Wednesday, September 25, 2013



Getting to write Poison Ivy during "Villains Month" started out as a means to explore the extent of Ivy's powers to wild abandon. This was a Gotham without Batman, nor any other heroes around in her story to stop her. A chance for her to run free and do whatever she wants without any opposition, in a city of chaos. And while it started out that way, I also felt some responsibility to give her a revised origin. With the New52 relaunching the entire DC Universe, so many of these villains (Poison Ivy included) became fresh slates again or even for the first time. While it wasn't mandatory to include her backstory here, I felt it was an opportunity I couldn't resist.

Doing any sort of revisionist retelling of a character's origin is a treacherous line to walk. It really feels like a no-win scenario. Change nothing and it's seen as a retread of something everyone already knows. Skew too far off the path with a new take, and readers are quick to hate and want the old version. The approach I chose was to honor the basics of what we know or like about the character, while filling in some history to Pamela's early formative years to show how she became the villain she is today.

Most of Ivy's origins or stories in past comics and cartoons have always shown her already as an adult. But I felt it would add to her story if we saw her as a child. What was her home life like? Her college years? What helped shape and form Pamela before the incident that created Poison Ivy? These were all things I wanted to address. 
Pamela's research would include mammal, reptile, and insect pheromones. But in the end, it would be the plant based vial that would spill on her to trigger her new abilities.

I also felt that past origins for her always had her as more of a victim; poisoned or injected by men she worked with. After becoming a very recognizable feminist icon in comics, I never quite liked the approach of her being used as a guinea pig and injected with the toxin to turn her into the villain. So my approach was to try to make her a bit more self-made. She had bad things happen around her during her early years. But in the end, her own research and development of the power of animal & plant pheromones, and her ambition to use them to great extremes, would be her undoing. In some ways, I wanted to explain her backstory in a very relatable real world approach. The fantastical part of Ivy and her powers could grow out of that.
John Kalisz's coloring technique over Javier Pina's art, made these flashbacks really stand out.

I don't know where the idea generated to give Pamela a skin condition during her youth, but it felt like something unique or different to add to her character. As Poison Ivy, being linked towards plants and their ability to feed off the sun, it was a nice way to show the opposite of that as a child. That some extreme case of photodermatosis afflicted her. That exposure to the sun would react to her abnormal immune system, to cause rashes. The very beginnings to show that Pamela's biological makeup wasn't normal. Because of that, she might be interested to pursue botanical research in school as a means to find a cure. It didn't hurt that her mother had a fascination with flowers and gardening that could also be shared. And by gaining an immunity to toxins and viruses through her transformation into Poison Ivy, it would cancel out her adolescent sun allergy (although one might gather that it transferred those rash-like symptoms to anyone she touched).

Going back to the original intent of the issue, I wanted to explore Ivy's powers. While I've always been a fan of her classic green leafy clothing, her redesign in the New52 also had promise. I always saw it as a type of living costume. It's draped in leaves, but that's not all. I wanted to show that she'd be able to access this living suit to grow vines, wooden bark to help shield her, and shoot thorny projectiles out of it. I imagine it can do so much more (generate spores; provide fallen leafs as a smoke screen or camouflage when trying to evade capture; even grow leafy wings to glide or fly with). Very forest nymph qualities. And of course being able to grow sentient topiary type animals from nature around her was a given. 

Ivy's living suit as well as her surroundings, provide her with plenty of means for offense and defense.

Writing the Bruce Wayne scene might've been my favorite for the issue. Ivy always struck me as someone that could quietly be one of the most powerful in the DC Universe if given the chance. I think it's easy to see the giant gods and cosmic threats as all-powerful, but her ability to control minds through pheromones has such wide ranging potential. Getting a few people or even one head of a company under that control, could raise or ruin a business very quickly. Or get her into places she couldn't or shouldn't be. Her powers are like having the keys to the kingdom. So why wouldn't she think like a business woman and try to use it initially to benefit her employer and herself?

Also in a sly way, I think it was my way to explain away how Batman might be one of the only people immune to her powers. There's always been a great flirtation between Ivy and Batman throughout past comics; alternating between being seduced at times but also has been shown to be unaffected by her powers. By keeping her research as a proprietary right to Wayne Enterprises, it leaves that door open for Bruce to investigate her findings further. For the Dark Knight to realize how dangerous her research is, and probably come up with an antidote so he's not affected. A very unassuming way to explain if he ends up being the only person immune to her, without her specifically knowing the reason for it. But that's just the backstory in my mind.

