Lovely Bones DC Universe Archives, Part Five: World’s Finest – The Final Season

We all know how this goes. You can find the first two seasons of World’s Finest here:

Lovely Bones DC Universe Archives, Part Three: World’s Finest – The New Frontier

And the third and fourth here:

Lovely Bones DC Universe Archives, Part Four: World’s Finest – Time and Space

Main Cast: Clark Kent – Omid Abtahi, Bruce Wayne – Wentworth Miller, Diana Prince – Jamie Chung, Wallis West – Mya Taylor, John Stewart – Mike Colter, Black Canary/Laurel Lance – Naya Rivera, J’onn J’onnz – Daniel Kaluuya, Lois Lane – Alison Brie, Olive Queen – Adrianne Palicki, Arthur Curry – Manu Bennett, Dr. Fate – Sofia Boutella, Vixen/Mari McCabe – Yetide Badaki, Supergirl – Narges Rashidi, with Jessica Henwick as Shining Knight, and Joel McHale as Lex Luthor.

Recurring/Guest: Huntress – Yu Aoi, The Question – Riz Ahmed, Booster Gold – Keegan-Michael Key, Ted Kord – Jordan Peele, Jaime Reyes – Elliot Fletcher(?), Catwoman – Archie Panjabi, Steel – Ricky Whittle,  Plastic Man – Aiden Gillen, Jessica Cruz – Natalie Morales, Kyle Rayner – Gael Garcia Bernal, Black Lightning – Adewale Akkinuoye-Agbaje, Zatanna – Rashida Jones, Manhattan Guardian – Trevante Rhodes, Bulleteer – Sydelle Noel, Captain Marvel  – Marcel Ruiz/Justina Machado, Star Sapphire – Naomi Harris, Swamp Thing – Wendell Pierce, Jesse Quick – Jamie Clayton, Dan Turpin – Ted Danson, Maggie Sawyer – Bridget Regan, Sonny Sumo – Sab Shimono, Mera – Sakina Jaffrey, Dr. Vulko – Jemaine Clement, One Man Army – Noomi Rapace.

General Wade Eiling – Kurtwood Smith, Amanda Waller – Yvette Nicole Brown, Gorilla Grodd – Ian McShane, Zod – Naveen Andrews, Prometheus – Shameik Moore, Giganta – Yunjin Kim, Reverse Flash – Giancarlo Esposito, Sinestro – Mahershala Ali, General Maksai – Peter Mensah, Queen Bee – Indira Varma, Constantine Drakon – Lee Byung-hun, Ma’alefa’ak – Avery Brooks, Ocean Master – Cliff Curtis, Black Adam –  Shazad Latif, Circe – Alyson Hannigan, Morgaine La Fey – Lena Headey, Klarion the Witch Boy – Jack Gleason, Felix Faust – Marc Alaimo, Dr. Destiny – Jeffrey Combs.

Talia al Ghul – Sarah Shahi, Harley Quinn – Sunita Mani, Poison Ivy – Amy Acker, The Joker – Caleb Landry Jones, Captain Cold – Pedro Pascal, Mirror Master – Rose Leslie, Trickster – Aubrey Plaza, Captain Boomerang – Margot Robbie, Gold Glider – Mia Maestro, Black Manta – Yahya Abdul-Mahteen II, Gamemnae – Kelly Hu, Tattooed Man – , Killer Frost – Constance Wu, Gentleman Ghost – Alan Cumming, Count Vertigo – Sendhil Ramamurthy, Chronos – Dominic Purcell, Parasite – Ron Perlman, Cheetah, Copperhead, Killer Moth – Doug Jones, Ultra-Humanite – Kelsey Grammer.

JSA: Johnny Quick – John Mahoney, Liberty Belle – Goldie Hawn, Captain Atom – Keith David, Alan Scott – William Sadler, The Spectre – Edward James Olmos, Wildcat – Gene LeBell.

Challengers of the Unknown: Ted Knight/Starman – Donald Glover, Rhiannon Choi/The Atom – Britney Young, Ace Morgan – Tina Desai, Roxy Rocket Ryan – Melissa Fumero, Leslie Rocky Davis – Vincent Rodriguez III, Prof Haley – Rahul Kohli.

New Gods: Mister Miracle – Matthew Montgomery, Big Barda – Rachel House, Metron – Joaquin Phoenix, Orion – Lewis Tan, Professor Ivo/Desaad – Will Arnett, Kalibak – DeObia Oparei, Funky Flashman – Paul Rudd, Kanto, Steppenwolf, Verman Vundebaar, with Margo Martindale as Granny Goodness, Idris Elba as Darkseid, and BD Wong as Libra/Starro’s Herald.

1. I Am Legion

Gorilla City has been falling into decline for years due to ineffectual leadership, allowing the imprisoned Gorilla Grodd to gradually rally many of its denizens to fund and support his cause, thusly developing his resources immensely and operating from the shadows for many years, until he finally, successfully escapes and leads a rebellious takeover of Gorilla City, damaging and inhibiting his psychic abilities during the initial chaos. Grodd leaves the City in the hands of his followers’ military rule, having set his sights on a far greater target.

His return to the supervillain community quickly stirs up excitement as he begins to assemble the largest single gathering of supervillains under one united banner in the history of Earth. His organizing of these individuals into a cohesive, cooperative unit operates under a calm, negotiative Co-Op structure and principle. His efforts parallel the Justice League’s expansion in the wake of their renewed popularity operating in tandem with newly enacted regulations and negotiations with Amanda Waller of the Cadmus Party.

Grodd offers co-leadership of his Legion of Doom, more than forty supervillains strong, to Lex Luthor, as an olive branch over their previous conflicts. Grodd ultimately hopes that the entire world can be run under the Legion’s guidance as a business and a well-oiled machine. Lex is initially reluctant, but soon receives orders from Eiling that he infiltrate the Legion on behalf of Cadmus in order to enact their agenda from behind the scenes. The now-enthusiastic Lex quickly joins forces with Grodd, beginning to speak in private with the villains already recruited by Cadmus such as Circe and her former cabal, while sowing dissent among the rest and taking point in the Legion’s first mission against the Justice League.

2. The Blue and GoldTed Kord, Jaime Reyes, and new recruit Booster Gold work together in a buddy-cop comedy to solve the mystery of the Legion’s latest conspiracy, their backing of a hero calling herself the One Man Army, who ultimately turns out to be a cyborg. Ted and Booster’s friendship is put in partial jeopardy as Jaime begins to grow closer to the latter as a mentor and inspiration, but this is ultimately resolved after Jaime rescues Ted from Grodd and reminds him that he will always be his first hero.

3. The Family Flash

Retiree Johnny Quick gets together for a reunion with his two successors, his daughter Jesse Quick and her protege Walli West, while the Rogues plot for one last bout with the Speedsters before their labor union collectively settles into a complete retirement from supervillainy. The Rogues eventually call off their plan after quickly tiring, in favor of sitting down with the Speedsters for a long, friendly talk over drinks. The Rogues deliver a chilling warning to Walli as they depart: that both Cadmus and the Legion have attempted to recruit them in recent times, but that Cadmus is the true threat, having long operated from the shadows and now expressing an intent to target and kill on sight the Rogues and anyone else who does not willingly dissolve their organization and align with Cadmus.

