Batman Buys a Victory – JLA #15

The cover to JLA (Vol 1) #15
I’ll never understand how the United States Justice System works.

From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

Back in the present time, Superman (Clark Kent), Batman (Bruce Wayne), Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz), an undercover Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), and Aztek (Uno) are trying to stop Lex Luthor and his Injustice Gang. The biggest problem they face is Lex’s Philosopher’s Stone, which can make anything he imagines come true. Also, unknown to the Justice League, if the stone is destroyed it will lead their world to the nightmare future Aquaman (Arthur Curry), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and The Flash (Wally West) were sent to.

Lex tries to scare Aztek into joining the Injustice Gang with the fact that his company actually funded all of the technology which powers Aztek’s armor. Also, her tries to scare Aztek by trapping him in the JLA Watchtower with a lot of nuclear warheads. Both methods do not work! Aztek refuses to switch sides and gets to work defusing all the warheads. A hopeless task, since there are too many… and not enough time… and he is a super hero in the comic book story…!

On Earth, Batman, Superman and Martian Manhunter get ready to fly into space and take on the Injustice Gang. They have a little bit of an advantage in the form of three spies Batman has working for him on Lex’s secret satellite.

One of those spies is uncovered by the Injustice Gang when The Joker is found tied up and hidden away while another Joker is busy taunting Lex. Lex does something he probably should not need this much justification for and shoots the annoying Joker. The bullet passes through him without harm. This is because the fake Joker is actually the shape changing Plastic Man (Patrick “Eel” O’Brian)!

Plastic Man is in the perfect position to start taking out the Injustice Gang before the reinforcements arrive but instead decides to harass Circe. Not time well spent.

Green Arrow, who has been pretending to turn against the JLA then reveals his true motives and allows Batman and the others teleport onto the satellite. They battle, and at one point Superman is turned into a radio wave because of his new powers and shot into space like an old Johnny Unitas football game broadcast. The JLA is victorious though, just like the conclusion to last issue spoiled.

Then Green Lantern, returning from the apocalyptic future, is able to warn Martian Manhunter in time to stop Superman from destroying the Philosopher’s Stone. BUT IT WASN’T THE PHILSOPHER’S STONE. THE JOKER ACTUALLY HAS THE REAL PHILOSOPHER’S STONE. SO WHY DID IT MATTER.

EXPLAIN THAT, TIME TRAVEL.

Martian Manhunter is able to telepathically make Joker sane for just enough time to use the Philosopher’s Stone and undo all of The Injustice Gang’s damage. Aztek and Green Arrow then quit the Justice League because things got hard and they didn’t like that.

Metron, now working on the side of the angels again, takes the Philosopher’s Stone and delivers it to the Hourman (Matthew Tyler) of the future. Hourman is told there’s another time disruption coming for the Justice League and it’ll be his job to fix it this time.

It’s cute how Metron and Hourman take turns!

Metron then visits the guardians of the Wonderworld, and lets them know the approaching war they have dedicated their lives to fighting won’t be fought by them. Oh well. Time for them to figure out if they have any other hobbies worth pursing. Try cooking! You get to eat your hobby when your hobby is cookie!

BACK. On. EARTH…

Superman, Batman, and Aquaman have decided to disband the Justice League.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Doctor Light has a lot of great and terrible powers like “Make everything red” and “Make everything green.”

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter, Gary Frank, Greg Land
Inker: John Dell, Bob McLeod
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editors: Dan Raspler and Peter Tomasi

The Joker’s Halloween – Batman: Gotham After Midnight #6

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #6
Well. Gross. Now I know where pumpkins come from.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

Bruce Wayne (Batman) tries to woo Detective Clarkson with brunch and pearls but strikes out big time. Also, he apparently has flashbacks of his mother dying whenever a pear necklace breaks. Also, Clarkson is really rough when handling new jewelry. The whole thing was a disaster. I blame everyone.

Batman throws a dramatic, dynamically hissy fit about not being able to capture Midnight. The mystic artifacts he’s been stealing and the list of his victims do not seem to match together as far a motive usually does. This makes Alfred wonder if maybe they are not supposed to match. Alfred also calls Batman on being upset his date did not go well. Right on Alfred.

