JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
For JLA #5-11
By Jess Nevins
Comics netizens may know Jess from his other annotations. The following annotations were salvaged from the rec.arts.comics.dc.universe newsgroup.
JLA #5: Woman of Tomorrow
Page 1. The two gentlemen toasting each other are Dr. T. O. Morrow and Professor Ivo. Both are long-time enemies of the Justice League; Professor Ivo first appeared in Brave and the Bold #30 (the third appearance of the Silver Age Justice League) and T.O. Morrow having first appeared in Flash #143. Both are mad scientists, as will quickly become apparent in these pages. Dr. T. O. Morrow constructs powerful androids; his most notable creation was the hero Red Tornado. Professor Ivo, as well, builds powerful androids; his most notable creation was Amazo (more on whom below). The reason Ivo looks so grotesque is that he was taking an immortality serum, which succeeded in making him immortal but ended up deforming him. His appearance here is a contradiction of an issue of the Justice League Quarterly in which the heroine Ice, with the help of a Green Lantern ring, returned Ivo to normal.
Page 3, panel 2. This is the first appearance of Valhalla, a graveyard for deceased heroes (the Silver Age Legion of Superheroes, of course, having the Shanghalla of Space, an asteroid of memorials for dead heroes; Shanghalla, as James Morgan poitns out, does indeed exist in the post-reboot LSH universe). The hero being laid to rest here is Metamorpho, who died (if any comic book hero's death can said to be the True Death) saving the Justice League from the Martians in issue #2. The deformed individual behind and to the left of Superman's is Java. Java is the henchmen of Metamorpho's enemy (and former financer) Simon Stagg; the child Java is holding is Metamorpho's child by Sapphire Stagg, the daughter of Simon Stagg. Java's appearance here contradicts the events (pre-Zero Hour, admittedly) of the "Metamorpho" limited series, in which Java was killed. (Jay J points out that Stagg may have cloned Java).
The dead heroes are, from left to right:
- Oliver Queen, the Silver Age Green Arrow, a member of the Justice League who senselessly died in a stupid plot involving environmental terrorists.
- Hal Jordan, the Silver Age Green Lantern, a founding member of the Justice League whose utterly needless death remains a stain on DC's honor.
- Ice, a member of the Justice League, who died while saving the Earth from an alien invasion. (And who, if rumors are to be believed, will shortly be returning to life)
- Hourman (between Superman's legs), a member of the Golden Age Justice Society of America (the first superhero team), whose stupid death during the events of Zero Hour continues to outrage many DC fans.
- Al Pratt, the Golden Age Atom, a member of the Justice Society of America, who needlessly died at the hands of Dan Jurgens during Zero Hour.
- unknown (between the priest's legs)
- Dr. Charles McNider, a member of the Justice Society of America in the guise of Dr. Mid-Nite (sic), and another hero whose death is the responsibility of Dan Jurgens.
- Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, a founding member of the Justice League of America who died helping to save the universe during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.
- Johnny Quick, a Golden Age hero who was retconned, post-Zero Hour, into being a member of the Justice Society of America, and who died saving his daughter's life.
Page 2, panel 4. The Immortal Man referred to by the priest was a DC hero who was just that--immortal. His bodies could die, but he would always return--in somewhat the same fashion as the current "hero" Resurrection Man, but with none of that character's tedium. The Immortal Man died during the Crisis; a new Immortal Man appeared in the pages of Flash, but has not (as far as I know) been seen since.
Page 4, panel 4. The Mad Hatter referred to by Batman is a long-time Batman enemy; his "looking glass people," however, have not (so far as I know) been encountered before.
Page 7, panel 1. The characters shown in the try-out sequence are as
- Artemis: an Amazon who briefly replaced Wonder Woman in that role in Wonder Woman.
- Green Arrow: Connor Hawke, the son of Oliver Queen, the Silver Age Green Arrow. Connor Hawke is eventually accepted into the ranks of this Justice League.
- Damage: the son of the Golden Age hero Atom (thanks to several folks for correcting my error here). He starred for a time in his own book.
- Hitman: an assassin who stars in his eponymously-titled (and very funny) book.
- Warrior: Guy Gardner, formerly a Green Lantern & member of the Justice League.
- Steel--the "black Superman" who stars in his own quite-fine book (called, logically enough, Steel).
- Supergirl: an alien who, through various plot convolutions, took on the form and powers of the original Supergirl (who in pre-Crisis times was the cousin of Superman; she died saving the universe during the Crisis). She appears monthly in her own book.