4. The Late Mr. KentA lowly gangster supposedly kills journalist Clark Kent in an accident, bringing the ire, wrath, and hunger of the Legion of Doom down upon him, until Superman ultimately reappears to save his life. After a long talk with Lois, Superman decides to allow for Clark Kent to be laid to rest, while he takes on the public identity of mechanic Jordan Elliot. Clark’s funeral is attended by numerous superhero alter egos.

5. Hiding in Plain Sight

Luthor continues his operations both for and against the Legion of Doom, increasingly gaining popularity amongst the numerous villains who are quickly growing tired of Grodd’s attitude. The League is shown beginning to discuss and plan for how to address Cadmus, knowing that they cannot simply battle such a beloved public entity. Grodd organizes a rally to improve morale after the Legion is defeated in another mission against the League.

As the rally begins, Lex asks for Grodd to discuss the direction of their organization in private, taking him inside of their weapons storage facility. Operating at peak physical condition despite his previous experiences and conditions, Lex stands tall and strong against the imposing gorilla, speaking with full confidence and menace as he continually walks towards Grodd, forcing him to move backward through the building and ultimately into a corner.

“Not very long ago, I almost died. Actually, I had been dying, for years. A gradual, agonizing death. I experienced that while watching the world experience the same, only at an even dramatically slower rate. For years now, the world has turned while humanity atrophies in the burning light of the sun. Each of us takes our turn at the League, only to be swatted down in this seemingly endless cycle. I thought once maybe they were worthy of my support, but they just keep failing, to prevent destruction, to enact real change. We have accomplished nothing. The League has accomplished nothing. I’ve grown tired of waiting for change, for a pure vision to save the world and all of us within it. The only way the cycle can be broken is with a solution to the League. I’ve met that solution. Now that I’ve recovered, I can finally serve for something that truly matters, for a cause and the people behind it that have a proper vision, a great dream for this suffering world. At the end of the day, Grodd, you think small, you don’t dream big. Whatever absurd scheme you were ultimately working towards would only be the latest in that same cycle that needs to end at last. You have run out of allies. Everyone in the Legion will gladly stand behind me going forward. You have no place in the new world order.”

Grodd, desperately attempting to conceal his abject terror, asks how Lex intends to remove him from power.

“I was considering a rather direct approach for once.”

Lex proceeds to grab a shotgun from a nearby shelf and shoot Grodd point-blank in the face, executing him instantly.

Lex returns to the entire Legion gathered in the Great Hall to announce Grodd’s demise and confirm that they are now wholly absorbed into the Cadmus Project’s army. He has one more announcement, as several individuals walk out onto his platform. “Allow me to introduce our new leadership: Jenny Sparks, Apollo, Midnighter, and the others serving under the banner of The Authority. Long live the Authority!”

6. Stormwatch

Apollo – Chris Lowell, Midnighter – Timothy Olyphant, Jenny Sparks – Jameela Jamil, Rainmaker – Irene Bedard, Flint – Lupita N’yongo, Swift – Dichen Lachman, Engineer – Vella Lovel, Henry Bendix – Crispin Glover, The High – Chris Evans, Rose Tattoo – Scarlet Johannson, Winter – Peter Stormare.

A 90-120 minute episode entirely set during the several-month period of absence for the majority of the Justice League while they were pursuing Vandal Savage. The events that J’onn, Olly, Mari, Arthur, and the rest of humanity, faced during their absence are portrayed. Once the initial shock of the League’s disappearance wears off, the United Nations responds quickly by assembling two covert, black ops, Crisis Intervention, and posthuman strike and response teams known collectively as Stormwatch.

Stormwatch Prime consists of: Apollo and Midnighter, a pair of bio-engineered warriors who gradually fall in love; Victoria Ngengi or Flint, a Kenyan with invulnerable skin; Sarah Rainmaker, an Apache woman and political activist with weather control powers; and their leader, the non-powered US operative Henry Bendix.

Stormwatch Red consists of: their leader, the electric, eternally youthful, hedonistic Spirit of the 20th Century known as Jenny Sparks; Angela Spica, the team’s Engineer who has replaced her own blood with nanotech; Shen Li-Min, a Tibetan superhuman with flight and other bird-like traits, who is the team Doctor, and otherwise known as Swift; and Winter and Rose Tattoo, the team assassins.

Struggling with the continually changing world around them as the 21st century rapidly approaches, along with questioning their purposes and identities, and the natures of their own relationships, the two teams work in tandem to combat a barrage of strange new foes, including American isolationists and a German cyborg. At one point, a band of mercenaries invade and occupy a European territory on behalf of the Russian government, armed with highly advanced weaponry. After defeating the mercenaries, Stormwatch’s investigation uncovers that these weapons came from a mysterious new arms dealer, who has been doing business with the Russian president, various other world leaders, and various highly aggressive and paranoid private citizens, building their stockpiles. This arms dealer escapes from them as is shown to the audience as the New God Verman Vundebaar.

Bendix at first constantly questions himself and his actions, but as his desires to ensure Stormwatch’s survival and protect the world begin to conflict, his morality rapidly erodes upon being repeatedly tested over time, the stress of commanding Stormwatch getting to him until he becomes cruel, withdrawn, and self-obsessed. Jenny Sparks investigates his background and discovers that he led a previous team, one in which he created Apollo and Midnighter through experimentation and ultimately lost the rest. While she reacts to this, their increasingly ruthless, mercurial leader reaches his breaking point upon the arrival of The High, and his team The Changers, at the UN, an old friend and counterpart to Jenny who both conflicts and complements Bendix in persona and ideology. The High delivers this speech to humanity at large:

“The world is growing used to costumed crimefighters, special men and women who seem to hold your world in their hands. What we’re doing is handing that world back to you. Fighting crime is no good unless you look past crime, to its root. Saving the world is no good if we leave it the way we found it. It is our intent to hand you a saved world, to offer you tools that will make you great. And then – you will never see us again.”

J’onn J’onnz enters tentative negotiations with the High, but Henry Bendix completely abandons his patience and self-control, sending Rose and Winter to attack the UN as a pre-emptive strike against the High’s team and their technology. This prompts The High, misperceiving the attack’s source, to break diplomacy, begin forcefully enacting his utopian measures, and lead retaliatory attacks on the Watchtower. Jenny confronts Bendix about the attack and accuses him of having a god complex, a fear of being rendered obsolete by the world truly changing. Bendix casually orders the team to eliminate her and departs for Skywatch without concern. Winter and Rose immediately attack Jenny, the latter of whom revealing herself to be the living embodiment of death, but the rest of the team intervenes, culminating in the assassins’ deaths at Apollo and Midnighter’s hands. They arrive at the Watchtower, too late to save any of the High’s team from falling either previously to the assassins or now to the League acting in self-defense. Most of the League is injured as well. Jenny leaves some of the team behind to help the League while she pursues The High, who in his despair and rage is now seeking to bring down Skywatch against the Earth to destroy it.

