Friday, January 1, 2010

Justice League of America #40

Reunion” Part Two

Writer: James Robinson

Penciller: Mark Bagley

Inker: Rob Hunter, Scott Hanna & Marlo Alquiza

Editor: Eddie Berganza


While Vixen and Gypsy hold their own against Black Lanterns Vibe and Steel, Doctor Light must confront the twisted horror that is Black Lantern Doctor Light. The JLAers are overwhelmed until Doctor Light lets loose with the full force of her powers, destroying the Black Lanterns, but the heroes are left beaten, battered and broken in the process…


Pages 1-3: A recap of Steel’s life, from his transformation into a cyborg at the hands of his grandfather up until his death while fighting Professor Ivo’s androids.

Page 4: Black Lantern Steel last appeared in Justice League of America (second series) #39.

Page 5: Red Tornado, Plastic Man, Vixen, Gypsy and Black Lantern Vibe last appeared in Justice League of America (second series) #39.

“No! Sick of careful.” Whoa, Vixen’s letting her animal side take over again. You can tell because she’s speaking in broken English…you know, like animals do.

Page 6: Vixen is feeling rage and will.

“A weak sauce version of Animal Man and that ain’t saying much.” Animal Man, a.k.a. Buddy Baker is, as the name would imply, the man with the animal powers. Like Vixen, he can mimic the abilities of any animal.

Page 7: “Cindy” refers to Cindy Reynolds, also known as Gypsy.

By my recollection, Gypsy’s real name wasn’t revealed until Justice League of America (first series) #259, when she left the JLA and returned to her family. Shortly thereafter, Steel was killed, so I don’t think he ever called her by anything but “Gypsy.”

I know, I know, nitpicky…

Gypsy is projecting an illusion of Steel’s grandfather, Commander Steel, in an effort to confuse him.

Page 8: Gypsy is feeling fear.

“You his when Despero killed your family.” This occurred in Justice League America #38.

Page 9: Doctor Light III last appeared in Justice League of America (second series) #39.

“I still have the salt of Firestorm’s girly on my tongue…” Firestorm’s “girly,” Gehenna, was transformed into salt in Blackest Night #3. In Justice League of America (second series) #39, the always charming Black Lantern Doctor Light was licking the salt-Gehenna with maddened glee.

Doctor Light is feeling will, rage and fear.

Page 10: Black Lantern Doctor Light last appeared in Justice League of America (second series) #39.

Page 11: Why is there a miniature Easter Island statue in the Hall of Justice’s Trophy Room?

Vixen crashed into a suit or armor that once belonged to Rocket Red #4.

Page 12: “Yeah, yeah…I know how much you want it.” Ah, yes, and, as difficult as it seems, Doctor Light just keeps getting creepier and creepier…

Page 13: Despite her protestations to the contrary, Gypsy is feeling fear.

Page 14: Vixen is feeling fear and will.

“You worked out that white light’ll get a Black Lantern ‘n you tryin’ to ‘light’ me away?” As seen in Outsiders (fourth series) #25, Halo used light to destroy several Black Lanterns, but her powers are far greater than those abilities which Vixen is mimicking here.

Page 15: “You were an animal alive, Light. I see death hasn’t changed you.” Doctor Light is a pretty reviled individual, even among the super-villain community. He raped Sue Dibny, which pretty much pissed off everyone even remotely related to the JLA. Years later, he captured Green Arrow to get the attention of the Teen Titans; he has a thing for attacking kids, you see. He was then involved with the Society’s slaughter of the Freedom Fighters, and eventually kidnapped the new Doctor Light to steal her powers. As if that wasn’t enough, he apprehended the Martian Manhunter so that he could be slain by Libra. The Spectre hunted Doctor Light down to exact vengeance; Light had hired several prostitutes and had them dress up like the female members of the Teen Titans. Spectre then turned him into a candle and ended his disgusting life.

“You wore it first, maybe, but it was invented by my father and Jacob Findley. You stole it. You murdered Findley and you stole it.” As told in Secret Origins #37, the Doctor Light identity was originally created by Jacob Finlay (note the spelling change) for his use as a super-hero. Arthur Light accidentally killed Finlay and became a super-villain. The introduction of Kimiyo Hoshi’s father into the mix is a new development, presumably to provide an explanation about why she uses the same costume and name as a hated rapist and murderer. Whether or not she still received her powers as a result of the Crisis on Infinite Earths remains to be seen.

Pages 16-17: This is one of those scenes where it’s hard to tell if Black Lantern Doctor Light is ranting and raving about Japan and its culture in an effort to taunt and inflict emotional pain upon Doctor Light, or if this is how James Robinson, the writer, feels about the subject.

I’m not casting aspersions or anything like that; everyone is entitled to their opinions. Moreover, if Robinson has decided that this is how Doctor Light feels and acts, he, as the writer of the book, is perfectly justified in building up her motivations and all. Considering that he has given Doctor Light more character and personality in the past three issues than anyone else has in the past twenty years or so, any development is greatly appreciated.

