JSA Reread Part 3

This brings us to the end of the first year of this book, with another one off cool down issue, like issue 6, and the opening act of the title’s biggest story yet. Also thrown in there is a goofy crossover title, that while far from essential in the big scheme does have some worthwhile developments. These are necessary issues to the feel of the title, if not strictly important ones. The fate of the world can’t hang in the balance in every story, there has to be some dramatic highs and lows. This is a bit of a low, though it is only a low by superhero standards.

JSA 10: Wild Hunt

Written by Geoff Johns and David Goyer. Art by Stephen Sadowski and Michael Bair

This issue, a bit of a breather between big arcs, is a solo issue for Wildcat, who had to sit out the last arc after Black Adam broke his arm in issue #6. It also introduces the Justice Society’s opposite counterpart, the Injustice Society. The Injustice Society is an evil version of the JSA. Like our heroic team, their focus is legacy. They are a combination of Golden Age villains and replacements for Golden Age villains. It is led by Johnny Sorrow, a Golden Age villain that can kill with a look. It has the 2nd Icicle, who inherited his powers from his father, and 2nd Tigress, who had two supervillain parents, one the first Tigress and the other the Sportsmaster. Count Vertigo and Geomancer are on the team, as is Blackbriar Thorn, an old GL villain. And lastly is Golden Wasp, who is another legacy villain who hides a secret.

The whole team breaks into the JSA Museum with Wildcat the only JSAer on the premises. In fact, he was taking a bath and maybe having phone sex with Catwoman. While Johnny Sorrow goes after a vial labeled The King of Tears in Flash’s lab, the rest try to take out Wildcat. Using his knowledge of the Museum and their overconfidence, Ted manages to separate and take them down. He runs down Geomancer and Count Vertigo with his catcycle, smashes Blackbriar Thorn in the elevator, traps Icicle on an operating table and knocks out Tigress and Killer Wasp. It also very heavily hints that Killer Wasp has some connection to Ted through Ted’s son who was kidnapped years ago. Of course, while Ted does this, Sorrow gets what he’s after and teleports everyone, other than the smashed Thorn, out. And Ted, knowing what’s really important, tries to get back in touch with Catwoman. The references to Catwoman are not just throwaways because they are both feline themed characters, there is a not terrible Wildcat/Catwoman miniseries (written by Chuck Dixon and Beau Smith and likely existing because they are both feline themed characters) where they team-up to stop/pull off a casino heist and flirt. It turns out that Wildcat trained Catwoman in his gym, though they only know each other as civilians.

Other than introducing the Injustice Society, there isn’t a lot to grasp in this issue. It is a relatively low stakes affair that gives Wildcat a chance to shine and to seed a couple of future storylines. It is a fun issue, but not a particularly important one.

Sins of Youth/Sins of Youth: Star-Woman and the JSA Jr.

Written by Geoff Johns, Art by Drew Johnson

This is a brief detour of a mini-event. Sins of Youth was primarily a Young Justice story, but every DC superhero team gets involved. Through machinations not worth going into, Klarion the Witch Boy manages to turn all of the child heroes into adults and all the adults into children. This affects every superhero and team in the DC Universe. It is gives the heroes and sidekicks a chance to see how things look from the other side of that relationship. The JSA, as the oldest heroes, get turned into the youngest children. Except for Star Spangled Kid, who becomes an adult.

In the JSA’s issue, they go with Doiby Dickles, a Brooklyn cabbie who was Green Lantern’s old sidekick and eventually left Earth to marry an alien princess, to the planet Myrg to get an age changing gun to try to fix everybody. Along for the ride is Merry Pembertonm Gimmick Girl, the sister of Sylvester Pemberton, the original Star Spangled Kid. She hasn’t taken too kindly the current bearer of that title, the JSA’s own Courtney Whitmore. As the lone adult on the team, StarWoman, as the adult Courtney calls herself, has trouble keeping all the toddler JSAers together long enough to help Doiby retrieve another ageing gun.

The only truly important part of this story is that Star Spangled Kid shows that she has the makings of a true hero, holding a team of super-powered children together through space. It is one of her first big steps in going from the bratty kid to a full team member. She also uses Jack Knight’s Star Rod, which he will give to her when he retires from superheroing in a year or two.

