Buy Now!

Mild Mannered Reviews - JLA Comics

Justice League of America #51 Justice League of America #51

Justice League of America #51

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 17, 2010

Cover date: January 2011

"JLA Omega" - Part 2: "The Power of a Million Souls"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Mark Bagley
Inker: Rob Hunter & Norm Rapmund

Reviewed by: Ralph Silver

Click to enlarge



An impenetrable dome has materialized around Washington D.C. The five Justice Leaguers from last issue (Batman/Dick, Supergirl, Donna Troy, Jade, and Jessie Quick) are inside, along with the Crime Syndicate. On the outside, Superman, Zatanna, Green Lantern, Flash, and other powerful superheroes are attempting to breach the barrier. They are quickly discovering that this barrier will resist Kryptonian might, sorcery, power ring attacks, and everything else the heroes can throw at it. Flash and Atom explain that this barrier vibrates at a frequency that puts it "between" parallel worlds in the multiverse, making it resistant to the efforts to break through. Although it seems hopeless, Superman urges the team to keep trying. Congorilla, watching nearby, feels guilty because he should be inside with his teammates.

Over 4 hours prior, the Justice League heroes are reacting to the dramatic and fast-changing events: the arrival of the Crime Syndicate and subsequent attack, the appearance of The Omega Man. Batman is frustrated because as a detective, he wants to know more about what is happening. In a caption, Supergirl indicates that she died today at the hands of The Omega Man.

Omega Man brags to Dr. Impossible about having killed Mercy, Neon, and Hunter, Dr. Impossible's young team from last issue. Omega Man claims that the souls of his victims live on within him; describing what sounds like a very satanic arrangement.

Batman and Owlman are battling, but Batman persuades Owlman to stop and provide more information. Batman learns that the resurrection machine was supposed to be used to bring back Alexander Luthor; but Dr. Impossible's "New Gang" pulled a double-cross, trying to bring back Darkseid instead, causing the Omega Man to appear. He also learns that the deadly aura from Luthor's doomsday weapon has now been pulled into our universe by the machine, and is now replicating and spreading like a cancer. This is the dark energy that already destroyed the Earth in the Tangent universe. Batman summons the other team members to him, although some are still engaged in battle with their Crime Syndicate counterparts.

Batman tells Jessie that the resurrection machine must be turned off to interrupt the spread of the dark energy before it can destroy Earth. As she works on that task, Omega Man threatens to "feast" on both their souls. Jessie says that they could really use Supergirl right now, but Supergirl is very busy going toe-to-toe with Ultraman. Jade arrives and confronts Omega Man so that Jessie Quick can focus on†deactivating the machine. Jade is a bit upset that she went into a rage, and took it out on the Crime Syndicate version of Green Lantern (last issue). She is concerned that dark forces within her are sporadically affecting her behavior.

Donna continues to battle Superwoman, who threatens to kill her. Jessie reports to Batman that she is failing to dismantle the machine, because it regenerates as fast as she can attack it. Batman then speaks to Kara from a distance, specifically saying that he needs her right now. Supergirl gets the message via super-hearing. She pounds Ultraman hard and gains the advantage, sending him reeling. Kara gets to Batman before he can even finish his sentence. Batman tells Supergirl to destroy the machine, and Supergirl wastes no time in attacking it, with Jessie cheering her on. Supergirl tells herself how much she loves being in the Justice League.

Omega Man keeps telling Jade how beautiful she is, and how similar their powers are, which Jade finds unnerving. She attempts to shrug it off, and hide that it is bothering her.

As Supergirl works on destroying the machine, the hero Blue Jay makes an appearance. Supergirl does not know about him, so introductions are made. Blue Jay indicates that he tried to warn the Justice League about their current predicament, but got captured.

Jade traps Omega Man in a green energy bubble, but he bursts free and tells her that she will soon fear him. Owlman recognizes Blue Jay, and vice-versa. Blue Jay says that Owlman is one of the villains who caged him and mocked him. Blue Jay removes Owlman's helmet and uses it as a weapon against him. Omega Man gets a momentary advantage against Supergirl, and says he can use her. In another caption that speaks in the past tense, Supergirl says that this is where it all went bad.

Batman tells Jade to focus, and to use her green energy to combat the cancerous dark energy from the Crime Syndicate universe. Jade sends out powerful energy, and causes the green dome around Washington D.C. that we saw at the beginning of the story. This is Jade's way of containing the cancer and protecting the rest of the world outside of the Nation's Capital.