The High is electrocuted to death by Bendix with Skywatch’s weaponry, followed soon after by Jenny attacking and killing him by sending her own electricity through his body. She alters Skywatch’s course so that it will crash into the Sun and burn up rather than do any damage. Exhausted and betrayed, the team, now under Jenny’s leadership, formally dissolves. Apollo and Midnighter resume their civilian identities while the rest go into international government refuge. They disappear into the night, still unknown to the public, but Jenny holds onto a dream that one day, they can return and still make the world a better place.

7. New World Order

We return to where we left off in the present, with the Authority standing onstage in front of the Legion of Doom. Jenny and everyone else are holding onto a sincere belief that their partnership and future plans with Cadmus are all part of a greater good that they can truly accomplish. After an inspiring introductory speech from her, the Authority quickly and confidently begins to enact their agenda by redesigning the Legion’s organization, establishing their intent to destroy and replace the Justice League, and to everyone’s surprise, sending Midnighter out to pursue and execute the Scavenger as the first villain who refused to join the Legion or Cadmus. Jenny and Apollo emerge as the public face of The Authority and the new face of Cadmus, quickly becoming loved and embraced by humanity at large.

Meanwhile, the League are startled and concerned at their entrance on the world stage, and many of the villains now under Cadmus’ control express their horror, anger, and dissatisfaction at this new direction, at the Authority’s goals and actions. There is debate and conflict amongst them, with plenty, such as Zod, Reverse-Flash, and Sinestro, supporting their ideology, accepting how things will drastically change, or simply being happy for the opportunity to have an actual chance at destroying the League. Many of the villains formally declare their opposition and departure, all arriving at the League’s doorstep, with many acting out of genuine moral obligation, and some out of self-preservation or philosophical opposition. After extensive negotiation and interrogation, these former villains are inducted as honorary members of the Justice League.

8. Coup of the Century

In the wake of the partial villain exodus, Flash retrieves her Rogues out from retirement, while Batman and Superman agree to meet with Apollo and Midnighter as an informal introduction with the hope of opening future negotiations. Their meeting rapidly devolves into a brutal bar-fight between the four men, ruining whatever fragile peace still remained after the Authority’s furious realization of having lost much of their army. Bruce and Jordan return to the League bruised and unsure of how to proceed, but must quickly adjust towards working with and helping to train and organize many of the newer recruits, including but not limited to the various former villains now with them. Their clear orders are that the former villains are for now only to operate as reinforcements if necessary and otherwise to remain and defend the Watchtower. The Question and Huntress argue over whether or not they should join the defection, with Huntress’ pride playing a large role in resisting going back to the League.

As the League continues to struggle with training, the Authority and Cadmus officials are both shown reeling in response to these recent events with the League, planning on how to respond and move forward from here while continuing their operations with the Legion. General Wade Eiling goes to Captain Atom and informs him that he has been reactivated for military service. Jenny and Apollo continue their campaign with the Cadmus Party, holding massive rallies around the world to further consolidate support and stoke fear and anger towards the League. Upon word of violence occurring at one of these rallies, the League sends some scouts out to calm things down, only to realize too late that it was a trap. The Authority takes these heroes hostage, and before the League can respond, some of their villain recruits go rogue, abducting and imprisoning two of the Authority’s members in retaliation.

9. Ultimatum

Jenny and Apollo are quickly able to reappear publicly and spin the ongoing hostage crisis against the League, while they’re working to find where the pair of defected villains (Joker and Copperhead specifically) have gone with their own hostages, the Engineer and Doctor. Huntress and Question are assigned to guarding the League hostages based on their previous relationship. Under the duress of his imprisonment, Booster confesses the truth behind his joining the League, shocking Jaime. Amanda Waller is growing increasingly dissatisfied with the direction of Cadmus, confronting Eiling over this but being threatened into standing down by Midnighter. The Question secretly goes to Waller in private, providing her with data that he’s been collecting for months while working at the Cadmus facility. She is frightened to look at it and unsure of whether to trust him, but chooses not to tell Eiling or Lex about it.

While continuing their search, Batman voices concern and discontent about continuing to work with the former villains given the present circumstances. However, a voluntary team of defected, sent out with encouragement by Flash, are ultimately able to apprehend Joker and Copperhead and bring the Doctor and Engineer safely to League leadership. Joker is placed in a cell for the time being while the League begins tentative negotiations to make the hostage trade. As the League arrives at Cadmus’ facility in a severely tense atmosphere, Eiling sends the Funky Flashman to speak on his behalf alongside the Authority, upsetting Flash. FF delivers a surprisingly compelling speech that seems to convince the League to consider further diplomacy with the Authority, but only Flash sees through it. She speed-punches him, knocking Flashman’s body unconscious and revealing his true form of the Fourth Worlder Glorious Godfrey, shocking the League and confusing and enraging the Authority. The League and Authority proceed to charge at each other.

10. Clash

Several of the League’s heavy hitters battle extensively with the Authority as they attempt to break into the Cadmus facility. Unnoticed, Steppenwolf grabs Godfrey / Flashman’s body and brings it back to Desaad. During the ensuing chaos inside the facility, Huntress abandons her post and makes a break for it, allowing Booster and Jaime the chance to escape in turn. The Question confronts and debates with Huntress, wherein she declares that she has begun to believe in the Authority’s cause. He is unwilling to harm her or try to stop her, but declares her too far gone for him to convince, and himself unable to be redeemed, seemingly ready to go with her.

The Authority soon receives backup from armed Cadmus operatives, forcing the Justice League to begin the retreat. Huntress is shown alone and being caught by the Fourth Worlders, while Booster and Beetle are able to reconcile as they aid each other in fleeing the building while it begins to fall apart. They reunite with the League just in time for a desperate, fearful departure, and Jaime promises to keep his secret.

The Question confronts Waller and Eiling in his office, telling her that she must know who is the true enemy before he begins firing on Eiling and is soon gunned down himself. Eiling’s body, put into critical condition, is brought to Desaad, who explains that Eiling had very specific intentions and instructions on what to do with his brain in this situation. Angry and shocked by these events but more presciently concerned with the building’s collapse, Waller escapes and is taken to safety by the Authority. She readily declares to Jenny Sparks that it’s time for Phase 2 of the plan to begin.

11. Change or Die

Upon their arrival at another secure Cadmus facility, the Authority and Lex Luthor alike swiftly launch into action, inspired by Amanda Waller’s words and the destruction witnessed. She calls the recently recommissioned Captain Atom to her office, telling him that the Justice League is working with supervillains, has taken hostages, attacked and destroyed government property, and JL members attacked and killed General Eiling. (Question having been a former member and other context aside, all technically true) Atom is shocked and disappointed to learn this, and contacts his friends in the JSA to discuss the matter. Johnny Quick comes to the League’s defense, believing that if nothing else Flash would never stand by and allow such things to happen, insisting that Waller must be manipulating him. Captain Atom angrily dismisses this and cuts off contact.