- Plastic Man: a Golden Age hero who will gain membership in the JLA.
- Aztek: a hero who starred for a regrettably-brief time in his own book, which was written by JLA-writer Grant Morrison.
Note that most of the applicants have ties to the Justice League and/or their members, which might, in the muckraking press of DC's world, raise accusations of nepotism.
Panel 2. Max Mercury is a Golden Age hero who was revived and brought to the present by Mark Waid in the pages of "Flash", which is where he knows the Flash from; currently he is acting as the mentor to the teenaged hero Impulse in "Impulse"
Page 11, panel 3. The Tomorrow Woman's description of herself as the "first of some new species, born ahead of my time," combined with her powers, seem to me to be a sure reference on Grant Morrison's part to Captain Comet, the spaceman hero (whose introduction, it has been claimed, helped usher in the Silver Age). Captain Comet was also a mutant, born "100,000 years before his time." Given Morrison's great affection for the 1950s & 1960s DC characters, this similarity is no coincidence.
Page 13. Morrison makes reference to Ivo having started to take his immortality serum again, which might explain why Ivo has reverted from looking human to being grotesque. Unexplained, though, is why Ivo would start taking it, as, when Ice returned him to normal, Ivo seemed genuinely reformed.
Page 15. Morrow's reference to the word freedom is a paraphrase of one of the better lines in "I was a Teenage Frankenstein" where the Doc demands of his creation "Answer me! You have a civil tongue in your head, I know - I sewed it there myself."
Page 17, panel 1. The Lord of Time mentioned by Batman is a time-traveling enemy of the Justice League. As portrayed since his first appearance in Justice League of America #10, the Lord of Time was rather an ineffectual enemy for the JLA; his mention here seems to up his threat several levels--a portrayal Morrison expanded upon quite effectively in the JLA/Wildcats crossover.
Page 18. Morrow's monologue here captures, for my money, a large part of the Mad Scientist mentality that, once upon a time, Dr. Sivana embodied. Amazo, as Morrow mentioned, never evolved beyond his programming, and remains simply a killer android, albeit one with all the powers of the Justice League.
Page 21. Ivo's statement that Morrow's machines always end up on the good guys' side is a reference to the Red Tornado, who was originally created by Morrow to destroy the Justice League but who defied his programming (as the Tomorrow Woman did) and became a hero.
JLA #6: Fire in the Sky
Page 1, panel 1. The National Whisper, seen held in the nurse's hands in the right of the panel, is one of Morrison's recurring gags (although, as Thad Doria points out, it first appeared in the Superman books). In this case, the joke is on Doll Man, the Golden Age hero who could shrink to only an inch-tall, and on Paradise Island, which has long been assumed to be stocked with lesbians.
Page 2, panel 1. We see here four of the heavyweight evil-doers of the DC Universe. The pale-skinned, blond-haired geek sitting on the throne is Neron, who was introduced in the Underworld Unleashed miniseries as a sort of ur-devil, who offered to increase individual superhuman's powers in exchange for their souls. The two gnome-like beings with the glowing eyes are Abnegazar and Ghast, two demons who are long-time enemies of the Justice League; they first appeared in Justice League of America #10. The leech/lamprey-like thing in the glass bowl is, according to Ghast's rhyme, their brother Rath, the third of their trio (they were sometimes called the Demons Three); Rath died at the hands of Dr. Fate in the pages of Swamp Thing #50.
The "rhyming demons" referred to by Abnegazar is part of current DC continuity; in the hierarchy of hell, the rhyming demons are highly placed. The Demon Etrigan, a recurring DC character and anti-hero, was the first demon to rhyme, having done so from the earliest issues of his Jack Kirby-created series; the notion that rhyming implied some sort of rank within Hell was only put into the comics in Alan Moore's run on Swamp Thing. (Thad Doria points out that Lucifer, in the pages of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman", implied that the rhyming was just a fad).
Page 3, panel 3. The "Bumble Bee Boy" in the National Whisper is, as Elayne points out, a reference to then-editor Ruben Diaz, who wore a bumble-bee suit. I believe the sufferer of the "world's largest forehead" is actually Howard Porter.
