The Future of the Justice Leagues? What I’d Do With The Teams Following Forever Evil (WARNING – SPOILERS FOR TRINITY WAR)
So it’s been a while since I talked about what I’d do with the New 52 given certain situations, but this one just kinda hit me now. As most of us know, following Trinity War, there’ll be a massive event called Forever Evil. According to solicits for DC Comics in September and October, the Trinity War will end with the “deaths” of the Justice League, Justice League of America, and Justice League Dark, along with nearly all of their members, with the Secret Society of Evil going on a rampage and taking over the world in the absence of the world’s greatest heroes. Now of course, we can kinda gather that this’ll likely turn out to be a ruse of some sort by the Justice Leagues to take down the villains all at once, or that they’re simply put out of commission temporarily and find a way to return to action. Still, it makes one wonder what exactly will be the shape of these three teams following the event.
My personal vote, if it had any meaning whatsoever? I’d say have the Leagues come together to be three distinct teams of a single Justice League. They would continue working as they have been, with the Justice League operating as the #1 response team to the biggest threats to the world, the JLA as the government controlled team, and the JLD as the response team to supernatural threats, but they would also be actively assisting each other wherever possible. Heck, they could even change-up certain members, even add a couple to their ranks, then form a sort of counsel of one or two members from each team to form a leadership role for the group on a whole.
So who would I move where? Well, for starters, I think I’d move Zatanna back to the JLD for the purpose of being its team leader (because I can’t frakking stand Constantine), possibly bring Element Woman with her, bring Amethyst back to the team, and if it turns out that Doctor Light is still alive, I’d move him there too. Also, if he isn’t already, I’d make Swamp Thing a full member. I’d probably swap Cyborg and Martian Manhunter between the teams, as well as Firestorm and The Atom (remember, The Atom is a spy from the JLA right now). Finally, provided she can get away from the DOA, I’d put Batwoman on the JLA, maybe bringing along Goldrush, and I’d finally bring back Hal Jordan to the Justice League, have Shazam stay on the team, and possibly bring Vixen to the team.
So, with all that said, the teams would look like this…
Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Hal Jordan, The Flash, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, The Atom, Shazam, and Vixen
Justice League of America
Steve Trevor, Green Arrow, Katana, Hawkman, Catwoman, Vibe, Simon Baz, Cyborg, Stargirl, Firestorm, and Goldrush
Justice League Dark
Zatanna, Constantine, Frankenstein, Deadman, Madame Xanadu, Swamp Thing, Doctor Light, Element Woman, and Amethyst
…Anyway, that’s just my thoughts. Lemme know what you think below, and I will see y’all next time. Ja né!
- Justice League of America Issue 6 (nerdsynq.wordpress.com)
- It Was All Building To This: “Justice League #22” (Review) (popmatters.com)
- Sdcc ’13: Dc Wages Comic-con’s “Trinity War” (drhiphop85.com)
- SDCC: DC Wages Comic-Con’s “Trinity War” (comicbookresources.com)
- Review: Justice League of America #6 (erathonreviews.wordpress.com)
- Does “Justice League 3000” have a future? (robot6.comicbookresources.com)
- SDCC ’13: Stephanie Brown Almost Made New 52 Introduction In ‘FOREVER EVIL’ (comicbookmovie.com)
- SDCC 2013: DC Comics – The New 52 Panel (comicvine.com)
- ‘Justice League of America’s Geoff Johns: ‘Catwoman is unstoppable’ (digitalspy.co.uk)
- DC Comics: Villain Month (Spoilers) (nerditis.com)
Who Are The Justice Society of America? Earth 2’s Greatest Heroes
So with the past few Earth 2 issues being the introduction of Doctor Fate to the heroes, I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a little bit about the Justice Society of America, or JSA for short. People that have only been reading comics since the reboot or are otherwise limited on comic book history may have no idea what the JSA is, so allow me to put it in very basic terms: The Justice Society of America is the original superhero team. Period. Before the Justice League, there was the JSA. As such, pretty much every single superhero team, be they the JLA, the Teen Titans, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, whomever, they all owe their existence to this team.
First appearing in All-Star Comics #3, the original founding members were Green Lantern (Alan Scott), The Flash (Jay Garrick), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Spectre (Jim Corrigan), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), Hourman (Rex Tyler), and The Atom (Al Pratt). Notice something interesting about that team? No Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman. Now, they joined eventually, but even then there were issues regarding their involvement and how much they could be shown.
