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Donna Troy: When we were in the Teen Titans and Titans it was as much about us fighting our stable of villains — family members a lot of the time who had it in for us — as it was fighting crimes and saving the world. Now it’s bigger. Sure, the JLA’s got its villains, but it’s way more about the world and mankind and the big stuff, and that is the big difference.
Donna Troy: Jason Todd… the Red Hood to you guys…
Batman: Yeah, I think I’ve heard of him.
Synopsis "JLA: Omega - Part 1: Worlds Collide"
Supergirl and Jesse Quick make light work of their duties around the Justice League Watchtower by racing each other at superspeed. Their discussion on how each of the Leaguers has suffered a personal tragedy is interrupted by the arrival of the Green Lantern from Earth-9 (the Tangent Universe) who pleads “… help me. My world in dead.” Jade, Donna, and Batman are recalled to the Hall of Justice, but Congo Bill is looking for the missing Starman. The Green Lantern describes how a doomsday device left behind by Alexander Luthor is destroying the Crime Syndicate’s Anti-Matter Earth. The Syndicate sought to save their world by siphoning the doomsday energies to Earth-9, but that only slowed the destruction of their own world.
The Syndicate suddenly burst into the Hall of Justice with Owlman shouting “Kill Them All”. The League and Syndicate pair-off against their opposites. The Syndicate has been on the JLA’s Earth for a while, but the Earth-9 Lantern’s arrival has forced them to act. Batman notices that Owlman is missing from the melee and goes after him. He finds him in the morgue, but is ambushed by Doctor Impossible and his faux New Gods. The rest of the League are too busy to notice Owlman and Batman’s absence. Jade discovers that she can drain Power Ring’s ring, but she goes too far and begins to unwittingly drain his life force. Donna and Jesse fight Superwoman while Jade does after Johnny Quick. Supergirl and Ultraman take their own brawl to the skies above Washington.
Owlman intends to resurrect Alexander Luthor and force him to turn off the doomsday machine that is destroying his Earth. Doctor Impossible’s crew is working for Owlman. They have scavenged whatever remnants of New Genesis and Apokolips technology they could gather to create a Multiverse Tower / Resurrection Machine powered by the vibrational patterns of people from three different universes (namely Owlman, Hunter, and the captured Blue Jay). However, Doctor Impossible double crosses Owlman and Hunter pushes Luthor’s corpse aside. The machine’s energies surge through Hunter transforming him into somebody else. Tender Mercy and Neon Black assume that this new figure is their Lord Darkseid returned to life, but the newcomer kills them and gloats, “Darkseid? … Not even close!”
- Ultraman is still alive (after the events of Final Crisis) and the original Johnny Quick and Power Ring have returned (mirroring the events of Flash: Rebirth and Green Lantern: Rebirth).
- The Crime Syndicate are beginning to become aware that their history/causality is malleable.
- Super Woman is the last Amazon as she killed the others.
As ever, opinions of the direction of this series are split - Jesse @ IGN thought that the book “continues to languish”, but Comic Book Heretic says “finally I can recommend this series again”, Anj @ Supergirl CCB says the series is on “the precipice of some very good stories” and Greg at CBR wishes this has been Robinson’s first issue. Greg even observes that
Jesse Quick and Supergirl’s opening scene is classic superhero material, but there’s an ease about it that hasn’t been present up until now in Robinson’s “Justice League of America.”
Ralph @ Superman Homepage describes the same scene:
There is a spirit of fun as they go about their chores; but there is also a real spirit of camaraderie in evidence. When Supergirl expresses loneliness and sadness over the loss of her parents and the destruction of New Krypton, Jessie is empathetic. She really emphasizes that Supergirl can count on her support and the support of the other League members
The general feeling is that we’ve moved past the bruised Cry For Justice and Blackest Night JLA and the roster implosion that immediately followed. The choice to send Starman and Congorilla on walkabout gives Robinson and Bagley the chance to focus down on five “replacement” Leaguers. Bringing in the Crime Syndicate serves to highlight their station and to reinforce their legitimacy.
A linking theme with all the characters involved in this issue have is that they are in some way a duplicate of another character. This JLA is based on the classic League template, but with different characters in the normal positions. The Crime Syndicate are an evil-duplicate of the League. Doctor Impossible’s mob are evil-duplicates of the New Gods. Even Blue Jay is an explicit duplicate of a Marvel Comics character. All credit to Robinson in taking the accusation that his Leaguer are replacements and running with the idea to its logical extent.
