Spoilers ahead for this week's Justice League #27.
In Justice League #27, the Justice League knows all about the various DC “crises” — from the “infinite” ones to the “final” — and some of them even remember the events.
Superman remembers Final Crisis, and Barry Allen has suddenly remembered dying in Crisis on Infinite Earths. And the rest of the events have been recounted to them by the World Forger, who has now joined the team and is helping them recruit the Monitor and Anti-Monitor who played such important roles in former DC crises.
The issue’s events are the latest evidence that the “Rebirth” DCU is incorporating many of the post-Crisis events and memories that were lost during 2011’s "New 52" reboot.
Written by James Tynion IV with art by Javier Fernandez and Bruno Redondo, Justice League #27 continues the story that was started last year when Scott Snyder relaunched the series. The plot has featured various battles between the League and Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom, with a celestial being called Perpetua at its center.
Now the fight against Perpetua is involving her three sons: the World Forger, the Monitor and the Anti-Monitor. And memories of pre-"New 52" events are being recovered and/or confirmed as the storyline continues toward this fall’s “Doom War” event.
Let’s take a look at how events unfolded in Justice League #27 and how they outlined past DC crises while moving the story forward.
The issue begins with J’onn J’onnz reliving a nightmare. Ever since he recovered the terrible memories of Lionel Luthor kidnapping him and experimenting on him as a child, J’onn has been experiencing nightmares about it.
But this time, the experimentation is not a dream. J’onn is actually being experimented upon by Professor Ivo, with help from Amazo and in service of Lex Luthor.
Ivo explains that he began helping Lex and the Legion of Doom because they came to him with “the body of the alien Brainiac,” asking him to heal the injury in Brainiac’s skull (which he did).
As payment, Lex gave Ivo the “lifework of his father from when he was a member of Vandal Savage’s Legionnaires Club.” With this came a mission, to re-create the “Apex Predator” that Lionel pursued — a creature from Perpetua’s past that combined human and Martian DNA.
Ivo’s experiments require the death of Martian Manhunter. But before Ivo can kill him, Hawkgirl arrives, using her mace to knock off Amazo’s head.
There’s a problem … there are other versions of Amazos. In order to leave, Martian Manhunter and Hawkgirl will have to defeat an Amazo army.
A slew of other Justice League members are traveling with the World Forger to find his brothers. They begin on Nil, which Superman remembers as the place where “the monitors lived before the Final Crisis.” (Yep, Superman remembers it.)
Readers learn that the Monitor Sphere was formed with the current universal structure and it “exists at the edge of things.”
As the League members ask questions, the World Forger walks them through a very basic the history of the DCU’s crises — from the “infinite” Multiverse to its collapse into a “singular universe” to the creation of “52 universes.” During that most recent event, the original Monitor was reborn, but split into many aspects.
Readers are told that, when the Dark Multiverse rose, the original Monitor began to “re-form as his true self”: Mar Novu.
As the League is learning about this from the World Forger, the Monitor himself appears. He starts talking to the World Forger about the “Judges of the Source.” (The last time their mother Perpetua went rogue, the Judges helped the Monitor and his brothers heal the Multiverse.)
But the World Forger thinks they are now beyond the Judges’ help, saying: “Why would they heal a Multiverse that cannot heal itself, when Doom metastasizes at its heart?”
Mar Novu wants to save the Multiverse with the Justice League, but he doesn’t have hope of it succeeding. He recounts how he failed the last time he put up a fight (during Crisis on Infinite Earths). He talks about infinite worlds dying, and turns to Barry Allen to point out how the Flash felt the “chill of death.”
Barry suddenly remembers his Crisis on Infinite Earths death, or at least “echoes” of it.
So…another "New 52"-erased memory has returned.
Anyway, Monitor’s lack of hope is countered by Superman, and the World Forger admits that even he once gave up hope, but now wants to give fighting a chance.
After that pep talk, Mar Novu agrees to join the Justice League.
Next up: Qward, in the Antimatter Universe, where the League will pursue the Anti-Monitor.
Back at the Hall of Justice, Mera is monitoring the progress of the various Justice League teams, but Shayne (the son of Hawkgirl and J’onn from a now-destroyed pocket dimension) is having a crisis of existence. Starman befriends the kid, though, and helps him feel like he’s worthy of existence.
Shayne’s parents-from-another-realtiy, Hawkgirl and Martian Manhunter, destroy the Amazo army one by one. J’onn brings Kendra up to speed about the Apex Predator experiments, as they find the shells of creatures that Ivo wanted to use after he extracted J’onn’s DNA.
Kendra calls the Justice League to come gather Ivo’s experiments. But J’onn wants to keep looking for Luthor, to try to find (inside Lex) the boy who helped J’onn escape many years ago.
“Lex Luthor is dead,” Kendra says, asking J’onn to return to the Hall of Justice with her.
Above, something appears. It’s shaped like the Legion of Doom headquarters, and it’s some sort of droid. J’onn and Kendra realize they’re being watched.
As the droid approaches them, the two hear a voice. It’s Lex Luthor. They realize he’s alive.
From the droid comes an image of Lex, now in his “acolyte” body (preparing to become one of the Apex Predators, although he still needs the Martian part — Snyder described it to Newsarama as a “tadpole” stage).
Lex begins to make J’onn an offer as the issue ends. “I can give you exactly what you’re looking for,” Lex says on the final page of Justice League #27. “I can give you me.”
The end of the issue teases Lex’s “Offer,” which ties into the character’s many offers begin made in various books during the “Year of the Villain” event this summer.
The solicitation for the next issue, July 17's Justice League #28, also mentions the upcoming “Doom War” event that Snyder has promised will begin in Justice League #30.