Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Last week saw the establishment of the Justice League Europe and their initial battle against the Global Guardians as controlled by the Queen Bee who was putting them forward to the world as the new heroes of Bialya.
This week we skip forward some months (story time) to the start of the last storyline of the Giffen/DeMatteis era, Breakdowns. This was a sixteen part crossover between Justice League America and ...Europe where a number of big battles changed the make-up of both versions of the League.
And the Global Guardians were right at the start of it.
The offer is turned down, however, and the League themselves attempt to continue with their duties, helping out at a subway collapse.
Their Interpol contact, Inspector Camus, follows a ballistics lead back to France while back at the United Nations, the new Commander in Chief of the Justice League is revealed as one Kurt Heimlich, a man determined to restructure the League and make it "the best and brightest" collection of superheroes. None of which inspires confidence in the Leaguers.
Despite Camus finding a tip that leads to Bialya, Heimlich insists on wasting time by interviewing the members of both teams, assessing their worth and actually firing both Captain Atom and Elongated Man. Angered beyond rational thought, Atom flies off to Bialya while Heimlich takes the strange step of actually telephoning the Global Guardians:
And there we have it; Jack O'Lantern and his mysterious compatriot were behind Lord's shooting but are clearly not working with the Queen Bee.
Flying into Bialya, Captain Atom runs into Jack and the rest of the Guardians who, relatively easily it must be said, manage to take him down. But then, I guess it was eleven against one.
Note that Owlwoman still thinks they're working for the Queen Bee. Jack O'Lantern later takes great delight in informing the League that they have Atom and also letting them know that Heimlich tipped them off to Atom's arrival.
A little later and we learn the identity of Jack's shadowy friend:
Sumaan Harjavti, brother of Rumaan whom the Queen Bee killed to gain control of Bialya. He's after revenge, of course, but also simply power. His plan was to frame the Queen for the shooting of Max Lord in order to get at least one branch of the League to invade Bialya. During the confusion, he would end up taking the throne. Jack, however, has a plan to speed things up: as Inspector Camus leads the newly released Captain Atom out of the country on an airplane, it blows up.
Heimlich, meanwhile, continues with his round of interviews, this time with the American branch and ends up firing Ice and Blue Beetle while also inducting Dr Light and Tasmanian Devil. The ex-members are gathered together by Elongated Man where they find Captain Atom and Camus, safely rescued by Cap as the plane blew up. With all the evidence pointing towards the Queen Bee as both the attacker of Max and now the attempt on Cap and Camus's lives, they decide to head back to Bialya.
The Queen herself, isn't best pleased at what's happening.
Unfortunately for her, she doesn't realise that Jack's the one behind her current troubles. Meanwhile, the ex-Leaguers head into Bialya, making their way through a series of service tunnels that run below the capital city. Eventually, they end up at the Dome and find the Global Guardians waiting for them, but not quite as they expected:
They're motionless, just as we saw them last week. No sooner are the Leaguers in the room, though, than they're joined by Jack O'Lantern and Owlwoman and a fight breaks out, Atom and Jack firing blasts at each other. Jack and Atom end up in a stalemate with Cap holding off a constant energy blast before diving up and out of the way in a move which has terrible consequences.
Jack activates the remaining Guardians, claiming that the League has killed Little Mermaid.
Ove rin New York, Heimlich summons the remaining members of the League and tells them they're to head to Bialya to subdue a rogue band of heroes, taking no small delight in revealing the rogues are the ex-Leaguers.
In Bialya, the battle escalates, moving from the Dome to the hidden complex beneath the city which collapses, exposing the Queen Bee's devices that she uses subliminally keep her populace loyal, and all witnessed by the recently arrived Justice League. With the destruction of the complex, the Guardians mind control is broken and they return to normal, discovering at the same time that Dr Mist is nothing more than a robot and that Jack O'Lantern is dead:
This Jack, though, is not known to the rest of the Guardians.
With her secret revealed, the Queen Bee attempts to escape but is shot and killed by Sumaan Harjavti; the Guardians are returned to normal; and Ambassador Heimlich is revealed to have been a Queen Bee drone all along.
While the League would continue through the remainder of Breakdowns, the Global Guardians were left in confusion; two of their team dead, their leader exposed as an android.
Where could they go from here?