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by Mark Gillins

Ordinary People

This month I'll be reviewing a semi-classic from the largely misjudged Justice League International series that ended a few years back. The issue is #59, and the two-part story (concluded in #60) is entitled "Ordinary People".
But before we get to the story, I'd like to… reminisce a bit. JLI was one of the first titles I read as a comic book fan. I actually started reading it when it was still Justice League Europe, and after a short period where I didn't go to the shop, I followed it into JLI. I think I even enjoyed it more than the JLA series that had been going on at the same time, probably because I enjoyed the Flash and Green Lantern so much (not to mention Elongated Man!), and the Eclipso JLE annual had really caught my attention. It's too bad the series didn't survive in the long run, because if Morrison or Waid had taken over the writing, I'm positive sales would have gone up.
Anyway, back to why I'm here. The story begins in confusion. We find Wally West walking down the street, wondering to himself just what the heck he's doing. We then see him walk to Hal Jordan's doorstep, ring the doorbell, and Hal answers -- and acts as if he's never seen Wally before in his life! In fact, despite feeling an awful familiarity between themselves, they admit they have never met! After seeing a picture of a certain Rex Mason on the back of a book, they set their minds to meet this other awfully familiar face.
The whole first half of the issue goes on like this. The entire JLI bands together, but they don't have a clue as to who each other are and why they have a strange feeling of acquaintance. Most of the heroes don't even have their super powers that they'd normally have (I believe Power Girl is the only person who still has powers). After the group has grouped together, an even more shocking occurrence happens -- Green Lantern pops into the premises!
Explanation finally walks into the room (in a way) as the body-snatching JLI member Erewhon (an alien who has the ability to take over other people's bodies. He's been switching from body to body for so long, he can't remember where he left his original.) appears, he being the sole person who has a clear memory of how things are supposed to be. Unfortunately, nobody recognizes him, and he tries to sort things out for himself, only succeeding in causing the others to think of him as a first class wacko.
The team finally listens up, however, when Erewhon looks at Green Lantern and reveals his secret identity -- Guy Gardner! This, combined with a short discussion, convinces the team that they need to go through their past and run a spot check for any interferences that would have affected their futures. The amazingly good-natured Guy Gardner GL uses his ring to transport everyone to their individual points of origin (according to Erewhon), with a strange feeling that Hal's past needs to be handled first. Hal is fearful, though, and manages to postpone his fate for a short time. He worships Guy as the Green Lantern, and doesn't want to take over as Green Lantern in real life.
As the team goes through their pasts, they discover, through the use of the GL ring, that an alien is using a gun of sorts to manipulate an occurrence in each member's life, whether it be holding someone back to throw off the timing of a lightning bolt, or changing the course of a certain flying pod. Gardner puts things in reverse and runs them again, this time neutralizing the villain's effects -- but to no avail. The teammates are still powerless and are shocked at the true events that occurred.
Gardner (the reader still being shocked that he's the moral hero) then makes the final decision, despite Hal's constant opposition: Hal's origin occurred first, so the team would therefore visit his, in hopes of breaking the chain and bringing them back to normal time and space.
… and the rest occurs in #60, which I'm not reviewing. :) I'm sure this story can be found in back issues anywhere, and I seriously recommend that you buy this. It's a great read, and I think it would remind the older readers of pre-Crisis stories (the style and plot just strikes me that way).
With Hypertime appearing in DC continuity (or, should I say, USURPING DC continuity?), maybe a sequel could be written to this, eh? Just kidding… but it's nice to see an Earth 2 type story without screwing up DC's pre-Hypertime timeline. Guy Gardner's guest-starring is a nice touch and makes up for the strange outfit that Erewhon is wearing throughout the issue (I'm pretty sure that the body he occupies in this issue is that of a European street bum).
The art is good, comparing it to typical art of 1993 (they weren't using the special paper yet, and the coloring just wasn't as high quality). It's definitely easy to follow along, too. And, if your lucky, you'll get that great old musty smell that older comics have when you open 'em! It brings that great comic-nostalgia, doesn't it?
I give it an 8.5 on a scale from 1 - 10. It's a great story for the JLI, and the score is certainly justified when it's considered that there are no huge names in the staff. The only two names I recognized were Ruben Diaz and Brian Augustyn, the two editors.
Anyway, get it if you can find it. It's one of those cheap 'n' easy-to-find ones.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
All scanned artwork is ™ DC Comics.
This article is © 1999 by Mark Gillins.