The next day, the three men -- Superman,
Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter -- stood in very similar positions in the JLA
meeting room on the Watchtower. They had agreed to meet a half hour before the
regular meeting to discuss what was rapidly becoming known as "The Selina
Situation." "As far as I’m concerned," Clark
noted, "We do nothing about it. It’s his personal life and his concern. I
really don’t see how this involves us."
The next day, the three men -- Superman, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter -- stood in very similar positions in the JLA meeting room on the Watchtower. They had agreed to meet a half hour before the regular meeting to discuss what was rapidly becoming known as "The Selina Situation."
"As far as I’m concerned," Clark noted, "We do nothing about it. It’s his personal life and his concern. I really don’t see how this involves us."
"Of course you don’t," Arthur said, "You and he are the two with more to hide from something like this. The truth is, though, it concerns us considering her… history. Relationship or not, she’s still a criminal. And that puts me on edge…"
"I’m afraid that you wouldn’t be the only one, either," J’onn added.
Superman cut in worriedly. "What do you mean, J’onn. You’re not planning on telling the rest of the League are you?"
"Of course not, Clark. But if something happens and the rest of the League is put in danger because of it…"
"It’s the Protocols thing all over again," Arthur finished.
"Why on earth would that happen?" Clark asked, mostly playing Devil’s Advocate at that point. "How could their failed personal relationship affect the other Leaguers?"
"Well," J’onn explained "at this point we don’t know the real story behind all of this. She could just be using him. He could just be using her."
"Hades, they could both be using each other!" Arthur added.
J’onn continued his explanation. "So, she could be using him to try and gain access to any or all of us. Or, if Bruce is using her, once it’s over and he… 'dumps' her, she could lash out and strike back at him and at us in the process…"
"Ok," Clark conceded, "I see your point. But that still doesn’t give us the right to tell everyone else Bruce’s personal business.
"No one is suggesting that we do," J'onn offered. "But maybe we need to put a few contingencies in place…"
"Poseidon," Arthur grumbled. "Haven’t we all learned our lesson yet? All this 'contingency planning' and inner-circle secrets crap is just making things worse and worse. Have either of you ever thought about just talking to him about it?!"
Both J'onn and Superman turned and looked at each other, then slowly back to Arthur. J'onn spoke first. "You mean, ask him to come clean to the rest of the League himself?"
"Or just ask him what’s going on!" Arthur responded. "If he can prove to us that his… relationship with Catwoman is not something that could affect the League, then we can drop it and move on."
The three men looked at each other for a few minutes, each pondering the suggestion Arthur made.
"Well, I suppose it’s worth a shot…" J'onn offered.
"All I’m saying here is that the behind-the-back shit hasn’t been working too well for us, so why not just take the direct approach," reasoned Arthur.
"Ok, then," J'onn decided "let’s plan on taking him aside after the meeting today and just asking him about it."
Clark’s brow furrowed slightly. "All three of us?"
"Sure, why not. All three of us tend to have a slightly different perspective. Between the three of us, one of us should be able to get something out of him…"
"Ok, let me see if I understand this," Clark said, slowly "You want the three of us to have an… intervention… with Batman."
Both J'onn and Arthur nodded. Superman slowly massaged the bridge of his nose with his fingers.
"Yeah. This can’t end well…"
The weekly JLA meeting was a pretty typical one. Discussions of the week’s events, monitor duty schedules (complete with Arthur’s usual disgruntlement with the amount of "shift-swapping" going on) and possible upcoming threats filled the better part of an hour. Superman decided to wind the meeting down.
"Ok, so no meeting next week. With the Thanksgiving Holiday coming up this Thursday for most of us, there’s really no point. So we'll plan on getting together again the first Friday in December. So if there’s nothing else…"
"Actually," Eel interrupted "There is one more thing…" His hands came up from under the table and set down a small pile of pens and strips of paper. His fingers stretched out across the table, delivering a pen and a piece of paper to each of the League members while the top of his head morphed into a giant Santa hat. "It’s that time of year again!"
