JLA #116 (2005)

JLA #116 (September, 2005)
“Crisis of Conscience, Part Two”
Writers – Geoff Johns & Allan Heinberg
Penciller – Chris Batista
Inker – Mark Farmer
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Colorist – David Baron
Assistant Editor – Michael Siglain
Editor – Mike Carlin
Cover Price: $2.50

The Secrets’s’s’s out… So, what now?

Picking up where we left off, with the Wizard informing the League that the Secret Society of Super-Villains knows… everything!  They remember them League members’ secret identities… and the fact that they were mind-wiped!  J’onn asks Batman to buy him a minute so he can wake Wally and the rest up.  Lucky for him, Catwoman is still around… and she’s packin’ heat… literally!  She blasts the baddies with a flamethrower.  She’s so pleased by her good deed that she even asks if this makes her part of the Justice League… to which I say, <balki> Of course not, don’t be re-deek-o-luss </balki>.  Could’ja imagine Catwoman ever being part of the Justice League?  Pssh… who’s next, Lobo?  John Constanti–… er…

Unfortunately for her, Felix Faust (literally) returns the fire… sending her off the edge of a building.  Batman ‘rangs her before she can plummet… but finds himself in the grasp of the Floronic Man.  Hawkman is nearby to lend a helping mace… which would’ve likely caved in the skull of any man not made of foliage.  The Matter Master nyoinks Carter’s shield… and immediately embeds it in his shoulder, nearly severing his arm!

A now-stirring Wally helps Ralph to his feet… just in time for the Star Sapphire to command them to get on their knees.  A sorta-smitten and sarcastic Wally considers it for a moment, before Hal pops in to pull them to safety.  Elsewhere, Ollie yanks the shield out of Hawkman’s shoulder… and while doing so, is informed by Chronos that his time bomb trick arrow is… ticking.  The Secret Society sure has the League’s number this time around!

J’onn and Zatanna join in… and wind up face to face (to face) with Felix Faust, who looks to be about to sacrifice a cat.  As if by design, he is suddenly jumped by another Cat(woman).  Defensively, he slashes at her throat… which “almost” hurts her, but she notices that she’s bled out in the shape of a pentagram.  By now the League has recovered, however, before they can attack the Secret Society splits out.

Wally gives chase throughout Gotham before returning to inform his teammates that the Society is nowhere to be found.  As the dust settles, the League notices that Batman and Catwoman have left.  We join them in the Batcave, where Selina is laid out and being attended to by Alfred.  Moments later, J’onn arrives so they can talk.

Batman ain’t keen on chatting… so J’onn suggests he just listen.

Zatanna steps forward to apologize for the mind-wipe.  We learn that Batman lost 10 minutes of memory… and I realize that I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night.  Hmm.  She asks how she can make it up to him… and he tells her that she (and the rest of the League) “can leave”.

Ollie takes a bit of exception.  He gets (and understands) that Batman is ticked off… however, at the moment they’ve got a serious threat to consider.  The Secret Society knows all of their civilian identities… they can argue about the lobotomization later.  Batman still ain’t having it… and so, Hawkman gets in his face.

And so, Batman hauls off and decks him!  Thankfully (and somewhat surprisingly) nobody popped their head in to chirp “One Punch!”

Carter says he hopes it was worth it… because now Batman’s in for 10 minutes he’ll never forget!  Well, that is, if the rest of the League doesn’t intervene of course.  Batman reminds them all that if the Society remembers that they were mind-wiped… they probably also remember why they were mind-wiped.  Which… er, I thought everybody already realized, however, they’re treating this like brand-new information.  Suddenly everyone feels the need to rush home to protect their loved ones. 

Wally, wasn’t your identity public for most of your career?

Lonely J’onn heads back to the Watchtower… where he discovers who is behind the Secret Society getting their memories back… Despero!

As much as I appreciated the first part of Crisis of Conscience, this issue kinda falls apart for me.

We’ve got a Batman who doesn’t appear to be able to prioritize.  He’s so bothered… betrayed… that his teammates would rob him of certain memories, that he won’t aid in their protecting their families?  That just doesn’t seem right to me.  I’d figure Batman would understand that there’s a time and place for them to hash things out… right now, folks like Linda Park-West (though, Wally’s identity was public most of his career) and presumably Lois Lane are in terrible danger.  I mean, be mad… I get it… but, just really didn’t like the way he comes across here.

We can see that J’onn… who was also betrayed, has decided to help his friends before reaming them out.  He stands beside the League and understands the potential threat before them.  That’s the kinda teammate/statesman/mentor Batman ought to be.

Keeping with J’onn… I was kinda thrown off when he informed the League that their loved ones were in danger.  I thought that was the whole point!  I don’t get how the League treated this proclamation as brand-new information.  Are they really that dense?  It should stand to reason… and be the first thing that comes to mind, that if the bad guys discover civilian identities, friends and family of those IDs are in danger.  Duh.

The League interaction, sans Batman, was pretty well done.  It’s always neat seeing Ollie and Carter’s uneasy “friendship” at the fore.  I also appreciated how poorly the League conducted themselves in battle.  I thought this felt natural in light of their preoccupation with the threat their secret identities being “out” posed.

Overall… I enjoyed this far less than the first chapter (to the point where I’m not entirely sure I’m going to continue with it).  Still an important story for League lore, and probably still worth checking out.

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One of these DVDs is a cheap-o bin standby… the other is WildC.A.T.S 


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