D.C.U.A.O.M. Bonus: Justice League: Gods & Monsters #1

Hello, my friends.  A trinity of heroes from an alternate dimension have now shown the building blocks of their pasts.  Now, it’s time to see them become the world’s greatest superhero team.  As such, I welcome you back to another entry in…

dc-universe-a-o-m-2

Over the last three entries, we looked at a small group of one-shot comics that delved further into the backgrounds of our three main characters.  Now, we begin a three-part look at the event that brought them together as we dig into…

Published on August 12, 2015, this first entry began a three-issue series that showed off the initial outing from this universe’s greatest heroes.  Helping to bring Bruce Timm and J.M. DeMatteis’ three-part story to life on the page will be Thony Silas on pencils and Tony Aviña on colors.  Meanwhile, Darick Robertson and Diego Rodriguez handles our primary cover, a dynamic group shot in front of a shining light.  For the last time, we have an alternate cover by Darwyn Cooke with our three heroes towering over Metropolis while protesters have taken to the streets.  How did the greatest heroes of this universe come together?  Let’s dive in and find out.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-A Hot Future Among The Cold Mountains!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-My Vision Of Perfection!

We open in the Swiss mountains where the Eternity Institute is playing host to an International Press Conference run by a recluse physician named Jackson Alpert.  However, he’s unable to attend due to his disdain towards being in crowds.  Communicating to the press and audience via hologram, he plans on unveiling “the single most important moment in human history” which took him more than four decades to perfect.  Since the human body is fragile to the elements, disease, violence, etc., he announces a way to enhance any man and/or woman’s figure to last longer than seemingly possible and would hearken a new era for the human race.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Forever People!

As such, he introduces the public to three test subjects who have successfully gone through the process and have emerged better than ever before: The Forever People.  As the narration states, it came with a hefty price tag.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-I'm Here To Save You!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Surprise!

We then cut to Gotham City where an eight-year old girl named Anna Hernandez was kidnapped and tied up against her will.  Fortunately, someone has sneaked in to save her.  Just as her captor named Adrian Jacobs arrives back, he finds himself under attack.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-It Ends Here!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-A Fangtastic Finish!

It turns out that the rescuer and the attacker turns out to be Dr. Kirk Langstrom a.k.a. Batman.  After physically disabling Adrian, he finishes him off by biting his neck and drinking his blood.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Home Sweet Home!

Shortly afterwards, a woman named Grace suddenly discovers her daughter back in her bedroom as the two share an emotional embrace while Batman watches from afar.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Trouble In The Bay Area!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Run From The Choppa!

We then cut to San Francisco where Becca is relaxing at a streetside cafe.  All of a sudden, the nearby citizens notice something up in the sky.  It turns out the be a malfunctioning news helicopter plummeting towards its doom.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Becca To The Rescue!.png

As such, she transforms into her Wonder Woman outfit and manages to ease the chopper down to a better landing.  Sometime later, a newscast covers the incident as Becca gets back into her civilian garb and departs.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Incoming!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-A Smackdown From Krypton!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Our Relationship Went Nowhere!.png

Sometime later, Wonder Woman has flown out to Stonehenge.  Suddenly, she gets attacked by Hernan Guerra a.k.a. Superman.  We find out that these two used to be a couple, but it only lasted for a week.  As such, she rightful smacks him to the ground before he takes his leave.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Random Violence!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Not In My City!

Sometime later in Metropolis, a group of nihilists surprise the hustling crowd within the train station and start shooting at them.  Just then, Superman comes in and easily defeats them.  Not only that, but he straight-up kills the attackers.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Confrontation!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Interview With A Superhero!

Numerous reporters have gathered outside Metropolis Central Station, including PlanetNWZ’s Lois Lane.  Shortly after taking care of his deed, Superman flies out and approaches the media.  As he makes his way through the crown, Lois confronts him and asks if he deserves to decide who lives & who dies.  Superman tells her that the nihilists actions called for their demise as he flies away.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-We'll Watch & Learn!

As Lois gives her newscast on the incident, the topic of Superman’s actions would get put under political discussion.  During all of this, U.S. President Amanda Waller wonders what action should be taken regarding the Man of Steel.  Her national security advisor suggests that they should keep an eye on him and stay alert for any possible weakness.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-No More Riots, Thanks To The Forever People!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Calm Down, Rio!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Calm Down, Rio! (2)

We then cut to Rio De Janeiro where riots have broken out.  The fracus is between those who want Alpert’s revolutionary youth project to be available for everyone, while others who see it as an abomination towards humankind.  Just then, the Forever People fly in.  Under the holographic orders of Alpert, Serifan and Dreamer manage to cease the violence and erase everyone’s memories of the incident.  Once the situation is put under control, Alpert orders his Forever People to move on to Moscow.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Awkward Meeting!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Quenching The Bloodlust!

We then cut to Gotham City where Batman is trying to resist his ever-growing bloodlust.  Just then, Superman arrives and tells him that he can overcome his problem.  Batman mistakes this an an insult and proceeds to fight the Man of Steel.  Superman calms him down by saying that they each have certain hungers to quench before giving him a vial of blood.  After a brief mention of how these two initially came across each other, they then discuss about Jackson Alpert and his own project.  Batman thinks that it could possibly cure him of his constant bloodlust before he tells Superman about how the experiment creates beings that would be on the same level as him.  After a short while, Hernan takes his leave by saying that he’s going to learn about Alpert’s Forever People.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Uninvited Welcome!.png

Later, Superman arrives at Alpert’s Eternity Institute.  However, he gets knocked back by the building’s force field.  Just then, he’s confronted by the Forever People.  Not only that, but it turns out that Wonder Woman has joined them as she tells him to leave immediately.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Time To Throwdown Again!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Surrendering To Information!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Enter My Domain!

