Thursday, October 24, 2013

Justice #11 (June, 2007)

Hal Jordan waxed philosophical about his foe Sinestro while providing narration for this issue. "Thanks to Sinestro, I was given a taste of what it would be like to rule everything. Thanks to my enemy, I will now never become anything like him... I don't need to be the greatest anything anymore. I just want to help my friends. And my world." I'm not sure if that was meant as a rebuttal against "Emerald Twilight" or if it reinforced it. All in all, it would really only take another random blow to the head to send Hal off in any given direction anyway.

The big siege progressed. Metallo tore apart Platinum while the Man of Lead continued fighting Black Adam. Parasite decided that he needed to "end this," so he grabbed Adam's foot to steal his powers, then swiped the kryptonite heart out of Metallo. Bizarro was grappling with the Man of Lead, affording Parasite the opportunity to rip through "Superman's suit" to discover Lead had actually helped to conceal Captain Marvel. The power of Shazam slammed Bizarro into Parasite, then the Big Red Cheese gave Hal Jordan the order. Iron's armor over Jordan had concealed the fact that Hal was wielding Sinestro's lost spare yellow power ring (that had been lent to Grodd but stolen by Metamorpho) through a filter of blue kryptonite. The blue K immediately took out Bizarro, while Captain Marvel crushed the piece of green K Metallo thrived on.

Ross had fixed the incorrect Platinum symbol on Plastic Man's armor to shift it to Tin, but it was never explained how Gold could pretend to be Green Arrow and cover Superman at the same time. Anyway, the shiny gold mummy quasi-Shazam Superman was attacked by the Parasite. Black Adam thought Captain Marvel liked seeing him weakened, but Billy was too innocent to enjoy another's suffering, though he was willing to choke Adam until he said the magic word. The ensuing lightning bolt conveniently struck Parasite on its way to removing Adam's powers. Plastic Man contained the Riddler in his fleshy mass while Tin (absent his familiar stutter) separated to cage Parasite. It seemed from his demonstrated pomposity that Ross and company had confused Tin with Mercury, who the Flash was still wearing, at least until he was used to gag Teth-Adam.

Green Arrow had delivered Hal Jordan's power ring to John Stewart, who by the spoken narrative grace of Jordan had been allowed access to Hal's incredible power as Green Lantern to free the teenage super-heroes from the control of Brainiac's nanotechnological worms. The same tech briefly retook the Leaguers made vulnerable by their release from the Metal Men "armor," but John Stewart promptly liberated them. Hal Jordan is so awesome for allowing his Negro acquaintance to save the day (but not allowing him any lines of his own, heaven forbidding such impropriety.)

Yellow Lantern Hal Jordan continued to match Sinestro with the same type of power ring, openly acknowledging that should he falter, John Stewart and the Justice League would surely avenge him. In response, Sinestro offered the scintillating bon mot "Shut up. Shut Up. Shut-the-hell-up!" Does Korugar even have a concept of Hell? When in doubt while writing Green Lantern dialogue, always try to hear Nathan Fillion saying Hal lines and Vincent Price saying Sinestro ones. Jordan and Sinestro tapped out their power source and switched up to mano-a-mano. Jordan beat Sinestro bloody, claiming that it was not vengeance he sought, but justice. Then both men fell through the top of a black city-sphere, and John Stewart apparently laughed off-panel as he returned Jordan's power ring so he could save himself and Sinestro.

The villains present on the main scene were either shut down by force or through the disabling of Brainiac's influence. That left the previously hostage supporting casts to mingle with their heroes, or in John Stewart's case, to get stuck with Tom "Pieface" Kalmaku, Carol Ferris, and Hal's brothers. The Flash and Iris West had a sweet if inhibited WASP pseudo-embrace, while Superman and Lois Lane had a big ol' sloppy wet P.D.A. Supergirl looked on from a distance as Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen milled about. Captain Marvel was oddly separated from Mary and Junior, preferring Zatanna's company (though who wouldn't?) Rita Farr held Robotman's brutally battered severed head.

