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Synopsis "Breakdown" (20-pages)
Previously: The Justice League International was the UN’s idea of a transparent, public superhero team answerable to the people and their politicians. Booster Gold’s team had been thrown in at the deep end against the Signal Men before they won a messy victory. The UN’s Security Group was narrowly convinced to continue their sponsorship and a massive press event was organised to unveil the JLI to the world. However, their entrance was immediately followed by a massive explosion.
Flames and billowing smoke obscure the UN pPaza as Booster Gold and Guy Gardner carryÂ Fire and other wounded survivors to safety. They are met by Batman who was watching from a nearby rooftop and Godvia who had been shielded by the General. The explosion was caused by bombs placed under the stage, but energy creatures have now started attacking the survivors. Â Guy destroys them, but their unseen creator, Lightweaver, is prevented from sending in more by his master who tells him to remain out of sight. Vixen is so badly injured that Batman has Guy take her directly to hospital. Booster finds Ice inside an iceÂ cocoonÂ within the flames and hands her over to aÂ waitingÂ ambulance.Â The only people unaccounted for are the August General and Gavril Ivanovich (Rocket Red). Booster starts to go back for them, but he stops when he sees the General carrying Gavril’s body out of the flames. He is dead.
Godvia and Booster can’t believe they’ve been decimated by a simple bomb, but Batman cuts through their thoughts and gets people moving. Booster is sent back to look for more civilian survivors while Batman sets out to find the people responsible.Â Guy Gardner is still at the hospital when Ice is taken straight into surgery. Guy calls out to the doctors that she’s “special”, but he’s then taken to task by a bystander who reminds him that all the injured were special to somebody.Â Booster has Skeet’s download any useful data from a fragment of Gavril’s armour. He, the General, and Godvia, then continue pulling survivors and bodies out of the wreckage. Two of the last bodies Booster finds those of Andre Biggs and Emerson Esposito, the JLI’s civilian liaisons to the UN.Â The three heroes finally make it to the hospital to learn that Fire’s in a coma and that Ice and Vixen are still in surgery.
Booster breaks the news to Guy that Gavril, Andre, and Emerson are dead, but he’s overhead by the bystander who had earlier taken Guy to task. It turns out that the man is Emerson Esposito’s father. He accuses Booster of attracting trouble wherever he goes. It seems that Chairwoman Bao of the UN agrees. She says that the UN isÂ rescindingÂ the JLI’s charter and that creating them was a mistake (“All you did was bring death and destruction to the doorstep of the United Nations.”) An angry Booster walks away before he says something he’ll regret, but he’s ambushed by Lightweaver as he leaves the hospital. The villain admits to being with those responsible for the UN bombing and then knocks Booster to the ground. Booster sees a familiar bat-shaped silhouette coming to his aid. However, this one belongs not to Batman, but to Batwing!
This issue plays out the ramifications of last issue’s explosions and follows in detail how Booster and his team respond to the survivors. Its an interesting change of pace, almost like one of those TV episodes that runs in real time. I generally liked it, but the addition of Lightweaver felt unnecessary. The semi-realistic disaster tone was instantly wiped away by a multi-coloured wannabe Green Lantern. The idea of the JLI facing terrorists and anarchists could be great, but these generic villains just distract from what could be a really interesting and dark plotline.
Now let me get this out of the way. We’ve all seen Mythbusters do their explosion experiments. The four unshielded heroes – Ice, Vixen, Fire, and Godvia – would have probably died instantly, which to be fair they almost did. Only Godvia walked away as she was conveniently “shielded” by the General. Sorry, doesn’t work that way in an explosion. The pressure from the blast wave isn’t direct, it’d still of killed her. Nevertheless, its slightly worrying that it i three of the four female members of the team who are taken to hospital. Fire, Vixen, and Ice hadn’t done a whole lot in this series, but it doesn’t quite feel right to have a JLI without Fire and Ice.
I can understand the armoured GeneralÂ surviving, but for some reason Rocket Red’s armour just breaks down and stops working! I don’t understand it. The Rocket Red armour should have shielded Gavril, he should have been one of the most well protected. Something is definitely been setup here.Â Now if I was a conspiracy nut I’d be questing whether Mr Maxwell Lord’s Checkmate — yeah, they’re back the in pages of OMAC — isn’t involved in this anarchist group as a way of securing Checkmate’s position as the UN’s premier global pease agency.
Surveying the Internets
Aaron Lopresti takes every opportunity to remind readers that the devastation resulting from the terrorist explosion has consequences. Lopresti punctuates most of the revelations that Jurgens piles onto his characters with images appropriate to the mood and situation.
Booster yet again stands out as the emotional crux of the whole issue. His reaction to the situation is emotive and resonates with the readership. Even though heâ€™s been hurt, watched his team mates get rushed to hospital and dug dead friends out of the rubble he still continues to believe in the JLI.
This issue is attempting to be the culminating point in JLI’s history, with hints of imminent deaths, established deaths and critical conditions. But never does the tension reach the crescendo it’s trying for.
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