JSA All Stars: Constellations Review

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that, despite being a comic book fan I'm not too fond of DC Comics. I don't know what it is about them but I don't think they have anything on Marvel. I think it might be the sort of story telling that happens with DC, the universe that these characters inhabit, seems to allow for darker stories to be told like those in Batman and Huntress and these stories can sometimes overstep the mark for me in terms of what should be acceptable reading and what should never be touched in terms of sensitive topics that plague the world today. Sometimes I feel they just cross the line. What I like about Marvel is that everything is so bright and colourful and so much more easy to read. That's not to say that I have something against DC. It takes me a while to find the comic from them for me to enjoy but very often I find them and thoroughly love them. But when it comes to DC comics I don't often know where to start but I decided to pick this book up purely on the basis that I knew who some of the characters where.

Not knowing to expect from these comics allows someone to analyse what they are reading and seeing without a slightly biased opinion and I had never heard of the author Matthew Sturges or artist Freddie Williams II before but I am impressed with the work they have achieved, though I was surprised to find that Williams art was drawn on a computer rather than by hand! Still, it was enjoyable enough to view.

I was aware that around this time The Justice Society of America team had split but the reasons why were a complete mystery but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of this book. The first instalment of this book was good, opening with a big battle which sets up the character conflict that occurs later in the book with Power Girl an Magog struggling over which one of them leads the team. I have to admit that I didn't really take to Magog. To me he seemed quite overbearing and cocky, the sort of I'm always right people that we have to put up with in the real world!

Something that I didn't enjoy was the never ending bickering between Tomcat and Damage. It got really old really fast and resulted in the characters failing to engage this reader. These scenes reminded me of some of the Teen Titans books and I was forced to wonder whether the All Stars had swapped bodies with the Titans for a while!

Although I didn't enjoy Magog at all, I did like the scenes that he and Power Girl had concerning how he was going to deal with one of the members of The Injustice Society. I think that throughout this book, it was Power Girl who stood out as the best written character as she saves the life of villain Icicle, even though he would go on to kill hundreds later and forced Fortune to save the life of King Chimera even though she is warned that if Fortune does this then she won't be able to save anyone else, nicely setting up the fact that she can't save the hundreds that Icicle kills later.

Overall, I thought that JSA All Stars: Constellations was going to be silly, camp and irrelevant in the wider DC universe. I was wrong as it was certainly none of these and I was pleased with the overall story and left me wanting to read the next volume.

Although I did enjoy William's work I don't see the advantage of drawing something digitally rather than conventionally. I did notice some really pointy chins for some characters but especially for poor old Stargirl and some bizarre faces being pulled by Citizen Steel in some of the opening pages. I also noted that rather than re-drawing some of the panels, William's seems to have copied them on three occasions and at some points fails to include a famous lack of coverage over a part of Power Girl's anatomy and its obvious. While I enjoyed his work here overall, it hasn't made me a massive fan.

Overall, Constellations is something that author Matthew Sturges should be proud of. Within the opening pages it instantly captures the readers attention and keeps them invested in the story till the end and then leaves them on a cliff hanger which no doubt is explored more in the second volume. While William's art is impressive, it lacked something that made me really interested. But nothing can be as bad as some of the headache inducing messes that Chris Bachelo has been responsible for. With work as strong as this, it is a shame that Sturges hasn't found a place in any of the DC New 52 titles.