Sunday, August 4, 2013



Writer: Geoff Johns
Layouts:  Zandar Cannon
Pencillers: Gene Ha, Andres Guinaldo and Joe Prado
Inkers:  Gene Ha, Rob Hunter and Joe Prado
Colorist: Art Lyons and Hi-Fi
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Brian Cunningham


Despero tears into the Justice League Watchtower, confronting new recruits Firestorm Element Woman and the Atom.  The three are over matched by their alien foe, and only the timely intervention of the Martian Manhunter, who is able to shut down Despero's mind, saves the day.  Alerted by Cyborg that the Watchtower is crashing to Earth, Superman prevents further destruction by setting the wreckage down in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, but the Man of Steel is incapacitated by the Kryptonite ring.  Further analysis reveals that someone took a sliver of the rock from the ring.  Later, Batman reveals to Superman that he has hidden plans to take down and member of the Justice League, and that Superman is the key to stopping Wonder Woman, who has no weakness.  Batman also asks Superman to stop him, should he ever go out of control.  Later, the Atom arrives at A.R.G.U.S. headquarters where, as a member of the Justice League of America, she reveals to Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor everything she has learned about the Justice League while spying on them…


Page 1:  Big Belly Burger is a chain of fast-food restaurants within the DC Universe that first appeared in The Adventures of Superman #441.

“Since the accident, Emily’s been able to metamorphose herself into any element found in the human body.”  Element Woman’s origin has yet to be revealed, although I’d wager that it has something to do with the Orb of Ra, which someone, seemingly Graves, stole from the Black Room in Justice League #7.

Pages 2-3

This is all the new recruits need, some out-of-control alien implying that they don't measure up to the rest of the team.  It really wears on a hero sometimes, you know?

“They form the most dangerous super-human in the world.  That’s a secret.  I have a secret too.”  Great.  More secrets.  Just what the League needs.  I thought that we were getting beyond that, no?

Page 4:  “My name’s Emily, Firestorm, but I agree.”  Poor Element Woman.  She thought that Ronnie Raymond was calling her “Jason,” which is a strange name for a woman, when he was really chatting with Jason Rusch, the other half of Firestorm. 

“He was one of the first aliens the League ever took on.”  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Despero first appeared in Justice League of America (first series) #1, making him, after the Appallaxians, the first alien that the League ever faced.  In the New 52 DCU, he would probably be considered the first, given that Darkseid would be classified as more of an “extra-dimensional god” than “alien.”

I wonder if, when the Justice League first met him, he was as he appears now – big, hulking, and the fin on his head resembling a Mohawk – as opposed to how Despero first appeared historically—smaller, more cerebral, with the fin running from ear-to-ear.  Did he alter his body and mind as he did in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, or has he always appeared as he does now?

“And the last time they fought, they barely beat him – and that was when Martian Manhunter was on the team!”  The details of the Martian Manhunter's tenure – and departure – from the Justice League have yet to be revealed.

Page 6:  “Maybe I can get in his head and trigger an aneurysm.”  Anyone else having Identity Crisis flashbacks?  Rhonda, is your name really Jean Loring?

Page 8:  “You had a Kryptonite ring in the Batcave that was stolen?”  Yep.  You can read all about it in Justice League #19.

“By someone who obviously knows my identity, Diana.”  To be fair, Bruce, your secret identity is pretty much fair game to anyone who wants to know it.  I mean, I think the only one in the DCU who doesn't know that Bruce Wayne is Batman is Jim Gordon, which doesn't say much about Gotham’s police department…

“I gave it to him, Diana.”  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Lex Luthor procured Metallo's Kryptonite heart in Superman (second series) #2 and fashioned it into a ring to keep Superman at bay.  

Later, in Superman (second series) #44, Batman comes into possession of the ring, and keeps it on him the entire time he and Superman team-up on a case.  Remember this is back when the World’s Finest duo weren't on the best of terms, and didn't appear together on a monthly basis.  This was a big deal. 

After the case was over, Batman gave the ring to Superman, but the Man of Steel left it in the care of the Dark Knight Detective for safekeeping in Action Comics #654.

Who originally created the Kryptonite ring in the New 52 DCU, and how it came into Superman’s possession in the first place, has yet to be revealed. 

Sorry Diana, the rest of the League was already working on that when they had to take a break and  try to intervene in the potential international crisis that you and Superman triggered in Kahndaq.

Page 9:  

The Atom's reduced size gives her a bit of protection from Despero's telepathic abilities.

“It’s exactly what they keep telling me.  You say his name and he always shows up.”  Who is she calling?  Beetlejuice?

Page 10:  

Oh,. that's definitely not Beetlejuice.  So who are the ones telling the Atom about how if you say his name enough, he will show up?  Why would she ever need to do that?

I have to say, the Martian Manhunter is looking mighty bad-ass these days…

“Stay on Mars?  Your dead world has nothing to offer me, J'onn.”  Why did the Martian Manhunter trap Despero on Mars? 

Page 11:  So what is this “brother” connection between Despero and J’onn?  Is it because they are both aliens?  Or is there a deeper relationship between the two, something that we haven’t been made aware of yet?

Note that the S-shield icon is missing the small area of yellow on the left side.

