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by Mark Gillins

"Crisis Times Five…The Story So Far"

Okay, here's what's going on: our world is under attack from the 5th dimension, specifically by a genie named Lkz who is under the control of the once-villain Triumph, who, being really annoyed with the fact that nobody remembers him for who he deserves to be, has taken control of the minds of the Ray and Gypsy and has proceeded to take over the JLA Watchtower. Captain Marvel has punched out Superman in order to journey into the 5th dimension (Supes wanted to go, and Cap's punching Supes was the only way Cap would've been able to get in) and Green Lantern is stuck in there as well. Zauriel and Alan Scott have encountered the Spectre who is trapped in some sort of extra-dimensional prison. Flash I, Flash III, Hippolyta, Wildcat, and the Huntress are on Earth and watch while Lkz and Yz, the two genies, beat each other up and J.J., the new "owner" of the pink genie Yz, is struggling with trying to figure out how exactly to control his new pal. Steel is currently in the watchtower getting his crud handed to him by Triumph, and that's where we start with this issue, JLA #30, entitled "Worlds Beyond", the third piece of the four-part "Crisis Times Five" storyline.

Like I said, Steel's having a hard time as Triumph uses his new-found heightened powers to beat the living daylight out of him. After some of Triumph's villainous mumbo jumbo, Steel's given one last punch and the Ray and Gypsy are commanded to lock Irons up. Upon arriving at Steel's shattered armor, they find it empty and the readers discover that our hero has slipped out and is now crawling through the air ducts, which is where he spends pretty much the rest of the issue, attempting to reach his workshop.

Back on Earth, the two genies are bashing it out while Wildcat, Huntress, Hippolyta, and J.J. watch helplessly. Yz is beginning to lose and is begging J.J. to say the magic word ("Cei-U") in order to be revived. J.J. doesn't know what "the word" is, and as our pink friend gets shattered by the big blue guy, Hippolyta informs J.J. of the magic word and explains his responsibility. In what is probably the best part of the issue, J.J. shouts out, "Say you! Go kick that big blue --!" (the -- is filled with profanity represented by symbols. Apparently Yz's new master is no sweet talker!) Hippolyta states, "You have to be very specific in how you phrase your command…," Wildcat murmurs, "Holy…," and all of a sudden a huge bolt of pink lightning strikes through Lkz!

Meanwhile, Zauriel and Alan Scott are still deciding how the heck they're going to free the Spectre so he can give a hand in the situation. The only solution, it appears, would be to accelerate time on the strange planet they're on so eventually the planet would literally decompose around the Spectre, freeing him from his prison. After a small debate, Scott uses his powers to get working, and men watch as a culture evolves and dies over thousands of years.

Away from all the action, Oracle calls Batman for help, who has now gotten a hold of Aquaman, who picks up Batman in a huge aqua-ship. Apparently Batman has figured out a little more than what the team knows (surprise surprise!) and has contacted Aquaman to investigate a little more on the man he knows to be behind the whole mess, a villain named Qwsp, who is busy playing around with the minds of Captain Marvel and GL in the 5th dimension.

I'm not going to say much more… there's obviously more detail to what I've said, but I fear I've given away too much already. There are one or two more events that occur that I haven't spoken of (as I've stated in previous columns, my goal is to keep you up to date with the JLA without giving away everything for free), so you should go out and buy this. I thought this was a pretty good issue, although I'm disappointed that Morrison expects us to know who Qwsp is right off the bat (I've never heard of him in my life!). Qwsp is apparently the guy behind everything, and he's JUST been introduced -- the story's almost over! I don't think there's much time left for the readers to get a strong feeling of knowing who Qwsp is, so I don't know how the heck anything is going to happen right in the conclusion next month. J.J. is an interesting character, though his constant swearing is getting a little annoying (I know it's a characteristic of his, but I don't have to like it). I also expected to see Cap work a little more WITH the JLA rather than working separately in the 5th dimension, so I'm a little disappointed in that manner as well.

The dialogue is great, and Howard Porter just keeps getting better and better at his artwork. I give this an 8.5 out of 10. You should definitely get this issue sometime soon, especially since big word is going 'round about the Spectre regarding his future (I'm not revealing just what the word is in fear of being wrong) that is related to the events in this issue.

I'm going to try and do an older issue of Justice League of America next month instead of following the current pages. Michael has suggested some great issues to me, and I hope to find them in order to review these in the future. This means that I may or may not review the conclusion of Crisis Times Five next time.. if you seriously have an opinion about whether or not I should, get in touch with me! I never get any responses, anyway.

On a sidenote, and as a conclusion, if you want some seriously good reading that's been making me wet my pants for the past five months, go pick up the current storyline in The Flash! It's seriously one of the best events I've read in a while, especially in the Flash pages (I'm sorry, but Morrison really stinked during his year-long run…. welcome back, Waid!). This one satisfies all Flash fans, whether you prefer Wally, Jay, OR Barry! I'm dead serious -- if you don't pick up "Chain Lightning", you'll be left in the dust (pun intended).

All characters are ™ DC Comics
All scanned artwork is ™ DC Comics.
This article is © 1999 by Mark Gillins.