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Batman: In fact, there’s too much happening simultaneously for all of this to be unrelated.
Green Lantern: Really? I’d call it a typical Wednesday.
Synopsis "Stars of Tomorrow"
Previously: The City of the Future was meant to be a shining beacon of cooperation built in the deserts of the Arabian peninsula. Members of the JLA and The 99 had gathered for its dedication, but the crowd suddenly rioted and Superman was uncharacteristically unhelpful. The JLA and the 99 were also collaborated to find out why Darr, one of the 99 with the power to project waves of pain, could not control his powers. Investigating an earthquake in South America leads Hawkman to meet another trio from the 99 who tell him that worldwide the geological upheavals are being caused by a newly activated Noor Stone.
Superman simply watches the riot unfold. Noora’s light reveals something unusual on his neck, but he throws Jabbar aside when he tries to inspect it. Superman then proclaims “You’ll destroy each other… all of you. It’s inevitable. And I can’t bear to watch.” before rocketing skywards and out of sight. Lucius Fox and Dr Ramzi seek shelter from the riot. Meanwhile Dr Albert Chou contacts his boss, Rughal, to tell him that unfortunately the “microinfestation has not spread to the entire population.” He then initiates the “Crinoid Protocol” which seals the City of the Future inside a massive black dome. The only channels to the outside world go through a communications bunker that Chou controls.
Outside the 99′s base in Seville, Spain Doctor Light tries pacify a similar riotous crowd while inside the Atom explores Darr’s circulatory system searching for whatever is triggering his superpower. Jami helps by constructing a microscopic submarine for the Atom who uses it to find that Darr’s Noor Stone had been implanted inside his body. He almost looses contact the others, but manages to extract the Stone and shut off Darr’s powers. Jami discovers that the Stone went undetected because it was being masked by an unknown extraterrestrial energy. Atom then identifies the source of the energy as a tiny starfish.
The 99′s arch-enemy Rughal watches from the safety of his Hong Kong offices as the world goes insane. Batman does the same from the JLA Watchtower, but he refuses to stand by passively. He asks Hawkman to fly straight upwards so that he can see the shifted landscape that’s been masked by the Noor Stone’s mystical interference. The JLA’s winged wonder is shocked to see a star shaped pattern with a large central sink hole. Batman then proclaims that “There no doubt now. This is not a random series of events. It’s an invasion. Starro the Conqueror has declared war on Earth.”
Well the second issue of this crossover between DC Comics’s Justice League and Teshkeel Comics’ The 99 is certainly better than the first part. We’ve got past the painful introductions and can focus on some good old-fashioned super-heroics. The first issue so underwhelmed many sites that they’ve not even bothered to review this second issue. Even Comics Vine and iFanboy don’t have any contributed reviews, it’s only the speciality/completest like this site and the Superman Homepage which have posted reviews.
Even the quips don’t seem so bad and seeing the Atom bounding around Innerspace style inside Darr was fun. The double page splash of him grabbing the Noor Stone looks great. I was wondering about this line-up for the Justice League and was on the edge of mentioning it as a group cherry picked to be more diverse. However, I then realised that this is essentially Dwayne McDuffie’s pre-Blackest Night line-up (Stewart, Hoshi, etc) and that’s a group I really liked. Maybe that’s a sign of how long this series has been gestating.
The 99 remain interesting characters who are poorly served by this crossover. The most interesting 99 character is Jami as he’s about the only one who actually gets something to do something other than get swatted by Superman. I’m beginning to think that this story will work best as a collected edition where they can put quarter-page bios of each character in the back for the interested reader to refer to.
And for that matter, this would be a brilliant choice for a digital day-and-date distribution. The 99 comics are already available on the99.org to buy as PDFs so it would make sense for DC to try to trap into some of the people who are already buying online comics.
|Community Reviews||iFanboy||24 Pulls||4/5|
|Character Site||Superman Homepage||Ralph Silver||3 (story) & 3 (art)/5|
|Character Site||Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||3/5|
Assuming we all know from last issue’s annotations who everybody in the JLA and 99 are…
Page 2 – She notices something on a man’s spine. A small, purple thing – our first hint in this issue of a Starro Starfish. You’ve read the synopsis and the character list so you know that the big reveal at the end of this issue is that Starro The Conqueror is attacking the Earth. The first actual appearance of the JLA’s starfish opponent was on the cover of issue one where the City of the Future teams were shown staring up as its five arm shadow was projected over them.
Starro was the Justice League’s very first opponent way back in Brave and the Bold #28 (May 1960). In its/his traditional form Starro is a giant nuclear-powered, purple-starfish with the ability to create miniature face hugging duplicates of itself through which it can control people. There are two variants on this form. The first was introduced in JLA #22-23 (Sept-Oct 1998) by Grant Morrison who showed a new race of Star Conquerors that were cosmetically similar to Starro, but were continent-sized. They swarmed in from space and attached themselves over a planet while telepathically feeding on the inhabitants. The second variant was seen in “The Tornado’s Path” (Brad Meltzer’s first story arc) where the normal facehugger was replaced by small 2-3 inch wide starfish that attached to the back of the neck. It’s that second type which appears to be on the back of this man’s neck.
Page 3 – Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth compels anybody caught by it to literally and metaphorically tell the truth. You can’t lie when caught by it and that includes deceiving yourself.
Page 7 – “She’s not going to hold–” is a very Scotty thing to say.
Page 9 – The Crinoid Protocol – Crinoidea is a class of sea creatures (latin “lily form”) which include feather stars, a starfish like animal. Technically true starfish belong to the class Asteroidea, but both Crinoidea and Asteroidea belong to the phylum Echinodermata.(Ain’t Wikipedia great).
Page 13 – The monitor behind Batman shows events from around the world. Top-left is the scene in South American from the end of last issue with Hawkman and Fattah, Mumita, Rafie of the 99 investigating the triggering of a new Noor Stone. The other monitors show DC heroes. The top-middle ones show Firestorm (Jason Rusch) and the Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes). The right montior shows Black Adam and the bottom monitor shows August General In Iron, Ghost Fox Killer, and one of the Seven Deadly Brothers from DC China’s Great 10.
“Really? I’d call it a typical Wednesday.” — US comic books arrive in stores on a Wednesday so all their adventures could be said to happen on that day. There is a slight art blunder in that panel as the dome over the City of the Future is still shown as transparent despite it being enclosed just a few pages before hand.
Page 14-15 – It’s hidden by the Noor Stone, but that’s a pink/purple five armed starfish behind the action. Focus too closely on one part of the page and you’ll miss it.
Page 18 – Rughal was one of the Guardians of the Noor Stones when Muslim Spain was reconquered by the Christians. He tried to download all their knowledge, but only managed to make himself immortal and to scatter the Stones throughout the world. He’s now gunning for Ramzi and the 99 as he wants the stones for himself.
Page 19 – Jami’s apparatus makes him look a bit like Marvel’s Doctor Octopus.
Page 21 - Mesosphere is the part of the atmosphere just above the stratosphere – about 40 miles up.
Page 22 - I was going to describe what that sink hole looks like to me, but I don’t think its necessary. The size of the imprint is similar to that of the Star Conquerors from JLA #22-23.