Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Global Guardians #3 - Our European Cousins

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be running through the DCU appearances of the Global Guardians post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint (or at least all the appearances I have) and wonder why they never had a title of their own and find out where they are now. Or were, pre-Flashpoint.

After the events shown in last week's instalment, Jack O'Lantern and Owlwoman are seen safely ensconced as part of the Queen Bee's retinue following her usurping of the Bialyan throne. The Justice League, helpless in the face of her overwhelming support from the Bialyan people, leave with their tail between their legs.

Not long after that, Invasion! takes place where various alien races band together with the Dominators to try and take over the Earth. At the end of that, a decision's made to increase the scope of the League's activities and Justice League Europe is created, based in Paris which, you may remember, also houses the Dome, home of the Global Guardians.

In typical League style, moving in day doesn't exactly go according to plan. Within hours of the first meeting, they face a big problem:

Just before he died, the dead man managed to gasp just one word: "Braces." Alerting the police (who make a point of remarking that they never had this trouble with the Global Guardians) Captain Atom convinces the team that it's nothing to do with them. Mere minutes later, however, and a huge crowd of angry Parisians storm the JLE embassy, calling them Nazis. As the League attempt to corral them, Power Girl realises that the crowd are being controlled and, sure enough, they soon snap out of things.

With the police claiming that the dead man had connections to neo-Nazi groups, Captain Atom has Sue Dibny do some investigating once the JLE's computers are up and running. Three groups in three separate locations are found and the team splits up to investigate, but at each site they are attacked by a member of the Guardians. In California, the Wild Huntsman appears:

In Germany, it's Rising Sun:

and in England it's Tuatara:

Each attack ends the same way, with the Guardian member being knocked out and falling into a coma despite the lack of force the League use against them. Far away, though, someone knows what's going on:

Jack O'Lantern and Owlwoman, still thralls of the Bialyan Queen Bee.

The JLE, meanwhile, are still trying to find out why the Guardians attacked them and, at the suggestion of Sue, contact Ice who was a former member and ask if she has any information they can use.

And with a simple video call, they discover that Jack O'Lantern is working for the Queen Bee. When Sue mentions the Dome is now a museum, Power Girl, Elongated Man and Flash head undercover and check it out, joining a tour group in the hopes of finding some answers. Unknown to them, they're being monitored by Owlwoman and Jack O'Lantern:

Hey, anyone else notice what Jack's wearing in that last panel?

Mid-tour, the crowd become silent and stationery before turning on the three Leaguers just as the civilians had at the Embassy, establishing a link between that attack and the Global Guardians. Beating a hasty retreat, they're confronted by Jack. It's not long before the Dome's on fire and the civilians are evacuated, tell the waiting media that the League attacked without provocation, just as Jack planned it.

Teleporting first out of the fight and then, with Owlwoman, out of the Dome, Jack heads back to Bialya after having set a bomb which destroys the Dome, an act which the JLE are blamed for. It's not long before the League head to Bialya undercover. There, Jack and the Queen Bee check up on the progress that is being made enhancing Owlwoman's powers . . .

. . . all the while overheard by Metamorpho who skulks around as a cloud of colourless gas which allows him to find out that the doctor who's increased both Jack and Owlwoman's powers is none other than a Dominator, still on planet after the Invasion! In no time at all, Rex tells the other Leaguers and an assault is launched through the sewers beneath the city.

With Jack taken out, the League make short work of the soldiers the Queen Bee had mobilised and confront her, forcing her to make a deal. Jack, however, is not so lucky.

And neither's the Dominator. Part of the deal with the League was that the Queen sever all ties with him and as she doesn't want him selling his services elsewhere, she kills him.

With the Guardians link to the European branch of the League established, it didn't come as much surprise to find the Justice League Europe Annual #1 featuring the Return of the Global Guardians which opens with Dr Mist chairing a meeting and welcoming the team back together:

Though they're missing Tuatara, Wild Huntsman and Rising Sun (who are all still comatose following their attacks on the JLE) there's something wrong with that line-up: Jack O'Lantern's back! Things quickly degenerate, however, with Little Mermaid insisting that Dr Mist isn't real and neither is Jack. She's proven right very quickly as the team are frozen, revealing the whole thing to be an experiment by the Queen Bee.

She has chosen a new Jack O'Lantern and had him and Owlwoman recruit their former team-mates and have them join them in Bialya. There they have been reprogrammed to be loyal to the Queen who has also had an android Dr Mist built to replace the real one who, at the time, was missing and presumed dead. Little Mermaid, however, consistently refuses to accept the brainwashing.

Finally the conditioning works and Mermaid, along with the rest of the team, accepts Dr Mist's plan to contact the League and ask for the return of the three other members. While the Guardians travel to the JLE Embassy in Paris, Queen Bee simply reactivates them, allowing them to escape their hospitals and head to Bialya.

At the Embassy, a Bialyan giant robot (no, really) arrives and attacks the League and the Guardians, forcing them to work together:

Thankfully, and in front of a jubilant crowd of Parisians who are delighted to see the Guardians back in France again, the two teams work together and defeat the robot without finding any way to track it back to the Queen.

Dr Mist is more than happy with getting some publicity by working alongside the League; it's just a shame that the truce between the two teams won't last much longer, as we'll find out next week.

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