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Comic Book / Justice League Incarnate

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A new League for a new frontier.

Justice League Incarnate is a five-issue limited series, written by Joshua Williamson and Dennis Culver, and drawn by various creators, and began in November 2021 as part of the DC Infinite Frontier initiative. It is the follow-up to Infinite Frontier, and the second part of the "Infinite Frontier Saga".

After the events of Infinite Frontier, Justice Incarnate, newly renamed to Justice League Incarnate, seek to stop Darkseid from taking control of the multiverse. However, their first step is to find Barry Allen, who went missing after being manipulated by Psycho-Pirate.

Needing a new Flash, Justice League Incarnate enlists the aid of another Flash from Earth 0, Avery Ho. They are also joined by new superhero Doctor Multiverse, whose powers connect her to the Omniverse.

Tropes applying to Justice League Incarnate:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Doctor Multiverse on her native Earth 8. They fear the multiverse and want to stay isolated, so the very nature of her being causes people to dislike her there.
  • Affirmative-Action Legacy: Avery is fully labelled as the Flash here. While it's a name she already had, she was more often known as "the Flash of China" or was just referred to by her real name. This makes her the first Asian-American Flash, after all four of her predecessors have been white.
  • Always Someone Better: In issue 4, despite Darkseid being rebuilt his godhead and is now his most powerful self, is completely overpowered by the Great Darkness, who squishes him like a bug.
  • Arc Welding: Issue 4 reveals that numerous Crisis-level events were all struggles between the Light and the Great Darkness. Swamp Thing allowing the two sides to shake hands was a truce between the two, one shattered when Alexander Luthor and Superboy-Prime revived the Multiverse. The New 52 was the Great Darkness' attempt to weaken the heroes of Earth 0 by coercing Dr. Manhattan to steal time form the world.
  • Art Shift: The Zoo Crew have reverted to their classic costumes and cartoony appearance, including coming up to the average human character's chest, presumably as a result of their world being destroyed and recreated in Death Metal. Captain Carrot, however, who was not on Earth 26 for any of this, remains a relatively "realistic", six-foot-tall bunny wearing a pastiche of Jim Lee's New 52 Justice League costumes.
  • Better as Friends: Issue 3 sees Calvin and Maya become a couple on Earth 33. However, they decide they're better as friends and break up off-panel after a few months together.
  • Big Bad:
    • Darkseid serves as the overall antagonist of the story, also being the most present and direct in his methods.
    • The Empty Hand, however, is a secondary antagonist that is working against both Darkseid and Justice Incarnate. It's actually a part of the Great Darkness who is the True Final Boss.
  • Brought Down to Normal: At the end of issue 2, Superman and Doctor Multiverse end up on an unknown Earth and depowered. Issue 3 reveals it's Earth 33, which has a "fictive membrane" preventing the use of superpowers.
  • The Bus Came Back:
  • C-List Fodder: The Retaliators of Earth 8 are all slaughtered by Tartarus in the first issue, and mostly off-panel at that. However, they're so minor that readers would more than likely refer to them as the characters they're Captain Ersatzes of than their actual names, if they knew those names at all.
  • Call-Back: When the team is scattered in issue 3, Calvin recalls that comic books can be used to communicate through universes, a plot point and the framing device for The Multiversity, which is where Justice Incarnate debuted.
  • The Cape: When Doctor Multiverse sees Superman, she sees all the Supermen of the multiverse. Despite having just met him and never having met a Superman, she almost fauns over the various Supermen.
    "Whoa... look at you. Like dozens of stars piercing through the evil of darkness."
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Tartarus, a rival of Darkseid's who uses a glove that has various coloured energies flowing from it and who screams "I am inevitable", as if him being Thanos couldn't be more clear.
    • The non-Wild Storm heroes of Earth 41 are based off the early '90s era of Image Comics. The Nimrod Squad is based off of Youngblood, Spore and his nemesis Armageddon is based off of Spawn and his nemesis Violator, Dino-Cop is based off of the Savage Dragon, and while the Cyborg Squad is based off of the '90s era of Teen Titans, they are also based off of Cyberforce.
