Saturday, June 06, 2009
Every grouping of superheroes needs a villain that is a time traveller, it just allows for those incredibly complex plots that allow for 100's of characters. For no group is that more important than the generational spanning Justice Society of America. And they have a goody of a time traveller in Per Degaton. Born in the forges of Nazism, Per Degaton makes the average time traveller look like a kitten. to call this guy a meglomaniac is to understate the case. And yet, at a time when most classic comic villains have had to be reinvented because Nazism simply does not fill the national consciousness anymore, Per Degaton has remained fairly close to his original conceptions.
There is something near perfect about the symmetry of the duel between Degaton and the JSA. I really love the JSA books because they are one of the last vestiges of what super heroics should be about. Oh the younger generations have all the foibles (drug addiction, infidelity, yada, yada, yada) that sells so many comic books these days, but the older guys always come in and remind the youngsters of what it means to be a superhero. It is, actually, about being better.
And Degaton, born in Nazisim, is always a reminder that real, genuine evil exists. The horrors of Hitler's Reich was the last evil this world was willing to look square in the face. It is still out there, but it is buried on page 3 as we try to live our lives in comfort or pretend such evil is only the stuff of fiction - on TV.
But in Degaton, that last great evil lives and each new generation must see and fight it - and in so doing he illuminates the evil that is real today.
Everyone ought to read the JSA/Degation stories.