Work then calls Batman to action because The Joker has kidnapped a school bus full of kids. Batman is able to break into his safe house and starts roughing him up for the location of the children when Midnight strikes with a surprise attack. Joker and Midnight’s long history (a couple hours) of communication and team work (Joker invited Midnight over to hid in a box) ends abruptly when they can’t decide who is working for who. Or is it who is working with who? Or is it who is working on behalf of who? I’m not sure what the argument is actually, and they probably aren’t either. Some folks just don’t know how to speak without being angry about something!

Batman takes advantage of their fight to get the upper hand. Before the Joker can tell Batman who Midnight really is, he wounds the Joker and flees. Batman is forced to stay behind to save the Joker’s life.

He does get the name of who Joker thinks Midnight is though: Detective Clarkson’s partner Detective Lucas.

Meanwhile, a lost Lucas is found by an angry Killer Croc (Waylon Jones).

What I Learned From This Comic:

Sometimes a Brunch is a lunch.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

Zombie Factories On The Moon – JLA #14

The cover to JLA #14
Nobody told Darkseid he’s allowed to retake that Drivers License photo if he isn’t happy with the first attempt.

From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

It’s fifteen years in the future and the time displaced Aquaman (Arthur Curry), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), and The Flash (Wally West) have joined forces with the last remaining heroes on an Earth conquered by Darkseid. The plan is to undo Darkseid’s conquest by returning to the past. There, the JLAer’s can stop Superman (Clark Kent) from destroying Lex Luthor’s Philosopher’s Stone which begins the chain of events ending with Darkseid in charge.

The plan is also to blow up the zombie factory on the moon because zombie factories are never a good thing.

Black Racer, the New God of Death, is observing the whole thing from the shadows because this is NOT GOING TO WORK OUT.

Azteka and Argent (Toni Monetti) lead the assault on the Zombie factory. Argent figures out a new way to use her powers after a conversation with Green Lantern. This helps them a little bit but Argent is still fatally wounded by a blast from one of the factory’s guards. So Azteka turns off a switch on his armor that keeps the whole thing from blowing up in a catastrophic explosion. Why is that a switch? Shouldn’t that at the very least be a lock? Or maybe two switches? What if Azteka bumps a coffee table the wrong way? Boom?

This seems like poor super hero costume design.

Also, seconds ago we saw the heroes watching innocent humans being separated in the factory from their families. This upsets the heroes a lot! So they blow every one in the factory up? Problem solved? I guess. It did technically remove the problem.

Back on Earth, Batman (Bruce Wayne) uses his disguise as the Darkseid’s assistant Desaad to ambush him and the Grandmother Box with the remaining heroes. He tricks Metron like Tom Sawyer to become human for a minute so Batman can knock him out and steal his time traveling chair. Then he sends The Flash, Green Lantern, and Aquaman back home to fix the timeline. Batman and Wonder Woman (Diana of Themyscira) die fighting Darkseid. Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) and The Atom (Ray Palmer) die killing Darkseid.

Then Orion, decides to destroy the whole reality because honestly do we need another alternate future? No! Scrap it!

What I Learned From This Comic:

Metron would make for a great little brother.

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editors: Dan Raspler and Peter Tomasi

Batman Can’t Get A Date – Batman: Gotham After Midnight #5

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #5
Keep the bowtie Bruce. It WORKS.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

The Gotham City Policemen’s Ball has been ruined. Ruined! And they were all so excited to go too. Such a shame! How horrible, that the new murderous villain Midnight would come crashing in and spoil everyone’s fun.

Bruce Wayne (Batman) was there and getting his flirt on with Detective Clarkson when the party ended abruptly by Midnight. Then before anyone could do anything about the crazy-faced baddie, Man-Bat (Robert Kirk Langstrom) burst into the party as well! I guess once one uninvited guest comes in it’s open season for all the party crashers. Man-Bat brutally assaults Midnight for betraying him earlier and almost kills the dude. Bruce manages to subdue Man-Bat out with a handy hidden tranquilizer dart he should probably just keep on his Batman costume, because it took Man-Bat down in one hit! Despite doing the real work, Clarkson ends up thinking Bruce a coward. Bruce tries to save face a little by being a cool doctor. Chicks love blood– I mean doctors!

Batman later meets up with a cured Man-Bat in his Langstrom alter ego to get clues about where Midnight would be hiding. After he get’s everything he needs from Langstrom, Batman leaves him to get his brain electrocuted by doctors.

