This one starts on the JLA Satellite, with Black Canary running Firestorm through a high-tech obstacle course. Firestorm cheats by using his molecular powers to render the obstacles harmless, instead of dodging them like he’s supposed to. Black Canary tells him she runs the course every day and that plays on his ego enough that he promises not to cheat anymore. Down on Earth, a kid (Terry Watson) is out fishing and hooks what looks like a tentacle. But this is no ordinary appendage … it blasts Terry with some kind of energy. When Terry gets home, his father gives him shit for wasting the day fishing, but Terry just drones on about needing to feed. When his father looks inside the fishing basket, he’s blasted by the mind-altering energy, and the mother is next. A month later, Red Tornado is on a picnic in new York’s Central Park with his girlfriend, Kathy Sutton, and adopted daughter, Traya; Wonder Woman is there too, and she sees that Red Tornado has finally settled down and stopped angsting about being an android … mainly due to Kathy and Traya’s acceptance of him as a real person. Their fun is cut short when a giant starfish tentacle rises from the lake and attacks a couple in a rowboat. We see Terry Watson and his father—their eyes blanked out—on the opposite shore, watching closely. Red Tornado slings Wonder Woman at the starfish, but she’s zapped by a force field before she can reach it. Reddy is blasted by an energy burst and we see exactly what we’ve been expecting … Starro is back. He recounts how he fought the JLA before and a piece of him survived until fished from a lake by Terry Watson. Starro dominated Terry and his family, forcing them to feed him until he grew large enough to be a threat. Starro forced the Watsons to bring him to the lake in Central Park and now he’s ready to follow his destiny … taking over the entire planet. Starro starts by brain blasting everyone round the lake (including Kathy and Traya), turning them all into mindless slaves. In Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, Supes and Green Lantern are trying to test the limits of GL’s ring, but it turns out to be unquantifiable, which GL says he’s cool with. They get an emergency signal and rush to the Satellite to find Black Canary and Firestorm tending to the unconscious Red tornado and Wonder Woman. Apparently Reddy had just enough power left to get himself and Wonder Woman to a JLA teleporter. They revive and Wonder Woman breaks the news that Starro is back. In New York, Starro appears in Times Square, blasting people left and right in his search for sustenance. The JLA shows up to fight him and Firestorm jumps ahead, wanting to prove himself. He catches up to Starro on the Empire State Building, where the monster is spewing small starfish all over the city. Firestorm gets one right in the face and almost blasts Wonder Woman when she tries to help. Green Lantern and Red Tornado get starfished in the face too, which makes them docile and obedient to Starro’s will. Even Superman is captured, followed quickly by Black Canary and Wonder Woman. The starfish have glommed onto the faces of the entire population of Manhattan and Starro is ready to expand to the rest of Earth. On an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic, the rest of the JLA (Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Batman, Aquaman, Elongated Man, and Flash … I don’t know where Zatanna is) have gathered with a bunch of military men. Hawkman’s birds tell him that everyone in New York is enslaved by Starro and the top Admiral says they may have no choice but to destroy New York to save the world. We’ll see it they go through with it next issue.
- If you’re wondering why all the JLA didn’t answer the emergency call, Starro has been jamming communications. Superman’s Fortress is in the Arctic, so he speculates that the Aurora Borealis activity allowed the signal through to him and GL.
Last issue, the Legion discovered Pulsar Stargrave was behind the murder of An Ryd, framing Brainiac 5 for it. Stargrave blew himself to hell, but not before seemingly disintegrating Ultra Boy. This issue opens with the Legion conducting Ultra Boy’s funeral and dedicating his statue in the Hall of Heroes. But it’s pretty hard to kill someone as powerful as Ultra Boy, and we see that he isn’t really dead; he’s drifting through trippy dimensions (rendered with the usual Ditko flair) until he finally ends up back in normal space … where he’s take in by a passing spaceship. Back at Legion Headquarters, Phantom Girl is despondent at Ultra Boy’s death and lashes out at Saturn Girl for being so emotionless. But Saturn Girl isn’t as cold as everyone thinks; she uses her powers to bring out all Phantom Girl’s good memories of Ultra Boy, which gives her some comfort. Ultra Boy wakes up on the ship that took him in (the Antares) and it turns out to be a pirate ship, with a crew of freaky-looking aliens. Ultra Boy has amnesia (naturally), but he still knows how to use his powers instinctively and kicks the shit out of the pirates—even if he’s not quite sure how he’s doing it. That gets the attention of the captain (Frake), who immediately takes a liking to the strapping young lad. Lucky for him Frake is a total babe, even if she does have a terrible fashion sense. She outfits him as a pirate and he tells her he can’t remember anything, not even his name. He vaguely recalls a big fight and drifting through space, but the only clue to his past is a melted ring on his finger. (His Legion flight ring, but he doesn’t know that.) Frake offers him a place with her crew and tests his powers by shooting him and having him smash some stuff. Then she decides to test his stamina by banging his brains out. Not long after, the Legion gets a call about a freighter being attacked out near Pluto and zooms to the rescue. They come upon the Antares attacking the freighter and start blasting the pirate ship. Frake sends out her secret weapon and Ultra Boy attacks the Legion cruiser; he has a nagging feeling that helping the pirates is wrong, but he feels obligated since Frake saved his life (and she’s probably a great lay). He busts into the cruiser’s weapons pod, disabling the blasters and knocking Cosmic Boy out. Karate Kid goes to check things out, but Ultra Boy pounds him too. Ultra Boy heads for the weapons’ power supply, bothered by the familiarity of the cruiser. Saturn Girl sends Phantom Girl to help and Phantom Girl phases outside and pops back in again, trying to take the intruder by surprise. Ultra Boy reacts instinctively, knocking her out, but when the time comes to pound her some more, he can’t; her face is too familiar and he can’t bring himself to hurt her, so he takes off. The damage is already done and the pirates get away with the freighter’s cargo. As the Legionnaires recuperate, we see that Saturn Girls power gave her an insight into who the mysterious attacker was (nobody got a look at Ultra Boy’s face while he was on the cruiser), but she doesn’t want to tell anyone … least of all Phantom Girl. On the pirate ship, Ultra Boy gets some more action from Captain Frake, but is haunted by Phantom Girl’s face.