The Justice League is still in recovery upon returning from their first battle with the Authority. They are shocked to learn that teams of supervillains, known Legion/Cadmus recruits and loyalists, are beginning to attack the leaders of the world’s most powerful governments. With many heroes still out of commission and others occupied elsewhere, the League has no choice but to deploy squads of the defected villains to counter and halt these attacks, each with a single League hero as chaperone. These villains’ loyalties and consciences are put to the test in each of these conflicts, but ultimately prove strong in all cases. However, it is soon apparent that while a necessary part of the plan, these attacks are ultimately a division and diversion tactic by the Authority, splitting up those serving the League and keeping them occupied while the Authority themselves strike at the United Nations in New York.

As the Authority formally announces to the world at large that they are dissolving and seizing command of all world governments, the JSA retirees arrive to intervene as the League still remains unable to. They come face to face with Captain Atom, who refuses to stand down in protection of those whose orders he now follows. The JSA tearfully fight with their comrade until he wears them out, just as more heroes arrive to take over. Atom’s shell begins to crack, prompting his friends old and new to plead that he stands down, but he continues to attack them as he starts to melt down. Johnny Quick grabs him and desperately attempts to take his friend as far away from densely populated areas as possible, but he tires quickly and his powers falter, stranding them somewhere in the Midwest. Quick and Atom tearfully apologize and embrace as he detonates, killing them both, and destroying and irradiating the surrounding area.

This Chapter is Dedicated to the Memory of John Mahoney. May he never be forgotten.

12. Anarchy and Tyranny

The remaining governments around the world rapidly shut down and cede control to the Authority. Lex Luthor, speaking for Cadmus and the Authority, frames the detonation of Captain Atom as a retaliatory nuclear strike by the Justice League. In the wake of the massive destruction, the Authority’s power grab, the resultant events with Captain Atom, and all other recent shocking events, panic and chaos ensues throughout the world. The Justice League are at the maximum point of being hated and feared by the Earth public in their entire history. Jenny Sparks, now faced with having to judge how to best be a leader for the entire world, argues with Apollo and Midnighter against the thought of a crackdown.

Lex Luthor takes a tour of the genetic experimentation facility in which General Eiling’s new body is being created. Amanda Waller’s uncertainty and concern renews once the adrenaline from all recent events finally wears off. She is finally about to check the data given to her by the late Question, but is forced to hide it when Luthor visits her. He firmly reminds her that since Eiling is still alive, they both answer to him and he thusly does not answer to her. Desaad and Godfrey take Huntress to a bunker where they meet the recently resigned President of the United States. Huntress is subjected to brutal conditioning techniques as the three individuals speak and plot elsewhere, casually revealing in dialogue that the now former President is the Fourth Worlder Granny Goodness.

The JSA angrily confronts Justice League leadership, demanding that they prove the JSA made the right call in backing them over Atom, after the loss of their comrades and numerous civilians. League leadership collectively takes full responsibility for the disastrous results of the confrontation and say that they should’ve been able to resolve it faster. As a necessary precaution, the leaders order all secondary members and recruited villains to scatter and go into hiding for the time being, ready to be called back as necessary. Despite their effective judgment in front of the rest of the League, behind the scenes the leaders are extremely stressed and beginning to be torn apart by infighting. These leaders are paralleled with Jenny Sparks and Amanda Waller in all being paralyzed on how to proceed, but then word is received that a massive vessel is entering Earth’s atmosphere.

13. Arrival

While the League and Authority watch via live televised feeds, a great crowd, including Lex Luthor and Amanda Waller, quickly surrounds the area in which a massive metal vessel is landing. The fear and uncertainty run thick, particularly with the various recent events still weighing heavily on everyone’s minds. Out from the craft begins to emerge an army of gnarled creatures, monsters new to almost everyone’s eyes bearing a single unheard name: Parademons. At the same time, smaller vessels attach to the Watchtower and these same creatures begin to attack it from within, forcing the Justice League’s primary leadership to order their service crew to evacuate before ultimately being forced to depart as well. During the aborted attempts to fend off the monsters, Batman has a debilitating panic attack as he recognizes the demons that swarmed Gotham at the end of his original tenure.

The entire sequence of the spaceship’s arrival and the response to it is split into segments spread out over the entire episode, intercut with the continued rapid expansion of the New God regime infiltrating global society, as Kanto assassinates political leaders deemed unnecessary and uncooperative, Steppenwolf targets and possesses national security officials and certain leaders already perceived as unstable and dangerous, amplifying their threats and stockpiling nuclear weapons.

And at that very moment as the demons make landfall, an imposing figure with regal demeanor appears as if from nowhere, walking out from the crowd circling around. Although his appearance was strange, it was distinctly recognizable, felt oddly calming in contrast to the other entities, and in every person’s minds a strange sense of familiarity and comfort soon crept in. They felt safe with him between them and the new arrivals. He was foreign yet an old friend all at once.

“Begone, foul beasts, this realm is not for your harvest, though it is bountiful. The people here do not deserve your cruelty, they have already suffered so much, in the past and recent days. I am the shepherd to this flock the world over, and I cast you wolves out.”

The Parademons rapidly enter their vessel, lift off, and retreat, sending a gust through the hairs of the surrounding crowd. They erupted into loving cheer and applause, as he stepped into the center where the vessel just stood, and turned around to face them. His voice was commanding, yet paternal.

“You may not think you know this being standing before you, but I trust that in your heart of hearts you all have felt my presence before. I have always been here, watching you, my children. I will always protect you, for I am your Father. I show myself only now because this is the time of greatest strife, for there are wolves in sheep’s clothing among you. False guardians and false gods. They have been allowed to flourish for far too long. They claim to serve you, to guide you, to protect you, but all they have done is deceive you, abandon you, harm you. Whatever names they bear, whether it be Justice League or the Authority, wherever they may hide, I will find them and erase them, for you. Always and forever for you, my children.”

Cut in here, during his speech, is a horrific sequence of some immense hairy beast being deployed by Cadmus operatives into a bunker of political dissidents and slaughtering them all.

There was a mighty stir around him, cheering him, admiring him, worshipping him. He points to the satellite orbiting overhead. “It begins there, at the temple to the false gods. I will bring it down.” He pauses to allow his crowd of worshipful onlookers to witness the Watchtower exploding above Earth’s atmosphere, astonished at his effortless power.

The beast, the Shaggy Man, is shown being picked up by Cadmus, and their address of him reveals that it is Wade Eiling’s new body.

“The coming times will be hard for us all, but it will be necessary, for it will usher humanity into a new golden age. I will seize political control from the Authority, a necessary, temporary measure until all our enemies have been removed. They will attempt to misinform, to spread lies, to slander our cause. I have the utmost faith in you all to know in your heart of hearts what is true and what is false. Only I and those that serve me can be trusted.”