Working on this issue would be nothing without the other people involved. Javier Pina and John Kalisz made a perfect artistic combo on this issue. Javier had done some nice work on Birds Of Prey. And John I've worked with in the past on my runs with Detective Comics and Streets Of Gotham. I remember when John wrote me to ask how I wanted the coloring to go on the flashbacks, I think I wrote in the script to make it lighter and almost pastel looking so it would offset the current parts of the story. He basically replied by saying he had an idea he'd like to try and see how it turned out. And I think it's probably the most talked about art of the issue. The way it looks almost watercolor in appearance, the implied paper texture grain apparent, and the lack of hard panel borders. It turned out so beautiful. Jay Fabok turned in a visually arresting and enticing cover that really pops in 3-D. Taylor Esposito added some nice design work for lettering the credits and the captions through the issue. And working with my editors Joey Cavalieri and Kyle Andrukiewicz was a neat process as I was constantly bouncing ideas off them until the story took shape.

A couple other behind-the-scenes moments...

I think readers assumed we were blowing up another Wayne Tower in this story, as it's constantly blown up across other issues and titles. Rather this was the Wayne Enterprises R&D facility, formerly the Kane Chemicals building before the merger. Batman Group Editor Mike Marts got in on the fun by helping with design suggestions, passing back and forth photos of various real constructed buildings out there to give Javier some thoughts as he designed it. Looking at these buildings these architects created is a work of art in itself.

Originally the story would end with Ivy's jump off the GCPD building and she would float away into the night air on a giant dandelion. It was a visual I always thought might look cool, that I hadn't gotten around to using in Li'l Gotham and thought I'd try it here. But after seeing it, it just didn't fit the scene as well as I'd hoped. So we made the decision to show Ivy swing off into her Green Kingdom on a vine. But here's that original version…

Monday, September 9, 2013


Wrapping up my final thoughts on some of the larger stories that would've comprised my "Recruitment Drive" extended arc for Justice League Beyond. After such a long stretched out "Konstriction" story, made longer with how everything got spread out in release; I made a concentrated effort that adding new members to the League would happen in quicker shorter stories. A new Flash, Captain Marvel, and Lobo would at this point be part of the team.

At one point, I even considering adding Martian Manhunter but in a much different format. I thought it possible that in his martian race, their people would eventually fade away into ghosts as they lived into old age. I thought it only made sense with his intangibility powers of being able to disappear, that it would be a precursor towards how they'd fade away in death. So if I added Martian Manhunter to the team, he would be sort of an "Obi-Wan Kenobi" type…a ghost that would appear in the Watchtower to provide a voice of experience. But he wouldn't be able to do more than that. But once I found out that Martian Manhunter would be used differently in the Superman Beyond storyline, I just nixed that idea.

But here are the last of the larger ideas that we never got to…


Anyone that knew Supergirl from the animated continuity, knew her struggles to fit in on the Justice League and her longing for something more. She decided to travel into the far future (much further than the Batman Beyond timeline) to join up with the Legion Of Superheroes, and with a budding romantic relationship with that future version of Brainiac; leaving her cousin Kal behind. And that was the last we saw of her. But the story I had planned would be the next large arc. Here's my original outline to her story:

In the far future, Supergirl is dating a fellow member on the Legion who happens to be a heroic Brainiac. His death leads to a Brainiac War, with multiple versions of Brainiacs across multiple realities and timelines being drawn to the future, all with the intent of killing Supergirl.

The idea was that by introducing love into the equation of an artificial intelligence, it damaged Brainiac's programming and caused a sort of rift amongst all the different versions of Brainiac. They'd travel to the future to kill the perpetrator, leading to the destruction of the Legion. Going against the very guidelines set up by the Legion not to affect the past through time travel, Supergirl makes a last ditch escape to jump back in time and find a way to fix things. To warn her past self not to go to the future (feeling responsible for setting all this in motion). But something goes wrong with the wormhole and she ends up in the Beyond timeline. It's in her past, but not far back enough. Her Legion ring is damaged so she's now stuck permanently. Luckily her cousin Kal is still alive but he too is older than last she remembered.

