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Cover date: March 2003
Writer: Todd Seavey
Penciller: Aluir Amancio
Inker: Rob Leigh
Reviewed by: George O'Connor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hyathis' two opponents glare in envy at her success, even as the starship carrying the new weapon is hijacked by the space pirate Kanjar Ro. Upon reaching the Gamma Gong, Ro turns the weapon on the ship's inhabitants, causing all of them to submit to his will.
Hours later, aboard the Justice League Watchtower, the seven heroes are interrupted from a meeting by the warlord Hyathis, who begs the Justice Leaguers for their help against Kanjar Ro. After some initial reluctance, the heroes realize that a weapon such as the one Kanjar Ro holds could enslave the entire universe. They pledge their support and board the Javelin 7, heading into hyperspace in the hopes of reaching the hijacked starship before Ro can enslave any others with his new weapon.
Upon arrival, the seven heroes infiltrate the starship but are met by warriors from both of Hyathis' rivals. The Leaguers fight them off, but in the confusion of battle, the heroes fall prey to Ro's confiscated Gamma Gong. Under the space pirate's control, the Leaguers help him carry out his plan for domination of the warlord Hyathis, her people, and her entire planet.
Ro communicates with his co-conspirators, the two opposing warlords, who have reached a secret, temporary truce in order to remove Hyathis from the war game and split her collected trophies and treasures amongst themselves. They each tell Ro that there must be no evidence of their involvement in the conspiracy. The space pirate agrees to mask their involvement moments before he unleashes the power of the Gamma Gong on Hyathis' home planet, enslaving the planet's helpless population and its queen with considerable ease.
As Ro begins to loot Queen Hyathis' collection of trophies and weapons, Martian Manhunter slowly eases his way out of the trance by shapeshifting and contracting the cartilage in his ears. Having deafened himself to the Gong's vibrations, he is able to control Green Lantern's ring, so as to seal off The Flash's hearing as well. The Flash begins to vibrate and transfers the vibrations to Wonder Woman, who is strong enough to counter the Gong's influence and deactivate the machine.
The Justice League bursts forward and attacks Ro's army while Superman destroys the Gamma Gong. As the planet's warriors begin to battle the invading hordes, Kanjar Ro levels his newly acquired weapons on Hyathis. Batman saves the queen just in time, and realizing the bloodshed that will continue if the conflict is not resolved immediately, comes upon a plan that he passes onto Hyathis.
The queen agrees to the Dark Knight's plan and offers a proposition to Kanjar Ro to join the war games by becoming an honorary warlord. The space pirate, now content in his respected position, agrees to the rules and regulations of the game, which Hyathis promises will be enforced by the Justice League from now on.
Story - 4: The nice thing about having various teams working on one book is that readers are likely to be treated to a variety of stories. When only one creative team has control of a comic book title for a long period of time, the inevitable consequence is a pattern of repetition and recycled ideas. This story is a strong case for why more books should rely on a variety of talent: there is a well-crafted premise, some incredibly creative weaponry and technology (my favorite has to be the hyperspace jumpsuit), and a different kind of ending than we're used to seeing. Instead of Kanjar Ro being arrested and tried for his crimes, he is given the position of warlord and allowed to participate in the war games. Essentially, by the end of this story, the villain has succeeded and the Justice League, in the interests of preventing any further damage, seeks a compromise. This is not only a surprising direction for the story, but also a welcome change from the usual, and a more realistic and better thought-out conclusion than I've seen thus far in Justice League Adventures.
Art - 3: I was delighted to see that Aluir Amancio had provided his considerable talents to the book. His continually strong work on the Superman Adventures was, arguably, what kept the book alive for as long as it was, and long after the stories had become dull and burdensome. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that Rob Leigh's inking was a good match for Amancio's pencils. While certain pages shine, the majority look sloppy and unfinished. The faces are inconsistent (especially Superman's- oddly enough) and the figures are sometimes stiff and poorly proportioned. I believe the fault lies with both artists, and knowing the tremendous skill that Amancio possesses, I would be interested in seeing another attempt on his part, possibly with his old partner, Terry Austin, on inks.
Cover Art - 4: Mike Manley provides a visually eye-catching cover this month. Kanjar Ro looks especially sinister, and his fire whip is very cool. Meanwhile, the Justice League's bright colors contrast radically with the dark blues and grays of their environment. Each hero's face is also a story in and of itself. The Flash looks helpless, Green Lantern looks angry, Batman looks embarrassed, and Superman's features reveal that he must be taking most of the large disc's mass upon himself.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2003.