Justice League of America (vol.2) #0 (September, 2006)
“Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow”
Writer – Brad Meltzer
Pencillers – Eric Wright, Dick Giordano, Tony Harris, George Perez, J.H. Williams III, Luke McDonnell, Gene Ha, Rags Morales, Ethan Van Sciver, Kevin Maguire, Adam Kubert, Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, Howard Porter, Andy Kubert, Phil Jimenez & Ed Benes
Inkers – Paul Neary, Kevin Nowlan, Dexter Vines, Jesse Delperdang, Andy Lanning & Sandra Hope
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Assistant Editor – Jeanine Schaeffer
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
Well, that be a lotta pencillers, eh? Wow, for the first time in ever I couldn’t fit’em all into the tags/labels!
This is bound to be an amazing book right? Either that or a colossal mess, to be sure? Well, nah… it’s neither of those things really… but we’ll get there. I guess I’m still in a post-Infinite Crisis mood (is anyone ever in an Infinite Crisis mood? This might be a first!), so we may as well see how the new-look League (starts to) shake out!
This bugger features a lot of callbacks (it’s basically a series of vignettes of the past and “future”)… and I’ll do my best to fill in the bits and pieces as we go.
We open in the Batcave… a long time ago. This is happening right after Justice League of America #9 (February, 1962) “The Origin of the Justice League” (Gardner Fox/Mike Sekowsky)… ya know, the one with where the Leaguers are almost turned into trees? Superman is trying to convince Batman that when a threat becomes too big for one of them, they should band together as the Justice League to take it down. Batman kinda hems and haws, before accepting. This is drawn in a time-appropriate style, the “face” part of Batman’s cowl is darker than the rest, sort of like the Adam West ’66 show.
After the handshake heard ’round the world… both men look a bit ill at ease. Turns out they aren’t alone. Wonder Woman is also there… invited by both men without checking with one another, it’s a pretty cute bit.
We jump ahead in League history to around issue #102 of Justice League of America (October, 1972) “… And One of Us Must Die!” (Len Wein/Dick Dillin) where Red Tornado sacrifices himself to save the team. Our trinity really starts tearing into one another about this… Diana thinks Red Tornado was kind of their best bet for a sacrifice, as “it’s better we lost a machine than one of our own.” Batman is furious… he always thought they considered Tornado “one of their own” regardless.
Next stop, the future… or a possible one, at least. The trinity is attending the wedding of… Hal Jordan? Ehhh? They are joshing one another about the betting odds for some of the male Leaguers taking a wife. Behind the three is a woman lost in thought… I’m gonna take a stab and say this is Carol Ferris… and Hal’s marrying another woman. This story (to my knowledge) never came to pass, so it’s pretty moot.
The talk of weddings leads us to a flashback to an issue we discussed here not too long ago! The wedding of Donna Troy and the Creep… er, Terry Long in Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (February, 1985) “We Are Gathered Here Today…….” (Marv Wolfman/George Perez). We get a neat callback (via Perez’s own pencil!) to a discussion Dick and Bruce had during the reception.
|Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (Feb, 1985) / Words-Wolfman – Art/Perez|
Back to… the future, where we see the trinity fighting Lex Luthor! Lex has actually punched Batman in the face so hard he knocked a tooth out! He’s ranting about something having happened to his son… which, again… this is a possible future, I suppose…. buuuuut, being as though this is right after Infinite Crisis, an event that saw the death of Superboy (Kon-El/Conner Kent), who was cloned from a DNA cocktail featuring the mojo of Superman and Lex Luthor, he might be referring to that.
Back to the past, and we’re at around Justice League of America Annual #2 (1984) “The End of the Justice League” (Gerry Conway/Chuck Patton). This is at the dawning of the Detroit-League run by Aquaman, and featuring characters like Vibe, Gypsy, Vixen, and Commander Steel. Batman ain’t quite feelin’ it… I feel like that’s something of a theme here. Superman and Wonder Woman try to get him to settle his tea kettle… and tell him it’s Arthur’s turn to run the show.
Back to the future… and this is a story that actually came to pass. We’re in Smallville, and in the shadow of Pa Kent’s passing (at the end of the Brainiac storyline right before the New Krypton saga), Clark has returned to try and remove all traces of Superman. Of interest, he fills in the tunnel from his childhood bedroom, which I’ve always associated with pre-Crisis Superboy… hmm…
Back to the past… and the Batcave! Batman and Wonder Woman spar as Superman looks on. Batman is excited that he’s found himself a new partner… Jason Todd! This kid’s gonna be great, really great! This is the first time in awhile Batman feels “alive”. Can’t really place this one… since, ya know… Batman met Jason Todd twice. His happiness here makes me think pre-Crisis, however everything Red Hood related from here on makes me think post.
To the future! We’re on Paradise Island as Wonder Woman is preparing for her upcoming nuptials. Apparently her taking a husband brings with it a sacrifice… her immortality! Can’t say that this story ever happened… my Wonder Woman knowledge is pretty spotty. I’m gonna go with “never happened”.
