Comic Book / The Nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost
For want of a shoe the horse was lost
For want of a horse the knight was lost
For want of a knight the battle was lost
So it was a kingdom was lost
All for want of a nail

The Nail (or JLA: The Nail) is a three-issue comic book mini-series published by DC Comics. It is a self-contained story by Alan Davis which stands outside of the mainstream continuity of The DCU.

In this universe, Martha and Jonathan Kent's truck has a tire puncture caused by a nail. This prevents them from discovering the spaceship containing the baby Kal-El, and so, there's no Superman. There is, however, still a Justice League of America, consisting of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash (Barry Allen), Hawkwoman, the Atom (Ray Palmer), Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan). There's also a great degree of xenophobia for the "metahumans," fueled by anti-metahuman propaganda from Perry White and backed by Metropolis mayor Lex Luthor; slowly metahumans begin to disappear as other issues arise requiring the attention of the publicly disliked JLA.

The story was later followed up by a sequel in JLA: Another Nail which ties into the original story and wrapped up several loose ends.

The same general plotline was used for Flashpoint as well. See also Bullet Points for this series' Marvel Universe counterpart.

Dark Horse Comics also has an unrelated short series called The Nail, about a wrestler nicknamed The Nail protecting his family from demons.

This works contains examples of the following tropes:

Tropes associating with Another Nail

  • Adaptational Villainy: Power Girl and Black Orchid, normally heroes in the DCU, are first seen helping Star Sapphire steal the body of the android Amazo from Will Magnus, fighting the Metal Men in the process. Later they kidnap Niles Caulder. Subverted when it is later revealed that they, along with Black Canary, were securing Amazo's body in a risky bid to transplant Green Arrow's brain into a new healthy body, and that Niles had accompanied them willingly to perform the operation.
  • Badass Normal: Lois can handle Eclipso no problem. Jonathan Kent even gives him a good whack on the head with a shovel.
  • Battle Couple: In addition to Batman and Catwoman, we now have Mister Miracle and Barda.
  • Big "NO!": Batman, after waking up from a nightmare where the Joker kills Robin and Batgirl. He wakes up the moment the Joker forced his eyes open.
  • The Cameo: Hawk and Dove, Blackhawk, Jonah Hex, The Inferior Five...If you can name a DC character who showed up in the '60s and '70s, odds are that they'll appear somewhere in this book.
    • There's a single frame cameo by the T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, the rights for whom were owned by DC at the time this book was published.
  • Clark Kenting: Lampshaded. When Lois suggests a "less is more" approach to disguising Kal El so he can go out as a civilian, the end result resembles the classic Clark Kent we all know and love. Kal asks Lois, "You really think this will fool anyone?"
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Limbo Cell.
  • Empathic Weapon: Somewhat with a particular Green Lantern ring. Its wielder was killed while trying to save some of the slaves on Apokolips. The ring fled before the killer could take it. It chose Big Barda as the new wielder since she's the only native on Apokolips worthy of such a weapon. It let the Guardians know about this "in a tone and authority that surprised" them. It also merged with a Mother Box and bonded with Mister Miracle, with Highfather's approval.
  • Evil Counterpart / Mirror Universe: At one point, Flash and Atom find themselves in the alternate universe home of the Crime Syndicate of America.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: After she receives a Green Lantern ring, Barda confronts Darkseid, but when she fires her ring at him she misses by a country mile. Darkseid gloats that living on Earth has made her soft, until it's revealed that her first attack was really a GL construct of Mr. Miracle (whose mind now inhabits Barda's Mother Box), leaving him free to disrupt Darkseid's machinery, causing it to overload and ultimately destroy him.
    "A distraction. The first principle of any clever illusion...or a really sneaky attack. Barda didn't miss you, she was positioning me where I could do the most harm!"
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Green Arrow
  • Kitchen Sink Included: One is seen floating during the dimensional disturbances.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Power Perversion Potential: Early in the story, Mister Miracle wills his body to die and transfers his mind into the Mother Box circuitry incorporated into his wife Big Barda's armor, to escape DeSaad's torturing him. Later, it is implied that he enjoys the situation, as while his mind is in her armor he is in constant contact with her body.
  • Race Lift:
    • Unless its a different character, Halo, a blond caucasian in the main DCU, is an African American in this story.
    • Zatanna appears to be Asian.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: Lois is seen wearing a large shirt and walking barefoot while staying with Kal at the Kent Farm.
  • Spacetime Eater: The Limbo Cell
  • Taking You with Me: To prevent a now-demonic Joker from dragging Selina into Hell with him, Batman is more than prepared to drag Joker into Hell himself, to make sure that he never escapes.
  • Those Two Guys: Flash and Atom, who is always on his shoulder.