Justice League Unlimited #44
DC Comics (June, 2008)
“My Dad’s A Hero”
WRITER: Ken Pontac
PENCILER: John Delaney
INKER: Ty Templeton
COLORING: Heroic Age
LETTERER: Randy Gentile
EDITORS: Rachel Gluckstern & Steve Wacker
Mirror Master is on the loose but Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, and the Flash are only able to slow him down, not keep him from escaping with at least a little loot. He needs that money to help his son walk again but the whole situation is causing some issues with his wife (who is on board with this for her son’s sake). It doesn’t help that the heroes are calling him a joke villain despite not being able to stop him. The boy manages to see his dad travel into a mirror, where he tries a big crime in the hopes of getting the rest of the money, but gives up another escape attempt to save another boy from getting hurt. This time he goes to jail but the Wayne Foundation pays for his son’s operation.
What they got right: Too many of today’s writers would rather write about the villain and attempt to make us sympathize with the villains, but it’s usually while keeping them just as evil as ever. This is more like how it could be done. The framing device is the boy talking about why his dad is a hero despite being a villain because of why he was doing it and saving an innocent boy’s life that he didn’t know. Mirror Master in this story just wants to help his son and you see how this is affecting him and his wife. There’s discussion of what Flash’s “rouges gallery” is really like in relation to Wally. It’s a good story overall.
What they got wrong: Of course I question the continuity given how off this feels for Mirror Master, and I don’t remember him having a family. This is the second Mirror Master, Evan McCulloch, which the DC fan wiki doesn’t even have an entry for but regular Wikipedia (question the source) doesn’t show any family while the same DC fan wiki says this is closer to Sam Scudder, the first Mirror Master. So continuity is in a blender for this one. That would explain why Hawkgirl is back in her old costume, which she abandoned in the DCAU as penance for helping her people conquer Earth and trying to become a hero again. It’s a good story but it further convinces me that nobody cared about the DCAU anymore and this at some point became a general anthology, which I wouldn’t mind seeing as its own title (perhaps a new Adventures In The DC Universe) but just doesn’t feel right for this series given it’s supposed to be a tie-in to the show. Thus I’m going to stop adding this under the Television and Animation Spotlight categories from now on until I see something connected to the DCAU shows.
Recommendation: Continuity issues aside it is a good story and one worth checking out if you want to see the RIGHT way to make a villain sympathetic while still a villain.