On the rooftops Batman finds Midnight playing with jars of human hearts. They battle, because Batman is against that sort of thing, and the results are pretty gruesome. Midnight has staked his victims to a tourist billboard for Gotham City while a blood red Bat-Signal shows on it. It’s a lot of meaning to take in at once, but let me break it all down for you: HORROR!!

Back in the burbs, The Joker has decided to settle down and bought a nice house just in time for Halloween.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Batman hates guns, but Bruce Wayne will totally shoot a guy with a tranquillizer bullet.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

JLA #12

The cover to JLA (Vol 1) #12
Smells like a gym bag down here.
From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

Lex Luthor has created a new Injustice Gang with the intent of finally taking down the Justice League of America. His plan of luring Superman (Clark Kent) and Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz) to a decoy space station… worked pretty well! Even Lex is in shock. He can’t believe the dummies blew themselves up in space.

BUT WAIT. This is Electric Blue Superman. He has mysterious powers that aren’t revealed fully yet. What his newest power? Explosions don’t bother him none? Thrilling adventure! Great.

Lex pushes forward with his other plan, guilting Aztek (Uno) the newest member of the JLA into joining his team. Aztek don’t wanna, but he’s the only person who’d be able to stop the prophesied return of an evil god. Luthor asks how could Aztec stop a god if he’s been blown up by a bunch of nuclear bombs. He asks this because he just teleported a bunch of armed nuclear bombs in the JLA watchtower with Aztek.

So it’s a relevant question.

The Watchtower is empty except for Aztek because the rest of the team ran off to help the New God Metron. Metron sent Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), The Flash (Wally West), and Aquaman (Arthur Curry) on a quest to find the philosophers stone before Darkseid did. It is a wild goose chase though. Green Lantern learns from the time traveling Hourman (Matthew Tyler) that if the JLA BEATS the Injustice Gang, Darkseid will lose the Philosopher’s stone and destroy the Earth in anger.

Flash, GL and Aquaman convince the mind-blowing superheroes guarding the edge of the universe from an oncoming threat to send them back home. They get there just in time to be TOO LATE. Haha. Tricked you there! Because if the hellish fire pit in place of where Europe used to rest can be trusted, Darkseid has already begun conquering of Earth.

What I Learned From This Comic:

No matter how large, important, or reality bending a super hero team is, they always need a conference table.

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editors: Dan Raspler and Peter Tomasi

Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3

The cover to Batman: Gotham After Midnight #3
The Gotham Police zeppelin heat lamps only manage to make Clayface more soothing to Batman’s skin.
From Series: Batman: Gotham After Midnight

What Happened:

The newest overly dramatic villain to put up shop in Gotham, Midnight, breaks into the hotel room of Councilman Hedgley. Midnight asks Hedgley’s prostitute to stand back so he can rip Hedgley’s heart out. She complies. Everyone is really professional and the deed gets done with zero struggle.

Clayface (Basil Karlo), then shows up and wonders why Midnight wanted to meet. Also he probably wonders why he wanted to meet at the scene of a murder. Also he probably wonders why Midnight is– eh it’s an endless tumble down the “why stairs” at this point let’s stop before we break out necks.

Midnight shows Clayface his own mutilated face by taking off his hat/veil. He’s ugly and has a voice box. Instant super villain origin! Keep the story going! Don’t lose momentum now!

With just the teensiest bit of coaching, Midnight convinces Clayface that he should eat everyone in Gotham so he’ll grow bigger. Clayface starts with Hedgley’s prostitute and then moves on to dance clubs, apartment buildings, etc. Clayface wants to eat everyone. It may be a serious problem which needs to be addressed in therapy.

Detective Clarkson and her partner Detective Lucas meet up with a grumpy Commissioner Gordon at the location of Midnight’s latest victim. They go over the finer points of the crime. Small time crook… found tied to a clock face… with his heart ripped out. Pretty open and shut if you asked me. Find the heart, find the killer. Batman (Bruce Wayne) then pops out of the shadows. He does some real bad office politics with Clarkson then outright says he’s taking evidence for himself. Gordon doesn’t care. Gordon just wants everyone to stop talking.

After visiting Arkham Asylum to question Scarecrow (Jonathan Crane), Batman realizes the other criminals involved have been drugged and don’t remember doing what they did.

Batman tries to get a quick nap in the batcave but then the alarms go off because of Clayface’s attack. So, Batman puts on his fanciest Giant Robot suit and hits the town in style.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Either the colorist didn’t get the script or the Joker escaped Arkham pretty quickly.

