At the beginning of part three of Justice League’s Extinction Machines (JA: Rebirth #3) story arc, thousands of humans are being absorbed into massive anthropomorphic figures standing a thousand feet tall. Globally, thousands of people are drawn together by the energy of the Kindred to form these figures, which we later found out are triggered in part by the powers of Flash and the two rookie Green Lanterns, Simon Beaz and Jessica Cruz, and represent Magic, Speed Force, Emotional Light Spectrum and Cosmic Energy.
Somehow, by causing the Flash and Green Lantern Cruz to doubt themselves, as well as claiming sovereignty over Atlantis and kinship with Wonder Woman, the Kindred are able to siphon off their energy. Wonder Woman takes the challenge head on, but is absorbed by one of the giant figures.
Spurred on by Barry Allen, the Green Lanterns travel through a wormhole and discover large alien ships in tracing the invasion to its source. The ships are responsible for firing the missiles associated with the Purge. After finishing off the ships, the Green Lanterns find a shattered planet with a population of millions still living on the surface. We later find that these beings are actually in a living state of torture.
Meanwhile, as per his cybernetic expertise, Cyborg discovers that the bio-mechanical devices encountered in JLA: Rebirth #1 are being controlled by a signal broadcast on a certain wavelength. Meanwhile, Lois Lane is saying a long goodbye to her husband. Though he doesn’t mention it, Lois can tell that he actually shows some umbrage to the thought of traveling to the Earth’s core.
That concern scares Lois and she checks Clark, as only a wife can. Cyborg arrives via boom tube and gives Supes all the logistics, as well as an insertion point to the center of the Earth. As Clark departs, Lois tells Batman that she’ll blame him if Superman dies, as if he could be moved one way or the other by the overture. Perhaps the fact that this Batman doesn’t really feel her Superman like that is lost on Lois. To him, he’s a tool.
At the Earth’s core (Rebirth #3), Superman is already second-guessing his ability to save Lois and son Jon, and humanity by proxy, as the crushing pressure squeezes his head and the heat burns his eyes. Back at the Kent farm, more of The Purge projectiles arrive. Cyborg tries to use a sonic attack on them, but they attack him in mass instead. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is still trapped within one of the giant humanoid figures, but she isn’t being assimilated.
Instead, it explains itself to her in riddles and metaphors, but Diana doesn’t fully understand. Instead, she maintains that she and her friends will vanquish the Kindred. At the Kent farm, Cyborg is trying to fight off an attempt by these bio-mechanical creatures to rewrite his DNA. As per his expertise, Cyborg figures out how to control them via matching their command signal. Yeah, any third grader can tell you he’s virtually un-hackable – most of the time.
He also discovers the true nature of the threat the Purge represents.
By learning their language code, Cyborg also discovers all that’s going on. Come to find out, the bio-mechanical missiles and swarming creatures called the Purge, as well as the “extinction machines” located at the Earth’s core, are an unreasonably old contingency plan enacted by a yet unidentified ancient person or person’s to prevent the Kindred from realizing their final form.
Meanwhile, the four giant humanoid beings known as the Kindred have assembled on the east coast of Canada and are gearing up their coupe de grace.
Aquaman, guided by the zodiac crystals, travels across the globe, placing the crystals at strategic locations to offset the continent-shaking affects of the extinction machines. Cyborg realizes that the Purge has been designed to turn humanoid lifeforms into something not human. He also discovers that billions of species have been purged throughout time, and describes their state as a living hell of constant pain and fear, one in which death never comes.
As issue four comes to an end, we see Superman is beginning to doubt his ability to save the world this time around. Meanwhile, we find out that the Purge has arrived on Earth in order to assimilate humans so that they can’t be used to form the Kindred – who are still as mysterious to the reader as they were in Justice League: Rebirth #1.
However, we now know that they’ve come to bring an end to all of existence, and the force that powers them lives within all living things.
As issue #4 comes to an end, Green Lanterns Simon Baez and Jessica Cruz finish destroying the Purge ships in orbit around the shattered planet on the other side of a wormhole.
What they find is incredible, a race of millions of people who look exactly like Cyborg. Written by Bryan Hitch (Captain America: Reborn, The Ultimates), the first four issues of Justice League: Rebirth are a bit complicated and seemingly simplistic in language, but it is necessary for us to see the entire Justice League’s new incarnation in action over an extended period of time to show the nuanced differences and relationships in this JL.
For example, we learn that Batman isn’t feeling Superman, we learn the possible origins of Cyborg’s technology, and we learn that this version of Superman is often full of doubt, relative to prior versions. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.
I applaud Hitch for making it less complicated than it could have been, considering this comes in the afterglow of a semi-reboot. To me, I felt like these stories were more to introduce readership to the sensibilities, personalities and interpersonal relationships of this most recent incarnation of the Justice League. The artwork of Tony Daniel and Fernando Pasarin is solid, clean and polished as well.