As time went on and various changes were made to the backstories of DC characters, and the creation of characters like Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, it was eventually revealed that the JSA and the Golden Age heroes that made up the team were of Earth 2, an alternate Earth within the Multiverse. Meanwhile, the JLA was composed of heroes from Earth 1, then New Earth after Crisis on Infinite Earths, and now Prime Earth after Flashpoint. But through all that, the JSA has (for the most part) consisted of Earth 2 heroes.
With the reboot, much of DC’s past was altered or flat-out erased, meaning the Golden Age heroes and the JSA were no longer in canon…That is, until May 2012, where Earth 2 got its own book. The story has actually presented several interesting spins on previous stories. First off, Earth 2’s heroes were initially the Wonders of the World, made up of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Robin, Catwoman, an unnamed hero, and Mr. 8 (Terrance Sloan). However, as battles against the forces of Darkseid went on, Catwoman was murdered, and in the final battle, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were all killed, with Supergirl and Robin getting lost in a boom tube and sent to Prime Earth, where they’ve since become Power Girl and Huntress. This massive sacrifice saved the world. A few years later, however, the world is threatened again, and now new heroes have to step up.
Apparently the group, when they finally become a group, will drop the America and just be known as the Justice Society, but like hell if I won’t call it the JSA for short anyway. So, with that said, let’s take a look at the heroes who have appeared so far who will likely form the JSA when the time comes.
Easily my favourite Green Lantern active currently, Alan Scott is an openly gay media mogul (and no, not in the I’m Super way, grow up) who dedicated his work to the Wonders. Like his Golden Age counterpart, Alan gains his powers following a train explosion. What’s different is that he himself was on the train with his fiancée, Sam. Also, in the original version, the power came from a green flame that fell to Earth as a meteor. In this version, the green flame is crafted from The Green, having chosen Alan to be The Green’s champion. The green flame can take any form that Alan can imagine, focused through the engagement ring he used to propose to Sam. In addition, his strength is heavily enhanced, and he is granted the power of flight.
Being a fan of the Justice League cartoon, it’s always a treat to see Hawkgirl. During an expedition to Egyptian ruins in search of Nabu’s tomb, an incident caused a pair of wings to be permanently grafted to her back. She is currently hunted by the World Army, who seek to capture her for…um, reasons. It’s not completely clear why. Anyway, she’s a master of various firearms, be they pistols, crossbows, or even rocket launchers. Personally, I prefer not to see my DC superheroes using guns, but considering the first major enemy of the group was Solomon Grundy, I’m not gonna make too big a deal.
No longer does he just resemble Mercury, the New 52 Jay Garrick was actually granted his speed by the Roman God, who was the last of the Gods to survive the battle against Darkseid’s forces. Jay lacks confidence and control of his powers, and thus occasionally makes mistakes. However, he nonetheless strives to be a hero, using his super speed to out-move his opponents, as well as enhanced speed healing to recover from wounds inflicted should he get careless.
The survivor of an atomic blast, Al Pratt has become The Atom, able to alter his size however he chooses. He is a sergeant in the World Army, and obviously one of their most dangerous soldiers. In addition to his size changing powers, he also comes complete with an atomic punch, effectively making his punches minor atomic blasts.
Not much is known about this version of Red Tornado, other than that she (yes, SHE) is an android that the government has yet to manage to get to work. If she functions anything like previous versions of the character, we can expect that this Red Tornado will have the ability to generate winds strong enough to get her flying, enhance speed, and create storms.
A close associate of Hawkgirl’s, Khalid Ben-Hassin was hired to find Nabu’s tomb. While Kendra was grafted with wings, Khalid found the Helmet of Fate, which houses the very essence of Nabu along with his powers. This has the backlash effect of leaving Khalid in temporary bouts of insanity after removing it, though. He sought to keep the helmet far away from anyone, sending it to the Tower of Fate, but was forced to find it again. Inspired by Flash’s actions, Khalid made the choice to use the helmet, becoming Doctor Fate. He now possesses Nabu’s mastery over magic, including astral projections, teleportation, telepathy, phasing, telekinesis, and MUCH more.
Again, not much known about the New 52 versions of these two. All that’s known is that they’re currently in the ruined city of Gotham, on the run from Steppenwolf. I do see that Big fucking Barda has her Mega-Rod, which packs enough power to leave even Superman reeling. Other than that, I would expect Big Barda to retain her superhuman strength and endurance, and Mister Miracle to keep his Batman-levels of equipment and gadgets and his escapology skills that even Calvin Rose can’t measure up to.
