SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for "Justice League vs. Suicide Squad" #5, on sale now.
In addition to furthering the overarching scheme of Maxwell Lord and revealing the destruction that ensues from the Justice League's possession by Eclipso, "Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad" #5 sets up the major players of the DCU's future. The event's latest chapter spotlights the faces you should really get to know in the coming months as DC Comics prepares for the launch of its latest "Justice League of America" series.
Batman v Superman: Eclipso-Style
Right off the bat in this issue we're treated to a fan-favorite showdown: Batman vs. Superman. However, this clash doesn't involve the word "Martha." Instead, the battle between Bruce and Clark involves a possessed Kal-El coming face to face with Batman and his Kryptonite ring. Curiously, the Kryptonite has no effect on the possessed Superman, and it's explained that the Man of Steel's control under Eclipso makes him impervious to his biggest weakness, thus raising the stakes of his possession and Maxwell Lord's control, big time.
Speaking of possessions, yet again, Cyborg is compromised, just after similar events in the current "Justice League" run, and in the character's own solo series that saw Vic's tech infected by malware. Luckily, this time, Vic has a fail-safe installed in his system that allows him to warn Batman that the world's tech has been overridden. What kind of lasting effect this has on the DCU's Earth is unclear, but we're sure it won't simply result in forgiveness on the part of the U.S. Government...
Rising Profile for Unlikely Heroines
In an unexpected turn, Batman recruits the remaining members of the Suicide Squad into his Justice League, a necessary step to take since the rest of the original League is under the possession of Eclipso/Maxwell Lord. He doesn't form the team on his own, however; he's convinced by Killer Frost to do so after a motivating speech in which the villainess-turned-heroine pushes the reluctant Dark Knight to trust her team of rogues. This furthers a recurring idea in the series thus far: the ambiguity of Killer Frost, and her eventual membership on Batman's Justice League of America after the series wraps.
Also full of surprises, Harley Quinn is on board with Batman's Justice League, furthering the notion that DC sees the character as a "fourth pillar" (after Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman) of their publishing division. Framed as more of a hero than villain, we really get a sense of Harley's rising profile in this series. Along with Killer Frost, DC has really increased and shown these powerful female characters in a genuinely positive, complex light over the course of the event.
Of course, Killer Frost and Harley aren't the only former villains to join Batman in his efforts. We see the resurrection of Lobo, after Batman injected him with that brain bomb -- literally exploding his head -- in the last installment, having come back to his senses, and no longer under the mind-control of Maxwell Lord. It seems that, from this point forward, Lobo is gung-ho to work alongside Batman, and, as previously announced, will remain on the Justice League for the foreseeable future.
With the dawn of a Solar Eclipse, Maxwell Lord -- in a transformation that harkens back to Eclipso's '60s origins -- goes full-Eclipso. Now that he's no longer in control of himself, Maxwell Lord's plans aren't really a factor -- Eclipso's thirst for destruction is all that matters. Of course, this doesn't bode well for Batman's Justice League...
All of this begs the question: Will Maxwell Lord remain the current embodiment of Eclipso after this series wraps? And what exactly is the lasting effect of the Justice League's possession? We know that several of the League's core members -- Superman, Flash, Cyborg, the Green Lanterns, etc. -- will not be a part of Batman's JLA when this series concludes. The question, then, is what happens that prevents their membership? And how, exactly, will the Earth react to the Justice League having turned on it?
"Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad" #6 hits stands on January 25.