JLA: The Nail series

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JLA: The Nail
Cover for JLA: The Nail #1 (Aug. 1998), by Alan Davis.
Publication information
Publisher Elseworlds (DC Comics)
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre
Publication date August – October 1998
No. of issues 3
Main character(s) Aquaman
Atom
Batman
Flash
Green Lantern
Hawkwoman
Martian Manhunter
Wonder Woman
Creative team
Created by Alan Davis
Mark Farmer
Collected editions
JLA: The Nail (US edition) ISBN 1563894807
JLA: The Nail (UK Edition) ISBN 1840230649

JLA: The Nail is a three-issue comic book mini-series published by DC Comics in 1998 under its Elseworlds imprint. The story, written and drawn by Alan Davis, is set in a parallel universe where Jonathan and Martha Kent's truck experiences a flat tire caused by a nail, which prevents them from discovering a Kryptonian spaceship outside Smallville containing the baby Kal-El, negating Superman. It was later followed by a sequel, JLA: Another Nail, a three-issue mini-series published in 2004 which wrapped up several loose ends from the original mini-series, such as the war between the New Gods and the Green Lantern Corps and Oliver Queen's public betrayal of the Justice League.

The story's theme is set in the first paragraph:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost,
for want of a shoe the horse was lost,
for want of a horse the knight was lost,
for want of a knight the battle was lost.
So it was a kingdom was lost – all for want of a nail.

Plot[edit]

The Nail[edit]

Twenty-four years ago, farmers Jonathan and Martha Kent experience a flat tire on their truck caused by a nail, which results in them missing the arrival of a Kryptonian spaceship and discovering the baby Kal-El. In the present day, the Justice League consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Hawkwoman, the Atom, Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern.

Journalist Perry White conducts an anti-metahuman campaign along with mayor of Metropolis Lex Luthor, deputy mayor Jimmy Olsen and former hero Oliver Queen (Green Arrow). After a battle with Amazo which resulted in the death of Hawkman, Queen became a bitter paraplegic who claims that the Justice League are aliens who are conspiring against humanity. Metahumans are eliminated or captured one by one: first the supervillains and then teams such as the Doom Patrol and the Outsiders.

The Joker liberates the prisoners in Arkham Asylum with energy-generating gauntlets which he uses to trap Batman and kill Robin and Batgirl. Catwoman attacks the Joker and frees Batman, who then damages the Joker's gauntlets and snaps his neck on live television as Arkham explodes. Batman retreats to the Batcave with Catwoman while the Joker's murder tarnishes the Justice League's reputation.

Metamorpho is brainwashed into killing the Thinker and Perry White and dies while trying to tell Martian Manhunter what happened. Green Lantern discovers a force field around Earth that prevents anything from leaving the planet. Seeking the mastermind behind all of these events, the Flash saves Ra's al Ghul and the League of Assassins from an attack by Amazo.

Wonder Woman is framed for the destruction of the White House. Riots erupt soon afterwards and Luthor takes control of the United States, using flying masked robots called the Liberators to enforce the law. The members of the Justice League are captured by the Liberators (who are shown to be Bizarro-like clones of Kal-El) until only Batman, the Flash and the Atom are left.

Lois Lane, a journalist investigating the anti-metahuman campaign, suspects a conspiracy. At a metahuman research facility, Lois meets Dr. Lana Lang, who sends her to Smallville where the Kents help shelter escaped metahumans. Lois confronts Jimmy, who reveals that LexCorp discovered Kal-El's empty spaceship and found traces of his DNA within it. Luthor used the alien DNA to create Bizarro clones and turn Jimmy into a Kryptonian-human hybrid. Metahumans have been imprisoned and harvested for their DNA in order to convert humans into Kryptonians and create a Kryptonian society ruled by Jimmy.

Batman, Batwoman (formerly Catwoman), the Atom, and the Flash free the captive Justice League members and destroy the Liberators, only to be confronted by an insane super-powered Jimmy. Jimmy defeats the League due to their inexperience with Kryptonian powers as the fight spreads to an Amish community. As Jimmy is about to kill Batman, he is stopped by a farmer who tries to reason with him; Jimmy unsuccessfully tries to incinerate the farmer with his heat vision.

The farmer is revealed to be Kal-El, who was found as a baby by an Amish couple and raised as their son. Jimmy attempts to persuade Kal-El to join him but Kal refuses, unable to ignore his conscience. Jimmy kills Kal-El's adoptive parents in front of him with his heat vision and engages Kal in a fight. Despite the two of them being evenly matched, the stress of the fight causes Jimmy’s DNA graft to fail and his body to disintegrate. With Jimmy and the Liberators defeated, the Justice League (without Batman, who resigns from the League after he is acquitted of the Joker's murder) regains public confidence with the help of its newest member: Superman.