Now this guy is a HUGE mystery. NOBODY knows who the new Batman is. There has been speculation, though. We know that it’s someone important to the Batman mythos, but that it’s likely not anyone currently active on Prime Earth. So with that in mind, my guess is that it could only be…
Okay, for realsies, I’m thinking it’s Jean-Paul Valley. Think about it, when the mainstream Batman went down with a broken back and couldn’t continue as Batman for a while, he had already made plans for Valley to replace him. It only makes sense that the Earth 2 version of Batman would make similar plans should something happen to himself and to Helena.
Anyway, I think that covers everybody so far. Here’s hoping plenty more awesome heroes of the olden days show up to join the eventual reformed JSA. Ja né!
- ArtsBeat: Graphic Books Best Sellers: ‘Earth 2’ at No. 1 (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- NICOLA SCOTT Redesigning Superhero Life On EARTH 2 (newsarama.com)
- BREAKING NEWS – Green Lantern is Gay (costumesupercenter.com)
- Interview: James Robinson (Still Won’t Tell Us) Who Is The Batman Of ‘Earth 2’ (geek-news.mtv.com)
- ECCC: Secret Origins with James Robinson (comicbookresources.com)
What I Bought Today – Nightwing #18, JLA #2, Batwoman #18 (WARNING – SPOILERS)
Yep, ’tis Wednesday once again, and despite the snow storm (this IS the first day of Spring, right?), I went to the comic book store, so let’s check out…
Yep, not only did I get the comics I had intended to, but I bought a little something extra too. So with that said, let’s look at the extra comic I bought, Batwoman #18.
Before I get into the comic, I suppose I should cover some of Batwoman’s background for people who don’t know much about her and think of her as older Batgirl or female Batman. Katherine “Kate” Rebecca Kane’s parents have both had extensive military backgrounds, and Kate herself joined a military academy, but despite being the top of her class, she’s forced to leave when she refuses to lie about her lesbian relationship with another student. One night months later, Kate is attacked by a mugger that she manages to defeat with her military training, just as Batman arrives. After helping her off the ground, Batman leaves the scene and Kate finds herself fixated by the Bat-Signal. This eventually puts her on the path to becoming Batwoman. She’s since been a leading character in 52, she took over as the main character on Detective Comics for a time, and now has her own solo title in the New 52. She’s battled the likes of the Religion of Crime, her insane sister Beth (also known as Alice), the Weeping Woman, and even Medusa. Kate has also been romantically involved with quite a few women in the DC universe, including Renee Montoya and Mallory Kimball, she’s worked alongside Wonder Woman on occasion (suggesting she has a small crush on Diana), is close allies with Nightwing (who is attracted to her, unaware of her orientation), and is currently engaged to Maggie Sawyer. And at this time, Batwoman is being forced to work for the Department of Extranormal Operations, also teaming with Betty Kane, once Flamebird, now going under the alias of Hawkfire.
Anyway, regarding Batwoman #18, it’s okay. I know that sounds like an insult nowadays, but really, what can I say? Not much happens, or at least not as much as I was hoping for. We get a fight scene with Batwoman and Hawkfire battling Mister Freeze, but the two are held back due to Agent Chase and Batwoman’s father giving what I honestly believe to be unhelpful advice to Batwoman and Hawkfire respectively. They eventually manage to take him down, but an accident injures Freeze’s leg, possibly critically. Batman shows up after the fight, and there’s some tension between him and Batwoman, not helped by Chase wanting to keep Batman out of their affairs. Luckily, they manage to leave the situation without a fight, but it’s clear that the DEO plans to try to gain further control over Batwoman by any means necessary. Also, we see a little of Maggie, and have it confirmed that yes, she and Kate ARE engaged, but I’m honestly a bit bothered that we don’t see more of what her reaction was to finding out Kate was Batwoman RIGHT BEFORE Kate proposed. Oh well, I’m just glad that it DOES look as though we will be getting a wedding from those two. There just aren’t enough DC superheroes with families these days.
Nightwing #18 continues the Requiem month for most of the Bat titles, and thankfully, this one actually ties in a bit to what’s going on with Dick Grayson in this story. He’s now dealing with the loss of Haly’s Circus, the circus folk leaving him, his complicated relationship with Sonia, and the deaths of two of his friends from the circus AND his former partner and brother in arms. It’s a horrible situation he’s in right now, and we see how it affects him and how, in the end, it looks as though he’s all too eager to leave Gotham, as Sonia drops a bombshell on him: Tony Zucco, her father and the man who murdered Dick’s parents, is alive and operating out of Chicago.
