Justice League Season 2 Review

  • Series Title: Justice League
  • Season: 2
  • Episodes: 26 (13 stories)
  • Discs: 2
  • Network: Cartoon Network
  • Cast: Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, Susan Eisenberg, Carl Lumbly, Phil LaMarr, Michael Rosenbaum, Maria Canals-Barrera (Credited as Maria Canals)
  • DVD: Widescreen, Blu-Ray (R1, NTSC)

The second season of the animated Justice League series is bigger and the stakes are higher. Again, most stories are two parts, except the Holiday episode, “Comfort and Joy” and the three-part season finale “Starcrossed”. The season opens with Orion attacking and defeating one of Darkseid’s attacks, but as Darkseid recovers, he’s attacked by Brainiac – Darkseid convinces the Justice League to help him. They work with Highfather to stop Brainiac’s attack, but it puts New Genesis in danger.

In “Only a Dream”, Doctor Destiny traps most of the Justice League in nightmares, but insomniac Batman is able to defeat Doctor Destiny.

In “Maid of Honor” Wonder Woman befriends the party girl princess of Kasnia. Despite at first complaining about the princess’s lack of responsibility, the two bond and have fun. The princess confesses she doesn’t even want to marry her fiancé but she must as part of her duty. When her father has a sudden “stroke” the marriage is moved up. Diana is shocked that the Kasnian princess’s new husband is Vandal Savage. The Justice League ends up interfering when Savage threatens the world with an orbiting rail gun satellite.

This season features an episode with the Justice Lords – an alternate Earth Justice League that became world dictators after the death of their Flash. The fight scenes in the second part are particularly good because our Justice League doesn’t face off against their own opposite numbers but fights other members. This allows them to succeed.

“The Terror Beyond” has Aquaman, Doctor Fate, and Solomon Grundy fighting off Cthulhu-like monsters. Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl and Superman stop Dr. Fate’s spell to close the gate that’s been opened to the horrific monsters. Eventually, Fate, Aquaman, and Grundy are able to convince Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and Superman that they must stop the creatures. While Fate and his group try to close the gate again, Superman and company go through it to stop the invasion from the other side. This two-parter is visually stunning, and the “mad” monsters from the Cthulhu-like beings are drawn well.

“Secret Society” features another group of B-rate super-villains banding together to drive apart the Justice League. However, by spying on the league their plan almost works and the league splits and each go their own way. It takes Batman, who discovers the surveillance to get the League back together so they can defeat the”Secret Society of Evil”.

In “Hereafter” it appears Superman is killed in a battle with Toyman. While the world deals with its grief, and tries to process a world without a Superman – Superman is actually thrust forward into the far future. He meets Vandal Savage who has finally figured out that ruling an empty, destroyed planet is no fun at all. Superman and Savage finish a time machine Savage was working on and send Superman back to his own time.

In “Wild Cards” the Joker (voiced by Mark Hamill) and the Wild Card gang take over Las Vegas. The Joker airs the chaos on TV, like some type of reality show. Joker has also placed a large number of bombs, some real, some fake all over Vegas – the League has to find and dismantle the bombs.

Finally in “Starcrossed”, an alien spaceship attacks Washington DC, but the ship is destroyed by Thangarian ships. Thangar gets world leaders to accept their “protection”. However, they later impose martial law. Later it turns out the Thangarians aren’t building a shield for the Earth to protect it from a Gordanian invasion – rather they are building a hyperspace bypass engine so the Thangarians can invade to Gordanian homeworld. Unfortunately, activating the hyperspace bypass will destroy the Earth. It also turns out Hawkgirl was an advance scout and spy for the Thangarians. She is also promised or engaged to one of the other Thangarians – which surprises Green Lantern. The League is upset that Hawkgirl betrayed them. But when Hawkgirl finds out Thanagar intends to destroy the Earth she jumps sides, frees the League from their prison on one of the Thangarian ships, and helps the League defeat the Thanagarians and destroy the hyperspace bypass engine. The League decides to take a vote as to if Hawkgirl will still be accepted in the League, but Hawkgirl leaves first.

