Friday, October 17, 2008

JLA #1 (January, 1997)

In Washington D.C., the President of the United States was complaining about a variety of things, including Firehawk getting sick and being unable to serve as his superhuman escort in his meeting with "El Presidente or whatever it is this jumped-up bandit calls himself." Suddenly, a flying saucer appeared, a mile across, projecting a light onto the White House. Members of the recently decommissioned "Justice League America," headquartered in a space ship once used by the Overmaster, received a call concerning the matter. "How did we miss it? Freakin' thing came outta nowhere. We're talking major camouflage here." Metamorpho complained about the new JL "A-Team" and their egos pushing his group out of the way, while Nuklon studied the saucer and Icemaiden noted Fire had called in sick."

Superman arrived on the White House lawn just after eight large silver "eggs" had landed, from which exited a varied group of costumed super-heroes. "People of Earth! Greetings. Allow us to introduce ourselves... I am Protex. We are The Hyperclan. We've come to save the world... We have journeyed through space... for a world like this one. A world where we could succeed where we failed before. We are here to house your homeless. We are here to feed your starving and to repair the damage you have done to your biosphere. We are at your disposal. Bring us your problems and we will give you solutions in return. And if any of your native superhuman community wish to help us, we... welcome them. We would like to show you what can be done when the will is strong, the heart is pure and the mind is clear. Thank you for your attention." Both humans and superhumans watched this televised proclamation in awe, including the Martian Manhunter from his Denver home. His television was flanked with videos about extra-terrestrials, including "Autopsy," Close Encounters," "Aliens" and "E.T." Cassie Sandsmark watched with her mother and Princess Diana in Gateway City, and said she thought Protex "looks like Jim Morrison... He's gorgeous!"

Through their combined powers, the Hyperclan brought rain to the Sahara Desert and the appearance of potential for vegetation. However, Superman noted, "The Sahara is green today but can it be sustained or are people being given false hope in the name of spectacle? Is humankind really willing to become the pampered lapdog of superhuman beings and squander its own potential?" The question raised ire the world over, as people believed Superman and his fellows were jealous of the Hyperclan. Protex teased his willingness to discuss the matter with the Man of Steel. "If he wants to know where to find me, I'll be out 'fixing' the world." The worm really began to turn when the Hyperclan started executing super-villains like Judgment, which saw instances of "metacrimes" plummet, but alerted the JLA to the severity of the Hyperclan's threat.

Wonder Woman and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner returned to Overmaster's former ship, from which the Amazing Amazon had commanded the immediately prior incarnation of the League. Humanoid lifeforms in red space suits attacked the ship from the outside, crippling it with an electromagnetic pulse before breaching the hull with their fists. "Diana" asked GL to join her in space to confront the attackers, and to call her by her first name, as they were now in the same League. "Says you," Kyle muttered, " I can't handle this. It's like playing with the Beatles..." The other heroes aboard were trying to escape, but without functioning away craft, were forced to improvise. Metamorpho was left in an "inert" state from saving his fellows as they reentered Earth's atmosphere and crash landed. Lantern and Wonder Woman continued to battle their aggressors, who displayed super powers, but were neutralized still. However, Rayner and the Princess were distracted by an ultimately futile effort to save the Overmaster ship, and lost track of the guilty parties.

Meanwhile, Protex was in the Antarctic with his seven cohorts, who fired energy beams to melt the ice around a hidden city. "How long has it been? How long since we stood here for the first time? What was the human species then? No more than dormant potential in the genetic material of jellyfish! How little they have changed. But remember the barges heaped with spices and precious metals? Remember the music of the brass gongs and the toiling of the warmills? Life was good then. Life will be better. Join with me! Tear open the ice with your gaze! Unearth the ancient of days! Behold the glory of Z'onn Z'orr!"

The next day, the new JLA began coming together in a makeshift club in Rhode Island. Despite the blow they'd received, public opinion was still against their group, incensed at the slightest implication the Hyperclan might have been involved. "Protex, named 'the sexiest man in the universe' by readers of 'Sunday Planet Magazine,' answered, "The Justice League seems hellbent on manufacturing a confrontation. I pray it needn't come to that. I would rather we were allies in the service of this world and its people."

Martian Manhunter greeted Flash upon the speedster's arrival, a man who had issues with the already present new Green Lantern. Wonder Woman was also around, while Superman followed Flash in, and knew at this point Protex was lying. Green Lantern thought the indictment against the League's not having done enough for mankind might be true, but J'Onn J'Onzz affirmed, "They've taken lives. They've created superficial displays of power..." Batman was the last to arrive, but the first with the conclusion that the Hyperclan were broadcasting globally at the 7Hz wavelength of the human brain to control the population's minds. "This is a planned invasion. We're facing an unknown, immensely powerful enemy. We don't know how many there are and we don't know what they want. First blood goes to them but now it's our turn. This is war!"

By Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, John Dell and Pat Garrahy

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