Justice League 3001 has been something of a revelation for me. I was not expecting to like this book figuring it was going to be the same old dark, dingy dystopia that I has plagued DC the last decade. Instead, I have found it to be a sort of love letter to DC Universes past. Sure, the main characters are caricatures of the 'real' heroes, flawed genetic copies of the original. But we also are getting a brilliant and spurned Lois. Members of the 'Bwa-ha-ha' League even though that universe is gone. We have a pure Silver/Bronze Age Supergirl showing up like a ray of light. And we have the usual sort of irreverence that I see in the best of Giffen/DeMatteis collaborations. In many ways, it reminds me of the recent Giffen Doom Patrol book. In that book, Giffen simply acknowledged all the versions of the Patrol as 'real'. We saw Rita, Crazy Jane, a Negative Man who remembered all his incarnations. Brilliant.
Justice League 3001 #4 came out last week and pumped the brakes on the title a bit. This is a flashback story of this League's Flash, a story which we are told took place between the end of JL3000 and the beginning of JL3001. While a mere 4 issues in might be an odd place to put a 'rest' issue, the story builds on the universe that is being built here. Giffen and DeMatteis are fleshing out the threats in this universe while giving us a closer look at Teri as she grows in her role as the super-speedster of the team.
Art is by Scott Kolins rather than usual title artist Howard Porter. I'm not the biggest fan of Kolins' work and with Porter moving to Superman I wonder if Kolins is on board as the title's artist now. I was hoping to see more of Porter's Supergirl.
The issue starts with the Flash heading off on a solo mission, answering a distress signal on a remote ice planet ironically called Nirvana. This was set up by Batman, feeling that the Flash needed to get some real life experience. There is no distress signal, just the Flash having to use her powers to survive.
When Ariel reminds Batman that plenty of Robins died in similar situation, Bruce denies it.
Of course, Ariel is really the evil Lois Lane. And I love how she knows more about Batman than even Batman knows. She remembers all the Robins who were endangered. Nice.
Meanwhile, the Flash is running all over the world and ends up running across the Mirror Master.
Once more we start to see just how deep Lois' machinations go. She has been approaching all super-villains to join her Injustice League. If she is amassing an army, she is a bigger threat than ever. She is doing more than sending the League on near-suicide missions. Of course, the League doesn't know that Lois Lane is alive, let alone she is in Ariel.
This Mirror Master didn't want to join and so went to this place to lay low.
He also says he is the actual Mirror Master, the one who fought Barry Allen. Boy, a lot of people have survived 1000 years! But he gives a great riff on the famous Lloyd Bensten speech. "I knew Barry Allen.He was my arch-enemy. And lady, you are no Barry Allen." Fantastic.
An avalanche ends up burying the two in the building and the Mirror Master as to remind the Flash that she can dig them out at super-speed.
I thought this panel was also fascinating. In JL3000, Teri was the smartest person in the room. She was a brilliant scientist. As the Flash, she has acted more like a hyperactive teen. Even she recognizes that since the DNA merge, she isn't as smart. Is that because Barry was not as smart? Was that because her mind is racing?
Another interesting point to ponder about this bag.
Once freed from the snow, the two have to battle weird piranha/polar bear life forms. And the Mirror Master eventually acknowledges that he is happy the Flash came by. He was starting to feel isolated, being alone on this ice ball. He has been too worried that 'the others' would find him. Again, we are reminded that this villain army, this Injustice League is out there.
But it around this time that Teri realizes that there was no distress signal, there was no mission. This was Batman testing her. And it is only dumb luck that she stumbled across the Mirror Master. And she is not happy. She almost throws a tantrum.
Throughout this issue, we have been seeing the subtle changes we have seen in Teri. The sort rapid fire speech pattern, the desire to go on this mission, the realization she isn't as smart as she was, her throwing a tantrum when she learns of Batman's deception. Now she admits she was attracted to the Mirror Master.
It all sounds so adolescent. And I think it is brilliant.
Anyways, this was a Flash-centric story and we learn much more about Teri here. This also helps fill in some information for any readers who jumped on board for 3001 and didn't read 3000.