Last time, we had a secluded man discover a way to make the human body reach perfected levels that were previously unreachable. While our Dark Knight tries to get some information about the scientist and a former hippie, our Man of Steel and Amazon of the Stars take up the offer and join his group of transformed and heroic figures. The Last Son of Krypton ultimately decides to undergo the process, but it’s not long after the experiment begins that he starts feeling overwhelming pain. Even worse, the process is unable to be stopped! Before we find out what happened, let’s check out a few details about our featured comic.
Published on August 19, 2015, this served as the penultimate comic companion to the film of the same name. We have the same team throughout this series, but only for the main story inside. For issue two’s cover, we have longtime DC Comics artist José Luis García-López on pencils and Patricia “Trish” Mulvihill on colors. Together, they give us our three main heroes in different poses while the Forever People loom in the background behind streaks of white light. No more variant covers to go over, so let’s dive in.
Issue 2 opens with Batman sneaking into Gotham University and arriving at a classroom where Lex Luthor is. It turns out that he’s already fascinated by the Dark Knight and his methods, despite the monstrous nature of his heroics. As such, Kirk removes his mask and reveals that he used to be a former student of his. With Lex being indifferent by the information, Batman asks him how to stop Jackson Alpert and his Forever People. Kirk believes the “underground chemist” to have actually been Doctor Psycho, the man whose experiments terrorized the Hairies in Wonder Woman’s one-shot comic.
Despite evidence proving that he died in 1967, Batman’s investigation say otherwise. However, Luthor zaps him and says that at least Alpert is attempting to prove that he’s trying to help humanity. After recovering from the attack, Batman recognizes Superman from the profile pictures. Luthor proceeds to talk about him & Wonder Woman and how their otherworldly makeup makes them powerful enough on their own, but could pose a threat to humanity if Batman joins up with them. With little information gathered, Kirk proceeds to take his leave.
Back at the Eternity Institute, Superman is undergoing the process in an attempt to become more powerful than he already is. However, the pain that he’s receiving from the procedure is becoming too much to bear. As such, Wonder Woman uses her lasso to shatter the tube and save his life.
Bekka goes to check on him to see if he’s OK. Just as Hernan starts waking up, he attacks her for interrupting the process. Shortly afterwards, the intoxicating experiment causes him to pass out. As such, Bekka and Dreamer end up carrying him back to his room.
Later, Superman is back in his bedroom. Due to the pain that Wonder Woman saw in his eyes during the process, he says that this newfound vulnerability was new to him. Bekka tells him that this can actually be a good thing, since it reminds them that they have a degree of humanity. As she leaves to give him some rest, she says that it’s time that they learn more about Alpert.
Meanwhile, the namesake scientist is attending to a longtime client named Fastback. It turns out that her body is on the verge of breaking down and that she’ll die if she doesn’t have enough money for a renewal fee towards the Forever Process. However, she’s already paid millions towards multiple upgrades in the past. Furious at her exhausted financial state, she tries to attack Alpert. However, she starts going into a seizure and collapses in agony. He then discusses whether he does his experiment for the betterment of the human race or just for the “intellectual thrill of it”.
Outside, Batman manages to fly his way to the Eternity Institute. While Lois Lane’s narration speculates on whether the experiment has driven Alpert to sheer madness, the Dark Knight finds himself in the crosshairs of the building’s security system. Before he can react, he finds himself knocked out due to the massive voltage from the defense grid.
Meanwhile, Superman demands for Wonder Woman to keep fighting him. She initially refuses, but he manages to hit her. As they continue to tussle, Bekka says that this moment has made him feel vulnerable for the first time in his life and that it feels like he’s trying to get his indestructible personality back.
Just then, Alpert comes in to break up the fight and give Hernan the good news/bad news scoop. Good News: Superman will be back to normal after a few days rest. Bad News: Alpert’s experiment was unsuccessful due to Hernan’s krpytonian physiology. Since Bekka already refuses to undergo the process, Jackson offers our two heroes an opportunity. He asks them to become teachers in order to help the Forever People deal with their metahuman life post-procedure. Wonder Woman considers while Superman madly turns it down and tries to leave. However, his weakened state causes him to fall down in exhaustion. As Alpert takes his leave, he tells them to consider his offer.
Immediately afterwards, Bekka questions if Hernan turned down the teaching role due to his ego. Superman says that it’s a possibility, but also that he’s sensing some initial truth from Wonder Woman in that this place isn’t what it seems. As such, they proceed to regroup with a familiar friend.
Over in a different part of the compound, Hernan and Bekka come across Batman. He explains to them that the security drones scanned him for any vitals, but his otherworldly figure tricked the system. Since then, he crept into the compound and kept himself from detection. He also took some time to learn about the Eternity Institute. According to his research, Jackson Alpert actually died more than 45 years ago in an upstate New York commune. Since then, Doctor Psycho (whom Wonder Woman came across in her one-shot) has been living his identity. As Bekka explains what the vile fiend previously did, they suddenly find themselves discovered.
It turns out to be Doctor Psycho using the holographic guise of Jackson Alpert as he shows off his vastly-improved “Never People” before sending them to attack out heroes. They try their best to combat the various creatures, but they’re ultimately overwhelmed and captured.
We then cut to several days later where our three heroes have already been placed in tubes and stripped of their outfits. Because Superman took part in the previous experiment, his harvested cells samples allowed Doctor Psycho to combine it with his formula and help him sustain his youth. He then awaits what powerful progress the cells from Kirk and Bekka will provide him.
