Brief Summary (Covering Justice League, Justice League of America, Justice League Dark, Pandora, Phantom Stranger, and Constantine)
Feeling the need to show some sense of humanity even to the person who tried to kill him, Shazam travels to the desert nation of Kahndaq to spread the remains of Black Adam but is intercepted by Superman and Wonder Woman. Moments later, the full Justice League and the Justice League of America show up to curtail Shazam so a war with Kahndaq does not break out. During the fight, Superman’s powers become unstablem, and he kills a member of the JLA. Fearing his abilities, he stands down and agrees to go back to A.R.G.U.S. until things get worked out, but others believe that he’s been manipulated by outside forces.
After getting checked out by the medics at A.R.G.U.S., League and JLA members seek out the person behind Superman’s condition and split up to track down either Pandora, her box, or the Secret Society. Several JLA members learn about the real reasons why Amanda Waller put the team together and begin to see her as nothing more than a pariah. The corrupting powers of Pandora’s box begins to infect the heroes who come into contact with it, but before they can determine exactly what it is, the box opens a doorway to another dimension in which “evil” versions of the best known figures in the world appear, spearheaded by Super Woman and Ultraman.
As always, it is good to see the many superheroes working together, though it did take a lot for them to get that way. Not everyone gets along well, and there’s a lot of friction between the capes, but at least they’re able to put their problems aside (for the most part) in order to get the job done. Normally, this takes a lot longer to establish in storylines, but I think because so many of the characters have history between them that it made it much easier for everyone to get together.
A really great surprise that I didn’t see coming was the double- (or perhaps in this case triple-) cross of a deep-cover spy. There was no real indication of the situation, at least not to me, and there was a great sense of misdirection by showing a betrayal that was already well-known before this crossover even began. The writers did a really good job of keeping this a surprise until the end, not even letting foreshadowing slip up the situation.
So many other crossovers that I’ve read seem to take place over a much larger amount of time—both in terms of in-continuity time passage and comic book publication—but this one was very quick-paced. While that might be good in that it doesn’t dominate the titles for a long amount of time, there didn’t seem to be as much in-depth information that I would have expected given the new status that is shown at the end of the storyline. I can see why there were some tie-in issues in Pandora and Phantom Stranger, but I don’t feel there was enough to really get a feel for some of the game-changing details that they introduced.
Another issue that I had was how easy it was for the various “teams” to work together throughout the majority of the storyline, especially the JLA and the original League. Since the first issue, the JLA has been made to be a fail safe against the League, even if not all of them know it, so while it might make sense that the characters themselves might work okay with the original League, I’m not sure how I feel about them as a group working with the old school heroes. There’s some tension to be sure, but it looks as though there’s more tension between members of the same team than there were between the members of opposite teams.
September is "Villains’ Month,” in which we get to see things from the perspective of the bad guys and get some background on some of the major players. I’m also very interested in seeing what the great big evil from Earth-Three is going to be like in the New 52 universe and if they’re going to be any different from the previous versions of these characters in the old comics and television/film. I do hope that they don’t stick to the exact same characters as done before, as variety is good—especially given that the New 52 is a reboot/relaunch and the old ways aren’t always the same as the new—but I have a feeling that I’m going to be somewhat disappointed by what I see.