- In the Hall of Heroes, Tyroc has a statue dedicated to him … which is weird, since he’s not dead. I guess being stuck in another dimension for a couple centuries is pretty much the same as being dead.
- Frake christens Ultra Boy “Driftwood”, since he can’t remember his real name; feel free to make your own sex joke.
Last issue, Raven agreed to join her father (Trigon, the extra-dimensional tyrant) willingly if he promised to spare Earth. This issue opens with Trigon returning to his own dimension, where he’s the all-conquering warlord who treats the people like chattel. He torments a child who’s afraid of him and Raven uses all her empathic power to save the kid. Trigon obliterates the child almost as an afterthought, just to show Raven her efforts are useless. He further demonstrates his scumbaggery by choosing a “consort”, promising to spare her planet if she comes to him willingly … then blowing the planet to hell. Trigon says he hopes Earth will put up a better fight and Raven realizes how stupid she was to trust his word. But it’s too late … Trigon knocks her out and says she’ll come to appreciate his point of view. Back in Azarath, the Titans are still stunned over Raven’s defection. They get into another debate with the priests of Azarath (and Raven’s mother, Arella) about whether it’s okay to fight to insure peace. The priests are adamant about their pacificism, even when Starfire gets pissed off and starts wrecking up the place. Arella tells them her story, hoping they’ll understand: she was a wayward kid, with no family, searching for somewhere to belong. She fell in with a satanic cult and ended up offering herself as the “bride of Satan”. But instead of Beelzebub, she got Trigon instead. He disguised himself as a hottie and banged her brains out, giving her the love and acceptance she’d never found anywhere else. But he soon revealed his true nature and treated her like shit before abandoning her. When she found out she was pregnant, she was ready to kill herself but was saved by the priests of Azarath, who took her to their dimension and taught her the ways of peace. Raven was born and the priests were wary of her; though she tried to dedicate herself to their peaceful ways, Raven never really fit in Azarath because of the taint of Trigon’s blood. Raven ended up leaving Azarath, knowing she could never be accepted back. Cyborg reminds Arella that Raven is still her daughter, no matter the circumstances. Robin asks the priests to open a portal to Trigon’s dimension so the Titans can try to find Raven. The priests agree and Arella volunteers to guide them through the other dimension, even though that means she can’t return to Azarath. Arella says Cyborg was right and she’s willing to go against her own conscience to save Raven. It’s a good thing they have Arella to guide them, as the other dimension is pretty weird … somewhat Ditko-esque, by way of the Twilight Zone. They make it to Trigon’s planet and quickly run into the evil warlord … and his gigantic hellhound, Fang. Trigon blasts them all, but Arella uses that as a distraction to find Raven and free her. Trigon gets pissed off and starts indiscriminately destroying things to get Raven to turn herself over to him again. Arella shocks Trigon by actively resisting him, and uses her empathic power to hold him back long enough to teleport Raven to the Titans’ cell. She busts them loose and they go to confront Trigon as he prepares to rip open the dimensional barrier and invade Earth. Changeling becomes a triceratops to fight Fang and the others come up with a convoluted plan to stop Trigon. Kid Flash spins like a maniac, opening a rift to the Nether-Verse, while Raven uses her empathic ability to stagger Trigon, making him vulnerable to Wonder Girl’s will-dampening lasso. Starfire provides Cyborg with enough power to blast Trigon into the Nether-Verse. As usual, Robin stands around telling everyone what to do; Batman taught him well. Arella follows Trigon through the dimensional rift just before it closes and Raven explains that was part of the plan; someone has to guard the rift to keep Trigon from opening it again. So Arella, who dedicated her life to peace, now finds herself caught in an eternal fight for the good of the multiverse.