JLA #2 was kind of odd, but in the way that I wanna see what happens next. We see that the Secret Society is looking to recruit Scarecrow (this was also alluded to at the end of Justice League #17 last month, btw), and that they have seemingly created duplicates of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. The wide array of emotions and personalities is put on display as the members of the League interact. Catwoman seems to have a small attraction to Steve Trevor, which is expanded upon when she learns of his relationship with Wonder Woman and it makes her feel connected to him, due to her own history with Batman. Katana drops a sorta funny line when J’onn is trying to make small talk and she replies that she’s not here to make friends, but that she will not hesitate to cut the first person who tries to harm her team-mates. Stargirl seems the most excited to be there, and she honestly seems like the most fun character of the group (meaning she’ll probably be my favourite, lol), while Vibe seems a bit uncertain as to why he deserves to be there. Hawkman comes off as rather insane, honestly, walking in with someone else’s blood all over him. We see that there’s some frayed issues with Trevor and Green Arrow (told you he was alive), since Steve doesn’t want Ollie on the team, feeling he isn’t ready for that. We find out that J’onn used his mental powers to allow an agent of the Secret Society to get into the White House and almost kill President Obama before J’onn stepped in, thus ensuring the President would allow the JLA to exist, and am I the only person bothered by the fact that they’re using real people in this comic? But yeah, all things considered, this book still works despite some hiccups.
Anyway, that’s all for this week. Next week, we watch the fallout of Robin’s death kick into overdrive in Batman Incorporated, catch up with Calvin Rose in Talon, and hopefully I manage to get the books I missed last week, Batman #18 and Batman and Robin #18. Ja né!
My Thoughts On The New 52 JLA Roster
So, as every comic book fan nowadays should know by now, the New 52‘s version of the Justice League of America is starting up this month. Once again, I’m still confused by the fact that there’s a Justice League AND a Justice League of America, but whatever, I’m gonna try and ignore that. Instead, I thought I’d give my thoughts on each individual member of this new team, whether I like their presence here, and how I think the team should do overall. With that said, let’s start off with one member who, as I understand it, was considered by many to be the WORST member of ANY incarnation of the Justice League…
I’ll admit right now, I know very little about Vibe other than what I’ve heard. I will say that one thing I’ve heard quite often was that a lot of people REALLY hated this guy when he was in the League. Something about his bad Mexican accent, that he was created to cash in on the appeal of break-dancing at the time, and also because he was formerly the leader of a street gang called Los Lobos. Personally, I’m just glad it wasn’t Los Locos.
…Never play that again. Anyway, his power is that he can create shock waves strong enough to destroy concrete. I seem to recall him cameoing a few times in Justice League Unlimited, where he also had the ability to fly, but hey, that was a tv show. Oh, and apparently he’s noteworthy of having been the first member of the Justice League to actually be killed in the line of duty, which I’m willing to bet is because people didn’t like him.
Maybe it’s just because I never read the stories involving him, but no major concerns from me. Heck, if anything, this is one of the advantages of the New 52: Characters like Vibe that weren’t well-received can be reworked (his new costume already looks a lot better than his old one). They might be rolling the dice a bit much with the solo title that’ll be starting soon too, but hey, I guess it helps develop this new version.
Again, haven’t read anything that had Stargirl in it, minus her appearance in Bryan Q. Miller‘s Batgirl. I have seen her in several episodes of Justice League Unlimited though, where she started off kinda jealous of Supergirl but eventually mellowed out. Apparently she was in Smallville too, which I didn’t really watch. I have heard that in the comics she comes off as a sweet and positive person and a strong heroine. I also hear that she’s notable as being one of few superheroes in DC that wears braces. Her powers come from her equipment, the Cosmic Converter Belt enhancing her strength, speed, stamina, durability, and agility, and her Cosmic Staff giving her the power of flight and energy projection.
As I understand it, she’s “the only one really excited to be there” in this new JLA. Something tells me that she will serve as the heart of the team, the one that keeps them on the good side. And let’s face it, given that she’s covered in stars, definitely makes for a good person to have on the Justice League of AMERICA.
