Ray Palmer: Have you ever had a sinus headache? So torturous you thought your head would explode? What if I shrank to microscopic size, entered your skull, then began to grow. Imagine how that would feel. Killer Moth: You're heroes, you don't act that way. Ray Palmer:(points to the other Atom) He's a hero. I'm Ray Palmer. Welcome topain.
— An exchange between a hero seeking "justice" and a villain.
Take a drink every time you see the word "justice".Justice League: Cry for Justice (2009-2010) is a seven-issue limited series written by James Robinson with one purpose in mind: to make a team that actively seeks justice rather than merely responding to the need for it. However, this only creates a thin line between Justice and Revenge.The story takes place after Final Crisis, where Green Lantern Hal Jordan begins to lose belief in what the team is fighting for, particularly justice. He and Green Arrow quit the Justice League and begin to hunt down villains and ensure that people like Libra would never take flight again.Meanwhile, numerous superheroes mourning the deaths of their friends all begin to think the same and wish for the same thing: justice. They join one another and decide to, as a group, attempt to bring justice to the world. Little do they know that this is going according to the plan of one villain: Prometheus.The series was originally planned to be an ongoing series and reinterpretation of the Justice League of America series and team, but DC executives eventually shortened it to seven issues, with the various characters and plot lines followed up in other series.
This is a comic where Green Lantern demands the heroes be more “proactive” and nobody bothers to point out that he already did that, and in the process temporarily destroyed the universe, except whoops it was a giant yellow space bug controlling him or something. This is a comic where the Atom tortures a bad guy by stomping on his brain and nobody points out that his wife killed one of his closest friends by accident doing the exact same thing.
Bury Your Gays: Mikaal Thomas' lover was killed, and that killing is what set him on the path for justice in the first place.
Likewise, D-list gay hero and former Global Guardians member Tasmanian Devil is killed and turned into a throw rug for Prometheus's manor, just to show off how badass he is. However, it turns out in a follow-up comic that the Devil's body was kept in stasis, he's tossed into a Lazarus Pit, and he comes back - with hints that he and Mikaal might get together.
Cold-Blooded Torture: The heroes, primarily Ray Palmer (The Atom), torture several villains in order to gain information.
Concepts Are Cheap: The main characters begin seeking justice without defining what it means, how it is different from the ideals and actions of the Justice League, or how it is different from a different concept all together.
Contrived Coincidence: The story starts with various heroes all over the world shouting that they want justice at the exact same time, completely at random.
Darker and Edgier: The series was an attempt to make the Justice League proactive and, well, edgier. This has been done before (Justice League Detroit, Justice League Task Force, Extreme Justice), and has certainly been done better (Justice League Elite).
Deus ex Machina: In the end, Green Arrow enters Prometheus' personal pocket dimension and kills him with a single arrow to the head with absolutely no explanation how he can do that.
Dropped a Bridge on Him: Deaths occur without buildup, meaning or any real plot relevance. And a quite a few of them happens off-panel to boot.
Gambit Roulette: Much of Prometheus's plan relied on heroes being in the exact right place, at the exact right time, for the exact right reasons.
Hollywood Law: Apparently, if you have a criminal record a costumed vigilante doesn't need to catch you committing a crime or have any evidence that you have done or were planning to do so to be well within his rights to beat you senseless and arrest you. Any sane judge would overturn virtually every "arrest" Hal and Ollie make in this series, if it got to court at all.
To be fair, most- probably all- of these villains must surely be fugitives from justice, since no sane judge would have realised multiple superpowered mass-murderers from prison in the first place. It actually is okay for the heroes to go after them- though torturing them for information and other stuff is something else (though it wouldn't get the villains off; it would just get the "heroes" arrested as well). The real problem is the heroes make a big deal out of hunting villains down when that's what they do all the damn time. The only difference with this story is that the "good guys" are much more vindictive than usual.
