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mygif

Reading this article makes it sound like Grant Morrison has spent the last few years going “OK, what other terrible Elseworlds ideas are there that I can put into continuity and make not-terrible?”

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mygif

Out of thse I only read 3 which kind of shows how inessential they are.

Another Nail was fun at times but totally without a plot. But it did have Amazo Oli Queen saving the universe by shooting a huge arrow at the Crisis on Infinite Earths so there’s that.

The Legionnaires annual was kind of a neat story with Lightning Lad as Lancelot, Cosmic Boy as Arthur and Saturn Girl as Guenevier (sp?). I thought it was a good What If sort of story since it allowed for internal confilicts we’ve not seen in the Legion.

The Superman Revolution was just bad.

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mygif

I never even knew that any of these existed. Remarkable. I’ll have to seek out Superman: Metropolis and Batman: Nosferatu though, if only because early German film is where it’s at.

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mygif

I’m surprised you didn’t mention Superman: True Brit. Written by John Cleese, it’s a mostly humorless story about what would have happened if Superman landed in the British countryside. Features Batman as a — I kid you not — man who Superman accidentally impales on a cricket bat for the rest of life.

Not interesting or funny enough to excuse its boring premise and awful storyline.

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mygif

Isn’t “Batman in the old West with a Native American Robin” just the Lone Ranger and Tonto?

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mygif

Oh, yes. True Brit is a pretty miserable thing in execution, which is a shame given Cleese’s premise. I was given a copy as a gift and keep it on a bottom shelf and I’m still kind of ashamed of it.

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mygif

True Brit is so incredibly bad, though, that it kind of goes all the way around again and becomes kitsch. That’s not inessential. Inessentiality is boring, meaning nothing.

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I suppose I should be grateful I only owned six of these.

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Sean D. Martin said on November 10th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

On the one hand, I’m relieved that I’ve only ever read three of these.

On the other, I’m rather embarrassed that I still own them.

Into next year’s Halloween giveaways they go!

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mygif

I haven’t read a single one of these, and I’m not sure if I should be proud of that. Then again, maybe I’m just blocking out any I did read. I know I don’t own them, though.

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Cookie McCool said on November 10th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I haven’t read any of these, but those three words, “awesome Champions campaign”, sent serious chills through my spine. Is there some kind of nerd outreach program to help people deal with the PTSD from campaigns past?

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@Stickmaker: The Lone Ranger is that basic concept, but with much better execution and story-telling. I don’t regret having bought and read TBTG&TB when it first came out lo, those many years ago. But I’m a bit of an American Civil War geek. I wouldn’t put it on anyone’s reading list.

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mygif

Too bad about the Frankenstein one– that could’ve been very fun in an over-the-top EC Comics way. (PS didn’t you mean Alfred rather than Albert?)

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mygif

I was really excited about Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham. The Mignola cover screamed “Batman as Lobster Johnson!” And then it just sort of sucked. It was another one of those stories where all the typical Batman characters are shoehorned into a lousy Lovecraft pastiche.

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mygif

Albert?

JLA : Act of God is the worst Elseworlds ever.

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mygif

Batman: Brotherhood of the Bat was one of the first comics I ever bought, when I was like 8 or 9. First of all, I had no idea even what an Elseworld was, so I read the whole thing thinking it was really happening to Batman. Let me tell you, me and my friends ate that shit up. We spent hours trying to copy the drawings in the back, and deciding which one was the most awesome one.

Yeah, looking back on it, it was crappy as hell, but at that age, it totally did the job.

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highlyverbal said on November 10th, 2010 at 3:23 pm

“Robin is an Native American”

“An”? You were gonna say Indian, weren’t you!

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mygif

I bought all three issues of JLA: Act of God a few years ago because the premise sounded extremely cool. (Still does, actually.) Ye gods, it is one of the worst things I’ve ever read. Nonsensical plot elements, nearly everyone being so far out of character, this one has it all. The only good thing in it is Dave Ross’ art.

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mygif

I kinda liked True Brit, though I did get it from the library. “Legacy” wasn’t that bad, and you had a fun back-up story from Louise Simonson (I think) where Kal-El’s ship lands in the Fifth Dimension, and Mr. Mxyzptlk (I am not going to look to see if I spelled it right) and friends have to deal with an alien that grew up too quickly. And Another Nail shouldn’t have happened unless Kal-El was really, really struggling to his Mennonite roots established in the first series. Like, he keeps struggling to get the will to shave the beard and wear more complex clothes.

