Justice League (Season 1, Ep 2): Secret Origins Part 2

Hi! Welcome to my episode-by-episode recap of, and reaction to Justice League. There will be no spoilers beyond the current episode. As is my custom with recaps, I will give you a short summary version and a long and unnecessarily helpfully detailed version. My reaction will follow at the end if you just want to scroll past all of the recap.

If you want to see my prior Justice League recaps, click HERE:

THE QUICK AND CLEAN SUMMARY:

J’onn J’onzz summons Batman, Superman, The Flash, The Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman together to tell them about the invaders, the story of their prior invasion of Mars, and what he knows about how to defeat them.

Everyone splits into teams to start taking out the invaders’ machines that are designed to block out the sun and plunge the planet into perpetual darkness. As Part 2 ends, Superman, Hawkgirl, and Batman appear to be captured by the invaders.

THE EXTRA DUSTY RECAP:

A hooded person walks through a building with Greek columns. The person arrives in front of a golden crown adorned on the front with a red star. The person inside pulls back her hood, revealing her long dark hair. She says “mother forgive me” as she picks up the grown, a golden lasso, and Wonder Woman’s costume and bracelets.

Meanwhile, J’onn J’onzz, Superman, and Batman are under attack from the white aliens who had previously been shapeshifted into military officials. Superman is knocked down by a blast from one of the alien’s guns. Batman counterattacks with an exploding bat-shaped throwing star. J’onn is injured protecting Batman from a blast coming from behind them. Superman gets back on his feet, holding an entire tank over his head, and tells the other two to get out while he covers them. Superman delivers on the promise by throwing the tank at the aliens.

Later, Batman and J’onn are in the Batplane. They are pursued by firing alien aircraft. Superman provides some temporary cover but eventually both he and the Batplane are hit. The Batplane is in the midst of a tailspin toward the ground when suddenly it stop falling – surrounded by a halo of green light. Batman asks what happened and J’onn replies that help has arrived.

We see that Green Lantern has caught the plane with power from his ring. A moment later, Hawkgirl, with a magical mace in her hand, also arrives. Green Lantern apologizes to Superman for being late. He says that there was an uprising on Rigel IX. Then he, Superman, Hawkgirl, and J’onn attack together against the invading aliens. Now, the fight is more evenly matched. After a battle that sees several of the aliens fall, one of them successfully hits Hawkgirl, knocking her from the sky and away from her mace. Before she can get back up, Wonder Woman arrives and defends her from the oncoming attack using her bracelets.

Green Lantern asks Superman who the rookie in the tiara is and Supes replies that he is not sure. The team of heroes finishes off the attacking aliens. The Flash arrives holding a piece of the Batplane.

The Flash: Hey Bats, I think you dropped this!
[sees Wonder Woman] Whoa! Where have you been all my life?
Wonder Woman: Themyscira

Hawkgirl recognizes the name as the home of the Amazons. She says she always thought it was merely a legend. Wonder Woman assures her that it is as real as the ground on which they now stand. She then introduces herself as Diana, Princess of the Amazons. Superman says it was lucky that everyone showed up when they did. J’onn corrects him and says that it was not luck – he says that he telepathically summoned everyone. The Flash asks what the heck is going on here.

Sometime later, as Superman finishes welding the Batplane back together with his heat vision, Diana asks J’onn if he came from Mars to warn them all. J’onn begins an explanation. He says that Green Martians first encountered these aliens one thousand earth years ago. He says that at this time, the Martial civilization was experiencing a golden age of peace and prosperity.

J’onn: Then they arrived. Where they came from, no one knew. But they were determined to make our planet their own.

J’onn explains that the war lasted for centuries and that every trace of their once great civilization was obliterated in the process. He explains that they fought valiantly but the invaders were parasites that fed off of the Green Martians’ psychic energy. He says that as the Green Martians grew weaker, the invaders grew stronger – even absorbing their shape changing abilities. J’onn explains that in one final desperate attack, the Green Martians unleashed a powerful nerve gas – in the invaders’ underground stronghold – that paralyzed them. J’onn explains that the cost of the successful attack was that he was the only survivor. He says he sealed their citadel to keep them in a state of suspended animation.

J’onn sys that he stood guard over them for five hundred years. He says that when he was in a hibernation cycle, astronauts from earth accidentally unsealed the underground stronghold and revived the invaders. J’onn says that with all the Martians gone, the invaders had nothing left to feed upon, so they set their sights upon earth. When J’onn arrived on earth to warn of the coming danger, he was captured and held against his will. The invaders sent agents to disable earth’s defenses. Batman notes that this is why they disabled Wayne Tech’s deep space monitoring networks. Green Lantern says that they must stop them before it is too late and J’onn replies that it may already be too late.

We see a news report. The military general who opposed Senator Carter’s disarmament plan, earlier, is being interviewed. He says that earth is overmatched because all of earth’s big missiles have been disarmed. He adds that earth’s supposed protector, Superman, has abandoned them. Senator Carter is at a press conference and states that when disarmament was proposed, no one could have imagined this happening. He advises everyone to stand together against this aggression. Just then, a monstrously enormous alien machine emerges from the crater in Metropolis.

Far away, the superheroes can see what is happening in Metropolis. Wonder Woman asks what they are doing and J’onn replies that the invaders are nocturnal. He says they want to block out the sun so that they can live in perpetual darkness.

The Flash: [to Batman] Friends of yours?

Green Lantern and Wonder Woman argue over whether she should join the effort – with Green Lantern arguing that this will be no place for rookies. Superman vouches for her so she stays. They decide that they need to destroy the alien machines so they split up into teams. The Flash calls dibs on the Amazon.

Next, we see Flash complaining to Green Lantern – his teammate – that he is no fun. Lantern tells him that this is an important job that they will all do better with no distractions. The two appear to cross an ocean and encounter one of the monstrous sun blocking machines. As Green Lantern is about to tell Flash the plan, the scarlet speedster say the plan is to kick their butts and he runs out to attract the attention of the invaders. It does not go well. In a few moments, Flash is blasted by a laser from one of the giant tripod looking aliens and finds himself stuck in some green goo. Lantern says aloud that he hopes the others are having better luck than they are.

Batman and Wonder Woman are teamed up. She complains about the fact they are hiding and sneaking up.

Wonder Woman: Fighting like cowards is not the Amazon way.

Batman tells her that once they find what they are looking for, then they will strike. J’onn advises Batman and Wonder Woman that he has scouted the outer walls and found no openings. Wonder Woman says then that they will make their own opening. As she charges off to do that, J’onn makes as if to stop her but Batman stops him. He advises that they should wait and see what she can do. She lassos a large tripod-looking alien by the legs, calls for Hera to give her strength, and then she pulls the rope tight and the alien’s legs come together and it falls over into a wall, creating an opening. Batman is impressed.

Elsewhere, Superman and Hawkgirl are teamed up. Superman breaks a hole in a wall there by hurling the leg of a large tripod alien outside against the wall. Inside, Hawkgirl impresses Superman by obliterating several white aliens with her mace and turning them into a goo on the wall.

As Lantern rescues The Flash from the goo in which he is stuck, he is attacked by the aliens with a gas of some kind that renders him unconscious. The Flash picks him up and disappears into the adjacent rain forest.

Superman and Hawkgirl are inside a room, discussing her eagerness to fight. She says her home world of Thanagar is warlike and she has learned to strike first or suffer the consequences. Suddenly walls seal up around them and gas fills the room rendering both of them unconscious.

Batman, Wonder Woman, and J’onn are still fighting. Batman says it seems as though the aliens fighting them know what they are thinking. J’onn abruptly tells them that Superman and Hawkgirl are down and that they failed. The attack where they are intensifies and they escape directly to the central core of the machine. J’onn points out the ion matrix crystal and notes that if they can take that out, they can shut down the entire alien operation in this location. J’onn says that he can get the crystal if the other two can create a diversion. Batman and Wonder Woman proceed to do just that. J’onn gets the crystal but is shot down in the process. Batman tells Wonder Woman to get J’onn out while he gets the crystal. She succeeds but the wall between themselves and Batman close before Batman can get out with the crystal. J’onn and Wonder Woman hear shots being fired at Batman from outside the room where he is with the crystal. J’onn tells her that there is nothing that they can do for him now.

Wonder Woman: You don’t mean he is….
J’onn: Gone.
Wonder Woman: Hera help us.

to be continued

REACTION:

The full team up has now occurred and J’onn tells us that he psychically called everyone together. Wonder Woman, for her part, joined against her mother’s wishes.

We learn a little bit about the personalities of the team in this episode.

Lantern is a military man who likes to give orders and wants others to follow them – but he will defer to Superman when pressed.

The Flash is impetuous and cheeky.

Wonder Woman is earnest, extremely powerful, but inexperienced. Her immense power means she has not learned that there is a place for being careful when in a fight against an equally powerful opponent.

Hawgirl, by contrast, is a character that is powerful, like Wonder Woman, but despite experience – or perhaps because of it – continues to be a “charge in first, ask questions later” type of person.

J’onn J’onzz is settling into a kind of “senior advisor” role despite being new. He is powerful but not commanding. However, his advice carries a lot of weight. As far as powers go, he is a telepath (you can tell when he is using this power because his eyes are glowing.) He can also fly, phase through objects, and sometimes make his body extra-dense to absorb an attack.

We know Batman and Superman well. Batman is the thinker, the tactician, the one who notices the weakness in the enemy’s armor and exploits it. He’s also self-sacrificing. Superman is the boy scout character. Even compared to the others, he is so immensely powerful that thinking carefully usually means relying on his own strength to see him through whatever situation arises.

From a story-telling standpoint, the second installment got more interesting as the group learns the backstory of the fall of Mars. Then they learn to work together against a more clearly defined opponent. Learning to work together was hit and miss. We end on a bit of a cliff-hanger with Superman, Hawkgirl, and Batman all down. The Flash, Lantern, J’onn, and Wonder Woman are all still standing, though.

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