JSA 11: Split

Written by Geoff Johns and David Goyer. Art by Bair and Buzz

This issue starts a new two part arc. This is when the title really starts to dig deep into DC universe history. The title has always been about history and legacy, but it now it takes on a wider view than just the team. It brings in ties from Infinty Inc to Zero Hour to Blackhawks.

This one opens on a jet with an elderly woman, who identifies herself as Atom Smasher’s mother. As she chats with the woman seated next to her, the villain Kobra appears on a screen in the plane. He announces that he is taking over control of the plane and blows it up. Kobra is the last of the concepts Jack Kirby created in his time at DC. It was so late in his time there that it didn’t actually come out while he was still there and it was partially redrawn before it was published. Jeffrey Burr is Kobra, the leader of the Terrorist Cult called Kobra. He is a genius and also has a psychic link with his twin brother that makes them share experiences. He’s fought everybody from Wonder Woman to Batman.

Back in the JSA Museum. Mr. Bones, a former villain turned hero turned leader of the Department of Extranormal Operation (DEO) as well as inadvertent killer of the original Star Spangled Kid, is giving the team a rundown of the situation. He explains that Harold Jordan, a cousin of Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who operates as the hero Airwave, has been captured by Kobra. Airwave is just the kind of hero that the JSA, and the old DC Universe in general, overflowed with. In the Golden Age, Larry Jordan was the original Airwave until he got married and retired before training his son to take up his mantle. Kobra is planning on using his powers to take control of all communication and create and Age of Chaos. Kobra has taken over Blackhawk Island, the base of the Golden Age fighter pilot team the Blackhawks, and Mr Bones wants the JSA to take them out. The simple set up for this story takes a turn when Sylvester Pemberton, the original Star Spangled Kid remember, who was killed years ago by Mr. Bones, appears in the building.

Hourman immediately deduces that his appearance is Extant’s doing. Extant is the time traveling villain from the event Zero Hour and formerly the hero Hawk from the pair of Hawk and Dove. In that story he killed a handful of JSAers, the original Atom, Dr. Midnight and Hourman. So they call in all the reserves and split into two teams. Robot Hourman, Sentinel, Hippolyta, Flash, and the Star Spangled Kids board Hourman’s time traveling Viking ship and trek through time to find Extant. They discuss the danger that Extant possess and the SSKs have a little heart to heart. He is glad to see someone carrying on his legacy and offers to help her with the belt. Then they are gone for the rest of the issue and the next one.

Starman, Dr. Midnight, Sand, Wildcat, Black Canary and an understandably upset Atom Smasher go after Kobra. They infiltrate the island and are soon joined by the new Mr. Terrific. Mr. Terrific immediately shows his worth by using his “T-Spheres” to display a 3D map of the island and outline an attack plan. You’d think an attack plan would be something they had before they showed up on the island.

They split up, with most of the team going to take out the island’s generators. Sand makes his way to where they are holding Airwave, but before he can rescue him he is attacked by Kobra, who uses comic book science to freeze is his sand based body. He then proceeds to use Airwave’s powers to broadcast him executing Sand on Times Square.

JSA 12: The Blood Dimmed Tide

Written by Johns & Goyer, Art by Buzz

The next issue starts with Kobra gloating over taking out the leader of the JSA, going full villain monologue with how he plans to use killer satellites to destroy every city on Earth. Kobra is not a villain with a strong historical or thematic connection to the JSA. He is just a run of the mill conquer the world supervillain, this time with satellites set up around the world to destroy all major cities with X-Rays. He is quickly disappointed when he finds out that he executed a hologram made by Mr. Terrific and Sand is fine.

While Dr. Midnite helps Sand, Mr. Terrific fights with Kobra. Though he has the upper hand, Kobra manages to slip away. They free Airwave, who takes out the satellites, but Kobra activates the base’s self-destruct and escapes in a plane. Airwave takes off the stop the satellites, leaving the others to make their escape.Except Atom Smasher grows to as big as he can and snatches the plane out of the air. He then debates killing Kobra to get revenge for his mother’s death, but Jack talks him down. This anger is a problem that Atom Smasher tries to deal with as the series goes on, and Kobra is a villain that will be back later.

