Title: Extinction, Part 1: The Coming
Release Date: February 2004
Writer: Dennis O'Neil
Penciller: Tan Eng Huat
Inker: Tan Eng Huat
JLA Members: Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Plastic Man, the Atom, and Batman.
Bad Guys: "Peppy".

So what happens?
Plastic Man is on duty in the JLA's Watchtower when an unexpected meteor storm hits, blasting a bunch of big holes in the Watchtower. Plas is able to temporarily patch them with his rubbery body. Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, and the Atom head for the Watchtower to help out, while Superman leaves a meeting at the United Nations (the delegates are all huffy about some unspecified something-or-other) to lend a hand.

While the rest of the members get the Watchtower mended, the Atom checks their sensors to see where the meteor shower came from. He discovers that a spaceship tore a hole open in space-time, releasing an energy wave and a bunch of space junk. Superman and Green Lantern fly out to investigate the ship, which responds by firing on them. GL's ring is able to protect him, but Superman is more vulnerable to the blasts (though he doesn't look particularly hurt anyway).

GL throws a bunch of lunar debris into the path of the ship--while it's busy shooting at all the space rocks, he and Superman are able to get into the spaceship. Once inside, they discover a monkey. No, seriously! It's a talking space monkey! Assuming that they're not comfortable talking to something that looks so weird (yeah, Supes and GL hang around with weirdos all the damn time, why can't they handle something as pedestrian as a talking space monkey?), the monkey shapeshifts himself to resemble a cross between Green Lantern and Superman. Yes, that's right, it's also a shapeshifting talking space monkey! Oh, the glory! Oh, the nausea!

After Green Lantern transports Wondy, the Atom, and Plas up to the spaceship, the shapeshifted space monkey takes them on a tour of the ship and tells them that his name is impossible for humans to pronounce. But not for space monkeys! So he tells them something that's close to his name, which the JLA immediately mispronounce as "Peppy." Great diplomacy, ya dorks! Peppy says that it looks like the meteor shower was an accident caused by his spaceship's spacewarping technology and that his ship fired on Superman and Green Lantern because it wasn't expecting to see any people out there and got spooked. He says that he was visiting to check on Earth's development and make sure it's progressing in directions that his people consider to be proper. Peppy also says that he's particularly interested in the development of one particular species of monkey. Down on Earth, Batman identifies it as the Silver-Masked Monkey, an almost extinct primate from South America. It's also pretty obvious, by the way, that Peppy is descended from these Silver-Masked Monkeys.

So the next day, Superman and Green Lantern take Peppy down to South America, where they find developers from some corporation clearing some rain forest away with explosives. They've only got an acre of the monkey's habitat left to blow up, and they're not willing to wait very long. Superman goes to explore that one acre, and just as he finds a Silver-Masked Monkey, the foreman of the explosives crew blows it up. Peppy gets mad and shapeshifts into a giant space monkey to attack! Oh, no! A giant shapeshifting talking space monkey! The horror!

Uncool Moments!
The art is awful. The writing is awful. Ye gods, at one point, they've actually got characters describing exactly what the art is depicting. "Oh, the spaceship is shooting at them." "Oh, it hit Green Lantern, but he's okay. His ring protected him." I know six-year-olds who know better than to write like that. And how is Peppy supposed to be any threat at all? The last major storyline was about the Justice League beating an alien shapeshifter, and that one was able to read minds and shoot fire, too! This whole issue is just bloody awful. Not the worst I've seen, but mighty close. Even more depressing, this storyline is supposed to go for another two issues.

Final Grade: D-

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