All Associated Cover/Issue Images
Batman (Dick): Help Jesse break that Machine!
Supergirl: Broken. <KRAAK!>
Jesse: Go, Girl.
Omega Man: I am the voice of a million souls. I am Ghede and Hel! Nergul and Morrigan and Mose! The embodiment of decay! …AND YOU WILL FEAR ME!
Synopsis "JLA: Omega - Part 2: The Power of a Million Souls!"
Previously in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #50: The Crime Syndicate have come to Earth-Zero looking for the corpse of Alexander Luthor. One of his left over doomsday weapons is destroying the Anti-Matter Earth. Therefore Owlman has contracted Doctor Impossible and his allies to resurrect Luthor so that they can force him to shut-down the weapon. The Justice League became aware of the Syndicate when the Green Lantern of Earth-9 asked for their help (the Syndicate had bought time for the own Earth by diverting the weapon’s power into her world). Doctor Impossible double-crossed Owlman, but they were both surprised the Omega Man stepped out of Impossible’s Multiverse Tower/Resurrection Machine.
A force field dome has appeared over the Hall of Justice and Washington DC. It proves impenetrable to everything the superheroes can throw at it. The Flash and Atom discover that the dome is made from Mutliverse energy, but they are unable to match its vibration to the unique frequency of any one Earth. Other energies in the dome include New Genesis technology and Starheart energy. Superman trusts the JLA team inside the Dome saying that “I know that they’ll come through.” Congo Bill watches their efforts from the shadows before continuing his quest to find the missing Starman.
Four hours beforehand in the JLA’s morgue, the Omega Man confesses to having killed Neon Black, Hunter, and Tender Mercy and absorbed their souls. Doctor Impossible turns tail and escapes through a Hush Tube leaving Owlman and Batman to compare notes. Owlman recognises Omega Man’s energy at the type that is devastating his own world. Batman calls the rest of the League to his side. Jesse Quick rips apart the Multiverse Tower as Jade covers her, but it repairs itself faster than they can damage it.
Supergirl and Ultraman are concentrating on their own personal battle until Batman calls her away to help Jesse break the machine. Blue Jay, who had been trapped with in the machine, is freed and attacks Owlman. However, even then the machine continues surging with energy and its erupts skywards. The Omega Man had commented about the untapped power within Jade so she reaches out, pushes herself, to contain the machines’ power. In doing so she creates the energy dome over Washington sealing the Omega Man and themselves inside. The Omega Man retaliates by using his power to corrupt Supergirl into a dark version of herself.
- The Omega Man absorbs the souls of whoever he kills “everyone I’ve killed on this Earth and others. Countless souls, screaming, knowing, living on through me.” Via this he has access to their knowledge.
- The Anti-Matter Johnny Quick has the same face as the 1940s Earth-0 superhero.
The JLA have met the CSA and they’ve both encountered the Omega Man. Let the games begin! Or they would if anything actually, really happened. The story does repeat a couple of tricks from earlier issues – Supergirl’s narration echoes Miss Martian’s appearance in the “Dark Things” (both of which echo Rose’s narration from Doctor Who “Doomsday”) and playing with sequencing of the dome appearing also echoes beats from the “Dark Things”. There is also the repeat of dozens of characters flying around, but only really concentrating on a surprisingly small group in any one issue. This all creates an enjoyable and distinctive language for this JLA run.
The Mighty Monarch picked up on the use of a drop-shadow on the Omega Man’s speech, but he doesn’t think the character was used that well:
Omega Man is like Darkseid if he took god-steroids and venom and yet all he does is pontificate and fire a few blasts of energy. He’s this concentration of pure badass juice and yet hardly anyone’s paying a lick of attention to him.
And they’re not pay attention because they’re so wrapped up in their own diversions. Doctor Impossible’s “New Gang” is toasted by the Omega Man, he flees, Power Ring is out for the count, the Earth-9 GL only pops-up for one panel, Starman is AWOL, Congo Bill is looking for him, Donna and Super Woman are wrapped up in their own fight, and even Ultraman stays on the side-lines after Supergirl rushes off. It’s surprising just how many characters manage to remain practically off-screen or absent from this issue with so may characters running around.
What does come through is that this is a group that is still evolving – they are not just a group who come together once a month to fight a random criminal, they are a group of people who are genuinely beginning to gel as a friends or a family. Donna may have said (last issue) that the League is bigger than that, but it doesn’t stop the characters being that close. This dynamic probably wouldn’t be there if one of the old big guns was in the group. Could you really imagine Bruce Wayne putting up with the host of insecurities that Jade, Donna, Kara, and co seem to be waving around?
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Page 1 - Middle panel l-to-r: Red Tornado, Power Girl (?), Captain Atom (?), Superboy, Miss Martian, Doctor Fate
Page 2-3 - Panel 1 lower-left to top-right Metal Men (Gold, Iron, Platinum), Steel, Superboy, Superman, Doctor Light IV, Flash I, Max Mercury, Power Girl, Captain Atom, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Raven. The presence of Captain Atom implies that this takes place before before the current events of Justice League: Generation Lost #13 where Maxwell Lord frames Captain Atom for the murder of Magog.