The apparent destruction of the Tangent Earth was rather concerning. I say apparent as this is only the opening chapter. Wayland @ A Comic Book Blog sarcastically asks:
Now the Tangent Universe is decimated to show how bad things are. Do we NEED more hero deaths, especially from James “Kill ‘em all unless they were in Starman” Robinson?
Except Robinson has a habit of killing off even those characters who were in Starman. It’s odd how second string characters either get to shine or murdered in James Robinson stories. We even see the deaths of Tender Mercy and Neon Black at the end of this issue – two great characters he’d introduced just within the last year. You sometimes get the feeling that he’s the only writer who cares that these character are out there to be killed.
The twist with the resurrection of one villain being replaced by another reminds me of the end of Justice League Unlimited. This time we get a double twist as neither the Crime Syndicate or Anti-New Gods (they really need a better collective name) are expecting the Omega Man. I’m a big fan of Multiverse stuff, but this issue was something of a whirlwind. You either have to roll with not knowing all the details or be driven insane by it. Yet for all its apparent complexity this is a cracking story.
|Reviews Portal||Comic Book Resources||Greg McElthatton||3.5/5|
|Reviews Portal||IGN||Jesse Schedeen||4.5/10|
|Community Reviews||Comics Vine User Reviews||Av. of 4 reviews||3.5/5|
|Community Reviews||iFanboy||254 Pulls||3.6/5|
|Character Site||Supergirl Comic Book Commentary||Anj||A|
|Character Site||Superman Homepage||Ralph Silver||4 (story) & 4 (art)/5|
|Reviews Blog||Comic Book Bin||Koppy McFad||7/10|
|Reviews Blog||A Comic Book Blog||Wayland||60/100|
|Reviews Blog||Comics Per Day Reviews||Timbotron||Fair|
|Reviews Blog||Inside Pulse||Grey Scherl||7/10|
|Reviews Blog||Major Spoilers||Matthew Peterson||4/5|
|Character Site||Captain's Justice League Homepage||Jason Kirk||4/5|
Page 2-3 - Jesse Chamber’s parents were both WWII era superheroes. Her father was Johnny Quick, a speedster, and her mother was Liberty Belle, the leader of the All-Star Squadron. She has alternated between honouring both their costumed identities. Her father shouldn’t be confused with the Crime Syndicate character of the same name.
The speed force is a quasi-mystical energy field that powers the true speedsters and Flashes in the DC Universe. In Flash: Rebirth it was revealed that Barry Allen, as the ultimate Flash, was somehow responsible for generating the Speed Force. It acts like a Valhalla for deceased speedsters, but it is possible for them to return if they can make a strong enough emotional connection to somebody outside.
Page 2-5 – Zara and Jesse’s Fathers. The parallel between Supergirl and Jesse Quick’s fathers is nicely observed. Zor-El was believed lost when Krypton exploded. He returned when Kandor was rediscovered, but was killed by a villain shortly afterwards. He returned as Black Lantern Zor-El in Blackest Night: Superman #1-3. Johnny Quick was believed lost when he was absorbed into the Speed Force whilst fighting Savatar in Wally West’s Flash series. He returned in Flash: Rebirth, but was killed by Professor Zoom’s manipulations of Barry Allen. He returned as Black Lantern Johnny Quick during Blackest Night.
Page 4-5 - Congo Bill and Starman’s friends were killed by Prometheus in the Cry For Justice mini-series. Jade and Obsidian’s problems happened in the recent “The Dark Things” JLA/JSA crossover. Batman in this context is Dick Grayson so Jesse’s comment would suggest that this story is taking place before the return of Bruce Wayne.
Page 6 - This is the Green Lantern from the Tangent Universe (Universe Designate Nine). This was a universe created by Dan Jurgens and his collaborators under the assumption that all the characters had familiar DCU names, but their faces, origins, and capabilities were utterly different. This Green Lantern is closer to the DCU’s Spectre or Phantom Stranger than she is an actual Green Lantern Corps member. She first appeared in Tangent Comics: Green Lantern #1 and, while Tangent was sprung from Jurgens’s concepts, the opening chapter of that issue was by written by James Robinson and featured art by J.H. Williams.
