DC’s multiverse is full of heroes, but one particular earth was better off without superheroes, and a visit to the Justice League proved why.
Almost all of the earths in DC’s multiverse have superpowered beings, but there is a world that is better off without them, and a visit to the Justice League will show why. In the 1978s Justice League of America # 153, written by Gerry Conway with the art of George Tuska, travels the League to Earth-Prime drawn to the creation of the first superpowered hero on earth – and the results are disastrous.
In the mid-1950s, during the Silver Age of Comics, DC began redesigning its Golden Age heroes stable, dusting them off, and giving them science fiction makeovers. Aside from similarities in powers, these new versions of Green Lantern and Flash bore little resemblance to their Golden Age counterparts – they had new costumes and new secret identities. In the early 1960s, writer Gardner Fox invented a way to explain the differences between characters: the Silver Age heroes like Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, and Ray Palmer all existed on Earth-One, and the Golden Age characters like Jay Garrick and Alan Scott existed on Earth-2. From then on, the multiverse grew: DC introduced Earth-3, in which all the overpowering characters were villains on a team called the Crime Syndicate; Earth-X, home of the characters acquired by Quality Comics; Earth-S, home of Shazam; and finally there was Earth-Prime, a replacement for the real earth. This world had no superheroes of its own, and those like Batman, Green Arrow, and Flash are only found in comics.
Earth-Prime finally got its first superpower champion, a human named Ultraa. Ultraa’s arrival on Earth-Prime has mystically drawn the Justice League there. In an unbelievable meta-moe, the team seeks the help of DC editor Julius Schwartz. After meeting Schwartz, the league breaks up an ongoing bank robbery – but bystanders, unaware that they are real superheroes, believe that a movie is being made. As Schwartz watches the league struggle to control the situation, he considers that this world is better off without superheroes.
Meanwhile, Utlraa has drawn attention not only to the US military, but also to an invading alien force. Ultraa encounters the Justice League, which thinks he is a villain, and while the League battles Ultraa, the terrified Air Force pilots can’t believe what they’re seeing. The two sides realize they are not enemies and return to Pearl Harbor to begin repairing the damage done to the aircraft. An already nervous general becomes even more perturbed by the damage they have done and the effects of their existence. Ultraa concludes that his presence on Earth-Prime does more harm than good and decides to leave. The league is following suit and Green Lantern is using his ring to erase memories of their time on earth.
Both Ultraa and Julius Schwartz were right: Earth-Prime wasn’t ready for superheroes, and the events of this issue showed why, while providing commentary on heroes in the real world – a little less than a decade earlier Guardian spin this topic in gold. No incident illustrates this better than this of the Justice League Attempt to thwart a robbery; it went so badly that one comic book editor concluded that his earth was better off without superheroes.
The irony of the situation became during the Crisis on Infinite Earthswhen Earth-Prime got its own Superman – but was destroyed immediately afterwards. On every earth he exists on, Superman’s arrival heralds the dawn of a heroic age – so who knew what the future held for Earth-Prime? But for most of its existence, Earth-Prime was a world without heroes – and it was better that way.
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