The time lost heroes trope has a good pedigree with the Justice League. The prime example has to be Justice League of America (v1) #100-102 (August-October 1972) wherein the JLA and JSA team up to rescue the lost Seven Soldiers of Victory. A particular favourite of mine is Superman’s “Time and Time Again” (1991 Triangle Nos 8-14) which sees the Man of Steel bouncing back-and-forth between the past and different incarnations of the 30th Century. And least we forget that, after the Final Crisis, Bruce Wayne is “currently” stuck in the stone age leaving Dick Grayson and friends to believe that Batman is dead.
Into this tradition we have the latest incarnation of DC’s 80-page format. The last incarnation was a series of annual specials in 1998-2000. JLA 80-Page Giant #1 (Jul 98) and #2 (Nov 99) were anthologies that featured 10-page stories featuring unusual or odd subgroups of the League. This new 80-pager follows that format, but adds the time lost trope as a linking device. This issue almost passed me by, but I’m glad that I made the effort to hunt it down.
The linking sequence is by Rex Ogle with art by Mahmud Asrar and Rob Hunter. It opens with the old JLA mascot Snapper Carr talking to Cheetah in the Justice League’s Happy Harbour Cave (this odd couple first hooked up during the events of Final Crisis). They witness a battle between Epoch, the Lord of Time and the Justice League which ends with Epoch scattering his enemies throughout history. The issue then splits into separate chapters featuring each pair of lost heroes.
- “When Justice Comes To Town” (J.K. Krul, Ardian Syaf, and John Dell). Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Red Arrow team up with Cinnamon in 1866, Utah to teach the local Sheriff the real meaning of justice. In DC continuity the lady gunslinger Cinnamon (Kate Mansur) was a previous incarnation of Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders). I’m surprised that a) Green Lantern-as-a-Sheriff motif doesn’t played more often and b) they really got away with using the line “Who were those masked men?”. Krul must have had so much fun with this assignment.
- “Days of Chivalry” (Rich Fogel and Eric D). Green Lantern John Stewart and Vixen find themselves at Camelot, the court of King Arthur, in… well just whenever it is that Camelot happened in DC history (best not to ask). They work with the Shining Knight to repulse Morgaine Le Fey’s demon hoards. The interplay between Stewart and Vixen is nice and reminds us that Fogel worked on the animated League (where they were a couple). Vixen in a dress is a nice reminder that she is also meant to be an internationally known supermodel.
- “Fishnet Femmes Fatales” (Josh Wiliamson and Bit). Zatanna and Black Canary find themselves in New York, 1939 teaming up with the Crimson Avenger (Lee Travis) and Richard Drake (Canary’s grandfather). The family links are an interesting twist. The stunt with Canary’s sonic cry shattering bullets isn’t one I’m too sure about – I can’t remember her doing that before. I like the entire 1930s setup and wish they’d do more with the time period.
- “The Bride Who Loved Me” (Chuck Kim and Justin Norman) 1942, Green Arrow tries to keep Firestorm from altering the timeline by forcing him to hide out on an island for two months. The Bride of Frankenstein and Ra’s Al Ghul’s appearance puts pay to that. This is actually one of my favourite sequences. The Bride is a great character and her admission to being one of Ra’s former wives is an interesting twist. She’d make a great addition to the Justice League
- “Last Voyage of the Pirate Princess” (Derek Fridolfs and John Buran). The Caribbean Sea, 1574, Wonder Woman assembles an all women pirate crew with the Black Pirate and Steel to attack Starro – for once acting like a sea monster. It’s an odd set up and thankfully they leave off the Watchmen pirate homage to the very end. You’ve got to love Wonder Woman’s style, she’s lost in time so she decides to set up her own band of Amazonian warriors under the cover of being a pirate.
- “Samurai” (Amanda McMurry, Daxiong) Superman and Doctor Light end up in Japan, 1223, where they witness the rise of a superpowered Samuari. I wasn’t too sure about this sequence as it felt like we were straying into Super Friends territory. Although I did like the Japanese setting.
The story closes out with Snapper and Cheetah helping the Time Commander defeat Epoch. His defeat causes the Leaguers to snap back into the present. However, it has all been a ruse by the Time Commander to recover one of his devices from the Justice League’s Trophy Room whilst the League were otherwise occupied.
Sometimes these short anthology stories can really stink, but miraculously this set are all winners. They make good, if light, use of continuity. It obviously happens somewhere between Final Crisis and Blackest Night, but the details aren’t important. There are a couple of stories I’d like to have seen – an appearance by the now “deceased” Batman or some link to Tim Drake’s hunt could have been fun.