The team escapes the exploding island on an old Blackhawk plane and discovers that Blackhawk Island is a DEO base, they were dealing with a DEO created problem to begin with.As they have it out with Mr. Bones, something crashes onto the roof. It is Hourman’s Timeship, piloted by Metron, one of the New Gods. He quickly claims that the other team is dead and that they have only seconds to save the universe.

There big occurrence in this issue is Atom Smasher struggling with reigning in his rage. It is all action, not necessarily a bad thing but it doesn’t leave a lot to discuss. It is pure fun. That is where we stop for now. Next time the team will have to deal with this crisis, as well as the crisis of the swollen ranks.

 

JSA Reread Part 2

I originally expected to cover only issues 6 and 7 for this entry, but I realized that if I only covered 2 issues at a time it would take me more than a year to cover all that I want to cover in this re-read. So now, I am taking on issues 6-9, the first of which is an interlude issue with Black Adam and then the three issue Darkness Falls arc. My plan for the rest of this re-read is to try to cover one arc in each entry, though some of the longer arcs will require more. I have it planned out for 25 Parts total, unless I also decide to cover Johns issues on the re-launched Justice Society of America. So let’s get started on the first four issues of the Johns/Goyer collaboration on the JSA. After the first issue, drawn by Marcos Martin, the rest are drawn by Stephen Sadowski, with inking my Michael Bair and covers by Alan Davis.

JSA #6: Justice, like Lightning.

This is Geoff Johns’ first issue as co-writer and immediately we are introduced to the character his run centers on: Black Adam. I am assuming most of Black Adam’s arc is Johns’ doing because it is one the few that is not tidied up when Goyer leaves the book around issue 50. Also worth noting is that this issue is penciled by Marcos Martin, who is a tremendous artist. Just look at his work on recent issues of Daredevil or in Batgirl Year One.

The issue starts with the JSA holding a press conference to announce that they have reformed. The superhero press conference is one of the worst ideas in the world of superheroes. Not the idea that a team, like the JSA, would announce to everybody that they are back in business, but that anyone would show up to something like the ribbon cutting in this issue without realizing the obvious would happen. A villain will attack this get together. Every time this scene occurs, a villain will attack. And of course, it happens here.

Johns and Goyer aren’t subtle on this title. Just look at Sand’s speech. The earlier JSA “created a legacy. That legacy isn’t easy to live up to,” he says. That is the major focus on of the book. Sand just comes out and says it. Legacy and the struggle to live up to it or in some cases break free from it. There is another interesting line in that speech, “While others in our line of work are often in the shadows or adventuring beyond time and space, we keep our feet firmly planted on the ground.” While on the surface those are clear references to Batman (shadows) and Superman (time and space), it also foreshadows where the book is going. The next issue starts an arc called Darkness Falls, wherein the entire world is covered in shadow. After that, the team must fight the time traveling villain Extant, a battle the roams over all of time and space. This is a new beginning for this team, and those are the adventures they will have.

Then we get a page of character positioning. Hawkgirl hates the spotlight, Dr. Fate misses his wife, and Star Spangled Kid is a bit self-centered. After Courtney (Star Spangled Kid, soon to be Stargirl) cuts the ribbon, it moves inside the JSA museum. In the middle of the page are three panels highlighting heroes who have passed on. First is Mr. Terrific, the predecessor to the man from issue 5 that Sand offered JSA membership to. Then it’s Dr Midnight, who will join in the next issue and finally Hawkman, whose return is a big arc itself in a few issues.

Then Black Adam attacks. Remember what I said about subtlety or the lack thereof? After the initial wave of JSAers is manhandled by the near Superman powerful Black Adam, Sand opines, “there’s nothing I can do if Black Adam’s feet aren’t on the ground.” An obvious call back to the line in his speech about the JSA being grounded. While most of the team tries to fend off the enraged strongman, Hourman, Dr. Fate and Hawkgirl travel back in time to ancient Egypt to the point when Black Adam received his powers. Using a combination of Hourman’s time powers and Dr Fate’s magic, they channel the magic lightning bolt to the present to drain their foe’s powers. Conveniently, this happens just after everyone on the team had the chance to show off their powers.

Everyone is confused about Black Adam’s attack because they thought he had reformed. For those unaware, Black Adam had been an ancient hero, but now his powers are used by his villainous descendant Theo Adam, though Black Adam had regained control. Sentinel (Green Lantern, really) discovers that he has a brain tumor that may have caused his outburst. Then Agent Chase (of her own short series) from the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations) shows up and takes custody of Adam, while her boss Mr. Bones thinks some cryptic thoughts about Hawkgirl.

