Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Justice #12 (August, 2007)

Bio Booster Armor Batman got the captured Lex Luthor to admit that he had agreed to work with Brainiac because the alien was going to take the "lazy... sick... undisciplined... lowest common denominator" of humanity who wanted a "free lunch" off in the seven cities governed by legionnaires of doom away to outer space, leaving Luthor to shape an Earth made up solely of rugged exceptionalists unencumbered by the non-producers; basically outing him as the third Koch brother. Batman pointed out to one of the smartest men ever that Brainiac was always going to nuke whatever was left on Earth when he was done with it. Whatever your politics, shrill is shrill. Batman also threatened to murder Luthor if he didn't cooperate, with Lex even saying "You don't have to tell me, Grodd. I know he's not bluffing. Ross and company had an odd fixation on a brutal Batman unseen in popular media, even more incongruent within the context of a "mature" take on the Super Friends. Superman would truly turn a blind eye to that?

In Scarecrow's city, Zatanna teleported the Marvel Family to Toyman's city so that they could evacuate the children, which I thought was Superman's job, but he instead smashed into Scarecrow's city after beating the Toyman, so he could work longer, so he could earn more, so he could do more coke. Superman was needed there to... hear from Red Tornado that Brainiac had switched his consciousness to a robot body in another city, and from Zatanna that Black Manta had teleported away, so that he could deduce that Arthur Junior was now with Black Manta. Gee, Aquaman could never have put that together on his own. Oh, and he ordered all the super-heroes to keep evacuating Brainiac's cities, because dur.

Elongated Man was part of Supergirl's strike team against Poison Ivy's city, which also included Green Arrow, Black Canary, and Metamorpho. The Maid of Might had a "toad struck by lightning" level dumb exchange before knocking out Ivy so easily you'd wonder why the whole scene wasn't brushed off as a single captioned panel.

Aquaman alone went to Black Manta's city, because drama. Manta threatened to murder Arthur Junior most heinously, so Aquaman surrendered to a beating at the hands of Black's blacks. The Sea King had learned that Brainiac had given Manta the ability to "enslave" his African-American men through technology in his costume, which Aquaman wrecked. The men were no longer agreeable toward very late term abortions and/or being subjugated by one of their own, but they were all for unsubtle sub-text wherein they're emancipated by a white authority figure. Then the blond-haired, blue-eyed Caucasian royalty dressed in golden armor beat Manta like a... like a, um... red-headed step-president of the United States with a much disputed birth record? "I live beneath the sea. I rule and live in a kingdom surrounded by pressures beyond any human ability to measure. What chance did you ever have against me?" Yeah Aquaman, let's have a monologue about your innate superiority to Black. No mixed signals there.

After having helped the Manhunter and Grodd halt a global nuclear strike, Lex Luthor teleported himself to Brainiac's current location, where he revealed that he had always known the android would betray him. "You're an alien... Partner? As if such a thing were possible between us. I wanted you to know, when mankind does not die this day, that it was because of me." Luthor halted Brainiac's body hopping, preventing him from collecting his "heir" from Manta, and instead forced him to flee to his orbiting spaceship. "Get the hell off my planet!" Zatanna and her crew arrived in time to recapture Luthor and continue their pursuit of Brainic. Unfortunately, the Coluan's ship was miniaturized, stranding Zatanna in the vacuum of space. Superman froze the tiny ship in place with super breath (isn't space already pretty cold, and I guess the moisture was pure super spit?) then wrapped Zee in his cape to protect her from reentry and flew down to Earth. Zee still required CPR, administered across a 12-panel grid page. Zee finally coughed and said "Sknaht... I mean... thanks."

The Riddler was sent back to Arkham Asylum, where he was taunted by the similarly returned Joker. Aquaman kicked it with his reunited and fully restored family in Atlantis. Elongated Man proved his worth by serving duties usually reserved for inanimate objects by assisting in the loading and unloading of passengers from the cities of evil. Zatanna was neither barefoot nor pregnant, so she was unseen and unheard until the next time the League needed a magical teleport tube or a damsel in distress. Batman brooded. Our two year, twelve issue, international nightmare was over. "Chapter Twelve" was plotted and painted by Alex Ross. The script was provided by Jim Krueger, and the penciled layouts by Doug Braithwaite.

Continue the story through these character-specific posts:

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2007 Zatanna: From Bruce Wayne's private files in the Batcomputer

Pencil art by Doug Braithwaite painted over by Alex Ross from the back pages of Justice #12 (August, 2007.) Text by Jim Krueger writing as Batman:
ZATANNA ZATARA is the daughter of the master magician Zatara, one-tine member of the All-Star Squadron. Zatanna's mother was believed to have died shortly after Zatanna's birth, forcing John Zatara to raise his daughter alone. Because of her lineage, she had some of her father's magical gifts. But her father's prominence made her the target of dark forces. A curse was placed on Zatara by one of his enemies so that Zatanna would die if he ever saw her again. And so her father left her. With him gone, she struggled though her childhood like many of us did, only to find a family of sorts in the Justice League of America.

Zatanna's magical powers are limited. She generally needs a conduit to her magic. This is necessary for her ability to teleport as well. She has, at best, a fair amount of hand-to-hand combat knowledge. It's her talent for the odds in the Justice League's favor that makes her invaluable.

I find that assessment questionable. Also, Scarlet Witchy.

The Batcomputer Files