A collective groan erupted around the table. Eel adopted as stern a look as his rubbery face would allow. "Oh, c'mon guys! It’s Secret Santa time!!" The stern look disappeared behind a giant smile, the edges of his mouth stretching up and touching the rim of the hat.
Clark sat and immediately began writing his name on the paper in front of him. The others slowly did likewise, several grumbling as they did so. Eel morphed his right hand into a giant rubbery sack, then slowly moved it around the table, each Leaguer dropping their piece of paper in. Once they were all collected, the top of the bag closed and Eel shook his hand up and down, shuffling the papers as he went through the normal "ritual".
"Ok, you all know the rules: One name per person. If you draw your own name, you can put it back. Other than that, who you draw is who you have to get a present for. One present only. Can be bought, made or 'handed-down' and can be serious or funny. Up to you. Any purchased presents have a price cap of $100. We'll exchange presents at the JLA Christmas Party. No trading names! And no telling! A Secret Santa isn’t a secret if you blab it to the world…"
He finished shaking the bag-hand and stretched it over to Wally. Wally drew a name, looked at it and nodded to Eel. The bag-hand moved on. Everyone sat in silence as the bag made it’s way around the table. Kyle was next and unlike many of the others, he seemed to be second only to Eel in his excitement over the drawing. He eagerly shoved his hand in the bag and drew out a slip of paper. He opened it and his shoulders immediately slumped. He suddenly leaned over and began banging his head on the table, muttering the word "fuck" over and over. Several of the others chuckled at Kyle’s reaction, then laughed outright as Arthur joked "See? This is why he sucks at poker!"
The bag moved on to Diana. She drew a slip, looked at it and blanched. "Um… no." She started to reach up and put her paper back, but Eel quickly sealed the top of the bag and pulled it away, turning a questioning eye at her. "Is it your own name, Wondy?"
She stared at Eel for a moment, then replied "No."
"Then tough noodles! That’s your name!" Eel harrumphed, moving the bag over to Superman and opening it back up. Clark reached in and pulled a slip out, looked at it, then folded it up. The bag moved on to Batman. He stared at Eel for a second, then reached in and drew out a name. Unsurprisingly, his face didn’t change at all as he looked at the name, then nodded to Eel. J'onn and Arthur both drew their names and nodded. Eel pulled the bag-hand back to himself, morphing it back into his normal hand, now with one piece of folded paper resting in his palm. He opened and read it, then balled the paper up and swallowed it.
"That’s it!" Plaz announced. "We all have our names! Happy shopping!!"
Everyone turned their attention back to Superman except Kyle, who continued banging his head on the table. Wally reached over and patted him on the back, then turned to the others, a wicked grin on his face. "Hey, whoever has Kyle’s name, he should be easy to shop for this year." Kyle stopped his pounding and turned his head sideways, looking up at Wally in confusion. "A lifetime subscription to the Gotham Post would be perfect!"
Kyle sat straight up and punched Wally in the shoulder. "You dick."
Diana suddenly spoke up. "Actually, that does bring up something I wanted to discuss with you, Kyle. Your strips have been pretty inappropriate as of late. I understand you may be a little upset with the Post at the moment, but…"
Kyle immediately went on the defensive. "Inappropriate?!! On the contrary, I think they have been right on the money! Have you seen what they've been writing about me!! Outright LIES!!"
Hearing the condemnation from Diana’s mouth, Clark realized that Lois had been right all along. Ultimately, it was Kyle’s business. In fact, it was no different than exactly what he had been saying to J'onn and Arthur regarding Bruce and the Selina Situation. He decided to intercede before things escalated.
"Hold on, you two. Regardless of the appropriateness of Kyle’s comic strips, he does bring up a good point. We've all been noticing the recent trend in the press regarding those of us in the 'hero community'. Let’s face it, the press has always written whatever they wanted to about us, but it seems like it has been getting more and more 'out of hand' in recent months."