  • Demonic Possession: The Great Darkness can take control over individuals if they're in its proximity. It does it to Flashpoint Batman first and then to the rest of the JLI that ended up stranded on Earth 7.
  • Distaff Counterpart: The second issue sees the arrival of the Batwoman Who Laughs, who is fittingly the Batwoman of Earth 11, an entire universe based on this trope.
  • Does Not Like Magic: Captain Carrot specifically doesn't like magicians because they either want to stuff you into hats or sacrifice you for their rituals. Thomas Wayne also dislikes magic, but he doesn't mention specific experiences or anything like Captain Carrot does.
  • Downer Ending: The Justice League Incarnate fail in rescuing Barry Allen and watch as Darkseid is absorbed into the Great Darkness, Thunderer dies destroying Earth 7 in attempting to destroy the Oblivion Machine and Orion is forced to rule Apokalips with Darkseid MIA. It also sets up the events of Justice League (Infinite Frontier) #75.
  • Dramatic Irony: The strangeness of Ulrich Saxman, an editor for a comic company on Earth 33, is only apparent to the reader at first. Calvin and Maya plan to write a comic book to help their friends, since what happens in comics on Earth 33 affects the wider multiverse (or vice versa). However, the editor for the actual Justice League Incarnate series is Mike Cotton. Plus, Saxman has a creepy look on his face when he meets the two. It turns out, he's a disguised Darkseid.
  • The Dreaded: Fate and his friends on Earth 13 seem terrified of Superdemon. They run away without even pretending like they were willing to defy him once he shows up to defend Superman.
  • Eviler than Thou: Darkseid, who already was considered the most fearsome villain in the DCU, has gotten a massive power boost. He should be the threat to end all threats, right? Turns out he was merely a pawn of the Great Darkness, who proceeds to subjugate him, as well as numerous other heavy-hitting villains. Even before this, he had been defeated by the Empty Hand.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: Darkseid opposes the Great Darkness because if it undoes the entirety of the Omniverse, there won't be anything for him to rule.
  • Expy: Issue 3 features heroes from Earth 41, who not only house other Wild Storm characters, but expies of popular Image Comics characters.
  • Faceā€“Heel Turn:
    • The Retaliators were actually on friendly terms with Justice League Incarnate. However, they were aware of Machinehead's desire to keep their Earth safe from the multiverse and his plan to join Injustice Incarnate — in fact, it was a vote they all made.
    • Pariah, introduced in CrisisOnInfiniteEarths as The Atoner has willingly aligned with The Great Darkness and is confirmed to be an antagonist in the Dark Crisis event.
  • Fallen Hero: The Kate Kane of Earth 11 is corrupted by the Great Darkness into the Batwoman Who Laughs, going through the exact same process as the original one.
  • Furry Reminder: At least one of Captain Carrot's reasons for disliking magic is rabbit-specific.
  • Genre Throwback: Calvin and Thomas' relationship as Superman and Batman is mostly Calvin being an optimistic hero while Thomas scowls. It's basically a throwback to some versions of the dynamic that Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne share.
  • Jumped at the Call: Calvin is ready with a rousing speech to convince Avery to help Justice League Incarnate. However, before he can get it going, Avery notices that they're traveling via Boom Tube and excitedly runs through to the House of Heroes.
  • The Last of His Kind:
    • Thomas Wayne is identified as from "Earth Unknown". This is because his Earth is the altered form of New Earth/Earth 0 during Flashpoint, which no longer exists. Thomas himself is the sole survivor, and only because Eobard Thawne wanted to spite him.
    • Thunderer is still the last survivor of Earth 7. His world has previously been destroyed by the Gentry, and it seems that, when the multiverse was restored, his world was not.
  • Louis Cypher: Ulrich Saxman is Darkseid, whose birth name was Uxas.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Great Darkness turns out to be this to every DC Crisis event. Darkseid, the Anti-Monitor, Extant, Superboy-Prime, Mister Mind, Mandrakk (who was an avatar), the Empty Hand (who is the hand the Darkness used to take the Presence's), Doctor Manhattan, Barbatos, and the Batman Who Laughs were nothing but its unwitting puppets in its plan to destroy everything the Presence created. Magog was also a pawn.
