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Justice League Unlimited

Doomsday Sanction

Carving tunnels off the main eruption, to stop it before it starts. Supes could just as easily set it off, so he has to go slow.

“Fine. Why don’t we walk into the light together? I’m sure the sure the American people will be just as interested in your activities as mine. Secret weapons, illegal cloning experiments, bypassing Congress.”

“If we present a threat! You’ve got a space station floating over our heads with a laser pointing down. In another dimension, seven of you overthrew the government and assassinated the president. We’re the good guys protecting our country from a very real threat. You.”

It’s not that they’re both right, it’s…

“I don’t care get it done.” “Sent him off to the Phantom Zone didn’t you?” “How fast can you get the second team up and running.” “And now we’ve got Calibak locked up on Earth where neither side can use him.” “Sanction Doomsday.” “And would you have us help three people at the expense of billions more.”

It’s a far cry from the league at the beginning of S2 shocked at the suggestion that they wouldn’t help save Apocalypse.

In Ultimatum, there’s a scene where the Justice League members of the episode are sitting around a round table. I didn’t think anything of it. I mean, for all I know it’s the break room. But this time, that table was a high council. The original members of the JL sitting at their round table where none is greater than the other. Even Hawk Girl recently returned to the fold. Face bare and silent.

The cabal of Cadmus sitting around their round table where none is greater than the other. Cadmus. Seeking sisters that cannot be found. Sewing dragon’s teeth to populate their cities. It’s interesting that only one of the conspirators was new. Characters seeded over multiple series into giants. Until they all turn to look at their warthog generating conspirator.

And the JL all turn and look at Flash. “Let’s put a pin in that theory to explore another time.” I’d wonder if Flash realizes the path he’s already sprinting down, but we are talking Flash here.

The problem isn’t sitting in judgment on yet another Superman clone. Or locking up Calibak. Or refusing to help people asking for help because it doesn’t suit your goals. Or an increasingly isolationist feel to the Just Us League, even as they expand to include more members.

The problem is a lack of Covenant.

Every member of Justice League from Batman (I made a promise on the grave of my parents to rid this city of the evil that took their lives. By day, I am Bruce Wayne, billionaire philanthropist. At night, criminals, a cowardly and superstitious lot, call me Batman) to fame seeking Booster Gold is a vigilante. Green Lantern may be a member of the Green Lantern Core, but that agency certainly wasn’t/isn’t designated by Earth locals. It’s certainly a good thing that Diana ran away from home, that Clark chooses to uses his ability so, but ….none of them are subject to any sort of review process.

They receive accolades from the public. Except when they don’t. And those detractors are not all Livewire shocks.

“heroes people can trust, depend on. They don’t put themselves above us mere mortals the way some heroes do.”

“Not everyone’s independently wealthy.” “I’ve seen the Federal budget.”

Doomsday, cloned from Superman and tortured to hate Superman. When I consider what fear made that kindly scientist into that cold figure at the table. The anger that could bend steal, clone a teenage girl hero with her white gloves.

“I’ll just have to try harder.” When I consider the anger at another world threatened. I don’t think it’s coincidence that Jonn wears the same face in Starcrossed as in the Christmas episode. The amount of rage it took to force his way into another’s mind and leave it empty and shuddering in the dirt.

There is an implicit promise in the minds of the Justice League members to defend Earth from the Other. To protect Justice. Peace. Life. Just as there is an implicit promise in the minds of the Cadmus team to defend humanity from the Watchers.

There’s a problem with that. With that kind of promise it’s easy to change the rules, because your promise is whatever you say it is. Because you never actually talked with the people you’ve promised.

By contrast, a covenant is when a promise is made within a relationship. Open, explicit, defined, communicated.

The curious thing about Lex Luthor running for President is that his cards are all on the table. He was a criminal. He went to prison. Now he’s out. He’s selfish. He’s done enormous good. He wants to see how it all ends. It remains to be seen if he has more secrets, but I don’t think the secret is Cadmus for all its comic pedigree. This Lex chose not to shoot Superman when he could have. For this Lex anything is possible.

The arc is not really about humans versus meta. It’s about connection. Trust. Two of the Trinity leaving the third to brood in the splintered dark. Like he needs help with brooding. Although that glance makes me think in the end it will be Diana who makes the connection.

At a guess this is where everything hinges. Again. Where JL headquarters grounds to Earth. Where Batman pulls away from his friends. And pulls away and away. Broods in his mansion alone.

