SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Justice League of America #23, by Steve Orlando, Neil Edwards, Daniel Henriques, Andy Owens, Hi-Fi and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
The Queen of Fables has crossed over into the real world and the Justice League of America is at her mercy. With the team defeated, Killer Frost seemingly on her side and Vixen seemingly dead, there seems to be no hope for the people of Happy Harbor or indeed the world. However, there’s a hero out there waiting to stop The Queen of Fables from crossing over into the The Immateria, signaling a controversial debut in the DC Universe.
Tell Me A Story
The Queen of Fables was originally created by Mark Waid and Bryan Hitch, debuting in JLA #47. She came from a world of fairy tales where she was trapped in The Book of Fables by Snow White and her misdeeds transformed from fact into fiction. Justice League of America has re-imagined her somewhat and although exiled, she was able to grant wishes to those who slept in exchange for their loyalty, slowly building up her power until she was able to free herself through Killer Frost.
The Queen’s interest in Caitlin Snow runs a lot deeper than that though, as we see in this issue. Caitlin bears a striking resemblance to The Queen of Fables’ sister Freya, who developed ice powers following The Queen’s banishment and eventually died from them, sparking her quest for revenge.
While the majority of the Justice League of America is defeated, there’s still hope. The Ray — having left the team in a previous issue — is working as a local hero in Vanity City alongside Aztek, fighting Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man, one of the strangest villains in DC’s roster. Vixen, meanwhile is seemingly dead but in a reference to Alan Moore and Steve Bisette’s Swamp Thing, she was able to tap into the red and use the regenerative abilities of planarian worms to heal herself from literally nothing.
The Queen of Fables’ plan revolves around accessing Immateria, a plane of pure imagination with which she can use to influence all of human thought and immagination. Unfortunately for her, by accessing Immateria she’s able to provide its greatest hero access to the DC Universe, as Alan Moore and J.H. Williams III’s Promethea makes her arrival promising to stop her.
Promethea first appeared in her own series as part of Alan Moore’s America’s Best Comics imprint, which was a part of WildStorm. When Jim Lee sold WildStorm to DC, it included ABC, and although Moore had vowed not to work for DC due to a number of mistreatreaments at the hands of DC editorial, he’d promised work to colleagues that he didn’t want to renege on. Thus, he and his creative partners continued to produce the series under DC's banner for a number of years.
The character of Promethea, like The Queen of Fables herself, is based in ancient folklore and manifests in mortal hosts via imagination. Whether this incarnation of Promethea is Sophie Bangs from Moore and Williams’ run or a new host remains to be seen, but her arrival in the DC Universe certainly changes the status quo of the Justice League of America going forward.