Wednesday, July 1, 2009

JLA #119 (Late Nov. 2005)

The JLA appeared from nowhere to pile on Despero, but Black Canery was the first of several to join the Alien Atlas in putting Superman in a choke hold, or the Dark Knight in slugging Hal Jordan. All but Catwoman, Hawkman, and Superman were possessed, with the latter wavering. A reconstructed Red Tornado came to the rescue, followed by a Zatanna whose resolve in the necessity of her actions had been girded by Wonder Woman after a brief spell on Paradise Island. The League was freed and Despero frozen in place by Zee's power.

The Manhunter asked, “How should we proceed?”
“I’ll get John Stewart. We’ll take Despero to Oa for containment.”
“I think J’Onn meant in terms of the League.”
“The League? I don’t know about you, Superman, but from what I’ve seen...?”
Green Lantern critiqued, “...there is no League. Or if there is... this isn’t it.”
Manhunter unsurprisingly protested, “That was Despero’s influence, Hal.”
“Despero took advantage of the situation, but the damage was done a long time ago. Now Batman’s quit. Wonder Woman’s not coming back. Arthur, Ollie, Dinah, Red Tornado and I haven’t been members in years. And Carter works with the J.S.A. As of now, the League is you, John Stewart, Wally, and Superman.”

The notation prompted the Flash to quit on the spot, thinking in light of all this trouble and the recent birth of his twins, he needed time away. Manhunter was clearly troubled, but Superman asserted, “You’ve managed to rebuild the team more than once, J’Onn. And when you do, I’ll be there. Until then, if you need me...”
“It’s never a matter of ‘if,’ my friends... it’s always ‘when.’”

J’Onn had been in this place before-- of seeking out heroes without enough experience or power enough to take on world class threats without casualty... because the supposed “Big Guns” were too hung up on their own problems to serve the greater good. Perhaps that was why he invisibly snuck back into the Batcave...

“You might as well show yourself, J’Onn. I can hear your breathing.”
“I’m sorry to intrude... but I had to know the truth. This wasn’t just about you, was it? This was about her.”
You see, Catowoman had briefly been a member of the Secret Society, suddenly becoming an ally and more to the Dark Knight in the years that followed...
“I thought she’d changed, but... maybe it wasn’t her choice.”
Catwoman would later learn from Zatanna that in fact, no, it wasn’t entirely her decision, though mostly so.

Manhunter returned to the Watchtower, where he held a teleconference with Green Lantern John Stewart while scrutinizing monitors displaying League candidates. Zauriel, Nightwing, Vixen, Fire, Gypsy, Metamorpho, Huntress, Firestorm, Booster Gold, Hawkgirl, and Animal Man were all up, clearly showing J’Onn unwilling to compromise the League because of his own aversions. The list of options seemed to be arrived at in a past time, however, as J’Onn had to refile Blue Beetle as “deceased.”
“Ted should be here. Like a fool, I didn’t take his warnings seriously, and now... we’re being attacked by super-powered centurions... our longtime adversaries have been organized into an army... an intergalactic war has broken out... and the world of magic has been corrupted... Ted believed there was a conspiracy at work. Maybe he was right. Maybe none of this is coincidence. But who could have been powerful enough to have orchestrated--?”

At that moment, a figure arrived in the teleportation tubes the computers registered as, “Superman... I’m glad you’re here. We need to reorganize... I think there’s a possibility everything we’re facing is connected--“
“I know.”

Manhunter turned, “Wait... you’re...” J’Onzz raised his hands up in fear as energy erupted around him-- the Watchtower exploding entirely. The Infinite Crisis had begun...

"Crisis of Conscience, Conclusion" by Geoff Johns & Allan Heinberg/Chris Batista & Mark Farmer.

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