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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Justice #9 - Feb. 2007

Comics Weekend "Justice Chapter Nine"

Hey there everyone, Shrine Correspondent Andy Luckett here with my review of Justice Chapter Nine, by the stalwart creative team of Jim Krueger, Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite!

As we left our heroes last issue, they were celebrating the safe returns of Aquaman and Green Lantern, both believed to have been killed in the Legion of Doom's initial campaign of carnage. Hal Jordan examines Captain Cold with his ring, only to find that he too is possessed by Braniac's robotic worms. The group surmises that for a group made up of such antisocial beings as the Legion of Doom to even think of pursuing the same goal, a stabilizing mental force such as the worms would have been necessary, and helpful in fulfilling Braniac's grand agenda. 


Dr. Will Magnus tells the League that the threat of re-contamination with the worm-drones is still very likely, and that they need some sort of protection. He proposes special armor for each Leaguer to form an impenetrable seal that will keep out the worms and allow the League to move freely. While the big brains go to work (Magnus, Niles Caulder and Ray Palmer), the League discusses a strike force to attack a site in Africa traced back from Captain Cold's worms. Wonder Woman, Red Tornado, Captain Marvel, Green Arrow, Zatanna and Green Lantern teleport into Gorilla Grodd's monitor station, but he is ready for them. Captain Marvel is immediately distracted by the sight of Black Adam holding Mary Marvel hostage, and he charges after his ancient enemy. Instead of Adam, he comes across Freddy Freeman and Mary, both mind-controlled and looking for a fight. The rest of the team attacks Grodd, only to find that he also wields a yellow power ring like Sinestro's. He unleashes the power of the ring against the heroes, pinning them back. 


Meanwhile, in the African skies above, the rest of the Marvel family attacks Billy Batson's alter ego. Black Adam gets Mary to shout "Shazam!" and plummet to Earth while he holds onto Billy, torturing him with the inability to save his sister. Meanwhile in Gotham City, Bruce Wayne meets with Clark Kent on the corner of Crime Alley where his parents were murdered. Bruce has returned to Gotham to de-worm Alfred (ewww) and to pick up his own suit of armor from the Batcave. He also needs Clark to examine some of the children healed by Professor Crane's prosthetics and see if there is anything shady happening. They are in Crime Alley to visit the clinic of Bruce's old friend, Dr. Leslie Tompkins.


After an x-ray vision scan, Clark concludes that the artificial parts that have restored the children's mobility are robotic components that will slowly transform them into beings similar to Braniac. Meanwhile, Luthor inspects one of Braniac's clone factories and is dismayed at his productivity:


In the skies high above Africa, Captain Marvel manages to catch the plummeting Mary. But as he does so, she shouts the magic word and turns back into Mary Marvel, tossing the good Captain into the ground. Billy realizes that he is now under Braniac's control. As the Atom and Will Magnus perfect their armor idea, the strike team continues to engage Grodd in combat. Red Tornado blows a strange mist into Grodd's lungs, which turns out to be Metamorpho in a gaseous form. As Green Lantern protects him from being infected by Braniac's worms, all Rex Mason can say is, "Gross." Just when the battle seems won, Sinestro barges in and steals the ailing Grodd away. When Wonder Woman asks Metamorpho why he is smiling, he shows her Grodd's yellow ring. Meanwhile at Superman's Fortress of Solitude, the heroes are disturbed by loud, repetitive booms:


As the possessed Captain Marvel tries to force his way inside, Superman intercepts him, Kingdom Come style. They battle across the landscape until Superman smacks Marvel with the giant key to his Fortress. Marvel flies into a rage and charges Superman, only to be captured and de-wormed by Green Lantern (that ring is a handy item to have around). 


GL and Marvel fly to Arkham Asylum to find Dr. Sivana imprisoned there; a drooling, incoherent mess. After another cleansing from Hal, Sivana regains his senses and tells the heroes that Braniac stole his "Mr. Mind" prototype and used it against him after realizing that Sivana was not as easy to sway as many of the other Legion of Doom members. With this information, Captain Marvel realizes that Luthor and Braniac are planning on each ruling half of mankind. And at the Fortress, the heroes suit up for battle:


Now in their new spiffy duds, the heroes take off to confront their foes, but Luthor appears after they leave and tells Captain Cold: "This is not the time to complain. After all, everything is going so well."


So now after the fall of the League and their hard road back to normality, we see our heroes putting their new plan into action. Some readers have complained that the introduction of the armored looks is simply an easy way to make more toys to sell. That may be true, but I don't think it only works on that level. Besides simply looking cool, the armor represents the turning point for the League to be able to face their foes without being reinfected. So while it does come off a bit like just cool for cool's sake, at least there is a plausible internal logic behind it.

Aquaman only makes a few cameos in this issue, which is told from Captain Marvel's inner monologue. There are a couple of nice nods to his devotion to Arthur Jr. and his drive to destroy Braniac, and he does have one of the few pre-made armors ready to go, so that's a plus. Not only that, but apparently the breathing system for many of the armored suits is of Atlantean design. Tony Stark might even feel a twinge of jealousy.

Overall, this issue has some diverting action, and the art and character beats are well-handled as always, but it sets us up for the battle royal of the finale. Be here soon as we cover the beginning of that battle in issue 10!

And as always, enjoy Batman's files from the Bat-Computer:



Russell said...

Great synopsis! I finally went back and re-read this series after your last review, and I was more impressed with it than the first time. I could see the interlocking pieces and the long-range plotting that Luthor, Brainiac, and Alex Ross obviously did. Great series.

Earth 2 Chris said...

Not to harp on stuff like this all the time, but it seems odd to think that only 7 years ago, DC was fully behind a creator being cut loose to polish up the classic versions of their characters and really make them shine. My, how times have changed...