“It took light powers and a crisis to show you the way of the hero.” Originally, Kimiyo received her powers from the Monitor and she fought with the rest of Earth’s heroes during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. She was incredibly arrogant and didn’t feel that she needed to listen to others. It wasn’t until she witnessed Supergirl’s death at the hands of the Anti-Monitor in Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 that she started to realize what a true hero was. It didn’t hurt that she distracted Supergirl long enough for the Anti-Monitor to deliver the killing blow, thereby ensuring her death, but no one ever brings that up. Superman’s too polite to mention it, even in passing.

Post-Crisis, now that Supergirl wasn’t involved in those events…well, it seems that Doctor Light somehow, in some way, learned her hero-lessons during the Crisis, but the details have yet to be revealed.

Doctor Light is feeling fear, will, rage and hope.

“But it’ll take more than leaving Japan to show the real Kimiyo Hoshi…and I got just the thing.” Yep, Black Lantern Doctor Light’s getting creepier by the minute.

Page 18: Why did Black Lantern Vibe have to go and destroy that nice statue of Aquaman?

Vixen is feeling rage and will.

Page 19: “Do you recall…when…we swapped bodies?” This…didn’t really happen, not like this, anyway. At one point, Doctor Light (the bad one) was dead. He was killed while on a mission with the Suicide Squad. In Suicide Squad #52, his ghost inhabited Doctor Light’s (the good one’s) body, but she was still there and pestered him the entire time he was present. So it wasn’t really a body swap, more like a possession.

As to what he did while in her body…yeah, he’s creeping me out.

Pages 20-21: Doctor Light is feeling fear and love.

Okay, I’m not a prude. Nor do I jump on every online bandwagon and rant, rave and cry for justice over every off-depiction of a character, stupid joke, or ill-intentioned stereotype. It’s not that stuff doesn’t irk me sometimes, I just don’t have it in me to get all riled up over everything. Forgive the metaphor, but you start crying wolf every time you think something’s wrong, eventually people stop listening to you.

So, Hal Jordan having threesomes with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk? Yeah, okay, whatever. No big.

Tasmanian Devil killed and made into a rug? Yeah, fine, sure, when was the last time we saw him anyway?

And Black Lantern Doctor Light acting all creepy, as if the only way he can now act is like a pervert and a rapist? Look, he’s a villain, and villains should so bad things and maybe, just maybe, get enjoyment out of them…because they’re bad.

But why the hell does Kimiyo need to lose her clothing so that she’s totally naked by the time the issue’s over? Why? What purpose does it serve? Is it a metaphor about how she’s “stripped bare” and “naked to the world”? Does it show her vulnerability? Make her more of a target? Do we relate to her more?

Yeah, I just don’t buy it. I’m all for Black Lantern Doctor Light doing and saying what he needs to in order to wear her down, but the pointless nudity? Not necessary for the story. Sorry.

“Triumph” was a former member of the JLA who, depending on what DC Universe continuity was like that week, was a founding member of the team who got sucked into a wormhole and returned ten years later without anyone remembering who he was. He later died, and didn’t even merit rising as a Black Lantern.

“Negative Woman” was a member of the second incarnation of the Doom Patrol. She lost her powers, vanished for years, and then seemingly died, only to return as a Black Lantern recently.

The “Blood Pack” was a team of New Blood heroes, most of whom were slaughtered (read: put out of their misery) during the Infinite Crisis. They recently rose as Black Lanterns to pester Superboy-Prime.

“After I’m done with you, I’ll come up with some fun games to entertain them.” Great. Not only is Black Lantern Doctor Light a mean, spiteful rapist who enjoys dressing up hookers in Teen Titans costumes…but now he’s a kid-toucher! Will the depredations never cease?

Page 22: Ha! Take that, dirty kid-toucher!

Page 23: Gypsy is feeling fear and will.

And then just will.

Page 24: “…You only just barely kinda sorta beat the Royal Flush Gang.” The remnants of the JLA recently battled the Royal Flush Gang in Justice League of America (second series) #35-37.

“’N sure you took out Amazo…” The JLA battled Amazo in Justice League of America (second series) #22-24.

“Kwesi” refers to Aku Kwesi, whom Vixen and the JLA fought in Vixen: Return of the Lion #1-5.

“Maksai” refers to General Maksai, Vixen’s uncle, who killed her father, Reverend Jiwe.

Page 25: Gypsy is feeling will. Vixen is feeling rage.

Page 26: Doctor Light seems like she has some frustrations to let out.

Page 27: Zatanna last appeared in Justice League of America (second series) #39.

“H…how many times…must I see my father die?” Zatanna has had to witness the death of her father Zatara a few times now. The first was in Swamp Thing (second series) #50. The second was in Reign in Hell #5, in which his soul was destroyed. Presumably, Zatanna was able to destroy the Black Lantern Zatara, which was a bit unsettling for her.

Page 28: So…the JLA’s in pretty bad shape right now…