While this issue is primarily a cool down issue between big stories, it does seed a ton of story points for future issues. The most important of which is the introduction of Black Adam, who will play a major role in the series from much of its run. It also marks the first, but far from last, trip the team will make to ancient Egypt.

JSA #7: Darkness Falls

Now we start the second big story of this series. The threat was seeded in a couple of scenes in the first few issues, with Alan “Sentinel” Scott’s son Todd talking with shadows. Now we see what he was going on about.

This issue starts in medias res with Black Canary falling from a window. She is chased by shadows of her teammates, which eventually catch up with her.

Then it jumps back to earlier that morning and the apartment of Jade, Alan Scott’s other child. Johns and Goyer make sure you don’t miss this connection. Jade cuts her hand on a photo of her, her brother and her father and reminisces about the connection her and her brother share and wonders about how odd he’s been lately. So she calls her dad.

On the opposite page, Dr. Fate tries to connect with Hawkgirl, who is both his cousin and possibly his mother reincarnated. Very creepy, and it won’t get better. Echoing Jade cutting her wrist on the previous page, Hawkgirl’s scarred wrists are exposed. Her troubled life before the series is slowly explored during the time she is on the team and this is one of the first hints of her situation.

Fate’s and Hawkgirl’s talk is interrupted by a call to see a news report saying that all the shadows in Milwaukee had disappeared. While the team heads for the city, Sentinel info dumps all the back-story and set up for this arc. He just throws it out there.

Once they arrive at their secret underground bunker, we meet Star Spangled Kid’s step dad, who is the team’s mechanic and appears in only 3 or 4 issues of the series. His inclusion here seems like a bit of cross-pollination with John’s Stars and STRIPE book, where he is the co-star. However, it may have already been cancelled by this point. He takes a little guff from old friends and sets the team up with a plane, the Steel Eagle, which aspires to but never achieves the status of the X-Men’s Blackbird. Off they go to Milwaukee.

Why Milwaukee? Because that is the home of Jim Rice, Todd’s stepfather, a drunk who used to beat him. In his apartment, the team finds a shadow man sitting an armchair. As far as they can tell, it is the only shadow in the city. When Sentinel approaches, the shadow sucks him inside of itself; then it expands to cover the whole the city. The heroes try to protect civilians around the city, but the shadows slowly possess the heroes. Inside the shadow, a realm called the Shadowlands, Sentinel sees Jim Rice and the other part of the villainous duo Ian Karkull. There is the only editor’s note in the issue to explain Karkull’s history, referencing a story from 1941.

Outside the only three JSAers left who aren’t possessed, Atom Smasher, Black Canary and Star Spangled Kid, are captured. Obsidian (Todd) begins a classic villain monologue while Atom Smasher argues with him. Kid manages to free Black Canary, bringing us back to where the story started. Just before Canary is overcome by the shadows, a flash of light disperses them, revealing the new Dr. Midnight.

JSA #8: Shadowland

The first seven pages of this issue are introduction to this new Dr Midnight. Quickly we learn that he is an actual doctor, that he has a few light and shadow based gadgets, he can see in the dark and he has one of the best sidekick/pets ever: and owl. The owl is peeking in on Obsidian with the rest of the JSA, and feeding it back to Dr. Midnight via a tiny camera around its neck. It also features the first pairing of Black Canary and Dr. Midnight, which is the only real, possibly sexual, relationship that suns through the first year or so of the book.

Back with Obsidian, Atom Smasher tries to appeal to his shadow possessed teammates, but Obsidian tells him that they can’t help because they are currently living out their worst nightmares in their minds. Flash sees his dead successors come back to haunt him, Hourman is faced with an existential crisis; Hawkgirl relives an apparent murder she committed, etc. Obsidian proceeds to taunt Atom Smasher until Karkull returns with Obsidian’s fathers.

Obsidian then rails against both of his dads with ideological rantings. Nothing is left as subtext. From the juxtaposition of Nature and Nurture, which this story comes down on the side of nurture, to Obsidian flat asking Sentinel what he thinks about the legacy he’s left, with a wife that has committed suicide and a son who has become a super villain.

