Before we delve back into the insanity of what passed as a story in Extreme Justice, let’s look at what the various characters were up to when they weren’t baring their teeth and looking in-your-face. Captain Atom and Blue Beetle finally came to an understanding and started to get along. Firestorm ended up getting suspended from the team after his drinking problem got out of control. As for Amazing Man and Maxima, the two of them started to grow towards each other. Though at first, Amazing Man was offended due to the fact that Maxima only seemed to be interested after he powered up from his fight with Monarch’s quantum beasts. Also, there was this…
Maxima admitted that she was still culture-shocked from being on Earth. Almerac was advanced to the point that there was only one race and culture, so she was interested in a world with diversity. Amazing Man decided to start teaching her Earth customs in the form of books, music and television. During their look at TV, Maxima stumbled onto the porn channel, which immediately piqued her interests. Being from a planet that only believed in sex for the process of fertilization, she wasn’t quite prepared for… well, something X-rated.
Ah, fun. I can talk about Maxima and pornography all day, but I got a job to do and that job is discussing the Wonder Twins. Because, you see, I hate myself.
The Wonder Twins were teleported to Mount Thunder and tossed to Extreme Justice for mysterious reasons. Skeets acted as a translator, allowing Extreme Justice and the Twins to communicate. They explained that they came from the planet Exor and were two of the world’s ten element-based superheroes. They escaped due to their disagreement with the world’s newfound use of slavery. They stole a weapon called the Flesh-Driver and escaped to Earth.
The Flesh-Driver, as it turned out, was what Beetle used to fashion Booster’s armor. Normally it would eat off of his strength, but due to his special DNA, he was immune. The Wonder Twins were going to have to fight the other eight heroes from their planet as part of a ritual. If they won, they would get to have their say in their planet’s future. Extreme Justice joined their cause, making it a solid 8 vs. 8.
The other Exorians had similar but different powers of Zan and Jayna. Different guys could turn into things like sound waves, electricity, fire, etc. Zan still had his water powers from the cartoons while Jayna could turn into any animal in the universe. Sadly, she spent half the time transforming into Gleek. Christ.
The good guys won the fight and the Wonder Twins abolished slavery on Exor. They let Booster keep the Flesh-Driver and joined Extreme Justice for absolutely no reason. The series lasted only two more issues, so all they did was eat a lot and act like Balky from Perfect Strangers.
Now it’s time for the grand finale. Towards the end, we started seeing scenes of a shadowy figure hanging out in a secret swamp headquarters. Over time, he started to recruit random super-villains to join his cause. After all, with the Wonder Twins in the comic, it would only be fitting to include the nefarious Legion of Doom!
The members of the team were:
Killer Frost: Even though Firestorm was gone from the team, they still used one of his main villains. I honestly only know of her from the Justice League cartoon and the Deadshot mini-series from a couple years back. She seems fine to me.
Gorilla Grodd: Now here we go! Grodd is an awesome villain and as Flash put it, the only one to ever actually give him nightmares. He also helped create Zoom and you can’t argue with that. Though, as I’ll get to later, there was a bit more to his inclusion.
The Madmen: The Madmen were Blue Beetle villains that just acted like Joker/Creeper clones, just as a team. Here there were only two members and neither seemed very mad. In fact, they were just about as ineffective as a couple of costumed henchmen from Adam West Batman.
Houngan: I’ve never heard of the guy, but apparently he was a Teen Titans villain who dabbled in “cyber voodoo”. Good enough.
Major Force: Here’s a heavy hitter. Force is basically the anti-Captain Atom and a guy with a habit of making Kyle Rayner’s life a living hell. As a member of the Legion of Doom, it wasn’t Major Force himself at the mental wheel, but his body going by instinct like a zombie. Whee.
And then there was the leader. He stayed in shadow until the penultimate issue. Our heroes went after the Legion of Doom as a preemptive strike and met their opponents. It was then when the mastermind showed himself.
But who was he?
Was it Monarch II, who wanted revenge for his earlier defeat? Sorry, no.
Was it Dirk Davis, who swore he’d be back when Booster had security pull him away? Still no.
What about Oberon? Maybe he had some kind of beef with the team. Nope. Not even Oberon.
So who was our mystery guest?
It’s Brainwave Jr.
Oh, well, I guess that makes sense. After all, isn’t he the one who– …wait.
I looked him up. He was some member of the 80’s team Infinity Inc. I’m… I’m sorry, blood just leaked out my ears. I can’t comprehend the decision to make this guy the mysterious leader of the Legion of Doom. Did the writer just decide to literally make it the last person you would ever expect? Were his other choices Big Sir and White Rabbit? Did he at least realize that Brainwave Jr. probably should’ve been mentioned or alluded to at least once during this entire comic series?
God, what the fuck? What the ever-loving fuck?
