Justice League: No Surrender #1

Justice League: No Surrender is a four-part, probably weekly series from DC which sees the Justice League, Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and, uh, the Titans assembled into a series of unexpected teams in the face of an oncoming massive threat of cosmic scale. Brainiac is the leader, Damian Wayne is the moral conscience, and there’s a big starfish thing hanging out too. Come along, friends, and hopefully at some point along the way somebody will explain what the word “entropy” means.

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The Green Lanterns are assembled at one end of the Universe as the story begins, peering at what turns out to be a crack in the source wall. What’s a source wall? Great question! So anyway the Green Lanterns are staring at this wall, and it’s all your favourites: Guy, Kyle, John, Salaak, a sentient mop, a background octopus, and a hummingbird. Aren’t the Green Lanterns great? They’ll accept literally anybody. Kyle’s hair looks especially windswept in this scene, which is impressive because he’s in the vacuum of space. Some people are just born with it.

The source wall has a hole in it, as previously noted, and it also appears to be made up of loads of giant faces, none of which I recognise. It’d be silly to suggest that one of them might be Juggernaut, right? They didn’t smash the source wall *that* hard. That’s quite enough of the Green Lanterns for now, though. Maybe next issue they can come back again.

On Earth, something is beating up all the Teen Titans, all the Titans, and all the Suicide Squad. Amanda Waller is watching on with, as ever, bemused detachment, and orders her team to move to “Protocol XI”. This turns out to be “World War”, which I’m impressed it took her eleven protocols to get to. Brainiac is the man on the opposite side of the war, riding his little tentacle skull thing from the Lego Batman games and expressing his disappointment in the Justice League, who’re getting all tentacled up.

Superman flies in, red pants blazing with the power of a billion suns, and attacks Brainiac while the rest of the team free themselves. It looks as though everything is going just great once more until Brainiac gives Superman a psychic look at the world – the other three teams have all been defeated and knocked out by his various robots. He says it’s because everybody has become predictable recently, which I don’t think was *meant* to come across as a dig at DC’s current writing teams, but….

At any rate, Brainiac drops a ship on the Justice League and captures them too.

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Later on, some of the captured heroes wake up. Beast Boy takes the form of a bear while he sleeps, which scares Harley Quinn, the only member of the Suicide Squad who matters and will get any panel time this issue. Zatanna calms down the situation a little in the hopes that nobody will ask which team she’s meant to have come from, whilst Starfire fades blandly into the background, submitting to her supporting character role in a most uncharacteristic manner. They determine that they’ve been captured, been dressed in new costumes (ew, Brainiac, why does this always have to be part of your plans?) and need to find a way to escape.

The second team are made up of Martian Manhunter, Dr Fate, Robin, Raven, and I think the Atom. They’ve come up with the cunning plan of “wait until somebody else comes along to tell us what to do”, which grates with Damian, who always knows what he should tell people to do. He seems particularly annoyed with Dr Fate, which is fairly perfect character work for Damian. Always go after the person you find least comprehensible.

The Justice League show up with Brainiac, and announce that everybody is now going to be allies. Brainiac holds onto Wonder Woman’s lasso and everything, it’s all legit. Apparently four giant god people have come through the broken source wall and are ready to start eating planets and fulfil long-running cosmic debts – and they’re all out of chewing gum. Wait no, that doesn’t work does it. The gods are called “Wisdom”, “Wonder”, “Mystery” and “Entropy”, and I know what three of those four words mean. Each of them put a bet that their ‘energy’ is the strongest in the universe, which suggests they’ve never tried drinking Lucozade and then eating a pack of parma violets.

To show that things are dangerous, despite the fact nobody seems particularly worried apart from Brainiac, we see that a bunch of villains are onboard the spaceship too. One of them is a Starfish, one of them is a rhyming demon. DC knows what they’re doing.

Back home, Amanda Waller isn’t happy with the situation and has kidnapped a bunch of psychics in a bid to find out what Brainiac is up to. I cannot recognise any of these psychics, other than Skeletor sat near the front and Bloodshot sat next to him. Speaking of psychics, Martian Manhunter has a little chat with Lex Luthor on Brainiac’s ship, explaining that he’s been away for a long time and now he’s trying to catch up with all the weird stuff that’s been going on – so he’s the audience surrogate character, in other words.

Manhunter aside, the various teams are doing all the expected posturing and grumbling that you’d expect, Etrigan throwing in some off-par rhymes before Brainiac yells at them all to shut up and take this seriously because there’s only three more issues before this whole thing wraps up. They arrive on his home planet, where one of the gods – Wisdom, it appears, is preparing to eat the world. Luckily Brainiac has a plan which (if they follow it precisely) will allow them to defeat Wisdom and save the billions living on the planet below from a certain death.

Unluckily, Waller chooses that exact moment to unleash a psychic attack on Brainiac which makes his head explode, stranding the assembled heroes and villains at the mercy of the god titan creature thing. As Lemar once sang, there’s ain’t no justice in the world.

To be Continued!

Justice League: No Justice #1
Written by Scott Snyder, Joshua Williamson and James Tynion IV
Pencilled by Francis Manapul
Coloured by Hi-Fi
Lettered by AndWorld Design
Published by DC Comics

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