WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD! IT'S THE MOTHER OF ALL SPOILERS!


Title: Rules of Engagement, Part 2
Release Date: May 2003
Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen
JLA Members: Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart), the Atom, Firestorm, the Flash, Faith, Major Disaster, and Manitou Raven.
Guest Stars: Dawn.
Bad Guys: Kanjar Ro and the Peacemakers.
Cameos: Manson and the Martian Manhunter?

So what happens?
We start out focusing on Wonder Woman, who is speaking to the alien Peacemakers' council and making a very persuasive and eloquent argument for true peace, not the Peacemakers' policy of preemptive war. After that, the Peacemakers' leader calls her a whore. Impressively, Wondy does not punch his teeth through the back of his skull, but it's clear that the Peacemakers are only concerned with conquering and subjugating any planet that may pose a threat to them. Sounds like the bad guys are fairly easy to identify, right?

Maybe not. Kanjar Ro, an old enemy of the JLA and the isolationist Kylaq's Minister of Defense, is gleefully torturing Peacemaker prisoners and plotting to take over the government. Major Disaster is able to shut the torture chambers down with a convenient power failure, but the Justice League isn't able to take Ro out of the picture--the Kylaq like him and have insisted that the JLA work with him. So the Justice League is stuck with a moral dilemma--get rid of the Peacemakers, and Kanjar Ro will take over the Kylaq; get rid of Kanjar Ro, and the Kylaq will tell 'em to get lost, letting the Peacemakers take over. Too bad the Peacemakers go ahead and invade without allowing the superpeople time to debate.

While Wonder Woman and Green Lantern try to block most of the laser fire from the invasion fleet, Faith gets close to the lead warship and warns everyone that "the Fat Lady (her nickname with whatever military operation she ran with) is about to sing." Essentially, she releases a huge amount of energy that cripples most of the invasion fleet and blasts the leader's warship completely out of orbit. The effort knocks Faith out, but the threat of the Peacemakers has been neutralized.

After a brief interlude back at the Watchtower that implies that Firestorm is going to try to put the moves on Dawn, Manitou Raven's wife, we return to Kylaq for a celebration of the end of the war. Kanjar Ro expects to be hailed as a hero, but is surprised to discover that Manitou Raven and Superman were able to record and broadcast his torture sessions with the prisoners of war. The people of Kylaq turn against him and demand that their government start serving their interests again, instead of Ro's lust for power. Happy endings all around.

We close with someone who might be a Green Martian and might be the Martian Manhunter visiting a house that suddenly bursts into flames. The Martians are notoriously weakened by fire, but this one ominously walks into the house, completely unaffected.

Cool Moments!
I can't help it--I had a good chuckle at that "Sucka-I'm-Gonna-Mash-You-Like-A-Tater" expression on Wonder Woman's face after the Peacemakers make with the name-calling; Quite frankly, what makes this storyline work so well is the fact that it appears to have been written with certain current events in mind.

Cool Quotes!
Kanjar Ro in his torture chamber, taunting Superman: "Do you know what the best part of the Geneva Convention was? The chocolate."

Wonder Woman, after Kylaq's people have seen the state-sponsored torture chambers: "It's curious, isn't it? How the desires of the people can conflict with the desires of their government? Once the people saw who you are--who you truly are… they decided you do not represent their vision."

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