SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Bryan Hitch, Neil Edwards, Daniel Henriques and Tony Avina’s “Justice League” #9, on sale now.
Bryan Hitch, Neil Edwards and co. continue to weave a chillingly modern tale in “Justice League” #9, as the latest arc, “Outbreak,” sees the team compromised and under attack from a mysterious hacker. Well, in this issue, we quickly get answers as to who is behind the cyber-attack — which, unsurprisingly, ties into the death of Diane Palmer in the previous arc.
However, before the team can get to the bottom of the hacker’s motives, they’re left in a bit of a pickle as Simon Baz’s Power Ring falls victim to the hacker’s virus, unleashing an attack on the team with very specific and dangerous constructs.
Simon Baz Vs. The Justice League
As we learned last issue, the virus that’s hacking the “Justice League” spread through Cyborg’s tech, eventually leading itself to Simon Baz’s Power Ring, forcing the Lantern to attack the team with his constructs. The bulk of this issue deals with the attack, and we get to see Simon unleash various beasts, warriors and sea-monsters upon the team. While his partner from “Green Lanterns,” Jessica Cruz, may have some issues manifesting detailed constructs — or constructs at all, for that matter — Baz has no such problem
The highlight of the issue has to be the attack on Aquaman. Fending off sea-monster constructs, Arthur takes it upon himself to unleash his own attack — giving us a pseudo-sea-creature vs. real-life sea-creature battle of epic proportions.
When Wonder Woman suggests that the only way to stop Simon’s attack is to kill him, Flash opts for a less lethal approach, directing the team to attack Simon directly in order to reprogram his ring. Luckily, the strategy works, as Simon’s Power Ring has a fail-safe that reprograms it to “factory settings” if the ring-bearer is under direct attack. The ring must protect the bearer at all costs, of course, so with the Justice League attacking Simon, they were able to overcome the bad programming, essentially restoring it to its default operating system.
And The Hacker Is…
In the spirit of synergy, Batman discovers that the Justice League’s hacker is none other than the widower of Diane Palmer, James Palmer. Doing some digging, the Caped Crusader learns that James has an alter ego — Jesse James — which he uses as an online identity for his Robin Hood-like hacking of banks and corporations. Rather than stealing from the rich, James’ latest attack is directed at the Justice League in a move of vengeance in the wake of his wife’s death in the last story arc, when the Justice League faced off against the Kindred. While the attack only resulted in one death, it’s just enough to piss off a guy like James, who believes the Justice League’s mission was an utter failure.
Thus, realizing James is behind the cyber-attack, the Justice League pays a visit to the hacker’s home…
What happens next, of course, is anyone’s guess. If Jesse James a new, regular threat in the DCU? Is he a potential ally? Or is he a one-off villain we’re unlikely to see again after this arc? The answers should arrive in part 3 of “Outbreak” when “Justice League” #10 hits stands on December 7.
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