Since she wasn't able to stop herself from going into the future, she now goes to Plan B. She'll need to find the Brainiac of this timeline and upload a program (virus) into him that essentially stops Brainiac from ever creating the version that she fell in love with. It will prevent it's creation which led to its destruction that creates the Brainiac War in the first place. Essentially, this is like some future norplant story to stop Brainiac from ever reproducing both good and bad versions of itself.

In the Beyond timeline, Brainiac is living a quiet peaceful existence having turned a new leaf. It's come to the realization seeing its past failings, it sees the solution to humanity. Instead of attacking and trying to end them, it's up to Brainiac to evolve them. To "upgrade" humanity so they're part of the equation rather than the problem. It's decided to share its technology with everyone for the advancement of the planet. The truest of altruistic intentions without any trappings of money or power. Much of Neo Gotham and even Metropolis owes its technological advances to Brainiac, regardless of how Bruce and Superman feel about their past adversary.

Brainiac now resides in his own living city. An island of technology and high rise buildings. It's a part of everything there and also it's own individual amongst it. A nation or island unto itself. Supergirl with the JLU travel to the city for their mission. To confront Brainiac, explain the situation, and hope it understands why they must do this to him.

The Legion ring that Supergirl was given to her by the Legion Brainiac as a show of love and acceptance to the team, actually contains part of Brainiac's technology in it. So when Supergirl traveled back in time, a future version of Brainiac came with her. And even though the ring is damaged, it still allowed for a new female Brainiac emissary to emerge who is tracking down Supergirl. The ring is left with Bruce Wayne to study its technology, not knowing the secret Brainiac it's about to unleash in the cave. The Emissary is able to tap into the Batcomputer to gain access to information of this timeline and become even more powerful. It leaves to go hunt down Supergirl in Brainiac City.

When Supergirl confronts  Brainiac, the fear is that he won't accept. That he'll decide his time of peace has expired and it should go back to its evil ways, collecting technology, and killing their hosts. Instead Brainiac understands the proposition and agrees to the procedure. But not before the Emissary arrives with it's own plan. Not just to kill Supergirl but to mate with Brainiac and start breeding new offspring. To take over the planet with multiple Brainiacs, and then the galaxy.

Both Brainiacs are stopped, possibly sacrificing itself. Brainiac City is destroyed and sinks. And Supergirl joins the team, heartbroken for the loss of her friends, her love, and her life in the far future. But hopeful for new opportunities to reconnect with her cousin Kal. And of course, that young Batman is kinda cute. Supergirl would have an updated costume and name, now going by "Superwoman".

With this longer story arc, there's no need for a Beyond: Origins, since much of it will be covered in the actual story about Supergirl and her decision to go into the future with the Legion.

So there's that. A first pass at a much longer story arc. It would've been about half the size of "Konstriction", but definitely longer than the preceding recruitment issues. And I just liked the idea of someone even further in the future, now stuck in the Beyond universe. And after so much tragedy that befell Superman, he now had a familiar family face to relate to again. To see that his younger "cousin" had grown up since last he saw her. Of course, he is much older as well, so there'd be plenty of humor to be had between the two of them.


I think right around the time with all the press concerning Superman and Wonder Woman pairing up in the New52, there was talk about having Wonder Woman show up in the Beyond universe. I brainstormed some ideas with my editor just to explain the continuity of the character from the Justice League shows and how she wasn't in Batman Beyond. But in the Justice League continuity, they had developed a growing relationship between Diana and Bruce Wayne. With that insight in mind, the brainstorming quickly lead to the idea of them having consummated their relationship with a child.

Now…adding offspring to any established character has all sorts of headaches that come with it. And giving Bruce a kid here, when he already had Damian in the New52 (and Terry was already his biological son in the Beyond universe, even if Terry didn't know it at this point of the story), well…my initial reaction was a groaning reluctance. It felt like ground that had been covered. But then I thought, does it have to be a boy?

