Saturday, April 8, 2017

EPISODE 262 - GOLDEN AGE



This time out Ryan Daly stops by to talk about the DC Comics mini-series Golden Age or, as it is commonly called now, JSA: The Golden Age.  This was a four issue Elseworlds story that took place after World War II and showed what happened to the members of the Justice Society and the All-Star Squadron in a post war America.  One of those heroes, Tex Thompson, becomes a major mover and shaker but what is his ultimate goal?  Listen in and find out what Ryan and I thought about the characters in this story and the story itself.

Ryan hosts or co-hosts a number of shows over at The Fire and Water Podcast Network.  There's Gimmie Those Star Wars, Batman: Knightcast, Power of Fishnets: The Black Canary and Zatanna Podcast, It's Midnight...The Podcasting Hour and the ended but still awesome Secret Origins Podcast.  Check out all of those shows because they are the awesome.

During the feedback section I mentioned Tom Panarese and the podcasts he produces.  Pop Culture Affidavit can be found at it's home base or over on the Two True Freaks site.  You can also find In Country at both of those sites as well.  Be sure to listen to Tom's Origin Story series because it's really good.

Next Time: No idea.  I'll have something but at the moment I am not quite sure what it is.



2 comments:

Bernard Sax said...

I really liked the Bailey-Daley show! You guys hit a lot of the points about this story that I share. Like you, I am a huge fan of the Justice Society, as well as the All-Star Squadron, and subsequently that's why this story doesn't push all my buttons. In fact, I just re-read it this week, after listening to you, and the flaws are even more apparent to me. One thing that never sat well with me was Johnny Quick's dismissal of Mr. Terrific. As Ryan feels a bond with Bob Bailey because of a shared (sort of) last name, I've always been a fan of Terry Sloane because of a shared first name. On one hand I can dismiss Johnny's characterization as an unreliable narrator, but on the other hand, why sully Mr. Terrific? Let someone be the champion of fair play and mean it! No matter how corny it may seem.
I can't remember when and why I bought this. It couldn't have been long after it came out, and perhaps it was as it came out, but I went through a phase in the late 90's of buying all Justice Society appearances that I had missed, mostly form the 90's. It was my first exposure to James Robinson's writing, as far as I know. Over the last decade or so I've been reading and collecting his Starman. Like Ryan, I ofetn get annoyed with his stylistic touches. I have enjoyed the hell out of Starman, but there are many times when I've really been taken out of the story by the writing, or the plot construction. Similarly in Golden Age, Robinson goes to great length to get the powerful heroes off the board. Yes, this is an Elseworlds story. It must be. That's why Alan Scott wears the ring on his right hand. (see, I'm a JSA fan!) But this JSA does not have a Dr. Fate or a Spectre, never mind Superman and Batman. Fate is shown early on in a flashback, but no other reference to him is made. I really liked the slow build up to the climax as well as the passage of time, but the final fight is really lacking. By this point on the story, we've been focused on just a handful of heroes and so they get the majority of panel-time, and the dialog. But where is the JSA? Where is the team effort to deal with Dynaman? That's where I want to see Mr. Terrific, in lieu of Batman, strategizing and coordinating an attack. All that build-up with both Captain Triumph and Starman, and then pffft. Oh, by the way, Captain Triumph was the big tease from All-Star Squadron #1. He was on the cover, and never appeared in the book! I know that I and my immediate circle were eagerly anticipating this most mysterious of mystery men from the very first ad! Again Captain Triumph doesn't appear! So why introduce this character? The whole Starman subplot never sat right with me either. That just wasn't Ted Knight. He shows up with the new improved cosmic rod and doesn't zap Dynaman, or form a shield, or encase Dynaman in a bubble? And surely Captain Comet must have his telepathic powers or he wouldn't have bothered to make himself a costume! Why didn't he use them? It all just seems like a contrived way to get to Liberty Belle and get her active for the only time in the story. The only other character with the potential to take on Dynaman, is the Thunderbolt, and he is also clumsily written off. When Johnny Thunder orders him to "take care of HourMan," the T-Bolt COULD have said, "The Atom is our man. I'll take care of him." Then he tosses the Atom at Johnny and knocks him out. That eliminates the T-Bolt in a more characteristic fashion. The Flash is completely ignored. That's irritating.
I still like it, but, as with many stories in comics about characters I really like, it could have been better. The choice of villain(s) and the reveal was brilliant!
p.s. Michael, I have only recently found your Tales of the Justice Society podcast. I love it! One of the very first comics I bought was All-Star Comics #62. I was instantly a fan.
Ward Hill Terry

Paul Hix said...

I was equally thrilled to see you do an episode on this mini-series as I was heartbroken not to be a part of it. You may think of me as the Doom Patrol guy but for longer and more passionately I was the James Robinson guy. My handle on the DC message boards was Parsifal, not because I dig the Nazi runt, but merely because I was grasping for some connection to this awesome comic.

It's interesting that Ryan never connected with James' writing on Starman, but I can see how the Jack Knight/Shade approach can grate on some readers. I can clearly see a change in James' writing after that series which seems linked with the death of his editor and friend Archie Goodwin. Robinson's work before this point was so assured and well crafted: Londons Dark, 67 Seconds, Bluebeard, Illegal Alien, Grendel Tales, Cable (yes that Cable) and especially Firearm. All of this is believably the work of the guy who wrote Golden Age.

For quite some time James talked in interviews about two related projects. One was a sequel called 'The Silver Age', but ironically the inspiration taken from the original work led Darwyn Cooke to create The New Frontier, which made James' follow up redundant. The second related work was a collaboration between Robinson and Matt Wagner which would show the gradual formation of the Justice Society with dates inspired by the debut of the various characters in the roster. I'm not sure what happened to this but I did know the book that emerged in the New 52 called Earth 2 started life as a period JSA piece when Robinson and Nicola Scott were first assigned to it.

Fantastic episode Michael & Ryan. I hate you both.