The Super Friends followed Brainiac to Toyman's world, where Superman took the fight deep into the heart while everyone else tore apart duplicates of Brainiac in a somehow self-serious spread. Zatanna then teleported everyone but Superman to Scarecrow's creepy 19th century European faux city, though Green Lantern proved capable of taking it all on his own. The Indian girl from last issue was there, and her hands were already starting to hurt...

"Chapter Eleven" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite. After wasting all those early issues on individual attacks and a couple on the back end on big fights, these guys are having a heck of a time trying to tie the plot threads together. At least Elasti-Girl is consistently prominent in the crowd scenes, thanks to her stature.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Justice #10 (April, 2007)

Click To Enlarge

Previously in Justice

An Indian woman wrote her parents about the wonderful city run by a super-villain that she had run away to live in, and mentioned the differences between each villain's haven.

The seemingly triumphant Legion took to formal dress and toasted themselves in a building whose architecture recalled the Hall of Doom. The Atom was detected as a spy in their midst, and turned out not to be the only one, as armored heroes rushed the hall. Violence ensued. The Flash/Mercury used Plastic Man/Platinum to super-speed bind some villains. A Captain Marvel bound up in golden bandages (thought it was Metamorpho at first) and a Lead-plated Man of Steel clashed with Black Adam and Bizarro. Green Lantern paired off with Sinstro, and actually, most of the matches were entirely predictable.

The mind-controlled sidekicks of the main heroes were called in by the Legion as reenforcements, but were met outside the hall by the Doom Patrol. Robotman was torn to pieces by Mary Marvel, and Beast Boy fared little better against Kid Flash. Negative Man challenged Captain Marvel Junior as Elasti-Girl stood tall against Batgirl and the Teen Titans while wearing a mini-skirt. However, once Larry Trainor was forced to return his negative form to his corporeal body, Rita was overwhelmed by the Marvel Family. The Joker had managed to insert himself into the city, stole Robotman's severed head, and detonated bombs he'd planted all over town.

Platinum (Again? Spread thin?) and Gold pretended to cover Green Arrow and Black Canary, but that duo was secretly teleported into a sewer tunnel by Zatanna. Once there, they were attacked by Clayface (again,) who was contained by Green Arrow's "shadow," Elongated Man. Once the deception was detected, Gold and Platinum tangled with Parasite and Metallo, 'Tina ending up worse for wear. Superman knocked Toyman about while keeping a choke hold on Bizarro, but then Lead taunted Solomon Grundy and Kal-El took the brunt of the resultant punishment.

Green Arrow insisted that Black Canary save her sonic powers for a planned moment of truth, but once the pair located the supporting cast hostages, Ollie was left to deal with the possessed Supergirl. Dinah argued against Ollie firing a kryptonite arrow at the Maid of Might, a discussion super-hearing easily allowed Kara to act upon. Supergirl dodged the arrow, which struck John Stewart in the chest. As it turned out, all went according to plan, since the arrow actually had a power ring on its tip. Green Lantern declared "You're not killing any super-heroes today, Supergirl. You're going to help us save the world. Just like always.

"Chapter Ten" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:

Friday, October 11, 2013

Justice Volume Two (2007)

Superman was being held down by Solomon Grundy, while Metallo killed the Man of Steel slowly with radiation from his kryptonite heart. Bizarro and Parasite looked on, until lightning crossed the skies, and an unseen force began to attack the villains.

In no time, the Power of Shazam was at Superman's disposal. Captain Marvel had answered Kal-El's distress signal, and now offered a helping hand. Superman was too sick to hold himself up, and Bizarro had recovered, so the Big Red Cheese flew them both to safety. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor teleported to the scene to save Parasite from the kryptonite (he'd absorbed Superman's weaknesses with his strengths) that he replaced in Metallo's chest cavity. Bizarro rejoined the motley crew.