"So?" came the voice of descent, as usual from Arthur’s chair.
"So?" Superman mimicked. "What do you mean ’so?'."
"Who cares what they say in the press? We do our jobs and protect this planet and its people, what does it matter if some stupid journalist slants the story in his favor? We're not in this for the accolades… at least we shouldn’t be, I don’t really care what the public at large thinks about me or the League, as long as they understand that our sole purpose is their safety and the safety of our planet."
"That may be, Arthur," Diana countered, "but there are some things -- and pardon my saying so -- that you just don’t understand living in Atlantis. The treatment of us by the press may mean nothing to you, but to those of us who live in American Society nowadays have to deal with the ramifications of what is said about us in the press…"
Arthur and Diana continued to discuss the issue, battling back and forth as had become more and more frequent recently. J'onn, like many of the others, basically tuned them out as they 'discussed' the issue. He suddenly felt someone trying to contact him via the telepathic link. He opened the link and was surprised immediately by the voice.
::How long are we going to let them do this?::
It was Batman! Batman, who never liked using the telepathic link in the first place. Batman, who sat stoically through the many discussions like this in the past without saying a word. Without even thinking about it, J'onn turned his head slightly and looked over at the cowled man beside him. He was as still and stoic as ever, fingers steepled under his nose, seemingly intent on the conversation. The voice invaded J'onn’s head again.
::Eyes front, soldier! We don’t want the others to realize what’s going on here. Act natural and pretend you're listening. I know you can do it. You and Arthur do it all the time during my briefings::
J'onn was completely stunned, but still managed to shift his attention straight forward again without raising suspicion. Finally, he responded.
::Me and Arthur? How do you know about that?!::
The pointed silence in his head was answer enough. Of course he knew. He’s Batman. J'onn chuckled mentally and then returned to the original question.
::Uh, well… They both have valid points that should be addressed here…::
::No, I mean how long are we going to let these two bicker like school children in our meetings because of what happened between them::
::Wha-what do you mean, Batman?::
::Let’s not bullshit each other here, J’onn. Ok, fine. They had an affair, but now they're letting their personal lives interfere with League business. I think it’s time we put a stop to that.::
J'onn couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Batman -- ol' Dark, Broody and Independent himself! -- was… well, gossiping in his head! At least, it was as close to gossiping that Batman got, J’onn supposed. What was going on here?!
::A-and how do you propose we do that?::
::I have no idea. But they either need to get on with it and make up or come to an agreement and end it once and for all! Either way, I don’t really care, but if I have to sit through one more of these damn 'lover’s spats' disguised as genuine discussion, I’m gonna punch one or both of them!::
J'onn did what could best be described as a mental sputter. He had no idea what had gotten into Bruce that afternoon, but it was getting increasingly more difficult to appear completely nonchalant with Batman ranting off in his head. Thankfully, Superman cut into the discussion (as usual) to stop Diana and Arthur before it went too far. J'onn immediately terminated the telepathic link and returned his attention to Superman.
"Ok, Diana does have a point here. Any ideas on how to handle this?"
"Actually," Diana answered "I have a few ideas. I have some friends and contacts that may be able to help…"
"Wait," Kyle interjected, discreetly shoving the wad of cash he had just won off of Wally into his pocket. "What do you mean 'friends and contacts'?"
"Well, a few people in Washington that are used to handling things like this…"
"Whoa!" Eel interrupted, "Are you talking about a… spin doctor?!"
"Well, I wouldn’t use those terms but… a PR agent of some kind." Diana admitted.
The whole table exploded into loud animated discussion, at the center of which was Diana, arguing louder than all of the others combined. Finally, Batman slammed his hand down on the table, silencing the entire room. "Look, Wonder Woman’s ideas have some amount of merit. I can’t say I’d agree to a full-on Public Relations Director for the League, but at the very least, we can entertain a few ideas. Diana, set up a meeting for you, me and Superman with a few of your choices and we'll see what we can come up with."
