Spoilers ahead for Justice League #1.
There's a whole new Justice League in the DCU, and this one's racing against time to save the world from The Totality, a burst of cosmic energy from the Source Wall that's rocketing toward Earth and bringing with it a mysterious message.
By the end of the issue, Martian Manhunter is established as the chairman of the Justice League; Lex Luthor is established as a bald … er bad guy again (leading a new Legion of Doom, no less); and writer Scott Snyder has again introduced a slew of new mysteries into the DCU that appear to span time and space.
The issue, drawn by Jim Cheung, also gives serious weight to a doorknob (no, really - it's a doorknob), which is used by Lex Luthor as a weapon and appears to be linked to the energies of the Totality that just might hold a key to the future of the Multiverse.
So how does this all happen in one issue? Let's take a look…
Space and Time
The issue starts with something pretty daunting. There is some type of glowing comet thing hurtling through space and time. It's called "The Totality" (as the issue's story title announces).
This thing can be seen 85,000 years from now by Hourman III and Kal Kent/Superman of the 853rd Century. It can be seen 85,000 years in the past by the Monitor. It is seen 5,000 years from now by Kamandi and Dr. Canus. And it is seen now by immortal characters like Ganthet, Hera, and Phantom Stranger (the new Quintessence?), who call it "the beginning and the end" (but decide that it cannot be stopped).
Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., there's a new Hall of Justice, shaped like the one from Super Friends but with cool new additions, including a trophy room, costume display case and secret doors that you can only utilize if you're connected telepathically with Martian Manhunter. (And there are some interesting costumes included, including the original Blue Beetle and Gypsy.)
The issue introduces a symbol for the Justice League, a series of blue lines that's shaped like the Hall of Justice, and the symbol glows on one of the secret doorknobs in the back of the Hall.
While citizens of Earth are mingling in the lobby of the Hall of Justice, the Leaguers are off fighting "Neoanderthals," beings who are attacking the Earth from beneath the Earth, from the skies above, and from below the sea. But various heroes stop them, all communicating (and joking) telepathically, thanks to J'onn J'onnz.
After the Earth's surface begins to break apart, J'onn realizes that the moon's molten iron ring has become a cyclotron to pull the Earth's crust. J'onn decides to shapeshift and strike the moon at full speed, potentially sacrificing himself but hopefully stopping the Neanderthal attack.
Kra-Koom. The moon blows up.
And Neoanderthals mean…
Back on Earth, Vandal Savage realizes the moon has been eliminated. The "Neoanderthals" were engineered by him for this attack. He's not deterred by the destruction of the moon, because this is only stage one of his plan.
And he announces that he's forming a new Injustice Gang.
But wait… Lex Luthor walks into Vandal's headquarters and stops him.
"I'm here to tell you that all your plans will fail, Savage, because you chose justice," Lex Luthor says, wearing his green and purple armor.
Lex knows what Vandal has "hidden" from humans, "the darkest secret in the universe," what the Source Wall really was and what was inside it.
There's a knock on the door to Vandal's hideaway, and Lex opens the door.
He announces that the Injustice Gang was a stupid concept for this moment. What it really needed was…
A Legion. And it includes Sinestro, Gorilla Grodd, the Joker, Cheetah, and Black Manta.
In the middle of the issue, there's a flashback to Martian Manhunter's last moments on Mars with his family, just before his people were all killed. In those finals moments, J'onn was trying to get his family to sever their connections to the "Great Mind." But the plan didn't go well. J'onn watched his family burn.
After J'onn remembers this moment, he calls a sudden meeting of the Justice League.
And where does the Justice League meet so suddenly?
In the Psychic Boardroom, of course.
They all sit on the perimeter of a round table with the symbol in the middle that was seen earlier on the doorknob. But J'onn reveals that the symbol isn't just the shape of the Hall of Justice. It's also the Martian symbol for justice.
J'onn reveals that, when he was gone for all those years from the Justice League, he was searching for answers about the "spark" that burned the people of his home world. He describes how each of them died alone because they were no longer connected. That's why it's his mission to connect the Justice League to each other.
J'onn reveals to the Justice League that there's a Totality racing toward Earth, the one seen earlier in the issue that traversed space and time.
According to J'onn, the Totality is basically the heart of the Source Wall, and inside it is a message that might give anyone who decodes it limitless power, or it could kill everyone.
And it's only three minutes away from crashing into Earth.
The message is architectural in form, and as Cyborg tries to access it, he sees red lines. But he cannot decipher it.
Batman contacts John Stewart, wanting him to stop the Totality by constructing a super-gun and firing a super-bullet at it. (The bullet contains a miniaturized omniversal wormhole encased in tenth metal … because of course it does.)
But the Justice League argues about whether the Totality should be stopped. After all, the Multiverse seems to be dying and all this weird stuff keeps happening since the Source Wall was destroyed. Maybe the Totality's message can help the Justice League learn more about the Source Wall.
Batman says there's a myth on New Genesis that the Source Wall was our incubator, and when our universe was ready, a messenger would come through with a code to evolve the universe.
After giving a speech about how inspirational the Justice League is, J'onn calls a vote. Do they try to destroy the Totality? Or do they try to understand it?
But just as they're starting to vote to attempt communicating with the Totality, J'onn hears a voice shrieking in his head….
Because at that moment, Lex Luthor is killing Vandal Savage.
His weapon? A doorknob, which he says "requires an inner vision" to even see.
The doorknob "was the key," Lex tells Vandal. "It also happens to be made of the only thing that can kill you."
After Vandal begs Lex to stop pursuing the truth that's "too horrible" to discover, Lex pummels him with the doorknob.
Vandal's mind reaches out to Martian Manhunter, "casting out all its secrets."
J'onn loses connection to the rest of the Justice League, but he sees visions of the past and future, including some cryptic hints about what might be coming in the pages of Justice League. Included is an image of Lex apparently killing a costumed character that looks like it's the classic Starman, Ted Knight, who in former continuities was a member of the Justice Society of America. (This death would stink for Starman fans. Just sayin'. Vandal's immortal. He'll probably be back. Ted, not so much. Then again, they'd have to introduce Ted to this continuity, which would be cool.)
The visions end with Martian Manhunter realizing that the Multiverse was "built over an unseen door, a secret." And this secret doesn't look good.
J'onn realizes that, with the arrival of The Totality, the door has been unlocked.
It's too late to change it, so J'onn just hopes that whatever's inside the Totality is good. But he senses that the "lines" that were inside the signal point away from justice and instead point toward doom.
Sure enough, Lex holds up the blood-covered doorknob and says out loud, "Oh, J'onn. Here we go. In three… two… one…"
And boom. The Totality hits Earth. Was it harnessed by Lex and his doorknob? Or is this problem bigger than any single door?
The last page teases for next issue - Next: Doom on Earth, coming in June 20's Justice League #2.
And if you can't wait, you can read Newsarama's interview with Scott Snyder from earlier Wednesday breaking down the big events of this issue - and what's to come.