Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials

JLA: Gatekeeper #2

JLA: Gatekeeper #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 21, 2001

Cover date: January 2002

Writer & Artist: Timothy Truman

"Gatekeeper" - Part 2 of 3

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey (

Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Aquaman find themselves besieged by Lord Nergal's men. As Aquaman knocks one of the attackers off of him Wonder Woman uses her lasso to take another one of the assailants down. Green Lantern uses his ring to form a barrier at the remaining aggressors but the creatures break right through the green shield. Aquaman manages to save him from the sword wielding demons.

As the heroes recover Aquaman asks Green Lantern what happened. Green Lantern explains that the armor and molecular make-up of the demons has too much yellow in it making his ring ineffective. He makes up for the shortcoming by grabbing a large stick with the ring and slamming it into the demons. Aquaman finally loses his patience with Kyle's flip attitude but shows off his own when a much larger creature appears before him. Aquaman takes the creature down with ease.

In the air Superman and Batman deal with their own attackers. One of the bat-demons scratches Superman across the chest and actually manages to hurt the Man of Steel. Declaring that the gloves are off, Superman redoubles his efforts. Batman asks if he his okay. Superman explains that the binary suns, one red and one yellow, are affecting his powers.

Back on the ground, Lugal-Irra and Meslamta-Ea, twin sons of Tiamat appear to reap righteous victory from the vexing seeds of vicissitude. The twins banter back and forth before directing the fire creature Lord Assag to attack the heroes.

In the sky Pazuzu, prince of demons appears. Pazuzu created by Tiamat to be the harbinger of agony for Lord Nergal. Superman knocks Pazuzu back and the prince's wing into Batman's whirly-bat, cutting the wing off and damaging the whirly-bat. As Superman dives to save Batman, the bats the other demons ride on eat Pazuzu. Superman manages to catch Batman the two fly uneasily into the distance.

With Wonder Woman providing cover Aquaman hits Assag. The creature burns Aquaman's artificial hand, which drives him back. Green Lantern tries next but before he can get anywhere a yellow arrow shot by the twins pierces his hand. Superman appears but his attempts fail as well as the Assag emanates red sun energy.

The attackers move in for the kill but are driven back by Sala and an army of gnomes. The twins beg for Assag to save them, but Kyle recovers and drives the creature back. The twins use this as their cue to leave and they retreat taking what's left of their army with them. One of the gnomes, Bes, declares victory but Sala is quick to point out that next time it will not be so easy. Sala and Kyle reunite, which causes Bes to ask why the green man called her Sala. Sala explains that they are her friends and Bes declares that since they are friends to Istar, which is the name the gnomes know her by, than they are friends to the gnomes.

One of the gnomes realizes that Kyle has the green ring of Ninurta. Bes agrees that the prophecy is coming true. Kyle says that this is all well and good but the time has come for them to leave. Sala realizes that the group had come there to save her and tells him that she doesn't need saving. She explains that she has taken on the powers and duties of her ancestor Istar which means that she has to stay and act as a protector. Sala gives them the choice for them to stay or leave and Wonder Woman says that she is going to stay. The others agree and with that Sala says that they must move on for there are many lords of the realm.

In the shadows, a dark creature watches the group leave.

In his fortress Nergal is listening to the explanation that the twins give to him for their failings. After the two blame each other Nergal says that he has had enough, blasts them with his own energy and orders his guards to remove them from his site. He then summons his armor because Nergal intends to go to war.

Sala leads the Justice League to Sidiri's Place, a tavern that serves as a respite for the gnomes when they take the chance to come there. Underneath lies a hospital where the healer Milissu tends to the many victims of Nergal. Milissu was once the consort of Enlil, Nergal's father. With her Enlil became gentle but the evil Tiamat seduced Enlil and he went back to his wicked ways. The two had many children, the oldest of which was Nergal. Nergal eventually killed his father and was married to his sister by Tiamat.