Meanwhile, the Forever People have split into numerous fiefdoms while trying to spread their offer of a “higher destiny” to the citizens of the world. While some reached their hands out in acceptance, others opposed the offer. Soon, violent acts broke out between both sides of the “god movements”. Back at the Eternity Institute, Doctor Psycho is overseeing all of this. He exclaims that the Forever People can only express their needs to feel superior as long as he keeps them around. However, he’s grown bored and now only cares about seeing himself becoming powerful.
Just then, he finds himself viciously attacked from behind. It turns out to be Fastback who’s recovered just enough from her seizures and knocks out Doctor Psycho. After freeing our heroes from the tubes, she tells them to stop her fellow Forever People.
After our heroes leave, a dying Fastback manages to drag Doctor Psycho towards his doom. Just as she activates the machine to finish him off, the scene ends with her being confronted by another imposing figure.
Later, the Forever People’s feud ends with Big Bear emerging as the group’s main ruler. Just as he begins to format his new order, Superman and Wonder Woman arrive. To avoid the unnecessary slaughter of humanity, they offer the Forever People a chance to find a place in the universe for them to live and prosper. That way, they can fully realize their power and ultimately help out humanity sometime later. However, Big Bear shoots down that idea and says that he and his people are the planet’s ultimate lifeforms.
With peace talks completely fallen apart, Superman and Wonder Woman proceed to fight the Forever People. Several members try taking their shots at them as Serifan uses his power to immobilize our heroes. However, Hernan is able to use his Heat Vision to incinerate his foe.
Superman then proceeds to fight Big Bear. However, their feud proceeds to cause massive collateral damage towards the Indian city of Mumbai. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is fighting Sumo within the citadel. Despite being trapped in his vicious grasp, Bekka manages to use her head by stabbing his eyes with her headpiece.
However, things start to turn on our heroes. Even though he successfully fends off an energy strike from Moonrider, Vykin unleashes a psychic attack as Wonder Woman finds herself in mental torment. Meanwhile, Big Bear has managed to take down Superman.
Fortunately, Batman finally arrives as he proceeds to bite Big Bear’s neck. Shortly afterwards, he feels his god-like strength being drained and falls into a coma. With Superman recovered from his beatdown, he manages to save Wonder Woman by striking her foes with his super-breath. When asked how Big Bear was defeated, Hernan explains that Kirk has reworked Alpert’s formula and has the antidote within his fangs.
Batman then proceeds to finish off Moonrider and Vykin with a Batarang that’s laced with the antidote. With the battle finished and the Forever People fallen, the Justice League plan on what to do with them.
We then cut to sometime later at the Eternity Institute where the Forever People have been placed in tubes and drained of their powers. However, they’re still stuck in their comas. With these individuals and Doctor Psycho’s research now in the hands of the International Task Force, Wonder Woman only hopes that this incident will help build towards a better world. When Superman says that it’s a lie and that they’ll just go right back to killing each other, our heroes are then confronted by Lex Luthor who agrees with the statement and says that they’re still dangerous individuals who should vacate this planet immediately. However, this doesn’t phase our heroes as they take their leave.
As our heroes fly their way out of the facility, they discuss about their current plight. When they bring up the fact that Doctor Psycho’s body is still missing, Bekka thinks that the I.T.F. took him for study purposes before they arrived back. However, they get the biggest shock of their lives as Issue 2 ends with the revelation on what really happened: Doctor Psycho has transferred his consciousness into a brand new and powerful foe named Imperiex.
Now it’s time for my character analysis. With Superman, his god-like complex gets challenged since the experiment nearly did some grave harm to him. This vulnerability definitely helps in making him relatable and grounds him towards likability. His fights with Wonder Woman is most likely a sign of him trying to regain some confidence in that realm. It’s also possible that it extends further when he ends up fighting the Forever People. Other than that, there’s not much else to say about him. So, let’s move on to Wonder Woman. She helps ground Superman and puts up with his arrogance in order to regain some poise that he previous had. Another thing that was consistent with the previous issue is her penchant for peaceful results, since she’ll give her opposition the chance to stand down prior to a fight. Not much left when it comes to her, so let’s wrap up with Batman. He does display some detective work in uncovering the truth about what really goes down at the Eternity Institute. Other than that, his scientific skills helps him and his friends out later on when they take on the Forever People. His appearances throughout this comic are limited, but the story makes them count when he does show up.
Overall, this is a progressive middle chapter. The story had more interesting details and has revelations that makes owning/reading the previous issue have a good payoff, the artwork is still very competent with some nice details & coloring that’s still pleasing to the eyes and the action is very fluent & easy to follow. However, there’s not much progress in character development. What we get is fine, but nothing that stands out in a major way since the conflict at hand prevents this from happening. Other than that, it’s still a good middle chapter that develops what started and sets things up for our concluding act. It’s worth a read, so check it out when you can.
Next Time: As if facing the trials of the Forever People and the scheming wrath of Doctor Psycho wasn’t enough, our heroes must now face a mighty foe to order to solidify themselves as a team. Their greatest battle prior to the film has taken shape and the final throwdown will commence as we dig into “Justice League: Gods & Monsters #3”.
Justice League (created by Gardner Fox), the New Gods & Forever People (created by Jack Kirby) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.