The entire room stared at Batman in stunned silence. He slowly looked around the table at each of them before resting his gaze on Diana. "Can you do that?"
"S-sure," Diana stated, her eyes still locked onto him.
"Good," Batman replied, "then let’s call this meeting over. Most of us have other things to do today…"
The others around the table slowly started to stand, many still not taking their eyes off of Batman. Batman stood and prepared to leave, but Superman was suddenly beside him.
"Are you sure this is such a good idea, Batman?"
J'onn and Arthur stood and came over to join the discussion, J'onn keeping an eye on the doorway. Eel, Wally and Kyle walked out, tittering like a sewing circle and Diana was right behind them, a significantly superior look on her face. Once the others were safely teleported off the Watchtower, J'onn rejoined the discussion.
Batman was in mind sentence: "… and altogether not a terrible idea." Batman paused to look at the doorway, verifying that the others had left before continuing. "Besides, it got her to shut up, didn’t it?"
The three other men in the discussion stared in shocked silence at Batman. Specifically at the corner of his mouth, which appeared to be spasming in a most peculiar way. They all traded confused glances before turning their attention back to Batman and his twitching lip.
"What?!" Arthur was the first to ask.
"You ALL know that if something wasn’t done, she would have continued to rant and rave until we finally conceded just to make her stop. I just gave her a possible out-road to end the discussion. The arguing would have gotten us nowhere. So I figured: Humor her and handle it…"
"So you don’t even plan to follow up on your own suggestion?!" Clark asked.
"Oh no, we'll meet with who she brings us. We'll sit there, smile politely and nod our heads, then show them all the door. Who knows, one or two of them may have a valid idea or two."
The other three traded glances, then Superman and J’onn both turned their attention back to Batman. Arthur took a slight step back, his harpoon arm raising slightly as if preparing to strike out. He narrowed his eyes slightly, studying Batman for an instant before speaking.
“Ok, who the fuck are you and what have you done with Batman?”
Batman’s face slowly shifted into the familiar BatScowl. Superman and J’onn both turned to Arthur and said, in unison, “It’s him.”
“Of course it’s me,” Batman growled disgustedly. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Well, you’ve been acting kind of strangely all afternoon, Bruce,” J’onn offered in explanation. “We just weren’t sure.”
“What do you mean by ‘strangely’?” Bruce asked, becoming a little wary himself.
“Just some of the things you’ve said, and how you’ve said them,” Superman explained. “I mean, ‘Humor her and handle it’? It’s just very… uncharacteristic of Batman…”
“What? A man isn’t allowed to be in a good mood?” the twitching returned.
“Not when his name starts with a ‘B’ and rhymes with ‘atman’!” Arthur put in.
J’onn picked it up from there. “I think what Arthur is trying to say is that we’ve just never seen you like this before. I think you can understand our wariness.”
Batman glanced around at the trio. “I suppose it’s understandable. I just figured I’d have a little leeway, considering the date…”
“What?” Superman asked, mentally verifying that it wasn’t January already. Batman just gave each of them the ‘you know what I’m talking about’ look, then turned toward the door.
“I didn’t intend to put everyone on edge. Not to worry, I suppose I’ll be back to my normal broody self in a few days. So if there’s nothing else,” Batman added, already heading for the door.
“Actually,” Superman said, stopping Batman in his tracks. “There is something else we need to discuss.”
Batman turned to face the trio again. “Oh?”
“Yes,” J’onn agreed. “There’s something we need to ask you about…”
Batman waited, watching as J’onn and Superman traded ‘you-go-first’ looks back and forth. Arthur finally shook his head then looked directly at Batman. “We want to know what’s going on between you and Selina Kyle.”
Batman’s face suddenly darkened. “Oh. Well, quite honestly, Arthur, that’s none of your damn business.”