Superman sitting in supplication, as the lava flows, waiting to be consumed. Batman washed by bullet train tidal wave. Wonder Woman swooping in to blur a hero into the sky.

Ultimately, I think they’re going to need to make Covenant not just with each other, but with the ones they protect. Open. Reciprocal. But we’ll see.

This is just the start of the season.

The Ties that Bind

On one level, a shallow fun little romp in the sand.

And here I turn back to the beginning somewhat. What pleases me, I like to analyze. While certainly Dante is deeper than a Harlequin (Mills and Boon to you over the ponders), it seems there is always meaning that can be squeezed because the meaning comes from our bloody heartfelt, meaningful selves.

The ties that bind. When did JLU become Pilgrim’s Progress?

Heart sits waiting to be acknowledged. Youth is tired of being ignored. He was one of the original 7. The Magnificent 7. The JL before it became unlimited and hard to tell just who is in the League. He plays at meaningless games with a character that in this series is comic relief. Elastic, plastic, bitter.

In wanders the Free. Of course we don’t know how he escapes. He isn’t a man. He’s a mask with startling contrast eyes. He’s what was small and little and constantly striving. Hope. He is an idea.

He’s come to the JL because little father has been taken.

Two father’s in this story. Well, three, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Darkside, who is gone. His statue lies shattered on the ground. In pieces as a result of his quest to live forever. Everyone trained by Granny Goodness as step brothers. Children of the dark side. Crattered, pitted, glowing eyes and gone.

The little snapping father. Weak where Darkside was strong. Small. Ready to be sliced by the un-mother figure. Granny Goodness.

Then too that last absent father figure. The one that’s not only super fast, but super strong. The hero everyone wants. The last son of a dead world. Or perhaps better to say other son figure. Since the events that caused Darkside’s disappearance arose from that final Superman episode where Kal-el was led to think of Darkside as father, Granny Goodness as mother, earth as just a new battleground.

But they are all gone. Whatever.

Youth and age clash. Old mind wants to let enemies growl and fight one another. Keep each other weak and Earth safe. It’s a far cry from the attitude at the beginning of S2 JL. Young flashing heart has other ideas.

And so we go. Through mazes and cake. The heart spins, gathers the fire up and walls fall. Free Hope swims in the water and emerges…well he emerges.

However for the father figure to be rescued from the steel slice, Mind and Heart must work together. Mind guiding. Heart racing pumping pulse ahead.

In the end, Heart wants to be the Green one. To have the longer reach. Respected. Mind wants to be himself, the one that wears his own color if not shape.

The ties that bind us. Family. The ones we choose and the ones that choose us. Responsibilities to country and place and safety. The ties to other human beings. The shape of Flash’s eyes when Free talks about the only father he’s ever known. The bindings we ourselves choose when we give up hope. Whap, whap, whap goes the red hand and the manacles fall. Frozen and under a falling train. Spring free. Green. Oh, ye of little faith. Hope. Love.

Once and Future Thing

Justice League, Then and now, now and again.

To begin, how great was that to hear Jayne the hero of Canton shooting his shotgun, surely named Vera, at our heroes sides.

This episode was nothing so much as a mobius. We begin with a garage filled with treasure whose value is in the perspective. We begin with a relationship out of joint. With turning away in time. Then we twist to Batman and Green Lantern discussing relationships. Love that has been left behind. Love that won't come to be.

And in the background, we see the past continue to affect the present. Diana's inability to forgive Shayera's betrayal. Hawkgirl in her black and white, her face open without its masks. Spool forward as the future flies back to steal Batman's belt of many options. Batman, whose past informs his present to the degree that he won't
wear a gun under any circumstances. Batman, whose past informs his future. When his body finally fails him and he faces death, for one moment he'll pick up a gun. He'll stare down its length at another human being. The sound of that falling to the ground will be the sound of him putting aside his other self. Of Batman ceasing to be. It will be the sound of that truely scary old man coming into unblinking yellow eyes. Who can't believe he was ever so green as to rely on physical strength to instill fear.

