JLA: Earth 2
Grant Morrison, writer,
Frank Quitely, artist
(DC Comics, 2000)

One of the alternate universes erased during DC's landmark Crisis on Infinite Earths mini-series included a world where the usual DC heroes have gone bad. Superman becomes the pompous Ultraman, Wonder Woman becomes the dominatrix Superwoman, Batman turns into the Machiavellian antihero Owlman, the Flash is drug-addicted Johnny Quick and Green Lantern is the dual-personalitied Power Ring. Together, they are the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, and the only hero standing against them is Alexander Luthor, counterpart to Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor.

Well, now the alternate universe is back, negating for whatever reason yet another bold decision made by DC in Crisis. Why, I keep wondering, did they bother to eliminate all of these alternate universes and alternate characters if they're going to keep bringing them back?

With that complaint sharply registered, I'll add this note: it's a damn good story.

Alexander Luthor finds a way to transfer from his antimatter universe into this one, where he enlists the aid of the Justice League of America to defeat their evil counterparts. To keep things fair, I suppose, JLA members Aquaman and Martian Manhunter stay behind while the Big 5 go with Luthor into the antimatter world. Things there are very different ... it's a place where our "good" equals their "evil," and attempts to impose order are doomed to failure. Of course, watching our heroes deal with these new surroundings is fun, and seeing Batman interact with his still-living father in that world are sterling moments indeed.

Things really heat up when the anti-heroes find a way into our world, where they instantly begin wreaking major havoc.

I have to question penciller Frank Quitely's decision to give all of his characters -- and I do mean all of them -- Julia Roberts' lips and Jay Leno's chin. It's not the wisest of design choices, in my book. Otherwise, however, Quitely did a good job of fielding the action in this cross-dimensional tale.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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