Bruce has only ever had sons, either surrogate wards, partners, or biologically (at least in the animated continuity…discounting the Huntress of the alternate comics universe). But here was a chance to try it out. That once Diana became pregnant, and keeping it a secret from Bruce, she decided to quit the League and retreat from the world of man to raise her daughter back on Themyscira. Diana would become queen, to replace her mother. But now some threat would bring the Trinity back together…older Superman, old Bruce, and Diana. And it would concern this daughter, introduced to Bruce for the first time here. Feeling too old to play "dad", Diana would still encourage Bruce to introduce her into man's world, to train her, and at the same time he would get to know her. By the end of the story, she would eventually become the new Wonder Girl. And might depart to go explore the Beyond universe (ultimately joining the Teen Titans Beyond, which was being toyed with as a new comic title they might do).

There was a lot still to be hashed out, but DC was pushing for a Trinity Beyond story to be the first big crossover between all the Beyond titles: Batman Beyond, Superman Beyond, and Justice League Beyond. I think it was going to be a 6 part arc that would last two months. The only problem…every one of our titles was already in the middle of our stories, and planned out for the year. Even knowing this, they wanted to put this Trinity storyline smack dab in the middle of all of our current arcs going on. As if the fans weren't already annoyed by the release schedule of all of our titles grouped together in Batman Beyond Unlimited (including the Origin stories that were sprinkled in), now we'd have this Trinity story on top of things, to interrupt our main stories. I don't think we were halfway through the "Konstriction" arc when this idea was trying to be pushed forward.

Thankfully after a lot of back and forth between all sides, it was decided to wait to do this. There were too many wheels in motion and this would've really thrown a wrench into each of our titles. If it had gone through, the already stretched out "Konstriction" arc would've taken over a year to complete, for something that was essentially a 6 issue story (minus the Origin stories). Whew!

It would've been an interesting story. Some unrequited love between Diana and Bruce. A lot of unfinished business that could only add to the drama. Bruce feeling betrayed by both Diana and Clark. She had kept his daughter a secret, and requested Clark not reveal it to Bruce in order for him to continue his mission as Batman. She would raise the daughter on her island like all daughters before her did. Also without knowing it, Terry would have a chance to spar and team-up with, what would essentially be, his step-sister. All sorts of interesting avenues to explore.

I've no idea if Wonder Woman will eventually show up in the Beyond 2.0 books, but I wouldn't doubt at some point she'll be brought in. Just that I doubt it'll look anything like this version we were starting to set up.


- The mention of the "Near Apocalypse Of '09" (in the Batman Beyond show) was something brought up as the last time Batman and Talia paired together to fight and defeat Ra's, resulting in his apparent death. But as we learned, he found a way to live and inhabit his daughter's body. I always felt this was a flashback story ripe for the telling, since it was always brought up by the fans of the show wondering what exactly happened (and the show creators always saying they had no plans for it).

- Also I wanted to eventually do a story that showed what happened to the Justice League in the past that caused them to disband or move on. That there would be some great battle that tested them, frayed them, and possibly even killed a lot of them. And afterwards, they never were the same until an older Superman started to rebuild the League. I thought it could be a way to introduce a new villain that was responsible in the past, and now resurfaced in the future, causing Superman to relate what had happened. I always felt this was a huge arc in the making as it was always something the fans wondered about as well, how the future League was so small and what happened to the original League with all its members.


And with that….I bid the future, farewell.

Justice League Beyond was one of those dream projects. Something that started back when Dustin and I were wrapping up our commitments on Streets Of Gotham and Batgirl, and DC asking us what we wanted to do next. First it was to take over Batman Beyond, but then it turned into Justice League Beyond. The New52 wasn't even known at this point. We got to do all sorts of crazy stories, in a future world with open possibilities and less constraints than the regular DC universe. Worked with a whole bunch of great artists. And had a blast!  I look back on my time on the title very wistfully. Someone growing up a fan of all the animated shows during my high school and college years, never dreaming I'd get to play in that sandbox to continue the stories of the characters of those shows.

My thanks go out to my editors at various stages… Hank Kanalz, Ben Abernathy, Alex Antone, and Mike Marts.

To all the artists, colorists, and lettering that brought the stories to life.

And to all the fans that followed our crazy release schedule, whether digitally or in print.


Friday, September 6, 2013


To wrap up my experience writing Justice League Beyond, I thought I'd share a peek into the future. The Beyond that I had planned, but would not be.

