Justice League of America (vol.2) #9 (2007)

Justice League of America (vol.2) #9 (July, 2007)

“The Lightning Saga, Chapter Three: Suicide”
Writer – Brad Meltzer
Artist – Ed Benes
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Assistant Editor – Adam Schlagman
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99

Welcome to the halfway point of The Lightning Saga!  If you’re interested, be sure to check out our chats on Chapter One and Chapter Two first!

We open with Mr. Terrific and Black Canary getting us caught up on what’s gone down so far.  Of interest, we (or at least, I) learn that Wildfire is actually using Red Tornado’s body… that’s pretty neat, and not something I ever knew.  Not sure if this had ever been established before this.  They also look at the odd utility belt that Wildfire had produced last chapter… and find that it looks almost too ordinary.  Speaking of Red Tornado, Michael is still almost creepily stoked to get him into his lab.  On the other side of a two-way mirror, we can see a soft-interrogation going down.  Batman chats up Karate Kid, asking about the “Trigger Word”, suggesting that it might be a sort of fail-safe.  Val thinks he’s on to something… and they discuss how “random” their being flung into the past might… or might not, have been.

We shift scenes to the Congo… seemingly to facilitate Vixen explaining how her powers differ from Animal Man’s.  She, along with Jay Garrick, Hal Jordan, and Wildcat Jr. are visiting Gorilla City… the House of Solovar, to be precise.  They are greeted by Nnamdi, who as it would happen feels power emanating from Mari.

Their chat is cut short by the arrival of some very important news… about an arrival!  Ya see, a Nzame (which a Google search says is the name of the African God of Creation) is about to be born… and this is an event that only happens once every thousand years.  Ain’t he just the sweetest thing?  Or… does he remind you of another white gorilla we might know?

While the Gorillas celebrate, Jay and Mari prepare to scout the area in search of their futuristic bounty… annnnnd, they find him!  Legionnaire, Timber Wolf is running with a pack of hunter-apes… riding dinosaurs!  I’m not much for Internetty “lol, random” humor, but this is pretty cute.  Hal’s Green Lantern ring speaks the trigger-word, waking Brin from his haze.

We next shift to Thanagar, where Power Girl and Red Arrow provide a little bit more in the way of expositional catch-up.  They are joined on this journey by Hawks Man and Girl.  It would appear that this might be the most hormonal flight in existence… because you can cut through the romantic tension with an Nth Metal knife.  We see that Roy is quite smitten with Kendra… a fact that isn’t lost on her, and one she appears to sorta-kinda enjoy playing with.

Power Girl looks on, and cautions Roy about getting tied up with one of the Hawks.  We see that she and Carter had a bit of a fling earlier on… which ended the way most Hawky romances do.  No, not with death and reincarnation… with Hawkman and Hawkgirl being pulled together again.

Next stop, the future.  Remember Dolores Whatsherface from Chapter One?  The Ultra-Humanite host with cancer from 1948?  Well, we now see her laid out on a table with the top of her head cut off.  Well, that’s pleasant.  We then (thankfully) turn the camera to see her captors/saviors… Per Degaton, the Ultra-Humanite (White Gorilla… hmm… edition) and (pre-Crisis) Despero!  Last we saw them on this blog, they were messing with Rip Hunter over in the pages of Booster Gold (vol.2).

Back on Thanagar, our foursome arrives at the foot of the building where they believe Dawnstar is hanging out.  They head for the roof and find a winged woman knelt in the corner.  They offer up the trigger-word, but it’s no-dice.  We come to find that this isn’t Dawnstar… just the person she left her Legion Flight Ring with.  It might be her lover, I’m not sure.  I guess when you’re packin’ wings, a Flight Ring isn’t a “must”.  We learn that Dawnstar has already “felt” her friends, and is headed to them.

Back with the League, we see our five Legionnaires reunited… and discovering their true purpose in the present.  Ya see, that Utility Belt actually houses several lightning rods… with which they will sacrifice themselves???  Sooo, the Legionnaires are actually on  a suicide mission to “bring him back”.  Considering the safe-word is “Lightning Lad”, they’ve got Lightning Rods, and the story is called The Lightning Saga… I gotta wonder who they might be talking about!  Ya know, the more I type the word “lightning” the weirder it looks…

We wrap up this chapter with the arrival of Dawnstar.  Despite having been drawn there, she’s still in her haze.  Wildfire has to trigger-word her out of it.  Now with all her bearings, she knows where they need to go to successfully complete their mission…

Boy is it nice to have Ed Benes back on art!  Not that Davis was a slouch or anything… just came across a bit inconsistent.  Plus, that Power Girl… ay yai yai.  That’s not to say we don’t get our cheesecake here… it’s just a lot… well, I wouldn’t say subtle… just nicer.

Anyhoo… after this chapter we’re up to six out of our seven time-lost Legionnaires.  Not being a “big” Legion dude, I can’t say whether there’s rhyme or reason to the characters chosen.  If it were up to me, I’d have went with the bigger names… Brainiac-5, Saturn Girl, Mon-El, Ultra Boy… but it is pretty neat seeing some of the ones I don’t know quite as well (or at all).  If not for the wings, I wouldn’t recognize Dawnstar if she delivered a pizza to my house.

I was thinking about this story… and found myself bothered that the Justice League/Society doesn’t know who the Legionnaires are.  I was recently re-reading The Final Night for an episode of the Cosmic Treadmill… and there were time-lost Legionnaires in it!  I mean, they figured into it in a fairly large way.  Brainy helped with the plan to put out the Sun-Eater… and the only way Dusk’s warning could be translated was via the universal whoziwatsits in the Legion Flight Rings!  I suppose it serves this story for them not to know… and hell, for all I know their presence was erased from the people-in-the-present’s memories.

Outside of the main story, we do get some neat character beats.  I’ve given Meltzer some guff over the way he does things from time to time… but I gotta say… I appreciate his keeping League-centric stories moving forward throughout this crossover.  If someone were only reading the Justice League… they still get a decent amount of character-progression here.

Now, the subplot with Per Degaton and the gang… I can’t recall where this was headed.  I wanna say it ties in with Countdown (to Final Crisis), but wouldn’t swear to it.  All I know is that they were beboppin’ and scattin’ throughout time a bit during this era.  If it does all wrap up in Countdown… well, then it makes sense that I wouldn’t know how it goes down.

The reveal that the Legionnaires are on a suicide mission is an… interesting wrinkle.  I suppose this could’ve brought some urgency with it back in 2007… I mean, there was already a Legion “in the world” (I think the cool kids called it the “Threeboot Legion”), so it might’ve stood to reason that these Legionnaires were “expendable”.  Either case, this helps move this story toward its climax… and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it wraps up.  If I were a betting man (and thankfully, I’m not) I’d wager that the Rebirth-Legion (if that ever becomes “a thing”) might be in this vein… hell, might even be in this continuity… so, this could wind up being “must reading” in our Legion-Learning journey.

Overall, if you’ve read the first two chapters… you might as well pick up the third!  As mentioned in earlier installments, these were collected a few times, and are available digitally.

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