Sunday, December 13, 2009

Justice League of America #39

Reunion” Part One

Writer: James Robinson

Penciller: Mark Bagley

Inker: Rob Hunter

Editor: Eddie Berganza


The ragtag remains of the JLA, led by Zatanna, investigate the ruins of the Hall of Justice and are attacked by Zatara, Zatanna’s father. She holds him off while the rest of the team confronts their fallen teammates, Vibe and Steel. Doctor Light, however, has raced ahead because she has sensed the presence of the first Doctor Light, who overwhelms her and prepares to kill her…


Pages 1-3: A brief synopsis of Vibe’s life and times with the Justice League of America, an incarnation commonly referred to as “Justice League Detroit.”

I remember reading Justice League of America (first series) Annual #2 when it first came out and I just wasn’t all that impressed by the “new” team. No Superman. No Flash, no Wonder Woman and, worst of all, no Batman. It just wasn’t the JLA to me. I was nine at the time, and definitely knew that the JL Detroit wasn’t my cup of tea.

Page 4: Vibe, real name Paco Ramone. First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) Annual #2. Killed in Justice League of America (first series) #258. Possesses sonic powers that enable him to project shock waves from his hands.

I hated Vibe when he was introduced. Hated, hated, hated him. I thought that he was a joke, a one-note character with zero potential. And, honestly, no writer ever really proved that thought wrong. I actually only kinda-sorta started to like him in Justice League of America (first series) #258, the issue in which he was killed. But then he was dead and all positive character development ended. To this day, I just don’t miss Vibe one iota.

On Vibe’s tombstone it reads “Brother.” His brother is Armando Ramone, formerly of the team the Conglomerate, who used the heroic aliases of Reverb and Hardline.

Page 5: “…what in God’s name happened to the Hall of Justice?” Well, let’s see, the Black Lantern JLA attacked Hal Jordan, Barry Allen, Ray Palmer, Mera and Firestorm there and they fought. Then some more Black Lantern power rings descended and raised a whole bunch of super-villains, and they all fought some more. Good times. This all happened in Blackest Night #3 & 4.

Pages 6-7: Man, the Hall of Justice really has seen better days…

Red Tornado II, real name John Smith. First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) #64. An android able to create powerful tornado-like winds. His body has been destroyed and rebuilt over the years more times than you can count, but, because he is actually an elemental entity that inhabits the android body, he never really “died.”

Plastic Man, real name Patrick “Eel” O’Brien. First appeared in Police Comics #1. Has complete control over his molecular structure, allowing him to stretch his limbs and body, alter his size, change his shape, regenerate, and is virtually invulnerable.

Gypsy, real name Cynthia “Cindy” Reynolds. First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) Annual #2. Able to cast illusions that allow her to blend into her surroundings, rendering her invisible.

Vixen, real name Mari Jiwe McCabe. First appeared in Action Comics #521. Uses her Tantu Totem to access the Morphogenetic field, which allows her to mimic the abilities of any animal on Earth.

Doctor Light III, real name Kimiyo Hoshi. First appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4. Able to absorb and manipulate light to allow her to fly, cast illusions, project energy and create energy constructs.

Zatanna, real name Zatanna Zatara. First appeared in Hawkman (first series) #4. A homo magi, a human born with the ability to manipulate magic, who can cast virtually any spell as long as she speaks it backwards.

Continuity note: Zatanna, along with the Phantom Stranger, the Spectre and Blue Devil, investigated Boston Brand’s grave and witnessed the transformation of Crispus Allen into the Black Lantern Spectre in Blackest Night #2. From there, Zatanna traveled to the Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor, RI to recruit the remnants of the JLA in Justice League of America (second series) #38, which led to the events in this issue.

Presumably, the events of this issue take place after Barry Allen, Ray Palmer and Mera leave the Hall of Justice, but before Barry takes his “Paul Revere” run, as seen in Blackest Night #4.

Pages 8-9: “We’re all in fine shape to tackle zombie supervillains.” The JLA has seen better days as well. As revealed in Justice League of America (second series) #38, the members seen here were all injured in Prometheus attack on the League, as seen in…well, that’s the thing, that story hasn’t come out yet. It’s apparently at the conclusion of Justice League: Cry for Justice, which won’t appear until February, so the circumstances regarding the JLAers current state is still a mystery.