Even way back in the Multiverse’s first appearance in “The Flash of Two Worlds”(The Flash #123, Sept 1961) the worlds of the Multiverse were explained as having different intrinsic vibrational frequencies. Each Earth occupied the same physical space as every other Earth, but they were out of phase with each other. Barry Allen first discovered Jay Garrick’s Earth by accidentally altering his internal vibrations to match those of Jay’s Earth.
Darwin Jones is name checked. He is the scientist from Justice League of America (vol. 2) #41 whom Neon Black injured whilst stealing parts for the Multiverse Tower. Alan Scott is up and flying around so this much happen before Marc Guggenheim’s JSA run (Justice Society of America #44+).
Page 6 - Top-left to bottom-right – Superman, Star Girl, the Ray, Green Lantern I, Zauriel
Page 9 – The Omega Man describes this power to absorb souls. This sounds partially like the Ragman’s cape or Katana’s sword, but not limited to bad guys.
What isn’t clear is whether he is a gestalt of those souls, whether he exists separate from them, or even whether he is able to bring them back into existence.
Doctor Impossible escapes via a Hush Tube – like a Boom Tube only quieter.
Page 10-11 – Owlman names Doctor Impossible’s group the “New Gang”. Unfortunately they now all appear dead except for Doctor Impossible himself and the Chair who hasn’t appeared since Justice League of America (vol. 2) #43.
Page 12-13 -
Jesse Quick: This Johnny Quick has my father’s face.
Jesse Quick confirms for the first time that the original Anti-Matter Johnny Quick is actually the doppelganger of her father, the Golden Age Johnny Quick. The characters have always had the same name, but I don’t think the connection has explicitly been made before.
Page 14-15 - Supergirl is fighting Ultraman with the Marine Corps Memorial Memorial foreground. The memorial is based on the Joe Rosenthal’s classic Iwo Jima flag raising photograph.
Page 16 -
Jade: I Kirked out.
Captain Kirk? The august Captain of the USS Enterprise? Urban Dictionary lists “kirked out” as “meaning to lose your cool” and cite’s William Shatner’s overacting as Captain Kirk. Shouldn’t that be “I Shatnered Out”?
Jade references the darkness and rage inside her again. This started in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #48 when she weakened the Starheart by absorbing part of its shadow energy.
Page 17 - That’s Steel II’s body (Hank Heywood, the cousin of the current Citizen Steel) and leg that Super Woman is beating Donna with. He was part of the Detroit Justice League, but was killed off in the closing issues of the original JLA series. He was last seen as a Black Lantern bothering the League in Justice League of America (vol 2.) #39 and #40. It looks like they reinterred his body in the JLA Morgue and not return it to a grave.
Page 20 - Blue Jay – is the last survivor of an Earth-like world where all the heroes were pastiches/homages to Marvel’s heroes, DC’s equivalent of Marvel’s Squadron Supreme. See our profile here.
Jade says that the Omega Man’s voice is “echoey” which could be a symptom of all those souls that he’s absorbed. Notice the drop shadow on his speech.
Page 21 – Blue Jay was a member of Justice League Europe during the JLI says, but he wasn’t actually a member of the American group. Either way, long before Supergirl’s arrival on Earth. He was captured by Doctor Impossible in Justice League of America (vol. 2) #38, the first issue by the Robinson/Bagley team.
The hooded woman is the Tangent Green Lantern from Earth-9 who, in the last issue, came to warn the Justice League about the Crime Syndicate.
The Omega Man claims to be a litany of the gods of the dead or more specifically rulers of the underworld.
- Ghede is the Haitian god of the death (the figure in the top hat, long back coat, and painted white face often seen in Voodoo iconography). He was considered one of the wisest of the gods as he had access to the knowledge of all those who had died.
- Hel is the Norse goddess of the dead who rules over a place also called Hel (contrast the Greek Lord Hades and the realm Hades). She was Loki’s daughter.
- Nergul is the Babylonian god of the dead gets mentioned in the Bible as one of the Babylonian gods. There is a DC Comics demon of the same name, but I think the reference here is to the god.
- Morrigan is the Celtic great goddess, one of the triple goddesses. She isn’t a death goddess as such, but her raven form is often associated with battles and the foretelling of mortal portents.
- Mose I suspect isn’t Moses. I’m still searching for that one.
Page 30 - Dark Supergirl first appeared in in Supergirl #3-5, she was a dark version of Supergirl created by Black Kryptonite. Her return was foreshadowed in the epilogue to Justice League of America (vol. 2) #48.
That Kryptonian she’s speaking does have a translation which I’ll leave to Ralph Silver from the Superman Homepage:
By the way, I liked that Robinson did not include a translation for Dark Supergirl’s malevolent message; leaving it for more industrious readers to figure out. For those who did not translate Kara’s dialogue from Kryptonian into English, here it is: “K. You did it. I’m back. Happy? Now shut up and let’s have some fun.”