Monday, May 1, 2006

COMIC REVIEW - Justice League: The Nail (3-issue miniseries, 2004)

Written by Alan Davis
Art by Alan Davis & Mark Farmer

Justice League: The Nail is an Elseworlds miniseries from 2004 that features an intriguing premise; the Kents runs over a nail that causes one of their tires to go flat, thus preventing them from discovering the Kryptonian rocket carrying its last son and negating Superman. The idea of a Justice League without a Superman of any kind is somewhat interesting and there's a way to go about it that makes it compelling stuff.

And at first, it seems somewhat promising. A world where metahumans and vigilantism are viewed upon far less favorably than usual, the paths of various heroes, villains, and supporting players taking different turns ranging from drastic to not so far from the beaten path, and just an otherwise darker slant on the narrative of the DC Universe. I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that wanted to see this initial set-up go beyond the mere three-issue prestige miniseries format.

Unfortunately, by the time you get to the climatic finale in the last issue, the central premise of the book is basically undone and things somewhat take a turn towards the standard fare. I'm sorry if that comes off as a bit spoiler-y - not that it would matter since we already have a sequel mini whose covers spoiled the whole thing anyway - but sadly, once The Nail introduces another central character late in the game, it all becomes clear how this ends up going.

It's a bit of a shame because The Nail is a really good story up to that point and Alan Davis's art only compliments the narrative; a vibrant, colorful visual presentation with classical depictions of these heroes contrasting the less-than-cheery world they live in. If not for the final moments of the story, this could've been an interesting take on the lore.

As it is, it's still a really good story and probably one of the better Elseworlds stories I've read, but it could've been so much more if it had stuck the course.

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