I think most working writers are hesitant to share untold or unused stories. And they probably should be. Ideas for writers are commodities. We get paid to create them and then they're brought to life. In many cases, if a story idea isn't used, we just file it away. You never know when you might be able to come back to it and use it later in some other fashion (sometimes even for a different company altogether).

When it comes to the stories I was planning for my second year on Justice League Beyond, I don't have that desire to lock 'em away. Some I've kept to myself for personal reasons or possibly to retool later. But most of these are so particular to the Beyond universe, that they just wouldn't be reused anywhere else. They're tied so specifically to that future and to the animated series continuity, that I'm not losing anything by sharing them. Plus I think, it gives you guys a peek behind the curtain to what could've been…


As one of those continuity geeks that likes to remain as true to the source as possible, I was a bit horrified when I saw the team would end up being called the JLB (Justice League Beyond). I figured, sure, you can keep that as the title of the book since it takes place in the Beyond universe. But the future Justice League were never called that in the show (the same reason Terry wasn't called Batman Beyond in the show). It had always been the JLU. It didn't make any sense for this change. But it was one of those things that got added in in print and not part of the script, while introducing all the members of the team. By the time I saw it, it was too late to change, and was considered such a minor thing that they just kept it. But I just knew any hard core fans of these characters might decry it, just as I was a bit unnerved by it. Not a big deal in the long run, but one of those things I felt like shouting, "I didn't do it!"


Fans always wanted to know why Static wasn't on the team, and I always felt that his appearance in the Beyond universe was in a time-travel episode. It could be seen as the future or a possible alternate version of the Beyond future. That's not to say that Static wouldn't be on the team or join the team, but just that he hadn't joined it yet. I kind of imagine I would've gotten around eventually to telling a story with him, but just not in the original outlines I had planned.


I never liked the idea of the Justice League's base being located in Metropolis, or any populated city for that matter. As we know with super villains, they're prone to attacking it, and it just puts a city of innocent civilians at great risk. Aren't they in danger enough as it is? So after proving this point at the end of the "Konstriction" arc by having it destroyed, my plan was to have some time off during the recruitment for new members, for Superman to start construction on the Watchtower away from Earth. The original one was seen as a floating laser, pointed at the Earth in the Justice League show (with many governments not at ease with that). So I thought the New Watchtower would best be built on Earth's moon. To really act as a Watchtower to the galaxy, and Earth's first line of defense for any invading force. While they would have access to a jet shuttle, they'd mainly be using some zeta beam technology to transport back and forth between the Earth to the moon. And while I never got the chance to unveil the New Watchtower, I believe the current version of Justice League Beyond 2.0 had it built on the moon as well. Just one of those coincidences, as I never shared any notes or thoughts with the next people in line to work on the title.


I'm a bit amused by the backlash of the New52 redesign for Lobo, not that I didn't agree with the outcry, but because he was next in line to be recruited into my future Justice League. And had things continued, I would've debuted my visually different version of Lobo before the one that the rest of the DC Universe is seeing now.

A couple things to bring up on this. My version of Lobo wasn't the one that showed up in the Superman Beyond story. As things go, I had already turned in notes and outlines for my story before Superman Beyond got off the ground. Only later did I find out that Lobo was used in that one, which sort of mucked up how I was going to debut him in JLB. Chalk it up to the common occurrence of various creative teams not really knowing what everyone else was doing, as well as outlines and notes turned in in advance getting lost in the process of getting stories out in a timely fashion. When I saw Lobo's Beyond appearance in print, visually I was disappointed. He didn't look very different from how Lobo had always appeared in the comics. For my version, I was looking at playing with his age and appearance some. He still would be the recognizable big bruiser that we know and love from his appearances in Superman TAS and Justice League. But I wanted to show how the years has visually changed him. In my mind's eye, I saw Lobo very much like Ron Perlman's "Clay" in Sons Of Anarchy. Older, shorter hair starting to grey but keeping the black mustache, and wearing a bandana. He'd be a bit paunchier in his midsection. But still a hardened thick brute.

As for the why and how he'd be on the team…I thought he'd be a true wild card. Someone quick to argue and ruffle feathers. Someone in it for himself. But someone whose power would be desperately needed on a team starting to rebuild. That the dangers in the Beyond universe were so great, that they'd feel the need to recruit outside their comfort zone. If you remember, Lobo had tried to join the League in the show, but was turned away. So I thought it only fair that Superman offer it to him this time, and Lobo's as shocked as anyone.

