Okay, wow. Whatever you thought this book was before… it’s not that. If you intend to read this book, please do so before reading this review, because there are some real shocks inside that I have to discuss and therefore SPOIL. If you don’t want SPOILERS, please stop reading now.
Okay, that’s out of the way, this book, like ‘Justice League’ #1 is set five years ago and features the invasion of Earth… well an Earth… by Parademons. Unfortunately, this world only has a handful of heroes to defend it, Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman along with Robin (Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman) and Supergirl. These heroes, unlike those in the Justice League, have been active for years at this point and know each other well. The Parademons have ravaged this world and erected communications towers all over it. Metropolis is destroyed and Lois Lane died in a “stupid, senseless way.” Amazon Island and all the Amazons have likewise been destroyed. Diana mentions “a fallen sister.” Donna Troy, perhaps? The three main heroes make a last ditch attack. Robin serves as backup in the Batwing. Supergirl is tasked with patrolling the globe to protect several nuclear missiles, final safeguards in case the heroes fail in their mission. (One of the soldiers transporting one nuke is Al Pratt, the Golden Age Atom. One of his subordinates is named “Harper,” perhaps Roy? Or James Harper, the Golden Age Guardian?)
In a flashback, Batman informs Superman and Wonder Woman that he’s developed a virus that will shut down the towers and thus the Parademons. He just has to get into the Metropolis tower.
Back to the battle, Wonder Woman is visited by Mercury, who tells her that the Roman gods (not Greek, it should be noted) have taken up the battle against the Parademons as well, but it seems that many of these immortals have been slaughtered already. Even Mars, the god of war! He thanks her for her loyalty and her faith before flying off.
Then – and here come the shocks – Wonder Woman is impaled and killed by Steppenwolf! Then, Superman is blown to pieces! Not hearing back from her cousin, Supergirl abandons her patrol and flies to Metropolis, leaving the soldiers below vulnerable. (Their fate isn’t depicted here.) Batman succeeds in his mission, but urges his daughter to escape. It seems he failed to mention that when his plan goes into effect, the tower in which he has invaded, will explode. Helena tearfully tells Kara that their mentors are dead. Another Boom Tube opens and the ladies see someone inside and rush toward it and vanish… for good.
In the present, Alan Scott, owner of GBC narrates a five year anniversary documentary devoted to the war and the loss of the heroes. As they fly over Italy, we see that it is still a bombed out shell, with huge fiery craters.
In Lansing, Michigan, 21 year-old Jay Garrick is being dumped by his girlfriend Joan, who is moving to the west coast to work at Tyler-Chem. (Owned by Rex Tyler, Hourman, in old continuity.) Later that night, Jay is sitting on a hill, overlooking the city, having a beer when he spots what he thinks is a falling star… but is really a fallen god, Mercury!
Get all that? Good! This is NOT the new Justice Society of America. These are NOT the heroes of World War II and/or their legacies. This is a straight up, brand new, parallel universe that tips its hat at the Golden Age heroes, but this is something vastly different.
Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman… DEAD?! I was stunned that they pulled that. I really had no clue that was coming… well, it’s vaguely referenced at the beginning, but I mean, before this book’s release there was never any mention of anything of this magnitude occurring. I missed the Justice Society in this whole New 52 reboot. Their integration into the “main” DC continuity was one of the best things to come out of Crisis on Infinite Earths. And their Geoff Johns-penned series was a huge hit and fan favorite. But realizing that this isn’t in any way a reintroduction of the “classic” JSA helps me accept this new concept with all its shocks and twists a bit easier. This is something new and different and… not bad at all!
I LOVE Nicola Scott! (Read my interview with her here!) She just rocks! Her style is clean, smooth, super detailed and gorgeous and she just takes it to a new level in this book. She did most of the design work on these versions of these classic heroes and I honestly like her designs a lot better than most of those over in the mainstream DCU, right now. Superman doesn’t have a bunch of fussy extraneous seams all over his costume. Wonder Woman actually looks like Wonder Woman, with a few added pieces of armor. Batman also looks armored, but in a more modern way, and very practical. Best of all, Supergirl doesn’t have bizarre leggings with the knees cut out.
This is a strange one, I will admit. It may enrage fans of the classic Golden Age JSA or even the more recent modern version. But I choose to view this as a new type of Elseworlds. It’s something new that simply pays homage to the previous work. (You could honestly apply that to the mainstream New 52.) It’s well written and beautifully drawn. So I’ll definitely be adding this to my pull list!
What did you think of the drastic changes in this issue? Comment below!
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola Scott
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Rod Reis