The Story: "Saving Face!" by J.M. DeMatteis, Luke McDonnell, and Bob Smith. We open on the monstrous face of Professor Ivo, as he is undergoing psychotherapy.
He is telling his therapist about how the Justice League ruined his life, by turning him into a monster!
The therapist tells Ivo he knows that's not true, that it was he who attacked the League--
Ivo cuts him off, and then turns him off. We see that the therapist is nothing more than a robot, built by Ivo to have someone to talk to.
Back at the Secret Sanctuary, the JLA is dealing with their failure to help Firestorm defeat the villain Brimstone (in Legends #1). As usual, Vibe makes a bad situation worse:
This quickly degenerates into name-calling, and then even a fight breaks out between Elongated Man and Vibe!
Manhunter breaks it up, but says that, following the President's order that all super-heroes withdraw from public life, he is disbanding the Justice League.
Gypsy tries to argue, but Vixen says J'onn is right. Elongated Man agrees, saying they've all got personal lives to deal with. He apologizes to Vibe, but Vibe blows him off.
There's not much left to say:
After Manhunter leaves the room, the rest of the heroes decide to head back to Vixen's apartment to talk. They invite Vibe, but he turns against them, sulking.
Meanwhile, we see that Ivo has built dozens of androids, and sends one of them out to find its "intended victim."
Later, we see Vibe aimlessly wandering his hometown streets. He runs into a little boy who worships Superman. Vibe is angry the kid doesn't know about his own people's superhero--him--but then dejectedly walks off.
He then runs into Ivo's android, who immediately attacks him!
With the kid watching, Vibe uses his powers to fight him off, telling himself he won't be defeated, won't let the kid down.
He hits the android over and over again with his powers, until it falls over and stops moving. The kid is thrilled, and runs off, desperate to tell his friends and family about their homegrown superhero, Vibe.
Vibe then decides to call the League about this, and realizes he was wrong to dismiss his teammates. But then:
Vibe is dead.
The android's mission completed, it walks off, leaving a member of the Justice League lying dead on the street like so much garbage:
To be continued!
Roll Call: Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy
Notable Moments: This story--both this issue and eventually the entire four parts--blew my mind. I couldn't believe what I was reading--not only were they killing off a member of the JLA, but they were doing it in such a nasty way. Vibe learns the error of his ways just before he is strangled to death. Ouch.
The new-ish JLA logo used since the second JLA Annual is replaced by the old school, mid-60s one.