Another Nail[edit]

JLA: Another Nail
Cover for JLA: Another Nail #1 (May 2004), by Alan Davis.
Publication information
Publisher Elseworlds (DC Comics)
Schedule Monthly
Format Limited series
Genre
Publication date May – July 2004
Main character(s) Aquaman
Atom
Batman
Flash
Green Arrow
Green Lantern
Hawkgirl
Martian Manhunter
Superman
Wonder Woman
Creative team
Created by Alan Davis
Mark Farmer
Written by Alan Davis
Penciller(s) Alan Davis
Inker(s) Mark Farmer
Collected editions
JLA: Another Nail (US edition) ISBN 1401202659
JLA: Another Nail (UK Edition) ISBN 1840239441

The story begins with a flashback to a year earlier, detailing the war between New Genesis and Apokolips mentioned in The Nail. The consequences of this war threaten to destroy millions of lives on adjacent planets, and the Green Lantern Corps is dispatched to stem the loss of life. One Green Lantern is killed, and his power ring selects Big Barda as its new host. Using the ring in combination with a Mother Box, Barda and Mister Miracle (who had transferred his consciousness to Barda's Power Ring via the Mother Box) shut down a destructive device designed to vaporize all matter within millions of light years, causing Darkseid to disintegrate into dust and be scattered across the universe. The flashback is shown by Green Lantern to the Justice League. Hal reveals that the Central Power Battery on Oa is weakening. The Guardians of the Universe and Big Barda unsuccessfully investigate.

Oliver Queen, formerly Green Arrow, is dying from injuries by Amazo in the same fight that claimed Hawkman's life. His former lover Black Canary (Dinah Lance) is torn; she wants to help him, but he rejects her and wishes only to die in peace.

Kal-El is adjusting to his new life as Superman. He is unfamiliar with his powers and limitations, devoting himself to heroics with little rest. During a mission in Peru with the Martian Manhunter, Superman's strength begins fading as he tries to save a village from Evil Star's attacks. Manhunter advises him to rest and reconnect with humanity. During his sabbatical, Kal-El bonds with Lois Lane and Jonathan and Martha Kent as they create a new identity for him.

Wonder Woman and Aquaman encounter some of Darkseid's former minions hidden on Earth. Hawkwoman teams with Zatanna, Green Lantern investigates the energy loss on Oa by questioning various superheroes, and Flash (Barry Allen) and the Atom note chronological fluctuations. Batman and Batwoman (a reformed Catwoman) continue to fight crime separately from the League. Batman is still plagued by nightmares of the Joker killing Robin and Batgirl a year earlier, before Batman killed him. Hearing maniacal laughter in the distance after a battle with Poison Ivy; he follows it and encounters Deadman, who reveals a disturbance in the dimensional planes of reality. Demons invade the human dimension and even the Spectre is helpless. Flash and the Atom accidentally enter another universe and are captured by the Crime Syndicate of America.

Batman learns that the Joker has been haunting him. Back from Hell because of the dimensional shift, Joker attacks Batman with demonic powers while legions of demons watch in amusement. With the Joker already dead, Batman can only cause him pain.

As disturbances in dimensions, time and reality unfold, hero and villain are both helpless in the ensuing chaos. Barda and Mr. Miracle use the resources of New Genesis and the Green Lanterns to discover that the disturbances are from a single entity: the Limbo Cell. A massive organism many times the size of the Solar System, the Limbo Cell feeds on energy, matter and hyperspace, causing dimensional disturbances across multiple realities. Superman tries to fly a bomb into the cell's nucleus, but his energy ebbs and he is left helpless. As Kal-El is about to die, he is rescued and revitalized by Amazo (now possessing Oliver Queen's mind). Queen fights the Limbo Cell's energy-siphoning with Amazo's powers, and sacrifices his life to deliver the bomb to its nucleus. With the Limbo Cell destroyed, reality heals and the disturbances in time and space are repaired.

Batman descends to Hell, dragging the Joker with him. As they fight Batman is prepared to spend an eternity in Hell, knowing that his sacrifice prevents the Joker from ever harming anyone else. As they fall into the abyss the Joker, screaming, is swept away by an unseen force; a hand reaches out to Batman, pulling him from the darkness. His rescuers, the spirits of Robin and Batgirl, enable Batman to put the past behind him and rejoin the Justice League.

Collected editions[edit]

The three issues of JLA: The Nail were collected into a trade paperback in 1998 by DC Comics and 1999 by Titan Books.[1][2] The three issues of JLA: Another Nail were collected into a trade paperback in 2005 by DC Comics and Titan Books.[3][4]

Awards[edit]

In 1999, JLA: The Nail was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davis, Alan; Farmer, Mark (November 1998). The Nail: An Elseworlds Tale of the Justice League of America (1st ed.). New York: DC Comics. ISBN 1563894807. 
  2. ^ Davis, Alan; Farmer, Mark (March 1999). The Nail: An Elseworlds Tale of the Justice League of America. London: Titan. ISBN 1840230649. 
  3. ^ Davis, Alan; Farmer, Mark (2005). JLA: Another Nail. New York: DC Comics. ISBN 1401202659. 
  4. ^ Davis, Alan; Farmer, Mark (2005). JLA: Another Nail. London: Titan. ISBN 1840239441. 
  5. ^ "JLA: The Nail (1998)". Comic Book DB. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 

External links[edit]