By Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
This is an alternate reality tale of the Justice League on Earth without Superman. I really like alternate tales so I was mostly happy with this one, too.
On this Earth, a nail has punctured the Kent’s car tire and they decided not to go to Smallville on the very day when infant Clark comes to Earth and so, there’s no Superman who would become the paragon of goodness. Apparently, none of the other heroes can replace Superman’s influence and so they are regarded with fear and suspicion.
Of course, the campaign of suspicion is organized by Lex Luthor who is the newly re-elected mayor of Metropolis. His deputy is none other than Jimmy Olsen. Luthor campaigned hard against all metahumans; claiming that they are all a menace to society. Luthor is keeping Metropolis safe by draconian means: moving to and from the city is limited and armored troops are everywhere.
The former Green Arrow is also talking against the JLA. He was grievously wounded in a fight against Amazo and is now bitterly claiming that the superheroes are staging a war against the villains while in reality they are taking over. The situation is especially hard on his former girlfriend the Black Canary. In this world, she formed the Outsiders in order to give Oliver his own group. He didn’t like it, of course.
All this suspicion is, of course, also making the JLA members bicker amongst themselves, too. However, the Green Lantern suggests a solution of some kind: Lois Lane would follow them around for a while and give good press to the JLA. Not everyone is comfortable with this but they agree to try it.
But things turn, of course, for the worse. First, a group of armored men kidnaps the Doom Patrol. Then the Green Lantern finds out that someone has erected an indestructible barrier around Earth. At the same time, someone has given the Joker an incredibly powerful gauntlet and he uses it to free everyone in the Arkham Asylum. Batman confronts him but is powerless. Against Batman’s orders his sidekicks Robin and Batgirl try to help and Joker kills both of them. Something snaps inside Batman and in turn he fights and kills Joker. In front of cameras and while the asylum itself burns to the ground around them.
This JLA is a somewhat darker version. Even though many of them fight for the ideals of heroism, they don’t tend to trust each other and divide into different camps after the battle is over. They also don’t seem to have a leader and instead argue/ discuss every move.
I’m a bit skeptical that Superman’s absence would make metahumans’ general image so bad that it would be easy to smear them. Then again, Luthor’s campaign has been going on for years and even in the regular universe, the general public has turned against JLA even when they do have Superman.
There are little treats all over the album for older fans. Since I’m not very familiar with DC I’m fairly certain that I didn’t get them all. Both Star Sapphire and Aquaman’s wife make an appearance.
This isn’t one of my favorite alternate worlds but it’s very close. I’ll definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys them.
I really like Davis’ artwork and it’s really gorgeous here.