Milissu was trapped in the realm along with the others. Wonder Woman pledges her support and Sala gets the idea that if she can return to Earth and get supplies and weapons that Nergal can finally be defeated. Superman tells Sala that they will help them but the JLA does not kill. After a brief debate Kyle says that they should just get back to Earth. Sala and Kyle discuss this and Kyle admits that he has strong feelings for her. Sala says that she will return with him but not for the reasons he wanted.

Before they can discuss the matter further Nergal attacks. Superman leads the attack trying to prove himself after his injury. Nergal calls out Assag and Superman is once again weakened. Batman and Green Lantern leap into action to help him as one of Nergal's demons grabs the Ringstaff from Sala. Sala chases after the demon but Green Arrow takes action and shoots the bat demon with an arrow. Superman grabs the Ringstaff but Assag tries to stop him. Bes stops the creature with a blast of energy.

Nergal demands that Superman give him the staff and takes Wonder Woman as a hostage. Superman throws the staff into a fire sending Nergal into a rage. Wonder Woman gets free as Assag, who is no longer emanating the radiation attacks Superman who makes short work of him.

After Kyle gets Milissu and others to safety Sala tells the others that any hope of getting back to Earth disappeared with the Ringstaff. Bes explains that there may be another way and leads the heroes and gnomes into the mountains. In the trees, the shadowy figure watches and follows.

Bes leads the heroes to the home of Lord Anu, a wise man who claims to be the father of creation. His wife disagrees and becomes angry that Anu would allow gnomes and outworlders into their home. After she leaves in a huff Anu explains that the Ringstaff was but one of the ways to leave Kurnugi. He goes on to tell that that there are five objects of power including the Crescent Disc, the Disc of Wings, the Solar Disc and the Star Disc. Once these objects are placed beneath the power of Ninurta's Ring then they will have the power they need. Anu adds that they must beware because the force they unleash may prove to be the undoing of all they seek and the death of all who live.

2Story - 2: Things are not improving. In fact, I think that they are getting worse.

As much as I hate to say this I really don't think that comics and mythology mix very well. With a few possible exceptions (Thor and Wonder Woman come to mind) when you blend ancient gods and super-heroes bad things happen. This is a personal opinion of course but one that I firmly believe in.

The main problem with this issue is the fact that nothing much happens. The first issue did set up a story and the second issue is supposed to build on that leading to the third and final issue. What we got was a long, drawn out fight scene with barely enough character to make it worthwhile. Sure the twins were interesting but in the end they came off as pale imitations of the two chipmunks on the old Warner Bros cartoons that were polite to each other all the time. I half expected them to say, "After you." "No, after you." "Thank you."

The heroes themselves were barely passable. Batman did practically nothing, Superman was used as a punching bag and Aquaman was the heavy, which doesn't fit with how the characters normally act. Wonder Woman was a puzzle since it seems that an Amazonian warrior would appreciate wanting to go to war. With the recent characterization of WW you would think that she would be willing to dig in and go to war.

Green Lantern was the worst. The revelation that he has feelings for Sala really comes out of left field and feels forced. Besides, he is involved with someone and I'm not seeing an Elseworlds logo on the cover.

Finally, since when is Kyle vulnerable to yellow? One of the first things they established about the character is that the "necessary" vulnerability to yellow was done away with when Hal went nuts. So the initial battle scene doesn't mesh with how things are done in the rest of the DCU. It may be that the ring is subject to changes in the world the heroes are in but that wasn't made clear.

Overall I am finding it difficult to get through this mess. I hope the last issue is somewhat of an improvement.

3Art - 3: I ask this again; what happened to Timothy Truman? He used to have such a nice art style and this just doesn't measure up to his previous work. The creature designs were nice but the heroes looked terrible. The page layouts were passable and were the only thing that saved the book from being terrible.

2Cover Art - 2: This cover is worse than last issue's. The JLA members look terrible, Sala is not proportionate and the colors are terrible. If I hadn't ordered this book this cover would not have grabbed me.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2002

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