WARNING! SPOILERS ZONE! TRAFFIC FINES DOUBLED!


Title: Dying Breath
Release Date: November 2001
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Mike Miller
Inker: Paul Neary
JLA Members: Superman, Batman, the Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash, and Plastic Man.
Guest Stars: The Atom.
Bad Guys: The White Martians.
Cameos: Firestorm, Hawkgirl, Dr. Fate, Sand, Huntress, Blue Beetle, Argent, Arsenal, the Star-Spangled Kid, Wildcat, Nightwing, Mr. Terrific, the Flash (Jay Garrick), Superboy, Sentinel, Zatanna, and the Phantom Stranger.
Special Features: Mark Waid's last issue.

So what happens?
With the Justice League safely stored away in the Phantom Zone, where they can see anything that's happening on Earth but cannot act to prevent it, the evil White Martians have the planet at their mercy, effortlessly stomping on all the other superheroes. Although the planet's atmosphere has been altered back to normal again, making it possible to use the aliens' lone weakness--open flame--against them again, the Martians' abilities of superspeed, superstrength, intangibility, shapeshifting, telepathy, and force blasts mean that they can detect any attempt to strike a match and extinguish it before it becomes a threat.

Now, trapped in limbo, the Martian Manhunter reveals that he telepathically encouraged the White Martians to banish the JLA to the Phantom Zone because (A) the bad guys can't read minds across the Phantom Zone and (B) otherwise, the bad guys were going to kill them anyway. Luckily, J'onn has a plan. The first part calls for the JLA's secret ace-in-the-hole, the Atom, hidden in the JLA Watchtower, to activate the Phantom Zone projector and free the heroes. The second part of the plan (which he whispers so we can't hear it, that sneaky green alien bastard) meets with protest from the rest of the League--they point out that the plan is likely to be fatal for J'onn, plus the telepathic Martians will easily read the non-telepathic heroes minds for details of the plan. J'onn shrugs and temporarily mindwipes the Leaguers--they don't remember the plan now, but they will when the right time comes.

So the JLA get out of the Phantom Zone and quickly broadcast a message from the Watchtower on the moon to the White Martians, saying, basically, "Come get us, you lizard-skinned pansies!" The White Martians get pissed and immediately charge en masse all the way to the moon and bust into the Watchtower. Flash and Plastic Man quickly bail, leaving Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern behind. The White Martians knock the heroes onto the lunar surface, where they commence to kick ass. But just when it looks like victory is certain, the Martians discover that J'onn J'onzz has telepathically created the illusion that they were fighting the JLA--Supes, Wondy, and GL are actually Martians! Even worse, the White Martians realize that they can hear sounds. Did something give the moon an atmosphere? No--Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern have dragged the moon from its orbit and into Earth's atmosphere!

J'onn triggers a flame generator, and all the Martians, including J'onn, are quickly surrounded by an inferno. Meanwhile, Earth's magicians and sorcerors are busy trying to nullify the potentially disastrous effect of the moon's gravity on the Earth. J'onn quickly digs up a concealed Phantom Zone projector and demands that the White Martians choose between fiery death or eternal imprisonment in the Phantom Zone. At the last second--just before Earth starts to fall apart and just before all the Martians burn to death--the White Martians choose banishment, and the Martian Manhunter beams them all into the Phantom Zone.

As Supes, Wondy, and GL return the moon to its proper orbit, J'onn, guilt-ridden because he accidentally made the White Martians a threat again, is resigned to dying on the moon, but Batman, Flash, and Plastic Man teleport him to safety. J'onn has been burned to a crisp and is in very bad shape, but the Atom shrinks down, enters J'onn's body, and finds signs of life--he'll live, though he'll need treatment to fully recover. As the Flash, Plas, and the Atom administer first aid, Batman reminds J'onn that no one blames him for the Martians' re-emergence, and that he doesn't need to feel lonely as long as he's part of the Justice League.

Cool Moments!
Some of them female magicians are seriously fine; Ooh! Ooh! And Mark Waid's outta here! Begone, knave! Darken not the JLA's door again with your flabby writing skills!

Cool Quotes!
Protex, leader of the White Martians, gloating over the conquered Earth: "Earthlings. What an embarrassingly low tolerance for pain they have.

Protex, gloating again and dreaming of breaking bones as the fight moves to the moon's surface: "Do you think us boldly elated that you chose this as your battlefield? A flameless vacuum? Hardly. Airlessness cheats us of the music of the sound I have been longing to hear: 'Snap.'"

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