“Actually,” Superman cut in, “it partially is. The fact that Bruce Wayne is dating Selina Kyle is not the problem. It’s the fact that Batman is dating Catwoman that concerns us…”
Batman stared at Superman for a second, then finally spoke. “Awfully presumptuous, don’t you think. The word ‘dating’ I mean…”
Superman and Arthur both looked to J’onn, who merely shrugged. The trio then turned back to Batman.
“Besides,” Batman continued, his tone returning to the familiar growl normally associated with the Cape and Cowl, “whatever my… business with Miss Kyle is, it does not and will not concern the League.”
“It might,” J’onn disagreed “and that’s what we want to avoid…”
“How could it possibly affect any of you?” Batman asked with a sneer.
“She’s a criminal!” Arthur growled back. “A criminal with a history of sneaking into this very facility, I might add. We just don’t want your personal… ‘business’ to come back and bite all of us on the ass!”
“You know, Arthur,” Batman stated flatly, crossing his arms over his chest. “You have a lot of nerve talking to me about personal affairs affecting the League!”
A tense silence fell over the room, as Arthur and Batman traded dagger-stares. J’onn and Superman merely traded concerned looks until Superman finally stepped in.
“Ok, hold on a minute,” the Kryptonian intervened, “there’s no need to turn this into a personal war. We merely wanted to voice our concern. Batman, we just want you to understand that we’re a bit concerned about possible personal attacks stemming from… well, we don’t want a reaction from your personal affairs affecting… we’re…”
J’onn stepped forward, placing a hand on Superman’s shoulder to stop him before he ended up with both of his shiny red boots in his mouth. “Look, Bruce, all we’re saying here is that we have some concerns about the possible ramifications of this… ‘business’… whatever its nature. Especially so soon after the Protocols Incident…”
Batman’s shoulders tightened as he stared directly at J’onn. “So that’s what this is about? Everyone is still bent out of shape over the Protocols?!”
“No,” J’onn said, trying to be as calm and reassuring as possible. “We’ve all gotten over that. Most of us anyway. But at the very least, you have to admit that something like this coming right on the heels of the Protocols Debacle doesn’t exactly instill confidence in the others…”
“Let’s get one thing straight,” Batman growled, “I’m not here to instill confidence in anyone! I’m here to do the job and play my part in the League’s business. If my method or my manner steps on a few toes… well, that’s not my problem.”
“Actually,” Superman interjected, “it’s really about trust. And right now, the level in trust between the members of the League is rapidly descending. It’s not just about you, Bruce. There are others with similar issues right now. We’ve been trying our best to keep things together, but then things like this come up and it all starts to crumble again. We’re not asking you to confess anything. We’re not asking you to fill everyone in on the details of your personal life. We just need some reassurance that this isn’t going to turn into another Protocols, because right now, that would pretty much destroy this team.”
There was another long pause. Batman was strangely quiet as he appeared to be processing all that had been said. After a minute or so, Batman’s shoulders and arms relaxed a bit. He slowly raised his hands, then lifted the cowl back off of his face. “Ok,” Bruce stated calmly, “I give you my personal guarantee that my personal affairs will not interfere with the League in any way, shape or form. And if, by some reason, they do, I will take full responsibility and do whatever the three of you see fit. Even if it means resigning from the League.”
The three men stared in shocked amazement. All three realized that they had just gotten not only Batman’s word, but the word of Bruce Wayne as well. Superman stepped forward, took Bruce’s hand and shook it. “Fair enough.” J’onn and Arthur nodded their agreement. Bruce nodded back, then reached up and replaced the cowl.
“Now, if you gentlemen will please excuse me, I have a certain Cat waiting for me…” Again, the trio stared in shock as the twitching lip on Batman’s face, turned into a full-fledged grin. He turned and headed toward the door. He voice floated back at them as he exited. “You know, you three should really check your calendar.”
