Mild Mannered Reviews - "Justice League" Comics

Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare #1

Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare #1

Cover date: September 1996

"True Lies"

Writer: Fabian Nicieza and Mark Waid
Penciller: Jeff Johnson and Darick Robertson
Inker: Jon Holdredge and Hannibal Rodriguez

Cover: Jeff Johnson, Darick Robertson, Jon Holdredge and Hannibal Rodriguez

Reviewed by: James Lantz

Click to enlarge

New York City:

A mage known as Destiny is wondering how pages came missing from his sacred tome that tells of Earth's future. This is Kyle Rayner's doing, for he is writing and drawing about this event for the latest issue of a comic book called Green Lantern. Despite pressures from his editor, poor Kyle cannot seem to come up with an ending for his story. He and his neighbor Lee discuss this as they walk to Radu's Coffee Bar. Radu gives them their orders as they all discuss the Spark that has gotten seventy-nine thousand people in America so far. The Spark has been giving normal humans superpowers, something that Kyle wishes for when Lee flies away to work with others that have taken to the air.


Daily Planet editor Perry White wants better articles about the worldwide genetic Sparks from reporter Clark Kent. Kent feels compelled to do the stories, but once he's started writing them, they don't feel real to him. He is clearly not himself. He even reacts strangely to a green pet rock that will serve as a paperweight for Perry. Clark ponders his unusual behavior as he reads and hears famous names that are somehow familiar to him. He thinks it's because he's a reporter, but, in the back of his mind, he can't help but believe that it is something else.

Gotham City:

Bruce Wayne is in the corridors of Wayne Enterprises discussing the news with Lucius Fox. Lucius is talking about the Sparks going on worldwide, but the only thing on Bruce's mind is making sure a boy named Jason Todd, whose parents were murdered, is cared for financially. Both Lucius and Wayne's butler Alfred Pennyworth think that the young billionaire doesn't need to be Gotham's guardian angel, but Bruce somehow feels otherwise.

Blue Valley:

Fire surrounds the contents of what seems to be a storage area. There is also a hull breach. A streak of red in a humanoid form is running at great velocities. However, the being may not make it in time to help the others inside. The stress on the ship was too great.

Wally West has awakened from this terrible nightmare. He has overslept and risks being late for school.

Gateway City, The Themyscira School For Girls:

School Headmistress Diana Prince is overseeing the outdoor physical education period on a normal, sunny day. She is refereeing a Tug of War game when a girl named Theresa pulls the cord so hard that other students and Ms. Prince herself are knocked to the ground. Theresa's right arm has grown in size and become a purple color. The teenager is clearly frightened by her new abilities. In a panic, she smashes a tree. Diana deflects the wood shards with her bracelets to protect the other students. Grabbing the nearby rope, she then lassos Theresa in an attempt to calm her. The chaotic events leave everyone to wonder one thing. How did Diana Prince do the things she had done?

New Carthage:

After fisherman fleetman Arthur Curry lost his left hand in a factory accident, the Red Tide Tuna Company made him a member of the board of directors in order to prevent him from filing a lawsuit. Now, as protesters picket over Red Tide's treatment of the seas, and public relations is at an all-time low. Arthur cannot help but feel like he's a fish out of water as he heads for his next meeting.


A Martian child is running to tell her mother what she had learned during the Knowledge Ceremony. Her teacher L'Naar believes that there may be intelligent life on other worlds. J'onn J'onzz, the girls father, would have to see this to believe it. Plus, he doesn't even care if other planets have are inhabited, so long as none of these beings do not interfere with the life he has with his wife and daughter.


A mysterious man has walked past some security guards unnoticed. He phases through a closed door. On the other side, there is a man whom he calls "Doctor". The doctor is attached to machinery. The enigmatic proceeds to tell him that Metahumans are popping up by the thousands all over the world.

"What do you have to say for yourself today?," the man asks the doctor.

"Help me!"

These words are coming from a comic book character drawn by Kyle Rayner. The being looks a lot like the doctor from the previous scene as it is attached to similar devices. As he ponders story ideas, Kyle is wondering how he will ever compete with the creative teams on The Flash and Wonder Woman.

School teacher Wally West has just caught one of his students reading a Green Lantern comic book. This triggers a memory of a piece of the nightmare that he'd had earlier.

In Metropolis, Metahumans are making the nights bloody with turf wars. A Metropolis Special Crimes Unit helicopter gets caught in the crossfire. It careens into the rooftop globe of the Daily Planet. This causes Clark to recall the destruction of the planet Krypton. His mind is now clear. He knows that he is Superman, and he intends to clean up the streets of his city. He starts by saving a couple from being crushed by debris. Because Metahumans seem to be the norm, he does so in his civilian clothing. The rescued man and woman wonder where their savior has gone. If they only knew that the Man of Steel is patrolling the skies.

News of the violence in Metropolis has reached Gotham City. In addition to this, Bruce Wayne is surprised to see his parents. They debate about Bruce's staying with the Wayne Foundation charity. As Martha Wayne begins to move a winged gargoyle statue, her pearl necklace gets stuck on it. Pieces of it fall onto the floor, forcing Bruce to relive the nightmare of his parents' death at the hands of a gunman when he was just a boy. Batman, the Dark Knight of Gotham, now knows the truth about himself.

A group of Metahumans is trying to break into Wayne Manor. Meanwhile, Bruce is searching for the entrance to the Batcave. He feels that something is missing. "Someone who believes you," Superman replies.

The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel have taken care of the Metahuman invaders in Wayne Manor, but their work is not done. If they are to save the world from the Sparkers' riots, they will need Wonder Woman, the Flash, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Aquaman. All that's required is finding them.

5Story - 5: This could have been an example of too many cooks spoiling the broth, but I'm happy to say that it wasn't. From start to finish, this story has an intriguing and engrossing plot. There's a lot of action and mystery blended in with a dash of humor to satisfy any comic fan's appetite. Mark Waid has always been one of my favorite writers. He and Fabian Nicieza really hit this one out of the ballpark.

5Art - 5: Admittedly, I prefer Darick Robertson's style to that of Jeff Johnson, but both artists provide this issue with intensely dramatic visuals that give the reader a cinematic page turner. The art is utterly fantastic.

5Cover Art - 5: The first piece of a three cover puzzle looks incredible, and it makes the viewer want to read the story inside. With this image, the interior art and story, we're off to a great start with this version of the Justice League.

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