By Morrison and Quitely
This is part of my comic book challenge 2009.
This is one of my favorite alternate realities where the JLA equivalent metahumans are actually the biggest baddies in their world.
The book starts very, very nicely: three shapes who are not quite Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are talking about the prisoner who got away. Then a weird ship of some kind crashes to the US countryside and Luthor steps out in his armor. There’s something about that opening the visually appeals to me very much.
The JLA is trying to rescue a plane coming down. They succeed but in the end the passengers are all dead. After a closer look, the JLA finds out that the passengers’ hearts are all on the right side in their bodies.
Next, Luthor starts his day in the office by donating the day’s armament budget to Greenpeace and giving his employees a 300% raise. However, he can’t do much else because the JLA pays him a visit. Luthor proceeds to convince them that he is, in fact, Alexander Luthor from the antimatter universe. He has come to this universe to beg for help from the heroes because in his world the metahumans are all bad guys. Of course, everyone is rather skeptical at first but in the end the JLA agrees to help him. Luthor has a plan which should guarantee that the JLA can take out their counterparts and save the other world in just 48 hours. Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, and the Green Lantern leave with Luthor while Aquaman and J’onn stay.
Meanwhile, the antimatter-JLA, called the Crime Syndicate, isn’t idle, either. They continue to make people’s lives miserable in their own big and small ways. The Owlman tortures Commissioner Wayne in Gotham City while Ultraman deals out counterfeit money to destabilize the economy. They have also tried to track down Luthor and are aware of the existence of the matter-Earth. They would like to conquer it and Owlman has even a plan for it.
I really liked the twisted JLA versions. We get to know most about Owlman who isn’t Bruce Wayne. Superwoman, Power Ring, and Johnny Quick stay quite two-dimensional characters which might be understandable given the small amount of space that Morrison has to work with. Superwoman seems to be rather stereotypical seductive femme fatale which I personally don’t really care for. After all, why should she limit herself to just sexual appeal when she has powers to do a lot of different things? Anyway, I rather enjoyed Owlman and the twisted little scenario he had going in Gotham. Ultraman is an astronaut and not Clark Kent.
Antimatter-Luthor is his world’s only heroic figure and he loses every time to the Syndicate. He has no choice but to seek help. He seems just as altruistic as the super heroes in the matter-world. He’s also just as much a genius as “our” Luthor. I guess he has to be in order to survive.
The antimatter-Earth is a world where evil triumphs every time. Everyone in authority is corrupt. Everyone is looking for his or her own gain. (Frankly, I’m amazed that they’ve managed to get to our level of technology but that’s beside the point.)
Excellent story. I’d like to know more about the Syndicate members, though.