Monday, May 2, 2011

JLA #96 (Early June, 2004)

In the Batcave, Alfred offered Bruce a Pennyworth family heirloom, a pure silver cross blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury. You'd think Alfred would know Batman is just going to mess it up, especially as soft as silver is, and that the Dark Knight really ought to have plenty of his own damned vampire killing silver. This isn't his first rodeo, y'know?

The Flash unnecessarily helped J'Onn J'Onzz to his feet, as he explained he had not been attacked, but merely left holding down a subplot for three issues. Green Lantern John Stewart was also present, and unsuccessfully tried to analyze the telling stones.

The Atom woke up from his beat down, and was met by another batch of insectoids in regal gear who prostrated themselves before one from "the world beyond the world!"

Faith was tied to a chair in a darkened room. Just as her telekinesis freed her, Crucifer showed up, and mesmerized her into submission. The vampire then indulged in a superhuman nibble.

Larry and Rita reported back to their chief on Key Mordaz. A stripped down robot with a visible human brain named Cliff joined the conversation.

Batman had feigned being shot to draw in the detective for a punch. The cloaked cultists turned out to be part-bat vampires. I kind of hate when wooden stakes instantaneously slay vampires, which is pure Hollywood, and it's only that much worse when the vampires run around with enchanted spears featuring wooden handles. Way to supply Batman the means to kill you effortlessly. One got away, but the Caped Crusader was able to use the cross to heal the detective from his vampire bite and subsequent subjugation.

At Castle Crucifer, Nudge consoled her caged ape Grunt while Vortex talked her into an origin flashback. She was a teenage runaway who ran off to join the circus... in the year 2004. She was the only handler able to sooth a four-armed ape, but she was still made to use her powers as a fortune teller, as well. Mysterious benefactors called in a debt with the circus owner in exchange for Grunt the ape, and Nudge used her powers to force them to take her, too. They were taken to Florida, where the chief was none to happy with the extra passenger, and used technology to prevent her from "persuading" anyone on the island. With time, Nudge managed to coax Larry into taking an unauthorized getaway to Miami while Nudge and Grunt escaped. Crucifer was waiting for them at the mainland, "Like he knew we were coming."

Superman and Wonder Woman flew to Castle Crucifer, whose owner knew Diana's mother, Hippolyta. The Amazing Amazon was surprised by this, but not nearly as much so as being punched in the back of the head by Superman. Diana recovered better than just about anyone, then fought the Man of Kneel for several pages. Nudge saw this as her chance, and beguiled Superman long enough for Wonder Woman to floor him and impale Crucifer with a thrown sword. Superman also made a swift recovery, while Crucifer extracted the sword from his chest. "You cannot win! If Superman falls, if I fall, the League remains! They'll find a way to stop you!" Crucifer tapped Diana with the sword so hard that she came up off the ground before lying deathly still upon it. "Whatever. Pity you won't be around to see it.

"The Heart of the Matter," part three of "The Tenth Circle," was by the famous X-Men creative team of John Byrne and Chris Claremont, joined by the inks of Jerry Ordway. It's a good looking book, but I can't believe I'm still dancing around the reveal of the second team as the classic Doom Patrol. It's really blatant at this point. I could have really done without the Nudge and Grunt flashback, not to mention the characters themselves. I have to admit that the Superman sucker punch was pretty amusing, especially the cartoon stars and "KLUDD!" Pity Wonder Woman once again needed to grab a big metal phallic symbol and stab somebody with it rather than use her powers and non-lethal weapons. I bet the Lasso of Truth could have been loads more effective, especially with all the random crap vampires are vulnerable to. Has anybody ever tried kryptonite?

No comments: