This one starts with Ray (Atom) Palmer returning to Ivy College after his recent adventures in South America (in the Sword of the Atom mini-series). Ray is startled to find a bunch of guys in his lab stealing something called Luciferase. The thieves are kinda weird, speaking in hesitant monotones like robots. Ray goads them into knocking him out the window so he can change to Atom and attack them. Meanwhile, Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen and Dinah (Black Canary) Lance are hanging out with Carter and Shiera Hall (aka Hawkman and Hawkwoman). Ollie and Carter reminisce about how they used to argue all the time and how far they’ve come … then they immediately start arguing over Flash’s recent trouble with the law. Dinah and Shiera wonder if they should go out for pizza, since the argument will probably last all night. At Ivy College, Atom pounds one of the thieves but gets decked by the others, who take off with the Luciferase. Atom tries to examine the thief he knocked out, but the guy starts heating up and disintegrates, falling apart like he was made of clay. Atom calls for help, interrupting Ollie and Carter’s argument. The heroes convene on the JLA Satellite, where Zatanna is on monitor duty. Atom tells them about the theft of the Luciferase, which he describes as a substance that emits light from some unknown, intrinsic source. There’s no heat involved and the light isn’t reflected or generated from any known source (which sounds like it violates every physical law of the universe, but whatever). Atom says the light-generating capability of Luciferase could make existing tech (including oil) obsolete, so it’d be pretty valuable. Atom mentions a tattoo he saw on the thief’s hand before he disintegrated and Zatanna recognizes it as the symbol of Fiatlux, an Illuminati-type group that’s been manipulating things from the shadows for centuries. Hawkman offers to help Atom track the Luciferase, leaving Green Arrow to research Fiatlux with Zatanna, Canary, and Hawkgirl. In Ivy Town, the thieves take the Luciferase to a building downtown where a priest named Gravesend is holding a prayer meeting for the Church of Light Everlasting. Gravesend is a bit of a stage magician, using light and sound to hook the rubes in the audience, promising them power beyond their wildest dreams if they join the Church and learn how to use its magic. Gravesend gets the crowd pretty worked up, chanting “Let there be light”, which is a translation of Fiatlux. After the sermon, Gravesend receives the Luciferase and we see he’s in mystical contact with a couple of other guys (Falconer and Arsenic) who consider him to be something of a charlatan. But Gravesend is certain the Luciferase will give him real power, making him superior to Falconer and Arsenic (as well as Aleister Crowley, Paracelsus, and Abdul al-Hazred). Gravesend opens a portal to Perdition, where he’s been in contact with a demon called Hellrazer. Gravesend wants power in exchange for giving Hellerazer the Luciferase and the demon agrees. But when Gravesend pours the Luciferase into the crucible, Hellrazer forces him to pour in more than he intended, allowing Hellrazer access to this dimension. You just can’t trust a demon. Outside, the JLA has tracked the Luciferase to the Church and are creeped out by all the zombie-like people coming out of the building. They go inside and are attacked by the cultists, who still talk like they’re in a trance. Zatanna realizes they’re enchanted when her magic doesn’t work against them. When the defeated cultists disappear in flames, Zatanna knows they were artificially created from magic. A magical shock wave runs through the building and Zatanna leads the others below, where Gravesend is desperately trying to keep Hellrazer from fully manifesting. Hellrazer kills Gravesend, then blasts Zatanna when she attacks him. Hellrazer climbs out of the crucible and tells the other JLAers he’s going to remake this dimension into a hellscape so he feels more at home.
Last issue, a group of Legionnaires (Dream Girl, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Blok, Phantom Girl, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, Sun Boy, and Invisible Kid) confronted the Prophet on Khundia and he warned them his master (Omen) was coming and could threaten the entire galaxy. The Legion are already in trouble for interfering in Khundish affairs after being told by the Khunds that they’d handle the Prophet on their own. As Omen shows up, Saturn Girl attempts to read the mind of the (now unconscious) Prophet, but Omen’s tremendous energy makes it impossible. Omen uses his power to pull the Prophet toward him, but Mon-El grabs the Prophet, holding on for dear life. Back at Legion Headquarters, Element Lad and Shvaughn Erin are playing another computer game, but they soon lose interest when Shvaughn puts the moves on Element Lad. They’re interrupted when Chief Zendak calls to inform them of the trouble on Khundia. Zendak says the Khunds are claiming the Legion are the aggressors, refusing to leave when told to, but the Legion claim they’re helping the Khunds against the real threat. Zendak asks Element Lad to sort it out to keep United Planets/Khundish relations from getting even worse than they already are. Zendak mentions Element Lad being elected Legion leader and Element Lad finally realizes it’s true. (He assumed it was a joke when Wildfire told him a couple issues ago.) On Khundia, the Prophet begs the Legion to keep him away from Omen, saying Omen will use his mind as a weapon. Ultra Boy gets blasted trying to grab the Prophet and when the Legionnaires make a concerted effort, they all get repulsed. Ambassador Relnic appears as a hologram, ordering the Legion to leave Khundia immediately. They point out that they’re trying to help and that Omen doesn’t care about political boundaries, but Relnic says the Khunds want to handle it themselves and will declare war on the United Planets if the Legionnaires don’t leave. At Legion HQ, Brainiac 5 is still trying to cure Danielle Foccart and separate her from COMPUTO without killing her. When Wildfire tells him Element Lad wants him for the mission to Khundia, Brainy refuses to go. On Khundia, the Prophet tries to get through to Omen, but Omen’s thought processes are so alien he can’t break through. Phantom Girl almost kills herself breaking through Omen’s force-field, so the other Legionnaires defy Relnic’s orders and try to rescue her. They’re confronted by some Khunds, who order them to leave the planet immediately. The Legionnaires choose to attack the Khunds instead. Meanwhile, Element Lad and Wildfire are leading a fleet of United Planet ships toward Khundia, assuming the Khundish fleet will try to stop them reaching the planet. On Khundia, the Khundish ships can’t penetrate Omen’s force-field and are pissed off that the Legionnaires made it inside. Relnic wonders why the Khunds are so bothered by that, but he doesn’t get any answers, just more threats. Inside the force field, the Legionnaires find out why Omen was drawn to Khundia … the Khunds have harnessed the energy of a dimensional hole to power a Negaton Bomb (which is so powerful, it could actually destroy Khundia if it’s used). Omen tries to absorb the last of the Prophet’s humanity, so Mon-El tosses the Prophet out into space. But it’s too late; Omen has absorbed what he needed and can now speak to the Legionnaires directly. He insists on carrying out his “experiment” on the Negaton Bomb and pulls the Legionnaires into a whirlwind of energy to keep them from interfering. Dream Girl has managed to slip past Omen and make it to the controls of the Negaton Bomb. Omen senses her and tries to grab her, so she sets off the Bomb, creating a space warp that pulls Omen in before folding in on itself. Dream Girl and the other Legionnaires are shocked to see that the space warp didn’t just remove Omen from this dimension, it deposited someone else in his place … Lyle Norg, the original Invisible kid, who’s supposed to be dead. Meanwhile, Relnic concludes his “peace talks” with the Khunds by pointing out that they developed a world-destroying weapon in secret that they obviously planned to use against the United Planets. Relnic warns the Khunds that the United Planets will be watching them and that next time the Legion won’t be fighting on the Khunds’ side. Relnic leaves to congratulate Dream Girl on her great finish as leader of the Legion.
