First there was Byth. Then there was the Unimaginable. Then Ultra.
And now, Jeff Lemire is bringing back another older DC property ... this time from the Bronze Age ... The Cadre!
Here they are, now as a squad of brawlers working for Byth, trying to get Ultra. And they are squaring off against the JLU and the Legion.
So who are they?
Well, in the 1985 DC Universe, really in the midst of the Crisis, the Justice League of America comic was tinkered with significantly. Gone were the 'big 7'. Instead we got the Detroit Justice League, headlined by Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter, with such lesser known and new characters like Vibe, Steel, Vixen, and Gypsy.
The formation of the League occurred in a story aptly called Rebirth, written by Gerry Conway with art by Chuck Patton. That team's first challenge was The Cadre, here seen as a whole team on the last page of Justice League of America #235.
Despite this decent cliffhanger, I actually didn't get the next issue!
As a result, I need to rely on my friend Who's Who to learn about the team.
The leader of the team is the enormous Overmaster who gathered this team to take over the world. In the end, it turns out the Overmaster was being controlled by some alien parasite. I think his uniform is evocative of the Infinite Man so I think it is a little inspired that Lemire has them working as acolytes for Infinitus.
But after the dynamic and imposing Overmaster, the rest of the team sounds like a bunch of losers. No wonder an underpowered JLA could beat them. Fastball is an ex-minor league pitcher who has a suit allowing him to throw spheres really fast. Crowbar has an energized ... crowbar. Shatterfist is a martial artist with destructive energy auras around his hands. Not exactly inspired.
The other member at least have a little bit more creativity and better looks.
Black Mass can control gravity and is enormous, a difference from his 98 pound weakling real identity. Nightfall looks a lot like the eventual update of Nightshade. She even controls shadows! And Shrike is a sort of flying Black Canary.
The story sounds a bit forgettable.
I suppose they are utterly forgettable which makes Lemire's reinvention of them that much more delicious. We'll have to see if he can make them more formidable because Justice League United has some bigger guns than Vibe and Gypsy.