JSA: The Liberty File
Dan Jolley &
Tony Harris, writers,
Tony Harris &
Ray Snyder, artists
(DC Comics, 2000)

In another Elseworlds triumph, writers Dan Jolley and Tony Harris have taken characters from a few eras and installed them securely in the intrigue of the days preceding World War II in Europe.

Batman joins the Clock (Rex Tyler, a.k.a. Hourman) and the Owl (Charles McNider, a.k.a. Dr. Mid-Nite) after the death of the Cat (Ted Grant, a.k.a. Wildcat). Their mission is to intercept secret data being carried by the albino Jack the Grin, a thinly veiled Joker, regarding a powerful new Nazi weapon. Along the way, they will engage the aid of Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloane), the Canary (Dinah Lance, in this case a genuine songbird) and others. There are also a few variations on villainous themes, including the horrific Scarecrow. The Nazi's secret weapon, as well as the Allies' counterweapon, may come as some surprise to readers who expect a slightly different ending.

The artwork of Tony Harris and Ray Snyder is dark and gritty, aptly using cinematic techniques of that era for effect. For some reason, however, they seem to believe that everyone has black fingernails and curlicues on their knuckles, but while distracting, it's a style choice that can be easily ignored.

The Liberty File is a good story which focuses, for a change, on some key players from the Justice Society instead of the ubiquitious Justice League. Chalk up another victory for Elseworlds.

[ by Tom Knapp ]