Justice League Season 2 is bigger than the first season, and the Justice League faces bigger threats. This is still top-notch animation. There are again several notable guest performances. I highly recommend this season.

Read my review of Justice League Season 1.

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Justice League Season 1 Review

  • Series Title: Justice League
  • Season: 1
  • Episodes:  26 (12 stories)
  • Discs:  3
  • Network: Cartoon Network
  • Cast: Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, Susan Eisenberg, Carl Lumbly, Phil LaMarr, Michael Rosenbaum, Maria Canals-Barrera (Credited as Maria Canals)
  • DVD: Standard, Blu-Ray (R1, NTSC)

Justice League was the first of the DCAU series that I ever saw and even nearly ten years later the series still stands up. The members of the Justice League are: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz), Flash, and Hawkgirl. The individual episodes of Justice League are 30 minutes (well, 22-25) but in this season every story consists of two or three parts. This means that it’s more like watching a series of short movies than a normal animated television series. The stories have plenty of time for characterization and in-depth storytelling. Justice League also doesn’t waste time on traditional “origin stories”. The first episode, “Origins” has Batman and Superman confronting an actual alien invasion, including a first shot of the tripod-like invading machine that’s reminiscent of George Pal’s War of the Worlds. Superman is telepathically attacked but finds Martian Manhunter being held in a military prison. He and Batman free Martian Manhunter and learn his name is J’onn J’onzz and that he’s the last survivor of Mars. J’onn tells him the beings that threaten the entire Earth had attacked Mars and destroyed their entire civilization. Other leaguers-to-be, including Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Flash, and Wonder Woman join the fight against the alien invaders, eventually defeating the alien menace. Batman proposes building a satellite Watchtower to warn of future invasions. Superman proposes a permanent league of superheroes. Flash asks, “What a type of superfriends?” to which Batman replies, “More like a Justice League”. This sets the stage for the series.

Green Lantern is given an in-depth story, “In Blackest Night” in which he is put on trial for destroying an entire inhabited alien planet while in pursuit of a space pirate. Once the league discovers what’s happened, they rush to his defense. Martian Manhunter and the others are able to prove the planet’s destruction was an illusion orchestrated by the Manhunters (different Manhunters than on Mars, these are androids from Oa the home of the Green Lantern Corps, and the Guardians first attempt at a benevolent galaxy-wide police force). The league frees Jon Stewart Green Lantern and the Flash, who acted as his advocate, clears John’s name, then defends Oa from the Manhunters with the aid of the Green Lantern Corps.

“The Enemy Below” is a modern Aquaman story, and although Aquaman doesn’t formally join the League, he is recognized as the King of under the seas.

“Injustice for All” has Lex Luthor bringing together a group of supervillains to fight the Justice League, especially Superman. It doesn’t go well for Lex.

“Paradise Lost” sees Felix Faust attack Thermyscira, turn all the Amazons to stone, and bribe Wonder Woman to find a McGuffin in three parts – the Key to the Underworld. Wonder Woman and the League find the key but are very worried about what Faust will do to it. Faust releases Hades, who then drains him of life (not the reward he was expecting). The Justice League is able to defeat Hades and return the Amazons to life. But Hippolyta decides to follow Amazon law to the letter and banishes her daughter for bringing men to the island.

“War World” is a slugfest with Superman forced to fight in the War World arena for Mondo.

“The Brave and the Bold” has Gorilla Grood taking over Central City after a scientist accidentally reveals the location of Gorilla City.

“Fury” has a refugee who was raised as an Amazon on Thermyscira reviving Luthor’s Injustice League and launching a biological attack on the world’s men. But Hippolyta reveals that Aresia was actually rescued by a man who got her to Thermyscira before dying.

“Legends” has the League transported to a parallel Earth where the heroes resemble Golden Age comics heroes and John Stewart (GL) recognizes the heroes as heroes from the comics he read as a kid. The “Justice Guild of America” is locked in battle with the “Injustice League” but something doesn’t seem right. J’onn J’onzz keeps having telepathic flashes of a disaster. One of the League members finds the graves of the entire JGA. Eventually, they discover the entire dimension was destroyed in a Nuclear War and a telepathic mutant had re-created the “perfect” world of years ago. The story works both as a story and as a comment on the good and the really bad aspects of older Golden Age comics. After the illusion is broken the League members are able to find a way back to their own Earth.

