Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where we’re wrapping up our look at Stan Lee’s efforts to recreate the DCU universe – Just Imagine Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe!
How’s It Different?
Imaginary Story, with dash of IRL For Want of a Nail.
What’s The Story?
Just Imagine: Robin: A surly young foundling named Robin has recently aged out of his orphanage and been taken in by the Church of Eternal Empowerment. He personally serves Reverend Darrk as an assassin and thief, but an encounter with Batman will make him question the righteousness of their cause.
Just Imagine: Shazam: Badass secret agent Carla Noral and her partner, gifted analyst Robert Rogers, are on the trail of a warlord named Gunga Khan. Khan’s forces kidnap Noral in an ambush and leave Rogers for dead, but he finds that the magic word “Shazam” can turn his nebbishy body into a powerful gargoyle!
Just Imagine: Catwoman: Professional model Joanie Jordan is struck by bizarre green lightning while fleeing with her cat from a home invasion by mobsters. She is given the proportional powers of a cat and uses them to take down the local mob boss!
Just Imagine: Aquaman: Environmentalist Ramon Raymond is given fabulous hard water powers by a mysterious green underwater phenomenon and uses them to fight off the sinister forces of Reverend Darrk’s Church of Eternal Empowerment as Aquaman!
Just Imagine: Sandman: Astronaut Larry Wilton finds himself stranded in space and is saved when he discovers that the world of magic and wonder he had dreamed of all his life was real! The oracle Melana transforms him into the mystical protector of Dreamworld and Earth, the Sandman.
Just Imagine: Crisis: Wonder Woman brings together her Justice League teammates and Earth’s newest heroes to save all of reality from the mystical warlord known as Crisis! A hero will fall to the dark side and a new hero will rise before the world is safe!
Best of Differences
- Stan Lee’s famous aversion to kid sidekicks (the main reason that Bucky’s death happened in a flashback) is at work with Robin, who is associated with Batman but very much his own man.
- Atom, introduced in Crisis, is a Silver Surfer-level power. He’s also strongly tied into the established mythos in a way I don’t want to spoil, but that works really well.
- Lee’s take on Aquaman is one of the freshest revamps in the Just Imagine universe. In fact, it’s second only to The Flash as my favorite.
- Catwoman is the most “Stan Lee” character of the bunch: a super model with an alliterative name, cat powers, and a gruff, mercurial boss.
- Sandman’s one-shot gives the Reverend Darrk plot a handy little wrap-up that explains what his deal is without lapsing into pages of exposition.
Worst of Differences
- Crisis is literally a dude. A dude who can feed the JLA their lunch, but a dude nevertheless. That undersells an event that literally threatened the entire multiverse.
- The fact that Darrk dies, quasi off panel, in Sandman to make way for the “real” threat that’s been coming for all of a couple issues is a bit of a letdown.
Come Back Next Week for a New Installment of Tokusatsu Gesundheit!