Dinah Lance walked into her bedroom to find her lover Oliver Queen buried under a fleshy mass, and with green arrows seemingly buried in his head. Whether this was from the Scarecrow's nightmare gases or Clayface's shifting form, an ear-splitting Canary Cry shook the facade loose. Ollie Queen yet lived, and shoved the sparking end of a busted lamp into Clayface's electrocuted hide.The villains fled, and a tearful Black Canary held her shaken man. Dinah wondered why her cry hadn't hurt Ollie, until he removed his earplugs. You see, Clayface had turned himself into a blond Dinah to trick Queen before the attack, not realizing Lance was naturally a brunette. Ollie figured he might be needing more than one form of protection, if his Pretty Bird was indulging in amorous role-play...

Green Lantern Hal Jordan had been forced through a Boom Tube by Sinestro and left in a starless, uncharted area of space. His power ring couldn't get him back home, so he asked it "How much longer before your charge runs out and I die?"

Superman guided Captain Marvel to the Batcave. None of the active Leaguers were answering his calls, so some reservists like the Captain had been notified. The Dark Knight was angry that Superman had compromised him, but Marvel assured, "I would never tell anyone about this place. Which is really cool, by the way." Marvel thought it might help to transform back into his normal self of kid reporter Billy Batson, but Batman just complained about the noise and magic lightning bouncing around his headquarters, not to mention questioning the kid's experience with "crime and loss." Billy politely blew off the Caped Crusader's ignorance, while Superman cold decked his friend. The Man of Steel was too weak for it to be a killing blow, but he gave it all he had, since Batman had palmed some kryptonite. X-ray Vision revealed that Batman was full of mind-controlling mechanical worms, and Superman soon realized he was similarly compromised. Alfred Pennyworth was too, as he covered Billy's mouth with one hand and threatened to slice the boy's throat with the Batarang in the other.

Lex Luthor cast black marbles into a body of water, and from out of it emerged ebony spheres the size of cities. This was Braniac's doing, and though one super-villain would inevitably betray the other, for now everything was going according to mutual plans.

Billy's heel slammed hard into Alfred's foot as he broke loose of the butler's grip. Superman pegged the manservant in the brow with a flung coffee cup, while with one magic word, Captain Marvel was restored. Alfred and the Batman were tied up. Next, Superman asked Marvel to throw him into the sun, in order to burn out the worms...

The powers of the gods allowed Captain Marvel to try to talk Superman out of the prescribed course of action while traveling through the vacuum of space. Wordlessly, the Man of Steel made it clear he was more afraid of his infestation making him the man who killed Captain Marvel than vice versa, so the Big Red Cheese threw Superman into the sun.

Hal Jordan was mildly amused to finally encounter a portion of space(?) the Guardians of the Universe knew nothing about, but not too much under the circumstances. His power ring only had seven hours worth of charge remaining, and he was potentially lost forever. Green Lantern decided to convert himself into electronic impulses stored within his ring, perhaps indefinitely.

"This involvement of Captain Marvel was unforeseen," noted Brainiac to Lex Luthor and Grodd. The Super-Gorilla seemed the most irritated by the party crasher, and was given permission to send the pseudo-prophetic nightmare shared by the Legion of Doom to Black Adam in order to increase their numbers.

Ablaze with solar energy, the Man of Tomorrow was restored. On learning that Superman had rid himself of a worm-like bodily invader, Captain Marvel offered Mr. Mind as a suspect. Just as the pair were reaching the JLA Satellite, it exploded in front of them. Captain Marvel asked if Superman detected any trace of Red Tornado in the debris...

John Stewart told Zatanna when he arrived at Ferris Aircraft Company, and asked that she thank Elongated Man for calling him in. On the property, Stewart met with Hal Jordan's sometimes girlfriend Carol Ferris and sidekick Tom Kalmaku. Stewart was searching for Hal, but the best idea "Pieface" could offer was pointing to the sky. "Thanks. That narrows it down."