I never bought Act Of God. Ever hear of a cat named Linkara? He does vlogs on bad comics, and he ripped that three-parter a new one here, and here. Word of warning . . . the theme song is a huge earworm. Listen at your own risk.

I like the idea of Triumph. Back in the day, not a lot of Priest’s brainstorms were misfires. Not only would I bring him back, I’d lay off any jokes involving certain canines that specialize in blue humor

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themadthinker said on November 10th, 2010 at 4:48 pm

I’m really quite surprised that Superman: At Earth’s End didn’t make this list, what with evil Hitler clones, evil Batman clones, a streetgang of heavily armed children, and Superman with a beard and giant gun.

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mygif

I will avoid these, but I would rather read a “best of” kind of list that recommends and celebrates good stuff. “Worst of” lists are only entertaining when the writer is really scathing towards them. I’ve only heard of a few of these.

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mygif

I’m with themadthinker. I never read At Earth’s End, but the summaries I’ve seen make it seem like an utterly terrible, pointless idea.

And Brandi, if you want to see “DC does Frankenstein” I believe there was a Superman version done as well (the concept works a little better there too I think.)

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mygif

I’d almost forgotten about True Brit. Thanks a lot, jerks.

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mygif

I’ve read most of these, thanks to an overstocked public library, but I honestly think that none of them were half so pointless or badly written as Son of Superman. In which Superman disappears for 20 years, so the entire JLA goes Darker And Edgier (except Batman, who meets them halfway), then half of them turn randomly evil, just so Superman and his son have someone to fight.

It also has some of the worst written fight scenes ever to appear in comics. Not badly drawn, incredibly stupidly thought out. Superman JR takes out Green Lantern with a thrown manhole cover. The Flash attacks Batman by running round and round in circles until Bruce just drops a gas bomb. Oh, and Aquaman is evil too, just so Wonder Woman has someone to fight.

Seriously, the whole book swings between immensely boring and mind-numbingly stupid.

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Penguin Zero said on November 10th, 2010 at 9:31 pm

When thinking about bad Elseworlds, JLA: Created Equal is always what comes to mind for me. A mysterious event kills off every man on Earth. Okay, decent enough premise; Y: The Last Man would eventually get a lot of mileage out of the same conceit, and the few logic holes about how it also got all alien males except Superman could be glossed over if it were interesting enough. The story starts out with the surviving women trying to adjust, stepping in to fill the gaps left behind, some taking up new heroic identities, and so on.

Then they find a way to all get pregnant by Superman, and all the girls get shuffled off to the sidelines while Superman, Luthor, and the super-sons (none of the daughters, curiously enough) face off in a rather tedious conflict, with the key roles filled by next-generation characters we couldn’t care less about. (But they’re obviously important because they’re the boys, and we’re sure to care about Superman’s thinly-characterized sons more than chicks like Lois Lane or Wonder Woman or Barbara Gordon the Green Lantern, right? Right?)

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mygif

I’ve only read two of these, thankfully.

I was worried that you were going to include “Batman: Darkest Knight” on here, where Bruce Wayne get Abin Sur’s Green Lantern Ring instead of Hal Jordan. The art kind of sucked, but I loved the story.

One year, all of the DC annuals were Elseworld stories. Some of those were pretty darn miserable. The Green Lantern one was kind of cool though.

Also full of suck, Dark Joker: The Wild.

DC

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mygif

There was one, I can’t recall the name at the moment, where Kal-el is found by the childless couple Thomas & Martha Wayne. The potential over the top awesomeness of SuperBatman was ruined by the writers making him a total emo of the “MY PARENTS ARE DEAD!!111!!” variety. He didn’t actually do anything but mope around and eventually use his superman powers to do… stuff… It was so uninteresting I can’t recall anything but the basic premise and the emo.

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mygif

That would be Superman: Speeding Bullet. Should’ve been a Batman title. Liked the idea of a Bruce Wayne as a Clark Kent-type bumbler. Lex Luthor as Joker? Yeah, not so much. In Darkest Knight should’ve been labeled a GL Elseworld, and the execution wasn’t as good as it could have been. Also, in Countdown: Arena (I know, I suck), why didn’t GL Bruce wonder why the hell there were three other versions of him in bat drag? “Are you people dense? Are you retarded or something?!? I’m the goddamn Green Lantern!”

