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Saturday, February 09, 2013

Justice #5 - June 2006

Comics Weekend "Justice Chapter Five"

Hey there everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett here with a review of Justice Chapter Five, by Jim Krueger, Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite. Last issue, the JLA was on the ropes, with almost all members of the League incapacitated (with extreme prejudice) by the Legion of Doom. We begin this issue with a cameo appearance by the one and only Ralph Dibny, The Elongated Man:
Ralph is a bit annoyed at his minimal place within the League, but he agrees with Barry Allen's wife Iris that things are very wrong. Meanwhile, J'onn J'onzz finally escapes his psychic ordeal at the hands of Gorilla Grodd, returning to his senses. As he does, we see the Flash's current whereabouts as well:

Meanwhile, Luthor visits Braniac at his laboratory, and finds Aquaman there:
In Metropolis, Superman is under attack by Metallo, the Parasite, Solomon Grundy and Bizarro. Metallo's Kryptonite heart, along with the savage beatings of the others, has Superman close to death. Fortunately, his JLA signal device finally reaches someone who can help:
While Superman is now out of danger, the Atom is still in a coma after being shot and Wonder Woman is succumbing to poison administered by the Cheetah. Wonder Woman is able to fight off her archenemy, but the damage has been done. In Star City, Green Arrow takes on Clayface, while Black Canary shakes off hallucinations brought on by the Scarecrow:
In Midway City, J'onn J'onzz discovers Hawkman and Hawkwoman, alive and kicking after an attack by the Toyman. Green Lantern, meanwhile, consults his ring after finding himself trapped in an area of nothingness, and finds that he is nowhere in mapped space.

Captain Marvel carries the ailing Superman toward Gotham, as Superman decides he needs to consult with Batman about the calamities affecting the League's members. They reach the Batcave, only to find Batman less than welcoming to Captain Marvel, who now knows one of the cave's secret entrances. When Marvel changes back to Billy Batson, Batman still reprimands him rather harshly. As Batman bends over the prone Superman, something unexpected happens:
It turns out that Batman has been infected by mechanical worms fused to his nerve endings, which are affecting his mind. This is why Superman punched him (not at full-strength, of course) when Batman tried to drop some Kryptonite on him. Unfortunately, when Superman turns his x-ray vision on himself, he sees the same worms layered into his own nervous system.

Suddenly, Alfred takes Billy as a hostage, threatening him with a Batarang. He's got the worms too! After Billy and Superman (somewhat gently) take Alfred down, they tie him and Batman up. Superman has come up with a plan to rid himself of the intruders: "You're going to have to throw me into the sun."

After the "lowest of the low" point at the end of last issue, the League starts to rebuild from the devastation wrought upon their lives. Superman gets his fat pulled out of the fire (helping to justify the inclusion of Captain Marvel as a reserve member), while Green Arrow and Black Canary fight off their attackers and J'onn J'onzz extricates himself from his near-death. That said, many Leaguers are still in deep trouble, with the Flash lapping himself and Green Lantern stuck in a starless limbo, not to mention Aquaman is still lobotomized (he gets better).

Speaking of Aquaman, he unfortunately only gets a cameo in Braniac's lab and a couple of shout-outs this issue. But better times are on the way as the series progresses.

So, this issue is the first step back up the ladder from rock bottom for the League. While this type of long-form storytelling may seem to put the League in a dark, non-triumphant place for too long, the case can also be made that this front-loaded misery will make our heroes' upcoming victory that much sweeter. But that is a matter of opinion. Feel free to share yours as we move on down the road until the finale. See you next time! As always, here's the Batcave files that are included at the end of each issue.


Russell said...

Awesome review, Andy! YOu're making me want to re-read this series...!

I really wish this whole story was collected in a TPB instead of two hard-bound collections. I'd love to share this excitement with my nephews, but I'm not paying the $$$ for hardbound editions. :-(

Joseph Brian Scott said...

Enjoyed the recap as well! Very exciting. Being plunged into the sun might work for Superman, but how are the mere mortals going to be purged of their parasites? Can't wait to find out.

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