Realworlds: Justice
League of America

J.M. DeMatteis, writer,
G.L. Barr, artist
(DC Comics, 2000)

When they were kids, they played baseball and superheroes. Inspired by comic books, they each had a designated role: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Atom and the Elongated Man. And then they grew up.

Now, 20 years later, they've all lost touch, as childhood friends too often do. But one of them, very rich and yearning for a touch of that childhood innocence, decides to use Halloween as an excuse for a costumed reunion. His friends all receive costumes matching that of their youthful alter egos and, in perhaps the most unbelievable plot twist of all, all four agree to congregate in New York for a holiday bash.

One is a burned-out teacher, reeling from an unexpected divorce. Another is a comedian who, after a brief brush with fame, is flopping in a big way. One made good as a television producer but has turned mean and bitter in the process. And one has done well through corporate law and plastic surgery, but still feels like her life is fairly empty. It makes for a motley crew of heroes, particularly when they're set loose in New York City, penniless and carrying nothing but the costumes on their backs.

No, they don't find themselves so inspired by their costumes that they begin fighting for truth, justice and the American way ... although there are hints of that occurring. There are no great revelations, nor do their lives take dramatic turns for the better or worse. But there are changes, owed in part to touching that part of their childhood's which seemed brighter and better than the "real world" around them, and in part to simply reconnecting with friends they'd lost to time.

It's a touching story, more amusing than action-packed. And, hey, if that's not reason enough to pick it up, you'll finally get to see Superman and Wonder Woman ... well, you know.

[ by Tom Knapp ]

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