The following is the full pitch outline to the story…


The head of a company that produces death traps, has brought together a group of mercenaries. He's created an ultimate death trap with specs provided to him from an interested private buyer. But the buyer requires the device to be tested on the greatest escape artist of all time.

He turns on a remote view screen behind him, where we see photos of Mister Miracle in action…breaking chains, hanging upside down, and getting out of metal containments. Of course, their target isn't interested in volunteering, so they need to go find and bring him here.

Now we get to see who the bounty hunters are:
LOBO, CURARE, and STALKER (mentioned as being killed in the Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond arc but he can mention "the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated").

After the head of the company dismisses his mercenaries, he calls his buyer to let him know. On the other end, the buyer (who we won't see yet), has his own hunters he'll be using in secret, for his own agenda. The interested buyer is
THE COLLECTOR, a villain with a history of collecting rare species (at one time, he had captured Superman and Lobo since they were both the last Kryptonian and the last Czarnian; and now he seeks revenge in getting them back). The two hunters he's hired for himself are a mystery woman named MATTIE and BIZARRO (who has an alien dog Krypto that will join him).

We cut to the moon over Earth. The American flag is still floating in the moon's low gravity as it's pole sits firmly in a crater. We get our chance to see the completed new Watchtower on the moon. Inside the Watchtower, we see the League has gathered and we can see more of the facility. Superman, Green Lantern Kai-Ro, Warhawk, Aquagirl, Barda, Mr.Miracle, and Micron are there. Only person absent is Terry/Batman. Some of them might be arriving from Earth by Zeta beam transport; a gift from the Rannians and Adam Strange. There also might be a giant viewscreen where we see Aquagirl trying to track down future League members (we might have headshot photos of new members Captain Marvel and Flash,  but also scouting out other possibilities like Aquaman, Deadman, The Question, etc).

The American flag is knocked down when Lobo and the hunters quietly arrive on the moon. They are able to infiltrate the Watchtower as it's still new and not fully online yet. Curare is able to silently slice an opening for her and Stalker to get into the building. Lobo does a frontal assault with his bike, blowing a hole through a wall. His distraction allows the other two to find and capture Mr.Miracle. Superman and Barda both go out to meet Lobo and fight him. Having a large throw down with both of them delights him to no end. Especially with Barda, who he's smitten with.

Inside the Watchtower, Stalker is able to ambush and take out Aquagirl, Warhawk, and Micron. Curare faces Kai-Ro, who she shares a past with (having grown up with him and the monks). This is the first time he's seen "sister" since then, and the new dark path she went down with dark magic that gave her that blue skin. She was part of an assassin's organization until she killed them off, and now she operates as an independent hunter. Just before defeating him, she removes her mask to show him her true face (still hidden from us), so he realizes who she is, and then knocks him out.

Lobo backs off from fighting as he radios the others to ask if they got the "Miracle Man". The jig is up, as Superman and Barda realize they were set up and distracted. Barda runs to go find her husband. But Superman looks down to find his ankle bit on by an alien dog he's familiar with. And when he looks up, he's knocked out by Bizarro. Mattie Hex also enters the scene.

Lobo tells them that they're too late. They already got the package. So their boss wasted his time hiring some extra hunters. She mentions they don't have the same boss. And then Lobo is shot by Mattie Hex with a tranq dart, making him pass out.

Cut to captured Superman, Lobo, and Mr.Miracle in a room together. Superman and Lobo bicker with one another, arguing why is it every time Lobo shows up there's trouble. Lobo shrugs it off and says it's just business, nothing personal (well…slightly personal). It's possible we can reference Lobo's appearance in the Superman Beyond story.

Superman says it looks like Lobo's employer betrayed him. Lobo says it's his funeral if that's the case, but he thinks it was someone else involved. They wonder why they were after Mr.Miracle. Lobo says they wanted him for some death trap they were building. Miracle says they lied to him. That he gets out of everything (and we see he's already gotten out of the cuffs he was in). I know why they needed me…bait. You both must've been the real catch. Lobo groans. Now he knows who it is.