This GL’s Lantern was lost during the rearrangement of the Multiverse during Infinite Crisis and was discovered by Kyle Rayner who handed it to Guy Gardner for safe keeping. Justice League of America (vol. 2) #16 (Feb 08) showed that Guy had left it his lock-up whilst in outerspace. Kyle had worked out that it was a portal to another universe and the League were called in when it accidentally exchanged a burglar on Earth for the Tangent Universe Atom. Events from there spun out into the Tangent: Superman’s Reign mini-series.
Page 7 - Jade describes events of the “The Dark Things.” The point about there being a mastermind behind it is new.
Page 8-9 – Donna moved to San Francisco last issue.
Page 10-11 – Starman (Mikaal) does not appear in this issue. Mr Bennetti is Bobo Bennetti a character from James Robinson’s 1990s Starman series. He was an ex-bank robber who went straight after an encounter with Jack Knight.
Page 12-13 – One of the subplots of the Countdown to Final Crisis weekly series saw Donna Troy wandering through the Mutliverse with Jason Todd, Kyle Rayner, and one of the Monitors whilst hunting for Ray Palmer. They encountered the reverse gender Superwoman, Batwoman on Earth-11 in The Search For Ray Palmer: Superwoman/Batwoman (Feb 08). They encountered the vampires on Earth-43 in The Search For Ray Palmer: Red Rain. The heroes from the robot Earth-44 showed up briefly in Final Crisis #7. The Quality Comics (Freedom Fighters) and Fawcett Comics (Captain Marvel) Earths are Earths 10 and 5 respectively and so far have only shown up in montages of parallel worlds. The Nazi Superman and Supergirl from Earth-10 showed up in Final Crisis and Superman Beyond.
Jason Todd was using the alter ego of the Red Hood (one of the Joker’s old aliases). I like Dick’s sarcasm – Jason was his replacement as Robin and he had to fight him twice to prove himself as Bruce’s replacement Batman.
Page 14-15 – This gets a little confusing as there are three Alexander Luthors. The first was the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earth‘s opponent of the original Crime Syndicate. His son, Alexander Luthor Jr, was a pivotal character in Crisis on Infinite Earths before becoming a villain in Infinite Crisis. Alex Jnr. was killed by the Joker at the end of Infinite Crisis and was entombed in the morgue hidden three stories below of the Hall of Justice. He then returned as a Black Lantern in Adventure Comics #4-5 and plagued Superboy Prime on Earth-Prime. His Black Lantern corpse was seemingly destroyed on Earth-Prime, but his remains have somehow been returned to the JLA’s morgue. It does seem that it is this Luthor whom Owlman is seeking.
The other, third Alexander Luthor is the Anti-Matter doppelganger of the regular DCU Lex Luthor. He is a hero on the Anti-Matter Earth and is the chief opponent of the Crime Syndicate. The JLA first encountered the Crime Syndicate in Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly’s Earth-2 graphic novel when Luthor tried to recruit the JLA’s aid in fighting the Syndicate.
The third panel shows the Tangent Superman, Atom, and Flash.
Page 16-17 – The Crime Syndicate first appeared in Justice League of America (vol. 1) #29 (Aug 1964) as the Justice League’s equivalent from the mirror universe like Earth-Three. That group was killed when the original Earth-Three was destroyed during Crisis on Infinite Earths. The modern Crime Syndicate of Amerika was introduced in the JLA: Earth-2 graphic novel. This group are from the Anti-Matter Earth in the Anti-Matter Universe of Qward.
As presented in JLA: Earth-2 the Syndicate has been in existence for as long as the League and its then current Flash and Green Lantern analogues (Johnny Quick and Power Girl) were depicted as the younger successors of unseen older villains. This mirrored the position of Wally West and Kyle Rayner as the then Flash and Green Lantern. Spin forward to after Barry Allen and Hal Jordan have returned in Flash: Rebirth and Green Lantern: Rebirth and it now looks like their original unseen anti-matter duplicates have also returned. Johnny Quick is described as “newly returned to life” and Power Ring is “newly returned”.
Pages 22-23 – The Ultraman, Owlman, and Super Woman triangle. Ultraman is an astronaut who had been turned into a god by a race of alien scientists (possibly the Anti-Matter Kryptonians). He still has a secret identity as Clark Kent, but he wears a fake moustache and not a pair of glasses. Super Woman is Ultraman’s wife and has the secret identity of reporter Lois Lane, but that’s where the similarity ends. On the Anti-Matter Earth she’s the last surviving Amazon (having killed the rest) – which I think is revealed for the first time here.