Page 6. The items in the display cases are clearly meant to be trophies from past adventures of the JLA. The metal sphere, labeled "IF," is the If creature the JLA fought in issue #5. The bow and the trick arrows are the property of the Silver Age Green Arrow, Oliver Queen. And the "Kirby Dots," in panel 2, is a sort of joke on Morrison's part; the visual notion of those sorts of dots being emitted in great gouts by various energy sources was created by Jack Kirby, and has since become a visual symbol/shorthand in comics--examples of Kirby Dots can be seen in this very issue, on page 7. The yellow half-mask in panel 2 is that of Booster Gold.
I do not know, though, the histories behind the other trophies in the display cases: the twin handguns, the Glove, and the facemask, gun & ammo-cylinders, cube, and robot mask in panel 3.
Page 10. The two Japanese enemies on this page--Animech and Mangatron--are new, and are, pretty clearly, Morrison and Porter having fun with various aspects of modern Japanese culture--the giant robots (which often appear in various manga (Japanese comic books) and anime [Japanese animated film]), and otaku (Japanese for computer hackers).
Chris Davies adds the following about otaku: "Otaku are not just computer hackers. The word, an archaic Japanese word for 'you' which has been rendered as 'thou', actually refers to anyone who obsesses over something to a degree that he/she has no social life outside of experiencing his/her obsession in the company of like-minded people, and thus finds it difficult to relate to non-like-minded people."
Page 11, panel 2. The fish that Green Lantern creates to mock Traumiel, the harrier angel, looks familiar to me, but I can't place him exactly--Mr. Limpett? The fish that hung around with Charlie Tuna?
Page 15. As Ben Jones, among others, points out, Abnegazar tried to pull down in the moon in the first appearance of the Demons Three.
Page 19. The "Katar" to whom Aquaman refers is Katar Hol, the Silver Age Hawkman, who looked something like Zauriel (at least from the rear). Katar Hol joined the Silver Age Justice League in issue #31; his current status is unknown, due to retcons and editorial incompetence which has allowed his continuity to become hopelessly snarled, to the point where no one can say with any certainty whether he was or was not a member.
JLA #7: Heaven on Earth.
Page 1. Note the eye motif on Asmodel's armor--a clear reference to a similar motif common in Babylonian (?) art and mythology. Similarly, he bears a nose ring and is the "Lord Harrier of the Bull Host" (page 7); bulls played a prominent role in the Assyro-Babylonian mythology. (Elmo points out that "in Biblical symbology the Bull, Eagle, Lion, and Man represent the four canonical gospels. Zauriel belongs to the Eagle Host.
This is our first sighting to Asmodel. He is the villain of the piece, as fits his name, which is a variant of "Asmodeus," who in Hebrew mythology was an evil spirit. Asmodeus was originally Persian in origin, as the demon "Aeshma," who was one of the seven archangels of Persian mythology. Asmodeus was also identified in medieval times with Ashmedai, who in Hebrew mythology was the king of the demons.
Page 11. The post-Zero Hour introduction of the Key, the old Justice League enemy (note the "unlock" being scrawled on the wall; the Key was one of those DC villains, like Angle-Man, whose crimes made use of a recurring motif--in the Key's case, keys). He will appear prominently in the following issues.
Page 16. The Superman-wrestling-with-an-angel is a reference to the Biblical patriarch Jacob's wrestling match, in Genesis 32:24-30, with an angel (who is variously supposed to be Sammael, Michael, or even God him/her/itself).
JLA #8: Imaginary Stories
Pages 2-3. The Green Lantern seen here is Tomar Re, who was one of the most important members of the Green Lantern Corps (back when there was such a thing). Introduced early in the Silver Age ("Green Lantern" #6), Tomar Re became one of Hal Jordan's closest friends and one of the greatest of all Lanterns.
His appearance here, though, is not simply Morrison's way of bringing back a now-dead Green Lantern (Tomar Re died in battle against the Weaponers of Qward, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths). In DC Continuity Tomar Re was the Green Lantern of Space Sector 2813 (as is pointed out here, on page 3). Sector 2813 also included the planet Krypton, birthplace of Superman and home to the Kryptonian race. The Guardians of the Galaxy (the masters and creators of the Green Lantern Corps) dispatched Tomar Re, during his training period with them, on a mission to the planet Krypton to save its population. The Guardians had foreseen that the offspring of Jor-El and Lara of Krypton would be "genetically perfect, and an ideal future leader of the Green Lantern Corps," and--being aware that Krypton was due to explode because of a radioactive instability in the planet's core--wanted Tomar Re to save the planet. Tomar Re failed, but Kal-El--later Clark Kent/Superman--was safely rocketed from Krypton.
