Divided We Fall is a Justice League storyline written by Mark Waid with illustrations by Bryan Hitch. It's part of Waid's run on the JLA series, following his arc The Queen of Fables and leading into his final arc Terror Incognita.
In the wake of Batman's expulsion from the JLA at the end of the Tower of Babel storyline, Superman discusses with Batman the problems that Batman's actions have caused for the JLA members. He recounts a recent mission.
At the Watchtower, the JLA detected crises in three different locations: people and objects defying gravity in Happy Harbor, people being turned into animalistic beasts in Mayhew, and mass hallucinations in Atlantis. The team splits up into three groups to investigate, with Martian Manhunter and Wonder Woman going to Happy Harbor, Flash and Plastic Man to Mayhew, and Aquaman and Green Lantern to Atlantis. All groups argue over the vote to expel Batman before discovering Doctor Destiny to be the source of the mayhem. They learn that his dream-self has entered the real world and is causing the areas around him to operate according to an incoherent and ever-changing dream logic. To fight him, Martian Manhunter sends the team to sleep; they locate Doctor Destiny in the realm of dreams and are able to project their own dream-selves to the real world. Although the JLA members have had difficulty trusting one another after the revelations of Batman's secret files on them, their unconscious selves do not possess this paranoia. Thus they are able to effectively work as a team to defeat Doctor Destiny, sending the dream projection back to the dream realm and confining the real Doctor Destiny to Arkham Asylum. Upon waking from their sleep, however, the mistrustfulness returns.
As part of the conversation, Superman tells Batman that he wishes the JLA did not have to lead dual lives as both superheroes and civilians. After hearing the story, Batman concludes that the way to restore the JLA's trust is for both him and Superman to reveal their secret identities to the others. They call the JLA to the Batcave and reveal that they are Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent. In the spirit of openness, the other members also shed their costumes and speak about their own civilian identities: Flash is Wally West, Green Lantern is Kyle Rayner, Martian Manhunter has used the Earth identity of John Jones, and Plastic Man is Patrick "Eel" O'Brian. Wonder Woman and Aquaman do not have secret identities.
At that moment, another Batman returns to the Batcave to discover the group and expresses confusion as to the identity of the civilians. He calls those JLA members not present to meet him at the Watchtower: Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Plastic Man. At the Watchtower, Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth and Martian Manhunter's telepathic abilities reveal that, although the civilian identities now lack the abilities they previously possessed as superheroes, none of those present are knowingly impostors. They conclude that each JLA member, except Wonder Woman and Aquaman, has been split into a civilian and a hero. The civilians leave to live their civilian lives so that the heroes can focus on protecting the planet until the cause of the phenomenon can be investigated.
Wonder Woman and Aquaman are concerned at changes in the other members of the JLA: Superman seems to be losing touch with his human side, Green Lantern resorts more quickly to force rather than creative, artistic solutions, and Plastic Man is becoming zanier and goofier. Meanwhile, the civilian identities are experiencing their own struggles: Bruce Wayne experiences rage at his parents' death for which he has no outlet, Wally West has lost his drive to help others and has become less punctual, and Eel O'Brian feels the urge to fall back into his previous life of crime.
The JLA detects a destructive force in Los Angeles, taking the form first of a landslide and then a tsunami rampaging through the city. Travelling there to combat it, they find it to be a mindless, partially resurrected Metamorpho attempting to return to his wife and his son Joey. As they fight Metamorpho, a pair of sixth-dimensional alien creatures appear and assist them by using a device on Joey that undoes his wish. The aliens call themselves the Cathexis and reveal that they are the inadvertent cause of many recent problems. They created a "sentient energy" named Id that escaped from them and is now on Earth, altering reality to fulfill people's desires. They also reveal that Id was the cause of the JLA members being split into two when Superman mentioned his wish that they not have to lead double lives.
Eel O'Brian attempts to gather the other civilian identities of the JLA so that they work out a way to become one again. John Jones, who no longer carries the burden of being the last of his species or the grief over the deaths of his Martian wife and child, initially turns him down, but is later convinced when he sees the effects that the split is having on Bruce Wayne.
In San Francisco, beauty queen Pamela Rose wishes for nobody to look at her after an attack by a jealous boyfriend leaves her with facial scars and cosmetic surgery fails to restore her appearance. As a result, Id turns everyone in the city blind. The JLA and the Cathexis are able to contain Id, but the Cathexis then betray the JLA, blowing up part of San Francisco and revealing that they wish to use Id's power to manipulate reality for their own benefit. The JLA are injured in the explosion, but their civilian identities appear to continue the fight.
Eel O'Brian is able to steal the Cathexis device for undoing wishes from the distracted aliens and use it on Superman. However, Superman does not contain enough residual energy from Id to completely undo the separation, and the split JLA members are only partially merged, left somewhat at war with themselves.
The Cathexis use Id's power to split Aquaman into a human part and a fish part. Wonder Woman successfully baits them into splitting her as well; her component parts are a clay statue and an animating "spirit of truth". Her spirit is able to touch the souls of the other members, uniting their own warring souls. The successfully merged JLA are able to harness Id's power to split the pair of 6-dimensional Cathexis into a quartet of 3-dimensional beings, who can then be defeated by being beaten up. They then wish for Id to erase the knowledge of how to construct it from the minds of the Cathexis, undo all of its other wishes, and finally commit suicide.
- This storyline is collected with The Queen of Fables in its reprinted edition.
- Justice League Recommended Reading
- Justice League of America (Volume 1)
- Justice League of America (Volume 2)
- Justice League of America (Volume 3)
- Justice League of America (Volume 4)
- Justice League of America (Volume 5)
- JLA (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 1)
- Justice League (Volume 2)
- Justice League (Volume 3)
- Justice League (Volume 4)
- Justice League International (Volume 1)
- Justice League International (Volume 2)
- Justice League International (Volume 3)
- Justice League Europe (Volume 1)
- Justice League America (Volume 1)
- Justice League Task Force (Volume 1)
- Justice League Quarterly (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 1)
- Justice League Dark (Volume 2)
- Extreme Justice (Volume 1)
- Justice League Elite (Volume 1)
- Justice League Odyssey (Volume 1)
Links and References
This event or storyline is specifically related to the Justice League of America, or to any other incarnations of the Justice League. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the Justice League Storylines category.