Matt Kindt and the Martian Manhunter step up from their regular back-up feature and headline this issue of JLoA, and hey, what a surprise, the Justice Leagues aren’t really dead.
It turns out that the Crime Syndicate hasn’t actually brutally murdered all of the heroes, but instead, they are all trapped in some kind of mental prison. And who better to take a trip through the mind than the Martian Manhunter? He wakes up in a strange, green field, with only Stargirl for company, and they have no idea where they are. But then, Jason Rusch appears in an orange prison jumpsuit, acting all crazy (I’m guessing he’s had his mind mushed together with Ronnie Raymond’s) and begins to lead Martian Manhunter through the prison, where we see just what kind of punishment each Justice Leaguer is being put through.
Wonder Woman is forced to fight to save the lives of both Amazons and Humans to save the lives of both Steve Trevor and Superman, with Kindt really putting the central question of Wonder Woman’s allegiances to the fore. We see that Shazam is trapped inside a world with no consequences, where stuff he smashes and people who die come straight back, allowing for the literal inner child that is Billy Batson to be unleashed and get out of control. It felt like this was Kindt commenting on video games like GTA, where you are free to just do what you want, because the people don’t actually die. Superman’s prison is that of his guilt over killing Doctor Light, Green Lantern finds himself actually becoming a terrorist because of how distrusting the people were of him, and most disturbing of all, is the Flash’s prison. Flash’s pages here were really disturbing to me, as Barry tries to do everything in a day, to go faster and faster, but he’s not actually doing it, he’s just sitting there, going crazy. It was really freaky, and Doug Mahnke’s art really made it work, that page with Flash running everywhere had so many panels, it was dense and manic and did a great job at getting across Flash’s mental state.
Throughout the issue, there are teases of who or what is creating this prison, my guess is either a Martian Manhunter of Earth-3 (who is probably a White Martian) or Deathstorm, because Jason really was acting sketchy in this issue. In the end, with J’Onn deep in the bowels of the prison with Simon Baz, Stargirl discovers a way out, finding herself in the midst of Forever Evil. The moon is blacked out, Washington DC is trashed, etc.
This was a pretty decent tie-in, and it bodes well for the future of this event, big stuff, like the fate of the Justice League is being revealed here, so it’s not just pointless. I liked seeing the likes of Martian Manhunter and Stargirl play a larger role than usual, and Kindt did very well in coming up with creepy prisons for our heroes, and was ably assisted by Doug Mahnke’s fantastic art. If you’re enjoying the main Forever Evil book, pick up this tie in, but then you probably were anyway. I did feel like at times the dialogue was a bit stilted, but other than that, this was good.