In the back-up: …which belonged to Prince Khufu, one of the past lives of Hawkman. Back in issue #16, after Hawkman helped Gangbuster rescue Tarot, he went back to help the Trinity and got hit with some magic that made him relive all of his past lives simultaneously. Turns out, the magic made at least one of his past selves do the same thing. Khufu realizes he’s seeing into the future and that something terrible is going to happen that he must stop. He writes his visions down and puts them in the scroll case that several thousand years later ends up in the hands of Alfred.
Back in the lead: The JSI’s non-meta shock troops attack Morgaine Le Fey and Enigma, who easily repel the assault. While this is happening, Kanjar Ro steals an airship and hightails it. Meanwhile, in Gotham City, Green Arrow and Speedy disappear in a puff of smoke while Ragman is giving them a piece of his mind. Seconds later, Ragman and Tatters don’t remember anything strange happening. The female half of Firestorm tries to escape from JSI custody but gets taken down by Tomorrow Woman. That’s strange, since Tomorrow Woman is also in Metropolis fighting giant robots. In another puff of smoke, the JSI’s Tomorrow Woman disappears.
My take: Busiek & Co. decided to change up the standard issue formula here by throwing the “back-up” after the first page of the “lead” and then switching back to the lead. And as a result, this is the first issue of the series that felt like one continuous 22-page story. I actually like this method of structuring an issue better than the way they’ve been using so far.
Page 15 of this issue is another one of the “flashforward” pages that was in the first issue’s back-up story, the first one since issue #5. This is the one of Ragman and Tatters confronting Green Arrow and Speedy ove who should be protecting Gotham. Between #1 and #22, Busiek apparently decided to make Green Arrow the protector of only Gotham’s elite, which wasn’t in the original page but is in the new one.
Things to keep an eye on: While return to issue #1 to compare the duplicate pages, I noticed that the next “flashforward” page is of Enigma and Morgaine meeting Konvikt in a cave. Neither Enigma nor Morgaine appear in the god-form they’re currently in. which implies they’ll be losing these powers amd returning to they’re old tricks. And while it originally seemed strange that Despero wasn’t with them, it now makes sense since Kanjar Ro deceived the duo and is off on his own now.
It seems as though Morgaine’s spell is already beginning to deteriorate. Green Arrow and Speedy are no longer the protectors of Gotham (and now never were), and Tomorrow Woman is no longer a part of the JSI. An energy surge accompanies each shift, and the JSI seems to be on to the fact that reality is changing around them. Does this mean they’ll take Firestorm’s claims of an altered reality more seriously?