By Alan Grant & various (DC Comics)
ISBN: 1-84023-449-0 (Softcover) ISBN13: 978-1-5638-9867-9 (hardback)
The Justice League franchise lends itself to a lot of different interpretations, but this peculiar jam-session, taking its lead from the world fantasy boom triggered by the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, is perhaps one of the wildest.
Elfin Robin Drake, son of a dead hero, lives in the idyllic village of Haven and simply wants to marry his sweetheart and live a long life. But when the arachnoid seer The Riddler prophecies the return of The Beast his old life vanishes forever in flame and blood and a sea of devils.
One generation ago a monstrous evil conjured by a wizard nearly destroyed The World and only the entire force of the united Kingdoms and great heroism defeated it. Now those kingdoms are at each other’s throats and Robin must gather and reunite them if they are to have any chance against an evil that apparently cannot die.
This is a rather formulaic saga-quest, given a boost by the character designs of Michael Kaluta, with the painted artwork parcelled out amongst Andrew Robinson, Hermann Mejia, Carl Critchlow, Alex Horley, Liam McCormick Sharpe, Martin T Williams, Glenn Fabry, Doug Alexander Gregory, Rafael Garres, Jon Foster, Saverio Tenuta, Jim Murray, John Watson, Gregg Staples and Simon Davis. Some of Kaluta’s designs are also included at the back.
Although not to everyone’s taste – and certainly not mine – this tale is full of wizards and heroes, and the fantasy analogues of the World’s Greatest Superheroes ranges from inspired to just plain daft, but all concerned give it their creative best and as such tales go it really isn’t as bad as it could be. You could do much worse. Professor Dumbledore’s School for Gifted Mutants; any takers?
© 2001 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.