The door opens and we see the death trap company owner and the private contractor…The Collector. The Owner wants to know what he wants to do with them. Collector says he'll keep the last Kryptonian and Cyzarnian, and the death trap. He doesn't need the other so they can do whatever they want with Miracle.

Miracle says they'd be smart to let him go free. They wouldn't like the alternative. "She has a tendency to come looking for me when I don't call home. My wife isn't the greatest negotiator." Lobo agrees out loud. The Owner decides to keep Miracle. That he should be able to find some buyer for him. The Collector takes the other two to his ship.

When they go to his ship, The Collector says he has a special room for them. The last of their kind. The last Justice League. And we see ALL of the members of the Justice League have been captured. He places them all inside the death trap box he had bought. Lobo says he ain't one of them. He ain't a part of the League. The Collector agrees…no, you definitely aren't. You are free to go. And there's some money for your trouble.

Lobo looks at the guy, after all they've been through in the past, how Lobo was caught and almost killed. That he just expects Lobo to forget all that and to leave. Lobo says, "You know me too well. Money talks, Lobo walks. Cya losers." Lobo hops on his bike and takes off. The League are left prisoner.

Time passes and they're out in deep space. The Collector notices something on radar approaching quickly. Doing his best Han Solo entrance, Lobo has come back to attack the spacecraft (after he's rescued Mr.Miracle, which no one will realize until he's gotten inside the craft). And once again, he plays the distraction while Miracle goes inside and is able to release each of the League from their death trap prison. The spacecraft blows up as the League (protected by Green Lantern) are able to escape. They wonder if Lobo died in the explosion.

Back in the Watchtower, the heroes arrive and begin work on fixing the wall and the security system. Lobo shows up and makes a joke about the hole he made. He also rubs it in that he rescued the entire Justice League. That if it weren't for him, they'd still be prisoners in some sick alien collection. Superman responds by saying if it weren't for him, they wouldn't have been captured in the first place. Or have a hole in their Watchtower wall. Lobo says they're welcome.

Barda approaches him. Lobo's expecting thanks for rescuing her husband. She thanks him the only way she knows how, by punching him in the jaw and yelling thanks by walking away with her husband. Lobo is still smitten as he growls back. "That's a helluva dame. Does she have a sister? Or even a hot mom?"

The rest of the League go back inside the Watchtower, leaving Lobo and Superman alone. Superman gives him a death stare, and says at one time, Lobo wanted to join but they wouldn't allow it. Now Superman extends his hand in a handshake gesture. "Seems I was wrong about you then. And now." Lobo chuckles, "Naw, you were right. But don't make me go all misty eyed in my old age."

Superman starts to walk away as he says, "You're welcome to join the League…" Lobo looks cocky. Superman smiles and finishes his statement as he walks away, "Associate Member". Superman continues, "Don't call us. We'll call you. And thanks."

Lobo steps over to the fallen American flag. Picks it up, and sticks it back into the ground of the moon, knowing he's being watched by Superman.  After Superman leaves, we see the flag pole has been bent a little as one last dig towards Superman, and Lobo flies off on his space bike.

As an Epilogue, we show some sort of space cantina. On the wall are posters and holographic images of various "WANTED" signs and rewards. Some of the aliens have already been caught (maybe even The Collector has a sign on there that is stamped with "DEAD" on it). Our female hunter grabs a sign that shows Lobo's face on it with a reward. Someone behind her asks if she's looking for a job. She says she's always looking. They tell her this is a tough business to be in, and she might not be up for it. She responds that her family has been in this business for generations. and they've done just fine. They ask her name and she tells them. "Name's Mattie…
MATTIE HEX." And that's the stinger we end the story with.


So there ya go.

Lobo would've also gotten himself a Beyond Origin story. One that would show what he'd been up to in the years after his last Justice League appearance through to the Beyond timeline. The battles he'd been in, the people he'd come across, the jobs he'd be hired for, the universes he'd destroyed or saved. A real tour-de-force for the character. For a short origin like this, it would've been fun to get an artist that was known for working on him…maybe a Simon Bisley, or Val Semeiks, or Keith Giffen. It would've been a nice nod back to their work over the years.

In Part 2, I'll be going into more heroes that would join in the "Recruitment Drive" arc. And some other big stories that were planned in various stages.