Title: The Tenth Circle, Part IV: Interludes on the Last Day of the World!
Release Date: Late June 2004
Writers: John Byrne and Chris Claremont
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Jerry Ordway
JLA Members: Batman, the Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern (John Stewart), the Flash, the Atom, Wonder Woman, Superman, Faith, and Manitou Raven.
Guest Stars: The Doom Patrol (Robotman, Negative Man, Elasti-Girl, and Niles Caulder), Nudge, Vortex, and Grunt.
Bad Guys: Crucifer, vampires, and minions.

So what happens?
Well, Wonder Woman, after getting run through with a sword last issue, gets dumped out of a teleporter near Las Vegas. She survives, barely, and a bunch of Amazons arrive at the hospital to take her back to Paradise Island for advanced medical treatment.

Back at his castle, foofy vampire Crucifer is reporting back to his superiors, a bunch of vampires who have been exiled in another dimension. He brags that he's enslaved Superman and stabbed Wonder Woman, but the other vampires bitch that he hasn't done enough and say that he should have vampirized both of the superheroes. Crucifer gets huffy about the other vampires for questioning him, and the other vampires hit him with some kind of magical whammy to punish him for talking back. Meanwhile, misguided telepathic cultist Nudge tries to help Faith, hoping that they can pool their psychic powers to escape. But Faith has been bitten by Crucifer, she's still unconscious, and she's no help at all. Luckily, Nudge receives a telepathic message from Manitou Raven, who mysteriously vanished a few issues ago, and he says he'll help her.

Elsewhere, wherever the Atom has ended up, where he's met up with the green lizardy monsters, it becomes clear that they think he is related to a mysterious Precursor who helped create their society. Whoever the Precursor was, he wasn't a nice guy--he enjoyed torturing and killing his subjects. The green lizardy monsters are keeping some sort of relic for the Precursor. It glows all purty, but we can't tell what it is yet...

Crucifer finally starts to put his master plan in motion. He takes a bunch of his metahuman cultists over to Barnes, Saskatchewan, kills a few people, enslaves the rest, and lights a big bonfire in the shape of an "X". Crucifer, baby, so far, that's a really, really sucky master plan. In the Batcave, Batman's investigation of the Tenth Circle is at a standstill, so the JLA decides to start investigating the group that's been shadowing them--the Doom Patrol, who, in their hideout in Key Mordaz, Florida, are having their own internal conflicts. And at Crucifer's castle, Vortex helps Nudge and Grunt escape through the teleporter. They end up in Key Mordaz, where they're suddenly confronted by what seems to be a corpse wearing a Civil War uniform. What th'--?! Finally, on the last page, the JLA and the Doom Patrol finally meet up and get ready to start beating on each other.

Uncool Moments!
The dialogue is still crap. Plastic Man, Firestorm, and Major Disaster are still nowhere to be found. Claremont and Byrne are apparently screwing with long-term DC continuity to declare that this is the very first time the Doom Patrol has ever gotten together. Frankly, I could've told a much better "JLA vs. vampires" story in just three issues by leaving out the Doom Patrol and the kult kids entirely and focusing on getting at least two-thirds of the Justice League vampirized by the end of the second issue. Too many damn guest stars, not enough story.

Final Grade: C-

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