With all the hype about Geoff Johns hooking up Superman and Wonder Woman over in Justice League #12, it wasn't expected that he would also sling us a twist on that whole thing in Justice League International Annual #1, but he does. And it's something that somewhat deflates the hope that he'd be giving the couple an honest shot at working just to see how it unfolds.
With JLI being cancelled, we knew this was going to be an issue where the dysfunctional team finally unraveled, and that's certainly what happens here. Guy Gardner storms off the team because he knows team leader Booster Gold is lying to him about actually working with the Justice League, which is something he admits later when he confesses to Godiva that they never even returned his calls. It's all part of his grand plan to make himself a big-time famous hero. What prompts that confession? Not only does Gardner bolt and Batwing leaves to deal with his own local issues, but O.M.A.C. turns traitor and tries to kill everybody thanks to the resurgence of Brother Eye, catapulting five-minute-old member Blue Beetle into outer space back to the crazy alien Reach (which you'd think would happen in his own book) and smacking the crap out of everybody else.
The revelation once the fighting winds down and Booster manages to redeem himself by saving the day is that yes, Batman built Brother Eye, just like he did back in Ye Olden Identity Crisis (ugh, if only we could've lost that in the New 52), but now it has a new, mysterious programmer out to kill Batman. So there's something.
The interesting part is when another version of Booster Gold shows up, seems to frantically indicate that they need to stop Superman and Wonder Woman from hooking up before Rip Hunter gets involved and they cease to exist. But somehow, he has a camera feed on the lip-smacking from JL #12, and suddenly both Boosters blink out of existence.
So, is Booster Gold gone forever? Is this how Johns gets around the anomaly of the Booster Gold solo series pre-New 52, where he and Rip Hunter worked together outside of time to correct continuity issues – just erase them both? Or is this a bigger deal, and Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship won't get to play out naturally, but rather they'll be forced to break up in order to save the world from some disaster that results from their togetherness? That's the thing that feels like it could lead to a cheap-out. If you're gonna tell the Kal-Di story, tell it.
Artist Jason Fabok is fantastic on this issue, with cool, clean figures and great straightforward heroic action. Johns wrote the decent story with Dan DiDio, so the latter could wind down his O.M.A.C. saga, and it's been fairly well established that they're not big boosters (pardon the wordplay) of the super-buddies era of the Justice League or 1980s comics in general. Ted Kord, Ralph and Sue Dibny – see Identity Crisis for their needlessly brutal ends, Wally West is no more, and now Booster Gold is blinked away. Perhaps never to be seen again.
Hell of a way for JLI to end.