Hal Jordan knew that it was Sinestro who had "killed" him via Boom Tube, but tried to move on with his everlasting illusion of life. Simulations of Coast City and its residents were constructed, but they were hollow things, and Green Lantern wondered how long he would wait before allowing space to take him...

An emaciated Flash continued to run across the globe, surely doomed to die from exhaustion...

Brainiac was aware Aquaman's body had been found, but it served its purpose of distracting the League, since Lex Luthor had failed to assassinate the super friends. Of course, Brainiac himself hadn't found in the Sea King's brain what he was looking for, so it was up to Gorilla Grodd to initiate a new phase in the trio's plans. Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Mary Batson, Freddy Freeman, Jean Loring, Carol Ferris, Steve Trevor, John Stewart, Dick Grayson, Wally West... all targeted...

Once again, the Wisdom of Solomon trumped any thoughts in Superman's head. Captain Marvel flew as close to the wayward Flash as he could, and with one magic word, magical lightning shook the Scarlet Speedster out of his uncontrollable race toward death. Superman caught Billy Batson before any harm could come to him, then gave him space for the power of Shazam to restore Captain Marvel. Getting thrown into the sun had burnt up the Man of Steel's wallet, so Earth's Mightiest Mortal came to the rescue again, offering his only ten bucks to feed the Flash at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Hal Jordan was already feeling like death in a self-centered world of his own making. However, his power ring refused to restore his physical form for such an end. "Your essence has been converted into an electrical impulse that has been stored within the ring... You will now live forever. Alone."

In Shazam's lair within an abandoned subway tunnel, Black Adam covered Mary's mouth, and threatened to kill her if Freddy said a word...

Superman arrived at his Fortress of Solitude, greeted by fellow heroes awaiting him...

In an Arabian desert, the Flash broke up Captain Cold's mini-harem. "You tried to kill me. And that means you tried to kill everyone I hope to save until the day I die. That's a lot of people." Cold should have pointed out that if he had succeeded, the Scarlet Speedster still would have saved everybody he saved until the day he died, but since he didn't die, he might ought to consider swapping a chemistry class for some remedial English. Instead, Cold drew a replica pistol made of ice, which Flash totally fell for, so maybe he needed another police detective class, too. Captain Cold froze up a hall of mirrors, and when that didn't work, created sculptured duplicates of himself. Failing yet again, Captain Cold was run to the Fortress of Solitude.

Still trapped in his power ring, Hal Jordan argued with simulations of his brothers about the benefits of lacking fear, and where his adventuring ways landed him.

Batman, having interrogated Captain Cold, learned all about the prophetic nightmares that motivated the villains to action. Black Canary wondered if the Legion of Doom thought they were doing the right thing, but Batman explained that the villains wouldn't have tried to turn the situation to their advantage to lord over potential survivors if their hearts were truly in the right place.

Supergirl, Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon were all captured by Legion forces.

Hal Jordan had regressed to childhood, which is why he wished to heed the command of his parents not to talk to the Stranger who had paid him a visit. "So there you are, Hal. I've been looking everywhere for you." The Phantom Stranger then helped Hal with some self-realization psychobabble about not trying to remake the real world in his image/with great power comes great moderation/how the League helps Hal check his head/yadda yadda. The important thing was the the Stranger brought a power battery and a direction home, so Green Lantern could try to look cool saying his oath in a painted splash page.

All the heroes were together at the Fortress of Solitude, except John Stewart, who got himself kidnapped by the mind-controlled kid sidekicks of other heroes (mostly the Teen Titans and the Marvel Family.)

"Justice, Vol. 2," collecting issues #5-8 of the 2005 mini-series, was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Justice Volume One (2006)

The world was ending, and Superman could do little more than watch as Wonder Woman died. A tearful Flash failed his city, and Martian Manhunter was already gone. Green Lantern Hal Jordan was more effective, almost saving hundreds, before a lapse in attention saw them all to their ends. Hawkman and Hawkgirl passed. Aquaman saw the oceans boil away. Green Arrow fired an arrow line from a burning rooftop to another building in hopes of saving Black Canary and others. As the arrow struck, the whole building collapsed, stranding hard traveled heroes on a doomed plain. Batman was among the last remaining as the Earth exploded.

