All Associated Cover/Issue Images
The JSA All-Star’s Tomcat to the JSA’s Wildcat after seeing the JLA’s Congorilla: Dad, does very team have a talking animal?
Congorilla: I’ve looked at some of the Charlies who’ve been in the J.L.A. before us and you know what?… we’re not so bad.
Synopsis "The Dark Things Part Five"
The Starheart’s possession of Green Lantern Alan Scott and his children Jade and Obsidian has brought the massed forces of the JLA, JSA, and JSA All-Star’s to the Starheart’s lunar fortress. Even together they are hard pressed to counter the sheer power and multitude of the Starheart’s constructs. Now the siblings Jade and Obsidian have merged into a gestalt entity that expresses the Starheart’s unique power of darkness and light.
Mister Terrific recalls Supergirl and Power Girl to the Hall of Justice. He has deduced that the Starheart must be broadcasting a frequency of light that is photosynthetically corrupting susceptible individuals. He now needs Power Girl’s scientific expertese and super speed to assemble a device to block that frequency and allow her, Supergirl, Congorilla, and Lightning to return to the battle on the moon. The Starheart’s own return to that battle prompts a furious counter attack by the heroes. Jesse Quick almost overwhelms the possessed Alan Scott while Donna Troy and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner try to figure how to separate Jade/Obsidian. Hourman and the All-Star’s weight in against Starheart/Alan, but he throws them aside.
Doctor Fate tries to contain Jade/Obsidian, but they torn apart when the energy of the Entity pours through Jade temporary transforming her into a White Lantern. Jade hears the Entity’s voice tell her “Balance the darkness. Your brother will save your friends.” The siblings are lucid for a brief moment, but Obsidian is overcome again. Kyle captures Obsidian in an energy globe and hauls him away before he can rejoin with Jade. Batman then takes Jade to oneside and tells her that he thinks she’s the clue to freeing her father. The Starheart hasn’t been able to dominate her so she might be able to weaken it enough for her father to reassert his control. She taps into the chaotic side of the Starheart’s power and drains more of it into herself. It weakens the Starheart just enough for Alan Scott’s mind to assert itself and wrestle the Starheart under his control.
As the heroes go their separate ways Batman approaches Jesse Quick and asks her to join the Justice League. She agrees. However, not everything is so simple. Alan Scott has regained control of the Starheart, but his mastery is tenuous at best. A ripple of discord would be enough for him to lose control again. Jade and Obsidian must remain apart in order to stop them reforming into a hybrid least their merger overturns Scott’s control and releases the Starheart. Supergirl has left for her own patrol, but there is a hint that her own dark side still exists.
- Jesse Quick leaves the Justice Society and joins the Justice League.
- Jade can use her power to charge a Green Lantern ring.
- Alan Scott is now in control of the entire mass of the Starheart and not just the fragment that formed his original battery. This makes his significantly more powerful, but his control is tenuous at best.
- If Jade and Obsidian were to touch each other they’d merge into the hybrid gestalt again.
A mammoth seven-part story comes to end with a bang and a staccato series of twists and revelations. The conclusion comes rapidly and surprisingly briefly given the leisurely pace taken to get here (“a little too quick, a little too easy, and a little too fast” as Doug at CBR puts it). I’m afraid a lot of the details get lost along the way. Exactly where are they keeping the honking great Starheart – is Alan going to have it floating around after him like some sort of puppy dog or have they stashed it in storage somewhere. Maybe we’ll get answers in the post game wrap-up issues. Ralph at the Superman Homepage mulls over the questions thrown by by this issue. I must admit I was confused by which point Jade was meant to have “balanced the darkness” message as the gets the “Life returned” message before she’d syphoned the darkness from the Starheart.
Jim on IGN delivers an amusing, if sarky, summary of the entire crossover including the quip that “then 700 characters punched ill-defined green constructs for several issues”. Personally I thought the multitude of characters in this story was handled quite well and didn’t get too confusing – it’s like the Kingdom Come factor, you focus on the Generals and don’t worry about the background mob. However, the flocks of little thought boxes are getting a little confusion. Doug at CBR comments that,
This gives Robinson one more chance to go nuts with the chorus of thought boxes as the collection of costumed do-gooders gathers to reflect on what happened while planning out how to deal with it.
The problem with that chorus is that those obsure little logos are getting a bit blurry – still it’s better than some Brad Meltzer issues where we had to trace who was who based on foreground/background colour alone.
I had assumed that we’d get some sort of light show and scene of Jade and Obsidian separating, but ping there is Jade with only the dialogue to carry the details. The other White Lanterns seem to have had a more extreme experience during their vision, but Jade’s was almost gentle. The same thing happens with Alan Scott and the Starheart – a little struggling on his part and just ping he’s back. Not that I mind the return of Alan Scott, but it was a little anti-climatic – especially when we then rush into the Epilogue mid-page. They’d have been better off finishing the Cyborg/Red Tornado backup an issue early and using the extra-space for his concluding part.
You can tell we’re in the final part of a big story by the number of inkers on this issue. The normal duo are supported by three contemporaries. Luckily Mark Bagley’s bold style shines through and the effect is not as jarring as it could have been with a more delicate penciller (e.g. Ed Benes towards the end of his JLA run). A couple of reviewers commented that the art looked rushed this issue which may have something to do with the five inkers.
