coverimage.jpgThe Lex Giveth and the Lex Taketh Away

With great power comes great responsibility. In this case, Lex Luthor has the power to activate the metagene in anyone, and as we found out last issue, he also has the ability to take it away. Is it easy to do? And what will Lex do to get more people interested in his new team? It all happens in Week 21 of 52.


The last time we saw Lex Luthor’s team of created super humans, they were on the verge of collapse. Egos, arrogance, and even drugs were keeping the teens from living up to their potential – at least that is the way Lex saw it. As the week starts Natasha is pleading to have Eliza/Trajectory reinstated, and even though he agrees, you know he is up to something.

And that something is Infinity, Inc. Lex has purchased the rights to the name from the Pemberton Estate after the original team disbanded. His grand plan is to show everyone he has the next best thing to the Justice League, even if that means the entire event is choreographed. While the team battles the new Blockbuster, we see Lex and Mercy in an underground bunker observing the entire event, even commenting on some of the lame lines that are obviously rehearsed.

For Luthor, this staged masquerade is nothing more than a PR event that will be edited and glossed up in post. For members of Infinity, Inc. they know what needs to be done, but also realize it could be a stepping stone to bigger and better things. For Trajectory that better thing is becoming a member of the Teen Titans – replacing Impulse as the speedster of the team. And seemingly on cue, the Teen Titans show up to escort Blockbuster back to prison.

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But this isn’t the Teen Titans we knew before One Year Later. As has been alluded to already in the Titans OYL issues, the team went through many members and changes during the missing year. In this incarnation the team is made up of Raven, Beast Boy, Barda (not Big), Power Boy, Hot Spot, and Zachary Zatara.

We know Beast Boy and Raven, and we can assume (correctly) that Barda and Power Boy are probably from New Genesis because they use a Mother Box to teleport. But Zachary Zatara – that is a stretch. He isn’t the Zach from Kingdom Come who is the son of Zatanna and John Constantine, but rather Zatanna’s cousin, who gained powers similar to Zatanna’s at the end of Day of Vengeance. Not a big fan of the tuxedoed teen, he comes off very arrogant and as we have discovered in the pages of Teen Titans, isn’t on the team for much longer.

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While the teams converse, or argue, depending on your Point of View, Lex gives the signal to Mercy to amp Blockbusters powers so he can escape. Being the speedster she is, Trajectory takes off after him, but as soon as she catches up to him, she loses her powers completely.

Hell hath no fury like a Luthor scorned. While it takes an injection to give Normals super powers, it only takes a flick of the switch for those powers to be taken away. And a powerless girl who has already angered a near unstoppable behemoth isn’t going to last very long.

eliza.jpgEven though we’ve only been introduced to Eliza briefly before this week, she really grew on me, and I have to say I’m sorry to see her be created, only to be wiped off the hero list so quickly. Eliza hero worships all of the Flash family, and as we discover at her funeral, she is from Manchester, Alabama; home of Impulse and Max Mercury during Bart’s early years. Her enthusiasm is a refreshing breath of fresh air during the past 21 weeks. In just this one issue, I like her better as a speedster than what I’m currently seeing in the new Flash run. And that is a lot from me, who ranks the Flash number 2 in my list of favorite characters (Batman is of course number one).

During Eliza’s funeral, members of the Teen Titans leave the group to seek their own fame and fortune. Even among the sadness and Lex’s eulogy, Beast Boy knows Lex is up to something. When John Irons shows up to talk to Natasha, Garth suggests they work together.

And thus endeth the week. Well almost. We get two nice two page side stories this week. The first is a look at what Ralph Dibny and Doctor Fate’s Helmet are up to. We find them on the Netherplains looking for a way into the Underworld. What’s Ralph up to? Is he going to the Underworld to bring back his wife?

On his quest, we begin to see Ralph’s dark side. A demon guarding the gate had been knocked out by Nabu, and while unconscious Dibny shoved a bunch of Gingold down the beasts gullet turning him into rubber. Ralph tied the demon up with his own appendages, and unless he gets his way, the demon will be gravely wounded by his own bones breaking when his body hardens up.

The other two pager takes place in Australia, where we get a glimpse of Red Tornado being fitted for a new body.

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What’s Good
Dark Ralph.
Eliza’s enthusiasm, and her hero worship of the Flash family. This has to drive Lex insane.
Lex Luthor is evil – and that’s good.

What’s Bad
Would have liked to have seen Eliza last a bit longer, but without her death we wouldn’t see how vindictive Lex really is.
Zachary Zatara.
The art is funky in places.

Unless an issue long story is done just right, it kind of loses its momentum by the end, and that is how I felt with this story. Everything just seemed rushed to get to the end of the issue. This is also the first issue where we don’t have a backup story. I’m going to have to give this issue 3 stars.

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Panel of the Week

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The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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3 Comments

  1. Jeremy J Goldman
    October 4, 2006 at 7:10 am — Reply

    Great review, one small comment:

    “During Eliza’s funeral…when John Irons shows up to talk to Natasha, Garth suggests they work together.”

    Beast Boy is Gar(field), not Garth – Garth is Tempest/the former Aqualad :).

  2. Matthew
    October 4, 2006 at 12:56 pm — Reply

    I have to say, Zachary is intentionally very abrasive. I get the feeling he’s one of the characters who may be returning to the team in the near future.

    And legend has it, Grant Morrision wanted him to wear the fishnets like his JLA member inspiration. Wrong on sooo many levels.

  3. Otter
    October 4, 2006 at 4:16 pm — Reply

    Looks like Red Tornado swiped his new body from ‘Buster’ of Mythbusters…

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