“A Knight with Shadows,” tells the story of Jason Blood, Etrigan the Demon, Morgaine, Merlin, and Modred. It’s as close to a traditional origin story as season 1 of Justice League gets. But it’s also a great story full of Arthurian lore, magic, demons, etc. For the most part, only Batman is in this story, though the rest of the League lend a hand at the end. I enjoyed the story very much.

“Metamorphosis,” tells the story of Rex Mason who is turned into the Element Man – rather than an archeologist, he works for Stagg Industries and is rich and accomplished, but when he and Sapphire Stagg decide to marry, her overprotective and cruel father decides to use Mason as an unwilling human subject in his plan to create artificial workers who can withstand any environment. Mason and John Stewart are also old friends, having both been in military service together. Although Mason’s origin is substantially different, it’s a great story, and very enjoyable.

The final story in season one is the three-part “The Savage Time”. All of the Justice League but Batman are returning from a mission in space when there’s a flash on Earth below them and the Watchtower disappears. Green Lantern lands the Javelin spacecraft (which was apparently out of power because he’s towing it with his Ring). The Justice League discovers the US is now a dictatorship under the power of a mysterious Leader. They walk into a resistance attack on the military police of the leader and run into a different version of Batman who is the leader of the Resistance. Working with Batman, they discover a time tunnel anomaly. The League, minus Batman, enters the anomaly and finds themselves in World War II. There they join the allies, the Blackhawks, Easy Company, Steve Trevor and other forces to help the allies and defeat Savage before he can become a world dictator. “The Savage Time” is a brilliant story, and also a lot of fun to watch. (Savage in the future sent a laptop and plans for weapons and communications equipment to Savage in the past.) This is a much more menacing Vandal Savage than the one in Season 1 of Legends of Tomorrow.

Overall, I really enjoyed Justice League (the animated series). The regular and guest casts are wonderful, and the series features many well-known and excellent guest actors. The animation is hand-drawn and beautiful and has that traditional DCAU square-jawed look. I highly recommend this series. Even if animation usually isn’t your thing, or you’ve tried the live action DC film Universe and been unimpressed, this series overcomes many of the faults of other versions of DC Comics in both older animation and in live action.

Note: For some reason, the Blu-Ray discs auto-play the first episode whenever a disc is put in the player. You can get a list of episodes by pressing the “Top Menu” button and then choosing the episode you want to watch, but it’s still annoying and results in a lot of unnecessary wear and tear on the disc.

Book Review – Green Lantern Earth One vol. 1

  • Title: Green Lantern Earth One vol. 1
  • Author: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
  • Artists: Gabriel Hardman, Jordan Boyd (colors), Simon Bowland (letters)
  • Characters: Hal Jordan, Kilowog, Green Lanterns
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/12/2018

Green Lantern Earth 1 is a stand-alone graphic novel outside the current DC Comics continuity. It’s an Elseworlds novel, what DC calls it’s “what if” stories. In this story, in a dark future where NASA has been taken over by a for-profit corporation, all exploration, and scientific discovery have halted, and space stations have been weaponized and used by corporations to target Earth populations that don’t tow the line – Hal Jordan has left NASA and now works for Ferris Galactic. He’s part of a crew trying to find mineral deposits on an asteroid. While he and his partner, Volkov, are working, they get the word – a rival corporation has found a deposit – which is likely to terminate Ferris Galactic’s contract. Hal, still cautiously optimistic, continues to explore the asteroid he’s on, despite his partner telling him it’s not worth it. Hal and his partner discover a crashed spaceship, with a non-working Manhunter aboard. A few minutes later, they find the desiccated body of Amin Sur.

