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Justice League of America: Another Nail #1

Written and Drawn by Alan Davis

Some books are just made for the fans. If you pick up a Superman or Batman title without reading the series for a few years, chances are you wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what’s going on.

One of the ups of the Elseworlds line is that the whole thing is completely new. The creators know that, so they don’t usually make your ears bleed when going through the details of the setting with you. But then there are the Elseworlds minis, which can suffer from being either too ambitious in scope or too shallow and simple. And sometimes the miniseries may even be a sequel to another Elseworlds miniseries, as is the case with Justice League of America: Another Nail.

Another Nail (sequel to Justice League of America: The Nail) begins with a massive conflict in space. The forces of New Genesis and Apokalips are engaging in an all-out war, collateral damage spreading throughout the quadrant as fighting escalates. On Oa, the Guardians rally the Green Lantern Corps to save innocents from worlds dying in the conflict, but even the most passive among the Corps agree they must remove the source of destruction rather than futilely defend helpless planets and evacuate refugees.

Joining forces with the New Gods, the Corps launch a war-ending attack on Apokolips, where a less-sane-than-usual Darkseid builds a doomsday device which will destroy both New Genesis and his own world. He dons new armor that will feed on the energy released by the weapon, kills off all his subordinates and fights his opponents to a stand still.

However, some augmented long-time enemies of the dark one burst onto the scene and turn Darkseid’s toy against him, causing the destruction of both he and his world, and leaving the galaxy at peace. Oh, but then there are Darkseid’s nagging final words about being the only one who could save them all…

So, a year later, the JLA reviews the whole crisis because, as it turns out, the Oan power battery is inexplicably draining, and the whole thing has a strange connection to Earth since the New Genesis/Apokalips war began during the conflict with Super-Jimmy.

Okay, this is where I confess that I never read Justice League of America: The Nail, because I got really lost in all the exposition of Another Nail #1. Super-Jimmy (I’m guessing an evil Jimmy Olsen?) was the threat last time around, and they manage to tell us that a few times over without really weaving it into the current story or giving us a great idea of what actually happened.

I did manage to understand the Elseworlds elements of portraying Superman as the rookie hero, that the non-superpowered Leaguers are no longer part of the team, and that all hell seems to be breaking loose, but far too much time was spent acclimating us to the world of the last miniseries. I can only imagine how that might have bored more literate readers, but the fact that it left a noob like myself confused and snoozing doesn’t bode well.

It’s also a bit strange to have the massive cosmic war run for half the issue and then suddenly get yanked to the JLA’s new satellite. The stories just don’t mesh very well. People who go for the battling in space will probably be turned off by the droning backstory of the latter half, and JLA fans might not enjoy swimming through all those pages of GL Corps and Fourth World just to hit a block of exposition for a few events that’ll probably be more exciting when they continue next issue.

The art I can’t fault, and not just because it’s Alan Davis. This book is absolutely gorgeous. Mark Farmer’s inks and John Kalisz’s colors are deep and gripping, and they handle the cosmic battling so well, it makes me long for more Fourth World.

But this series doesn’t welcome newcomers with open arms. If you’re a fan of JLA: The Nail, you might go for this more than the rest of us. To anyone longing to see Green Lanterns fighting para-demons, definitely give it a look. If you’re an occasional reader who wants a simple romp with the JLA, hold off.



Jason Schachat

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