I’m a bit behind, this show premiered a couple of months ago and there was a thread on the DC Universe board
about it, but since it’s a JSA-centric show I thought it belonged on this board.
I just watched the first episode and plan to watch the rest, I guess 8 episodes are currently out and there are going to be 13 this season.
I guess I’m old school so it’s odd to think that the JSA only came and went 10 years ago, as the opening title card tells us. So they existed post-2000 not in the 1940s. Another reason why that’s weird is that the show begins in what looks like the real world, but if superheroes are a part of normal everyday life here you would think it might be a little bit different. Like when they did the JSA on Smallville they had to say that they were a forgotten team that operated in secret decades ago and no one ever knew about them. But this is coming in after like 10 years of CW shows so I guess they figure you’re on board with the superhero premise or you’re not.
We start right in the thick of things with the JSA battling the ISA (Injustice Society). They don’t bother to introduce everyone or their gimmick, looks like the ISA is being led by the Wizard or Brainwave. Where did the giant black hand come from, was that Karkull? I think the lady with the braid was GA Huntress? The guy with the hockey mask must have been Sportsmaster. For some reason the big hero of the JSA is Starman, Sylvester Pemberton rather than Dr. Fate or Green Lantern. The entire JSA gets killed except for Starman who is rescued by his sidekick Stripesy in the Star Rocket Racer, I presume. They crash shortly after and Starman dies in Stripesy’s arms telling him to pass on the Cosmic Staff “but not to you, you’re not a hero” he says. Unless that’s a ‘tough love’ way of trying to motivate him, it’s kind of a dick thing to say.
Now we cut to present day Blue Valley, Nebraska where Stripesy AKA Pat Dugan has moved his family; his son Mike, his wife Barbara and stepdaughter Courtney. They don’t know he used to be a superhero but it’s not long before Courtney stumbles across his secret. The Cosmic Staff in this version is sentient, I guess, and chooses Courtney as its new champion. I’m not sure why it needs a champion since it has a mind of its own and can move on its own, mostly dragging her along.
They didn’t name every character we saw but I’m assuming the girl she meets in the ‘loser’s club’ at school, Beth, is going to be Dr. Midnight, the Latina girl Wildcat, and the mopey guy Hourman II. Pat sets up an auto shop and gets a visit from a nearby gym owner Larry “Crusher” Crock, yep that’s the Sportsmaster. The bullies at school are lead by a ginger who must be Brainwave Jr. since his father turns out to be Brainwave.
Courtney goes from hating her stepdad to partnering up with him pretty quick, by the end of the first episode. Kind of played out that storyline from the comic fast. She ends up being drawn to a confrontation with Brainwave but suddenly Pat shows up in his giant robot suit S.T.R.I.P.E. to help out, and: cliffhanger.
It was okay. Meshing Star-Spangled Kid and Starman into one character doesn’t really matter, nor skipping Jack Knight and giving the Staff version to Sylvester (instead of the rod or belt), just details. I don’t like how clueless Pat seems, I don’t like how the JSA treat him like he’s not one of the heroes just because he’s a sidekick or how Sylvester told him he wasn’t a hero.
There was no real character motivation for Courtney to start a hero’s journey, she just finds the poorly hidden staff and starts playing around with it. And it has super duper extra powers that will do a lot of the heavy lifting for her which makes her a little less heroic, I think.
Good costumes, effects, mostly good acting. I wish it the best, I hope it’s good. I don’t care if it crosses over with the Arrowverse.