The Martian Manhunter has fled the planet, his mind seemingly shattered during a valiant attempt to stop Black Adam.
Now It's War.
Apparently now able to drift in a fetal position from low Earth orbit, J'Onn J'Onzz mused over the Zeta Beam accident that caused Adam Strange, Starfire, and Animal Man to become lost in space, the usurper Red Tornado to explode, and Supergirl to be shunted to the future. Still sifting through an overwhelming psychic stream from the humanity below, the Sleuth in Outer Space telepathically eavesdropped on:
- The presentable Harvey Dent fighting Killer Croc as the current guardian of Gotham City.
- Donna Troy donning the garb of a Wonder Woman.
- Captain Marvel battling Black Adam.
- Firestorm distracted from giving chase regarding Black Adam.
- Aquaman arguing with Aquagirl (Lorena Marquez) about his powerlessness to save Sub Diegan citizens suddenly unable to breathe in or out of water. "It's possible, but the cost will be severe--"
J'Onzz was interrupted by the uncontrolled return of Supergirl, who passed immaterially through the Alien Atlas to crash land in Metropolis. J'Onzz again lost his bearings, and painfully re-centered himself while in his natural Martian form. The Manhunter reconfigured his heroic guise, but remained unable to actively participate in current affairs.
- Dent managed to choke out Killer Croc, which only made the Writer and Waylon Jones look bad.
- Deathstroke the Terminator attempted to sway Batgirl (Cassandra Cain) to the dark side.
"I should be disgusted by the evil I see. I should feel the need to take action. Instead, buried deep beneath the weight of millions of deaths... my heart does not stir. In those stolen moments I find only pain, and in that pain I find only truth. This place is not my home... War rages below... Black Adam. I reach out one last time, trying to find a reason why I should continue to care."
I've got one! Readers are even more indifferent to dispassionate, callous, unmotivated protagonists than they usually are to the Manhunter from Mars! They also tend to hate anyone blowing off a half century of reasonably consistent characterization as part of an ill-considered "bold new direction."
- In Pisa, Italy, the Doom Patrol of One Year Later, joined by Booster Gold, struggled with Black Adam.
- Wonder Woman Donna Troy shed a tear over the ravaged opera house in Sydney, Australia.
- In Sub Diego, Aquaman petitioned the gods of the sea to save his latest adopted people. The inexplicably immune Lorena fled Sub Diego while the Sea King channeled "strange, ancient, and terrible" power through his Waterbearer hand to resurface the sunken portion of San Diego, CA and restore full humanity to Sub Diego's former inhabitants. The price was Orin's mutating into the amnesiac creature dubbed the "Dweller of the Depths."
By this point, the Martian Manhunter had gotten himself into a free-floating lotus position. "Aquaman. One of the few humans I truly consider a friend. His mind is lost, perhaps forever, caught in the grip of dark and angry gods. Clark. Bruce. Diana. Now Arthur. All have given selflessly for the good of the planet. All have paid a price, in one form or another... We dance an endless cycle, saving mankind from itself, showing them a better way. Time and again, they refuse to learn. They choose the easier path. Anger over reason. Hate over love. Death over life. Plotting. Scheming. Manipulating. Human nature at its most basic... A paradox I have struggled to comprehend from my first moment on this world. If I am to continue to have a place among humanity, this must change. Before it is too late."
The Manhunter carried on drifting aimlessly, just like the meandering narrative. Visions of Amanda Waller pulling a confidential personnel file on Ben Turner, Changeling leading a doomed Teen Titans incarnation, Captain Marvel Jr. getting his wind, and Power Girl carrying Supergirl off filled J'Onzz's head...
While much more decipherable than last issue, writer Keith Champagne's plot was just checking off a laundry list of editorially-mandated continuity beats established as part of the One Year Later publishing initiative, but unresolved where it was planned to be, in the 52 series (since those writers got tied up in telling actual stories.) The art was by Andy Smith and Ray Snyder, who for once focused on channeling Bryan Hitch instead of Bart Sears, to pleasant result.