At those words, he snapped his fingers, and the brute Kalibak appeared before him, returned to life. Kalibak retrieved his father’s Apostles from the crowd and presented them for all to see. Zod, Prometheus, Huntress, Sinestro, Black Manta, Reverse-Flash, Giganta, Malefak, General Maksai, Constantine Drakon.

An extensive intercutting montage plays after the Apostle reveal, further portraying how Darkseid’s regime has completely infested global politics and abuses the world’s citizens: The US Congress and numerous other political institutions completely back him. Godfrey as Funky Flashman evangelizes and propagates Darkseid’s ideals on an international platform. Shaggy Man continues to uproot and terrorize superhuman individuals wherever he can find them. Granny Goodness, still in her guise as the recently resigned President of the US, is opening countless torture and reconditioning facilities all disguised as new private schools and orphanages. Pro-Darkseid vigilantes (many being Furies having possessed people) are attacking and detaining political dissidents.

Authority leadership, namely Jenny Sparks and Rainmaker, and League leadership alike are disturbed at what they’ve just witnessed, each engaging in extended debate over how to approach this situation. Jenny is enraged to realize that Apollo and Midnighter had been pre-emptively informed of these events by General Eiling, and she takes no comfort in their reassurance that his threats toward the Authority are merely for show while they continue to aid him in controlling the planet. Jenny offers parting words to the rest of the Authority as she and Rainmaker formally resign from the organization:

“The end of the millennium is nigh. I wanted to believe that despite all appearances, we were doing the right thing, but I can’t delude myself anymore. I will not spend my last days serving a tyrant king. Goodbye.”

Cutting back to the crowd around Darkseid one last time, as hundreds clamor around him in worship, Lex Luthor and Amanda Waller find each other in the crowd, and lock eyes as their faces display abject terror.

14. Anti-Life

The Justice League has become refugees, fleeing the pursuit of human and Apokolips warriors alike, until eventually they cross paths with Orion, Mister Miracle, and Big Barda among others, New Genesis natives that have recently arrived on Earth incognito and hope to help the resistance movement against Darkseid. They enlist Green Lantern for the first stage of their plans, to provide relief, resources, and armaments to repressed civilians and rebels alike via smuggling them from off-world.

Despite the stress of the situation and the ruthlessness of those serving Darkseid, John gladly seizes this opportunity for the sake of the resistance and to be, in his own words, “a shining beacon for humanity in this darkest of nights.” While he embarks on his mission, the other League-ers attempt their first rendezvous with those in hiding, the second wave of the League and the recently defected villains, but they are interrupted by Jenny Sparks hoping to pursue an alliance.

Especially angry and distrusting in the wake of everything that’s happened, the League attacks Jenny on sight, forcing her to defend herself. Despite her immense power, the heroes greatly outnumbering her and her own self-restraint given the context ultimately stack the deck against her and she is taken prisoner. Orion, his Forever People, the former villains, and the Leaguers, all argue different positions in debate over whether to torture her for information, execute her for her crimes, or do neither, with the large group as a whole essentially being deadlocked.

John Stewart’s struggles in space are then shown, culminating in his return to Earth with extensive resources, but also enemies on his tail. Although exhausted and injured, John casts the deciding vote not to harm Jenny before he takes a leave of absence to rest. Unwilling to separate themselves again, the group chooses to stand against the oncoming army as it surges in through boom tubes, and frees Jenny to fight alongside them once she explains how she got there.

The full Justice League, with the reinforcement of the New Gods and Jenny Sparks, have their first extended, large-scale battle with Darkseid’s army of Parademons and human soldiers, climaxing with Jenny Sparks turning into a massive humanoid lightning storm that kills numerous Parademons and brings down the Parademons’ vessel.

15. Apokolips Now

The New Gods, familiar with the tech of the Parademon ship, get to work on fixing and revamping the vessel to use it to house and transport the Resistance and the League as their new base of operations. Darkseid receives word of this significant defeat, and in his rage he decides to step up his pursuit of the Anti-life equation and considers abandoning his position of beloved godhood, but this is quickly and successfully discouraged by Desaad and Godfrey.

The Resistance’s new ship takes off and they begin phase 2 of their plan, using the vessel to widely distribute the newly acquired resources to civilians around the world at record speeds, running into trouble along the way, as some still perceive it as the ship that Darkseid “saved” the world from, and as they elude his Apostles sent to pursue them, now led by Steppenwolf, who has left equally corrupt humans in his place. They begin to succeed in countering the propaganda and expanding the resistance’s base of support, with particular help from J’onn’s popularity with the populace.

However, tensions begin to emerge amidst the New Gods, and between them and the League, despite everyone’s better instincts towards needing to be a unified front. This comes to a head during a rescue raid on one of Granny’s schools, which incites emotional turmoil for Mr. Miracle and worsens ideological debates within the group as a whole when Amanda Waller is found amongst the prisoners. Ultimately, some of the Resistance splinters off into a separate faction led by Lex Luthor, leaving both groups vulnerable to attack by the Apostles.

During the attack, Waller confronts Huntress and reveals how the Question died, disrupting her reconditioning and driving her to turn on Darkseid’s forces and kill the Reverse-Flash in her escape. Further tensions are raised by her desire to return to the League in atonement, but she is voted back in by a slim margin. These losses reach back to Darkseid, who orders the Authority to begin hunting and killing the Resistance themselves. Having been eavesdropping, Rainmaker emerges from hiding to defiantly attack them and attempt to protect the Resistance. Although she’s eventually captured, her destructive final attacks heavily damage Darkseid’s headquarters, kill Steppenwolf, and injure Midnighter, inciting Apollo’s wrath. He leads the Authority and Apostles to slaughter civilians en masse in search for traces of the Resistance. Drills from Apokolips land in order to begin the mining of Earth.

16. United We Stand

As Amanda Waller is placed in a cell next to the Joker on the Resistance’s vessel, he taunts Batman about how, “At some point a rabid dog let out of the cage is exactly what you’re going to need.” Batman reassures Waller that she’s completely safe from him and that he remains an absolute last resort. The Resistance and Lex’s Mankind Liberation Front continue to operate semi-independently while sharing the spaceship as a facility. The Authority’s actions going unpunished and the arrival of the drills from Apokolips, covertly documented by undercover, independent dissidents amongst Darkseid’s human workforce, have rapidly depleted Darkseid’s popularity among humanity.

At the behest of his advisors he refrains from further antagonizing the citizens and instead pushes hard on distancing himself from the Authority, framing them as the enemy of him and the people, that only he can provoke and defeat when the time is right. He casually threatens attacks that would further devastate areas already ravaged by warfare and Captain Atom’s detonation, only further discouraging the populace in conjunction with contact clearly being maintained between the Authority and his advisors.

Orion is privately confronted by Metron. Metron insists that Orion resorting to violence is not the victory for Darkseid that he fears, but his choice of ally ultimately will be a victory for everything Darkseid represents, as Lex will not topple the tyrant throne but gladly place himself upon it once Darkseid is gone. He departs, insisting that he not chosen sides but merely helped one man’s conscience, while Batman quietly recognizes Metron as the figure that spoke to him after his death and returned him to life. Orion announces his return to the League’s Resistance, which in turn incites Lex and the MLF’s departure.

