"Balance": Aquaman and Zatanna capture the dangerous Captain Squidd and Killer Whale. Though Aquaman has been working hard on such things recently. Reporter Tully Reed, now working for the newsroom at ABS Cable News, senses a story in this - something's driving Aquaman to spend so much time on t
- We all have losses in our lives. We all have things demanding our time. The question is -- what priority are we willing to give the League? Maybe we all need to reevaluate our commitment.
- — Aquaman
Synopsis for "Balance"
Aquaman and Zatanna capture the dangerous Captain Squidd and Killer Whale. Though Aquaman has been working hard on such things recently. Reporter Tully Reed, now working for the newsroom at ABS Cable News, senses a story in this - something's driving Aquaman to spend so much time on the surface world. Soon, the heroes of the Justice League (though distracted by trials, jobs, and general life of one kind or another), investigate various sensor anomalies which seem to suggest the presence of alien fleets and crash-landings. As each sees nothing immediately, it is assumed that nothing is there.
Batman quit the Justice League, feeling that the group isn't getting as much done as it should; Aquaman wonders how committed the rest of the heroes are to the League. As the aliens which the League failed to detect begin to hatch their plans, Elongated Man pays a visit to Aquaman, who seems somewhat tense. As Elongated Man learns that Aquaman has resigned the throne of Atlantis, they are interrupted by Tully Reed and then by a distress call from Martian Manhunter and Zatanna on the League's satellite. Zatanna gets to Earth and the others as quickly as possible, while J'onn begins to confront the alien fleet which has now made its presence felt.
J'onn warns the others to get below the water. Zatanna arranges for herself, Elongated Man and Reed to breathe and they follow Aquaman to Atlantis. Just in time, for the world is then hit by mind mines, which neutralize everyone above the surface for 24 hours. On an alien ship, J'onn discovers that the attackers are called the Debris, a collection of sentients who have no home and can find none. A violent faction has decided it's time to take a home by force, but J'onn soon finds those who are unwilling to do this.
Beneath the ocean, Tully Reed is beginning to learn about the humanity of his heroes: Aquaman has lost his son and possibly his wife, and Zatanna is weakened by her spell-casting, yet carries on. The heroes decide to summon Green Lantern, the strongest-willed person they know and free him of the influence of the mind-mines. He, Elongated Man and Aquaman will then strike at the Debris above water as hard and fast as possible, while Zatanna works with Atlantean spells to free the rest of Earth's population. This, combined with J'onn's efforts, sets things to rights, and the Debris are found a home by the Green Lantern Corps.
After this, Aquaman calls an emergency meeting of the JLA's founder members: he is not happy that the League failed to spot the warning signs of the Debris' presence. Accordingly he dissolves the League, explaining that since the world depends on the Justice League, its members should give it their top priority. Green Lantern is angered by the suggestion, and the Flash and Black Canary have personal crises (a trial and a bereavement) which prevent them from making the commitment at the present moment. J'onn, however, will stay, and assures Aquaman that others will join them.
Tully Reed later reflects on these events, the scoop that earned him his own office. He is angered that some call the new line-up (Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Elongated Man, Zatanna and four newcomers) a "Junior Justice League" - four of them just saved the world, and the others no doubt have a lot of potential.
Appearing in "Balance"
- Justice League of America
- Captain Marvel (Cameo)
- Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson) (Cameo)
- Green Lantern (Alan Scott) (Cameo)
- Gypsy (Cameo)
- Hawkgirl (Cameo)
- Hawkman (Cameo)
- Katma Tui (Cameo)
- Kilowog (Cameo)
- Mister Miracle (Scott Free) (Cameo)
- Power Girl (Cameo)
- Red Star (Cameo)
- Starman (Ted Knight) (Cameo)
- Steel (Hank Heywood III) (Cameo)
- Tomar-Re (Cameo)
- Vibe (Cameo)
- Captain Squidd (First appearance)
- Koll (First appearance)
- The Debris (First appearance)
- Tully Reed
- Whaleboy (First appearance)
- Aquababy (in a tombstone)
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Gotham City
- Earth's Moon
- Justice League Satellite
- In Earth-One continuity, the events from this storyline originally comprised the Earth/Mars War. Due to numerous retcon changes in Martian Manhunter's history however, the Martian fleet were replaced by the Debris, in an effort to re-assert the Martian Manhunter in the role of "Last Son of Mars".
- While in Australian Outback, Flash mentions that he should be on trial for murder of the man who killed his wife in 30 seconds. This is an allusion to The Flash: The Trial of the Flash storyline.
- Green Arrow (Oliver Queen) was originally part of the Earth/Mars War storyline, but is not included in the Post-Crisis revamp version.
- Reference is made to Black Canary (Dinah Drake Lance) in this issue: Black Canary II mentions that her mother died a few weeks ago; this was in Secret Origins (Volume 2) #50, but that story happened obviously soon after Crisis on Infinite Earths; The story on this issue shows a adventure ocurred circa one year before Crisis.
- The tagline for this issue is "Descent".