Blue Jay tells Batman he can conquer the machine because he was there when it was created. Batman tells him to go for it. Batman tells Jessie Quick to help Supergirl. Supergirl is being manhandled by Omega Man. Jessie tries to step in to help Supergirl, but is blindsided by Johnny Quick. Donna and Superwoman battle on. Their fight is becoming very personal.

Supergirl continues to battle Omega Man. Suddenly, she is transformed into Dark Supergirl, saying she died and is now reborn.

3Story - 3: Robinson continues to do a solid job on Justice League. However, there were quite a few unanswered questions this time around.

Much of my confusion centered around the Omega Man. Just who is he? I had never heard of him before, so I searched the DC database (dc.wikia.com), and discovered that Omega Man is a brand new character. JLA #50 was his first appearance. I wondered last issue if he was created on the spot by the resurrection machine. But in this issue, Omega Man brags about killing "countless souls" on multiple Earths. So obviously, he is a pre-existing character, even though he is new to DC comics lore. So the resurrection machine did not create the Omega Man; it summoned him. But from where? My best guess is that he is the counterpart to Darkseid from some other dimension in the multiverse.

But none of this is stated. A lack of good information left me guessing. I hope Robinson provides additional info to fill in the blanks. I am guessing he will do that in the next couple of issues. Such a powerful villain needs to have a backstory.

For that matter, why did Dr. Impossible's recruits decide to pull a double-cross last issue, and attempt to resurrect Darkseid instead of Alexander Luthor? And how did this backfire, and summon the Omega Man instead? None of this is explained. Dr. Impossible's "New Gang" members were obliterated as soon as Omega Man arrived; they suffered mightily for their bad behavior.

I had more questions. We know that Robinson loves to pull in elements from all over the DC universe. So this issue we get the arrival of Blue Jay. But exactly where did Blue Jay come from? Well, if Superman and Green Lantern cannot breach the green barrier, then certainly Blue Jay cannot. So he must have already been in Washington D.C. when things went down. That seems like quite a coincidence. Since we know that he was captured by Owlman and perhaps others from the Crime Syndicate, my best guess is that he followed them to the Hall of Justice, perhaps stowing away in their stuff (since he can shrink down).

Here is another mystery: We learn at the beginning of the story that the green dome is impenetrable because it vibrates at a frequency that puts it "between" parallel worlds in the multiverse. But later, we learn that Jade creates the dome with her emerald power. I don't get it. Does all of Jade's handiwork vibrate at this special frequency? Is all of her stuff similarly impenetrable ? Does that mean that Jade is more powerful than Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Zatanna? That's just nuts! Jade is powerful; but the most powerful being in the DC universe? No way!

And if it is not true that Jade's constructs always vibrate at this special frequency, then why did it happen this time around?

So many questions! I had to do a lot of guessing this issue. I docked the rating one point, and gave it a 3, for all the unanswered questions.

But there were some positives, also. I was really happy to see Superman back in the pages of Justice League. And I love the way this JLA team is maturing. Atom, outside the dome, calls them "a pretty untried team," but the facts speak otherwise. This young, mostly female Justice League gets stronger every issue.

I loved the portrayal of Supergirl this issue. The other members really rely on her. When summoned by Batman, she takes her game up a notch, and quickly pounds Ultraman into submission. Very impressive! I liked when she says to herself how much she loves being in the Justice League.

Another question: How exactly does fighting Omega Man cause Kara to transform into Dark Supergirl? We see Omega Man taunting her and urging her to let her "dark soul rise". But is he doing anything to make that happen?

I have never seen this or any other Justice League with more on its plate. We have simultaneous attacks from the very powerful Crime Syndicate, the supremely powerful Omega Man, and a cancerous dark energy that threatens to destroy the planet. And now, they face an evil Supergirl. The JLA is really having a rough day.

By the way, I liked that Robinson did not include a translation for Dark Supergirl's malevolent message; leaving it for more industrious readers to figure out. For those who did not translate Kara's dialogue from Kryptonian into English, here it is: "K. You did it. I'm back. Happy? Now shut up and let's have some fun."

4Art - 4: The Bagley artwork shines again. Action, explosive energy, and menace are nicely captured in these images.

2Cover Art - 2: This cover is too busy. It shows the Justice League members with gray faces like Omega Man, and virtually drowning in a sea of red.

2Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 2: We have close-ups of Congorilla and Starman. However, Congorilla appears in just two panels, and Mikaal is nowhere to be found; so this cover has nothing to do with what appears inside the comic book.


Mild Mannered Reviews

2011

Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2011

February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2011.