Last issue, the Titans went to Zandia to confront Brother Blood after sending Dick Grayson in undercover as a reporter with some American politicians. Dick was captured and (apparently) brainwashed over to Blood’s side, which distracted the Titans long enough for Blood’s forces to capture them. The Titans are trussed up over a pit (the same pit Blood uses to “baptize” his followers and to rejuvenate himself) and Raven’s soul-self flies free to attack Blood. He’s too strong for her and the Titans are enclosed in rock and lowered toward the pit as an entranced Dick watches. The Titans manage to bust loose and are attacked by some weird-looking monsters. During the fight, Cyborg saves Terra and she’s kind of shaken that he’d do that for her; another sign she might be feeling guilty? We also see Terra’s bloodthirsty side come out, when she suggests just wasting everybody in Blood’s temple … though, to be fair, Starfire seems to agree with her. They make short work of the giant monsters and Wonder Girl realizes Blood expected them to win. That’s confirmed when the Titans ask Blood to surrender and he tells his followers he’ll take the Titans on by himself. Elsewhere, the politicians who came with Dick are getting a full dose of propaganda, as Blood’s acolytes tell them how President Marko oppresses the poor and crushes dissent, while Blood tries to help the poor. This seems to be confirmed when some soldiers stop them and start pounding the acolytes. When one of the politicians objects, the soldiers say they’ll never leave Zandia alive. In the temple, Blood sends giant robots and tanks against the Titans, which they plow through without too much trouble (and Cyborg saves Terra again). Wonder Girl is still suspicious, thinking Blood is just toying with them. He finally confronts them face to face, but Cyborg realizes it’s just a hologram. His warning comes too late and most of the team are knocked out when the hologram explodes. Blood takes Cyborg and Raven down to complete his set. Outside, soldiers roll toward Blood’s temple as President Marko declares war on Brother Blood. Inside, the Titans awake trapped in a power grid and Blood tells Dick to kill them, but Starfire urges him to fight Blood’s brainwashing and tells him how much she loves him. Of course Dick overcomes his brainwashing and refuses to kill his friends, smashing the controls that hold them instead. Blood blasts him, but before he can finish the Titans, they attack and gain the upper hand. The government forces blast the temple and Blood falls to his death, crushed under his own laser cannon … at least, that’s what we’re supposed to believe. But his head lackey Mother Mayhem doesn’t seem too worked up about it; she actually looks pretty pleased. We see the kidnapped politicians condemning the Zandian government, and countries all over the world preparing to accept Brother Blood’s followers as refugees. It seems his “death” has caused his Church to proliferate … which Dick concludes was probably the plan all along.
Last issue, Travis Morgan, Shakira, and Krystovar ended up bouncing around the time-stream after activating one of the Atlantean “flying saucers” in the cavern full of weaponry. Morgan and company eventually met a scientist named Reno Franklin, who’s been experimenting with time travel for a while. Back in Skartaris, Tara was getting ready to follow Morgan in another saucer when some New Atlanteans burst into the cavern, led by a wolf-man. Tara and Scarheart attack the New Atlanteans and beat them, with a little help from a hooded figure in the shadows who disappears right after the fight is over. In the distant future, Reno estimates that they’re in the year 2068, which means he has to find a way to send Morgan, Shakira, and Krystovar back in time. That’ll take time, so Morgan explores the base, Krystovar studies English, and Shakira decides to explore outside in cat form. Unfortunately, the base is surrounded by a stasis bubble, so when Shakira leaves, time runs differently for her. She spends several days evading bands of primitive humans in a burnt-out city before returning to the base … from which she’s only been gone a few hours. Reno is worried about her reports of the atavistic humans, so he leads Morgan and the others outside to take a look. The devastation in the city makes Morgan think it must be the aftermath of a nuclear war. They find evidence that it’s much later than Reno thought (at least 2303) and Reno is freaked out knowing there was a nuclear war and he was completely unaware of it. Morgan snaps him out of it and says they need to get a better look around to see if any other humans survived the war without reverting to primitive ways. Reno has a plane, so he and Morgan (with Krystovar and Shakira) fly toward Salt Lake City to see what they can find. Salt Lake City is destroyed too, but they run into a gigantic aircraft that grabs them in a tractor beam. The aircraft’s markings are for the U.S. Air Force, so Morgan thinks they’re in friendly hands (since he’s an old USAF man himself), but the Air Force guys think Morgan and company are spies and toss them in a high tech brig.
Barren Earth – “Pursuit” – Gary Cohn/Ron Randall
Last issue, Jinal, Renna, Skinner, and the shaman Yisrah were rescued from the slave auction by Barasha and some other Harahashan, riding off into the desert on lizards. The slavers decide to chase them, since letting good slaves escape might set a bad precedent. The slavers send out a group to flank their prey, but they blunder into a pit trap which bogs their tank, leaving them vulnerable to a Harahashan attack. Miles ahead, Lur (Barasha’s wife) leads Jinal and her friends through a cactus forest to throw off their pursuers. They lead the main force of slavers into a box canyon where more Harahashan ambush them. Between the Harahashan and Jinal’s group, they obliterate the slavers and Yisrah earns Jinal’s trust by finding her energy sword and laser pistol in the wreckage of the slavers’ vehicle. Jinal reminds Yisrah of his promise to help find the floating city and he promises to do what he can.