Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

JLA: Secret Society of Super-Heroes #1

JLA: The Secret Society of Super-Heroes (Book 1) [Elseworlds]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 6, 2000

Cover date: November 2000

Writer: Howard Chaykin and David Tischman
Penciller: Mike McKone
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti

Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (


The Smallville town meeting convenes and figures out ways to help others get by in hard times.

The Widow Lang finds a gift package on her porch, early the next morning. A young Clark Kent watches from behind a nearby bush.

That night, Clark, remarking to his mother favorably about the occasion and act, shows her a diamond he's crushed from coal. She tells him that it would be impossible to give the diamond to the town... unless of course it was given anonymously.

Twenty or thirty comic years in the future... (Approx.)

A criminal runs from the cops in a sporty red car... "I'm too old for this," he declares.

Clark Kent, six months away from mandatory retirement as the editor of the Daily Planet, a position he's had for twenty years, avoids comments from a balding, goateed Jimmy Olsen about his "brooding". He uses his telescopic vision to look across town to the inside of his competitor's offices, the offices of a paper run by Lois Lane. Perry White calls Lois with a tip on a mysterious green-suited man who envelops people in a green ray and kidnaps them. Perry imagines that this could be the key to over three hundred unexplained disappearances over the last few decades.

The FBI's top profiler, Bruce Wayne, talks to his aides and advisors about a man who is murdering and leaving riddles about. Further, he's seemingly obsessed with figuring out the previously mentioned mysterious disappearences.

In Keystone City, a young man named Bart quarrels with his parents. He's had an accident with the family van. Angered, he takes off at super speed to his favorite diner for a desert.

On a street corner, Lucius Fox discusses his affair with a white woman half his age with his advisor, who tells him he needs to resign. He agrees, and leaves, downtrodden.

Clark Kent takes the subway to an undisclosed location, waits until nobody is looking, and slides a large panel out of the way, revealing the headquarters of the Kryptic Order: Wonder Woman, Metamorpho, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Atom, Plastic Man, and of course, Superman.

A request to go public with their actions is tied in votes four to four, according to the minutes of the last meeting.

Bart is looking around his room when he finds a card, reading "I KNOW WHAT YOU CAN DO".

Bruce Wayne is examining the apartment of the criminal who earlier was on the run in a sporty red car, Ted Pelecanos. He's gone missing. Lois shows up, and confronts him. They forge an uneasy alliance.

In a museum, a dad smacks his kid. Using Wonder Woman's invisibility ray, Metamorpho smacks the father around, saying that he's the kid's invisible friend, quietly. He then makes a vow to go visit Victoria's Secret and leaves.

Atom messes with some loathesome character's stocks on the stock market.

Wally West meets Bart in his favorite diner, and clues him in that he's not the only one with the power of super-speed. They go for a run together.

The Kryptic Order tries the robber/car thief/murderer Ted Pelecanos from earlier, and sentences him to the Phantom Zone, despite pleas for a lawyer. Superman executes the sentence.

Green Lantern takes a sleeping man suspected of having powers to the hideout of the Kryptic Order. Tests reveal the opposite to a disappointed Lantern.

Clark Kent, in his office, suffers a heart attack. The medics arrive, and one attempts to give him a shot. Clark tries to stop him, but oddly enough, the needle goes in. Clark's fears are affirmed... as he's aging, his powers are weakening. He passes out.

Bruce Wayne figures out one of the Riddler's clues while in his car, and asks his aides for a warrant.

Bart argues with his father, Barry, about his intended college major.

The Kryptic Order busts up a meth lab while invisible.

Flash tells Bart all about the Kryptic Order, and invites him in.

Wonder Woman tries to cheer up Superman on his hospital bed, but Superman is depressed. Wonder Woman looks 25, and he looks 50.

Bruce Wayne busts in on the Riddler, kicks his butt, and arrests him.

Ted Pelecanos, now in the Phantom Zone, is lead around by a kid, Marty Jones, who takes Ted to see his father, J'onn J'onz.

Bruce Wayne reveals to Lois that he has his father's ring... a ring of the Kryptic Order. They leave to find the hideout together.

Superman looks around his fortress and contemplates how to handle his crumbling situation. He looks at Thomas Wayne's costume... that of Batman.

Bart views a danger-room-like training area for the Kryptic Order, and is thoroughly impressed.

Bruce and Lois find the hideout, and it is revealed that this is the point they fell in love...

To be continued...

4Story - 4: While the summary makes the book sound a bit random and hard to follow, in actuality, it's not that bad. And despite all of the plot points that aren't covered, like how Clark had powers younger than he ever did before, or why Batman was Thomas Wayne instead of Bruce, there are some really risky and original jumps in character here that haven't been present in other Elseworlds books that I've read. This story is not finished, so I can't really judge it thusfar, but from what I've seen, if the story continues this well, it will be a Four out of Five all the way through, with the one taken off merely for a few continuity issues that aren't covered. What the heck happened to Superman to make him so mean? This I wonder.

5Art - 5: Very shadowy, very brooding. It would be terrible if this were a regular JLA book, but given the attitude and plot here, this is a very apt and well put together artistic book. Detail is high, and there are very few... strike that... no unnecessary splashes that these books are usually so full of. The two necessary splashes there are are rather astonishing and well done, on pages 25 and 46.

4Cover Art - 4: The fact that this cover does not elicit the story in motion knocks it down one for me... but it's well drawn, it's brooding, like the story, and it's eyecatching. I like it.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Buy it. Worth the money.

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic was on sale.

January 2000

February 2000 March 2000 April 2000 May 2000 June 2000 July 2000 August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 Annuals

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