Title: JLA/WildC.A.T.S.
Publication Date: 1997
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Val Semeiks
Inker: Kevin Conrad and Ray Kryssing
JLA Members: Superman (electrical version), Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner).
WildC.A.T.S. Members: Majestic, Grifter, Zealot, Void, and Maul.
Guest Stars: Kid Flash (Wally West) and Mark Antaeus.
Bad Guys: Epoch, the Lord of Time.
Cameos: The Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), and a bunch of interchangeable Image Comics characters.

So what happens?
Epoch, a world-conquering madman from the future, has been waging a one-man war against the Justice League. He's able to travel backwards and forwards through time, so he's constantly picking up nifty new weapons from future centuries. He's read history books from his own time that say he was the undisputed master of the world in the late 20th century, so he keeps coming back to get rid of the JLA and take over once and for all. The Justice League has managed to steal Epoch's time-ship from him, but he's programmed his battlesuit to travel in time as well, so he's able to go anywhere and anywhen he wants to. He tries to kill Wally West back when he was Kid Flash, but the JLA stops him. He tries to kill one of Green Lantern's caveman ancestors, but the JLA stops him.

Finally, around 65,000,000 B.C., Epoch blunders into something called a dark nova which supercharges his futuristic armor with time particles and anti-tachyons, drastically evolving his armor and his powers. Now he's able to shoot the JLA forward in time while holding the vehicle's timedrive unit in the past, effectively stranding them in, as it turns out, 33 A.D. But do they do anything useful, like saving Jesus from the cross and freeing us from The Passion of the Christ? No, they realize that since the timedrive was built to withstand the stresses of time travel, it's probably still around, buried somewhere underground. So they go dig it up, plug it back into the time vehicle, and cross their fingers that it still works properly. And as it turns out, it gets 'em all back to the right time A-OK. Hey, how come nobody here is recognizable?

Well, obviously, the damaged time machine transported the JLA to the wrong universe -- namely, the violent, sociopathic corner of the Image Universe where the WildC.A.T.S. hung out. We find the C.A.T.S. fighting an outbreak of even more violent and sociopathic crooks. The WildC.A.T.S. include the superstrong leader, Majestic, kill-crazy warrior woman Zealot, teleporting weirdie Void, the gun-toting Grifter, and Maul, who's a genius when he's normal sized, but gets dumber when he grows bigger and stronger. The usual "We're both good guys, so let's mistake each other for bad guys and fight" sequence ensues. Batman disarms Grifter immediately, so Grift sensibly sits out the rest of the fight. Void and the Flash chase each other around 'til they realize they're both on the same side. Maul, in his smaller size, give Green Lantern a nerve pinch that makes him unable to use his power ring. Wonder Woman knocks the tar out of the vastly-outmatched Zealot. And Superman and Majestic go off-screen to pound on each other 'til they also figure out they're on the same side.

After the JLA and C.A.T.S. take care of the rampaging supercriminals, they realize that the dark nova fractured time into two different timelines -- one is the JLA's and the other is the WildC.A.T.S'. In addition, Epoch's manipulations of the timeline in the DC Universe are causing distortions in the Image Universe, too. If he's not shut down soon, he could end up destroying both universes. But first, they've got to figure out how to make the jump over to the Justice League's side of the pond...

So Void and Green Lantern teleport into a surreal trans-dimensional space between the DC and Image Universes. This is where Void goes when she teleports, and GL doesn't like it -- all the wacky multidimensionality is making him nauseous. It's populated by sapient, silvery blobs who they'll have to negotiate with if they want to create a bridge from one universe to the other. Luckily, all the blobs want is for GL to use his ring to show them some concepts they can play with -- stuff like simple machines, toys, geometric designs, and artistic doodling. Once he does that, they tell Void that they agree to help set up an interdimensional bridge for the heroes.

Once everyone gets over to the DC side of the bridge, however, they discover that, here, Epoch has had a week to conquer the world and import all kinds of weaponry and surveillance systems from future eras to cement his control over the planet. He's merged himself with a futuristic self-evolving super-computer/super-bomb called the Omega Attractor, and he's using its power to lay waste to the Earth. The good guys manage to stay undercover for a few panels, but before long, some of Epoch's surveillance fog discovers that the JLA are back in town. Epoch doesn't mind -- he expected them to come back and has prepared all kinds of nasty defenses to take care of them.

The combined forces of the JLA and the WildC.A.T.S. make mincemeat of Epoch's defenders, but Epoch isn't worried because he knows his personal defenses were designed specifically to kill off the Justice League. Too bad it's the WildC.A.T.S. who show up to face him. They blow out his eyes, pump him full of bullets, and stick a sword through his chest, but his super-technology lets him regenerate replacements for all the body parts he loses. And now he's ready to use the Omega Attractor to turn himself into pure energy and explode with the force of a second Big Bang. Luckily, the JLA shows up with Epoch's old time machine, which is programmed to create a time bubble to imprison him and then transport him back to about 65 million B.C., where he will explode in a dark nova, empower his previous self, and create the WildC.A.T.S' universe.

So with Epoch vanquished, and the dimensional bridge decaying, the WildC.A.T.S. return to their own universe, and that's that.

Cool Moments!
The bit at the beginning with Kid Flash is just cool beyond words -- it's exactly the sort of crazy thing that would happen all the time in the Silver Age "Flash" comics; Grifter immediately surrendering after Batman takes his guns away is pretty humorous, as is the scene later when Bats guilt-trips him into fighting without his guns for a while; Wonder Woman knocking the supremely overconfident Zealot around is probably the best fight in the comic, despite its one-sidedness; Majestic blasting Epoch's eyes out is a good reminder that Image's comics don't follow the same rules as DC's do; and Epoch growing crooked mechanical eyes is just cool, too.

Cool Quotes!
Grifter, on the Justice League's name: "Great name though, guys: it says what it means and it's not afraid to get laughed at..."

Final Grade: B

JLA Issue Guide

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