With the help of the increasing number of informants, the Resistance is able to find and approach Darkseid’s current location in a stealth operation. They locate a bridge that can function as a chokepoint for Darkseid’s forces once they start to arrive, but require an individual who can remain and hold them off for as long as possible while the remainder continue forward to finally strike at Darkseid himself. Green Arrow immediately volunteers, arguing that she’s the only functional sniper, someone more prominent might raise the enemy’s suspicions, and that she can move fast once they’re ready to fly through and pick her up. “And you damn well better come back here for me.”

The Mankind Liberation Front leads a loud, angry, frontal assault on the base, causing the call for reinforcements and for the Authority to be sent out much faster than expected. Although the League’s Resistance achieves their goal to obtain clinching recordings of Darkseid’s intent to hollow the Earth, they fear that Lex’s actions will cause them to be overwhelmed, unable to escape and get the message out. As she begins to be overwhelmed by Parademons, Green Arrow uses her comm to ask when exactly they’re getting out of there, only to be informed that they’re left without an escape route as long as they’re being hammered by both Darkseid’s soldiers and the MLF. Olly asks for her comm to be set to speakerphone.

“You all need to understand something right now, something that even a stubborn asshole like me eventually took to heart. This is bigger than every single one of our petty squabbles, and even our ideological differences. There is room for those on another day. Darkseid has awakened and exploited the absolute worst elements that the human spirit has to offer. Only by working together can there be hope to fight against that. We are supposed to be the men, women, and people of tomorrow. Today, we have to be a united front against him and what he stands for, the absolute destruction of the body, mind, and soul, or there isn’t going to be a tomorrow. We are the paragons of humanity and defenders of the future. If even we cannot rise above our failings on this day, then we are failures and he has already won. All the years of heroism and villainy, fighting both alongside and amongst each other, were for nothing.”

Lex Luthor’s forces have long since stopped attacking and begun helping their comrades out of the building and into the spaceship. Watching this, he angrily remarks, “Those people reduced me to a common thug! Eiling and Waller and that alien…they took away my power, they took away my control over myself and my environment, and I need to take that back from them!”

Olive patiently listens before responding. “So what you’re telling me is that the greatest mind of our generation doesn’t control his own decisions? He lacks agency and a free will of his own? The only person who made those mistakes, who is holding you back right now, is the same one who always was holding you back. You, Lex.”

Hesitancy overtakes Luthor’s face, and although he tries to fight it, he’s faced with an inarguable truth. Losing energy fast, in a more quiet and solemn tone, he says, “Leave me behind. It’s all I deserve. Or maybe if you’re generous enough we can all die together. What else is left to do?”

“Do you see everything that we’ve already accomplished? We’re saving the world – again. You don’t think that has any value, well, think again, pal. The Justice League goes on, with or without you, but the fact is that you are standing there right now, still breathing, with every ability to do better and be better and live better than you were before. You’re already trying to fight this tyrant. After everything you’ve put us through, we’re standing right here with arms outstretched, ready to continue the fight and finish it together. Make good use of the opportunity.”

Alexander Luthor, in tears, quietly defends heroes against remaining Parademons and boards the Resistance ship alongside them. As it prepares to fly off, Olive chimes in to say that they need to leave the area ASAP, or else risk being vulnerable to attack and too worn down to defend themselves. She casually remarks, “I never fit in with you superpowered types anyway. I bet you won’t even miss me,” as she tosses her empty bow and quiver aside and begins to fight Apollo hand-to-hand. Against their better instincts, the ship desperately speeds off.

The entire recording of Olive’s speech, minus her words to Lex, is integrated with the recording of Darkseid’s plans for the Earth. Glorious Godfrey’s broadcast station is infiltrated, taken over, and used to send this message worldwide.

This Chapter is Dedicated to the Memory of Jack Kirby. Long Live the King.

17. Kingdom Come

The population of Earth is at this juncture largely united in support of the Resistance, engaging in regular riots around the world, bolstered by Green Lantern’s subsequent arms runs and drops, which has in turn further contributed to the dwindling of the Parademon forces. The Resistance trains for the inevitable battle with the Authority, the Apostles and the supervillains still alive and loyal to Darkseid. Darkseid cannot afford to lose the remainder and thus is unable to enact crackdowns, and knowing this further bolsters the Resistance’s overall positive morale. All of his lieutenants as well as a recovering Midnighter, the Doctor and Engineer, and the supervillain army have been withdrawn into his primary headquarters, while Apollo and Flint continue their rampage. Darkseid, Godfrey, and Desaad summon a mysterious being calling themselves Libra out of the ether, who once served as the Herald of Starro the Conqueror and now swears eternal loyalty to Darkseid, promising to both proselytize to his lost followers and whip his supervillain army into shape, in parallel with the Resistance’s training, and thusly help him “balance the universe’s scales” in his conflict with the Resistance.

Elsewhere, Mister Miracle and a human known as Sonny Sumo separately and simultaneously sense a cosmic disturbance triggered by Libra’s presence. Sonny contacts his friend Dan Turpin in Metropolis, who has locked himself in and avoided the heightening protests and other resistance efforts. Miracle deploys a small team to help them, consisting of Jessica Cruz, Chronos, and Plastic Man. Sonny meets with Turpin, who will escort him to the outskirts of the city wherein the team will take over to bring him to Scott Free at the Resistance’s ship. Sumo expresses his concerns and fears to Turpin and passes on his knowledge of the missing pieces to the Anti-Life Equation, just in time for Chronos to be revealed as replaced by an OMAC cyborg that kills Sumo on sight. Jessica and Eel destroy the cyborg and take Turpin with them instead, struggling to fend off Justifiers and newly activated OMACs until Tattooed Man appears and saves them both. Plastic Man pledges to go back to the city and protect Tattooed Man’s family, eventually leading to his arrest while the two get Turpin to the spaceship.

Libra’s activation of the OMACs designed by Desaad and Morrow reveals that a number had infiltrated the Resistance’s grunt ranks and a few had even replaced some superheroes and villains, all of whom are currently imprisoned. Once all the OMACs are expunged, the leadership concludes that they must first liberate all of their lost members, whether superpowered or civilian, in order to be at full force to have a chance at defeating Darkseid. Turpin convenes with master escapist Miracle, who formulates a plan to inquire into the cosmic disturbance and free all of the imprisoned rebels at once by getting himself captured and brought to their location.

While Turpin and Tattooed Man are inducted into the League and Resistance for their service, Miracle infiltrates the prison and investigates Libra, learning first that Libra has tapped into the villain army’s minds by appealing to their strongest and most hidden desires, and then realizing that the cosmic entity possessing their body is a physical manifestation of the Anti-Life Equation itself, the ultimate solution to maintain Darkseid’s reign forever if allowed to flourish. Mister Miracle succeeds in the massive prison break, but ultimately puts the weakened but inspired rebels in conflict with the supervillain army, necessitating the arrival of the rest of the Resistance. Upon their arrival, Libra stabs and kills Miracle in front of everyone, absorbing his essence and thus achieving full self-awareness by gaining his knowledge about Libra and the Equation. As he dies, Miracle desperately claims to Libra,you and your kind will fail, they always fail, defeat is your destiny, now and forever.”

