The Story: "In The Shadow of the Ox" by Gerry Conway, Chuck Patton, and Mike Machlan. Picking up from last issue, the new JLA has returned home, with the missing Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash in tow.
The three heroes demand to know how and why Aquaman could've done what he did--disbanding the Justice League!--while they were gone.
Aquaman tries to explain, and tells them about the Earth-Mars War. He then reiterates a short history of the team, about how it started, how it evolved, and the state is was in when Mars attacked:
The Flash suggests that maybe its time for the League to change again, and for them to give these newcomers a chance. Superman and Wonder Woman agree, and they wish Aquaman and the others good luck.
Sue Dibny reminds them of the conundrum of that, to the rest of world, the three heroes have been gone for weeks, not the half a day Superman and the rest claim. Manhunter suggests it was one of those "time pardoxes" that seem to be occurring lately (due to the ongoing Crisis). Flash offers to take his friends back in time three weeks to avoid any further time hiccups. They head out, no longer members of the Justice League of America.
Later, Vibe's sister Rosita arrives at JLA HQ, saying that a beloved member of their community, an old woman named Mother Windom, has been kidnapped.
Turns out she was taken by The Ox, who says he will turn her over if Vixen turns herself over to him!
Vixen agrees, but Aquaman tells her no. Vixen refuses to listen to him, and tries to run off. Aquaman then hits her with a mental blast, which stops her in her tracks.
This is all too much for the Martian Manhunter:
Manhunter believes she must handle this on her own, and a stewing Aquaman looks on.
In downtown Detroit, we see Vixen arrives at the abandoned movie theater where the Ox told her he would be. When Vixen confronts Ox, he tells her he wants her Tantu Totem, or Mother Windom dies.
Vixen hands it over, and when Ox puts it on, it transforms him into his namesake--a giant, demonic, human/ox hybrid creature! He loses all control, and starts smashing everything in his path, including his own henchmen!
Vixen gets Mother Windom to safety, before taking on The Ox head-to-head:
Whether she meant it or not, The Ox, the man who haunted Vixen ever since she was a child, is dead.
Roll Call: Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy
Notable Moments: Of course, this is issue--the first half, at least--is monumental, since the last link between the old and new Leagues was broken.
Sure, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash are a bit too complacent in accepting what happened, but as Elongated Man pointed out back in JLA Annual #2, between Batman leaving, the Atom disappearing, and Green Lantern resigning from the Corps, the JLA had been breaking up for the past couple of years.
Nice to see Manhunter finally confront Aquaman on his jackassery; too bad it never really gets resolved.
Oddly, this was Chuck Patton's final issue as penciler. After taking such a huge role, along with Conway, in redefining the League, it seemed so odd that he would leave so relatively soon. And for the most part, Patton seemed to disappear from comics entirely not too long after.