DC’s latest crossover continues to be an enjoyable series, the only real problem with it is that it’s coming out at the same time as Infinity, which has raised the superhero event to another level, and this just feels like old news, albeit pretty good old news.
This issue opens with the long-awaited explanation of what happened to the Justice Leagues when the Crime Syndicate attacked, and like all good reveals, it seems obvious in retrospect. It turns out that Deathstorm attacked Firestorm, causing him to trap all of the other heroes (except Batman, Catwoman and Cyborg) inside of him. This explains why Jason Rusch appeared so shiftily and in Prison Scrubs in Justice League Of America #8, because the prison was his and Ronnie’s doing. All of this is being explained to Cyborg’s dad and T.O. Morrow by Batman and Catwoman, as they try to save Cyborg. It’s in this scene that Batman discovers what’s happened to Nightwing, that he’s been ‘outed’, and I have to say, I was a little bit disappointed with his very understated reaction. I know Batman is a pretty taciturn guy, but this revelation should be changing his entire world, hopefully a bigger reaction is forthcoming, perhaps when he and Lex Luthor come to blows next issue.
Lex’s role in this issue is to start putting together his team of villains who are resisting the Syndicate, and I think the way this group comes together is done pretty well, especially as it works in a couple of the tie-ins effectively. Lex and Bizarro are in some Metropolis Rubble, attempting to access a Lexcorp satellite (that the CSA couldn’t hack into) so they can see what their enemies are up to. It takes a while for Lex to get Bizarro to do his bidding, but eventually, he sees what Ultraman is doing, and that’s fighting Black Adam, as we saw in the last issue of Justice League. This fight was pretty great and hardcore, but it was a bit too short, plus, am I the only one who’s bored of every fight between a Superman-type and a Captain Marvel-type repeating what happened in Kingdom Come? Yes, blasting him with lightning is cool, we get it. Ultraman is too powerful for Black Adam, he smushes his jaw and throws him into the sea, but he notices he’s bleeding and needs some Kryptonite to heal himself. Lex is still watching though, and notices that Ultraman is avoiding the sun, so it looks like Lex is onto his big weakness.
The story then moves to Central City and Flash’s Rogues, who are refusing to obey Deathstorm and Power Ring’s order to destroy Central City. I think the Rogues are incredibly overrated personally, but I do like their unique ‘honourable villains’ schtick, and it makes a lot of sense for them to oppose the CSA, so I’ll forgive them just this once. Power Ring flips out and attacks, and in the battle, Deathstorm notices that the Rogues have had their DNA changed so that their powers are part of them, and he removes that from Captain Cold. I had no idea that their powers had changed, because I don’t read Flash, but I think it’s a good move to give him back his Gun and not have him actually be superpowered. The Rogues try to make their escape through Mirror Masters’ well, mirror but Deathstorm smashes it, trapping all of the Rogues inside the Mirrorverse except for Cold. Luckily, Cold has ended up in Metropolis, and right near Lex and Bizarro, which is pretty convenient I guess, but hey, this is comics.
Lex gets Bizarro to heat up the sea, which forces out Black Manta, who has the unconscious Black Adam in his grasp. Manta explains the reasons why he’s going up against the Syndicate, which are that, because they killed the only reason he was still alive (Aquaman, and his desire to kill him himself), he hates them and wants to take away their reason for living. It’s all explained better in his Villain’s Month one-shot, which was one of the best of all of those books, but basically, Black Manta is a bad-ass, and it’s awesome to see him get a prominent role here. Captain Cold reveals himself, says that he wants to take down the CSA too, and Lex’s new group is formed.
This issue was mainly moving things into places and setting up the main characters, but it was all well-written and featured some exciting, crossover-appropriate scenes. David Finch’s art continues to be solid, and I am really enjoying how this event does feel different at the same time as being a traditional Johns-style story. The fact that the villains are the heroes is making it seem more fresh than it would otherwise. I just hope it doesn’t all come down to the Justice League coming back and beating everyone.