This is one of the weird picks for me. Catwoman has never once served as a member of any form of the Justice League, though she has aided them. She’s always represented the grey area between hero and villain, meaning putting her on the Justice League is problematic. In fact, as I understand it, her reasons for joining are either a means to an end on some matter or possibly blackmail. Also, while I’ve always liked the character, I will say that her solo title in the New 52 has been weird at best. Just in case someone reads that isn’t too familiar with her or needs a refresher, Catwoman has no powers, and instead is a gifted acrobat, was trained in Dragon Style Kung Fu, is a master of stealth and disguise, and usually comes equipped with sharp retractable claws, a bitchin’ motorcycle, and a 12 foot long bullwhip that you do NOT want to be on the opposite side of.
My guess is that she’s there to be their stealth fighter to help round out the team. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if she often-times acts as the long-range aide for the next of the roster…
If you haven’t been reading Birds of Prey lately, Katana recently left the team. Now it seems she’s to join the Justice League of America. Not really sure why, honestly. I like the idea that she too has her own solo title, but honestly, I would’ve just stuck with that instead of doing that AND putting her in another team book. Like Catwoman, Katana has no powers, instead being a master martial artist/swordsman, wielding a sword that she claims contains her husband’s soul inside, though no one knows whether this is true or if she’s just crazy…and honestly? I think it might be better if they kept that ambiguous for a while. It works better as a mystery.
Again, not completely sure why she’s on this team, but my guess is that her and Catwoman will act as the normies that’ll save the super-powered heroes’ asses where necessary…though I suppose that’s a roll for this next member…
Okay, here’s the part where I gotta confess to something: I don’t like Green Arrow. Admittedly, most of this is Cry For Justice and the books related to it colouring my judgement, and that story has been retconned in the New 52. Problem is, I found him to be a dick even before ‘Gay for Vengeance’, and I haven’t really seen much reason to check him out since. However, I would be an idiot if I didn’t note that he IS one of DC’s best heroes, and would function well on this new team. One odd thing about Green Arrow is that his classification of having powers or not has been left ambiguous on occasion, as he does have the strength to lift twice his body weight and has skill in archery that some would claim to be inhuman. It’s never really been proven one way or the other though, and much like with Katana, I think it works best if that question is never answered for certain.
It appears as though Green Arrow might actually serve as one of the higher ranked members of the team, as he is actually one of the two possibly behind its formation (as suggested in the backstory of an issue of Justice League), along with this man…
Okay, I gotta ask: Why so many non-powered members of this team? Is it just to make Vibe more useful by comparison? I dunno, but Steve Trevor is another odd pick. Other than being a liaison for the Justice League until recently, I don’t think he’s ever been an official member of a superhero team. Then again, I don’t really know for a fact that he IS a member, he could just be their back-up. Whatever the case, Steve is a skilled hand-to-hand fighter and an advanced marksman. This is my only real concern with him being on the team, though, as I don’t believe in superheroes using guns. Just my own personal preference on the matter.
Like I said, it was hinted that Steve and Green Arrow are actually going to be the ones putting together this team, and I would imagine they’ll be high-ranking members within it. However, if I had to pick out who I believe to be the leader, that’d be…
NOW we’re getting into some awesome heroes. The Martian Manhunter has had a kinda weird time in the New 52, what with his position as a founding member of the Justice League being given to Cyborg, having apparently been a member (or close to one) before a massive fight broke out between him and the other members (yes, all seven members were required to bring him down), and he joined a covert group called Stormwatch before he had to leave and erase his presence on the team from its other members. So yeah, glad to see him on this team. I’d list his powers, but they are SO numerous, I’m gonna do the lazy thing and instead opt to let you read his Wikipedia entry.
So yeah, expect him to either be the leader of the team or simply the most powerful of the group. Heck, there’s really only one other member that could touch him, if not for his weakness to fire…
Admittedly, I’m not sure how this is gonna connect to the Green Lantern comics, but I do like Simon Baz being on this team. For those that don’t know, Simon Baz is a Lebanese-American who suffered prejudice due to the events of September 11th and recently was put through a major misunderstanding where people thought he was a terrorist and was only saved from being killed by corrupt government agents when Hal Jordan and Sinestro’s malfunctioning Green Lantern Ring went to him, the ring believing that Hal and Sinestro were dead. Since then, he’s been training to master the ring’s powers while trying to clear his name. I’m guessing he does so since he joins the JLA. Anyway, his powers are typical of a Green Lantern: Indomitable will, flight, and able to create constructs of whatever he can imagine, which he’s actually picked up on pretty quick.
