By Mark Waid and a whole host of artists. I love Hitch and Neary’s art and they’re in a fine form here.
The trade has three basic storylines: in the first one an evil Queen from fairy tales emerges to try to take her “rightful” place as the ruler of the world (and the most beautiful woman in the world, as well). Then there’s a brief story about Dr. Destiny and his apparently ability to change reality. Lastly, there’s a longer story where most of the JLA have been divided into their superhuman and civilian identities.
The first story was clearly influenced by fairy tales, especially Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty but some of the others are dealt with as well. An unsuspecting woman reads an old book and so releases the evil Queen to modern Manhattan. She promptly uses her powers to turn the city into a magical forest and also sends her minions to terrorize the citizens. She sees Wonder Woman on the TV and believes that Diana is her ancient enemy – the only woman who is prettier than she.
The JLA arrives quickly and the Queen kidnaps Diana. The rest of the team then tries to rescue her from the glass coffin where she sleeps. At the same time, they are trying to find a way to defeat the Queen. Many of them miss Batman’s skills and the team is starting to divide into two.
The next story is quite short and is more of a staging ground for the start of the next story. The story starts with Superman telling about the case to Batman. He’s trying to convince Batman to return to the team by telling him how fractured the team had become. Dr. Destiny is causing trouble all over the world at the same time. However, the JLA knows that he is trapped in the Dreamstream. The team uses this knowledge to attack Dr Destiny in their dream forms.
The next story starts when Batman finds a group of people from his Batcave: Clark Kent, John Johnson, Bruce Wayne… He calls in the rest of the team. It seems that the "civilian" people are convinced that they are the real JLA and are baffled about why they don't have their powers. Aquaman and Wonder Woman are the only ones without secret identities and they are also the only ones who aren't affected.
Meanwhile, different people’s wishes come true all over the world. But the wishes have all been twisted somehow: a girl wishes a little bit of chocolate and the whole town is turned into chocolate; a homeless man wishes to be noticed and he’s given the power to change reality. The team has their hands full. Diana and Arthur are keeping a close eye on their team mates and they notice that the others are become more impatient and less human.
I really liked this trade. Throughout, the team is struggling to come to grips with Batman's actions and there's even some character growth.
I love the old fairy tales, especially the non-Disney versions of them, and the first story was mostly a real treat. Mostly, because I was a bit frustrated that the Queen's sole motivation was to be the most beautiful in the land. I know it's a classical motivation but still... Diana is so much more than just her looks. But I enjoyed the flying monkeys and the Hansel and Gretel dilemma poor J'onn had. It was also a great touch that J'onn, Arthur, and Diana weren't familiar with the stories (of course, since they hadn't grown up in modern society) while the Kryptonian who grew up in Kansas was.
However, I was somewhat confused by the ending. I don't think that you can just swap an ordinary book for a magical one.
I also loved the third story where we're shown how much the heroes need their more human halves.
Overall: one of the best JLA trades I've read.