On the Watchtower, Nightwing and Aqualad discusses Nightwing's departure. Nightwing insists that he isn't resigning, just taking a leave of absence, and assures his teammate that Batgirl is able to speak up. He figures that they all need a break. Aqualad agrees and tells the other members of Yong Justice that Superboy, Miss Martian, and Beast Boy are Alpha and will go to Mars. Tigress, Kid Flash, Bumblebee, and Guardian are Beta. Nightwing watches and figures that it's business as usual, and departs.
Two Years Later
In Markovburg at the Children's Hospital, Doctor Simon Ecks tells Otto that they couldn't find a transplant and his sister Ana's heart gave out.
Ana wakes up on a gurney and calls to Otto, and the orderly takes her through a morgue filled with other corpses. Later, Ana wakes up in a cylinder with an implant in her neck. The doctor says that they're initiating the tar protocol, and a tar-like substance fills the cylinder and Ana's metagene activates.
Twelve days later on Rann, a flight of demonic creatures attacks the planet. A creature made of glowing tar, Plasma, leaps off of the flying warriors' ship and lands on the ground, burning everything that it touches. Adam Strange, Alanna, and the Justice League are fighting the invaders. Tar attacks one League member, Ice, and Black Lightning comes to her aid. He forces Plasma back, and the creature clutches at its heart and collapses, solidifying into solid tar. Superman arrives and says that he doesn't hear a heartbeat, and the others join Lightning. AlAna confirms that Tar was an Earth girl, 14 years old.
On the Watchtower two weeks later, Miss Martian is debriefing the teams. Steel arrives with Jefferson Pierce--Black Lighting--in his civilian clothes, and they go to the conference room where the others are waiting. Aquaman--the former Aqualad--arrives and invites Megan to observe as leader of Young Justice. She assures him that he has her moral support.
In the conference room, Aquaman calls the emergency meeting to order. Wonder Woman is leading teams throughout the universe, and reports that meta trafficking on Earth has spilled out into the galaxy. Earth's metahumans are being deployed by the enemy as weapons of mass destruction, undermining the League's efforts to rebuild their reputation. Black Canary notes that children are being abducted on an unprecedented scale, tested for the metagene, and disappear if they don't have the metagene. Aquaman notes that Luthor is using the League's charter to place more restrictions on the League. Jeff says that they've become separated from the people that they protect, and Batman suggests that the League has outlived its usefulness on Earth. Aquaman insists that the League is a symbol for truth and justice worldwide, but Batman says that the League is an obstacle to that mission and tenders his resignation. Green Arrow does so as well, as do several other heroes. Black Canary realizes that they arranged it in advance, and Green Arrow suggests that she go with her. She tells Green Arrow to leave and he departs.
Jeff says that he came there to resign in person because he can't do it anymore, and Aquaman says that he understands. Once Jeff leaves, Aquaman says that they'll have to release a statement disowning their former members.
Batman comes out and tells Young Justice that it's time. Robin and several other heroes leave, and Batman asks Jeff to join them. He figures that they want the same things, and Jeff tells him that he wants nothing to do with Batman Incorporated. He admits that he doesn't trust Batman after what he pulled. Jeff goes over to the Static and hopes that he can find a new mentor that is less damaged. Aquaman watches and wonders if Dick had the right idea.
A few days later in Moscow, a masked Dick attacks thugs in a warehouse. He takes them out and tells Oracle that her information was correct. He then releases teenagers from the crates where they're being held, and tells Oracle that it's another meta-trafficking operation. Oracle says that Bedlam uses a substance named "tar" to transform metahumans. As the thugs wake up, Dick throws explosives into the crate. The thugs run out and the crates blow up. Dick is nearby watching and sends data to Oracle on the tar sample that he obtained. She says that tar contains a clay only found in Markovia.
Cat Grant reports from the Markovian royal palace. King Victor and his queen, Ilona, hold a press conference on the second anniversary of the disappearance without a trace of their daughter Tara. Tara's sister Brion meets with Cat and explains that he traveled to see the world and learn after Tara disappeared. He confirms that he has a fraternal twin, Gregor, and is next in line for the throne because he was born sixteen minutes before Viktor.
Ilona's brother Frederick DeLamb, head of the Markovian security forces, presents Victor and Ilona to the press. The royal couple state that they will take in refugees from Qurac, but speak primarily to pledge an end to meta-trafficking.
Dr. Jace is watching from the palace, and Brion asks if the results came back. Jace says that she's uncomfortable with it, but admits that Brion tested positive for the metagene which means that Tara would have tested positive as well and probably why she disappeared. The doctor figures that the traffickers have metas working for them, and Brion asks if Markovia has the technology to create its own metas. Jace says that she'll try to find out.
In Star City, Oracle tells Dick that Batman and the others walked out. She then tells him that the children's hospital in Markovia is apparently performing the meta transformation work. Ecks is employed as an intern at the hospital, and Oracle has a list of heroes that can back Dick up.
In a nearby house, Artemis in her civilian identity wakes up and goes down to the kitchen where Roy and their daughter are eating breakfast. Dick arrives at the door and greets Roy under his assumed name of Will, and Roy wonders who he's there to recruit.
The next day in Markovburg, a thief slips through the palace and opens the security-sealed door. Two Quraci metahumans come in and one of them knocks the woman out. The other one superspeeds through the palace, running to a room and killing the occupants. Frederick and his guards arrive and tell the speedster to surrender. The speedster knocks out the guards, and easily avoids Frederick's sword thrust. As the intruder runs, Frederick shoots him in the back. Brion arrives and goes into the next room, and finds his parents dead.
The nest day in Happy Harbor, Oracle tells Dick that the pre-coronation ball the next night is their best shot at getting the intel they need.
Conner and Megan are at home together, and Conner says that with Superman in space he feels an obligation to step up. Dick knocks at the door and says that he needs to borrow Conner to deal with the meta-trafficking in Markovia. Conner glances at Megan and then agrees, and Dick says that it's a non-supersuit op. He leaves to recruit one more person, and Megan admits that she wishes Conner had passed because she's counting on him. Conner says that she can always count on him and proposes to her. Megan agrees and they kiss.
G. Gordon Godfrey is doing an opinion piece on the news, talking about martial laws. He's talking with Frederick via satellite, and Frederick says that they need to test every Quracian in the country for the metagene. Frederick confirms that Gregor is too young to become king so he'll act as regent. Brion and Gregor are watching, and Brion warns that they may not be able to trust Frederick. He suggests that they postpone Gregor's coronation until after the funeral, but Gregor insists that the country needs a king. Gregor leaves and Brion figures that the country needs a king and a hero, and then calls Jace.
In Metropolis, Jeff kisses his daughters goodnight and then goes downstairs and tells his wife Lynn that he's giving up the superhero life. Lynn doesn't believe it, but Jeff says that he has no choice. He goes outside and finds Dick waiting for him, and Dick insists that they can take down the trafficking operation in one night and then they go their separate ways. Jeff tells him that his powers aren't working and he's useless. Dick insists that he needs Jeff as a hero and tells him where to meet, but Jeff says that he won't be there and leaves.
That night, Artemis and Conner meet Dick at the zeta tube in Centennial Park. Jeff joins them and insists that he's only there for one mission, and they head for Markovia.
Written by Gadfly on Jan 12, 2019