Friday, May 23, 2008

Justice League of America #254 (9/86)

Despero: "'ve underestimated the sheer hatred I feel for you and your companions in the Justice League. Allow me to make myself clear."

Batman: "He is the Batman, the Darknight Detective, legend among legends, leader of the new Justice League of America. Not for the first time in his life, but perhaps for the last, he wonders what it will feel like to die." Standing before Despero as he bathed in the Flame of Py'tar, the Caped Crusader thought, "He's growing. No doubt about it... that flame... feeding his alien metabolism at an astonishing rate. Must be at least nine feet tall-- and he's coming out. This is it. All the places I've been, all the things I've done... it all comes down to this moment. Face-to-face with an alien being... in a battle I can't hope to win. No problem. I've been facing the same lousy odds all my life." The Batman proved a minor distraction, and was easily recaptured. However, he still claimed a victory of sorts. "Destroying me isn't enough for you. You won't be satisfied till I beg. I won't give you that satisfaction. So no matter what you do to me now, Despero... I win. For all your power, you're a loser. A pathetic little lo--AAAHHH!" The Batman was eventually freed and rejoined the battle.

Vixen: Revived her teammates and explained the gameplan. "The Flame's a nuclear plasma. Whatever enters it is either destroyed... or reborn... Now he's got the power to manipulate matter... like Firestorm, I guess, but on a greater scale. He's even created a duplicate of the Py'tar Flame to recharge himself with... like Green Lantern's power battery. He calls himself a god." Well, he was a god laid low when Mari rammed into the back of his knee with the force of a buffalo. "Woman, your death will be long and painful." Freed the Batman and joined him in fighting hoards of stone demons.

Elongated Man: Caught Vixen and Batman before they could be injured in a fall. Encircled by stone monstrosities of Despero's creation, followed his leader's order to "Fight like hell!" Not so much the order to target the flame, as Vixen stated they needed a bigger distraction, and Ralph chided, "If we win this one, Bats, you can slap our wrists. And if we don't win-- it won't much matter, will it?" Carried out the wounded Steel in the aftermath.

Steel: Hit the hardest by Despero's earthquake, Hank had to be helped to his feet by J'Onn J'Onzz and Gypsy, and propped up from then on. However, when Vibe belittled himself and the team in the event of a renewed assault, Steel, through clenched teeth and in obvious pain, set him straight. "Hey Vibe... if that's what you think you are, then that's all you'll ever be. Maybe we're not the best League that ever was... but we're here... and we've got a job to do. So let's do it." Steel got in one good punch to the base of Despero's spine, but nearly fell over after and had to be rescued by Gypsy. Was struck by a jet of magma and had his back scalded. Carried out by J'Onn and Ralph.

Gypsy: Stuck by Steel, even when he asked her to save herself. Used her chameleon powers to conceal them from demons and Despero. Became enraged when Despero burnt Steel. "Hiding isn't the only trick I know, you scaly-skinned-son-of-a-- CHEW ON THIS!" Despero knows he isn't being flung into a solar corona, but he can't fend off the illusory sensation that "sears his skin, worse than the Flame of Py'tar, eating him alive... and he screams!"

Martian Manhunter: The first to rise at Vixen beckoning. Saw the wisdom in Batman's plan. "Now, while Despero is occupied fending off the others, we strike... Martians weaken in the presence of fire, but I do not intend to approach the Flame of Py'tar, Vibe. Despero will have set defences to protect the flame... I will deal with them, while you deal with the flame. Your shockwave power may be the one force we have strong enough to disrupt the flame. If anything can."

Vibe: Wanted his team to bug out of Gotham and let the Navy bomb the city flat. "Look around you, man... look at us! I know what people been saying... I've got ears. We're a joke... What've we got here? A Chicano from Detroit, a big green bald guy, a human rubber band, a no-name teenage girl who can make herself disappear-- some trick-- an ex-fashion model, and a redheaded tin woodsman. Where're the power players, man? We're strictly second string! We can't do it. Despero wiped the rug with us once already. Next time, he'll kill us. Losers, that's all we are." His team refused to quit though, and he damned himself for joining them. Under the Manhunter's direction, Vibe waited for the opportune moment to strike at the flame, but had his own demons to fend off until the Batman gave him the order. Like a candle being blown out, the flame was no more, and without the outside power source Despero's body "consumes himself" into seeming nothingness.

"Finally-- it is over."
"Thanks to Vibe."
"Guess I'm not such a loser after all, huh, Bats?"
"You never were, in my book."

Zatanna: Still no time for subplots...

Sue Dibney: ...nor supporting characters.

The Creators: Luke McDonnell clearly relished drawing the Batman, and everyone kept busy, even if the ending was slightly anticlimactic.

J’Onn J’Onzz’s Nicknames of the Issue: "Big Green" -Vibe
"J'Onn" -Vixen
Most Embarrassing Vibe Quote of the Issue: "Aw-right. Does this mean we're buddies? Like, can we double date?"

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