"Dark Arts": Having travelled through the prison designed for his companions in the Justice Leagues, Martian Manhunter has learned that while there are walls surrounding them, it is their weaknesses that are imprisoning them. [[Simon Baz (Prime Earth)|Green
- Hearts of virgins... blood of innocents... only ting... gods, forgive me... Madame Xanadu has become evil to fight evil...
Synopsis for "Dark Arts"
Having travelled through the prison designed for his companions in the Justice Leagues, Martian Manhunter has learned that while there are walls surrounding them, it is their weaknesses that are imprisoning them. Green Lantern, for example, is plagued by paranoia that the people of the world are ungrateful and racist toward him for being a Muslim. Though J'onn's guide, Jason Rusch has disappeared, the Martian is aware of another presence following him on his journey.
That journey next takes him to the prison designed for Madame Xanadu, and the horrors he sees there leave him speechless. Worriedly, Stargirl promises to come for him, but he warns her away. Xanadu has been trying to use magic to escape her plight, but none of the usual channels has worked. So, she has turned to dark magic instead; becoming evil to fight evil. Rather than stick around for that, J'onn decides to move on, continuing to warn Courtney away from following him.
Courtney, meanwhile, can no longer hear his messages, and decides that she must go to his aid, considering that she is the only one who seems to be able to get out of the prison without going mad. Mad like Wonder Woman has gone. Fortunately, Wonder Woman recognizes her and warns her that she ought not to be there, and protects her from the oncoming horde of demons as she moves on to the next prison cell. As she does so, she wonders when her compatriots will stop warning her about what not to do, and let her show them what she can do. She begins to recall how she discovered a mysterious chest in her step-dad Pat's room, and realizes suddenly that this reverie is part of whatever sinister trap nearly caught J'onn earlier. Resuming her focus, she presses on.
J'onn, meanwhile, has found Aquaman's prison, which torments him with visions of an ocean polluted and acid rain falling from the sky. Angrily, he declares that anything that walks on two legs will die for the mass extinction of the creatures of the sea - and that includes J'onn. Using his intangibility to his advantage, J'onn remains safe, but he is disheartened by how little any of the people he has met thus far have been willing to listen to reason. Even so, the next cell lies beneath him, and he senses only one more psyche is left to meet.
Courtney next arrives in Shazam's prison, but she is unimpressed by his obvious joy at the power to destroy everything, and moves on without much delay. Between there and the next cell, she remembers finding the Cosmic Staff in Pat's chest, and discovered its power. Realizing that she now had the ability to become a super-hero, she decided that was exactly what she would do. Once again, she shakes the memory from her mind, and continues her journey.
J'onn discovers that his final destination is his own prison - a world full of fire. The mysterious figure that had been following him calls out from afar, and J'onn seeks to uncover his identity. Surprisingly, the figure is him. Like all of the others, J'onn is complicit in building his own prison. The double taunts him, pointing out that with all his power, he could do nothing to save his planet from destruction. For all his effort - for all his power - J'onn is merely spinning his wheels. His prison is to watch his friends suffer, and be powerless to stop it. J'onn admits that this is true, but points out that whomever his captor really is, they have failed to ensnare one of his friends. One who is not ruled by anger, fear, guilt, or pride. She is the one of their number who possesses a trait that cannot be bent to the jailer's will - the same trait that her allies have tried to suppress: her youth, her optimism that good will prevail.
Having travelled through the other prisons with ease, Stargirl finds her way to J'onn's prison, and finds him at the mercy of his captor. With the aid of her staff, she blasts the enemy away, and helps J'onn to his feet. As she drags him up through all of the other prisons, she explains that the entire prison is an illusion, and if he'd just listened to her from the beginning, he would have found that it was as simple as walking out.
Appearing in "Dark Arts"
- Cover gallery for the Justice League of America series
- Images from Justice League of America Vol 3 9