Realworlds Justice League of America bears more than a passing resemblance to Stephen King’s Stand By Me. Or, The Body if you are referring to King’s novella from the 1982 Different Seasons hardcover from which the screenplay blossomed.
J.M. DeMatteis’ millennial-prestige edition even manages a dash of King’s It for good measure. But, mostly Stand by Me. Right down to the, “It’s been said that no matter how far you travel in life, you’ll never have friends like the ones you had when you were 10,” line.
Stand by Me/The Body is not a bad story to swipe from. Neither is It.
The difference is DeMatteis uses a more mundane excuse to bring the former childhood friends together. Return of the Justice League has no corpse to focus on. Nor does a nigh-immortal evil dressed in clown garb terrorize a generation.
Return of the Justice League just uses longing. A longing to be 10 again. To experience friendship – real friendship – for the first time. To return to a time when whimsy and fantasy were allowed in lives.
One by one, the former gang of Richard Barrison, Nick DiMarco, Michael Riley and Karen Steuben are contacted. Each are flown home to relive a day from their past.
Only when they allow themselves to be immersed in yesterday do they realize what they’ve missed and what they have to look forward to.
Return of the Justice League is a return to youth on Halloween and Halloween eve. For the cost of a costume and imagination Richard, Nick, Michael and Karen are richly rewarded.