YOUNG HEROES IN LOVE #1,000,000 - November 1998
Credits: Dan Raspler (writer), Dev Madan (penciler), Keith Champagne (inker), Bill Oakley (letterer), Noelle Giddings (colorist)
It’s the 853rd century, and Grant Morrison has a line-wide DC event to orchestrate. I’m not sure why DC thought it was a good idea to set every DCU title in the far future for one month, but clearly someone upstairs was committed to the concept. I don’t remember any vocal fan reaction to the event, aside from the predictable complaints that the only decent chapters were the ones Grant Morrison wrote.
Young Heroes in Love’s final issue just happened to fall on the One Million month, leaving us with an odd farewell to the series. The premise has a group of kids, who all coincidentally resemble the Young Heroes, traveling with their parents to the moon for a front-row seat to the reincarnation of the original Justice League. The event is scheduled to happen after their bedtimes, so they develop the brilliant scheme of dressing like superheroes and sneaking in. An old man overhears their conversation and suggests they don the disguises of a team he remembers from the past. The old man is Frostbite, and he apparently has a remarkable memory, because the kids use their costume fabricator to duplicate the Young Heroes’ costumes perfectly.
The story’s filled with Peanuts references, and most are genuinely humorous, so it’s not a surprise when Raspler mimics the ending of the Halloween special and has Li’l Hard Drive accidentally mislead the team and force them to miss the Justice League’s arrival. (“It’s over and you ruined it!”) However, a last minute swerve actually provides the kids with a happy ending, as their journey through the Tesseract leads them directly underneath the Justice League’s conference table just as the heroes unite for a meeting.
Obviously, Raspler’s in an awkward position for a goodbye issue, but he does manage to work in another original member of the Young Heroes into the story, as a fifty-seven-year-old Off-Ramp uses a time warp to catch this special moment in history. He reunites with Frostbite, but in order to avoid any time paradoxes, they have to keep their conversation “superficial.” They don’t discuss the old team, leaving their fates up in the air. Raspler says goodbye on the final page, musing that the series is perhaps ahead of its time (yeah, probably), and thanking the readers for their support. As odd as this as a final issue, it’s actually one of the more enjoyable installments of the book. Dev Madan’s cartooning is fantastic, and depending on your taste for Peanuts, it’s often very funny.
Time on My Hands
Credits: John Francis Moore (writer), J. H. Williams III (penciler), Mick Gray (inks), Ken Bruzenak (letters), Mike Danza (colors)
You would think that a book with a time traveling gimmick would’ve easily been able to incorporate the One Million event into its ongoing storylines, but scheduling problems forced this issue of Chronos to be a standalone story. The issue follows Chronos as he travels to the 853rd century and steals the future Flash’s time gauntlets. Flash follows him back to twelfth century Hong Kong and is shocked when Chronos allows the demonic menace Scourge to take the gauntlets. Yet, the gauntlets are rigged to trap Scourge in a time loop, which Chronos ensures us will prevent Scourge from ever traveling back in time and killing Superman’s ancestors on Krypton.
Only a few months later in the final issue of Chronos, we’ll see him yet again ensuring Superman’s existence in Kansas. I know that the proposed new direction for the title had Chronos traveling through time and enabling certain events to transpire, but I’m not sure why exactly Superman is used so prominently in the few examples we ever got of Chronos following that mission. Was it supposed to be Superman-specific?
Finally, in Chronopolis, a conversation between Chronos and the future Hourman reveals another motive for stealing the gauntlets from Flash. Chronos knows the gauntlets are destined to malfunction and kill Flash after he’s trapped with the Justice Legion in 1998. Okay, that’s at least one non-Kryptonian save. And it’s another hint that Chronos isn’t destined to be a thief, even if his actions are always going to be pitting him against superheroes. Not a bad issue, especially considering how badly a line-wide event can disrupt an ongoing series, but I wish Moore had incorporated more time traveling scenes to take advantage of Williams’ art.