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Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

JLA: Another Nail #1

Justice League of America: Another Nail #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 19, 2004

Cover date: July 2004

Writter: Alan Davis
Penciller: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer

Part One of Three

Michael (George) O'Connor Reviewed by: Michael O'Connor

One Year Ago...

While the heroes of Earth were contending with the events that took place in the first series, The Nail, a war was raging against the forces of Apokolips and those of New Genesis. This time, however, there would be no pact, no peace settlement. This time there would only be the victor and the vanquished.

As the war continued, more and more planets became embroiled in the chaos, and the war machines used by the New Gods and by Darkseid's minions wreaked havoc on those uninvolved in the conflict. The Guardians of Oa, committed to peace and prosperity for the universe, dispatched their Green Lanterns to protect the citizens of worlds not attached to the conflict. Eventually, however, the Green Lanterns themselves would be drawn into the conflict, allying their forces with those of Highfather's in an attempt to end Darkseid's reign, once and for all.

On Apokolips, however, Darkseid has anticipated his fall and planned one final surprise. He has had a machine constructed - The Omega Doom - which feeds off the energy of Apokolips. When it has filled its reserves and drained the planet, the Omega Doom hits critical mass and is capable of releasing enough power to not only destroy Apokolips, but also to wipe out New Genesis and all matter for millions of light years in every direction.

If Darkseid's going down, he's going out with a bang. Oh, but wait. It gets better.

Darkseid also has a suit that draws its power from the Omega Doom machine, meaning that when the contraption blows out most of the galaxy, it will only preserve Darkseid and make him infinitely more powerful.

A captured Barda struggles against her bonds as she hears this sobering news while bemoaning the loss of her husband and lover, Mister Miracle, who has been tortured to death, or so it seems. He has managed to free his spirit into Mother Box, and with Mother Box, hopes to free his wife from her bonds.

Suddenly, the New Gods and the Green Lanterns strike the heart of Apokolips - Darkseid's throne. They pool their combined energy against their foe, but it is not enough. Darkseid laughs at their pitiful attempts, while concealing his knowledge of what will happen soon - the Omega Doom machine will reach critical mass and wipe his foes out of existence while elevating his power a thousand fold.

All of a sudden, however, the wrench gets thrown in the works when Barda appears with a fallen Lantern's ring on her finger. Combined with her own innate power, and that of both Mother Box and Mister Miracle, she's a formidable opponent against Darkseid, but the evil despot refuses to shelve his ego. Barda ends up distracting Darkseid and then letting Mister Miracle (projected through the Green Lantern ring) screw around with Darkseid's power suit, crossing the right wires so that instead of destroying the universe, the Omega Doom will obliterate Apokolips and blow up Darkseid like a balloon... until he pops.

With Darkseid defeated, New Genesis prospers with its new found peace and everything is right again in the universe... or is it?

Current Day...

Above Earth, in the Justice League's satellite headquarters, Green Lantern recounts the story from above, and then proceeds to inform the League that, recently, the main Lantern battery on Oa (the battery that fuels all the energy for Green Lanterns across the universe) has begun to slowly lose its power. GL has a hunch that someone is behind it, and that it all relates back to the New Genesis/Apokolips war of a year prior.

And speaking of a year prior, it is the one-year anniversary of Superman's first appearance on Earth. Since then, he has joined the Justice League and his influence has added credibility and support to the metahuman community. However, this Superman is slightly different from the one we all know and love.

Instead of being raised by the Kents, Superman was raised by Amish parents. (If you'll remember, the Kents' tire was blown out due to a nail the day that the infant Kal-El arrived on Earth... thus they never left the farm and thus they never discovered and raised young Kal as their own).

Anyway, Superman is a little shy of the public and big events where there's a lot of electricity being consumed, so he's understandably reluctant to give more than a five second speech thanking the world for embracing him at a big gala thrown in his honor.

Meanwhile, in the Batcave, it's the one year anniversary of something else: the death of Robin and Batgirl at the hands of the Joker and Batman's subsequent murder of the Clown Prince of Crime. Batman is not really in a talkative manner as he beats the crap out of his punching bags, but Selina and Alfred grow more and more concerned for Bruce by the day.

