"May I suggest we get the hell out of here and regroup?" – Jason Todd
Opening our weekly adventure is the return bout between Jean Loring / Eclipso and Mary Marvel, as the two powerful femmes battle it out in the depths of space. Striking out against her mentor and tormentor, Mary tries to regain some semblance of control over her powers, realizing the taint that came with them from Black Adam's rampages last year.
Accepting that she simply wanted power, wherever it came from, Mary lashes out at Eclipso and uses that power to full effect, only to finally expel it in a shout of "Shazam!" high in the skies of New Earth. Unleashing Adam's powers into the dark goddess, Mary purges the evil from her own system, falling to the earth free and clear as she washes ashore – on the island of the Amazons.
Mirroring the tale throughout the issue is the story of the Challengers and Ray Palmer on Earth-51 as Ray desperately seeks a way to protect himself and those he loves from a Monitor gone mad. Seeking to destroy Ray and thus ensure the coming of the Great Disaster and a return to a single universe, Monitor Bob lashes out at those around Ray, killing Barry Allen and Ralph Dibny in his efforts to end Ray's life. Caught in the crossfire, this world's Jean Loring also dies, permanently shattering the tranquility of this world.
The Challengers fight bravely, but only succeed in stalling Bob long enough to get Ray away from the scene of the battle. As the rubble settles, Bob is confronted by his fellow Monitors, who have come to destroy Palmer and succeed in restoring the single universe, and a single Monitor. However, the Monitors have been apart too long, and they are now too individual in thought and deed to become one being once more. The troubles are compounded by the discovery that Solomon seeks to not be just the sole Monitor, but the Source itself.
As the assembled beings examine this new development, determined when Bob is destroyed by Solomon's attempt to absorb him, the situation goes from bad to worse for the world. Monarch has arrived, and he's brought some friends, an army of superpowered beings from across the multiverse.
BE: Ron Lim is back on the art chores this week, nice stuff.
JE: Indeed, nice stuff indeed. I'm glad to see him doing some DC work. Here's hoping for some more from the classic cosmic artist.
BE: With 16 more weeks to go, there's definitely a chance. I'd love to see him on a DC monthly.
JE: Yeah. Even just a turn on "JLA: Classified" or one of the other backup titles would be excellent.
BE: This issue we get a tale of two Jean Lorings.
JE: One gets offed, and the other? I'm not sure how I feel about a supercharged Eclipso. That is, if she survived it.
BE: Eclipso is very Silver Age, take a word and add an "o" at the end, Starro, Eclipso, Evilo, Amazo, and right now, DC loves the Silver Age. So, Eclipso will be back, but I wouldn't bet on it being Jean, or Eclipso being quite so powerful. My money is on Bruce Gordon.
JE: Never thought about it like that, but I suppose the "o" equals success. I'd like to see a return of Bruce Gordon, though using Jean has been an inspired turn over the last few years.
BE: I completely blew it with Bob, that was completely a swerve and poor Barry Allen, the guy never gets to survive a Crisis.
JE: We both blew it. This was one hell of a curve ball thrown at us at the last minute. I never saw it coming, and the carnage caused by Bob's turncoat nature is unbelievable. Poor Barry, and Ralph, and Sue.
BE: The Utopia comes to a crashing end thanks to the Monitors. I thought they were here to help.
JE: Help themselves, maybe. That wacky Solomon has brought it all crashing down on his head.
BE: What I didn't expect was Mary having an eleventh hour conversion and abandoning her power.
JE: Nice swerve there, too. Completely unexpected on my part, though, as I said, a supercharged Eclipso seems to be the next in a long line of bad decisions on Mary's part.
BE: I believe we did nail it on the Monitors are becoming too human. There is no going back for these guys.
JE: Indeed. No return to a solitary existence watching one universe, no matter how much Monarch is going to make it so. I'd been wanting to mention how much Monarch's armor looks like the Monitor getups, and now we get to see why.
BE: I'm seeing a pattern here. And we nailed it with Mary ending up with Granny and the Island of fake Amazons -- just not the way I expected it.
JE: Certainly another surprise. I'm torn: I like it, but it felt forced a little.
BE: And for the big reveal, Bob is now dust and Solomon's goal? To become the Source. Wow, never saw that coming. Hell, I don't even know what that means.
JE: Me either. But, even if we don't know what it means, I bet there's someone else out there with the same goal: Darkseid.
BE: And Monarch. I think that's the pattern I am seeing, that they all want to become the Source. As promised last week, in the FYI, Monarch and his army of metahumans have arrived.
JE: Cue the Imperial March.
Panel of the Week
Can destiny be avoided? Not likely.