"Paradise Lost": Stargirl finds herself in a field of grass next to the prone body of the Martian Manhunter, and through her confusion, she attempts to contact his mind, in hopes that he knows just what happened following the [[C
- How do you break out of a prison... that adapts? Where powers are irrelevant.
Synopsis for "Paradise Lost"
Stargirl finds herself in a field of grass next to the prone body of the Martian Manhunter, and through her confusion, she attempts to contact his mind, in hopes that he knows just what happened following the Crime Syndicate's attack. As the martian wakes, he admits that he doesn't know much more than she does. Examining their surroundings, J'onn realizes that they are within some kind of construct, which a voice from nearby clarifies is a prison. It is the voice of Jason Rusch, who explains that they are just the most recent inmates of a high-tech prison created just for them. Currently, they are in what he believes is the outer layer of the prison, from which they can get to any other part of the prison. The other heroes, though, are too messed up to escape, and the only way out, Jason thinks, is down.
Hurriedly, Jason leads J'onn to a trap door in the middle of the field, which opens into a tunnel. J'onn warns Courtney to stay behind, and come for him if he does not respond or return in an hour. Together, Jason and J'onn open a hatch into a lowe level, where the surrounds appear to be a war-torn Themyscira, where the Amazons and Wonder Woman are locked in bloody battle with the military. Reaching out to the princess mentally, J'onn is disoriented by something strange within her mind. Weakly, Diana explains that the Amazons have captured Steve Trevor, while the mortals have captured Superman. She is paralyzed between two worlds and two men. As a warrior, she is ashamed of herself for having such a base emotional reaction, and rushes away from the martian. Worried, J'onn warns Stargirl to maintain her position, as each prison seems tailored to prey on their weakest points, and he does not wish her to suffer the same fate.
Jason leads J'onn further down into a recreation of Fawcett City, where he finds Shazam destroying everything. Sensing the dichotomy of child wrestling with man inside the man's head, J'onn realizes that the child is winning. Because everything just comes back after he destroys it, Billy feels no inclination to stop causing mayhem. With all his strength, this is hardly a prison for Shazam, but because he loves it, he has no desire to escape. As J'onn gives up, and leaves with Jason, he realizes that this prison must be designed with otherworldly technology that reacts to each inmate in a unique way - by adapting.
Their next stop is the Flash's cell, where he lists all of the numerous things he did all in one morning. As he tells his story, J'onn notices the room vibrating, and realizes that the Flash hasn't actually gone anywhere today - he merely thinks he did, because he's imagining at light speed. Flash is in a prison just like them.
J'onn moves on to the next level, and Jason stays behind, warily. The martian recognizes this cell as that of Superman. Approaching the Kryptonian, he begs for help, explaining that they're in a prison. Superman responds that he knows they're in a prison, but a prison of guilt. After he brought about the death of Dr. Light, he has felt so guilty that he wants to turn back time by flying faster than the speed of light. Sadly, J'onn understands that even the strongest man can be susceptible to guilt, admitting to himself that he identifies with that guilt.
With his guide gone, J'onn continues without him, noting that the mysterious man pursuing him has no thoughts for him to sense. Aware that it may all be a trap, he decides it would be best to just spring it. He finds himself next at the edge of a great crater, where Simon Baz, the Green Lantern crouches at the epicentre. When J'onn approaches, Simon earns that the people expected this of him. They had been suspicious of him, assuming that he was a terrorist because of his ethnicity - so he had given in to their expectations. Obviously, the Lantern regrets his actions, and J'onn assures him that he has done nothing wrong. All of this is an illusion.
Suddenly, Courtney calls out to J'onn, claiming to have found a way out on her level. Stepping through an illusory wall, she finds herself in the real world, and thinking that, perhaps, she was better off back inside.
Appearing in "Paradise Lost"
- Crime Syndicate (Flashback only)
- Secret Society
- Dr. Light (Dies in flashback)
- Amazons (As an illusion only)
- Captain Cold (As an illusion only)
- Rhode Island
- Happy Harbor (Flashback only)
- Washington, D.C.
- Themyscira (As an illusion only)
- Cover gallery for the Justice League of America series
- Images from Justice League of America Vol 3 8