By Alex Ross, Doug Braithwaite, Jim Krueger, & Klein. Cover by Ross.
Justice was a 12-issue limited (or maxi) series (published bi-monthly) released in 2005-2007. It was conceived by Ross to be a “Superhuman war. The superhuman war.” Because I haven’t read this since it was first published, I wanted to reexamine this series. To read previous posts, click the link.
Captain Marvel, despite his worry that he might be killing Superman, throws the Man of Steel into the sun, and wishes him good luck.
Ray Palmer tells his wife, Jean, that he may be the last Justice League member who is alive. After Jean leaves, the nurse attacks Ray, but he uses his size changing ability to escape and then attack the nurse, who is actually Giganta, by diving into her eye. This causes Giganta to fall out of the hospital room and land on Jean’s car.
Given the choice between waiting the seven hours it will take the ring to run out of power and spending eternity inside the ring as electronic impulses, Hal commands his ring to take him inside.
The Martian Manhunter leads Hawkman and Hawkgirl to Toyman’s factory, and then he departs for Superman’s Fortress.
Luthor and Brainiac discuss Captain Marvel’s interference and the next stage of their plan. The world’s media continue to highlight the good the super-villains have brought to the world and how the Justice League have seemingly abandoned them.
Superman bursts out of the sun and he and Captain Marvel head back toward Earth.
Wonder Woman arrives at the batcave, discovering that Poison Ivy is there. Diana fends off Ivy’s attack and frees Batman.
The Hawks enter Toyman’s warehouse, discovering it’s also a factory producing Brainiac doubles.
Superman and Captain Marvel approach the Justice League satellite, which then explodes, leaving Marvel to wonder about Red Tornado.
Batman electrocutes Wonder Woman, but she wraps her lasso around him, causing him to stop as Diana falls to the floor. He then punches Poison Ivy. Gorilla Grodd, through a mind-controlled Alfred, threatens to kill him, saying, “You have no idea what’s coming”.
John Stewart arrives at Ferris Aircraft, looking for Hal Jordan. Thomas Kalmaku points to the sky, and John is not amused. Inside the power ring, Hal tries to get the ring to create autonomous, human simulacra, but it doesn’t understand. Hal wonders how long it will be “before I let space take me”.
Dr. Magnus examines Red Tornado’s body, the damage to which Magnus has determined was self-inflicted. Magnus is able to repair Tornado enough that he can speak. The android tells them that, because of the fish, he found Aquaman in Argentina.
The Flash continues his race around the world, repeating to himself that he cannot stop.
While I like the cover image of the Atom punching what I thought was Poison Ivy’s eye (which is not what happens in the issue, of course), the reflection of Ivy in the eye confused me. I don’t understand what Ross was trying to accomplish with this image, other than it looks kind of cool.
I liked the scenes with Captain Marvel and Superman. Marvel can “talk” to Superman in space because of magic, and we get that two-page splash of Superman flying out of the sun, presumably cured of the infestation. Later, as the League satellite explodes, there’s a panel of Superman’s face that, to me, expresses Superman’s growing despair. He’s been attacked by people who knows his secret, he’s nearly killed and mind-controlled, and he sees the League’s “home” destroyed. If anything, Ross should have played up this aspect more. In trying to get across the plot, he’s ignoring or glossing over the emotional toll this should be having on the characters.
Or perhaps Ross wanted to focus on that despair just a bit through Hal because this is the most we’ve really experienced with Green Lantern in this series so far, which makes me wonder why Ross wanted to sideline Hal this much. Is it, as Hal himself said, because he is unto a god and Ross wanted to avoid any deus ex machina?
There a few interesting details revealed in this issue. When Luthor and Brainiac discuss adjusting their plan, Grodd asks if he should “send the dream to Black Adam?”. So, just like that, the dream sequence we saw in issue one is simply a ruse, not motivated out of desperation. Bummer. Second, during that same discussion, Brainiac tells Luthor that if any superhero remains after their plan, “they will come with me and my people”. I thought he was referring to the supposed scores of people who are willingly asking to live in those black spheres, but perhaps it was a reference to the Brainiac androids that Toyman is building? Finally, despite that the final page showing the Flash running around the world still was not a good ending to the issue, seeing him so disheveled was effective. His face looks like an old man’s and his costume is baggy around his body, making it look like his constant movement is eating him alive.
In the entry for the Atom, Batman calls Palmer a genius, but questions his motivation for fighting crime because it was out of love for his wife. As Batman decrees, “We cannot have relationships.” Then, perhaps ironically considering he is discussing a man whose power is shrinking, he brings up a larger, philosophical issue about the nature of crime. He calls it a “choice, a matter of will”. And then he goes one step further into judgement: “Modern sociology is the crime of suggesting that it is not”. I wonder how much of this is Alex Ross’s interpretation of the character or his own outlook?
As far as the villain entry, I relearned (because I had forgotten the fact when I first read this issue nearly 20 years ago) that Giganta was evolved from an ape using Gorilla City technology. Batman wonders why she and the Atom never crossed path because of their thematic size-changing abilities.