“Whose bright idea was that anyway?...Storing villains bodies in the Hall of Justice?” This was done for security purposes, so that the powers in the bodies couldn’t be used for evil. See Nightwing #140-146 for an example of this. The villains’ bodies were buried in a vault in the Hall of Justice in Nightwing #151.

Gypsy is feeling fear. Vixen, Doctor Light and Plastic Man are feeling fear and willpower. Zatanna is feeling rage and willpower. Red Tornado, as an android, can’t be “read” by the Black Lanterns.

Page 10: Zatara, real name Giovanni “John” Zatara. First appeared in Action Comics #1. Killed in Swamp Thing (second series) #50. Able to perform magic by speaking his spells backwards.

Page 11: To determine what Zatara and Zatanna’s spells will do, read them backwards. Duh.

Page 12: More emotions. Plastic Man is feeling love, fear and hope. Gypsy is feeling fear and hope. Doctor Light is feeling fear, willpower and rage. Vixen is feeling fear, love and willpower. Zatanna is feeling love, fear, willpower and rage. Red Tornado is still an android.

Page 15: Zatanna is now feeling fear, willpower, rage, hope and love.

“My father’s soul was destroyed by Lobo. Giovanni Zatara is no more.” This occurred in Reign in Hell #5.

Pages 18-19: “We should look for her. Or Firestorm…Z said he might be here.” Firestorm was split into his component parts of Jason Rusch and Gehenna by Black Lantern Firestorm in Blackest Night #3. Black Lantern Firestorm then absorbed Jason into his matrix and transformed Gehenna into salt.

If you don’t know who “Scooby Doo” is, then I feel sorry for you. He’s the star of several cartoon series and movies who hangs out with some friends of his to hunt ghosts and solve mysteries. He’s also a dog. An animated dog, but a dog nonetheless.

Seen in the background as the Leaguers walks through the Hall of Justice are Metron’s Mobius chair and a Manhunter android.

“It’s just that I’m melting like a Wicked Witch and expecting a zombie attack at any second.” The “Wicked Witch” is, of course, the villain from The Wizard of Oz, who melted after having water thrown on her.

“Triumph” and “Aztek” were former Justice Leaguers, both of whom had extremely short membership tenures. Plastic Man mentions then because he met Triumph as a villain, and Aztek as a teammate.

Page 20: “Yo, I missed you babies. Miss me?” And people thought that Vibe was stereotypical and one-dimensional? Whatsoever gave them that idea?

Page 21: “You? What use are you? If drippy here is the Wicked Witch, then you’re the Tin Man. Yo’ got no heart.” Black Lanterns have been killing their victims by ripping out their hearts and raining them of emotions, all to feed Nekron and the Black Lantern power battery. As an android, Red Tornado is useless to the Black Lanterns.

Page 22: Man, it sure is windy in here…

Page 24: “Huh. Rubber man has a rubber heart. Who knew?” As seen in Joe Kelly’s run on JLA, most notably JLA #76, Plastic Man’s body isn’t even remotely human anymore; he is virtually immortal and indestructible. He was even able to reform himself after his body was torn apart and the fragments lay at the bottom of the ocean for tens of thousand of years.

Page 26: Steel II, real name Henry “Hank” Heywood III. First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) Annual #2. Mortally wounded in Justice League of America (first series) #260; killed in Justice League America #38. A cyborg with a titanium/steel-alloy frame that grants him superhuman strength, speed, stamina and reflexes.

Behind Black Lantern Steel are statues of himself and Aquaman.

Page 27: “I hear you, Curry.” “Curry” refers to Arthur Curry, a.k.a. Aquaman, who is nowhere to be found. Now then, Kimiyo does find Doctor Light, whose first name is also Arthur, but his last name is Light. Yes, yes, his last name is Light and he just happens to become a villain named Doctor Light. It was Silver Age DC, go with it. Nevertheless, the “Curry” reference is completely wrong no matter how you look at it. Don’t blame Kimiyo, though, it’s been a rough day.

Doctor Light II, real name Arthur Light (Technically, his partner Jacob Finlay was Doctor Light I). First appeared in Justice League of America (first series) #12. He was originally killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #36, but was resurrected in Suicide Squad (first series) #52. Killed in Final Crisis: Revelations #1. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4. Able to control and manipulate light for a variety of purposes

Pages 28-29: Yeah, that’s Gehenna’s head, turned into salt. Doctor Light’s kinda twisted that way.

Page 30: Oh, this can’t end well…

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