Title: Altered Egos
Release Date: September 1999
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Mark Pajarillo
Inker: Walden Wong
JLA Members: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Plastic Man, Steel, Orion, and Barda.
Bad Guys: Bruce Wayne?

So what happens?
Backstory: (1) Gotham City was recently all-but-flattened by an earthquake in the "Batman" comics, and the government decided they didn't want to pay to rebuild, so they declared that Gotham was no longer a part of the U.S., blew up the bridges connecting Gotham to the mainland, and let the city devolve into a gang-ruled third-world non-nation. (2) Wally West has disappeared or died--no one knows for sure. He's been replaced by a new Flash, but no one has any idea who he is, just that he's wears a darker costume, he's about a decade older than Wally, and he's got a major-league bad attitude.

Now on with the story: Batman announces to the JLA that he has discovered who was really behind getting Gotham declared a "No Man's Land", and he wants Green Lantern, Steel, Plastic Man, Orion, and Barda to go after the villain responsible. He's vacationing on the French Riviera, and his name is Bruce Wayne...

Meanwhile, Superman and Wonder Woman go looking for the Flash, who hasn't answered his JLA signal. They discover a new Flash and help him evacuate a collapsing bridge. Then they start off on another mission, racing around the globe at superspeed to check on 80 or so different people...

And in the Riviera, GL, Steel, Plas, Barda, and Orion are incognito (some more successfully than others) as they case the casinos looking for Bruce Wayne. They locate him playing baccarat and get suspicious when he guesses Plastic Man's name and then disappears through a wall. They corner him in his hotel room, but then GL and Wayne himself suddenly realize that he's not really Bruce Wayne--he's one of the White Martians!

Whut the hail? Well, Batman--the real Bruce Wayne, I hope ya remember--had one of the White Martians (mindwiped and shapeshifted into humans after their unsuccessful invasion attempt back in JLA #4) hired at Waynetech for close observation. It was involved in a fiery plane crash, the fire fractured its mental block, and it adopted Wayne's identity. The rest of the JLA weren't told that they were dealing with a White Martian to keep the monster from telepathing the big secret. Now if it has a chance to telepathically reawaken all the other White Martians scattered all over the world, there's gonna be big, big trouble. Luckily, the Leaguers are able, after a furious battle, to subdue the monster in time, but Superman and Batman are now concerned: what if another Martian--one not under close observation--had reawakened...?

Finally, everyone is suspicious of the new Flash, and he agrees to unmask for Superman only. Once the Man of Steel sees the face under the mask, he enthusiastically vouches for the new Flash and encourages everyone to accept him. But who is he? For that, ya gotta go read the Flash comic books, okay? I'm not gonna spoil every little surprise in comics, okay?

Cool Moments!
Orion's complete inability to get comfortable in a tuxedo; Plastic Man masquerading as Barda's dress; the moment of total surprise when the fake Bruce Wayne is revealed as a White Martian.

Cool Quotes!
Green Lantern, discussing plans: "We split up and search the casino for millionaire playboys, we escort Wayne outside discreetly, and we continue to wonder why anyone would send Orion on an espionage mission."

Eel O'Brien, checking on baccarat rules: "How do you win at this game?"
Bruce Wayne, surrounded by beautiful women: "The goal is to make nine."
O'Brien: "You're speaking of baccarat?"
Wayne: "That, too."

Back | Index | Forward