Justice League of America (vol.2) #10 (August, 2007)
“The Lightning Saga, Final Chapter: The Villain is the Hero in His Own Story”
Writer – Brad Meltzer
Penciller – Ed Benes
Inker – Sandra Hope
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Colorist – Alex Sinclair
Assistant Editor – Adam Schlagman
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
Okay, we finally made it…
If you need/want to catch up:
Chapter One: Justice League of America (vol.2) #8
Chapter Two: Justice Society of America (vol.3) #5
Chapter Three: Justice League of America (vol.2) #9
Chapter Four: Justice Society of America (vol.3) #6
We pick up back during the Computo fight. While Superman and Power Girl realize they’ve been duped, the rest of the amalgamated Justice League-Society continues the battle. Spotting Sensor Girl, and assuming she’s behind the illusion, Superman zips across the battlefield to question her. He grabs her by the shoulder… shattering it? Well, no… turns out, Sensor Girl is also an illusion!
We shift to the Legionnaires and find that they are all in position… Dawnstar is in Tokyo, Timber Wolf is in Central City, Sensor Girl is in Smallville, Wildfire is in San Francisco, Starman is in Gotham City, and Dream Girl is in Keystone City… where she is joined by an inquisitive Jay Garrick. He knows that she knows how this is all going to roll out… but she ain’t talkin’. In fact, she hints that her placement was simply to pull the present-heroes’ resident speedster off the scent.
Jay smiles… because, well… he’s always smiling. At that moment we can see that each of the Legionniares we just mentioned have been joined by a member of the Justice League. In Smallville, Sensor Girl finds herself in the company of Superman. She is crying, knowing that this time around we won’t just be losing a “Proty”. He asks if he can see the Lightning Rod.
In Gotham, Batman is joined by Mr. Terrific so they can have a discussion/debate on suicide… which, I suppose is relevant at this juncture but still comes across as somewhat forced. While across the globe the League members try and talk the Legionnaires out of their suicide mission, we see that Batman and Green Lantern are in very familiar locales. Batman is where he was during Crisis on Infinite Earths when Barry Allen appeared before him… Hal is in Barry’s police lab. Really cool visual.
We find ourselves around twenty seconds from “impact”, and the waiting Legionnaires activate their force fields. Jay radios in to Black Canary, who immediately deactivates the Legion Flight rings… unfortunately for the League/Society, the Legionnaires Rings are able to override the command. Welp, that was a good use of a page!
The seconds continue to tick down, and we shift to Blue Valley, USA where Karate Kid (remember him?) is stationed. The League/Society were unable to follow him as he removed his tracer. Hmm, perhaps the Legion did already know who was going to be zapped today!
He looks to the skies, says “Lightning Lad” and is struck by a… sorta iconic looking… lightning bolt!
Moments later, the remaining Legionnaires begin to fade away… being drawn to the Fortress of Solitude so they can go back to the future. In the smoldering crater where the lightning struck in Blue Valley we see… Wally, Linda, Iris, and Jai West? Well, there’s some folks I wasn’t expecting to see.
While the Legionnaires continue to fade away, Starman removes his flight ring to remain in the present with his new team.
The Legionnaires arrive at the Fortress, and as they proceed through the time-portal thingie… Karate Kid is told that he’s got to stay behind… a story thread that will be picked up in the pages of Countdown. Fate worse than death? Oh and if you’re wondering, he survived the lightning bolt by “ducking”.
We follow the remaining Legionnaires into the future, where Brainiac-5 is a bit surprised about the lightning bringing the Wests back. Ya see, they weren’t inside the lightning bolt… they simply rode it back. Back in the present, Superman looks a bit betrayed… and wants to talk to Starman. Batman looks disappointed… suggesting that he might’ve been expecting, I dunno, a different speedster?
We wrap up with Wally accepting an invitation to rejoin the Justice League… and Brainiac-5 revealing that the Lightning Rod gambit was successful, and they get exactly who they were looking for.
Well… that was moderately unsatisfying. Feels like a whole lot of buildup for not much of a result. We discuss the whole “decompression” thing here from time to time… and we’re about to do so again!
I feel like the second-half of this story could have easily filled a single issue. Hell, this entire story would’ve made for a great annual or something. There just doesn’t feel like nearly enough “meat” to satisfyingly fill five whole issues. Chapter Four was basically just the fight with not-Computo, and this was just waiting for lightning to strike.
I’m a pretty big Wally West fan, but the result here even felt like a bit of a letdown. I guess that’s a problem we face when we read things out of context. I’d actually forgotten the era we were reading about, and the fact that Wally and Family had vamoosed for a bit there. Made the entire thing feel anticlimactic.
As for who the Legion were hoping to bring back… well, we’d have to wait about a year and a half to find out what that’s all about. So, if you were a Legion fan hoping for some follow-up, you’re gonna have to exercise some patience. Nothing new for Legion fans though, right? Especially nowadays…
Overall… I found The Lightning Saga disappointing. To be fair, I’m coming at this from a position of not knowing a whole helluva lot about the Legion of Super-Heroes… and having little investment in the characters, disparate reboots, and stories which may or may not have happened.