As Obsidian moves in for the killing blow, Canary and Midnight arrive. They free their non-possessed teammates and manage to break Hawkgirl free from the shadows. Atom Smasher manages to corner Obsidian, but despite Obsidian’s taunting about him being weak, he is unable to kill him to save his friends. So the team beats a hasty retreat. Karkull then reveals that he has been playing Obsidian from the start and tries to take him down. Obsidian then turns the tables on him and absorbs his powers. He then uses it to cover the whole world in shadow.

This issue is mostly rising action. It is the team beaten, and held at their lowest point. Their enemies appear triumphant. There are some moments of thematic worth here, though. Like Sentinel realizing the failures in his legacy and Atom Smasher thinking he’s found some of his own with inability to kill Obsidian, his best friend. The middle issue is tough, since the first issue generally establishes the conflict and the last one ends it, but in the middle, it is only rising action.

JSA #9: Black Planet.

Now that the entire planet is covered in shadow, everyone on the planet is going crazy. Because not only is the world dark, but also people are forced to face their inner darkness as well. Sentinel tells the rest of the team that by staying together they can pool their willpower and overcome their dark thoughts. So he leaves them to deal with their possessed teammates and the other possessed inhabitants of Milwaukee while he deals with his son.

Star Spangled Kid and Hawkgirl manage to free Hourman, who slows down Flash enough for them to free him as well. Dr. Fate manages to shake free of the possession on his own. Atom Smasher, with Rice hanging around his neck, seals the rest of the shadow people, including Sand, behind a wall of cars. Rice wants to know why Sentinel doesn’t need to be in contact with anyone else to stave off the darkness and Atom Smasher tells him it is because he is already living his greatest nightmare.

The central conflict of this issue is the conflict of this whole arc. It is Sentinel facing his mistakes and the truth of the legacy that he has left behind him, all in the person of his opposite powered son. So they have one of Johns patented shouting philosophical debate/fights. Obsidian feels as though the world has cheated him, with some pieces of a good point. He was the son of the superhero, but he was raised by an abusive drunk. He did not inherit his father’s light-based powers, like his sister, but instead powers of darkness and well as his mother’s mental problems. Not an actual good point, but enough of one to see why he wants what he wants. Sentinel is facing his most immediate legacy, his son, turned from being a hero (just before this he had been a member of a particularly forgettable JLA team) to a villain. And not an ambiguous villain, he has turned evil for evil’s sake. For the reasons mentioned above, as well as for the obvious symbolism (light vs shadow) and because he is actually crazy. It is not the most spectacular fight in this series, but it is a warm up for later, larger stories.

One interesting note is that Alan is only effective against Obsidian after he recalls his time as Green Lantern. Due to supposed reader confusion, he was going by Sentinel at this time, instead of his original name, Green Lantern. In a series about a character’s legacy, being forced to use a different name is problematic.

In the end, Alan is unable to save Obsidian, though he does stop him. Obsidian flees back into the shadow dimension, taking Jim Rice with him while Alan goes off to break the news to his daughter. The team is kind of down here. They saved the world, but they didn’t save Obsidian On the flight home Flash utters a disgusting sentiment about people being born bad, but it does not seem to be one endorsed by the book. Idly some members of the team wonder what Wildcat got up to in their absence.

Which segues to the two-page coda of Wildcat sitting in the bathtub, possibly attempting to engage in phone-sex with Catwoman only to be disturbed by an attack by the all-new Injustice Society.

I don’t feel that this title is completely up to speed yet. Some characters very important to the run have yet to be introduced and Johns has not yet found his footing. However, this is still a solid arc that sets up plenty of future stories. Yes, there will be more intercalations with Obsidian and Atom Smasher’s willingness to do kill to save people will again be tested.

Next time: Wildcat stands alone, JSA v Kobra and Sins of Youth.

JSA Re-read Part 1

This is the first entry in a new weekly — hopefully — series I am writing about the Geoff Johns/David Goyer (later just Johns, who is the writer of focus here) JSA, which is hands down my favorite comic series. This series is the reason I went from someone who liked superhero movies and had read some X-Men comics long, long ago to a someone who actually buys and reads comic books. JSA is not a book that would normally be considered a good series for new readers. It is the reason I am never convinced that that continuity is the reason comic sales are in a prolonged funk. (I’d finger general awareness and physical accessibility.) JSA is not just a book with some reliance on continuity, it is a book steeped in it; it revels in it. JSA is about history, it is a book looking back at and remembering the past. That the JSA was dropped, at least temporarily, in the re-launch makes sense. The series focuses on the legacy of a world with superheroes and DC seems intent on jettisoning that, for better or worse. Without history, there is no Justice Society.