So, why is J'onn on Earth?  What did he ask Despero to be a part of?  Is the persona of the Martian Manhunter as a hero and a member of the Justice League of America just an act on J'onn's part?  So many questions...

Page 12:  Ahhh!  Artistic shift!  Must adjust.

Seriously, I hate the fact that Ivan Reis has skipped two issues, but Jesus Saiz work on issue #18 was solid.  And Gene Ha’s pencils are nice, but the shift from his work to Andres Guinaldo is just too jarring for my tastes. 

Page 13:  “You mistake me for someone sentimental.”  No more Mister Nice-Martian…

Page 14:  The breaking of Despero's mind by the Martian Manhunter reminds me of when, in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, J'onn used the gift of the Mayavana on a rampaging Despero in Justice League America #40. 

Called “the sacred treasure…the great gift,” Mayavana was the Martian’s ability to reach into another consciousness and create a reality to give another what they most want.  In this case, J'onn led Despero to believe that he had killed the Justice League and destroyed the Earth. 

The difference between that situation and this one is that, due to the strain on the mind and the soul of the during a experience, a Martian could only employed once a lifetime.  Thus, it was usually saved for those that they loved; J'onn used it so that those he loved, the Justice League, could live.

Now?  J'onn’s all hardcore bad-ass and just wants to shut Despero's mind down. 

I love it when I can dig into my long boxes to look up all of these old issues.

Page 15:  “Tell no one I was here.”  I am still wondering what the conflict between the Justice League and the Martian Manhunter is all about. 

Page 17:   Happy Harbor, Rhode Island was, in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, the site of the Secret Sanctuary, the first headquarters of the Justice League of America, which debuted in The Brave and the Bold (first series) #28.

“…in hopes of finding a cure for Superman.”  Really, Batman?  Is that the best excuse you can come up with?  

Oh, you two, trying to be helpful.  The problem is, you just never know what someone will ask you to do, somewhere down the line...

“Someone carved out a tiny sliver from the Kryptonite.”  Who would do such a thing?  And should we expect some sort of microscopic Kryptonite attack on Superman sometime in the near future?

Page 18:  “The maze of lead pipes in the walls aren't functional, are they?”  The lead protects Batman’s work from Superman’s prying eyes.

“And I assume the file cabinets are to keep Vic out?”  Cyborg can access any computer system in the world, so going old school to protect your data from him, as Waller and Trevor did in Justice League of America (New 52) #1 did, makes sense. 

As I noted before, we have yet to see the circumstances that prompted Superman to hand over the Kryptonite ring to Batman in the New 52 DCU.  Perhaps in an upcoming issue of Batman/Superman?

As hinted at in Justice League #19, Batman has worked on protocols to defeat each member of the Justice League, which hearkens back to the “Tower of Babel” story line in JLA #43-46, in which Ra’s al Ghul got his hand on Batman’s plans and attacked the JLA with them. 

Page 19:  Wonder Woman doesn't have a weakness that Batman can exploit, which is why he’s relying on Superman to take her down should she ever lose control, but Superman and Wonder Woman in a relationship complicates this plan.

Since no one else will prepare to take down their fellow heroes, Batman has to be the pragmatic one and think ahead.

Page 20

So, the question is...what's in Bruce's box?

Page 22:  So, it turns out that the Atom’s secret is that she’s the traitor within the Justice League, the one hinted at back in Justice League #12. 

She’s also a member of the Justice League of America, which is how she knew how to “call” the Martian Manhunter for assistance. 

The hacking of the League’s computers took place in Justice League #18.
As revealed in Justice League of America (New 52) #1, Waller and Trevor chose the members of the JLA for their ability to counter the members of the Justice League.  It turns out that the Atom is there to take down Element Woman.  

So who will be recruited to counter Firestorm?  And how will all of this blow up in the Atom’s face?


Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Brian Cunningham


Black Adam reveals to Billy that he murdered his nephew Aman so that he and he alone could possess the power of the living lightning and, in turn, free Kahndaq from Ibac.  As Adam prepares to kill Billy so that he can reclaim the entirety of the power, Mary, Freddy and the rest of Billy’s foster siblings crash a truck into Adam, stunning the villain.  Billy transforms into Shazam, ready to confront his foe, but Black Adam is one step ahead of him, holding Billy’s loved ones hostage in exchange for the power…


Page 24:  “Each member of the Council chose someone to be their champion – he was to be the Wizard’s.”  Who were the champions of these other Council members?

“Your power may flow through family, Aman."  Keep this in mind.  It becomes important later on.

It turns out that, as in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, the Wizard's name was Shazam all along.  

Page 25:  Aman sees that the power of the living lightning is all about hope and magic, not revenge, like his uncle believes. 

Page 26:

Adam?  As in...Black Adam?  No...who saw that coming?

Page 27:  “We can save them just as we are saved.”  Poor, silly Aman, wanting to save and redeem Ibac as opposed to simply killing him. 

 Page 28:

I love these kids.  I'll take them over Uncle Dudley and the Lieutenant Marvels any day of the week...

“My nephew’s sacrifice allowed me to free Kahndaq.”  You mean your nephew’s murder at your hands, don’t you Adam?

Page 30:  

Well now, at least things can't get much worse, now can they?