers.

She proceeds to upbraid her colleagues for their tardiness, and even ends the encounter by proving that she didn't need their assistance after all.

Though it took my fourteen-year-old brain some time to integrate the information, I ultimately got it. A girl was the strongest member of the team: Power Girl was to the JSA as Superman was to the JLA.

The writer, Paul Levitz, underscored the point in these panels (through the deployment of some language that Stan Lee would have been proud to have penned).

Neither the fairly weak storyline, underdeveloped supporting characters, or the uninspiring villains detracted from my enjoyment of this comic book. I didn't quite understand where she had come from, and the present configuration of the JSA pretty much mystified me. But I knew that Power Girl was the genuine article.

As an infrequent reader of DC comics who was fourteen years old, that knowledge was all I needed.

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