All Associated Cover/Issue Images
Jami: Firestorm? I’ve got all his action figures. He’s cool.
Samda: Wonder Lady! You should come with us.
Dr Ramzi: It’s Wonder Woman, Samda.
Samda: I like my way better.
Synopsis "Star Power"
Previously: Strange weather patterns and incidents of violent crowd behaviour are spreading across the world. The Justice League has teamed-up with the 99 to quell and investigate these dangers as it now looks like they are being caused by Starro the Conqueror (an enemy of the Justice League) and Rughal (an enemy of the 99).
From the JLA’s Watchtower Batman relates to the 99 the Justice League’s experiences with Starro. He describes it as an “extraterrestrial hive-mind”, but he admits the microscopic spores found by the Atom are something new. The Atom radios Firestorm for help in tracing the spread of the spores, but they discover that Green Lantern John Stewart and Doctor Light have already been infected.
Batman’s studies the Starro spores and discovers that they’ve infested the entire world and are causing social order to disintegrate everywhere. He theorizes that only emotional distress will sever Starro’s control, but he has to do so on a planetary scale. Luckily Batman has an idea how. He then changes into a new “Safe Suit” and teleports to the science enclave on Oolong Island where the Doom Patrol are battling menaces let loose by Starro’s madness. Meanwhile Rughul, the 99′s arch-enemy, speaks to the Starro mind and reminds it that he entered their partnership of his own free will and that he still retains that free will. Rughul recognises that Starro’s persistence will eventually reduce humanity “to scrabbling insects”. He has agreed to hasten that end so long as he can dominate whatever is left over.
In Brazil Hawkman, Rafie and two more of the 99 try to reach the terror-stricken Noor Stone possessor who is causing the earthquakes. Dr Ramzi reaches out from the City of the Future through a triad-link to Fattah (a teleporter) who is in Brazil with Hawkman and gets him to shuffle the 99′s deck – to put the right groups of three in place. He substitutes Jabbar and Noora for Sami and Batina. Ramzi has them cloaks his group so they can make it to the City of the Future’s communications bunker without obstruction from the rioting crowd.
When Firestorm arrives at the 99′s base he defeats GL and Doctor Light. With six of the 99 back at base they have enough for two triad-links, but something goes wrong and Firestorm appears to explode.
Over all this cross over is really shaping up into something interesting. I must admit that I’d left it on the back burner in terms of these reviews, but that may have been something of a misjudgment. These stories are good, solid superhero fair and there really isn’t much wrong with them. However, it felt, as Ralph at the Superman Homepage says, the quality of this issue “fell back” when compared with last issue.
The biggest criticism I have of this issue is that the 99 are still something of a cypher – to readers from the JLA side at least – and the benefits of the mysterious triad-link, whilst constantly pointed out, aren’t dealt with canonically on the page – we don’t seem to see any of the 99 do anything inside a triad-link that we didn’t know they couldn’t do outside of one. Other events occur almost randomly only to be explained away later on – the randomly exploding Firestorm is a good case in point. Next issue we’ll learn it’s something to do with his Firestorm Matrix, but no where along the lines has it been established that this was a big deal or is it even hinted that he was a gestalt entity.
Why do I get the feeling that all the other characters are going to be running around for the next few issues while Batman steadily saves the day? I rather like having Bruce Wayne back in the JLA – if only for this out of continuity crossover – there is a certain directness to his operations that you don’t get with Dick Grayson.
Hopefully the rest of this series will be more like issue #2 and less like issues #1 and #3.
|Community Reviews||iFanboy||20 Pulls||3/5|
|Character Site||Superman Homepage||Ralph Silver||1 (story) & 2 (art)/5|
|Character Site||Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||2.5/5|
Page 2 - Past encounters with Starro are shown behind the Batman. Bottom right is the latest, a humanoid calling himself Starro the Conqueror who has been the recurring villain in the REBELs series. Uniquely he seems to have been able to reverse the mental domination and actually control the starfish hive-mind. Top-left is the Justice League very first encounter with Starro from Brave and the Bold #28 (that was also their own first appearance). Top right could be any one of a number of appearances.
Page 6-7 – More monitors behind Batman. Staring bottom left these are:
- The 99 Steps Foundation from the previous scene.
- The City of Tomorrow – Wonder Woman, Jabbar, Noora, and Samda. Despite that Jami being unable to contract the city just a few pages before
- The Teen Titans’ Wonder Girl and Beast Boy fighting Shimmer and Mammoth from the Fatal Five.
- Elasti-Woman, Robotman, and Negative Man from the Doom Patrol
- Ghost Fox Killer, Seven Deadly Brothers, and August General-In-Iron from China’s Great Ten.
- Red Star and the Rocket Red Brigade from Russia
- Batina the Hidden from the 99, shown later in this issue.
Page 8 – New suit for Batman. Funky.
Page 9 – I shouldn’t have to point out that there are star fish in Rughul’s fish tank and that there is one on the back of his neck.
Page 10 – Another flash back. It’s a classic League line-up (Hal and Diana’s costumes) so it isn’t a recent adventure.
Page 11 – Nth Metal is a type of alloy created on the planet Thanagar. It has several unusual energy conductive abilities, but its greatest asset is that it can be used to create an anti-gravity effect. Hawkman’s harness is laced with it, but he needs the wings to give him stability and direction.
Page 12 – Noor Stones. These are the corner-stone of the 99′s cosmology. These are stones infused with ancient power which can be activated/bonded to particular people. There are 99 of them, ergo the 99′s title, and they have particular properties to do with triads. The powers from three Noor Stones can be joined in a “triad link” which creates a telepathic union between their possessors and greatly enhances their powers.
Page 15 - Unlike in first issue the powers of these new characters are not explained.
- Sami the Listener is Nizar Babikr, a Sudanese youth now living in Paris. He was born mute, but the bracelet his mother gave him contains a Noor Stone and that extenuate his own hearing to superhuman levels. While unable to generate sound himself Sami has occasionally manipulated ambient sounds around him.
Batina the Hidden is Rola Hadramy from Yemen. She is the female member of the 99 and has stealth abilities. She is one of the few 99 characters who hides her identity. I’ve seen her costume described as a burqa, but I’m not entirely sure if that’s technically right. She veiled certainly and quite frankly isn’t wearing anything different from a masked Japanese ninja or any similar comic book character.
Page 17 – Oolong Island is from the DC Universe. In the modern stories it’s a super science enclave – a former base for a large group of criminal super scientists. Most of the headliners have left and it’s now controlled by Cale (a former enemy of Wonder Woman). She brought in the Doom Patrol to act as peace keepers and to keep the remaining madness in order.
Page 19 - Firestorm. As shown on the next page this is the combination of Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch from Brightest Day.