Overall a good, if muddled ending to a good, if muddled crossover.
|Reviews Portal||Comic Book Resources||Doug Zawisza||3/5|
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Page 2 – The upper most tower of the Starheart’s green fortress it topped by a large glowing crystal – this is the physical body of the Starheart. It’s never been entirely obvious whether the Starheart that has possessed Alan Scott was a purely mystical/energy entity of whether it had a physical body. The crystal on top of the castle would suggest that it still retains its physical presence.
Page 3 – Jesse is calling for Rick. That’s Rick Tyler (Hourman), her husband.
Page 4 – Kryptonians have quite a complex relationship with sunlight. They evolved under the light from a dull red star and have no more powers under that light than you or I do under our own sun. However, when Kryptonians are transplanted to Earth the intense sunlight of our yellow star supercharges them granting them extreme superpowers. Their cells operate like miniature solar batteries storing and processing the yellow sunlight. A superpowered kryptonian exposed to red star sunlight will immediately lose their powers or will slowly exhaust their stored yellow sunlight energy (it varies from story to story).
Whatever cellular process allows Kyptonians to absorb sunlight also makes them vulnerable to kryptonite radiation which weakens rather than strengthens them. Lex Luthor has even gone so far as to create a satellite which he used to direct very specific frequencies of sunlight at Superman. That allowed him to trigger or cut off Superman’s individual superpowers, but he has since abandoned that particular technology. Amid all this we now learn that the radiation of the Starheart is having a mild red kryptonite like effect on Power Girl. Odd, but as we see not without precedent. It doesn’t seem to have affected Supergirl.
These two women are actually the same person. It’s often forgotten – like Power Girl’s day job which surprisingly gets a reference here – but PG is actually an older version of Supergirl from a parallel universe. Power Girl’s alter ego is Karen Starr owner, as it states here, of Starrware Industries. That side of her life has been explored in her own series and is now tying into Generation Lost. Power Girl #13 showed Karen having to fight for control of her company after her accountant disappeared with the content’s of her company’s bank accounts. Her human alter-ego is an Anglicization of her Kryptonian name – Kara Zor-L – the family name is “L” (or “El” on Earth-0) meaning star and Kara becomes Karen.
Page 5 – This is an odd statement – “You and Charles on the team” – the only Charles on the JSA would have been Charles McNider, the original Doctor Mid-Nite, but he died before Michael Holt (Mister Terrific II) joined the JSA so they can’t have been on the team at the sametime. Its probably that she meant Pieter Cross, the current Doctor Mid-Nite.
Supergirl’s mother was Alura, the wife of Zor-El. They survived the destruction of Krypton and were captured by Brainiac and placed in the Bottle City of Kandor. Zor-El became the leader of Kandor during its time in the Bottle, but he was killed by a human terrorist shortly after the city was enlarged again. Alura took over leadership of the city and proved to be a stronger, harder leader than her husband. She was killed when Kandor was destroyed by a human suicide bomber.
Adult Kryptonians belong to one or other of the vocational Guilds – art, science, military, religious, worker. Zor-El was from the Artist Guild, Jor-El and Alura were part of the Science Guild, Kal-El (Superman) was made to serve in the Military Guild by Alura, and Kara Zor-El (Supergirl) choose followed her mother into the Science Guild.
Page 7 – It’s never explained what the Starheart wanted with Starman’s gem, but comparing it to the Crystal on page two and you can believe why it was attracted to it.
Page 8 – Kyle and Jade left each other in a sense. They’d been in space together, but she returned to Earth first. His absence or refusal to follow her can be seen as him abandoning her, conversely she took up with another man after refusing to wait any longer. He says. She says.
Pages 10-12 – White Lantern Jade. This scene takes place simultaneously with the White Lantern sequence in Brightest Day #7. I discuss the origins of the White Lantern here whilst talking about Maxwell Lord and Magog, but we’ve been waiting for Jade to have the same encounter. White Lantern Jade is shown on the variant cover for his issue by Ryan Sook.
The panel from Brightest Day #7 that matches this one is:
The figure shown behind Jade and Obsidian is Eclipso, an old villain who gains power from a cursed black diamond. He can only exist in the dark – or at least out of sunlight.
Page 13 – Kyle Rayner: “This is getting too Luke and Leia” is of course a reference to the twins from Star Wars who didn’t actually realise they are siblings until the final film.
Page 14 – Batman: “Helix Again” – The Helix first appeared in part three when Mister Miracle was guiding the JLA and JSA through the Starheart’s defences. It was part of the set-up that allowed Jade to deduce that her father’s mind was still at work creating order within the Fortress. Jesse’s thought box is a goof – her husband’s name is Rick not Rex – Rex is her father-in-law.
Page 17 – The Starheart Crystal upon the top of the Fortress, as shown on Page 2.
Page 20-21 – Alan Scott’s power levels have swung up and down over the years as his connection with the Starheart and waxed and waned. The Flash seems to be implying that he’s now back to the top of his game. How, when, or if, that gets played out will be interesting to see.
Page 24 – The Black Supergirl that is hinted about here relates back to something that happened immediately prior to the Infinite Crisis in Supergirl #3-5. Lex Luthor used a sample of black kryptonite to split Supergirl into two people. Black kryptonite is the youngest form in the comicbooks, but it relates back to the scene in Superman III where synthetic kryptonite splits the Christopher Reeves’ Superman into the good Clark Kent and the evil Superman. Black Kryptonite has the same effect on comic book kryptonians. It’s shown up in Smallville as well.
Ralph at the Superman Homepage spotted that Mark Bagley was having a joke with the readers – the Daily Planet globe reads Daily Bugle (the newspaper from Marvel’s Spider-Man) as Supergirl flies past.