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Ray Palmer: Have you ever had a sinus headache? So torturous you thought your head would explode? What if I shrank to microscopic size, entered your skull, then began to grow. Imagine how that would feel.
—An exchange between a hero seeking "justice" and a villain.
Justice League: Cry for Justice (2009-2010) is a seven-issue limited series written by James Robinson with one purpose in mind: to make a team that actively seeks justice rather than merely responding to the need for it, like the Justice League of America. However, this only creates a thin line between Justice and Revenge.
The story takes place after Final Crisis, where Green Lantern Hal Jordan begins to lose belief in what the team is fighting for, particularly justice. He and the Green Arrow quit the Justice League and begin to hunt down villains and ensure that people like Libra would never take flight again.
Meanwhile, numerous superheroes mourning the deaths of their friends all begin to think the same and wish for the same thing: justice. They join one another and decide to, as a group, attempt to bring justice to the world. Little do they know that this is going according to the plan of one villain: Prometheus.
The series was originally planned to be an ongoing series and reinterpretation of the Justice League of America series and team, but DC executives eventually shortened it to seven issues, with the various characters and plot lines followed up in other series.
Justice League: Cry for Justice provides examples of the following tropes:
- Arc Words: "Justice" appears numerous times in every issue, often spoken as a complete sentence to explain means, motives and goals.
- Big Bad: Prometheus
- Bury Your Gays: Mikaal Thomas' lover was killed, and that killing is what set him on the path for justice in the first place.
- C-List Fodder: Prometheus stated that (off panel, by the way) he killed several members of the Global Guardians.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: The heroes, primarily Ray Palmer (The Atom), torture several villains in order to gain information.
- Concepts Are Cheap: The main characters begin seeking justice without defining what it means, how it is different from the ideals and actions of the Justice League, or how it is different from a different concept all together.
- Contrived Coincidence: The story starts with various heroes all over the world shouting that they want justice at the exact same time, completely at random.
- Covers Always Lie: See Lex Luthor, The Joker, Sinestro, Poison Ivy, and Grodd on the cover image up top? None of them show up. At all.
- Darker and Edgier: The series was an attempt to make the Justice League proactive and, well, edgier. This has been done before (Justice League Detroit, Justice League Task Force, Extreme Justice), and has certainly been done better (Justice League Elite).
- Gambit Roulette: Much of Prometheus's plan relied on heroes being in the exact right place, at the exact right time, for the exact right reasons.
- Idiot Ball: Once the heroes have captured Prometheus, they tie him up... and put his helmet, the source of all his powers, back on his head. That's like leaving Batman his utility belt, or giving any of the Green Lanterns back their power rings once you've got them in your trap. This is not the only example of this behavior in the story, but it's a good representative.
- Infant Immortality: Brutally averted. Poor Lian....
- Karma Houdini: Subverted with Prometheus, but played straight with the heroes. Aside from Green Arrow, none of them suffer any sort of negative consequences for their sadistic acts of vengeance — not even guilt.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Green Arrow killing Prometheus. The latter's actions are the final example of the characters of the story confusing "justice" for "revenge".
- Lampshade Hanging: Green Lantern points out that is practically Gotham law that all conversations should be on the roofs of buildings.
- Offscreen Heroism: After spending most of the issue chasing Prometheus's various gambits and running about in circles (after boasting they would be a proactive, preventive force for good), Ollie and Hal reflect on a number of crime lords and evil-doers they'd stopped and put away in prison. It's unclear when exactly they had time to do this given the flow of events, but we never see this adventures first-hand, only their mentions of them.
- One-Scene Wonder: Mia Dearden, or "Speedy II", appears for a total of four pages.
- Papa Wolf: Green Arrow
- Plot Hole: Donna Troy is clearly shown tearing Prometheus's helmet into several pieces, yet barely a page later it's fully repaired and back on his head. Either bad writing or the artist forgot what he drew.
- Poor Communication Kills: Supergirl began to suspect that Captain Marvel was actually Prometheus after they survived the bombing, but refrained from mentioning her suspicions to any of the other characters for three issues.
- Race Lift: Vixen and (the current) Firestorm, both black super-heroes, appear white in this story. Likely a coloring error and not a conscious editting choice.
- Revenge: Much of the "justice" that the group asks for is simple, and personal, revenge. Their actions do not support or heal those who have been injured, do not rehabilitate or judge those responsible, and are not in accordance with established laws or customs. They are instead the simple act of hurting people that have hurt them.
- Stuffed in The Fridge: Numerous character, including several minor heroes, are killed to motivate and harm the primary characters. This includes, in the series final issues, Lian Harper, Roy Harper's daughter, who was killed during the destruction of Star City.
- Take That: The run, likely by coincidence, has a few unseemly remarks on characters written by Gail Simone. One notable example being an implication that Hal Jordan had a drunken threesome with Huntress and Lady Blackhawk of the Birds of Prey. Gail later shot down the implication in issue #6 of the new Birds ongoing, with the revelation that Hal just got drunk and passed out.
- Trauma Conga Line: Poor Red Arrow. First he gets his arm chopped off and then his daughter gets killed.
- Unexplained Recovery: Congorilla uses this excuse to justify how he was healed from his injury.
- Villains Act, Heroes React: The theme of the series is its protagonists refusal to accept this doctrine, as Hal Jordan and Green Arrow initially leave the League because they are tired of simply waiting around for a villain to commit a crime and then cleaning up the aftermath. At no point do they propose a course of action that might somehow prevent crime from being committed in the first place.
- Vulcan Has No Moon: Green Lantern and Green Arrow fly through an asteroid thicket, despite the fact that they traveled from Earth orbit to the surface, where logically there should be no asteroids.
- You Keep Using That Word: The term "justice" is used quite often, usually to refer to an action or concept that is not justice, instead often matching the concepts of vengeance and punishment instead.