- World War III (comics)
Supercbbox| title = World War III
comic_color = background:#8080ff
date=April 18, 2007
issues = 4
Black Adam Martian Manhunter
writers = Keith Champagne
artists =Pat Oliffe
"World War III" is the title of two
comic booksagas published by DC Comicsand involving many of the superheroes of the DC Universe. The first was published in 2000 in the JLAongoing series, the second was published in 2007 as a limited series of its own.
The original "World War III" saga was a narrative arc of the
JLAseries written by Grant Morrisonand drawn by Howard Porterin 2000 (over JLA #36-40), and currently in print as the "JLA vol. 6 - World War III" paperback. This was the final arc written by Grant Morrison and provided explanation for hints dropped over his tenure about the importance of the JLA as "forerunners" in defending the Earth from an impending menace. The latter is revealed to be the cosmic entity Mageddon, an extremely ancient living weapon originally intended to be used for wars among primal cosmic gods. Mageddon had been influencing the thoughts of the population of Earth to promote a world-wide state of war, and ultimately aimed to destroy the planet. The JLA rallies the help of many heroes of the DC universe, most notably that of Aztek (a Grant Morrison creation), who is blinded and sacrifices himself in the effort; it is revealed that Mageddon, under the name of " Tezcatlipoca", was indeed the menace Aztek was originally created to oppose. Finally, the JLA is able to confer superpowers to the population of the Earth, who unite in the decisive effort to vanquish Mageddon and save the planet.
The title "World War III" was also used in 2007 for a four-issue mini-series written by
Keith Champagne(#1-2) [ [http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=97351 Keith Champagne on his two 52/WWIII One-shots] , Newsarama, January 13, 2007] and John Ostrander(#3-4), and drawn by Pat Olliffeand Tom Derenick, with covers by Ethan Van Sciver. It tells the story of Black Adam's rage against humanity after his family was murdered, and he can only be stopped when the entire superhero community rallies together. The limited series was a tie into DC's weekly comic book series, "52", occurring on "Week 50" of the series, which takes place during the missing year following " Infinite Crisis". Indeed, "52" was inititally conceived to explain many of the drastic changes that occurred in the DC Universe during that missing year; however, the series ultimately evolved in a different direction, focusing on its own cast of characters, and consequently, "World War III" was conceived to revisit the original intent of the series and explain the changes that occurred. ["52" Week 50 editorial text]
Five weeks before the main events of the series,
Martian Manhuntertries to telepathically fight Black Adamfollowing his near obliteration of Bialya, but is overwhelmed by his darkest memory and flees into space, from where he will observe the upcoming battle, which is narrated through his point of view.
During week 50, Black Adam rampages all over the planet, killing many innocent citizens, leaving destruction and disease behind him. For example, the
Leaning Tower of Pisais destroyed and many in the city are slain.
Father Time unsuccessfully tries to stop him on American shores and his face is ripped off for his efforts (though he survives). In retaliation for the attack, Black Adam throws an aircarft carrier at
New York City.
Firestorm is forced out of retirement, along with Firehawk. Combined, the two turn the ship into snow.
Nightwing(hinted to be Jason Toddwhile in the role by his ruthlessness) battles a gang of looters; his dialogue hints he kills them; he is later seen with their money.
In the meantime, J'onn observes Supergirl return from the 31st century. Unstable from the time travel she passes through J'onn. Her form stabilizes as she plunges to Earth.
Every hero then tries to do his best in his respective roles, with
Harvey Dentdefending Gotham from Killer Croc, the Doom Patroltrying to halt Black Adam's rampage in Pisa and Donna Troytaking over Wonder Woman's mantle. In Sub Diegothe effects of the Geiss serum are wearing off, turning the population into air-breathers again, except for Aquagirland a few others, who asks for the help of Aquaman. The latter confers with the sea-gods, Poseidonand Triton, asking for the power to save the Subdiegoans. The gods, while denying any involvement with the aquatic humans' fate, grants Aquaman powers, with a ritual meant to give him the power of the "dark gods" of Atlantis, involving his new aquatic hand and the bones of his severed former one. Aquaman succeeds in raising back a big portion of Sub Diego, saving his inhabitants, but he's transfigured in a monstrous, amnesiac and almost mad form, the "Dweller in the Depths".
J'onn continues following Black Adam's trail, distracting his thoughts from the Justice Society, once again united to give aid to the suffering populace. He finds him battling the
Teen Titans, asking vengeance for their supposed betrayal of Osiris. Over the course of two confrontations, he kills Young Frankenstein and Terra, This causes J'onn to come back to Earth, and alerts Checkmate. Kate Spencer's cover as Manhunter is almost blown, still her pursuing of the greater good convinced J'onn to enact another step in his maturation: he goes to his former police district as John Jones, revealing himself to his former friends, and burning his former detective agency to the ground to prevent himself from ever assuming a disguise again.
Finally Black Adam is delayed in China by the
Great Ten. At first, the assembled heroes can do nothing, as China has promised to fire its nuclear missiles if they cross the Great Wall of China. Finally, Justice Societyand the other superheroes are allowed to join in battle. J'onn himself shows up, fighting actively with Adam, and using his link with him to fill his mind with images from the destruction of Marsand from every death he has caused during "World War III". Black Adam is halted for a few minutes, just the time needed for Captain Marvelto force a magic lightning bolt on him, turning Black Adam back to Teth-Adam and changing his magic word into an unknown one. This lightning also wounds J'onn, who nevertheless is able to awake in his One Year Laterform, freed from the forced link with Adam's mind, but willing to rethink his whole life as a Martian being on Earth, and no more an alien being pretending to be as human as possible.
From their satellite base, the Monitors declare the end of "World War III", intended as the war of one man against the whole world, but they do express fear for an even darker event looming over Earth.
"52" Week 50 and the entire four-issue "World War III"
limited serieswere collected as the DC: World War III trade paperback(ISBN 1401215041) in 2007.
World War III in popular culture
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