It’s time to look into the abyss once again.
Last month, in a MAILBAG question, friend of the Geekery Kenny asked me if The Rise and Fall of Arsenal – the 4-issue miniseries from 2010 – was DC Comics’ “lowest point.” There’s no better way to examine that question than by going issue-by-issue of that miniseries and the one from which it was birthed, Justice League: CRY FOR JUSTICE.
The fourth issue brings us some more insanity.
Justice League: Cry For Justice 4
Written by James Robinson
Art by Mauro Cascioli
They did it again!
Literally moments after this new Vengeance League captured who they thought was Prometheus, tortured him and then got almost blown up after they realized it was actually a CLAYFACE, they’re back at it. Obsessed with getting answers about what Prometheus is doing, these “heroes” gather up the villains they defeated and go right back to torturing them for information!
Hal Jordan and Ray Palmer go back to the same tactic, too. Ray shrinks down and enters someone’s sinus cavity until they can’t take it anymore. Palmer does this to five more villains, none of whom know anything about Prometheus’ plans. As Hal asks the questions while these bad guys are probably having the worst headaches of their lives, all I can think is that Ray is willingly entering a snot-filled hole while Hal has a weapon that can conjour up anything at all, most likely including torture devices.
But he doesn’t, likely because the Guardians of the Universe, with all of their faults and moral lacking, probably wouldn’t be too keen on one of their Lanterns committing acts of torture.
And as Ray and Hal are torturing guys for information, Supergirl and CAPTAIN SPARKLYFINGERS Junior just stand there and watch. But thankfully, Green Arrow steps up and challenges Hal’s and Ray’s actions. Hal brushes Oliver off and Ray challenges and insults Ollie’s liberal beliefs and tells him that they were never friends after Green Arrow appeals to their friendship before Ray’s wife went a little nutty and killed one of their best friends and he disappeared into the microverse.
Oliver, though, is completely fed up with it and uses a sonic disrupter to throw Hal off guard and stop the torture.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Starman Mikaal Tomas and Congorilla have finally found the people responsible for their recent pain – the killing of Congorilla’s tribe and Starman’s boyfriend. Congorilla is ready to kill them and exact vengeance, but Starman stops him, realizing that vengeance isn’t the answer.
Thank God for Mikaal and Oliver.
While Captain Sparklyfingers Junior tries to guide the league towards some answers against PROMETHEUS, who is easily a few steps ahead of them, the other powerhouse on the team is reduced to nothing more than a lovesick school girl. Supergirl spends the whole issue swooning over Sparklyfingers. It’s really not a good look for a book that was already problematic.
The group finally agrees that they need a little bit of help with their Prometheus problem, so they head up into space to see the Justice League.
I’ve said before that this Vengeance League is probably the worst iteration of the Justice League, but good grief, look at that roster. Vixen, Red Arrow, Zatanna, The Flash (who I think was back to being Barry Allen at this point), the Hawks, Red Tornado, Firestorm and Plastic Man. That group together doesn’t exactly scream out as being filled with heavy hitters. It may be even worse than Justice League Detroit. At least the Detroit group had Martian Manhunter and Aquaman!
It seems as though the Vengeance League may have had its confidence betrayed by Golden Age Flash Jay Garrick, who spends parts of the issue speaking with other heroes. Whatever Jay said does not have the actual heroes happy with Hal and his crew.
Can this possibly get any worse? Well, the next issue’s cover has Supergirl making out with Sparklyfingers, so…