I mentioned the Mxy short story from ’94. In the JLA annual, there’s a great backup from Dan Vado and Evan Dorkin where all of the villains whose last names end in “o” team up to plot against the good guys. Great stuff.

Sorry about messing up the Linkara links. Parts 1, 2 and 3 are linked to “here,” “and” and “here.” I haven’t read At Earth’s End or Linkara’s critique, but references to that pop up a lot in his vlogs. You can see it here. I should watch it myself.

And before I forget: while Last Days Of Animal Man isn’t an Elseworld (more of a possible future) and not that great if your not a fan of Buddy, there is one breakout character: a whale that is a Green Lantern. For reals. Even got this sketch from Tom Scioli to remember it by.

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mygif

I actually liked Another Nail but I do think it’s a little weird that they took an Elseworld with a “what would the DCU be like without Superman in it?” plot hook and made the sequel about Superman. “What if Superman was a rookie?” doesn’t have quite as much punch as “What if Superman wasn’t there?”.

It seems like the only way to truly follow up on The Nail is to show a world where someone else is removed from the equation. Take out Batman. Or Wonder Woman. Or the human GLs. Or the Flashes. Or Martian Manhunter (not quite as marketable as the other stories but probably the most potentially different).

Or, y’know just do a prequel where you show how that world got the way it was in The Nail while occasionally checking in on Amish Superman as he grows up.

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mygif

Speaking of which, have I ever told you about this amazing Champions game I used to run?

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Eric TF Bat said on November 11th, 2010 at 5:41 am

I rather enjoyed Destiny, just because it was so thoroughly un-Elseworldy for the most part. The story kind of petered out though.

But really, Superman: True Brit, JLA: Equal Rites and especially Superman: Distant Fires are all so execrable that they should have pushed some of the others off the list. And what about the Batman: Darkest Knight? That’s the one where Bruce Wayne gets the Green Lantern ring and goes rogue, ignoring the rest of his sector to concentrate on Earth, so eventually the Guardians find Barry Allen, Clark Kent and Diana Prince, and give them the ugliest pastiche costumes ever. Whoever did the costume design in that one should have had his eyes gouged out as a warning to others.

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mygif

Another Nail should get a thumb’s up, if only for the Alan Davis pages that look like someone trying to do an in-continuity version of a Who’s Who cover. Plotwise a little dodgy, but the art!

I remember being really excited to finally get Scar of the Bat, and being disappointed. But the absolute worst Elseworlds, bar none, is Batman Chronicles #21. Featuring a miserable Brian Bendis story, and other terribleness.

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mygif

Superman: At Earth’s End gets a free pass because it is amusingly crazy. I mean, it isn’t good, by any stretch of the imagination. But once you free yourself of that, man, it’s what we call a wild ride.

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mygif

I had Legacy in an Elseworlds collection, which also included a Pirate-Batman story, a noir-Batman story, and a really good Steel story where he lived on a plantation in the 1860s, and was commissioned to build armor for his owner, but instead used it to lead a Nat Turner-style slave rebellion.

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mygif

I’ve never read JLA: Act of God, but anything that includes Kyle Rayner getting impaled on a sharp rock can’t be all bad, now can it?

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mygif

I feel like MARVEL 1602 suffered from the exact same problem of “plug-in-the-appropriate-characters-into-setting-X stories.” I found the story far more boring and pointless than most others did, it seems.

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Die Macher said on November 11th, 2010 at 3:41 pm

How about an Elseworlds where Green Lantern uses his ring to carry a vat of black paint around with him everywhere he goes?

SMARTASS VILLAIN: Ha-ha, Green “Lame”-tern, I’ve dressed completely in yellow!

GL: Oh really? Well, fuck you! (dumps vat of paint over villain) (pummels villain with 100-foot-tall will-hammer)

Repeat with slight variation for 64 pages.

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mygif

Superman: Speeding Bullets was not one of my favourite Elseworlds but I do think it made sense for Super-Bruce (sounds Australian…) to be a “total emo”.