After refusing to comply, Superman proceeds to fight her and the Forever People.  Despite managing to dispatch Becca, he says that he didn’t come here to brawl and wants to learn.  As such, he surrenders himself to them.  Just then, Alpert’s hologram appears as he tells Superman that Wonder Woman and his Forever People were only sent out to test his motives.  As such, he welcomes Hernan into his building.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-A Festive Gathering!.jpg

Gathered around the table, Alpert introduces the remainder of his Forever People to Superman.  From there, he exclaims that he heard about Supes and Wonder Woman coming from different worlds already as marvelous beings and that his project can make them even more impressive than before.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Here Comes The Real Headsman!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-The REAL Jackson Alpert!

After explaining that his “Forevertech” is to be ultimately used on an equal level, the actual Jackson Alpert makes his appearance.  When asked why he hasn’t used his project before to heal his crippled body, he says that he has a “genetic abnormality” that prevents the process from working on him.  Despite this, he still feels glad to give the healing opportunity that nature doesn’t have.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Alpert's Laboratory!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-Trust & Hanky-Panky!

As such, Alpert proceeds to give Superman and Wonder Woman a tour of his secret laboratory.  He wishes for both of them to go through the process so that they could become the faces of not only the Forever People. but also his entire project.  As such, he leaves them so that they can consider his offer.  Superman says that he doesn’t entirely trust him and the Forever People, yet Wonder Woman exclaims that the group can help humanity conquer new heights over the course of several years.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-We Need To Talk!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-I Still Need Info!

Back in San Francisco, Batman pulls a man named Howard Barrison out of his building.  We find out that the guy under interrogation has a successful law firm and used to be a member of the hippie commune called the Hairies.  After scaring the guy, Batman realizes that he’s not a criminal.  The scene ends with him calmly asking for information on both Jackson Alpert AND Doctor Psycho.

Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-The Process Is Underway!Justice League-Gods & Monsters No. 1-A Painful Cliffhanger!

At the Eternity Institute, Superman has decided to go through Alpert’s program.  However, Becca has turned down the offer due to a lack of desire.  Despite that, she decides to stay in order to oversee his experiment for any bugs.  Just then, Superman starts convulsing in pain.  Wonder Woman demands for the process to get shut down, but Issue 1 ends with Alpert saying that it’s too late.

Justice League-Nuff Said!.png

So, it’s time to dig into character arcs for our three main heroes.  First up, we’ll tackle Superman.  In his one-shot comic, he grew up with a Mexican immigrant family and felt trapped by the stereotypical setting of his surroundings.  Thanks to his sister and the child-kidnapping plot of a Mexican drug cartel, he came to realize his superheroic worth to society.  Granted, he still carries his rough approach to justice into battle, but at least he felt confident.  Here, that status quo is challenged by Alpert’s newest experiment.  After all, he’s already seen as god-like due to his superhuman abilities.  Maybe his hope to learn about the project is because (to some degree) of a superiority complex.  Next, we have Wonder Woman.  It’s sort of vague as to what she’s done with herself between her one-shot comic and the beginning of this issue.  If her first scene is any implication, it’s that she pops up to prevent disasters from happening and then make haste from the surrounding area.  Maybe she’s continued her globe-trekking in order to find Doctor Psycho and bring him in for his past actions, but it doesn’t go to that extent.  The only other thing we know from this time period is that she and Superman used to be lovers, if only for a week-long venture in Greece.  That past kindle does come up again near the end, but it doesn’t factor much.  After that, we see her again alongside the Forever People.  The only reason that she joins Alpert’s group is a curiosity suggestion that his “upgrade process” is what “drew her there”.  However, there’s not much else to support her reason, so it comes across as being vague and not that well-explained.  Finally, we reach Batman.  So far, he hasn’t had much to do with his comic time.  Other than slay a friend-turned-enemy, he saves a kidnapped girl, fights against then discusses alongside Superman and does some detective work.  Of course, he’ll have more to do in the coming issues.  For now, there’s not to say about him.

Justice League No. 1-Title Card!.jpg

Overall, this is a fairly interesting start to the mini-series.  The artwork is very competent and only looks semi-scratchy at time, the situation is well-established and there’s just enough things for our three main characters to do.  Even though Superman and Wonder Woman get more focus here and the group they associate with leans this tale more towards the “Gods” side, the main human of Jackson Alpert is presented enough as an altruistic man with good intentions.  The true “monster” of our tale has yet to come, but this serves as a nice companion piece to the main film.  Check it out for some expansive material.

Next Time: Will Superman survive Alpert’s experiment?  Can Wonder Woman find a way to save the last man of Krypton?  What information will Batman come across as he attempts to learn about the seclusive scientist and a possible wild card to a mad scheme?  What further perils await our Trinity?  All this and more will be explored as we dig into “Justice League: Gods & Monsters #2”

Justice League (created by Gardner Fox), the New Gods & Forever People (created by Jack Kirby) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.

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