WARNING! GET YOUR STINKING SPOILERS OFF ME, YOU DAMN DIRTY APE!


Title: Terror Incognita, Part I: Came the Pale Riders
Release Date: August 2001
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Bryan Hitch
Inker: Paul Neary
JLA Members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, the Martian Manhunter, and Plastic Man.
Guest Stars: Lois Lane, Perry White, and Nightwing.
Bad Guys: the White Martians.
Cameos: Jimmy Olsen.

So what happens?
It all starts in Denver, Colorado, where the Martian Manhunter's alter ego, detective John Jones, is tracking a serial killer, but when he corners him in an alley, J'onn suddenly finds himself back home in the long-destroyed Martian civilization. He quickly realizes that it's all a mental illusion, but by then he is attacked and subdued by a bunch of Martians sporting extra mouths on their chests. Clearly, the diabolical White Martians are back...

Meanwhile, at the offices of the Daily Planet in Metropolis, Lois Lane is investigating a sudden oxygen depletion case in Grover's Mill, New Jersey that nearly asphyxiated a bunch of people. But she's suddenly overcome by a compulsion to stroll over to Clark Kent in the middle of the newsroom, attempt to initiate nookie, then pull Clark's shirt open, revealing his Superman costume underneath. Damn, sounds like mind control, don't it?

Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Batman and Nightwing are investigating the claims of psychics that they're being stalked by ghosts. While Batman swings over to rescue a fortuneteller who's jumped off a building to escape the ghosts, Nightwing is suddenly overcome by a compulsion to cut the Dark Knight's rope, sending Batman and the fortuneteller tumbling earthward. Hmmm, more mind control, I reckon...

Meanwhile, in Murmansk, Russia, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, and Plastic Man are attempting to bring relief to the city, which has been without food and power for almost a week. Wonder Woman and Plastic Man work on crowd control, Green Lantern creates giant spotlights to light the city, and Flash uses his superspeed powers to vibrate the molecules of the city's statues so they'll radiate heat. Only thing is, the air seems unexpectedly thin, Flash is having trouble building up enough speed to heat up the statues, and a group of engineers have decided to power up a decommissioned nuclear power plant. No sooner does that news come out, then there's a bright flash of light nearby...

(And stupid-ass thing #1: Wonder Woman doesn't have her golden tiara. Someone throws off some explanation that due to a political shakeup among the Amazons, Wondy is no longer a princess of Paradise Island. Is that some official situation in the Wonder Woman comics? Is that something cooked up for this particular storyline? Hell if I know. A bit more detail would be nice, 'cause this confused the hell outta me...)

Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Clark and Lois try to cook up some way to explain away the big red "S" Clark wears under his suit. Lois whispers to Clark to locate someone in the office wearing a gray T-shirt--when she pulls the guy's jacket off, Clark grabs some pens and draws a Batman insignia on the T-shirt at superspeed. Then Lois claims to be Wonder Woman and opens her blouse, but Clark doesn't grab her a solid gold bustier. Ho ho ho, those wacky kids. Anyway, Clark tells everyone that Lois is doped up on cold medication and he's taking her home to rest. When they leave, Lois tells Clark that she thinks her mind was being controlled by someone else...

(And stupid-ass thing #2: How was that dumb rigamarole supposed to convince anyone that CK wasn't Superman? Just 'cause Lois is hallucinating, does that mean everyone's gonna assume they're also hallucinating that blue, red, and gold costume under Clark's shirt? Gawd. And the guy in the gray T-shirt's gonna start yelling, "Hey, I don't own a Batman T-shirt! Somebody drew this bat on my shirt at superspeed! Hey, Clark Kent's really just Superman with a pair of glasses on! How gullible are we?!")

And back in Gotham, Batman is able to rescue himself and the fortuneteller, and Nightwing tells him that (wait for it) he thinks he was being mind-controlled...

Meanwhile, in Murmansk, there's a big mushroom cloud in the sky, and the city's getting blown to hell...except for where Green Lantern has just thrown an impenetrable dome protecting most of the residents. Of course, it's a terrific strain on GL, and it's taking all of his concentration to keep nuclear devastation from getting through his shield. So does anyone want to tell me why all the Murmanskians are now trying to fight the superheroes and break Green Lantern's concentration? Can you say "Mind Control"? I knew you could.

Finally, we visit Phoenix, Arizona, where the White Martians are holding and preparing to torture the Martian Manhunter. Umm. Really, that's about it. One of 'em has a really big brain, but nothing much really happens. Umm. Sorry.

Cool Moments!
The sweet realization that this is going to be Mark Waid's last storyarc before he hands the JLA off to someone else. Maybe this comic book will have a chance to be cool again...

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