"Age of Wonder: Part 2": It is 1911 and America, due to the influence of the super-powered League of Science, has become the most technologically advanced civilization on Earth. As a result, World War One broke out years earlier than in the prime timeline.
JLA: Age of Wonder #2 is an issue of the series JLA: Age of Wonder (Volume 1) with a cover date of August, 2003.
Synopsis for "Age of Wonder: Part 2"
It is 1911 and America, due to the influence of the super-powered League of Science, has become the most technologically advanced civilization on Earth. As a result, World War One broke out years earlier than in the prime timeline.
In the New Jersey docks, Green Arrow chases two banker robbers to a warehouse facility. A struggle ensues and one of the crooks accidentally shoots the building's storage tanks, spilling a chemical fluid which ignites. Moments later, the building explodes, killing Green Arrow and almost everyone inside. Inexplicably, one of the facility's scientists, a woman, emerges from the rubble unharmed. She flies away while being unknowingly observed by a drunken bum nearby.
The League of Science, including its newest members Plastic Man and Ray Palmer, investigate the scene of the explosion. Palmer discover that there are traces of modified fossil fuel which explains the explosion's size and power. They are joined on the scene by the Batman (widely thought to be an urban myth). He suggests that they focus on finding the flying woman, according to the bum whose claims were initially dismissed, may hold the key to the mystery.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor, recently appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense, is enraged by the warehouse's destruction. He owned the warehouse and wants his informant to replace the fuels and cover-up any leads to him. Lex then strides into a room with the flying woman who escaped the explosion, revealed to be Diana of Themyscira. Diana is dismayed in not rescuing the people from the warehouse, but Luthor assures her that the important thing is having her alive and that the "project" is still on course. Also, he promises Diana that her mother and her Amazon sisters will be free from German tyranny as their island was conquered for its resources and technology that are use for Germany's war.
At the Batcave, Bruce Wayne has been up all night researching the warehouse and the person who is responsible for Green Arrow's death. He shows a lead to Alfred, explaining that the warehouse was property of Luthor's holding company, which was supposed to be divested by Luthor since he was appointed as Secretary of Defense. Bruce, having long studied Luthor's strategies and practices for years, concludes that Luthor is up to something.
In New York City, the League attends a charity event hosted by Bruce Wayne concerning on the war in Europe and hearing Princess Diana's plight of the Amazons' enslavement by Germany, and thanking America's role in supporting Themyscira. Lois Lane interviews the President and Luthor about America's neutrality in the conflict. The President stresses that America will not declare war until all other options are exhausted. Luthor on the other hand vocally supports American intervention for not only stopping German aggression but an opportunity to bring higher employment in America's industrial sector. Lois also interviews now General Hal Jordan who plans on serving as a military advisor for the British. Diana and Bruce dance together which Bruce learns from the Amazon princess that she continues to work for Luthor due to the fact that his spending on new innovations that would help beat the Germans. Later, Diana demonstrates her powers with Ted Knight's cosmic rod and Bruce becomes interested in the Amazon's invulnerability.
Hal Jordan soon oversee the British's failed offensive against the Germans in the Eastern Front as the Germans possess highly advance weaponry such as giant tanks. This discovery surprises Hal as America was suppose to be the only advanced nation to possess these kinds of weapons and conclude that someone is supplying these weapons to Germany. After seeing British forces being slaughtered in a hopeless fight, Hal joins in the fray. The Germans in response send out their aerial force of anti-gravity armored soldiers against the Green Lantern. Surprisingly, Jordan discover that they know his ring's weakness as the armored soldiers are coated in yellow paint. Despite this, Hal uses his ring to manipulate the soil and wrecked German tanks to defeat the soldiers.
Jordan is eventually recalled back to the United States and is reprimand by Luthor for breaking America's neutrality and he would be likely facing a court-martial. But Hal doesn't care about his consequences as he is more concern about the Germans possessing advanced technology and how they know his weakness which only himself... and Luthor know. Hal then immediately realizes that Luthor is the Germans' supplier. Luthor nonchalantly reply to Hal that it is all going according to his plan, explaining that he is not in anyway jeopardizing America: he wants to make the nations of Europe utterly weak from the war while he and Nikola Tesla will finish in their construction of the Death Ray that will be use to force Germany's surrender and ensuring America's global supremacy, and as well making Luthor a hero before the eyes of the American people and making him the next President of the United States.
Soon afterwards, Luthor and Hal are urgently inform that something has happened in London. Germany have bombed the city with a nuclear rocket, killing 200,000 people including the Royal Family and the destruction of the nation's government, all in response to the Green Lantern's interference. Hal is shocked but Lex is not surprised as he also provided nuclear weapons to Germany, which he consider it going "better" than he anticipated. Hal finally has enough with Lex and attacks him. But just as he is about to kill Lex, Diana stops him. But blind with rage, Hal suspects Diana to be in collusion with Lex's plans and strangle her with his power ring. With his back turn and too focus on Diana, Luthor then fatally wounds Hal from behind with a fire axe. As he is dying, Hal commands the ring to find Super Man which it flies out of his hand and escaping from Lex's and his men's reach.