I expect Simon to be another of the heaviest hitters along with Martian Manhunter, and may also be one of the more interesting characters to read about. And that just leaves the final member…
This is kind of embarrassing, but I actually know more about HawkGIRL than HawkMAN. It’s made no better by the fact that there have apparently been several heroes that answered to the name Hawkman and that, following the reboot, Hawkman now answers to the name of TWO of those individuals. All I know is that he uses Thanagarian technology and armaments to fight crime with. I also know that he’s served with various incarnations of the Justice League before, so I’m sure he’ll be a welcome member here.
However, this brings me to something that I’ve been meaning to talk about. As I’ve mentioned before, it was originally slated that at some point, the Justice League would be expanded with the addition of The Atom, Deadman, Element Woman, Mera, Hawkman, Firestorm, Lady Luck, and Green Arrow. I had said at the end of my review of Justice League Origins that it hadn’t happened yet. I WAS going to suggest that DC had simply changed their minds, and it’s fortunate I didn’t because guess what happened at the end of Justice League #16?
So here’s where things get even MORE confusing, folks. Now, Shazam (AKA Mr. Don’t Call Me Captain Marvel) doesn’t surprise me. They’ve been building toward him joining at some point for a while now in the back stories for Justice League (that I absolutely HATE, btw). Also, Firestorm doesn’t surprise me either, Vixen and Black Lightning aren’t really doing anything right now, so it makes sense to add them, and Element Woman was already slated to join. But, AGAIN, Zatanna is already a member of Justice League Dark, Black Canary is with the Birds of Prey, Hawkman and Green Arrow are joining this new team, I still don’t see the others that were originally planned to join, and who in the hell is Goldrush? I think it’s hinted she’s a New 52 version of the Metal Men, but that’s all I have to go on. So how is this gonna work? Are they unofficial affiliates that join in when the main team is in over their heads? Is this a one-time thing? Is Geoff Johns even thinking about all this at all? I’m sorry if these questions are too numerous, but I only ask because I’m naturally curious and nitpicky and I have no idea what’s going on!
…Anyway, rant over. Bottom line, I think this team, while a bit odd and perhaps a little too stacked up on members, should work well enough to get a following from buyers. My nitpicking aside, I actually kinda like that a lot of these members aren’t necessarily A-Leaguers. Gives more of the smaller names a chance to get over. Will I buy it?…Well, I’ve been kinda flip-floppy on this, but considering it comes out on a week where there’s only one other comic I buy (Nightwing), I’m thinking I might just pick it up, so I’ll let’cha know how it goes in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, tomorrow is Wednesday, and you know what that means!
…See ya then. Ja ne!
What I Got For Christmas – Justice League: Origin + Justice League #5 & #6 Review (SPOILERS AHEAD)
So yeah, got some money and gift cards for Christmas, which means I’ll likely be getting what can be considered more stuff for Christmas. I’ll cover that later on, obviously. Also, I got The Dark Knight Rises for Christmas, but since I already gave my thoughts on that movie a long time ago, I’m not gonna bother here, so if you wanna know what I think, go read it. In the meantime, let’s dig into Justice League #5 & #6.
We open to Darkseid blasting the shit outta military aircraft. Flash gets up from Darkseid’s previous attack at the end of Issue #4 and yells at him to stop. However, he realises he was the first one up and is pretty much royally boned. Superman gets up next, but Darkseid fires his Omega Beams, Barry deciding to grab Superman and run for cover. They split up, but unfortunately the Omega Beams do too, and while Flash is able to vibrate through a Parademon to get it to take the blow, Superman isn’t so lucky. While Superman lives through the ordeal (because he’s Superman), the Parademons take him away while GL tries to take on Darkseid. It doesn’t go so well, Darkseid pummelling Hal and actually knocking him through the others before breaking Hal’s arm and walking off like a boss.
Batman finally tells it like it is to Hal Jordan: If he continues like this, and that if he doesn’t get out of his own way, he’s going to die. Batman unmasks, revealing himself to be Bruce Wayne (which results in what I personally find to be a hilarious panel where Hal has to ask who in the hell Bruce Wayne is), and Bruce tells him his story, of how his parents were murdered in front of his eyes when he was 10, and how he’s spent every day since training to fight the same criminals as those that took his parents’ lives. But Bruce notes, while removing his cape, the blades on his gloves, and even the Bat insignia on his chest (I guess it’s taped on? Maybe Velcro?), that this is bigger than him, bigger than any one of them. He tells Hal to rally the others while he goes to save Superman, letting the Parademons take him away while Hal admits that Bruce might just be crazier than himself.