Human-Bruce saw his parents die, he was powerless to prevent it, he trained and studied to become the Batman to help prevent others suffering the same loss and to never be powerless again. Never be helpless again. Always have the contingency plan, always have a way, never give up. A reason why he went so nuts in JLA: The Nail after being held helpless and having to watch the Joker do what he did.

Super-Bruce though saw his parents die…and then he got shot and the bullets bounced off him, and THEN he burned the mugger’s face off with his heat vision. Human-Bruce was helpless to prevent his parents’ death, Super-Bruce knew he could have stopped it. Not “My parents’ are Deeaaadd” but “My parents’ are Deeaaadd because I didn’t know I had these powers and could have saved themmmmm!”

Human-Bruce studied and trained to never be powerless again. Super-Bruce tried to deny he had his powers as if he let himself remember them then he would remember the guilt. He would remember that they died because of his failure. Think how guilty Batman Begins-Bruce felt because he blamed himself for having got the heebie-jeebies over bats, so they left early, so they met the mugger (who of course was actually a mob assassin so would have waited, so the heebie-jeebies made no difference really). Now think about how guilty he’d have felt if he’d KNOWN he could have saved them.

Then when he does remember his powers and remember burning someone’s face off (which is pretty traumatic in itself) when thugs invade Wayne Manor to scare him deeper into seclusion the “Batman” that is created is a vicious thug. None of the benefit of training and discipline and an even greater guilt than Human-Bruce had. Even more derailed than in the JLA story where the Leaguers get split into their two identities and without Batman that Bruce becomes a nutter.

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mygif

@Die Macher: Why not just a can of spray paint to paint the business end of will hammer? Or just have the giant green fist pick up something non-yellow and beat the crap out of the yellow thing?

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Die Macher said on November 12th, 2010 at 3:55 pm

John 2.0 — Each of those is a seperate Elseworld, and all of them will be explored in future annuals. :-)

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mygif

Superman:At World’s End was awesome in its horribleness, but in the end it gets a pass for THE BEARD. THE BEARD alone is 75% Rex

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@_JM_

Good assessment of the story of Speeding Bullet. I just didn’t like it because the character was not sympathetic at all, and I need to like a character to enjoy the story.

Personally I think the same setup could be used to justify the opposite reaction. “My parents are dead because I didn’t know I had these powers, and I burned a man to death by looking at him hard. I must learn to control these abilities, and use them so nobody will suffer the same fate as my parents.”

Then you end up with superbatman, all of superman’s powers, all of batman’s skills, determined to save everybody. Except he can’t, even with superman’s powers he can’t move fast enough to react to every life threatening event his super senses can detect. Hilarity ensues.

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mygif

Well, no one else has mentioned it yet, so I thought it was important to state that “Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham” was truly, truly terrible. Not so much the concept (plug Seline into Batman’s role, only keep the cat motif, which isn’t terrible, just mindlessly mediocre) but the execution, which has Catwoman competing solo for the title of most inept, air-headed female crime fighter of all time.

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mygif

Another recommendation: Elseworld’s Finest: Supergirl/Batgirl. It’s a world where Batman and Superman never happened, and it’s a lot like pressing down on a Pop-O-Matic bubble. You got media darling Supergirl, the somewhat overprotective-of-Gotham Batgirl, and lots of other stuff I can barely remember . . . including a less serious Bruce Wayne as Barbara’s assistant in her war on crime. Also, that world came up in the “Hyper Tension” story in Superboy, featuring his female equivalent, Supergrrl. Good times.

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Evil Abraham Lincoln said on November 15th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I have never read any of these stories. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s comforting to know that the money that would have gone into paying for them was spent on beer (for myself and for loose women.) That is all.

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mygif

Another vote here for Batman: The Doom That Came to Gotham. It’s pure paint-by-numbers bad Elseworlds and paint-by-numbers bad Lovecraft and totally forgettable, which in some ways is worse than howlingly awful.

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[…] when I did my post of the least essential Elseworlds, I had it in my head that I would eventually get around to doing the most essential Elseworlds. I […]

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JLA: Act of God is one of the worst comics ever written by a human mind.

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Here via the link from “The Essential Elseworld”

the Lofficier brothers

Actually, it’s my understanding that Randy and Jean-Marc are wife and husband, not brothers.

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