Despite the title’s reliance on history, JSA was still a new reader friendly series. Each arc, if not each issue, is comprehensible to people who have never read the book before. That is impressive especially with the fact that most recognizable character in the series is probably Hawkman. Maybe Captain Marvel or Black Canary, I’m not sure which one is best known. C-list characters at best no matter how you look at it. Much of this is thanks to the writing team. While he is certainly never subtle, Johns (I’ll credit him since he has done this on more books than this. Goyer certainly contributed as well) has a knack for distilling characters down to a core idea that drives all their stories. Not that the characters are one note; it gives them a central, relatable theme. As he does this for each of the numerous characters, he also does it for the team as a whole. And the theme of JSA is legacy. They are a team built on remembering the past, on how that past affects the future. They are about carrying on an ideal and a specific legacy; it is about the importance and dangers of following in the footsteps of parents/mentors/teachers.

Before we got to the run proper, there are the first 5 issues of the series to deal with. Because while Goyer was on to start the book, his co-writer is James Robinson for the first arc rather than Geoff Johns. Robinson was at the time closing in on the end of his wonderful Starman series and was at the time a superstar. Since Goyer was co-writing, I am going to cover it. It is part of the run; it sets up much of what comes later, even though it isn’t Johns work. That being said, I am not going to give it quite the same level of focus that I do the later issues. So let’s begin with JSA issues 1-5
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Biweekly Comic Reviews 8-22-11

Time for another set of comic reviews, though only 4 reviews this time. Most of my stuff didn’t ship and I’m saving the Flashpoint stuff for the end of the month.

  • Mega Man 3. Ian Flynn and Patrick Spaziante.

This has been everything a person could want in a Mega Man comic. It is a brightly colored action packed all ages comic that also touches on themes like the horrors of war. Mega Man nearly loses himself to robot killer he has become, but he is pulled back from the brink by Dr. Light and Roll. I could read this book forever.   [****1/2]

 

  • Kirby Genesis 2. Kurt Busiek, Alex Ross and Jack Herbert

It is not often I wish a comic contained less than it does, but I feel that way with Kirby Genesis. It seems like Busiek and Ross have lost control a bit trying to flood all of these Jack Kirby characters onto the page. The mass confusion appears to be intentional and I have faith that they can rein it in or explain it sufficiently to ease the confusion and construct a satisfying story. It’s just that after 3 issues the plot is still lost in the cacophony of noise color and Kirby Dots. Still, this is a comic where a Sasquatch is abducted by aliens. That’s hard to top.  [***1/2]

  • Justice Society of America 54. Marc Guggenheim and Jerry Ordway.

I never learn my lesson with the JSA. The Johns/Goyer run is my favorite comic, ever. The relaunch was good even when it meandered. Then Willingham and Sturges took over and it took until they split the team for them to find their footing. Then came Guggenheim, who was terrible. Every time I picked up the book, it was terrible. But every three months or so I would try it again and it would still be terrible. Here we have some nice Jerry Ordway art, some actually snappy dialogue and as brain dead a plot as was ever thrown in the garbage in disgust. I’m a little sad that the JSA is not coming back (immediately) with the re-launch, but if it is going to be like this then good riddance. [*1/2]

  • Daredevil 2. Mark Waid and Paola Rivera

Continuing from last month’s stellar issue is another stellar issue. Few can craft a superhero comic like Mark Waid does. The fight with Captain America to start is a joy, and it is followed by advancing the other plots introduced in the first issue. The art by is as good as you can find on the shelves right now. Even for a Daredevil hater like me this book is an absolute delight. [****]

Quick Shot Reviews:

  • Superman 714.  Chris Roberson made some fine lemonade out of some rotten lemons. [***]
  • War of the Green Lanterns 2. Utterly pointless. A waste of time and money.  [**]
  • Xombi 5. Ethereal and odd, it is sad that there is only one more issue. [****]