Tomar Re's act here, though, is also a reference to the way in which the Silver Age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, received his ring and became the Green Lantern. Hal Jordan was a successful test pilot who was chosen to become the Green Lantern of Earth after Abin Sur, the former Green Lantern of Earth's Space Sector (2814). Abin Sur, injured in battle, crashed to Earth and, dying from his injuries, sent his ring to choose a fearless man to succeed him; the ring located Hal Jordan.
This scene--Hal's receiving the ring from Abin Sur--is virtually recreated here. What Morrison is playing at, though, is not just showing us his knowledge of DC trivia, but also recreating the Imaginary Story--a longtime vehicle (from the 1950s) in the Superman books for showing what might have happened to Superman in various circumstances: what if Superman and Lois Lane got married, what if Superman died, etc. That's what this scene, and this issue and the next, are paying homage to--witness the title of this issue.
Page 3. Kal-El's clothing, and the rocky/crystalline environment of Krypton, are parts of the post-Crisis Krypton.
Page 5. Batman's Imaginary Story. The pairing of Batman with Selina Kyle (Catwoman) has been a long-time standard of fan speculation. The children--Bruce Jr. and Tim Jr.--are named after the Batman (Bruce Wayne) and the current (DC Continuity) Robin Tim Drake.
As with Superman, Morrison is referring to a previous Imaginary Story tradition, this one involving the children of Batman. The first such Imaginary Story of this kind took place in Batman #131, where Batman married Kathy Kane (the pre-Crisis Batwoman) and fathered Bruce Wayne, Jr., who fought crime (in the Imaginary Story's future) as Robin II, with Dick Grayson, as a grown man, carrying on the tradition as Batman II (For the curious, there were also Imaginary Stories involving Superman's children, in Superman #168, and the team-up of the children of Batman and Superman (separately, not as a couple) in World's Finest #154).
Page 11. Note that not only is the Key's gun key-shaped, but that the back of his chair matches the shape of his original helmet (seen in panel 3, page 1 of JLA #9).
Pages 12, panel 1. Morrison here dips into yet another back-alley of DC's continuity--in this case, Wonder Woman's history.
Y'see, back in 1968, DC Comics decided (for whatever reasons--most likely to capitalize on that new fad of the time, feminism--or, as Elayne points out, as an homage to/copy of Ms. Peel of the Avengers) to remake Wonder Woman (DCOJohanna points out that they also remade Supergirl & Lois Lane around that time). So what DC Comics did was remove her powers (by having her renounce them) and have her tutored in the martial arts (the other fad-of-the-moment) by an elderly Asian gentleman named I-Ching (trust me, I'm not making this up). She changed costume, as well.
And that is who we are seeing here. (As DCOJohanna, among others, said in correcting me, her costume here is a good bit racier than her costume from that era, although with the same color scheme.)
Panel 2. The "Trevor" acting as the sidekick to Diana/Wonder Woman is Steve Trevor, who was, pre-Crisis, the male love interest and sidekick to Wonder Woman (Thanks to DCOJohanna, I now know that, the post-Zero Hour, Steve Trevor is Wonder Woman's friend and is the husband of Etta Candy, another friend to Wonder Woman with a long and honored role in pre-Crisis Wonder Woman continuity). Steve Trevor, though an adventurous sort, was not (I believe) the type to be pulling an Indiana Jones type gig, as he is here--and when he did, he'd need WW to save his butt.
The swastika is in fact a holy symbol among both Hindus (specifically Brahmans, the upper class of the Hindu caste system) and Buddhists (it is one of the body marks of the Lord Buddha); it long predates the Nazi's appropriation and perversion of it, having been found in Cretan excavations and by Schlieman on figures in Troy.
3. Strange as it may sound, the bit about Eurasian maggots is in fact accurate,
and a neat twist on zombie mythology. Some forms of maggots do consume necrotic
flesh; a recent piece on CNN documented the growing current fad for the use
of maggots in medical treatments involving necrotic tissue.
Panel 4. If there is a "primal she-god" No, I'm unaware of her.
Page 13. The villainess on the golden throne is Baroness Paula von Gunther, who in pre-Crisis times was one of Wonder Woman's oldest enemies. (I am unaware of whether von Gunther has been brought back, post-Crisis/Zero Hour). She was originally a Nazi (with curly blond hair, not the straight hair shown here) who, after several battles with Wonder Woman, was reformed after Wonder Woman rescued her child. She eventually became one of Diana's closest friends and allies.
