How the Most Powerful DC Superhero Team's Return May Alter a Justice League

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Incarnate #3, on sale now from DC Comics.

With Justice League Incarnate #3 (by Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver, Ariel Olivetti, Nik Virella, Todd Nauck, Mikel Janin, Andrei Bressan, Tom Napolitano, and Hi-Fi), DC gives Captain Carrot's original Zoo Crew their modern-day revival. Fighting alongside Flashpoint Batman, aka Thomas Wayne, the Zoo Crew (minus Captain Carrot) defeat their long-time nemesis, Feline Faust. DC appears to be foreshadowing a reunion between Captain Carrot and his Zoo Crew — a superhero team empowered by "cartoon physics," which makes them nearly indestructible. Their return could bolster the ranks of a frayed Justice League Incarnate in their upcoming battle against the Great Darkness.

The Zoo Crew is composed of original members Captain Carrot, Rubberduck, Yankee Poodle, Pig-Iron and Alley-Kat-Abra. Later, the Crew added American Eagle and Little Cheese to its roster. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew originally hailed from Earth-C, a world that seemingly avoided the original Crisis, but in the new DC Multiverse, the current Captain Carrot and his Zoo Crew come from Earth-26, a world with a nearly similar history to Earth-C.

Given their own series in 1982 by writer Roy Thomas and artist Scott Shaw, the Zoo Crew’s first adventure was a multiverse-spanning affair where pre-Crisis Superman ended up on Zoo Crew’s world. After 20 issues, the series was canceled. Soon after, the Crew continued in Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!, in The Oz-Wonderland War, a three-issue mini-series by E. Nelson Bridwell, Joey Cavalieri, Carol Lay, Cody, Carl Grafford, Roy Thomas, and Liz Berube. A series of short installments in Teen Titans (vol. 3), would see the entire team dissolve under the machinations of Alley-Kat Abra.

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Years later, the Zoo Crew would return, with a rebooted continuity, and hailing from Earth-26 in the three-issue Countdown tie-in Captain Carrot and the Final Ark by Bill Morrison, Scott Shaw, Al Gordon, Tom Luth, and Ken Lopez. Certain plot points have changed — in particular, Alley-Kat-Abra is no longer a traitor. That issue ended the entire Earth-C storyline as the heroes and inhabitants of their world escaped across universes to land in the DC universe without their cartoon characteristics. The final scene sees the Teen Titans discovering a ship populated by normal animals. Final Crisis #7 (by Grant Morrison, Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, and Tom Nguyen) restored the Zoo Crew to their original cartoon-animal form.

Morrison’s Multiversity Guidebook notes that Earth-26 was briefly destroyed, but due to its governing cartoon physics, it bounced back. Over and over, no matter how many times it's destroyed, this universe returns. The inhabitants of Earth-26 benefit from the cartoon physics and are able “to survive almost any known physical assault.” This one feature makes this world entirely unique within the multiverse and makes the heroes hailing from that world immensely powerful, even wildly overpowered.

Captain Carrot puts these physics into action in The Multiversity #1 (by Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Nei Ruffino, and Todd Klein). On Earth-8, facing DCs distorted version of the Avengers, the Retaliators, a gargantuan blue Behemoth (the team’s Hulk-equivalent) smashes Captain Carrot flat; literally, the rabbit is flattened paper-thin. The next moment, Captain Carrot bounces back to his normal form and pummels Behemoth, shouting, “Who else wants to argue with cartoon physics?” In this instance, Captain Carrot is more powerful than that world’s Hulk and arguably any version of Superman. In The Multiversity #2, Captain Carrot would even survive a beheading, reattaching his own head to his body, again pronouncing his unstoppable nature: “What power triumphs over sheer absurdity?” The Zoo Crew's indestructibility is, indeed, absurdly powerful.

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Before this, we discover the dark tragedy in Captain Carrot's past -- his entire team is dead. In Dark Nights Death Metal Multiverse’s End #1 (by James Tynion IV, Juan Gedeon, Mike Spicer, Rus Wooton, Ian Bertran, and David Stewart), Captain Carrot grieved his lost Zoo Crew. Shocked that any of his teammates could die due to their cartoon powers, Captain Carrot retells how Perpetua’s forces devastated his world. He was saved only by being transported to the House of Heroes, the universe-traversing ship of Justice League Incarnate.

The Zoo Crew’s adventures appear far from over. A reunion between the grieving Captain and his teammates seems certain. In the prior issue, the Zoo Crew’s nemesis Feline Faust is glimpsed as a servant of the coming Great Darkness and she makes a return in this current issue, seemingly foiled again. In any case, a superhero team operating under cartoon physics racing through the multiverse could be nearly unstoppable. Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew may be the very thing the fatigued Justice League Incarnate needs to defeat the forthcoming Great Darkness.

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About The Author
Jason Batt (10 Articles Published)

Jason D. Batt is a writer currently completing a PhD in Mythological Studies focusing on comic books, horror, and archetypal psychology. He also serves as Creative and Editorial Director for 100 Year Starship and Co-Founder of Deep Space Predictive Research Group. His novels include Onliest, Young Gods, and The Tales of Dreamside, and his short fiction and academic writing have appeared in dozens of publications. He’s most recently edited the speculative fiction anthologies Visions of the Future and Strange California.

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