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Synopsis "Legends Part Two"
Previously in Part One: An accident has thrown Hawkgirl, the Flash, J’onn J’onzz and Green Lantern into a parallel world, another Earth, that appears to be stuck in the 1950s. The heroes of this world, the Justice Guild (the Streak, Catman, Black Siren, the Green Guardsman, and Tom Turbine), team-up with the Justice Leaguers to battle a group of local villains called the Injustice Guild. However, not everything is as wholesome as it seems. J’onn has been racked with painful visions of a nuclear war and Hawkgirl has just discovered a row of gravestones that seem to mark the graves of the Justice Guild – the same heroes they are allied with.
Green Lantern refuses to believe Hawkgirl’s discovery of the Justice Guild’s graves and flies off. Hawkgirl goes after him leaving J’onn to watch the living “Justice Guild”. At the Injustice Guild’s headquarters Sir Swami, Sportsman, and the Music Master gloat over their successful robberies, but they are no closer to resolving which of them will get to devise a scheme to destroy the Justice Guild. The stalemate is broken when Doctor Blizzard arrives with the Black Siren and the Flash imprisoned in a block of ice. He tells the Flash that he has “much bigger plans” than just killing them.
Hawkgirl finds Green Lantern kneeling by the graves. Seeing them with his own eyes convinces him, but his grief turns to anger and he returns to the city, determined to find out who the Guild really are. They stop ice cream vendor they saw driving around when they first arrived. He avoids Lantern’s questions even when it’s pointed out that he doesn’t actually sell any ice creams and is just driving around aimlessly. He pleads “Please no more questions, he might hear you!” and drives away.
The Justice Guild are concerned about their colleagues disappearance, but are distracted when they receive a telephone call from the police chief telling them that the Injustice Guild has just robbed the Seaboard City Mint. The Justice Guild catches up with the Injustice Guild’s escaping blimp, but they find that the Injustice Guild had tied the Flash and Siren to the outside of the balloon as human shields. The heroes cannot approach the blimp from the air while the villains are on guard (J’onn, Tom Turbine, and the Green Guardsman are individually knocked back). The Catman takes his motorcycle to the roof top of a nearby building and launches himself on to the top of the blimp. He then rappels into the cabin beneath and starts brawling with the villains.
Green Lantern and Hawkgirl’s investigations take them to the city library where they find that all the books are blank. They then try the newspaper archives in the basement, but the step down just lead to a blank wall. Hawkgirl knocks through the wall and they find themselves in a subway station. There is wreckage and rubble everywhere, the trains are torn off their rails, and everything is riddled with bullet holes. They find a discarded newspaper with headlines “Peace talks break down” and “War Near.” The date on the newspaper is forty years ago, the same day as the last Justice Guild comic in Green Lantern’s universe.
Back at the fight with the Injustice Guild, the Flash uses the points on his ear pieces to puncture the blimp and it begins deflating. The cabin beneath the blimp rocks violently throwing Sir Swami out of the door to the waiting J’onn J’onzz. Tom Turbine pulls the Flash and Black Siren free and Catman bundles the rest of the helpless villains out of the door into a platform created by the Green Guardsman. Seconds later the blimp crashes to the ground. The criminals are handed over to the police.
The victorious Justice Guild, Flash, and J’onn return to the mansion with Ray Thompson, the Guild’s sidekick who is enthusiastically retelling every part of the adventure, to find a very serious Green Lantern and Hawkgirl waiting for them. Lantern demands to know who they are and shows them another old newspaper with the headline “JGA Killed In Battle.” The Guild are surprised by the accusations, but don’t immediately deny it. They suddenly get another hotline call from the police telling them there is a giant robot attacking the city, but Green Lantern stops them from leaving. He details the evidence to them and then concludes “your world is an illusion, a living memory of a civilisation destroyed 40-years ago when the Justice Guild gave their lives for this Earth.”
Any time that somebody has questioned the illusion a convenient distraction appears – e.g. the phone call from the police. J’onn finally pieces it together and suggests that they ask Ray what is going on. He forces Ray to drop his disguise and reveals that Ray is a powerful mutant created by the radioactive fallout from the nuclear war. He used his powers to recreate the world as it had been in the comics of his youth. He accuses the Justice League of ruining everything and then summons the robot monster to attack the mansion. The Guild instinctively attack the robot leaving the League to right off Ray’s attacks. Ray has the League at his mercy when the Green Guardsman notices their predicament.
The Justice Guild realise that defeating Ray will dispel their existence, but they refuse to leave the League to his mercy – as the Streak says “We died once for this world and we can do it again.” Ray throws them aside with his power, but the Guild persist and relentlessly pound on his force shield. The onslaught is too much for him and Ray’s domination over the world is erased. The bright, clean city is replaced by bombed out ruins. The Streak salutes to Green Lantern as the Guild fades away. Even the decoder rings that the Guild gave the League turn to dust. But to the League’s surprise not all the inhabitants of Seaboard City are illusions. Some, like the Ice Cream seller, the Mayor, and Police Chief, were real people who were trapped in Ray’s illusion for forty-years. They are shell-shocked, but thank the Justice League for saving them from their waking nightmare.
When the Justice League first arrived Tom Turbine mentioned that he had built an inter-dimensional gateway, but he had never found a power source. Luckily for the League, Tom had constructed the gateway before he was killed so it is still standing in the ruins of the Justice Guild’s mansion. Green Lantern manages to briefly power it using his power ring and the Leaguers to return to their own Earth. Later, Hawkgirl comforts Green Lantern who grieves for the heroes he had never known were real.
The Streak’s salute to Green Lantern.
The ending is pretty dark when you think about it. That world doesn’t look like there is any vegetation, sanitation, fresh water, or food for the inhabitants. They’ll be dead in a matter of days without of the Justice League’s help.
The second part of this story is possibly stronger than the first. Part one had a lot of sight-seeing going on that, while great fun, is surpassed by the pathos that this episode brings. The mystery behind the Justice Guild’s Earth plays out nicely and is surprisingly dark for a first season story. There is an argument that DC should have allowed the producers to use the original Justice Society, but I don’t think that would have improved the story. Having completely different characters gives a cleaner break between the League and the Guild.
You can really feel for Phil LaMarr’s Green Lantern, he’s already confessed that he’s an old comic book fan so he’s our way into this world. I also like how Hawkgirl takes the Green Guardsman’s recommendation from the first part to heart. She starts Green Lantern’s investigation and works with him to find the solution – not unlike their partnership in “War World”.
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