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Ultraman: Amazons. They only understand three things. Fight, fight and fight.
Donna Troy: Get the hell off my world, hag!
Synopsis "JLA: Omega - Part 4: Finale"
Previously: The Anti-Matter Earth has been scorched by “dark energy” unleashed from the Multiverse by a doomsday device left behind by Alexander Luthor. The Crime Syndicate came to Earth-Zero looking to resurrect Luthor so that he could stop his weapon, but the resurrection attempt was hijacked by Doctor Impossible who unwittingly caused the energy destroying the Anti-Matter Earth to be incarnated as a figure calling itself the Omega Man. Jade managed to seal the Omega Man inside of Washington DC, but her energy dome also sealed the Syndicate and League inside with him. The Omega Man transformed Supergirl into her Dark Supergirl doppelgänger and allied himself with Ultraman. The rest of the League and Syndicate joined forced to fight the Omega Man, but he gave them an ultimatum to let him leave or he would kill them all. An ultimatum that it appears Batman has just agreed to…
The Omega Man sets Batman a deadline by which to bring down the Energy Dome, but Ultraman demands amusement and insists that Donna Troy and Super Woman fight each other for his amusement. Donna finds it increasingly difficult to control the constant rage she feels as she beats the Syndicate’s Super Woman into a pulp. Dark Supergirl finds the fight “BORING!” and clobbers both women. She then turns to the Omega Man, but he is lost in the memories of the people he destroyed whilst he was just formless dark energy. Meanwhile, Johnny Quick and Jesse Quick have run for three full days to keep the entire population of Washington hidden from the Omega Man.
Batman, Blue Jay, and Owlman have repaired Doctor Impossible’s Resurrection Machine with help from Jade who has recreated the missing parts with her energy powers. Jade is disgusted that Batman has given into the Omega Man’s demands by betting that Superman and the other heroes outside the Dome can stop the Omega Man. Owlman stuns them a neural disruptor and signals the rest of the Crime Syndicate to double-cross the Justice League. He then presents the Resurrection Machine to the Omega Man. Owlman’s secret deal gives the Syndicate the League’s Earth in exchange for their own half-destroyed Earth. However, the Omega Man is sucked into the Resurrection Machine’s portal the moment Owlman turns it on.
Batman expected Owlman’s double cross and prepared for it. He had kept the Earth-9 Green Lantern on the sidelines and had her to secretly summon Alexander Luthor’s ghost for one last act of restitution. In death he understood how Earth-Zero’s narrative laws had twisted him into a villain so he helped the League to reprogram the Resurrection Machine so that it would slingshot the Omega Man back into the Mutliverse reversing the destruction causes by his dark energy, healing all the worlds he’s passed over (including the Anti-Matter Earth and Earth-9). The League then kicks the Syndicate back through the portal. As the Earth-9 Green Lantern returns to her own world Blue Jay makes the decision to follow her and explore the Multiverse.
The Energy Dome remains over Washington even after Omega Man has gone and Jade has attempted dissipate it. It finally vanishes thanks to Malavar, a Gorilla scientist recruited by Congorilla and Starman (who had both been outside of the Dome when it first formed).
- Alexander Luthor turned evil due to the narrative effects of Earth-Zero on Luthors.
Ah, the good old betrayal triple-cross with the bait-and-switch uber-gizmo. An old trope, but still a fun one. This is the story that’s been running in the background for his entire run with the kidnapping of Blue Jay in issue #38 and the first appearance of the Resurrection Machine in “Team History”. Thus is wrap feels like a big deal. James Robinson was on the Comic Vine podcast the week that this issue came out and alluded to the difficulties he’d faced with the series bouncing page count:
It [the ending] all came around from the idea that as I was planning it so they stopped the 30-pages and went down to 20-pages for this last part. As I was thinking about it I thought “you know what would be cool” [what if] there is no way they [the League] can possibly fix this in the number of pages left in this issue and yet they still do. So that was where I was working towards.
So it’s a super fast wrap up that basically involves letting Omega Man, the Crime Syndicate and anybody else outward bound for the Multiverse to vanish down the cosmic plug hole of the Resurrection Machine’s portal. It works surprisingly well and doesn’t even feel as rushed as the ending for “The Dark Things.”
Wayland @ A Comic Book Blog wryly observes the defensive tendency of characters in this book to proclaim they are indeed the Justice League:
And this is the second time in the story that we are assured “Oh, no, this team here, this IS the Justice League.” Robinson seems a mite defensive.
While Anj @ Supergirl Commentary suggests that this may actually be the entire point of this story:
The energy dome around Washington D.C. is finally dropped and the League accepts the adulation of the super-hero community which is congregated there.
In some ways I think this was the main purpose of this arc for Robinson. This team has defeated a major villain and is now recognized globally as being the Justice League of America. They are worthy of that name.
And everything is all neat and wrapped up with a bow.