Since he’s got crazy mind powers, he ended up fighting the super-psychic Maxima. Captain Atom took on Major Force, natch. Amazing Man fought Houngan as the Wonder Twins tangled with Killer Frost. Blue Beetle took on the Madmen, which ended with a really random aside.
Uh… huh. Meanwhile, Carnage showed up in Metropolis to give Parasite his bitching chicken recipe.
With all those Extreme Justice/Legion of Doom match-ups, that left Booster Gold to fight Gorilla Grodd. Wait, hold on. Here we have a gambling football player from the future with tentacles and talking armor taking on a talking gorilla psychic with a taste for human flesh and a serious Hitler complex. No, no, no. That isn’t fucked up enough for Extreme Justice. Nah… maybe if they… uh…
Ah! There we go! Have Gorilla Grodd be revealed as a robot with absolutely no explanation whatsoever! I love this series!
Mind-blowing weirdness aside, the final battle wasn’t a bad melee. There were some neat bits, like Amazing Man absorbing cold iron to defeat Houngan (in some legends, cold iron is magic’s main weakness). Booster Gold got knocked out, but Skeets took control of the armor and started kicking ass all over the place. Maxima got her second wind, showing that while Brainwave Jr.’s psychic abilities had a stronger immediate force, Maxima was just more disciplined and had far better endurance. The villains were defeated and Extreme Justice stood victorious.
This being the final issue of the series, what better way to end it than this?
It’s not like we needed closure or anything. Poor Captain Atom. He tried for a high five, but they just let him hang.
The three Justice League series (JLA, JL: Task Force and Extreme Justice) were all cancelled so they could start again with a clean slate. Grant Morrison’s infinitely better Justice League run was about to begin, featuring the classic League roster and the eventual inclusion of Plastic Man.
As for Extreme Justice? They made an appearance in the mini-series Total Justice, but didn’t actually do anything other than stand around and get a couple lines. After that, DC just about forgot that they still existed and the characters went their separate ways.
It wasn’t until 2002 that they filled in the blanks. A mini-series was released called JLA: Incarnations. Each issue showed a little side-story of a different Justice League incarnation from over the years. In issue #6, it featured stories about the Giffen era Justice League and Extreme Justice. Each one was a story about the different League incarnations dealing with the fictional country Bialya (which was like Latveria, but without someone badass like Dr. Doom holding it together). The Giffen crew had Blue Beetle mess with their government through a cockamamie plan that resulted in hilarity and Batman pulling his ass out of the fire.
Extreme Justice flat-out invaded the country to stop the newly-crowned queen’s plot to use citizens as guinea pigs for a cyborg army. The team nearly burned the entire country to the ground and Captain Atom visited the queen to threaten her in person. The media went crazy over the event with Lex Luthor, Maxwell Lord, Amanda Waller and Ralph Dibny showing up on a talk show to argue about what should have been done.
Wonder Woman told Extreme Justice the news in person: the UN wanted the Justice Leagues disbanded. All of them. They didn’t take it so well.
In the end, Martian Manhunter (as John Jones) found Captain Atom at the Vietnam Memorial. Captain Atom compared his situation to Vietnam: America could’ve won, but the government refused to allow it. J’onn convinced him that it was for the better. The League was disbanding and Captain Atom had to lay low until the Bialya incident blew over.
And hence, the end of Extreme Justice. It’s good that their final adventure was at least their most well-written one. As for what happened to the members of the team?
Almost everybody died, pretty much. Captain Atom seemingly died when he sacrificed himself to stop a kryptonite meteor, but instead ended up in the Wildstorm universe to star in one of the better company crossovers I’ve ever read. Stuff happened, he returned to the regular DC universe and he again has transformed into the Monarch. Amazing Man joined a new incarnation of Justice League Europe before being shattered and killed by the second Mist. Maxima returned to Almerac and hounded Superman for a while until sacrificing herself to help defeat Imperiex during the Our Worlds at War arc. After uncovering a conspiracy, Blue Beetle got shot in the head by Maxwell Lord and had his body incinerated. Firestorm went explodey. Booster’s tentacle armor was destroyed when he saved Electric Superman. Out of gratitude, Superman had Professor Hamilton patch up Booster’s original outfit, returning him to his original appearance. Technically he’s dead at the moment, but we’ll find out the truth soon enough.
As for the Wonder Twins, Peter David actually used them during the end of his series Young Justice. Using the same gimmicks of being unable to understand English and eating just about anything, the two became reserves and helped Empress avenge her father’s death. There seemed to have been plans on including them in Superboy’s brainchild Young Justice Strikeforce, but the main Young Justice team split up before they could afford a spin-off group.
For more information on Extreme Justice, Brainwave Jr., cosmic professors and robot gorillas, please consult your public library.
There was in fact an Elseworlds based on Extreme Justice. I’ll write about it, but I’m going to need to listen to Eye of the Tiger at least 14 more times to motivate me.