The Story: "Desperate Climax" by Gerry Conway, Luke McDonnell, and Bill Wray. Picking up from last issue, we open on Batman, grimly staring into the Fire of Py'Tar, trying to figure out a plan.
Despero experiences another agonizing renewal of his power, and walks out of the fire, only to be temporarily blinded by an explosive gas pellet thrown in his eyes by Batman.
Despero chases after Batman, blasting away at everything in sight, enraged more at Batman's guts than the explosion itself.
Meanwhile, Vixen tires to wake up the other JLAers, knocked out by Despero's last attack. They finally do, and Vixen tells them of Batman's plan.
When Vixen tells Vibe Batman is in there, fighting Despero alone, he basically gives up and says they have no hope of stopping him. But Steel doesn't want to hear it:
The JLA heads toward Despero's temple, and Vibe initially starts to walk away. Finally, he realizes his cowardice, and turns out to join his friends.
Inside, we see Batman has been captured again by Despero, but he's still trash-talking him anyway. This drives Despero nuts:
Batman even goes so far to call Despero "a pathetic little loser"(!), which distracts Despero long enough for the JLA to sneak in and hit him with a series of blows, courtesy Vixen and Steel.
Vixen then frees Batman, and they and the rest of them fight the various stone demons Despero has created. Despero then blasts at Steel, which infuriates Gypsy, who uses her hallucinogenic powers on Despero, causing him to go completely berserk.
Vibe then uses his powers on the Flame of Py'Tar, causing the effect on Despero that Batman guessed it would:
Everything Despero created disappears into nothingness, and Batman credits Vibe with the final blow.
Vibe is touched by Batman's compliment, and asks if they can double-date. Batman's answer: "Don't press your luck."
Roll Call: Batman, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy
Notable Moments: Maybe the new JLA's finest moment, sad to think this was Gerry Conway's last story line with the team he wrote for so long. Despero is defeated by teamwork and logic, not some deus ex machina event at the end. I think, over time, if just a couple older JLAers had returned to the team, this could've been a workable concept. But of course, it wasn't to be.
This issue's cover is inked by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, another unusual choice as inker.