Creators:
Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Executive Editor: Dan DiDio
Editors: Michael Siglain & Harvey Richards

JLA #11

The cover to JLA (Vol 1) #11
“Now where did I leave those blue and green crayons?”
From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

Lex Luthor has constructed an Injustice Gang to take down the JLA because he thinks Superman made the team just to spook him. Well Lex Luthor isn’t spooked by a team of demi-gods! And Lex Luthor doesn’t make wild assumptions about other people’s actions! Lex Luthor wouldn’t make a mistake like that! Lex Luthor doesn’t make mistakes, this is why he has a murderous clown on his team.

The Flash (Wally West), Superman, Aquaman (Arthur Curry), Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz), Aztek (Uno), and Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) meet on the Watchtower to discuss the recent attack by their evil holographic clones. Aquaman uses his fish connections to discover his clone was spotted in a part of the ocean right before that part of the ocean vanished. Batman (Bruce Wayne) also Skypes into the meeting to let everyone know large chunks of air have been disappearing.

Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) calls in an alert that the missing ocean has shown up in California and the JLA sends Green Lantern to fix that catastrophe. Meanwhile, Superman and Martian Manhunter go to investigate the source of the teleporting air and water.

Green Lantern fixes everything with a wacky cartoon and then decides to take the rest of the day off with Green Arrow. They hang out at a diner and complain about work. Circe is conveniently at this diner and uses her power over men to plant distrust between Green Arrow and the rest of the team.

While investigating the source of the teleportation, Superman and Martian Manhunter get stuck in a hologram of a maze controlled by Joker’s brain. J’onn is only able to navigate out of it after shape-shifting his own brain into something equally as crazy as Joker’s, but then Superman goofs and sets of a bomb.

Metron of the New Gods busts into the Watchtower to set up the next story line. C’mon man! We’re not finished with this one yet! He needs The Flash, Aquaman, Aztec to help him find the philosopher’s stone before Darkseid.

Back on earth Batman gets to play dress up and finds Plastic Man. Then he reveals to Robin he knows Lex Luthor is behind all the troubles the JLA is having and prepares to go to war with him not as The Dark Knight but as the sketchy corporate businessman Bruce Wayne.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Plastic Man can’t be fooled by a wig and a mustache, unlike the entire criminal population.

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editor: Ruben Diaz

JLA #10

The cover to JLA (Vol 1) #10
Cross you arms! Everybody’s doin’ it!!
From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

Aboard a subtle and tasteful satellite shaped like a giant skull some shadowy figures prepare their attack on Earth. Evil versions of the Justice League (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Aquaman) are sent to attack and lure the real Justice League (Batman (Bruce Wayne), Superman (Clark Kent), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onzz), Aztek (Uno), Aquaman (Arthur Curry), and Green Arrow (Connor Hawke)) into combat.

Some innocent people get zapped before the JLA finally arrives. An injured Flash (Wally West) and a (currently) dead Wonder Woman (Diana of Themyscira) keep the current roster from feeling “right” to Green Lantern. GL’s a picky dude. Can’t go on stage without the right underpants and can’t save lives without Wonder Woman to creep on. Dude is probably unbearable in the dressing room before a big performance…

Green Arrow has some performance anxiety over how to shoot the super fast Flash clone. He eventually figures it out (shoot the arrow really good!) at the evil speedster and takes him down before any more bystanders can be snatched away. He’s already snatched away several though! And he could have taken them anywhere and done anything to them with his super speed! You couldn’t have sped up that crisis of confidence, Green Arrow??

Aquaman just wallops his duplicate for an easy KO. Batman figures out the duplicates are holograms and is able to change the Batplane’s weaponry to disrupt them. Whoever was controlling the Batman hologram is furious he was knocked out of the game early and suspects Batman has figured out his true identity. The other hologram controllers are too busy playing their violent video game to worry about the complaints of that newb.

Green Lantern overpowers his duplicate and Superman is able to absorb his with his new energy absorption powers. Green Arrow shoots an arrow created by GL to take out the evil Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman (giving him a head count of 3, everyone else just had 1. Just saying.)

The controllers of the holograms are revealed to be the Injustice Gang led by Lex Luthor. Luthor has taken Dr. Light (Arthur Light), Circe, Mirror Master, Ocean Master, and The Joker under his evil wings. He’s planning on taking on the JLA like he takes on other companies in the board room. With meetings!! Days and days of meetings!!

