WARNING! SPOILERS BELOW! SPOILERS?!? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, MONTRESSOR!


Title: Element of Surprise
Release Date: May 2001
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Paul Neary
JLA Members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, the Flash, Plastic Man.
Guest Stars: Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, John Jones, Kyle Rayner, Eel O'Brian, and the Cathexis.
Bad Guys: Id (though he doesn't actually appear in this issue) and the undead corpse of Metamorpho.
Special Features: Return of Metamorpho, and...uh...the death of Metamorpho, again.

So what happens?
Damn, Mark Waid finally wrote a good issue...

Things start out with a little kid who's lost his father. He innocently wishes that his dad would come back, raising the possibility that "The Monkey's Paw" should be required reading in the DC Universe.

Meanwhile, wishes are still going out-of-control on earth, and the Justice League is still mysteriously separated from their own alter egos. On the bright side, that means that the JLA can now devote themselves 100% to fighting evil, without having to worry about secret identities. Unfortunately, most of them seem to be having a hard time functioning without their dual lives...

Among other things, Superman is starting to identify more with his cold Kryptonian heritage and starts parading around in a more regal Kryptonian costume, while Clark Kent is developing a strong fear of heights. Bruce Wayne's various psychoses, normally controlled by his Batman persona, are starting to run wild. Plastic Man is goofier than ever, and Eel O'Brian is this close to returning to a life of crime. The Flash has radically redesigned his costume to purge it of the influence of his once-beloved Uncle Barry. The Martian Manhunter is adopting a more alien appearance, while John Jones, recovering in a hospital from his car accident last issue, begs Aquaman not to let him be rejoined with his superheroic self. Green Lantern is now wearing a heavily-armored ring-generated costume that almost entirely conceals the man within, and Kyle Rayner is locked in his apartment, obsessively drawing pictures of the JLA on his walls, his furniture, his clothes... The only Leaguers who seem to be aware of the strange changes taking place are Aquaman and Wonder Woman, the only heroes who have not been split into two different people...

And while all this is being revealed, the League has to deal with a mysterious force that's blasting through Los Angeles. One second, it's a mudslide; the next, it's a tidal wave; the next, a firestorm; the next, a hurricane. At last, it makes its way to the home of the little boy who'd wished for his daddy--and it turns out that his daddy was Metamorpho, a shapeshifting superhero who died way back in JLA #1. He's back from the grave, but he's not exactly alive again, and his rampage threatens to destroy his surviving family. And then a pair of lizardy aliens appear, grab the boy, probe his mind, and reverse the kid's wish, sending Metamorpho back into the Great Unknown.

Back inside the JLA Watchtower, the aliens explain themselves. They are the Cathexis, visitors from the Sixth Dimension who created a sentient energy wave called "Id" that warps reality to fulfill the desires of others. When Superman asks how they can contact Id, the Cathexis reveal that an errant wish from the JLA is what prompted Id to split them apart...

Cool Moments!
The first image of the massive new Watchtower that Superman is building in his spare time; a frazzled Kyle Rayner scrawling pictures of the JLA all over his apartment; the first shocking image of the horrific zombie Metamorpho.

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