In the past, we get a little bwa-ha-ha, when the trinity huddles around a photo of a kayoed Guy Gardner. This occurred in Justice League #5 (September, 1987) “Gray Life Gray Dreams” (Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis/Kevin Maguire) They ask Batman about the (to my mind, kinda “over referenced” by this point) “one punch”. It’s sad that an entire (amazing) run of Justice League is often reduced to Batman punching Guy Gardner.
In the future, Superman arrives to the new JLA Satellite for his annual meeting with the rest of the trinity… alas, they are a no-show. Clark sheds a single tear. Not sure this one ever came to pass either. It looks like the League has the head of the Incredible Hulk in their trophy room though!
Back to the past, looks like we’re hopping into my wheelhouse, 1992. Batman and Wonder Woman see the news of Superman’s passing. That of course happened in Superman (vol.2) #75 (January, 1993) “Doomsday!” (Dan Jurgens). All Bruce can say is that they’re going to need to build a stronger League next time. A reference to Doomsday absolutely wrecking the current League, and perhaps the justification for Wonder Woman joining the “new” League immediately following the Death of Superman.
In the future, the trinity discuss a recent revelation by the Flash… wouldja believe, there’s a second Earth out there? I remember there being some rumblings and measures taken in regard to doing some Earth-2 stuff post-Infinite Crisis, but it never felt like it took off.
Back to the past! Superman and Wonder Woman are reading Batman the riot act on his secretly having protocols on taking out each member of the League should they go rogue. This doesn’t sound like a terrible idea, until you consider what might happen if say… Ra’s al Ghul were to get a hold of them. This happened in the Tower of Babel arc in JLA, issues 43-46 (Mark Waid/Howard Porter). In the fallout of this arc (JLA #50 – February, 2001 – Mark Waid/Bryan Hitch), the League members revealed their secret identities to one another.
And, back to the future… Wonder Woman and Superman are at Crime Alley in Gotham City discussing the passing of Batman. This would (sorta) eventually come to pass nearly a half-decade after this issue! Superman/Batman #76 (November, 2010) “The Brave and the Bold” (Judd Winick/Marco Rudy) featured Superman’s reaction to the death(s) of Batman. I get fuzzy here because Batman died in Final Crisis… and during Batman R.I.P., right?!
We next get a very brief flashback bit regarding Batman’s involvement with Brother Eye… like one panel brief. They are discussing events that occurred during the OMAC Project miniseries (2005-Greg Rucka) which was part of the lead-up to Infinite Crisis.
That’s our last time-traveling moment here, as we (finally) arrive in the present. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are having their latest annual Trinity-Meeting. Batman accidentally refers to the League as “friends”, which is pretty cute.
Our issue ends with the big-three knowing they’ve got a few big decisions ahead of them… and, ya know, gets our hopes up about what new members they’re going to add to the ol’ order.
It’s hard to really review this as a story… but it’s still something worth checking out. Not only does it provide a fun Justice League history lesson (including art from the original artists, or in the style of) but it also helps us conceptualize what the current post-Infinite Crisis DC Universe may look like.
I remember having a ton of questions following Superboy-Prime’s reality punch insofar as what is and isn’t part of continuity anymore. This issue allows us to observe vignettes to answer (even nebulously) some of those questions.
I think I could have done without some of the “flash forwards”, which wound up not panning out. Not sure if they were included as red herrings, or if they simply didn’t wind up happening due to… whatever reasons. It is interesting to consider that even as Infinite Crisis was a thing, DC already had an eye toward Final Crisis (if, in fact, that’s what the Crime Alley scene was alluding to). Seems like an unreal amount of forethought for a comic book company of any era.
The first time I read this, I think my main takeaway was the idea that perhaps Superman was, at one time, Superboy. I wasn’t terribly familiar with the concept, or even fond of it at the time… but it was still intriguing. I saw this as, potentially, the first radical shift (that didn’t serve a larger story) to a character I’d “grown up with”. Hell, it’s possible I was reading too much into it… but, that underground tunnel in Clark’s room always yelled “Superboy” to me.
It was neat revisiting some older incarnations of the League… even if I could do without the “cheap pop” Batman “one-punching” Guy Gardner reference. It really bugs me that when folks talk about that era they’re all “One Punch! One Punch!” rather than talking about all of the great stories and character work that amazing run brought with it. Though, I guess it’s good enough people remember it at all.
The art was… ya know, kinda jarring… but in the right way. This is supposed to be something of a Justice League community quilt… it’s supposed to look different as it goes. I’ll say that I wasn’t a fan of all the art here, but feel it did all serve the tone(s) the book is going for.
Overall, as I read this I thought to myself “Self, this would’a made a really good Free Comic Book Day issue!” and upon further review, saw that it actually was the year after it came out! Then I thought… hey, I can tell folks to check this one out digitally for free! But alas, no… it is available digitally, but it’s gonna cost ya some credits. I’d say it’s worth a look, though I would advise against breaking the bank to do so… it does, after all, feature Terry Long.