For want of a nail the shoe was lost The Nail
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
(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
, 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.
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:
- A God Am I: Jimmy Olsen when beating the crap out of Batman specifically calls himself one and demands that Batman do the same. He tells him to go to hell instead
- A House Divided: The Justice League suffers from this a little bit since Superman was never there to be the even head that guided them.
- Alternate Universe
- Anyone Can Die: It's an Elseworld, so there's no harm done to the Post-Crisis continuity.
- Badass Pacifist: The Kents, in this universe. They become the Team Parents for the metahumans, with the help of Dr. Lana Lang.
- Badass Normal: Batman and Catwoman. The latter is especially noteworthy as she manages to take down a bunch of other Batman villains single-handed when the Joker pits them all against each-other.
- Battle Couple: Batman and Catwoman again.
- Bittersweet Ending: Kal becomes Superman and manages to turn the world's view of metahumans around. But not without losing the parents who raised him and having to renounce his peaceful life afterwards.
- Batman actually retiring from the JLA, despite being acquitted from having killed the Joker.
- For worse/better/whatever, it's not over: see Another Nail.
- Beware the Superman: Ironically, it's a result of there being no "Superman".
- Body Horror: Happens when Jimmy Olsen's body starts to reject its new Kryptonian DNA during his climactic fight with Superman.
- Broken Pedestal: Jimmy Olsen has this in spades concerning super-heroes. Come The Reveal, we see just how bad it really is
- Conspiracy Theorist: This world's version of Green Arrow, on top of him being crippled and ultra bitter after the incident that left him like that and killed Hawkman.
- Dating Catwoman: Aside from the Trope Namer, Green Lantern and Star Sapphire's relationship has shades of this
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The whole metahuman witch hunt thing.
- Driven to Madness: Jimmy Olsen, courtesy of being exposed to Kryptonian DNA.
- Elite Mooks: Played straight with the Liberators initially, but ultimately subverted when they're revealed to be GlassCannons
- Evil All Along: Jimmy Olsen
- Faceless Goons: The Liberators, save one moment where Hal unmasks one and exposes them as Bizarro-type clones of Kal-El
- Fat Bastard: This version of Lex Luthor seems to have put on a few pounds.
- Forced to Watch: The Joker uses his newly bestowed energy powers to capture Robin and Batgirl, and then make Batman watch while he rips them apart.
- For Want of a Nail: Inspired by the Trope Namer.
- Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Alfred and Selina have to team-up to give an effective one to Batman.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Poor, POOR Robin and Batgirl.
- Heroic BSOD: Batman has an EPIC one after the Joker kills Batgirl and Robin.
- Amish!Kal-El has another when his parents are brutally murdered by Jimmy.
- Intrepid Reporter: Lois Lane as always
- Joker Immunity: Averted, as he ends up having his neck snapped by Batman. On live television.
- Leeroy Jenkins: Robin and Batgirl. It gets them killed
- Love Redeems: Selina goes straight specifically to be with Bruce
- The Man Behind the Man: Lex Luthor (believed by the Justice League to be the Big Bad) is implied to be manipulated by Starro until it's revealed that "Starro" is actually a mutated Krypto. The real Big Bad is none other than... Jimmy Olsen.
- Monster Clown: The Joker, natch
- Papa Wolf: Batman. This is one of the few universes in which he breaks his Thou Shall Not Kill oath, and he does so after The Joker murders Batgirl and Robin.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Jimmy Olsen and Kal-El. Their fight is even described as apocalyptic by other characters.
- The Reveal: Jimmy Olsen is the Big Bad and has Kryptonian powers
- Sanity Slippage: Up to Eleven with this version of Oliver Queen, who had previously lost an arm, an eye, and the use of his legs to AMAZO.
- Jimmy Olsen is also revealed to have suffered from this a great deal.
- Silver Age: Set in a pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths style universe, the story also features Silver Age features such as big splash pages featuring individual characters doing something impressive.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Likely as a means of showing how integral Superman is to the DCU, this world (and story) lean just a bit more towards the cynical side of the spectrum then the usual portrayal of the DCU. That said, the ending is a (mostly) happy one
- Technical Pacifist: Kal-El, having been raised by an Amish couple, is opposed to violence. This does not stop him from going to town on a Kryptonian Jimmy Olsen
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity
- Would Hurt a Child: The Joker shows this to horrific extremes when he murders Robin and Batgirl