All three of them looked at each other, then simultaneously walked over to the command console in the meeting room. J’onn arrived first, bringing up the November schedule page on the monitor. J’onn pointed to a small icon flashing on the schedule for the current day. J’onn selected it and a small window popped up on the screen.
Timelocked Appointment (Now Available):
Saturday, November 21st
The three stared at each other in confusion for a moment, then J’onn selected the note attached to the appointment. What popped up startled the three men for a second, then suddenly caused a round of surprised laugher.
Welcome to The Third Saturdays Club.
Clark flew over Metropolis, his eyes scanning the bustling crowd below. The Friday after Thanksgiving: the busiest shopping day of the year and Metropolis seemed to be at the heart of it all. Millions of people, arms laden with bags and boxes full of presents for their families, friends and co-workers, hustled from sidewalk to sidewalk, from store to store. Even at close to midnight, the streets were still alive and moving, many of the stores holding “Midnight Madness” sales and the like. Superman couldn’t help but smile as the definite spirit of the holiday season filled the air.
Suddenly, his super-hearing picked up a signal on a supersonic frequency. Jimmy’s signal watch! Clark followed the signal, racing across town and zeroing in on the Daily Planet. He tracked the signal to the roof, landing quickly and scanning the rooftop under the giant globe.
“Jimmy?” he called out. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” came the reply from the shadowed corner of the roof. The voice was familiar, but not the recently-post-adolescent chirping of his young red-headed friend. Clark turned to face the voice. “Batman?!”
“Hello, Clark.” Batman’s voice rumbled over the rooftop as he approached the Man of Steel.
“Geez, Bruce! You scared the crap out of me! How did you… never mind. I don’t want to know.”
“Replicating Jimmy’s signal watch signal was the easy part, Clark. Actually deciding to press the button tonight was the real trick…”
Clark scanned Batman’s stoic features, trying, in vain, to read his intention. “Bruce? What’s going on?”
“Last weekend. You said it was a matter of trust.”
“Wha-?” Superman paused, then remembered the conversation in the Watchtower. “Yes. Yes it is. And as I said, that trust appears to be slipping away rather rapidly.”
Batman looked him right in the eye. “We have a decision to make.”
“Are you sure about this?”
J’onn looked to the two men standing before him, who both nodded in agreement. A brief silence filled the Watchtower conference room as Superman and Batman looked at each other. Batman spoke first.
“I’m sure they can all handle taking a few minutes away from their busy shopping schedules for a quick meeting…”
“That’s not what I meant, Bruce,” J’onn said, a light smile crossing his face.
“Yes,” Superman confirmed. “We’re sure.”
J’onn nodded, then turned to the console and punched up the JLA communicator controls. He pressed a few buttons, sending a Priority Signal to the remote devices for the five other primary League members. “This is J’onn up at the Watchtower,” he announced, “we need everyone in the conference room in five minutes.”
He closed the communicator control and walked silently over to his seat. Superman and Batman both took their seats as well. Each man sat deep in silent thought as the five minutes crawled by.
The teleport tubes started flashing to life. In typical fashion, the others arrived. Wally and Kyle came through separate tubes almost simultaneously and immediately started chatting about the possible reasons behind this meeting. Plastic Man came through next, his arms stretched through the handles of about twenty shopping bags. Diana was next, walking silently into the conference room. The tubes flashed a final time as Arthur came through and entered the room. None of them were truly surprised to see the three men already seated. They all came in and took their seats.
Wally was the first to speak up. “Ok, what blew up now?”
“Nothing,” Superman replied, standing and slowly walking around the room. “Let me start by apologizing for interrupting whatever holiday rituals you were engaging in today. I promise to be brief. But, there is something that we all need to discuss. Something that we felt couldn’t wait any longer and something that Batman and I both feel is long overdue.”
The entire table turned to look at Batman, who merely nodded in confirmation. The other leaguers traded confused glances between one another as Superman made his way around the table, continuing his speech.