Past. Present. Future. Green Lantern flickers from John to Hal Jordan and back. Meets the son that represents so much not over in his relationship with Shayera. These are the slowest, biggest bullets that Wonder Woman has ever seen. This is the fiercest fight she's ever had with a clown. Watch Wonder Woman fades away as Chuckles learns
what killed the dinosaurs. Rather than being a fortress in Metropolis, the Watchtower was destroyed. This Static

Shock's hair is gray, not black as it was in the Static Shock/Batman Beyond crossover. Virgil has been worn by his life. Terry torn apart by his. One more casualty in that old Bruce's tapestry.

"Bruce Wayne meet Bruce Wayne, perhaps you've met?" And perhaps they haven't.

To be honest, one of the harder things in JL/JLU is that Batman Beyond seems to make less and less sense the more Batman is pulled into not alone. Not lone knight in the dark, not that he ever was for long. There's always a Robin or a Batgirl or a…

So, we end on the beginning. The beginning of time represented as a vast hand with a spiral palm closing its

fist. Or perhaps, in the way of things and time, the creation of the universe as the act of a vast hand opening to a spiral of possibility.

There are no breaks on this ride of time and for all that Green Lantern hates time travel, we all do it every day. Time isn't money. It's a continum, but the clowns of the world respond to the money thing.

So, our heroes find themselves sitting at a table in the Watchtower. Lives complicated by a future only they know. It's not the cause and effect of Hereafter. It's messy and tangled. Grown children and living to a bitter overripe old age. Then again, the alternative is the eternal loop. Frozen in a moment of bitterness and running away from what once was hope and love.

Wake the dead

Solomon Grundy, born on a Monday, was never really a good man. The glitter of gold drew him to his grave in the fecund swamp soil and magic drew him soulless out. And yet, the character in JL was not defined by the illiterate rampage of his un-life, but the leaving of it. Again.

Angry. In pain. No longer even restless seeking his lost soul, not knowing what he seeks. Instead in WtD, Grundy is the wind at the window. The rumble of the earth. The sound of things falling apart.

Chaos magic that humbles even Amazo’s vast golden knowledge, until darkness drives the returning android light years away.


In Dante’s Inferno, while there are many torments, ultimately, the true torment is to be separate from God’s love/light. Separate. Alone in a crowd in the dark. And the deeper you go into hell, the more frozen, dark, desperate, howling the winds become. The sound of Satan’s wings endlessly beating as he traps himself in a lake of his own frozen tears.



Trapped beneath, inside.

Shayera’s soul is winter still. Betrayer of her people, her world, her fiancée, her love, her friends. Everything she touches seems to turn to death and loss. Ash. Frost. Her wings beating, but she does not move.

The lady in the tower. The girl in the rose garden. Roses. Flowers. Blossoms that bloom in their own sweet scented time.

In the Romance of the Rose, the hero goes to a tower where he seeks to win the Rose. To have her passively open. To take her sweet fragrance into himself. Various representations of Virtues and Vices aid and oppose him. And the Rose sits within its walls and waits.

Shayera waits.

Shayera is the Rose. Shayera is the hero. Waiting to breath her own possibility, but trapped in winter. In the dark of night.

We all bring something to the table and everyone one of us is necessary to the whole. Chaotic pawns and aquatic kings. Brooding knights and fateful bishops. Queens and castles sliding across the checkered board. Queen me. The Rose, who used to defeat the Dark Knight, toppling her own pieces without care.

Fate plays strange tricks.

Life plays strange tricks.

Light plays strange tricks.

Osirus, god of the dead, holding his ankh, life. Missing a piece of himself that all his sister/wife/queen’s searchings cannot return to him. And each night, Ra journeys into Osirius’ realm. Into the dark. Each night, Ra dies. And each morning, the sun is reborn to light the world.

To wake the dead.

Redemption. 2nd chances. Believing in friends.

Because we all bring something to the table. Super and friend.

The crack and smash of Grundy flinging Superman, who so loves to save bridges, who is a bridge, through the supports of a bridge. And the kraken rises from the depths to hold the fragile steel and stone together. And the hawk girl flies, barefaced, costumeless, reaching out.

Last season, Shayera left masks behind. Hiding. Truth-untruths. She is no longer bird nose and Grundy that bad, bad man, is longer there.

And so she goes into the earth. Into the spiraling tunnel to close Grundy’s eyes to the sparkling light of her mace that disrupts all magic.

So she stands before her accusers. The hungry reporters and the angry mortals. Turns to face them and accepts their words as her betrayers due. And yet, and yet. Ah, chica bonita.

