L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons) was a six-issue limited series published by DC Comics. Written and inked by Bob Layton and pencilled by Dick Giordano, the series starred characters from Charlton Comics - Sarge Steel, Captain Atom, The Question (Vic Sage), Nightshade, Judomaster, Peacemaker and Blue Beetle (Ted Kord).
A mysterious new villain named the Avatar attacks the Justice League of America, teleporting them to another dimension. With them out of the way, the Avatar captures Captain Atom and traps him in a giant crystal as part of his plan to keep the League trapped. The Avatar the proceeds to attack military institutions across the world.
Senior Advisor of Metahuman Affairs, Sarge Steel, is tasked by the President of the United States to go to the Swiss Alps and find any information he can about the Avatar. Steel sees fit to send for his trusted operative and former Suicide Squad member Eve Eden aka Nightshade who has just undergone a procedure to remove the Succubus from her body. Meanwhile, the Question and the Blue Beetle's investigation into the Avatar's cult leads them to encounter Ripley Jagger the original Judomaster who has been banished from Nanda Parbat for his unknown connection to the Avatar. Together with former surgeon Mitchell Black, the new Peacemaker, all six of these heroes must band together to stop the Avatar's rampage.
The series debuted in September 1999 and concluded in February 2000. The series logo on each of the six covers spotlighted one specific member of The L.A.W., with the first issue highlighting "Blue Beetle". Subsequent issues were emblazoned with the names of (in order): The Question, The Peacemaker, Nightshade, Judomaster and Captain Atom. The six covers incorporated a foreground illustration of the named character, over a background image of the entire team which formed a continuous image when all six issues were placed in line.
Contains examples of:
- Accidental Child-Killer Backstory: Mitchell Black was once a surgeon who performed a risky surgery on a seven-year-old boy against the objections of the boy's parents. When the boy died from complications from the surgery, Mitchell had his medical license revoked. He joined the Peacemaker Corps to atone for his actions.
- Anti-Villain: The Avatar traps the Justice League in another dimension, captures Captain Atom to drain his energies to keep them there and attacks military bases across the world. His true goal is to save children from being orphaned in wars like he was and he goes out of his way to make sure civilians aren't harmed by his operations.
- Artificial Limbs: Dr. Bhattacarja creates a new prosthetic hand for Sarge Steel after his old one is destroyed in a fight with the Avatar's demons. Unlike the old one, Sarge's new hand looks and feels just like a normal human hand. However, it is also used by Bhattacarja to control Steel and he discards it in favor of his old prosthetic.
- Covered in Scars: Justine observes numerous bullet holes in Sarge's back from his life as a spy.
- Driven to Villainy:
- After World War 2 ended, Tiger was unable to return to America with Jagger due to the country's anti-Japanese xenophobia. Jagger chose to stay in Japan as Tiger had no parents. Over the years, Jagger and Tiger sought out the mythical city of Nanda Parbat. However, their seemingly fruitless search coupled with Tiger sensing that Jagger on some level regretted his choice to stay in Japan with Tiger led to the two of them falling out. As Tiger traveled the world on his own, he saw numerous other children who had been orphaned by war just like him and he gained a strong hatred for those who profited off war with no care for those caught in the crossfire. Studying the Hindu legends of the Parashurama, the slayer of the warrior caste, Tiger set out to recover the belongings of the god — the Ax of Shiva, the All-Seeing Eye of Andhaka, and the precious Soma (a Serum of Immortality) which bestows upon its user eternal life when taken regularly. Renaming himself the Avatar, Tiger began his plot to destroy the militaries and war profiteers of the world.
- Persis Bhattacarja is only helping the Avatar because he promised to cure her son's blood disease which science had proved ineffective against.
- Drone Deployer: Mitchell has a drone called F.N.D. (Fluid Nanite Device) or "Friend" as he has nicknamed it. He uses it to track the demons to their location.
- Emotionless Girl: As a result of Jarred Stevens exorcising the Succubus from her, Eve loses her ability to feel emotions. She can't even get angry at Ted Kord and Vic Sage when they barge into her room without knocking. This ends up being advantageous as she is able to battle the Avatar's Ravanan demons without fear holding her back.
- Friend to All Children: The Avatar is shown to have a soft spot for children. The reason Dr Bhattacarja is working for him is because he promised to use his powers to cure her son's untreatable blood disease. Even after his plans are thwarted, the Avatar cures the boy anyway.
- Fun with Acronyms: In addition to L.A.W. there is also G.O.R.T. (Geo-Stationary Operations and Reconaissance Technology), a satellite which can transmit data across the globe in any language. Bhattacarja plans to use it to send an EMP to devastate every military base in the world).
- In their Early-Bird Cameo in DC Heroes Secret Files and Origins, L.A.W. is said to stand for "Last American Warriors".
- A God Am I: The Avatar and he certainly has the power to back up this claim.
- May–December Romance: Sarge Steel and Justine Ramagas.
- Psycho Serum: Soma, the Serum of Immortality, grants eternal youth to whoever takes it regularly at the cost of their sanity. Tiger believed the effects were worth it.
- Sad Clown: Ted Kord reveals to Vic Sage that he uses his humor to mask the crippling guilt he suffers for failing to save his predecessor Dan Garrett.Ted: Didn't you ever wonder why a guy with several doctoral degrees and a successful international business constantly acts like a wisecracking jerk?
Vic: Hmmm... now that you mention it...
- Supernatural Martial Arts: Jagger's training in Nanda Parbat allows him to accomplish feats such as ripping through solid steel, phasing through restraints and reviving Tiger after killing him.
- Villain Has a Point: The Avatar might be evil but his Motive Rant about how the military-industrial complex has destroyed billions of lives and how superheroes have done nothing to stop it has a lot of truth to it. Given that he himself was an orphan who lost his parents to war he speaks from experience.