Saturday, December 13, 2014

The L.A.W. #1: Avatar Rising

After reading "Multiversity: Pax Americana", I wanted to dig into more Charlton hero team-ups. I've already covered a few, including Americomics "Sentinels of Justice", and "Justice League Quartley #14". So I jumped in to my time machine and traveled to September of 1999, when Bob Layton and Dick Giordano brought us..."The L.A.W."

Reporting for GBS News, Vic Sage informs us that the Justice League, and their base on the moon have mysteriously disappeared! We get a flashback to 36 hours earlier, when a strange figure walks undetected across the surface of the moon before attacking the League's HQ with mystical energy. But, before they can do anything to stop it, the League vanishes in a burst of light. 

Returning to Vic's news broadcast we get a report of the same figure attacking the launch site of rocket destined to help build a new multinational space station. The being identifies himself as "Avatar", the reincarnation of a Hindu god and destroyer of the warrior caste. He also summons a horde of demons to assist him! Captain Atom is quickly on the scene, having been at the launch in his civilian identity of Air Force officer Nathaniel Christopher Adam, but Avatar is prepared. In fact, he was counting on the hero's appearance and opens a rift to capture him. "Your power is key to the success of my campaign." Then, saving (or kidnapping, depending on your perspective) a crying boy, Avatar disappears. 

With the last update Vic has had enough, storming off the set he tells his boss he needs to take some sick time...he doesn't believe anyone is asking the right "Question".

In the White House, Sergeant Steel meets with the President to discuss the Avatar, and how best to handle him. With the League out of the picture, and Avatar operating out of "countries not cooperative with current democratic governments" they can't use US or NATO forces without causing an international incident. So the President suggests Steel combine his forces, with another...the Peacemaker Project!

At Kord Industries, Ted Kord finds a party celebrating a recent billion dollar deal cut short when he receives an alert that someone has broken into his Beetle Cave! (Ok, it actually says "secret subbasement lab" in the comic, but I like the sound of Beetle Cave) The Question is looking for Blue Beetle's help in dealing with the Avatar, and he needs all the resources Ted has at his disposal to get to the bottom of things. And Ted has resources...the "largest private super computer in the world" (take that Batman!) and a newly upgraded BUG! 

Steel arrives at Peacemaker HQ, just in time to witness another attack by Avatar. He's sent his demons to teach the Peacemakers a lesson for spying on his affairs. Steel and his liaison, a man named Salt, join the fight...leading to Steel melting his metal hand trying to punch a demon. 

A Peacemaker in slightly different armor than the others appears and manages to save the day...Mitchel Black, the Peacemaker (for the this story anyway) and Salt's number one student. Steel and Salt head to a briefing where 4 obelisks representing Science, Industry, Religion and Government agree to allow the Peacemaker Project work with Steel...but they determine an operative with inter-dimensional abilities, like Avatar, may be needed. Lucky for them Steel has someone in mind.

Eve Eden, aka Nightshade, is unhappy, but intrigued when Fate (the weird post "Zero Hour" Doctor Fate-ish character) shows up unannounced and claiming he can remove the succubus inside her. 

Instead he strips her down to her "very essence" and leaves, assuring her someone will be along shortly to rescue her...knowing she has a much bigger role to play.

Finally, in the Himalayas, in the mystic city of Nanda Parbat, Ripley "Rip" Jagger is summoned to meet with the deity known as Rama Kushna. Lao, the young boy sent to summon him notices his scars and asks what they're from...but Rip dodges the direct answer, suggesting instead that although he has lived through many battles some of his opponents may have been merely old wives tales. He then heads to meet Rama Kushna. Rama has summoned him because of the monstrous evil that threatens the world of men. A shadow threatening to infect all that is good...and Rip is the source of that shadow! He's confused, unsure how he could be involved...but she only assures him that all will be revealed when he returns to the outside the Judomaster!

So, this is the first time I'm rereading this in several years and I have to say, it's not a bad start. The first (of six) issues sets up the story and reintroduces the Charlton heroes very nicely. I do recall having mixed feelings when I read this the first time but so far, yeah, I'm kind of liking it. Five more to go we'll see how it holds up.

1 comment:

  1. What's up with the ugly new costumes for Nightshade and Judomaster? Yikes. Otherwise the art is very good. Story doesn't seem like much.