Hal manages to get the others up and tells them what Batman said, that they need to start working like a team. He’ll turn the light up to get Darkseid’s attention so that the others can blind him, thus robbing him of his most powerful weapon and giving them a chance to take him down. Meanwhile, Bruce lets the Parademon lead him to where they were gathering before taking it down. However, what he finds is another Boom Tube, leading to their true gathering place, Darkseid’s homeworld, and if Hell was its own planet it would be this: Apokolips.
Issue #6 opens with a family taking cover from the Parademons before Darkseid himself arrives to slaughter them, the father narrating that he thought they were going to die until he saw THEM: Green Lantern and the others assaulting Darkseid. Diana wraps him in the Lasso of Truth and demands that he tell them why he’s there, but Darkseid cryptically replies that he’s there “For her” before punching Diana away. Meanwhile Cyborg continues to intercept transmissions between Darkseid and the boxes, called Mother Boxes (actually they were originally called Father Boxes, whereas New Genesis had similar boxes called Mother Boxes, take a shot). Through them, Cyborg can see many worlds, all burning under attack like theirs, but finally manages to get his sights on Batman.
On Apokolips, Bruce has found Superman being tortured by Steppenwolf and DeSaad…who have never been revealed in the New 52 prior to this and new readers have no idea what their deal is. Take two shots! Apparently they plan to use Supes to assist in the search for Darkseid’s daughter…and now I’m confused. His daughter? Do they mean Bekka? Possibly Big Barda? What’s going on? So yeah, since this point confuses ALL readers, I present the final rule of the New 52 Drinking Game: When everyone, be they new or old readers, are confused by a plot point, take 3 shots! Btw, I would just like to note that while anyone else reading is likely drunk off their asses right now, I get away with not taking any shots because I’m a Straightedge. XD But yeah, apparently that’s who “she” is, Darkseid’s daughter, and he’s wrecking his way through planet after planet trying to find her.
Back on Earth, Diana and Aquaman manage to put a sword and a trident through Darkseid’s eyes, but the big mo-fo is still coming, so Cyborg decides the only way they can stop him is to send him back where he came from. Tapping into the Mother Boxes, he opens Boom Tubes all around them, which also opens the door for Superman and Batman to make it back to Earth, Superman messed up and talking about seeing the Multiverse and another version of himself (see Earth-2). As soon as he’s back on Earth and sees Darkseid though, he hits him with a flying double punch so hard it causes it to become a two-page spread.
Y’know, as awesome as this is, and it IS awesome, I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen a far more epic beatdown to Darkseid before…
God, I love JLU. 😀 Anyway, Cyborg’s systems start overloading, but Batman tells him it’s him that’ll be doing this and not the computer, mind over the machine, heart of the cards, yada yada, and Cyborg finally manages to suck Darkseid through the Boom Tubes and shuts them, the Mother Boxes getting fried in the process. They notice that the civilians have gathered around them and Flash thinks they should leave before they get out the burning pitch forks. However, it seems that the people have finally figured out that the seven are the heroes who just saved the world and cheer for them.
We cut to a while later at Washington D.C., where President Not-Bush is giving a speech about the recent crisis while the heroes stand by, chatting to each other. Aquaman resents the suggestion that his armour is a costume, saying he’d never choose orange for it while Hal tells him he doesn’t mind the orange but that the necklace has to go. Cyborg isn’t sure he should be with them, but Barry says he should and should be proud, motioning to the crowd where Dr. Stone is watching, proud of his son. Steve Trevor is shown too, I guess just to show that he survived the battle, and the father from the beginning of this issue is shown typing a story while narrating what’s happening. Hal can’t believe the people think of them as a team of friends, but Batman tells him that they need to make the world believe they are. Plus, they need to be working together in case something like this happens again. Hal wonders what the chances of that are, but suddenly the President gets word there’s trouble and they need the seven again, Barry saying they can refer to them as the Super Seven. Hal is unamused by the name (for once, we are of like minds), and Flash says they’ll think of something, ending with the father, David Graves, finishing writing his book, “Justice League: Gods Among Us”.