Note that, in panel 4, von Gunther refers to Diana's powerless state--more evidence that this is meant to be a reference to martial arts-wielding Wonder Woman of the late 1960s.
Page 14. The obvious comparison here, for Aquaman's fantasy, is with the film "Waterworld"; I'm sure there is some similar referent in Aquaman's history and continuity, but I don't know it.
Aquaman, in this history, has his hook (as we'll see in issue 9) but is dressed in the blue uniform that he wore during the Aquaman 1986 limited series.
The "Manta Raiders" are modeled on the pre-Crisis Black Manta, who is one of Aquaman's arch-enemies.
Page 15. Morrison has done his homework; the Earth is in fact in the next "space sector" over from Krypton's.
JLA #9: Elseworlds
Issue #8 was called "Imaginary Stories," which was the traditional label under which DC slotted stories that weren't meant to fit in continuity. This issue's title is the label in which DC currently fits such stories.
Page 1. The Silver Age Key (who first appeared in Justice League of America #41) originally had no relationship with Intergang (an ongoing criminal enterprise in DC continuity, created by Jack Kirby, which has since shown up all over the place). (Jay J notes that it makes sense for the Key to have had a relationship with Intergang, since the Key used psychochemicals, and Intergang was the main supplier of that sort of thing).
Note that the "original" Justice League, seen in panel 3, is the post-Zero Hour version: no Superman, no Wonder Woman (with Black Canary replacing her), and no Batman.
Page 3. Fastbak is the superfast member of the New Gods, the Kirby-created gods who can be seen in the pages of the "Genesis" mini-series and the ongoing series "Jack Kirby's Fourth World".
Wally's origin here is markedly similar to that of Hal Jordan.
Wally's costume combines the skin-tight nature of the outfit of the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, and the hat and boots of the Golden Age Flash, Jay Garrick.
Thad Doria caught what I somehow completely overlooked: that the "Speed Source" to which Wally credits his powers is a combination of the Speed Force, which in current DC continuity is the source of all super-speedsters' powers, and The Source, which in DC continuity is the source of all superpowers.
Page 6. Batman and Catwoman riding to the rescue of Batman II and Robin II is a reference to the Imaginary Story in Batman #131, where Morrison got the idea for Batman II and Robin II. In that story, Batman II and Robin II are taken captive by the Babyface Jordan gang, but Batman and his wife (Kathy Kane--the pre-Crisis Batwoman--in that story) arrive, in-costume, and rescue Batman II and Robin II, just as in this Imaginary Story Batman and his wife (Selina Kyle) arrive, in-costume, and rescue Batman II and Robin II. Similarly, in Batman #131 Bruce Wayne, Jr. grows up to become Robin II, while the adult Dick Grayson becomes Batman II; in this Imaginary Story, Tim Drake grows up to become Batman II, and Bruce Wayne, Jr. becomes Robin II.
Page 7. The version of the Phantom Zone seen here seems inspired by the Phantom Zone from the Superman movies, rather than the one seen in the comics.
Pages 17-18. In DC continuity, the greatest enemies to the Guardians of the Universe (who created and empowered the Green Lantern corps) were the Weaponers of Qward; Qward was their homeworld, existing in an anti-matter universe. Green Lantern's "Imaginary Story" obviously involved him becoming one of the "Weaponeers."
Note that he is wielding a yellow ring on his left hand. The Guardians gave the Green Lanterns had green rings; the Weaponers gave out a yellow ring, which possessed all the powers of the Green Lanterns' rings but without the weakness to anything yellow, to their agent, the renegade Green Lantern Sinestro. Batman II refers to Commissioner Montoya. This is presumably the same Detective Ellen Montoya who is currently the partner of Harvey Bullock - Tim isn't the only one to have had a promotion.
JLA #10: Rock of Ages Prologue: Genesis & Revelations.
Pages 2-3. Morrison continues to play with pieces of DC's past; pre-Crisis, a group of alien villains, thwarted by the teenaged Superboy from conquering the universe, formed the Superman Revenge Squad, and swore to revenge themselves on Superman (they were first seen in Action Comics #287). The group seen here is the Justice League Revenge Squad (so named on page 10).