A message comes through from Ferris Galactic – the contract’s been terminated, they are going back to Earth, and no one will get their bonus. Volkov finds a green lantern and power ring – but it doesn’t exactly go well. First, the alien spaceship explodes from the sheer power of the lantern. This exposes the Manhunter to sunlight – which powers it up. Volkov and Hal make it to their lander, but something is seriously wrong. The lander doesn’t make it back to the Ferris Galactic ship. Volkov is killed in the explosion. The Ring seeks Hal, providing him with a shield so he can survive in space. Hal barely defeats the Manhunter on instinct. He has no idea what’s going on. Meanwhile, Ferris Galactic has decided he’s a liability – the radiation surrounding him is a risk, and he can’t be brought abroad their ship.

Hal wakes up in a hospital on Bolovax Vel, under the care of Kilowog, a Green Lantern and hospital tech. Kilowog starts to fill Hal in on galactic events. Once, the Green Lantern Corps were the police force of the galaxy. But the Guardians feared they were becoming too strong – so they built the Manhunters, which destroyed the Green Lanterns and Oa, the planet at the center of the Galaxy where the Guardians lived. All of this was so long ago, though, that Kilowog is a bit fuzzy on the details. He says the Rings are heirlooms, passed down through families. Some of the rings no longer work, others only work at a fraction of their original power, since the Great Lantern on Oa was destroyed. Kilowog also, when he’s forced to by events, admits his planet is totally isolationist. No one can leave the planet, and no other species is allowed on the planet. He helped Hal because he was a Lantern – even though he knew it was against the law. Of course, he informs Hal of this as the planetary police are closing in.

Hal and Kilowog leave the planet and set out on a quest to find out more about the Green Lanterns, the Guardians, Oa, the Manhunters, and to unite other Lanterns. Everyone tells them slightly different stories – some blaming the Guardians for the rise of the Manhunters. As Hal tries to put it all together and figure out who to believe, he and Kilowog are captured. They end up separated, but as slaves on Oa – slaves to the Manhunters. Hal, though, gets a message from one of the last surviving Guardians. He discovers that the Great Lantern wasn’t destroyed, it’s encased in an energy-damping dome that prevents its energy from reaching the galaxy and the rings.

Hal sends out a recruiting message, asking for help in attacking the dome. Some Lanterns actually think destroying the planet would be worth it – but Hal doesn’t want the slaves harmed. He finds a better way. The army of Lanterns destroys the dome and they are able to power their rings. Arista is nominated as leader of the new rag-tag Corps. Hal goes with Kilowag to his home planet to start him on the path of overthrowing the corrupt military coup government and bring the planet into the fold. Hal – heads back to Earth, and Ferris Galactic, for, essentially, the same reasons.

Green Lantern is usually a bright, hopeful book – full of space adventure, diverse characters, and fun. This book is dark. The first half of the book has very little dialogue, and dark panels set the stage. As the story opens up, we start to see the familiar green Lantern light – but completely out of control and dangerous. Hal isn’t the confident (some would say over-confident) hero Lantern we know so well – he’s a broken man, trying to do his best. Yet Hal still becomes a hero, because he’s the one who will find the Lantern on Oa and he’s the one who unites the few Lanterns and helps them to elect their own leader. Hal, it seems, will bring hope to the universe. So, ultimately, this is a good start to what may be a very different, and hard-hitting, but ultimately hopeful SF series.

Recommended. (Not for younger readers).

Book Review – Star Trek Green Lantern vol. 2: Stranger Worlds

  • Title: Star Trek/Green Lantern vol. 2: Stranger Worlds
  • Author: Mike Johnson
  • Artist: Angel Hernandez, Mark Roberts, Andworld Design
  • Characters: Capt. Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov (ST 2009); Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kilowog, Carol Ferris, Guardians, Saint Walker, Sinestro, Khan, LarFleeze, Atrocitus, Manhunters, Klingons
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Publisher: IDW Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/27/2017

Stranger Worlds picks up where the previous volume, Spectrum War left off, with the Lanterns learning to adapt to life in the Star Trek film reboot universe. Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Kilowog, and even Guy Gardner have a problem – with no individual lanterns and no Great Power Battery their rings cannot be re-charged, and they are running out of power. Hal and Carol Ferris are now members of Starfleet but not together. Carol, in fact, has joined the engineering department and fallen for Montgomery Scott. However, Carol can still become a Star Sapphire by using her ring, but has the same problem as the other Lanterns – she’s running out of power. John, Kilowog, and Guy are on Earth, but are soon called in to help Star Fleet.

