SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Justice League of America #27 by Steve Orlando, Hugo Petrus, Hi-Fi and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Steve Orlando’s year and a half run on Justice League of America has been a giant love letter to the DC Universe, but its been an even bigger love letter to the weirdest, most ambitious parts of the DCU that can be traced back to Jack Kirby, Grant Morrison, Gail Simone and others. Now, writing his final arc on the series with artist Hugo Petrus, he’s going as big as possible with a story that threatens all of time and the very concept of the superhero.
Reintroducing the once joke-of-a-villain Chronos in a major way, Orlando and Petrus have kicked off one of the boldest superhero stories in a long time. Ina single issue, it pays homage to everything great about the DC Universe, and acknowledges what sets the DCU apart from all other superhero media.
The World Enough And Time
Chronos has been kicking around the DC Universe forever. Created by the legendary team of Gardner Fox and Gil Kane, the villain debuted in 1962’s The Atom #3 and has been a pain in the backside of superheroes for over fifty years but never really lived up to his potential as a villain. As the master of time, he should run rings around the most powerful members of the DC Universe, but time and time again, he's been outsmarted by The Atom and thus never achieved the greatness he believed was due to him.
That’s why it’s somewhat satisfying to him treated as such a badass in Justice League of America, as he manages to take down the entire team in mere moments. The only reason he’s not completely successful is that he didn’t account for Aztek to be a member of the team. or for her to have tech in her warsuit that cancels out his time-stopping sundials.But all-in-all, it was a very good showing for the villain and not the last we see of him this issue, as his larger plan is one of the boldest -- and potentially most dangerous -- a supervillain has ever concocted.
God of Heroes
Years ago, too long ago to count, a god came down from the heavens and made Earthfall atop a mountain. This god was named Ahl, and by arriving on Earth, he seeded it with the very concept of superheroes. In the DCY, every single superhero can be traced back to Ahl and his arrival on what would one day be the Justice League of America’s headquarters, Mount Justice in Happy Harbor, RI.
Orlando has been teasing stories about Ahl for sometime now; the Queen of Fables referenced him in the previous storyline and he was referenced in the Young Animal crossover “Milk Wars” too. The character actually debuted in Gerard Way, Nick Derington and Tamra Bonvillain’s Doom Patrol #1, where he was found dead in an otherworldly temple.
Chronos’ plan is to go back in time to Ahl’s arrival and stop him from every seeding the Earth with the concept of the superhero, erasing the very concept from humanity’s history. It’s a plan somewhat reminiscent of Dark Side’s kidnapping of Aurakles in Grant Morrison, Yanick Paquette and Freddie Williams III’s Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle; the idea that there’s a single character that superheroics can be traced back to and that by harming them you can strike at the very concept itself.
By capturing Ahl, Chronoshas proven himself the most dangerous supervillain in the DC Universe, and there’s never been a crisis quite like this. The very concept of superheroism is at stake, which is a hell of a way to bow out on a title with as rich a history as Justice League of America.