Justice League Dark – Volume 1 – 23
Mikel Janin, Vicente Cifuentes (variant)
Batman (Bruce Wayne) and his team - [Deadman (Boston Brand), Flash (Barry Allen), Steve Trevor, Vibe (Francisco Ramone), Catwoman (Selina Kyle), Katana (Tatsu Toro), Green Lantern (Simon Baz), ]
Superman (Clark Kent/Kal El) and his team - [Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), Cyborg (Victor Stone), Element Woman (Emily Sung), Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond/Jason Rusch), Atom (Rhonda Pineda), Martian Manhunter (J'onn Jonzz)]
Madame Xanadu has been taken out of the great equation. She has been tied up within the Secret Society’s mansion, and at first, she could not understand why she was taken. But now, she realises: it was because she can see. Her clairvoyance allows her to see the divide between the three Justice Leagues, but behind all of that, there is another battle just beginning.
Wonder Woman has just taken hold of Pandora’s Box and the danger becomes apparent to her followers very quickly. Hoping to prevent her from being corrupted by its power, they try to get it out of her hands, but she is too strong. Suddenly, Shazam appears, and manages to knock the box from her hands. Unfortunately, when he places his own hands on it, he becomes corrupted as well, and at that same moment, everyone whose power is derived through some kind of magic doubles over with pain.
Deadman is noticeably pained, and his companions wonder what might have caused it. He explains that it felt as though all of the magic in the universe was funnelled through him for a brief moment, and he could sense everyone who uses magic during that time. He sensed that Shazam was at the centre of it all. Suddenly, Batman realises that if Deadman sensed all of the magic users, he might be able to help track down Madame Xanadu.
Following the explosion at A.R.G.U.S. Headquarters, Superman and his companions survived only thanks to the efforts of Element Woman, whose quick thinking encased them all in hard metals. Cyborg traces the source of the explosion to Dr. Light’s corpse. Having already been told of her betrayal by the Atom, the team turns on Amanda Waller, who they believe must be responsible for the explosion and the deaths of likely hundreds of her employees. She professes her innocence, but when Firestorm admits that she had had him create Kryptonite, their resolve is strengthened. Angrily, Waller admits that she did ask him to make the deadly material, but their focuses should lie with finding survivors, not infighting. Still sick, Superman agrees, though nobody believes Waller’s claims.
Back in the prison where Lex Luthor was accosted by Pandora to open her box, Wonder Woman’s companions manage to knock the box away from Shazam, but its corrupting influence begins spreading such that they all covet it. Only Zatanna, Stargirl and Pandora remain far enough back to avoid feeling the box’s pull as strongly as the others. To protect them, Zatanna casts a spell to block off the box’s call, and then a second to send everyone away from the box. Protected by her spell, Zatanna grabs the box, and hopes to get rid of it, but her companions are fighting her, and her spell is beginning to wear off. Just as Stargirl loses her protection, Wonder Woman knocks the box from Zatanna’s hands, and it is picked up at the last by Constantine. Smirking, he admits that he can’t be corrupted by it, because he’s quite corrupt already. With that, Zatanna and Constantine whisk themselves away to the Greek temple of Hephaestus, where Zatanna realises that Madame Xanadu is being kept, underground.
When they find her, she manages to mumble “not a prison”, referring to the box, though her rescuers do not understand. Soon, Batman and company arrive in time to hear Xanadu shout that Pandora’s Box is not a prison, but a doorway. To everyone’s surprise, the Secret Society’s leader appears, and admits that it is indeed a doorway, and now, it’s time for him to open it.