Before long, Sinestro and Atrocitus show up. Atrocitus finds Khan (the Benedict Cumberbatch Khan from the reboot film) by landing on the asteroid where he and his Augments were put in suspended animation. Sinestro discovers the Manhunters and wants them to lead him to Oa so he can find the yellow impurity in the Great Lantern Power Battery and impose an empire of Fear. Khan, on the other hand, takes Atrocitus’ red power ring but can’t seem to use it. When he kills Atrocitus, he is then able to use the Ring of Anger with it’s full power.

The Enterprise crew, discovering the Manhunters, and learning their history from the Lanterns, must decide if they will go to Earth to stop Khan and his genetic augments or go to Oa. Hal Jordan convinces Kirk and Spock that Sinestro is the bigger threat.

The Enterprise and the Lanterns reach Oa. The Guardians exists, and are in very early days for their researches into the color spectrum and harnessing it’s power. Sinestro attempts to take and corrupt the power battery. He fails. The Green Lanterns recite their oath – and the rings are fully charged. They also swear to find the other power batteries. Something which should be much easier, now that they have found the Guardians. The Guardians will start a new Green Lantern Corps.

In the concluding pages of the volume, Hal offers to lead Kirk to an uncharted star system with a big, red, sun.

I enjoyed Stranger Worlds. The Star Trek and Green Lantern universes mesh well together. The art for this volume, especially the full-page spreads, is beautiful. The characterizations are also very well done, especially considering how large the cast is. I hope that IDW continues to publish additional volumes in this series, because I would certainly read them.

The previous volume was concerned with introductions and set-up. This particular volume is concerned with normalizing the situation – getting the Lanterns their power back, fighting the negative rings again (the orange ring of Larfleeze and the Red Ring used by Khan are captured and put in stasis to keep them from being used by anyone). Khan himself is defeated. Sinestro, not so much, but he fails to turn the Green Power Battery into a yellow one. St. Walker is mentioned, and has been captured, and finding him and helping him recover is sure to be grounds for another story. No mention is made of the Enterprise crew members that were chosen by other rings in the previous volume. There are situations in this volume that are a bit confusing here and there, but overall it is a fun tie-in SF story and highly recommended.

Book Review – Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War

  • Title: Star Trek/Green Lantern: The Spectrum War
  • Author: Mike Johnson
  • Artist: Angel Hernandez, Alejandro Sanchez, Neil Uyetake
  • Characters: Capt. Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov (ST 2009); Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Saint Walker, Green Lanterns, Sinestro, LarFleeze, Atrocitus, Klingons, Romulans, Gorn
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: IDW Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 07/10/2017

Star Trek Green Lantern: The Spectrum War crosses the 2009 Star Trek movie with Green Lantern. In DC Comics’ continuity this takes place immediately after Blackest Night. Ganthet enacts the Last Light – sending himself, six power rings, and all the living Lanterns to another universe. And that universe is the Star Trek (reboot) movie universe. After enacting Last Light, the Enterprise finds Ganthet’s skeleton on an airless rogue planet. The skeleton is surrounded by the six rings. The away team takes the skeleton and rings to the Enterprise, where Dr. McCoy makes the rather obvious statement that, “He’s dead, Jim,” however, McCoy also notes that Ganthet is from an unknown species. Meanwhile, Scotty and his friend investigate the rings – exposing them to tachyon radiation. This activates the power rings – three find new people to wield them on the Enterprise, while the other three speed off into space. Chekov is chosen by the Blue Ring of Hope. Dr. McCoy is chosen by the Indigo Ring of Compassion. Uhura is chosen by the Pink Ring of Love and becomes a new Star Sapphire. Then Hal Jordan arrives.

Jordan begins to explain what is going on to Kirk and company. Meanwhile, the other rings have also found new hosts. The Red Ring of Rage choses a Gorn. The Orange Ring of Greed (Avarice) chooses a Romulan. And the Yellow Ring of Fear chooses a Klingon. We also discover that Sinestro, LarFleeze, and Atrocitus have arrived in the Star Trek universe. They find the new members of their respective corps, but insist on being in charge of the new ring wielders.