Meanwhile in London, two creepy guys meet, talking about how new heroes are popping up every day, mentioning Green Arrow, Zatanna, and Hawkman. It’s at this point I should mention the fact that apparently at some point in the future, there were supposed to be new members to the League in the form of Deadman (Boston Brand), The Atom (Ryan Choi), Element Woman (Emily Sung), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Mera, Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), and a new revamp of the Golden Age character Lady Luck. To the best of my knowledge, this hasn’t happened yet, instead having Deadman (and Zatanna for that matter) being part of Justice League Dark, Mera mostly just sticking with her husband Aquaman (though she DOES appear in the crossover event Throne of Atlantis), Lady Luck apparently going to be appearing in The Phantom Stranger soon, Element Woman and Ryan Choi not having shown up at all, Ronnie becoming a new version of Firestorm that sees him bonding with Jason Rusch, and images of the upcoming Justice League of America shows Hawkman and Green Arrow being members of THAT team. This leads me to a few different conclusions as to what has happened, but I’ll get to that later. Instead, let’s just wrap up this page by explaining that these two men are members of the Religion of Crime from 52, thus hinting that they’ll eventually become important villains later on, but again, that hasn’t happened either.
Now, technically this isn’t the end of the comic, as we have a back-up story called “Pandora”. We see a man has been murdered in the streets, and among those in the crowd is Pandora. For those unaware, Pandora has actually been cameoing in the first issue of nearly every book in the New 52, the only exception to this that I’m aware of being Earth-2 (which actually makes sense, since it’s an alternate Earth). She takes a closer look at the body when she’s confronted by The Phantom Stranger, who says that “they” sent him to speak with her, “they” likely consisting of Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, Jeff Jarrett, and Jeff Hardy… … …God, TNA storylines are stupid.
Pandora doesn’t seem all that amused by this, and The Phantom Stranger simply remarks that she should feel glad they didn’t send The Spectre, but Pandora claims she doesn’t fear The Spectre, having been judged by forces far above him: The Circle of Eternity. All of this is explained in a book that was made available on Free Comic Book Day, but just in case you don’t have it, I will simplify what’s happening here: Pandora and The Phantom Stranger make two of three individuals that were judged by The Circle of Eternity and punished eternally for their sins, the third apparently being The Question. TAKE A SHOT.
Anyway, it seems that the Phantom Stranger is aware of the changes that Pandora made to reality, Pandora claiming she realigned and strengthened it while the Phantom Stranger feels that she’s dangerous and has been in possession of ‘the box’ for too long. However, Pandora screams at him to not touch her and that she won’t just be an observer anymore. They get into a short fight before Pandora shoots him in the head with what I can assume to be a magic gun (seriously, where are people purchasing these? XD), but anyone who knows the Phantom Stranger knows that trying to kill him is like trying to fold a newspaper over 1,000,000,000 times, it just can’t be done. However, Pandora says that while she can’t kill him, she can HURT him, and knows the ultimate means of doing so: Telling the world who he is. Yeah, y’know how The Phantom Stranger’s identity and origins were always a mystery that, let’s face it, should have stayed a mystery since it makes his character all the more intriguing? Well, while it’s hinted who he is in that Free Comic Book Day comic, it’s pretty much been confirmed exactly who he is after The Phantom Stranger #0. Would you like to know? He’s actually JUDAS…Yeah, THAT Judas. As in the man who betrayed Jesus……………Dan Didio is a sick man! And so our comic ends with Pandora saying that she’ll be released from her curse, but only after she finds ‘The Strange’ and imprisons it, and that the Justice League will be the ones to help her, “Whether they like it or not”.
Yeah, the back story kinda sucks, but the rest of the book is awesome. The biggest issues that this book has is in the way it can confuse, baffle, and on occasions anger readers that have been reading prior to the relaunch, or even just fans who have been reading info on the various wikis and watched the cartoons or movies. However, when you consider that this book is supposed to be an introduction to the New 52, it’s kinda hard to judge it for that. Besides, the story is solid enough that it’s easy to enjoy. One problem I have is that while the story does manage to establish who everyone is, what their powers are, and what their motivations are, the one who is kind of left out is Superman, as we really only know that he’s an alien with speed and strength that rivals and often outright towers over every other member of the Justice League. However, it’s worth noting that the first arc of Action Comics in the New 52 was also a prequel story that explains Superman’s origins in the new universe…too bad it apparently wasn’t all that great. It’s also worth noting that Cyborg is the only member without a solo title of his own, but considering his story is pretty much told within Justice League, it’s not THAT big a deal. Would still be nice, though.
Overall, I have to give this book props and recommend it, especially for new readers looking to get into DC Comics. Although, it’s not the BEST book of the New 52, at least not in my own humble opinion. What do I consider the best book? Oh, my friends, be sure to check in again in a few months, when I begin a retrospective of Scott Snyder’s Batman.