  • The Matchmaker: Thomas really wants to get President Superman a girlfriend. Previously, he tried to get Calvin to ask his assistant out. Then, when it's clear Doctor Multiverse has a thing for Calvin, Thomas gets him to loosen up a bit when they're in the Tavern of Mystery.
  • Mr. Exposition: Dino-Cop of Earth 41 explains everything that transpired during Infinite Frontier.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The password to Etrigan's lair? 'Ogitrev', which is Vertigo backwards.
    • On Earth 33, Calvin and Maya manage to get some money thanks to the Brainiac A.I. using "rounding errors" to get them money, a reference to Superman III.
  • Named After the Injury: Deadeye is a Hawkeye expy who lost his eyesight under unrevealed circumstances.
  • Neck Snap: This is how Darkseid disposes of Tartarus.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When it looks like the crack might be attained by the Batwoman Who Laughs, Doctor Multiverse sends her to the House of Heroes and once again sends the crack somewhere else. However, the House was being attacked by Kalibak and Grail with an army of Parademons, and the heroes had only just gotten their plan to salvage their base together. The Batwoman Who Laughs' arrival completely throws a wrench in things and results in Dino-Cop setting the base to self-destruct. While it makes sense why Doctor Multiverse did it, her action thoroughly messes up the plans of both teams of Justice Incarnate.
  • Precision F-Strike: Sort-of. This comic doesn't have swearing, and this one instance is censored, but from the context — Earth 13's Etrigan, who rhymes, saying it — it's really obvious what he was saying.
    "My dear Fate, with one Superman you foolishly tempt your luck...
    But now that there are two of us you are well and truly #$—"
  • The Reveal: Issue 4 reveals that all Crisis-level events since the Crisis on Infinite Earths (and even alternate universe events like Kingdom Come) were acts pushed by the Great Darkness to destroy the DC Omniverse and bring it back into the nothingness that it once was. Many of the villains in these events were either its avatar or just puppets (suggesting Fallen Heroes like Extant, Superboy-Prime, Magog, and Dr. Manhattan were Brainwashed and Crazy). Final Crisis wasn't one of these events, but a plan by Darkseid to lure the Great Darkness and control it, one the heroes ruined.
  • Sequel Hook: While Justice Incarnate are able to seal off Multiverse-1 from Multiverse-2, the Great Darkness is clearly not worried, and now more powerful than ever. Justice Incarnate realise that they need to contact Earth 0's Justice League to stop it and its army.
  • Shoot the Dog: Doctor Multiverse twice suggests sealing away the crack in the multiverse to prevent others from exploiting it, knowing this would seal Barry Allen inside. Justice Incarnate is divided on the idea, but eventually, Maya goes through with it anyway.
  • Shout-Out: On Earth 8, Silver Eagle takes up American Crusader's shield after his death. This is a reference to the Marvel characters these two are pastiches of, and likely, given the timing, the MCU incarnations specifically, wherein Sam Wilson took up Steve Rogers' shield.
  • Take That!: Darkseid dismisses Tartarus as being a cheap echo of himself. Tartarus is the Earth 8 Captain Ersatz of Thanos.
  • Take That Us: It's telling that Darkseid, the God of Evil, takes on the form of a comic book editor while stuck on Earth 33.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Thomas is not amused by the hijinks of Earth 26 and the Zoo Crew helping him, even when they make him a member of the Zoo Crew. When Avery shows up to take him off the world, he's very happy.
  • Wham Line: Issue #3 has one after Doctor Multiverse absorbs the crack in the multiverse into herself.
    Doctor Multiverse: We have to let Darkseid win.
  • Wham Shot: The final page of Issue 5 reveals the Dark Army: Darkseid, Nekron, Neron, Eclipso, the Upside-Down Man, Ares, and Doomsday.
  • The Worf Effect: Darkseid, Doomsday, Ares, Nekron, the Upside-Down Man, and Neron are easily defeated and enslaved by the Great Darkness.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Doctor Multiverse gives a rousing speech to Avery, telling her that she is a Flash, and that she's a hero, which she was expressing doubts with.