"Justice League" #3 serves up the third chapter of "The Extinction Machines" from Bryan Hitch, Tony S. Daniel and Sandu Florea. But even as the titular enemies threaten to destroy the entire planet from the within, Hitch and Daniel are also giving us a second league of sorts to fight the Extinction Machines, while also letting us in on more of the enemy's past.
A History of Extinction
"Justice League" #3 starts to give the reader hints on the nature, or at least the history, of the Extinction Machines. Up until now, we've seen the enemy launch ships at Earth with nasty payloads inside, as well as planting a series of weapons at the Earth's core that threaten to destabilize and eventually tear apart the entire planet. In this issue, though, the League begins to take the fight to the enemy instead of simply reacting. Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz are at the forefront of that attack, using their Green Lantern abilities to go to the homeworld of the Extinction Machines.
The first discovery is that wherever the Extinction Machines are from, it's not one of the 3600 sectors of the universe designated by the Green Lantern Corps. This could simply be an unmapped area of the universe, or somewhere that the Green Lantern Corps holds no power. With the duo needing to take a wormhole for their journey, though, another possibility is that the Extinction Machines are literally attacking from outside the confines of our heroes' universe. The second discovery, though, is that the world of the Extinction Machines is missing a great deal of its mass; it looks half-detonated, more like a skull or the half-completed Death Star from "Return of the Jedi" than an actual planetary body. And while there are still millions of life forms surviving on the Extinction Machines planet, it's a series of spaceships around the planet that are launching missiles at Earth. Could it be that this isn't really the home of the Extinction Machines, but rather their last target with the half-destroyed planet the end result?
The Enemy of My Enemy is My...?
"Justice League" #3 also delivers more on the mystery of the Kindred. Up until now, it was a reasonable possibility that the strange theft of powers from members of the Justice League and the merging of thousands of people into large hulking forms was part of the Extinction Machines' plans. Here, though, it's strongly hinted that the Kindred are more of a defense mechanism to try and stop the Extinction Machines.
There's certainly more than a bit of evidence to back this theory up. "Justice League" #3 shows us that their devices at the core of the Earth are strong enough that not even Superman can destroy them with brute strength. Meanwhile, the massive Kindred creations are repeatedly talking of awakening (rather than arriving, which is what the Extinction Machines are doing), as well as talking about how "the purge" has come, like it did in "past returns." Their locations are also evenly spaced, with the Kindred appearing in four "compass points" along the globe to presumably have a maximum reach. Putting the pieces together, the Kindred seem to be coming back together in order to protect the planet. At the same time, though, there's no denying that the Kindred are at least temporarily subsuming mass amounts of the population of Earth, to say nothing of draining powers from different heroes. Is it safe to claim that the enemy of the Extinction Machines is automatically an ally? Or are the Kindred -- forming a literal league of the bodies of humanity and the powers of metahumans -- more dangerous than helpful?
There are still a lot of questions to be answered in the final two chapters of this storyline, of course. With their strange interactions with Atlantis's zodiac crystals, and talk of the "song" being different than before, the mystery of the Kindred needs to be picked further apart, to say nothing of the Extinction Machines themselves. With "Justice League" #3, though, readers are starting to see all the information pull together.