And speaking of scarred psyches, there's the little matter of Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, who's a bitter, dying old man who claims to hate all metahumans. Queen was crippled by the villain, Amazo, who, before dispatching Arrow, killed Queen's ally, Hawkman.

All this talk about dead and dying superheroes brings us to a pyramid in Egypt where Dr. Fate is having a little séance with some friends from the Outsiders. They are attempting to bring back Metamorpho, who was killed one year back when everything else was happening (apparently nothing much new has happened in the year since the last series). The only problem is that, as Dr. Fate opens the portal between the dead and the living to bring back Metamorpho, he also lets in some ugly creatures that are definitely going to be bad news next issue.

And one quick other snippet before we return to Superman and J'onn J'onnz in a big action sequence... Green Lantern visits Madame Xanadu looking for some answers concerning the whole Oa power battery draining, but she tells him she doesn't know anything. When he leaves, however, she bitterly reprimands the Phantom Stranger for forcing her to lie to GL about what's going on.

So, anyway, in Peru, Superman and J'onn have been led into a trap sprung by Despero and Evil Star. Amish Supes is a little slow in laying down the whooping, hoping to find a peaceful solution instead, but when he finally knocks the bad guys around a little, they manage to blow up the side of a giant cliff overlooking a village. A giant boulder is going to crush the entire town, and when Supes tries to hold it back, he finds that, somehow, his powers have waned.

After a massive BOOM and the settling of the dust, J'onn finds Kal-El, knocked unconscious (or possibly dead?) beneath a mound of rubble.

4Story - 4: As with the first Nail, we don't know what the hell is going on yet, and we probably won't until the last five pages of the final issue. What makes it even harder this time, however, is that we're contending with a lot of information from the previous series which came out in 1998. Has it really been that long? Yep. Sure has. Almost six years since the last one! So, don't feel too bad if you can't remember all the details.

All in all, this issue teases us with some fun stuff. All those little vignettes with Batman, Oliver Queen, Madame Xanadu, and Dr. Fate are sure to mean something soon, even if they tell us nothing yet. Meanwhile, the whole back story of the war between New Genesis and Apokolips was nothing short of COOL. Davis really did a masterful job of handling the conflict and adding a lot of fun and exciting elements to it. It was a little far-fetched, but then, this is comics, folks.

However, there are other aspects of this series that don't sit well with me yet (an Amish Superman?!) and I wasn't too enthralled with how the last one ended. There was a great build-up, but I felt the ending was a little too pat. I'm also concerned by one big question: is this series necessary? The whole point of the first one was that one nail deprived the world of its Superman and then it proceeded to show what a metahuman world without a Superman would be like (and it wasn't pretty). This time around, that premise has obviously been solved, and we're in a scenario that is fairly reminiscent of the current continuity of the DCU. There are differences, of course, but nothing as glaring as in the first series. We're still sort of waiting to find out what the premise of this story is besides its place as a sequel to a successful previous series. Hopefully, it will be more than just a sequel. And, hopefully, the 6 year wait won't have been in vain.

4Art - 4: I'm a sucker for Alan Davis' stuff. Always liked it and still do. He has a style that flows so well and just looks colorful, and exciting, and fun. His Batman and Robin are terrific (from way back on his Detective Comics run) and he also does a knockout job with Green Lantern, the Atom, and the Flash. Ironically, I'd say the only character that I'm not absolutely crazy about is his Superman. Regardless, there's some great stuff in here. The sequences on Apokolips are nothing short of gorgeous. Really, the only thing holding this back from a 5 is that the latter half of the book doesn't deliver enough action or scenarios where we could really see Davis and Farmer showing off.

3Cover Art - 3: Eh. Could be better. The image is, if memory serves, the same as issue 1 from the first Nail series, only this time, we've got Superman there. The title could be a little better too. "Another Nail"? Doesn't really say, "Hey! Buy me!" Does it?

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2004

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