So far, we’ve had our heroes learn about secluded scientist Jackson Alpert who has an experiment that transforms an ordinary human into a god-like being that becomes a part of his group called the Forever People. Superman tries to go through the process, but it doesn’t work and puts too much strain on him as Wonder Woman manages to save his life. Through Batman, they find out that Alpert died decades ago and his identity has been used by former Wonder Woman foe Doctor Psycho. Our heroes ultimately defeat his Forever People, but the villainous foe’s body wasn’t found. However, they didn’t have to look far since he’s now a powerful adversary named Imperiex. Before their greatest pre-film challenge gets going, let’s look at our cover.
Published on August 26, 2015, this comic serves as the final issue to the entire set of tie-in materials towards the DCUAOM’s 23rd film. We still have the same writers (Timm & DeMatteis) and artists (Silas & Aviña). For our cover, we have writer & artist Gene Ha as he shows our three heroes trapped within the lighted grasp of Imperiex. Now, let the final battle begin!
Issue 3 opens in Switzerland where our heroes have found themselves under the powerful eye of Doctor Psycho who has become an even stronger foe called Imperiex. With their DNA added into the vile being, the odds of defeating him seem to be stacked against our heroes. Nevertheless, they engage him in combat.
Despite their best effort, Imperiex gains the upper hand by trapping our heroes inside some force-field bubbles. He then tells them of his ultimate goal: He’ll download his consciousness into every single person on the planet and achieve interconnectedness. To accomplish this, he’ll need an army. As such, he easily takes control of our heroes’ minds. With their mental faculties under his command, Imperiex begins to carry out his plans.
As such, Imperiex kicks off his “World Domination Tour” in the nearby city of Zürich. He proceeds to send our heroes out to destroy the opposing military as everything from fighter jets to tanks are easily smashed to bits. This gives Imperiex the time he needed to take control of every single person’s mind within the city.
Just then, Wonder Woman is freed from her mind-controlled state due to her Mother Box. From there, she proceeds to attack her foe. However, Superman and Batman are still under his command as they proceed to fight her. Fortunately, Bekka’s Mother Box comes through again as it frees her teammates from Imperiex’s mental grasp.
With their minds freed from harm, Superman asks if her Mother Box can save the city’s citizens from mind control as well. Just as Wonder Woman summons the device, Imperiex grabs it out of the air and crushes it in his hand.
The resulting explosion opened up a Boom Tube as Imperiex and our heroes are sucked into the portal. They end up arriving in the abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine where our foe ends up crashing into the desolate buildings.
However, Imperiex recovers and goes on a violent rage as he smashes the buildings up before blasting Wonder Woman with a powerful laser-eye beam due to her being distracted from her Mother Box’s destruction. Superman tells Batman to get her out of here while he takes care of their foe.
While Kirk flies Bekka to safety, Hernan proceeds to engage Imperiex in an laser-eye duel. The culminating energies build towards an explosion, but Superman ends up falling in battle. As such, Imperiex contains the Man of Steel in “Cosmic Amber” and puts him in cryogenic suspension until his mind can be taken over once again.
Meanwhile, Batman manages to find a safe place for Wonder Woman to gather herself. With her Mother Box reduced to a single shard, she suddenly discovers a way to fight Imperiex by using the remaining “echoes of his consciousness” that’s still present in their heads.
Meanwhile, Superman manages to break out of his chilly confinements. However, Imperiex is easily able to smack the Man of Steel around. Just when he’s about to finish Hernan off, Batman comes in and jabs the remaining piece of Mother Box into his head in order to mentally attack him.
Unfortunately, the shard’s internal power could only last for so long before Batman’s psyche would be at risk of getting ensnared by Imperiex once again. As such, the Dark Knight is forced to vacate while the gigantic foe tries to absorb his mental prowess.
Fortunately, Wonder Woman managed to recover in time as she attacks Imperiex and causes the massive foe to lessen his mental grip on Batman. Kirk then proceeds to use the shard to resume his mental attack. Even with Bekka helping him out however, Imperiex continues to fend them off. As such, Kirk yells for Superman to help them out.