Somewhere in deep space, Clark has been living for years on a livable asteroid satellite and finds Hal's power ring landing in his palm.
Back on Earth, America have formally declare war on Germany for possessing nuclear weapons and that the League of Science have been sent to Britain to provide humanitarian relief efforts for the London survivors...
In England, the League are overwhelmed by the deaths and destruction in the aftermath of the nuclear attack. Barry expressed his uncertainty of how the League has now become soldiers. Lois is the most affected, seeing that the inventions that were made for the last decades only bring death and destruction in the end. The League then notice a green streak of light that fell a distance away. They and Lois approach where it crash and find it is Clark wielding Hal's power ring.
Meanwhile in America, Bat-Man has been interrogating a runner who has been delivering engine parts and rocket fuel for the destroyed Luthor Company warehouse, and demanding the identity of his boss. The runner could only answer that the "Amazon princess" knows as she worked at the warehouse all the time while in contact with Luthor.
Back in England, Clark is fully dressed in his costume and prepares with the other Leaguers to stop the Germans from launching their nuclear rockets before having a passionate kiss and farewell from his wife.
Luthor is awakened from his bed and alarmingly learns that Super Man has return and quickly realize that he intends to find the rockets. He then prepares to meet with Tesla before finding a guilt-ridden Diana refusing to go with him because of her indirect involvement for London's destruction. Lex leaves for Wardenclyffe on his zeppelin before contacting Germany's War Marshal Bismarck to launch the rockets in three hours as part of his plan for both America and Germany to share the outcome of the war.
Just as Lex left, Diana is confronted by the Bat-Man who asks to confide in him. Diana reveals everything to him about Lex's plans and that she was responsible for using her people's science to help create the Death Ray and the rockets that were provided to Germany. Bat-Man talks her into leading him to the Death Ray and strongly recommend her that it is time to redeem herself instead of feeling sorry.
Having arrive at Wardenclyffe, Luthor is pleased to find the Death Ray is in full operation and advise Tesla to leave as he do not "want [him] to be here for what's coming next." But Tesla insists on staying to see his work in action which Lex reluctantly accepts, but warns him not to tell anyone what he will see next.
In Germany, the League finds the rocket base and attack. Two of the rockets are launch, forcing Super Man to fly after them. The rest of the Leaguers successfully disable the other rockets. Afterwards, Plastic Man captures the base's leader and Ted Knight tells him to inform the Kaiser that the war is over.
Back at Wardenclyffe, Lex has the Death Ray charged up and ready to destroy the incoming rockets. However, Diana and Bat-Man have arrive and confront Luthor, informing him that President has issue a warrant for his arrest. Lex, however, tells them that if he is to be stop he will not be able to input the code sequence for the Death Ray to destroy the rockets from annihilating New York.
Hundreds of miles off of New York state, Super Man finds one of the rockets heads off course towards New York City. Lex gives the order to shoot the rocket, but is then informed that it is slowing down. Over the city, Super Man stops the missile with his power ring and redirect it to explode into space.
Lex manage to have the other rocket destroyed before discovering Super Man. Luthor then have the Death Ray fire at Clark. Although struck by the beam, Super Man literally beats back the beam and forcing Luthor to demand more power into the weapon. But Lex then discover that the generators are going to explode. Diana and Bat-Man have Tesla and the other people to evacuate the building. Seeing that there is nothing to stop the Death Ray's explosion, Diana willingly puts herself in harm's way to destroy the overcharged Death Ray despite Bat-Man asking her not to. Super Man quickly arrives on the scene and getting everyone to safety as the Death Ray breaks apart. Bat-Man and Super Man search through the rubble for Diana and are saddened to find her lifeless body.
Weeks later, Luthor is imprisoned and awaits his death sentence. He is visited by Super Man who wants answers for his crimes. Lex reply that he wants to be remember in history and leave a significant mark on the world. Though in the end he is vilified for being a traitor and a mass murderer, which Lex considers it was all worth it. Hearing enough of Luthor, Super Man leaves in disgust as Lex shouts out after him and asking what he will do with Hal's power ring as it is still considered to be the most powerful weapon on Earth.
In 1913, the League of Science gather at a world meeting. Clark gives a speech to the world's leaders in which he urge for the prevention of future wars and devastation, and recall what Green Arrow had question him before in their first encounter concerning "who will stand for justice?" Super Man wish that Green Arrow would be here to hear his answer as he had decided to create a Justice League of Nations, a neutral place where countries could settle their dispute diplomatically rather than on the battlefield. And to ensure the League's trust, Clark place Hal's power ring inside a special battery to be use by the JLN to stop any nation from committing an act of aggression against another.
After the inauguration of the Justice League of Nations, Super Man flies away with Lois Lane to catch up on their life as Bat-Man watches on while newspapers read of Lex Luthor’s execution.
Appearing in "Age of Wonder: Part 2"
- League of Science
- Lex Luthor (Dies)
- The Death Ray is based on the actual Wardenclyffe Tower designed by Tesla before it was torn down in 1917. The tower has been popularly feature in fiction that it was used as Tesla's Death Ray.
- Nikola Tesla is mentioned to have "kept rushing off to clean his hands." This is a reference to Tesla's excessive hygiene habits.