The holograms have been returned to the Injustice Gang and the data their acquired from their battles with the JLA are downloaded to their computers.

What I Learned From this Comic:

Green Lantern is not a great grief councilor.

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Howard Porter
Inker: John Dell
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Separations: Heroic Age
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editor: Ruben Diaz

JLA #9

The cover to JLA (Vol 1) #9
Bragging about being a janitor.
From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

The Key has the Justice League trapped and living in virtual reality dreamworlds. He has finally figured out the equation of the DC Universe: The heroes always win. So he’s set up a device which will be powered by the Justice League realizing they’re unconscious and allow The Key to enter Negative Space. There he will be the ruler of all reality (he assumes).

Meanwhile the newest Justice League recruit, Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), has been fighting his way through the Justice League watchtower to save his teammates. He’s armed only with the original Green Arrow and his father: Ollie Queen’s trick arrows. Handcuff and boxing glove arrows aren’t the best for fighting robots but Green Arrow is making the best of the situation.

In their own dream worlds, the members of the Justice League are starting to meet each other and figure out they are in a dream (still unaware they are suppooosed to figure this out). Batman’s dream of The Joker killing his son (weird) is stopped by Superman (Clark Kent) who has dreamed he is the Green Lantern of Krypton. Wonder Woman (Diana of Themyscira) transports from her Indiana Jones dream into Aquaman’s Waterworld dream which is a lesser movie so it is a bad dream moving decision there.

The Flash (Wally West) was probably going to run into Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner) in his dream but his metabolism works so fast he was able to wake up and start helping Green Arrow.

When Green Lantern shows up as his dream version of himself, a 90’s super hero mismash of names, numbers, and backstory, Batman makes fun of him for being a baby.

The remaining team wake up together with Batman realizing too late they needed to stay asleep to keep from falling into The Key’s trap. As the portal to the negative space opens and The Key is about to take a step into his omnipotence, Green Arrow knocks him in the face with a boxing glove arrow. Everyone involved agrees it is ridiculous.

The issue ends with Batman and Superman having an awkward moment together on the roof.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Batman hates Nintendo.

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Oscar Jimenez
Inker: Chip Wallace
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editor: Ruben Diaz

JLA #8

The cover to JLA #8
I don’t think that’s the delivery boy. Don’t open the door.
From Series: JLA (Vol 1)

What Happened:

The old Justice League villain The Key has captured members of the JLA and put them into personal virtual reality simulations. He is hoping these simulations will help him “unlock” something he is looking for. Sometimes when you’ve got a mayo jar which won’t open, you’ve got to let someone else take a crack I guess.

Superman’s simulation is that Krypton never exploded and he because the Green Lantern of it’s sector. He gets pretty much the same gig as in real life: beloved superhero getting lots of love from the ladies. Oh yeeeah! Then he finds a clue which points him in the direction of Earth.

Batman’s simulation is one where he has grown older and married Catwoman (Selena Kyle). He has retired from being Batman and handed the job over to the current Robin (Tim Drake). His own son, Bruce Jr. has become the new Robin. Now, if his son’s inexplicable red hair can be used a proof, it would seem part of Batman’s fantasy is that he is cuckolded by his wife and Commissioner Gordon. Batman just dropped one kink (fighting crime in a rubber suit) for another!

The simulation Wonder Woman (Diana of Themyscria) has been put in has her and her sometimes love interest Steve Trevor running around as Indiana Jones wannabes. Which is a great fantasy. I’ve got no complaints there. Wonder Woman nailed it.

Aquaman (Arthur Curry) does little to help his case as the DC Universe’s least interesting character by having his fantasy be that he’s Kevin Costner in Waterworld. C’mon man…

While the team is all hooked up to their machines, playing a souped up version of Second Life, the newest JLA recruit Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) arrives on the Watchtower for his scheduled test. He stumbles upon the Key doing his Key-theyng (please read this word as “key-thing”, thanks!) and tries to stop him. The battle leaves Green Arrow without his quiver. He reluctantly picks up the trick arrows of his predecessor and father Ollie Queen from the trophy room.

Back in Batman’s sick fantasy, The Joker is about to kill his son.

What I Learned From This Comic:

Try to show up for your scheduled examines a few minutes earlier than you need to.

The Creators:
Writer: Grant Morrison
Pencils: Oscar Jimenez
Inker: Chip Wallace
Colorist: Pat Garrahy
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editor: Ruben Diaz