One of my favorite things in comics is when a book is allowed to exist outside of normal continuity. Often times this causes dramatic and over-the-top type responses from readership. So instead of pulling a “Dallas” (god, I am old) and saying it was all a dream companies like DC create separate realities to allow stories that are outside the norm. Justice League of America – The Nail is an ElseWorlds story.
There have been many storylines that explore what the world would be like without Superman or what the world would be like if he existed in a different version of himself. The Nail explores a different twist. As the opening page displays, the Kents are not the ones who rescue baby Kal El when his Kryptonian ship crashes in Kansas. A flat tire prevents their fateful trip that brought them to it. But what happens to Kal El is not learned immediately.
The story flashes forward to a future where Lex Luthor is both rick & powerful, but also popular. Many of you may know that Lex was once President of the United States (in regular pre-52 continuity), in this ElseWorlds tale he is merely Mayor of Metropolis, but his aspirations are much greater.
Throughout the three-part mini-series the JLA is faced with an ever growing hatred from the general populace. Fear mongering and distrust of meta-humans is an ever increasing theme and issue throughout the book. The team is continually looking for the evil without, assuming that it is some super villain they have fought before, but keep coming up empty.
In the end the villain is as unexpected as it is interesting. A surprise I will not spoil here.
Whereas I did enjoy this story there are some points that I find tedious. The writer, Alan Davis, uses page space to involve Apokolips and New Genesis in the story and we witness the beginnings of what will surely become an epic war…but is not at all touched on. In fact it is not until six years later that the sequel Justice League of America – Another Nail is published, which displays more the events of these happenings.
Davis, true to the idea of ElseWorlds, takes a lot of liberty with these characters. Batman is the hero who is most removed from his nature; at times even flying in the face of his own morality. It doesn’t detract from the story, but it seems like Davis really just wanted to see what he could get away with.
Justice League of America – The Nail gets a B from this reviewer. It had really powerful moments but it also had a lot of throwaway scenes that could have used more explanation. Perhaps the series should have been four issues instead of three.
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Till next Wednesday…
Del Amitri – Tell Her This, A Perfect Circle – Sleeping Beauty, The Jealous Sound – Anxious Arms, The Mars Volta – Tetragrammaton, Statistics – 2 a.m., Placebo – Running up that Hill, Mute Math – Spotlight, A New Found Glory – My Friends Over You, Jimmy Eat World – Big Casino, Cary Brothers – Blue Eyes, Imogen Heap – Headlock, The Get Up Kids – Is There A Way Out