18. Holy War

As Libra smugly responds to Mister Miracle’s dying words, a brief flashback cuts in to show the life of Justin Ballantine, the human possessed by Libra. Back in the present, on the night of December 31st, 1999, a wave of rage is sent through all of the Resistance in the wake of Scott’s death and a massive, intensely fought battle begins between Darkseid’s remaining army and the totality of the Resistance, while at the same time around the world a massive civilian uprising overthrows and defeats or destroys the remaining OMACs, Justifiers, and Parademons. Some of the highlights of the battle include a duel to the death between Gamemnae and Ocean Master, Joker finally being allowed to rampage, Kalibak’s death at the hands of Count Vertigo, the gradual fall and surrender of the remaining Apostles, and many more.

Darkseid at last enters the fray, only to be challenged by the power-mad Libra. Libra attempts to absorb Darkseid’s essence but fails, the cosmic entity instead being seized and absorbed by Darkseid while he delivers a vicious speech to his treacherous lieutenant during the last moments of its life.

“I. Am. The. New. God. All is one in Darkseid. This mighty body is my church. When I command your surrender, I speak with three billion voices. When I make a fist to crush your resistance. It is with three billion hands. When I stare into your eyes and shatter your dreams. And break your heart. It is with six billion eyes! Nothing like Darkseid has ever come among you: Nothing will again. I will take you to a hell without exit or end. And there I will murder your souls! And make you crawl and beg! And die! Die! Die for Darkseid!“

The lingering physical form of Justin Ballantine, now uncorrupted by Libra, is teleported into remote solitude far away, where he is confronted by the Spectre, who reveals that he voluntarily allowed the being into his body and is thus responsible for the crimes committed both before and after possession, including the death of Mister Miracle. The Spectre destroys the individual before joining the JSA in the primary battle.

Darkseid is now fully empowered, but the Anti-Life Equation is powerless against the reignition of the human spirit by the Signal sent out after Olive Queen’s death, and further manifest in the ongoing global uprising as it moves on to disrupting and destroying the drills from Apokolips. Darkseid settles for attempting to kill as many heroes as possible in his final hours, where he is attacked by the other surviving Authority after the recovered Midnighter realizes that he was about to be converted into an OMAC. After an extended battle, Darkseid is ultimately destroyed when Jenny Sparks attacks him in her pure electrical form, taking hold of his body just as the world transitions into the New Millennium. Transcendent spiritual magicks consume him from within and rip his body apart on a molecular level, scattering them across all corners of the universe and leaving her physical form behind. As she lies dying, surrounded by her long-time and new-time friends and allies alike, she delivers a warm but firm message to keep fighting for the future.

“Good start. Down to you now. Save the world. They deserve it. Be better. Or I’ll come back and kick your heads in.”

19. Glory in Salvation

Cold Open: Right as Darkseid falls, all of the remaining villains previously loyal to him go still and quiet for a moment before either surrendering or running for the hills. The Joker attempts to join those fleeing and is immediately knocked out cold by Batman.

Cut to an extended memorial sequence attended by the entire League, including the recent villain inductees, many of whom chose to stay. At the end, a large golden statue of Green Arrow is erected, inscribed with both the heroic and private names of her, Jenny Sparks, Mister Miracle, Captain Atom, Johnny Quick, and The Question, and then below that with a dedication to everyone who died during Darkseid’s reign, with Sonny Sumo included by name. The New Genesis warriors bid fond farewell after this, taking all of Darkseid’s lieutenants back for proper trial and judgment on their own plane of reality. The League visits Apollo, Midnighter and other former Authority members, having willingly surrendered and since been passed over into military custody while the shambles of the world’s governments begin to gradually reassemble themselves. Having been assured that they will never be forgiven for Olive’s death among many others, Apollo and Midnighter still offer advice on retrieving the remaining rogue Darkseid recruit.

The League sets out in pursuit of Zod while a squad commanded by Lex Luthor hunts down the Shaggy Man, still at large. Lex and his team are severely upset and traumatized by the violence upon civilians still being inflicted by Wade Eiling as his body starts to grotesquely deteriorate. After an extended hunt, Lex and Huntress successfully trap the creature, have Gamemnae take him within his cage to the lowest point of the ocean to remain forever, and afterward the entire team requests reassignment out from field agent positions. Zod is persuaded to stand down by Superman.

As the League’s primary leadership, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Batman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern John Stewart, Black Canary, Aquaman, Vixen, and Supergirl, bring him into the current prison facility, the military officials order for all of them, and also Lex Luthor and Huntress, to stand down and await their own trial alongside the Authority for the destruction wrought upon Earth. They willingly surrender.

20. Trial of the Millennium

The League and Authority impatiently debate in their cells as they await the start of the Authority’s trial. While the League temporarily screeches to a concerned halt in the wake of losing its entire leadership, the Challengers of the Unknown announce that they are embarking on interdimensional electrical experiments to determine that Darkseid has truly, permanently been erased from reality. In addition, Dorothy Spinner, formerly of the Doom Patrol, steps forward and challenges the League to take charge and continue their services to the world as they are sworn to, quickly inspiring several members to begin reorganizing and reassignment efforts. The Authority’s trial begins at an outdoor tribunal, quickly leading to the Engineer and Doctor being given reduced sentences as accomplices and conspirators that did not take part in the active violence or corruption.

As Apollo, Midnighter, and Flint are brought forward, the charges against them are laid out in parallel to those against the League’s leadership, including but not limited to the harboring and empowerment of various supervillains, the massive geographic destruction of the battlefields between the Authority and the League as well as the nuclear devastation wrought by Captain Atom’s detonation, for which all parties are held equally responsible. The trio plead guilty to all charges, asking for leniency and the opportunity to serve as testimonial witnesses in the League’s trial rather than be executed as has been suggested. At this point, as the Challengers’ mysterious electrical currents begin to gather nearby, Amanda Waller arrives and speaks in their defense, arguing her own responsibility in the matters as both herself and in place of the absent General Eiling.

With the prospect of a long-standing US government employee’s life being tied up in the Authority’s punishment, their ultimate ruling bestows neither a life sentence nor execution upon them and gives all four individuals twenty years in federal prison and lifetime parole. In the midst of this, the Challengers’ experiment suddenly summons forth the seemingly reborn Jenny Sparks, carefully retrieved from the deep annals of the dark space between dimensions. Proclaiming to be the Spirit of the 21st Century named Jenny Quantum, she explains that while she inherits the memories of all of her predecessors, she does not have any responsibility for their actions, whether they be Jenny Sparks’, Jason Blood’s, or Jonah Hex’s. She also promises that Darkseid was disassembled and dispelled to the far reaches of the universe, not having the spiritual magicks tied to her essence that allow her form to reassemble each time. The tribunal ultimately allows her to go entirely free, and calls for the League’s leaders to begin standing trial.

