Spoilers ahead for Justice League #3.
While all eyes were on Batman and Catwoman's marriage, this week's Justice League #3 by Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez were giving Sinestro some new continuity linked to a brand new Green Lantern concept, the Invisible Emotional Spectrum.
The issue also emphasized the "Seven Hidden Forces" that Lex Luthor announced in issue #2, including two that have been revealed so far: The Still Force (which is a mysterious part of the Speed Force), and the Invisible Emotional Spectrum.
Although the Still Force is still a bit of a mystery (and it involves a weird baby, no less), the Invisible Spectrum got big explanation in this issue, including a couple flashbacks that linked its existence to both Sinestro and John Stewart.
What we learned about the Invisible Spectrum this issue:
- The Invisible Emotional Spectrum has a central power battery of sorts, but it's a living phantom galaxy powered by a sentient black sun called Umbrax. This planet is drawn toward areas where self-destructive forces are strongest. It surrounds them and, after animating them with its energy, pulls them into its galaxy.
- Sinestro hunted for the Invisible Emotional Spectrum in his pre-Green Lantern days, but he didn't want to unleash it. At the time, he recognized its danger and wanted the power to stay locked away.
- After John Stewart connects with the energy of the Invisible Spectrum, it controls John Stewart as much as he controls it.
- Harnessing the energy of the Invisible Spectrum allows John to see the negative hidden emotions that are "inside every living being," including himself.
- The Invisible Spectrum gives John the power to drain emotions like shame and hatred from the people he's fighting, using those emotional energies to form a monstrous construct. (This explains why Snyder told Newsarama that the Invisible Spectrum story would be about "the things that we find beneath the surface that we don't like about ourselves when we go digging for the truth.")
- The spectrum's power is controlled without the use of a ring, although the power seems to center on a ring-shaped design that appears on the user's finger, along with similar markings on the user's face and neck. As Snyder explained to Newsarama, these markings on John specifically represent things that happened in John's past, including Xanshi and the events of Cosmic Odyssey.
Besides focusing on the Invisible Emotional Spectrum and the Still Force, Justice League #3 also furthered the part of the plot involving a mysterious Totality that crashed to Earth, something that Martian Manhunter and Superman are investigating up close.
Let's take a look at spoilers for issue #3, how they explained the Invisible Emotional Spectrum, and what other information might be gleaned from what happened...
Sinestro's New Past
The story begins with a flashback, reinforcing the idea from last issue that young Thaal Sinestro wore his purple and black duds for a reason, one that connected to his search for the Invisible Emotional Spectrum. This issue establishes that the suit is made of "ancient fibers described in lost tomes to channel unseen energy."
In this new back-story, Sinestro's pre-Green Lantern days were spent exploring the universe, looking for historical artifacts.
According to the issue, this young, adventurous Sinestro studied history to gain "control over nature" and "keep the past in the past."
In a flashback, readers are shown a moment when young Sinestro uncovered something during his explorations that pointed toward "Umbrax."
But before Sinestro could fully understand the discovery, he was confronted by a "streak of green light" that changed his life.
And we all know what that streak of green light was…
Back in the present, John Stewart is still confronting the Justice League, declaring himself the leader of the Ultraviolet Corps, even citing an oath that hails the power of "unseen light."
As the Justice League fights him, they're not having much luck. Arthur tries to communicate with the "primitive impulses" that have taken control of John's mind. Flash tries to outrun the constructs. And Wonder Woman tries to break through the constructs with her golden lasso.
It's no use. John's new-found power is legit and can't be broken.
John screams that "flesh is weak," and he drains the energies of shame and hatred from his former teammates, apparently using them to create a sort of constructed monster to fight against the League.
But Cyborg shows up and defeats John, knocking him out with "irradiated ozone" that brings him out of his trance.
Inside the Totality
OK, so remember the team that walked into the protective shell that had been formed around the Totality that crashed into the Earth in issue #1?
To review, the team is Superman and Martian Manhunter, only they've got a couple people riding inside their bloodstream — namely, Batman inside Superman and Hawkgirl inside Martian Manhunter.
And, lest we forget, a miniaturized Lex Luthor is also secretly swimming around inside Superman.
