We’ve seen vampire Batman, we’ve seen communist Superman, now sit back for marshall Diana Prince. As we head into less a dramatic re imagining and more a sub par Wild Wild West ripoff. Which is quite impressive as this came first. So for those too lazy to read today there is your review and for the rest let’s saddle up and ride into………….
For those who don’t know the Elseworlds imprint of DC is a branch that allowed writers and artists to tell stories free from continuity and sometimes sense. Now sometimes they write this as a slight change in reality, such as the time Pa Kent forgot to sweep his drive and the world went to shit and sometimes they don’t such as when they decide to make Batman a pirate, for some reason. Justice Riders falls into the second camp with Diana “Wonder Woman” Prince a marshal for a small frontier town called Paradise. Now she was out rounding up some genuine cattle rustlers and so managed to miss her town being wiped off the face of the Earth. Thus she must gather together a posse of the ‘brave and the bold’ to ride together for Justice.
The magnificent Seven they ‘aint.
You know how in that movie Yul Brenner and Steve McQueen go about recruiting five of the best gun fighters they know? Well here Diana recruits two and the rest just kind of just show up due to contract commitments. This works for bounty hunter Guy Gardner who is trying to track down the party for his own reasons but J’onn J’onzz just staggers into camp in the middle of the night as though afraid he was going to miss the farting scene.
And Booster just turns up asks to join and only gets a yes when he brings along the much more useful Ted Kord, inventor extrodianare. Why they keep him around after he has brought Ted Kord inventor extrodianare I don’t know. About half the party work and the other half don’t in this case. Some are true to the character while others have the name and little else. Some are given interesting sounding back stories while others are just there to round out the numbers. The Martian Manhunter for instance has his intense fear of flame but is either lacking in all his abilities or just chooses not to use them for fear of breaking the plot. When they say Wally is the fastest gun in the west they mean it to the point where you wonder why he even uses a gun at all and his backstory sounds cooler than the rest of the book as it begs for a kind of Seraphim Falls type of follow up. Meanwhile as stated Booster joins the team on a whim and only stays there because Ted Kord is apparently too much of a whimp to fire his own weapons.
Not that the bad guys do much better. Turns out the whole blowing up a town thing was all in aid of freeing local drunk Felix Faust by the evil rail road baron Maxwell Lord and his army of clockwork terminators who were a lot better looking before that last bit was revealed. Terminators here not being a slang for robot but an apt description of the artist tracing a still for the movie to figure out how they should look. Just to emphasise the Justice League Europe feel we’ve got going on they also decide to rope in Lord Havok, sort of. I admit this may be less a cameo and more a giant mechanical walking spider for the book but by the end you’re probably too bored to care either way.
In the end the book has too much western to make a good super hero book with their speedster forced to use a six shooter against the bad guys because it wouldn’t be much of western if he didn’t and it’s too much of a superhero book to make a good western see the previously mentioned Kid-Flash. In the end had it skewered more toward the wild west I might have recommended it but as it is it’s only got the art going for it and that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. In the end they seem pretty adamant that this is to be a one off and thus the Justice Riders are left free to roam the plains for all time their fate left up to Colonel Kent and his dime store novels.