The Legion of Doom found "It's time to wake up. They are all having the same dream. Over and over again. Every one of them. All so humanity will survive these creatures of tomorrow." The Justice League of America would fail us in this predicted future, it seemed, so it was up to the super-villains to save the world. For starters, Captain Cold would bring ice to the desert, while Black Manta handed a fallen Aquaman to Lex Luthor...

Batman pursued the Riddler, who had successfully hacked the Batcomputer and downloaded sensitive information related to the JLA's identities and abilities.

Red Tornado sought the missing Aquaman by proxy, alerting Batman, Superman and Martian Manhunter to be on the lookout.

Plastic Man endorsed his own themed credit card in his off time.

Potions administered by Dr. Jonathan Crane (The Scarecrow) allowed the infirm to walk again.

Red Tornado followed the global news media love for the newly found charitability of super-villains.

The Flash took a jogging trip through the Middle East, and discovered his old foe Captain Cold had helped turn desert to forest with Poison Ivy.

The Riddler was captured and deposited at Arkham Asylum, where the Joker pleaded upon deaf ears to be included in Nigma's grander scheme.

Aquaman found himself strapped to an operating room table, about to have his mind dissected by Brainiac.

Aquaman remained Brainiac's captive, as he was teased with psychological trauma on an operating room table.

Martian Manhunter searched for his friend Aquaman in the ocean, and uncovered the Legion of Doom's black dome.

Gorilla Grodd telepathically surveyed all, but targeted the Manhunter.

The Toyman supplied artificial limbs to disabled children in war torn countries.

Conservative commentator Jack Ryder considered on television the benefits of the super-villains' change of heart. Ray Palmer was watching, as were Ollie Queen, Billy Batson, Clark Kent, the Metal Men, the Doom Patrol and more.

The Cheetah lurked outside a Wonder Woman convention.

Edward Nigma escaped Arkham Asylum with help from the visiting Lex Luthor. The Joker demanded inclusion in their Legion of Doom, but was ignored and left behind in his cell.

Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Red Tornado were assaulted and seemingly left for isolated deaths. Gorilla Grodd released the alter egos of Earth's heroes to the Legion of Doom.

Lex Luthor, Poison Ivy, Black Manta and the Riddler, all in civilian garb, announced through holographic projectors in a host of languages that they were essentially taking over the planet for its own good. They also condemned the half-measures of Earth’s former heroes, who they claimed had abandoned their charges. Instead, the Legion of Doom had launched attacks of the super friends in their secret identities.

Bizarro burst through the ceiling of Clark Kent's apartment, and pulled Superman out to fight in the steets of Metropolis.

Hal Jordan was looking in his locker at Ferris Aircraft when Sinestro showed up to shove Green Lantern into another plane of existence.

The impossibly cut abs of the brunette Dinah Lance didn't save her stomach from doing cartwheels when the Scarecrow's gas caused her to see insects crawling about her apartment. A blond wig clued Ollie Queen that he was in for a serious night of sexing with Black Canary, until this version of a barely dressed Dinah began to melt and ooze all over him.

The Cheetah slashed at a Princess Diana turned Wonder Woman.

The Hawks and the Atom faced assassins at their respective workplaces.

Martian Manhunter continued to struggle.

Bizarro was bad enough, but then Solomon Grundy began contributing to the blows striking Superman. Brought to his knees, the Man of Steel was held fast, and began to be drained of life force and powers by the Parasite. Metallo's kryptonite heart further compromised Kal-El's health as he called out for help.

Barry Allen was on a date with Iris West at a nice restaurant when a JLA alert forced the Flash to his feet...

"Justice, Vol. 1," collecting the first four issues of the 2005 mini-series, was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.