Sometimes, the bad guy wins. And everyone is worse for it.

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.

With the final issue of Cry For Justice, everything seems to get even worse.

Justice League: Cry For Justice 7
Written by James Robinson
Pencils by Scott Clark, Ibrain Roberson and Mauro Casciolo
Inks by Scott Clark, David Beaty, Ibrain Roberson and Mauro Casciolo
Colors by Mauro Casciolo, Siya Dum and Giovani Kososki

As the LAST ISSUE came to a close, the heroes learned that even though they had the evil PROMETHEUS tied up, he was the one who held all the cards. In order to escape capture, he set into motion the complete and total destruction of Star City, home of Green Arrow.

But it’s not just Star City the heroes have failed. Prometheus’ machinations have cities all over the country starting to crumble because of the technology he had been stealing in the opening issues. Of course, it was supposed to contain and teleport the cities throughout time and space, so the destruction was really just a consolation prize for the big bad.

The most tragic part of the issue – and really of the whole series – is the death of Lian, the daughter of Roy Harper. After losing most of his right arm last issue, Lian dying will set off the back half of this series, as Roy Harper will have to reconcile what happened.

You would think that the death of a young child would be the final strike, the thing the heroes can rally around to defeat the bad guy. But it’s literally the opening salvo from Prometheus here. As cities around the country continue to fall, the heroes can’t manage to do anything to stop it. They allow Prometheus to outplay them at every turn, and the villain let’s them know that the only way to stop the wonton destruction is to let him walk free. Only then, will he give the codes to stop his devices.

So they let him go!

No matter how Green Arrow and his fellow heroes rationalize it as for the greater good and to save lives, it’s not a good look.

But even though Prometheus walked out of the Justice League satellite, knowing that he soundly defeated the heroes and made them look completely ineffectual, it wasn’t the greatest of victories. His ultimate gambit of sending cities to the great unknown completely failed because the technology went to hell. I assume it was running on Windows Vista.

As disappointing a failure that would be, though, he ultimately doesn’t even make it out of the issue alive!

Somehow, with absolutely no explanation, Oliver Queen finds Prometheus’ secret hideout, which has been established as being in a pocket dimension outside of our own. And the Green Arrow walks right in to this pocket dimension – without detection – and catches the man who could predict the heroes’ every movement just pages before completely unawares. And the he puts an arrow in Prometheus’ head.

After Ollie spent entire issues trying to rein Hal Jordan in from torture and taking things too far against the villains in the series, the complete destruction of Ollie’s character is complete when he lets loose that last arrow and says the word, “Justice.” Maiming his adopted son and killing his granddaughter, Prometheus completely broke Oliver Queen.

That whole thing was… not good. I’m not sure what writer James Robinson thought was the point of this whole series. The Justice League – sure it was definitely a lesser version, but still – comes off looking terrible. He killed off a child, completely destroyed the DC Universe’s moral compass in Oliver Queen. And as a kicker, he killed off a bad guy who had so much untapped potential.

And the crap hasn’t even hit the fan yet. Because now it’s time to move on to the Rise of Arsenal – after a brief interlude where James Robinson hands the story off to writer JT Krul.