21. Justice for All

Jenny Quantum recuses herself from the trial, and begins meeting with the rest of the Justice League, while the trial begins. The purpose and existence of the League is interrogated, as well as the consequences of their various actions. They consistently and vigorously defend their choices regarding the former villains that they recruited, pointing to the extremely strong track record and high retention rate for them, while acknowledging that holding onto the Joker may have been a mistake despite Batman’s ultimate plan. The trial’s debate comes to a head as Superman responds to the Authority’s attempts to testify against the League:


“Superheroes who don’t mind killing to achieve their ends are a disaster waiting to happen. It leaves you vulnerable to exactly the kind of exploitation that Darkseid achieved, while undermining anything and everything we hope to accomplish. These no-nonsense solutions of yours just don’t hold water in our complex world of jet-powered apes and time travel. However…This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say: We are also guilty, and we have failed. We are guilty of the sin of hubris. We had the best of intentions to be Earth’s guardians, to keep you safe, but we failed you. We looked down at the world from our tower in the sky, and let our power and responsibility separate us from the very people we were supposed to protect. No one should ever have to be afraid of us. That is unacceptable. You laid all of those failures out quite rightly and succinctly, judge, and I…we….can offer no counter-arguments, but…please remember that now more than ever, this world needs heroes. No matter what this trial’s outcome, I want to thank the people of Earth for giving me a home all these years, and I thank every member of the Justice League for your courageous service. That is all, your honor.”

The ultimate sentence is announced soon afterward: The Justice League as a unit will be allowed to continue, and its collective original leaders will not be given the prison time of the Authority, but they will be required to resign entirely from League membership and leadership, disclose identities where appropriate, and henceforth maintain only diplomatic and friendly association with the League’s members. The Watchtower was already destroyed and will not be rebuilt under any circumstances, nor can the League reside in isolated headquarters in international waters. They will henceforth operate through a series of embassies around the world, keeping them in direct two-way contact with the public and with the world’s governments as they rebuild.

The Original League accepts this graciously, announcing publicly: “We will guide, rather than lead, humankind.”

22. To the Future

A press conference is held by the former members to announce their retirement and the reorganization of the League, during which Arthur Curry formally passes the mantle of the official Atlantean representative of the Justice League onto Gamemnae for her continued loyalty and valiant service, and Bruce Wayne publicly unmasks himself as the original Batman, claiming that rumors of his death in the late 80s were greatly exaggerated.  

The remainder of the finale unfolds in extended quasi-montage form.

As a reward for their passionate leadership and valiant protection of Gotham City during the Darkseid Crisis, Pamela Isley and Harleen Quinzel are rewarded with peaceful retirement to the countryside with ample pension. The reformed Task Force X goes on without them, but remains inspired by their service. Dick Grayson and Tim Drake resign from the Batman Inc. and Wayne Enterprises exec boards, retiring to peacefully be together, still living in the city they know and love. With Batwoman now the primary hero of Gotham, Kate Kane assumes the position of Director of Batman Inc. and transfers leadership of the Birds of Prey to Barbara Gordon. Batwoman begins training her own new Robin, Carrie Kelley, to prepare for eventual retirement, while taking on a role balanced between managerial, mentorship, and field work, to spend more time with her wife, Renee Montoya. With Kate’s support, Renee chooses to become the new Question and enlist with the League. As the Birds of Prey continue their work under Oracle”s guidance, Jason Wayne transfers over as Red Robin, Selina Kyle retires, and Laurel Lance reenlists, still struggling with her and Supergirl’s breakup.

Zod is attending a veterans support group. Circe is placed in the rebuilt Tartarus by Diana. Talia returns to Nanda Parbat upon completion of training with Batman Inc., bringing its philosophies and teachings with her and becoming the city’s Batwoman. Joker is permanently imprisoned as the only non-metahuman in Belle Reve under the new watch of James Gordon. Killer Moth proudly leads and trains a unit of new League recruits. General Maksai is magically stripped of power and exiled to Saudi Arabia. Mirror Master and Captain Cold co-lead the Rogues’ Hospital for Aspiring Villains. Sinestro is placed in the Phantom Zone alongside Vandal Savage.  The Ultra-Humanite is shown appointed as the head of the National Endowment of the Humanities. 

Finally publicly unmasked as the original Batman, Bruce Wayne retains his position on the Batman Inc. exec board and finally returns to Gotham as an otherwise retiree. Selina and Bruce at last reignite their relationship. Waller serves her full sentence alongside Apollo and Midnighter, and afterwards introduces them to the same PTSD/veterans’ support group that Zod belongs to. She retires and moves back to Gotham, where she often has tea with Bruce and Selina.

Huntress chooses not to stay with the League or return to the Birds, permanently retiring from heroism and vigilantism. Supergirl begins to research and explore the Phantom Zone to better understand it and its relation to Krypton, still yearning to better understand her heritage and quite frankly, burying herself into work to avoid coping with her and Canary’s break-up. Vixen is embraced as a hero upon her return to Zambesi, becomes the leader of her home country, and passes the sentence upon Maksai, giving herself full catharsis after her uncle’s exile and imprisonment of her long ago.

Although still in mourning over Johnny Quick, the Flash contentedly returns to her life working as a localized hero in Central City with both her mentor Jesse and her wife by her side, raising their daughter Iris. Aquaman remains the King of Atlantis and now operates fully as the ambassador between the city and the surface world. Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott help John Stewart to unearth a large trove of preserved Lantern rings on Earth, and he and Jessica Cruz depart the planet together to begin rebuilding the Lantern Corps. Having gradually developed as a beloved public figure, J’onn J’onnz chooses to live as a monk in his true alien form full-time while operating as a spiritual leader and guide for humanity and the League alike. Wonder Woman founds Paradise Island, where she lives in peace, trains young women to honor the memories of the Amazonians, and takes in lost souls seeking atonement, starting with her sister Giganta, who came to her with the hope of reconnecting as the only remaining Amazons.

Superman and Lex Luthor work alongside one another as the newest members of the Challengers of the Unknown, exploring the galaxy and various dimensions and developing miraculous new technologies. Although he has retired as a crimefighter, Superman maintains a role in the public eye alongside his still private identity as Jordan Elliot, while Lex Luthor is shown to privately still hold some possible resentment and be working on a mysterious device. The New Big Seven, Shining Knight, Jenny Quantum, Booster Gold, Zatanna, Dorothy Spinner, Gamemnae, and Dr. Fate, address the fully assembled Justice League of Tomorrow for the first time.

The JLT’s crowd includes Black Lightning, Deadman, Frankenstein, Bulleteer, Captain Marvel, the Manhattan Guardian and Bulleteer, the Tattooed Man, both Blue Beetles, etc.

Teen Titans, Doom Patrol, DC One Million, Seven Soldiers, and Animal Man await in the future!