Idiot Ball: Once the heroes have captured Prometheus, they tie him up... and put his helmet, the source of all his powers, back on his head.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Green Arrow killing Prometheus. The latter's actions are the final example of the characters of the story confusing "justice" for "revenge".
Lampshade Hanging: Green Lantern points out that it is practically Gotham law that all conversations should be on the roofs of buildings.
Mood Whiplash: The art skips from the gruesome, ignoble deaths of beloved characters to cheap Fanservice in a matter of panels
New Powers as the Plot Demands: Captain Marvel's lightning usually just changes him from his civilian form to superhero, and can be used offensively against people with a vulnerability to magic, e.g. Supergirl, and then suddenly he can use it to make a shield, protecting people (including Supergirl) from an explosion. Justified since he's Prometheus and it's not the same magic.
A strange case of Supergirl getting a new weakness. Apparently, her being close to magic pretty much has the same effect as Kryptonite, if not worse. This is never brought up again.
Magic is a fairly standard established weakness for Kryptonians on Earth. Because of the general lack of Kryptonite around the planet, it's pretty much regarded as one of the few things that can give Superman real trouble, and is part of the classic Superman/Captain Marvel rivalry. However, this is usually portrayed as Kryptonians being as vunerable to magic as a human would be, not adversely affected by magical energy in and of itself. But that's how she figures out "Captain Marvel" isn't using real magic lightning.
Offscreen Heroism: After spending most of the issue chasing Prometheus's various gambits and running about in circles (after boasting they would be a proactive, preventive force for good), Ollie and Hal reflect on a number of crime lords and evil-doers they'd stopped and put away in prison. It's unclear when exactly they had time to do this given the flow of events, but we never see this adventures first-hand, only their mentions of them.
Panty Shot: Miss Martian's black panties are briefly visible on a panel while she is fighting Brick. Criticized by Linkara.
Race Lift: Vixen and (the current) Firestorm, both black super-heroes, appear white in this story. Likely a coloring error and not a conscious editing choice.
Revenge: Much of the "justice" that the group asks for is simple, and personal, revenge. Their actions do not support or heal those who have been injured, do not rehabilitate or judge those responsible, and are not in accordance with established laws or customs. They are instead the simple act of hurting people that have hurt them.
Shout-Out: Prometheus explains why he is telling the heroes his master plan and why they can't stop him (along with, presumably, illustrating what comic the writers tried to emulate):
Strong as They Need to Be: Sometimes Prometheus can curb stomp the entire JLA in a few panels, including Wonder Woman, later he's beaten to a pulp by Donna Troy, who has Wonder Woman's exact power set and power level, and later he can barely hold his own against Badass Normal Roy Harper.
Stuffed In The Fridge: Numerous character, including several minor heroes, are killed to motivate and harm the primary characters. This includes, in the series final issues, Lian Harper, Roy Harper's daughter, who was killed during the destruction of Star City.
Take That: The run, likely by coincidence, has a few unseemly remarks on characters written by Gail Simone. One notable example being an implication that Hal Jordan had a drunken threesome with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk of the Birds of Prey. Gail later shot down the implication in issue #6 of the new Birds ongoing, with the revelation that Hal just got drunk and passed out.
Trauma Conga Line: Poor Red Arrow. First he gets his arm chopped off and then his daughter gets killed.
Villain Decay: Deconstructed. Prometheus, a supposed Justice League-level villain that originally challenged the entire League, has been easily defeated in almost all subsequent appearances and despite retaining the same power and skills. This series explains that all those appearances were an impostor posing as Prometheus and follows the original's efforts to regain his reputation and exact revenge. This Retcon happened in a one shot before this mini came out.
Vulcan Has No Moon: Green Lantern and Green Arrow fly through an asteroid thicket, despite the fact that they traveled from Earth orbit to the surface, where logically there should be no asteroids.
You Keep Using That Word: The term "justice" is used quite often, usually to refer to an action or concept that is not justice, instead often matching the concepts of vengeance and punishment instead.