With all three of our heroes united and grasping Wonder Woman’s sword alongside the remaining Mother Box fragment, they proceed to plunge the otherwordly blade right into Imperiex’ chest. With their combined mental might, they’re able to finally bring the massive being down.
Our heroes arrive back on the ground as they see Doctor Psycho back in his human form. However, he states that his Forever Formula is kicking in and is in the process of turning him into Imperiex again. Fortunately, Wonder Woman puts a permanent end to his destructive path by using her sword to decapitate him. For good measure, Superman then uses his Heat Vision to incinerate the vile madman.
Just as they’re about to take their leave, they’re suddenly confronted by a small group of jets ordering them to stand down. Emerging from the high-tech planes is none other that U.S. President Amanda Waller, alongside Col. Steve Trevor and Lex Luthor. They only wish to talk with our heroes and say that if they don’t, then the jets will use their destructive prowess on them. As such, they agree to an official conversation.
We then cut to Mount Weather, Virginia where Waller and co. have their meeting with our heroes deep within the Mount Cheyenne Complex. Even though our superpowered beings have just saved humanity from the wrath of Imperiex, the U.S. Government still has plenty of reasons to question their actions. Luthor blames them for giving Doctor Psycho access to their DNA and for the rise of the Forever People. Waller adds onto the fact that the average citizen has to live in a state of fear since our heroes act as “judge, jury and executioner”. Superman finds this insulting to all of the trouble that he and his teammates have just recently been through and is about to storm out. However, Batman tells him to stay.
Kirk says that he gets Waller’s point in that he used to be human and that he would have wanted to see them get imprisioned. Superman berates him by saying that the people of the world sees them on a more positive light. However, Waller shows why she disagrees.
She proceeds to show our heroes a Planet NWZ broadcast where Lois Lane is among a group of protesters. In her report, she calls out against our heroes by relaying a story about her father named Sam Lane. He was a physician who traveled to war-torn areas of the world to help many unfortunate victims. It turns out that he was among the many victims who lost their lives due to the massive rubble that fell on them during one of Superman’s many fights. Lois then states that the world shouldn’t be a place where our heroes solve their situations with mass violence and destruction. In the end, she doesn’t describe our main characters as heroes or gods, but as monsters. With the harsh truth having settled on our heroes, Superman asks for Waller’s proposition.
Some time has passed and soon, our heroes have a brand new headquarters courtesy of Trevor’s former government agency A.R.G.U.S. Lois’ narration states that he would become a government liaison to the newly-christened Justice League while Luthor would be their advisor. Lex proceeds to tell them that if they keep to their good behavior and serve as a symbol of protection, then the citizens will grow to like them. However, both sides still distrust one another.
With the weight of the government and the nation’s people on their shoulders, the series ends with the Justice League flying off to protect the innocent as Lois finishes off her narration by saying that a part of her wants to see them fail.
As far as character arcs go, there’s not really any individual one to look at. Together though, they reailize the consequences of their destructive and brutal methods of dishing out justice. What the three one-shots and the three-issue mini-series managed to accomplish was explore how these characters ultimately took up their costumed identity and ultimately become the flawed team that we saw near the beginning of the film. The story for this issue is essentially the series’ climax and the fallout from said battle. That being said, it’s supported by the prior comics and especially the previous two issues. Even though the big fight against Imperiex takes up the majority of the book, it didn’t feel overwhelming despite the seriousness of it all. Once again, the artwork continues to effectively bring Timm and DeMatteis’ tale to a vibrant life. The characters are thoroughly detailed and energetic, the colors are at the perfect tone for our eyes and the semi-scratchiness/roughness is only present for certain points of background or perspective shots. Other than that, it succeeds in bringing this story to its sequential best.
Overall, this is a pretty satisfying conclusion to the film’s comic book companion series. It works in developing the post-initial origin and pre-film statuses of our characters, the story is engaging and the art shines through. If you enjoyed the main film, then pick this and the rest of the series up for some extra adventure.
Next Time: The comics have become history, but we’re far from done exploring this DC Universe. What further ventures await us in this dimension? Find out as we look at Season 2 of “Justice League: Gods & Monsters Chronicles”.
Justice League (created by Gardner Fox), the New Gods & Forever People (created by Jack Kirby) and all related characters are owned by DC Comics.