And there is a sense that this is a pivot point in terms of the series. We’ve reached the end of Mark Bagley’s tenure and a fair number of those plotlines that Robinson has set up have now been wrapped. Doug @ CBR says the “decks have been cleared in this issue”. I think that things are starting to become very interesting with Robinson’s Justice League. He’s now been on the book long enough to get multiple overlapping threads running which part of what made Starman so interesting. He’s also demonstrating that things people thought were deficiencies in the plot/characterization were actually part of the grand plan (Taz in Congorilla/Starman, Donna Troy’s observations).
I smiled at Donna’s monologue as some reviewers and commenters have objected to Robinson’s characterisation of her. (I’ll full admit to agreeing with them that something was off) Well it looks (see Annotations for Page 1-3 below) that this was planned all along and is a story beat which will be addressed in the next arc. If anything it appears that the next arc will deal with even more plot threads (Jade/Obsidian, the missing Shade, Brightest Day Eclipso vision, Jesse’s shifted powers, Donna’s personality, the Rein of Doomsday tie-in).
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Page 1- 3 - Donna’s inner monologue is interesting on these pages. Something that has come up time and again in the reviews of Robinson’s JLA run is people’s dislike of Donna Troy’s swearing and how she seems to be off character. Well this monologue acknowledges that there is indeed something wrong with Donna:
I’m angry all the time. Even when I appear calm… Dick, Jennie, my friends… none of them know the rage I feel brewing inside my head and heart. I have to change… find peace, peace of mind. And I need to stop swearing. I want to feel love again. I want the rage to ebb.
This is also something James Robinson hinted about on the Comic Vine Podcast:
Robinson: That [Donna's story] is building towards a big and very good, fans of her will be happy, a big revelation that will happen during the Eclipso arc – about why she’s such an important person in the DC Universe. [...] If you’ve watched her portray, including the people who say she swears all the time, there is a reason I’m having her swear all the time. She’s aware she shouldn’t be swearing.
Comic Vine: Why not?
Robinson: Because it just doesn’t suit her.
Page 4 - The worst thing that Ultraman has seen Super Woman do? Well with his x-ray vision he’s probably seen everything she has ever done – including her affair with Owlman.
Page 7 - Batman alluded to the events of Blackest Night and Blackest Night: Batman where his parents were raised as Black Lanterns, to Blackest Night: Superman where Supergirl’s father was raised as a Black Lantern, and to Blackest Night: Titans where Donna’s ex-husband and her baby son were raised as Black Lanterns. “Events in Gotham” is probably an allusion to the death and resurrection of Bruce Wayne.
Page 16-17 - The Green Lantern of Earth-9 (the Tangent Universe) has some unique powers. Her lantern has the ability to call back the ghost of a dead person so they can perform one last unfinished act. Alexander Luthor first appeared in the run up to Crisis on Infinite Earths as the son of Lois Lane and Alexander Luthor of the pre-Crisis Earth-Three. He was uniquely made of half-matter/half-anti-matter and was pivotal to the Monitor’s scheme to defeat the Anti-Monitor. Spin forward to Infinite Crisis and suddenly the heroic Alexander Luthor has somehow become the villain of the piece. Even then he was more misguided that actually evil – he believed he could undo the destruction of the Multiverse and create and better, brighter Earth. Nobel goals, but he really didn’t care who or what he wrenched apart to do it. He was murdered for the hubris of excluding the Joker from his plans.
Luthor’s change in character/sanity was never really explained beyond his bitterness at the imperfect world which replaced the first Multiverse. What I find interesting is that James Robinson is appealing to the narrative laws introduced to Earth-Zero by Grant Morrison in JLA: Earth-Two – that it is physically impossible for the Crime Syndicate to win on the normal Matter Earth just as it is impossible for the Justice League to win conclusively on the Anti-Matter Earth. Those same narrative laws mean that on a normal DC Earth a Lex or Alex Luthor will always turn into a bad guy eventually – he doesn’t have much choice in the matter. The only slight wrinkle in this is that this Alexander Luthor isn’t the Anti-Matter version of Lex Luthor – he is that Lex Luthor’s son from a dead version of that world.
Page 19 – This odd troop came together in Starman/Congorilla #1 (as Ed says). Starman had disappeared on a bender and Congo Bill was searching for him at the time the Energy Dome appeared over Washington. Bill found Starman, but realised that only his other missing friend Malavar would know how to bring it down.
Malavar is the Gorilla scientist who Prometheus had kidnapped in Justice League: Cry For Justice (the one he killed Bill’s troop and Freedom Beast to get to) and he’s been missing since Prometheus’s defeat. Malavar witnessed Prometheus skinning the Tasmanian Devil and was searching for the Fountain of Youth to restore him. Bill and Starman recruited Rex the Wonder Dog to lead them to the Fountain and had to recruit Animal Man to translate for them as Rex no longer speaks human.
Convoluted, but really good fun.