On the Anti-Matter Earth Bruce Wayne was killed in the mugging that should have created the Batman, instead Thomas Wayne (his father) and Thomas Wayne Junior (Bruce’s brother who doesn’t exist in the normal DCU) survived. The younger Thomas blamed the older Thomas for Bruce’s death and became a costumed villain to spite him (Thomas Wayne Senior is the Police Commissioner of Gotham City). Owlman and Super Woman are continuing on a pretty blatant affair and Ultraman knows this, but he is either impotent or unable to do anything about it.
Page 24-26 – The conversation between Owlman and Ultraman is interesting. As recreated by Grant Morrison the Anti-Matter Earth was a place with the opposite narrative logic of the normal DC Universe. In the normal DCU fate/logic/nature/whatever is generally balanced towards the good guys – Batman and his successors have even acknowledged his before. On the Anti-Matter Earth it is evil, on average, that dominates. This was the crux of the ending of JLA: Earth 2 – the narrative laws mean that it is impossible for the Justice League to win long-term on the Anti-Matter Earth just as it is impossible for the Crime Syndicate to win long-term on the League’s Earth. Sure, they can win individual battles or clashes, but they’ll lose the war.
Ultraman’s observation is also telling:
The Anti-Matter Earth is responding to events that reshape the normal DC Universe, but the cause and the reason for those changes are not always telegraphed to the AM Earth’s inhabitants. Ultraman’s increasing awareness of this could be interesting. Ultraman died during the Final Crisis and presumably was recreated when Superman sung the Multiverse back into existence (yes it was written by Grant Morrison).
The Earth-2 Power Ring was a Kyle Rayner analogy. After Morrison’s first graphic novel the Anti-Matter Earth was taken up by Kurt Busiek who destroyed and recreated it in JLA/Avengers. He then revisited it during a run on JLA where he showed that the recreation had subtly altered causality so that the Kyle Rayner Power Ring had been replaced by a John Stewart-style Power Ring. The older Power Ring and Johnny Quick are close in appearance to their pre-Crisis on Infinite Earth originals.
Page 29 – Volthoom is the name of the entity that lives – or is caged – in Power Ring’s ring. Whereas the Green Lantern rings give power levels in percent Volthoom intones its ring’s charge in short rhymes.
Page 30-33 – Jade discovered during “The Dark Things” that she could drain and charge Kyle Rayner Green Lantern ring. She helped defeat the Starheart by absorbing part of its darkness. That has darkened the colour of her own emerald energy, but it is also preying on her actions as shown here.
Page 34-35 – These four are reverse versions of the heroic New Gods. Doctor Impossible first appeared in issue one of this series where he was described as Mister Miracle’s evil brother from Apokolips. As revealed here his comrades are normal humans he has recruited. Neon Black is a parallel of Lightray, Tender Mercy is a parallel of Big Barda, and Hunter is a parallel of Orion. Not shown here is the Chair who is a parallel of Metron. They appeared together in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #41-43 where they were shown stealing a series of artefacts which they then used to create some sort of Multiverse machine.
Blue Jay was abducted in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #38. He is the sole survivor of a parallel Earth which existed before the Infinite Crisis. That world was recreated as Earth-8 after the Infinite Crisis, but with new inhabitants and a new man called Blue Jay. The parallel with the Anti-Matter Earth is that Blue Jay’s Earth is a mirror universe version of Marvel Comics’s Universe. A place where the villains have won, but this time they are barely concealed duplicates of Marvel’s villains.
Page 36-37 – I find Owlman’s quip of “my old friend” a little confusing as this isn’t the Luthor’s he’s been fighting on the Anti-Matter Earth.
Page 42 – The Multiverse Tower was first seen in Justice League of America (vol. 2 ) #43.
Page 44 – Darkseid, the ruler of Apokolips, was killed at the end of Final Crisis. The New Gods were recreated as inhabitants of Universe Designate-51. Neither they nor-Darkseid’s followers have been seen since.
Page 45 – The Omega Man apparently. Notice the shape of the letter Omega repeated framing his face, chest place, spear, and horns.