The Dark Knight and the Castling Queen may have voted against you, but the Heart and the Shaper (his third eye long ago opened) voted for you. Love couldn’t vote. Didn’t go to the tower. It would have been a conflict of interest. But it didn’t matter, the man whose power flows from the sun believes in second chances, redemption, and friendship.

Believes we all bring something to the table.

Last season, Shayera flew off into the sunset. This season, she walks into the sunrise with her friends. The flower turns to the sun. To light.

We all make our own destiny. Lex Luthor grabs his and clings to life so he can see what happens next. Who indeed could keep Amazo in Fate’s tower. Watching. Absorbing. Trying to figure out why we’re all here.

Then sometimes destiny is taken from you. Grundy ripping himself from his grave to seek the boys that would call him. Children that rather then blossom in the university years, play at dungeons and dragons high school revenge. Don rented costumes and straddle unspeakable names. Unspeakable. Unknowable. Ancient ones.

Kutulu in R'lyeh lies dead, not sleeping.

Fate is a gamble. The wind howls and hard choices freeze action. But still there is the rising sun and learning to walk into the morning before you try to fly.

Wake the dead and live.

Ah, chica, cracking the egg, good to have you back.


Resonance occurs when more than one object vibrates in the same frequency. The delicious of a shared hum.

This episode vibrated along its arc and through the multiplicity of layers that is the pop culture of heroism.

Where to start. The oldest resonance that I know. And I all scattered and reacting, what many did I miss. What I did not…the Magma men.

Learning to share the earth. Long, long, ago, in an era same and different from mine, there was a movielette, part of popular television series, Superman vs. the Mole Men starring George Reeve. Drillers puncturing that fragile shell the earth to unleash the strangely glowing Mole Men. Like the Devil in the Dark episode of Star Trek, the devil isn’t what you expect. Superman resolves the episode by asking the humans, himself an alien, to accept the different. Saying that we all have to learn to share our world.

And now Superman stands and calls his own speech corny. Delicious. Superman calls a speech corny. Superman. His cape fluttering as he shatters his shell of stone.

The Ultimen headquarters. The old Super Friends headquarters on some Teen Titan ish tower. Black Vulcan and Batman trading lines, old chum.

When I was a child, I spoke as a child and I watched childish shows. I watched the Hanna Barberra Superfriends. All these characters some half remembered shadow figures on a stage. When I was a child, I laughed and watched strange things.

When I became an adult, the things of childhood took on new reflection.

The Wonder Twins with their unwonderous actions. Form of, oh, stop being a bucket of water. Ah, a tidal wave. The sheer force of liquid. Rain down the heavens. Open the flood. Your sister can play raven and dove. Panther. Elf. Clone.

Ah, Giganta in an episode about people manipulated from what they were. This universe’s Bizzaro in a story about clones. The clone of Superman that didn’t quite flow right. Zig zag wrong, help break boyfriend out.

Ah, Cadmus. The ancient antithetical to Star Labs. And yet. And yet. Dr. Hamilton is both.

Power and power. Batman’s are bigger than hers and yet, rich boy, don’t delve too deep. This wondrous society of loose cannons in the heavens. We’ve proved that watch towers can fall. Who watches the watchers of the watchmen.

The Question quirks and the clones float in their created memories, never to wake, their purpose broken in children’s need for identity. The one year old Samurai only ever wanted to be a hero. Someone planted that Superman was his hero. Someone planted that he was to be loyal to his government. But wild cards break free and mad men gamble in Vegas.

A conspiracy so large his superiors are small fish. And those fish are very large indeed, swimming prehistoric in water. To be a dinosaur. To be water, the stuff of life. Big stuff indeed.

And yet, Aquaman, king of the sea. A king, whose realm lies vulnerable to the world above the waves.

Secret identities are meaningless, rich boy. The shadows know the shadow man’s secrets and the heroes know only a name. Cadmus.

It takes money to be a hero and not everyone is independently wealthy.

Power. Who has it. How it’s used. The children who freeze the Magma men all unknowing of what they want. The JL who want to communicate.

The ultimatum between the two. Ultimate. The highest the finest. The best. Clones in an endless stream.

The runaway Apache Chief, gone to spend those last few breaths in the society that he wants. Not in shadows, but above the clouds.

The lines are drawn and I wonder, what role President Luthor to be will play in all of this. At what point will Justice League headquarters finally come to earth. Not on a tower, but on a bit of island in a bay.

No hero an island, but one of a volcanic island chain.


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