Meanwhile, Jordan knows the three negative rings have found new owners, so he theorizes that any living Lanterns would have been thrust into the new universe. Star Sapphire Carol Ferris arrives with Saint Walker, who is injured. Dr. McCoy attempts to treat Saint Walker. Carol confirms that Nekkon has also made it into the new universe. And Jordan explains to Kirk that the Lanterns lost their last battle with Nekkon through attrition. In the end, his universe was destroyed.

The Klingons, led by Sinestro attack a Starbase – as does Atrocitus and the Gorn. The Enterprise tries to protect the Starbase – and rescue the survivors – but even with the help of the Lanterns, including the few surviving Green Lanterns, the Enterprise cannot hold off the energy weapons of the Yellow and Red Lanterns. After rescuing the survivors of the Starbase, and receiving strange signals from Vulcan – Kirk orders a strategic retreat.

Nekkon has raised Vulcan from destruction, and it’s citizens, including Spock’s parents are now zombies. Both the Lanterns, especially Hal, and the Enterprise crew realize there isn’t much to be done, and Hal fears this new universe will be destroyed like his home one. However, Kirk asks how they defeated Nekkon the first time. Hal tells the story of Kyle Raynor, the White Lantern, who could combine the power of all the rings in the Emotional Spectrum to create the Life Entity who can destroy Nekkon. While Hal destroys Spock’s (zombie) parents for him, Spock then uses the Life Entity to destroy Nekkon. Without Nekkon, Vulcan is again destroyed, as the Enterprise crew watches from space, with the Lanterns. Meanwhile, without any protection from space – the Klingon, Romulan, and Gorn die in space without their rings. Hal, Carol, Saint Walker, and the other Lanterns stay in the Star Trek universe, each making their own decisions about how to fit in in their new home.

This is a very enjoyable book. All the characters are in character, and there is a lot of humor. I really liked how it’s pointed out that Hal Jordan and Capt. Kirk are a lot alike. The art is wonderful, with the characters looking very much like the actors from the Star Trek movies and the DC characters looking just as they should. I really liked the full-page covers and the alternate covers in the back of the book. The only negative is at times, this book feels like there are too many characters, so at times it’s a little hard to follow. But the writing and situations feel very much like those in the Star Trek movie universe, and the Green Lantern mythology is very well explained and handled. Highly recommended.

Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths

  • Title: Crisis on Infinite Earths
  • Author: Marv Wolfman
  • Artist: George Pérez
  • Characters: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Justice League, et. al.
  • Publication Date: 2001 (this edition), first published 1985
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 8/12/2016

Crisis on Infinite Earths is big, really big, you might think it’s a long walk down to the chemist’s but… No wait, that’s The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but nevertheless this graphic novel is huge. It is really big – in every sense. It’s 364 pages – not including the introduction or the final analysis/review and the sketchbook at the end. Not only is it a lot of pages, but the art style and layout of Crisis on Infinite Earths include many small panels almost crammed onto the individual pages – rather than four or two or a single splash page there are often 9, 11, 14, small panels per page – the effect isn’t that the art is crowded or hard to follow – it’s that there’s so much going on simultaneously that multiple panels are needed to even give a glimpse of the story. This novel is a breathless read.

The story is also huge in every way that a good superhero comics story can be. It features just about every DC superhero – from all the various alternate Earths in the pre-Crisis universe. Earth 1, Earth 2, Earth 3, Earth X, Earth S – those and more are all here – as are their heroes. Every hero from the known (Superman (two of them), Wonder Woman (two of her too), Batman, Aquaman, etc.) to the obscure (Bwana Beast, The Question, Rip Hunter, various magic-users, etc.) is here – at least briefly. And the teams are here too – from the World War 2 Era Freedom Fighters to Doom Patrol, the Justice Society to the Justice League of America, The Green Lantern Corps to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Amazingly, this doesn’t get confusing or overwhelming – the book is skillfully-written to give you at least a name or affiliation for each character, as well as usually defining their powers.

