Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where today we’re taking an active detour into the realm of poorly executed Elseworlds with Justice League International Annual #5, “No Rules to Follow”.
How’s It Different?
It’s a For Want of a Nail story, in which a world lacking in Men of Steel has a rocky relationship between human and metahuman.
What’s The Story?
It’s a world that doesn’t trust metahumans, ten young superheroes from around the world band together as the Justice League in an attempt to rehab their community’s image. After several missteps at doing so (largely due to inexperience and lack of cooperation from authorities), billionaire Bruce Wayne funds the creation of a non-powered Control Squad to aid law enforcement by bringing in the League, prompting half of their ranks to go rogue.
Meanwhile, Ralph and Lois Dibny search for clues as to the whereabouts of a mysterious “Superman”, a selfless metahuman with godlike powers said to be in hiding…
Best of Differences
- Credit where it’s due, picking out super-villains & obscurities to round out No Rules to Follow’s Justice League provided a good balance to the mainstream JLI mainstays.
- That JLI mainstays Metamorpho and The Flash are both part of the team that goes rogue is a bold story choice, as was having Metamorpho & Changeling not reform at the story’s end.
Worst of Differences
- Problem One: It’s overstuffed. There are about 15 major DC characters trying to play a major role in this this one-off story by the time it’s through.
- Problem Two: Some characters’ origin stories are left unmoored in this Elseworld. Wally West is The Flash, but there’s no Barry Allen meaning Wally wouldn’t have powers. Michael Carter, AKA Booster Gold in the mainstream DCU, is on the Control Squad despite being a time traveler. Dr. Light has her powers despite the Crisis never happening. The overstuffed line-up means we don’t even get a handwave to explain this inconsistencies.
- Problem Three: The world’s X-Men-level distrust of metahumans is fixed by…the most powerful metahuman, actually an alien, the world has ever seen coming out of hiding. That takes Superman’s ability to inspire to almost parodic levels.
Come Back Next Week for a New Installment of Tokusatsu Gesundheit!