Five years ago in London, Professor Ivo met with a mysterious figure to discuss all the "super-heroes;" the Justice League, Green Arrow, Zatanna, Hawkman; that were turning up with increasing routine. "Well, then. I guess they'll call us super-villains..."
In the present, Amanda Waller feared the Justice League itself, especially the implications of a burgeoning romance between Superman and Wonder Woman. Her antidote was a government controlled super-team designed to be capable of taking down the individual members of the six hero League. Cue a credit sequence page of seven skinny "widescreen" panels referencing Catwoman, Green Lantern Simon Baz, Hawkman, Stargirl, Vibe, Katana and Green Arrow (curiously excluding Martian Manhunter, even though Selina and Ollie aren't officially part of the group.)
Waller needed a veteran to guide the team, and former Justice League liaison (and ex-Wonder Woman boyfriend) Colonel Steve Trevor was the obvious choice. Trevor had his own reasons for becoming involved with a public heroic line-up that doubled as a covert couterpoint to his former allies, as well as some strong opinions that affected the line-up, including reservations about Waller's measure against the Man of Steel...
"Martian Manhunter? You really have lost your mind... He left the League after a drag-out fight. If I know anything about the Manhunter, it's that he's impossible to predict. Or trust." Regardless, Waller found "His power levels are unmatched and you've worked with him before." Trevor wasn't confident that he could turn these disparate individuals into a team, but he did know how to get ahold of the Manhunter if she wanted to debut in time to take advantage of the Justice League's "Throne of Atlantis" P.R. troubles. After Waller left the briefing room, Steve simply said "You can come out, J'Onn." The heretofore invisible Alien Atlas manifested.
"How did you know I was here?"
"Because you always show up when people start talking about you. I assume you heard everything."
"Yes. You can count me in. If your job is getting these people to work together, you're going to need all the help you can get."
"I don't need help, J'Onn."
"Don't lie to me, Steve. We've known each other too long-- and the telepathic inhibitors A.R.G.U.S. has equipped you and its agents with don't block out someone like me... I know why you're really doing this. But if Waller or one of these government lackeys even thinks about making a move against me, I will erase their mind. And then I will erase the mind of every person in this building, including yours. They'll give me no other option. Do we have an understanding?"
They did, J'Onn was glad, and Steve grinned, "Yeah. You look it."
Meanwhile, those five year old nefarious plans appeared to be progressing, as Green Arrow, disguised as a criminal "Dark Hunter," nearly died trying to infiltrate the European camp of "The Secret Society..."
"World's Most Dangerous, Chapter One" was by Geoff Johns & David Finch. I'm not sure if the line-up or the rationale of the group was conceived first, but it's hard to imagine someone setting out to build a true anti-Justice League and deciding these second stringers had the mettle. There's some evidence supporting the New 52 Alien Atlas being able to tackle Superman, long the dream of posters on versus threads who fixate on all his powers, but nobody is buying the legitimacy of most of the other match-ups. They're playing J'Onn J'Onzz as awfully heavy-handed, seemingly no longer a private detective, but certainly a dick at large. If he went to the bother of mindwiping Stormwatch on his way out that door, why did A.R.G.U.S. get a pass when he bailed on the Justice League? The artist has an interesting take on the Martian Manhunter, having nothing to do with the more alien skull seen recently and favoring the classic look. His costume is rendered so heavily in shadow that the sometimes loud purples are agreeably muted, but Finch inexplicably draws a crude flower shape as the Manhunter's chest emblem. His threats just don't hold the same gravitas when he seems to be promoting no-skid shower stickers like a NASCAR driver in need of better sponsorship. Also worth noting is that Despero was name-dropped as a League foe who once "physically shattered" Steve Trevor (so his upcoming two-parter in Justice League will not be a debut encounter.) I hope J'Onn was on the team for that.
New 52's Day
- The Atom in Aquaman #16 (March, 2013) @ Power of the Atom
- National Comics: Eternity #1 @ DC Bloodlines
- Superman Annual #1 (2012) featuring the Manhunter from Mars @ The Idol-Head of Diabolu
- Talon #0 @ DC Bloodlines
- Vibe #1 @ Justice League Detroit
- Wonder Woman in Action Comics #14 @ Diana Prince is the New Wonder Woman