Hey again everyone, Andy Luckett here with my review of Justice #12, the final issue in the series. I'm sorry, I think I have something in my eye…*sniff*. Ah, better. Once again this issue was created by our good buddies Jim Krueger, Alex Ross and Doug Braithwaite. Let's dive in one more time, shall we?
At the end of last issue, most of the Justice League was pursuing Braniac as he body-hopped across the Legion of Doom's cities while also activating all of Earth's nuclear missiles. In the Scarecrow's domain, all of the population had been infected with fear toxin and the League was falling behind.
Meanwhile, inside the Legion of Doom's headquarters, Batman arrests a Lex Luthor who continues to insist that he was acting on behalf of all humanity. Batman doesn't buy it, and asks the Atom to find the second yellow Qwardian power ring's power battery. He does, and Batman requests that Grodd use it to deactivate the missiles under the control of J'onn J'onzz.
Superman returns to the Scarecrow's city in time to stem the tide of the fearful citizens. After the gas has been taken care of, the League members learn from one of Braniac's drones that Black Manta is holding Aquaman's son. Superman sends out the call to the rest of the League to finish evacuating the other cities, while his group continues after Braniac. The Scarecrow flees his city, but encounters an unexpected sight:
The League splits into teams to evacuate the cities. In the Cheetah's city, Wonder Woman leads a team into a savannah-like area. They soon sense that Cheetah is hunting them, so Wonder Woman directs her attention to allow the others to finish the evacuation. Wonder Woman removes her helmet to reveal a poison-ravaged face that looks like the surface of a volcano, but she is still able to defeat Cheetah in battle.
Superman leads Red tornado and Zatanna back to the Toyman's domain, where they discover that many of the partially-destroyed Braniac drones are reanimating. They defeat them easily, but not before Superman discusses Braniac's plan with one of the drones. Braniac relates that his intention was always to reconfigure the humans under his rule into approximations of the society he lost on Colu, and he cannot understand why Superman humbles himself to live as one of them.
Meanwhile Green Arrow, Black Canary, Supergirl and Metamorpho infiltrate Poison Ivy's city and are quickly attacked by her plants. However, Supergirl's heat vision makes short work of the plants and Poison ivy herself, and another Legion of Doom member is defeated. Back in the Legion's headquarters, the Martian Manhunter links his mind to both Luthor and Grodd in order to redirect the nuclear missiles currently headed earthward. They succeed, as the Atom realizes that the city is slowly sinking due to Solomon Grundy tearing an escape hatch in the bottom of the sphere.
Aquaman is finally able to confront Black Manta in his city, where Manta commands his soldiers to attack the Sea King. Aquaman takes a beating, but goads Manta into getting close enough that he can disable his mind control. When he does so, Manta's soldiers realize the monster they have been following. Manta attacks Aquaman, but Arthur quickly defeats him, saying "I live beneath the sea. I rule and live in a kingdom surrounded by pressures beyond any human ability to imagine. What chance did you ever have against me?"
Luthor confronts Braniac, revealing to him that he can no longer body-hop. Braniac retreats to his ship, which is captured by Superman. Hal Jordan calls in the rest of the Green Lantern Corps, who help him destroy the nuclear missiles, and the Earth is once again saved. The Justice League travels to Paradise Island, where Queen Hippolyta beseeches the heavens to restore the life of her daughter Diana. They do so, and Wonder Woman is healed.
With all of the world's nuclear missiles destroyed, things are better than they were before. Batman acknowledges this, hoping that the state of the world will keep improving, to reach the standard of excellence he sees in his fellow members of the Justice League.
After twelve issues it all comes down to this. The Justice League succeeds over massive treachery and recovers from immense hardship to triumph. This issue serves as a decent wrap-up to the series, and it is cathartic to have our heroes' problems resolved well, My only concern with the story as a whole continues to be the pacing. So much happens in this final chapter that it feels a bit crammed to the end. I appreciate the creators' desire to build a complex storyline, but at times it felt like a few less story threads would have given the rest more room to breathe and unfold at a more pleasing rate. Still, overall that is a relatively small gripe about an extremely well-done series.
Aquaman's storyline is resolved in spectacular fashion. He takes a gamble on his plan, but he is able to expose Manta's lies and rescue Arthur Jr. at the same time. And that final line he says to Manta that I quoted above? That's on my list for one of the finest Aquaman moments of the past decade. I would say that Krueger and Ross have given him the finest character arc of the series.
Thanks for following along with these recaps. Its been fun to review this series once again. For the final time, here are the Batcave files for Zatanna and The Joker.