As we pick up their story, Clark and J'onn are fighting some weird-looking creatures. They realize that the monsters are being "devolved" by the Totality itself, and Superman and Martian Manhunter can feel the Totality trying to do the same thing to them on a molecular level.
Inside their bodies, the molecular attack is even more obvious. Hawkgirl is fighting mutagens and, as a last resort, reluctantly unleashes some type of weapon called "the White Dwarf." She says it'll kill lots of Martian Manhunter's brain cells, and although Batman says they'll grow back, Hawkgirl's worried they might grow back mutated.
There's a lovely thought.
Hawkgirl is convinced that the mutagens weren't just attacking brain cells; they were attacking her. Batman questions that logic, but Hawkgirl points out that they're dealing with "an energy older than the universe."
Lex, who's tailing the Bat-pod through Superman's brain, can hear the discussion.
And inside Hawkgirl's pod, the Joker emerges from his hidden location, now standing right behind her.
This is not good.
More New Continuity
When John wakes up inside the Hall of Justice (under the care of Mr. Terrific), he's a little dazed, but he's back in control of himself.
And when the Leaguers ask him what happened earlier, he starts informing his teammates about the Invisible Spectrum, saying that "while you control the Invisible Spectrum … it controls you."
Then he adds a bit of history to what we already learned.
Specifically, Sinestro wasn't the only one who discovered the Invisible Spectrum in the past. John Stewart also found out about its power when he was searching for a way to bring back Xanshi, the planet destroyed by actions that John blames on himself.
"I found a book describing a spectrum," John says. "The book was one man's mission to make sure it was never unlocked."
Is it Hawkman, writing about the Dark Multiverse in his journal?
Nope, this time it was Sinestro. He had a journal too, and this one warned about the Invisible Spectrum.
(The two of them should form a journal-writing club, eh?)
Anyway, Sinestro's old book said the Spectrum's heart is a "living phantom galaxy powered by a sentient black sun called Umbrax." This planet is drawn toward areas where self-destructive forces are strongest. It surrounds them and, after animating them with its energy, pulls them into its galaxy.
Cyborg theorizes that Sinestro is feeding Umbrax primitive planets somewhere at the Outer Rim. And if he feeds it enough, he could create a whole army of Invisible Spectrum Corps members.
Sinestro's book also said the Invisible Spectrum was tie to six other hidden forces of the universe, all of them locked by some cosmic status that had to be accessed.
(This echoes what Lex Luthor announced to his Legion of Doom in the last issue, about "Seven Hidden Forces.")
The Flash realizes that the "Still Force" is one of these seven forces. (Also something Lex confirmed last issue when he introduced a mysterious baby who could mess with the Still Force.)
The team divides up, with one half looking for Umbrax and the other searching for the source of the Still Force disturbance.
The team that's already inside the Totality's protective shell notice that attacks are slowing. But as they near the center, they see that the wall of the Totality is made up of beings, all stacked upon each other and projecting something from their eyes. Martian Manhunter senses a message within their minds.
He reaches out, both physically and telepathically, and receives a vision of his home world's destruction.
The beings awaken, and one threatens to destroy Martian Manhunter.
The team that's going after the Still Force discovers the Legion of Doom's headquarters. Aquaman says the technology is ancient Atlantean. Flash notices a line of man-sized tubes contain some White Martians, although they look even more primitive than the ones he's seen before.
The Martians jump out of their tubes and attack Wonder Woman, The Flash and Aquaman.
Remember the Moon?
Out in space, the fragments of the moon are floating in the Earth's orbit. (Remember that the moon was destroyed by the Justice League in the first issue when they were staving off an attack.) Cyborg finds some of his tech in the remains of the Justice League Watchtower, and although he uses it to track Umbrax, he can't find the mysterious black sun and galaxy.
Just then, Sinestro attacks. He claims that his motives for locating Umbrax were originally the same as they'd always been — to lock away the Invisible Spectrum. But when he saw where Umbrax was drawn to, he changed his mind.
And what self-destructive area of the universe could attract Umbrax?
It is Earth.
"The Invisible Spectrum is already here," Sinestro says, the Umbrax system shown looming in space nearby. "And Earth just joined its ranks."