Saturday, December 6, 2008

JLA Secret Files and Origins #1: "Star-Seed" (9/97)

In Blue Valley, the Flash tried to take on a new incarnation of an old alien foe alone, and failed. The Star Conqueror took possession of the speedster through a starfish-like creature, which attached to his face, and made an announcement to the world. "Listen carefully. These are the facts... I am the probe, he is the conqueror, you are the spaces yet to be taken. Understand that your minds were never your own... This area has been conquered! This continent will be conquered! This world will be conquered! And the next! And the next! And the..."

Aboard the "JLA Satellite," in truth a former ship of the Overmaster, were convened former Justice League America leader Wonder Woman and five other heroes. Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern Kyle Rayner hesitated to speak as Batman and the Amazing Amazon debated strategy. Superman acknowledged "...I must admit I'm uneasy about us taking charge of this without consulting the Justice League." The Sleuth from Outer Space grimly asserted "There is no Justice League, Superman. Metamorpho and the present team were asked by the U.N. to vacate the satellite this morning. We're the new temporary JLA." Aquaman confided "I doubt they'll be happy about that. Some of those people aren't bad at all." Batman was dismissive. Shades of the Detroit League, anyone?

Suddenly, the Spectre appeared, on authority from the highest power, commanding the JLA to "Ignore Blue Valley. Let them die. I forbid you to form the new Justice League of America at this precise hour." Among others, the Martian Marvel protested. "Are you suggesting we look the other way while this monster consumes the entire Earth? Because that's what it's threatening to do." The Spectre divulged that a tactical nuclear strike was already being planned, and would remedy the problem. When the JLA continued to argue, the Spectre played Ghost of Christmas Future, and showed the team the probable result of their interference: They would all bne enslaved, and their combined power would allow the alien invader conquest of our world. From there, the Star Conqueror would dominate an army of super-human bodies that would be used to subjugate all worlds, and even all time.

Superman hit upon a solution: having the Spectre remove all of the JLA's powers, so they could enter Blue Valley without potentially compromising the safety of the universe. The Caped Crusader and Man of Tomorrow led a League engagement of the Star Conqueror. The JLA essentially ran interference for the Dark Knight Detective, each battered by the possessed Flash while Batman rigged the temperature controls of a building. Subzero cold had an adverse effect on computer systems and alien probes under the Star Conqueror's power, allowing Wally West to free his mind with Batman's help. The Flash's incredible speeds then allowed his to route any resistance from the chilled probes, with the Star Conqueror itself seeming to perish in an explosion.

The Martian Manhunter congratulated, "Well done, Wally. It's good to see you back to your old self." As Green Lantern whined about his lost cosmic abilities, J'Onn J'Onzz concede, "We gave up our powers to save these people, Kyle. Any alternative was never an option." The Spectre materialized to avow "Indeed, no more an option than removing your powers permanently, Martian Manhunter. They were not taken as a punishment. I can see no conceivable reason why they should not be returned to you in full bow that your mission has been accomplished... The future was my only concern. It shall be safe in the hands of the Justice League."

By Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, & John Dell.


Bookgal said...

I wasn't thrilled with Kyle's whining at the end of this story...normaly I liked him well enough, but I do rememebr this and I liked it fairly well when I first read it. Not in my top 10 DC stories ever, but a pretty good little tale none the less.

Diabolu Frank said...

I liked it better back in the day, while on re-reading spotted it as a light Fox homage and an early outing for the Über-Batman that plagued comics for many years. Kyle whining wasn't completely out of character, though the guy has a worse rep than he deserves.