“Each one of us at this table has made an oath. An oath to protect this planet and all its people. We have come together as a team to fight off any and all threats, alien and domestic, that threaten the freedoms and lives of the inhabitants of Earth, sometimes even without their knowledge. We put our lives, our faith and our trust in one another, putting aside all differences and personal concerns for the sake of Truth and Justice. This League was founded out of necessity: a common enemy that threatened the entire planet that could only be defeated by the strongest heroes coming together. Since then, in all of its many incarnations, the Justice League, at it heart, has always been about teamwork.”
“Any team, from a High School Football squad to a collection of the most powerful beings on the planet, must have a certain level of trust between its members in order to function effectively. Over the last few years, the eight of us have come together to accomplish the impossible. We have fought side by side and hand in hand against evils that were seemingly unbeatable and succeeded, mainly due to our ability to function as a team. And now we find ourselves in a situation where that trust is breaking down. Without that trust, we will surely fail as a team and when we fail, it is the entire planet suffers. That cannot happen, my friends. I will not allow that to happen. And neither should any of you.”
“To that end, my friends and colleagues, we have asked you all here today in order to reestablish the trust and the teamwork that keeps this League together. We ask each of you to rededicate yourself to this League and to each other.”
Batman stood, drawing everyone’s attention. He looked slowly around the table, meeting each member’s gaze with his own. He dropped his head slightly, raising his hands up and hooking his thumbs under the edge of the cowl. He paused for the briefest of moments, then pulled the cowl back off of his face.
“My name is Bruce Wayne, businessman, industrialist and billionaire. And I am Batman.”
The entire table gasped. The league members all looked at each other incredulously, no one believing what they were seeing. Kyle sputtered audibly. “B-br-Bruce Wayne is the Batman?!? Is this some kind of joke?!?”
“No,” Diana spoke up. “He’s telling the truth… though it is quite unexpected.”
Bruce looked again to each of the Leaguers. “The time for secrets and lies is over. This is about full disclosure.”
During the reaction to Batman’s revelation, Superman had quickly exited the room. At that moment, Clark Kent entered.
“My name is Clark Kent. I am a reporter for the Daily Planet and husband to Lois Lane. And I am Superman.”
“Clark Kent?!” Plastic Man gasped. “I read your column!!” Again, the excited and incredulous conversations started as Clark and Bruce both looked to J’onn. Clark leaned over to the Martian, a grin on his face. “Ok, J’onn. Pick one.”
The rest of the table looked to J’onn with varying looks of confusion and surprise. J’onn stood and morphed into his most frequently used ‘human’ persona.
“I have many guises and appearances, but the most common is this one: John Jones, retired Colorado Police officer and current Detroit Private Investigator. My true identity,” he continued, morphing into his true Martian form, “is J’onn J’onzz, Manhunter from Mars.”
“My human name is Arthur Curry,” Aquaman joined in, standing as well. “In my homeland, I am known as Orin. I am the King of Atlantis. And I am Aquaman.”
“It is no surprise to any of you that I am Diana, Princess of Themyscira and Amazon ambassador. But I am also known as Diana Prince, school teacher from Washington DC.”
“What the hell,” Wally muttered, standing. “Most of you already know this, but my name is Wally West. I am a police scientist from Central City and I am The Flash.”
“Kyle Rayner, Freelance Cartoonist.”
All eyes turned to Plastic Man as he stood slowly, a sheepish look on his face. “Uh… Pass?”
Bruce grinned, looking at the man he had brought into the League. “I don’t think so, Eel.”
“Okay,” Plaz replied, removing his goggles. “I was born Patrick O’Brien. My mother used to call me ‘Eel’ because I was skinny enough to slither into just about anywhere. I used to be a criminal. Nowadays, I’m a member of the Justice League.”
The entire table stared in surprise as a genuinely warm smile appeared on Eel’s face. “And damn proud of it.”
To be continued...