Thad Doria adds the following: "There was a Superboy revenge squad, but the primary inspiration came from a World's Finest story (drawn by Neal Adams). The Superman Revenge Squad (petty mad scientists who shaved their heads in tribute to Luthor) teamed with the Batman Revenge Squad (small-time crooks sent up the river by Batman). Both teams wore costumes similar to their nemeses: the SRS's Super-insignia glowed green like kryptonite, while the BRS had purple Bat-suits with skulls superposed on the familiar insignia. Morrison stated he liked the look of the BRS, so we see that the JLARS have a skull motif and a purple tinge."
Page 18. The group of villains led by Luthor is named here for the first time: the Injustice Gang. Originally, back in Justice League of America #111, the Injustice Gang worked out of a satellite similar to the then-hq of the JLA, consisted of Chronos, the Mirror Master, Poison Ivy, the Scarecrow, the Shadow-Thief, and the Tattooed Man, and were led by Libra. This Injustice Gang also works out of a satellite, and, like the original Injustice Gang, has one supervillain for each hero in the JLA.
JLA #11: Rock of Ages Part 2: "Hostile Takeover." Page
2. We see six of the members of the new Injustice Gang:
- Dr. Light, one of the enemies to the Green Lanterns; although not one of
the greatest of the Lanterns' enemies, he's the only one still surviving.
(Thanks to everyone who corrected my original misidentification of Dr. Light)
- Mirror Master, a member of the Flash's Rogues Gallery; although nearly all
of the Rogues Gallery went to Hell in Underworld Unleashed, they were
recently returned to Earth in Flash. The Mirror Master seen here was
created by Grant Morrison and introduced in the pages of Animal Man
when Morrison was writing it.
- The Joker, Batman's archenemy.
- Lex Luthor, Superman's archenemy.
- Circe, the mythological Greek sorceress who is Wonder Woman's archenemy. Although Circe was reformed when last seen in Wonder Woman, she became unreformed (as Gustavus pointed out) in the pages of Underworld Unleashed.
- The Ocean Master, brother to Aquaman and one of his direst enemies.
Page 5. The "Ares's threat" Superman speaks of was revealed in the pages of the execrable DC crossover Genesis.
Page 11. The figure in the chair is Metron, one of the New Gods (as Flash identifies him). His significance is that, unlike most of the New Gods, Metron's morality is dubious; he has always seemed to care much more for knowledge, and his pursuit of it, than about abstract concepts like "good" and "evil." Which means that whatever it is he wants from the JLA most likely is Bad.
Page 14. Green Arrow asks what good he could do about Darkseid. This question will take on an ironic tinge in a few issues, when Darkseid appears and is be opposed by the weaker members of the JLA, including...Green Arrow.
Page 15. As Circe seems to know, Superman was present when Oliver Queen (Green Arrow's father) died, and, for various (lame and weak) plot reasons did nothing to stop it.
Page 17. The "Eel O'Brian" shown talking to the women is actually the hero and JLA member Plastic Man. Originally he was a gangster named Eel O'Brian who reformed after being given his stretching powers and became Plastic Man. Plastic Man kept the "Eel O'Brian" identity as a ruse, as a way to move among criminals and find out information.
The "Matches Malone" figure talking to him, and eventually calling him by name, is actually the Batman. When facing Ra's al Ghul (one of Batman's enemies) Batman recruited a criminal named Matches Malone; when Matches Malone was killed, Batman assumed the identity, and has since used it to move among the underworld, in much the same way that Plastic Man used the "Eel O'Brian" identity.
This does raise a question or two, however. How could Plastic Man hope to keep the cover of "Eel O'Brian" if he's going to tell stories like the one in panel 1, and to act as he does in panel 4? Batman surely knows that "Eel O'Brian" is Plastic Man's cover - why blow it for him?
Page 18. The mysterious seventh member of the Injustice Gang is revealed as being Jemm, Son of Saturn. Jemm first appeared in his own DC mini-series in 1984; as several folks, including Thad Doria, pointed out, he was in fact in-continuity from the beginning, and has appeared since his miniseries in "Crisis on Infinite Earths" and the DC Challenge. J'onn J'onzz, Jemm has telepathic powers and a vulnerability to fire. Jemm, however, was from Saturn, not Mars; it could be that the post-Zero Hour Jemm has been somehow retconned into a Martian. Jemm was not an evil character, however--quite the reverse--and his presence here can only be explained by Luthor having some form of power over him (which he does, as Luthor points out on page 16). And, as Thad Doria points out, J'onn J'onzz has few archenemies of his own, and the chance to match two heavy-browed telepathic aliens against one another must have been irresistable.