The actual story had a very pragmatic purpose – the DC Universe had gotten very confusing. When you’ve been around since 1932 – that’s bound to happen. And the creative folks at DC were feeling a bit confined by trying to keep everything in continuity or declare a story an “Elseworlds” or “Imaginary Story” (DC’s parlance for alternate universe stories and stories outside the main continuity.) The creatives at DC felt their universe was also intimidating to new readers. Crisis on Infinite Earths was DC’s plan to simplify. Not to quite go back to a clean slate or change everything – but to create a new starting point. Yet for something that had a practical purpose, it’s just an amazing roller coaster ride of a story. It moves. It has sad bits. It has humor. It has moments that will make you gasp. And it the end, it does what was promised: some will live, some will die, the DC Universe will never be the same.

I started with reading DC Comics immediately after Crisis on Infinite Earths – so I didn’t read it in softcover. And it took a long time for this story to be published as a graphic novel. This was my second reading (the first was when I bought it whenever that was) and I was even more impressed. Crisis on Infinite Earths is a “wow” graphic novel. It’s amazing. And it’s something any comics and graphics novel fan needs to read. This novel didn’t just change things at DC – it changed the comics industry forever by showing that a long, complicated, cross-over story that actually changed things could be done and could be both successful and popular. Not to be missed.

Book Review – Time Masters: Vanishing Point

  • Title: Time Masters: Vanishing Point
  • Author: Dan Jurgens
  • Artists: Norm Rapmund
  • Line: Immediately post-Final Crisis
  • Characters: Rip Hunter, Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Booster Gold
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 7/05/2016

I enjoyed Time Masters Vanishing Point but it was neither really how it’s described on the back nor is it much of a tie-in to Flashpoint (the tie-in is limited to one page). In Time Masters Vanishing Point, Rip Hunter recruits a group of heroes (Superman; Green Lantern – Hal Jordan; and Booster Gold) to find Bruce Wayne who has been thrown back in time by Darkseid’s Omega Beams (see DC’s Final Crisis). Batman wasn’t killed in Final Crisis but sent back in time. For that reason I expected Vanishing Point to explain what was going on in Time and the Batman – to be the other half of that story. It’s not, because Rip Hunter and company get distracted during their travels through time and are unable to accomplish their stated mission to rescue Bruce Wayne. Everyone remembers what they are supposed to be doing – but their time travel is about as unpredictable as the TARDIS and they end-up all over the place rather than finding Bruce. I expected a “chase through time” – what I got was actually an innovative time-travel story with characters occasionally saying, pretty much, “But I have another mission I have to get back to”, so to speak.

This novel also includes a lot of background for Rip Hunter, including being raised by time-travelling parents who constantly move him not just from place to place but from time to time. And we learn a lot more about Booster Gold. Booster, in turns out, has hidden depths – he’s not who you think he is. The novel also features a number of characters with ties to Rip Hunter, Booster Gold, or both, including Michelle Carter (Goldstar), Supernova, and Brainiac 5 (briefly). Time Master villains also show up including: Despero, Degaton, and two of the Linear Men (one of whom is a woman).

However, despite all the various characters who appear briefly, and sometimes disappear just as quickly (eg Reverse Flash) – the novel isn’t confusing. Everyone is introduced by name at first appearance, which helps a lot (if nothing else one can always consult Google or Wikipedia to learn more), and it’s clear who is a hero and who is a villain. Also, the plot, which could easily become confusing with so many characters coming and going is actually pretty clear and easy to understand, even with the time travel and the frequent flashbacks (and occasional flash forwards) that flesh out the characters and explain their motivations.

This novel is very much Rip Hunter’s story – who he was, even as a child; who he is – as an adult and Time Master; and who he will be. It’s also a story about Booster Gold. It doesn’t fill in the other side of Time and the Batman unfortunately – we never really see Batman, despite his rescue being the McGuffin of the story.

There is a brief one-page reference to Flashpoint but that’s all – this story is not part of World of Flashpoint. I did enjoy it immensely and I wonder if there are any other graphic novels featuring these characters. Recommended to DC Comics fans, fans of time travel stories and science fiction, and also to anyone who saw CW’s Legends of Tomorrow and wants to learn more about Rip Hunter and the Time Masters.