Tangents and Permutations


Justice League of America #16

This is another one of those stories that’s gonna require some fairly extensive background info first. Back in 1997, DC published a small number of comics under a new imprint publishing arm they called “Tangent Comics.” The gimmick was that this was a superhero universe where all the characters had the names of DC characters but were completely different otherwise. Their version of the Atom was an atomic-powered energy-blaster; the Flash was a teenaged girl with light-based powers; the Joker was a crimefighting anarchist; the Green Lantern was a mystical artifact that could temporarily return the dead to life. In fact, Tangent’s version of the Green Lantern actually turned up in the regular DC Universe a while back, and it’s being kept in a storage locker by Guy Gardner.

And that’s where this story picks up, as a couple of no-luck lowlifes burglarize Guy’s storage building and somehow manage to activate the Green Lantern, which acts as an interdimensional teleporter, causing one of the burglars to switch universes with Tangent’s mega-powerful Atom. The Justice League — well, just Black Canary, Red Arrow, and John Stewart — respond to a police call about the incident. They manage to subdue the Atom and move him back to his proper universe, but they don’t realize that there’s another Tangent Universe hero in their universe — the Flash is stuck over here and doesn’t know how to get back home.

Verdict: Thumbs up, with some reservations. I really dug the Tangent concept when it first came out, so it’s neat to see some of these old characters. I wish they’d given the Atom more of a chance to shine, though. The JLA, on the other hand, gets plenty of opportunity to kick off some cool moments and lines — the best moment is probably Red Arrow defeating the Atom by beating him with garden implements. Unfortunately, this story isn’t going to be concluded in the next “Justice League” comic — it’s going to be in a miniseries about the Tangent Universe. I HATE comics that serve only to promote another comic series.


Countdown Presents: The Search for Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman

Wow, that is one way too long comic book title.

Well, we’ve got Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, Jason Todd, and (ugh) Bob the Monitor searching, for some durn fool reason, for Ray Palmer, the Atom, who’s gone missing for the last couple of years. Since his miniaturization powers allow him to travel to other dimensions, they’re jumping from one alternate earth to another trying to track him down. This issue, they visit Earth-11, where genders are reversed. They watch as the world’s superheroines fight Wonder Man and his invading army of extremely hairy male Amazons. Aaaaand that’s about all that happens.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Boooooring.

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