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WARNING! SPOILERS GALORE! NO, I'M SERIOUS! THERE'S SO MANY! Oh, heck with it, I'm gonna go have a beer.

Title: Golden Perfect, Part I
Release Date: March 2002
Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inker: Tom Nguyen
JLA Members: Wonder Woman, the Martian Manhunter, Superman, Plastic Man, Green Lantern, and the Flash.
Bad Guys: Rama Khan.

So what happens?
After all the praise I gave to the last issue, it pains me to note that this issue is weak, confusing, and dull. The story focuses on Wonder Woman, and like most male comic book writers, Joe Kelly has trouble writing women. This turns out to be the comic book equivalent of those awful Troi-centric "Star Trek" episodes...

Briefly, some paramilitary guys and some neon monster attack some sort of Amazonian shelter in India, trying to abduct a woman and her baby. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman is using her Lasso of Truth to psychoanalyze the Martian Manhunter by forcing him to confront his subconscious beliefs. For some reason, they do this in a big forest. For some reason, he does this in the form of a huge rampaging monster. Pff. Whatever. Afterwards, they chill out in the Watchtower, then Wondy throws Plastic Man out of her room after she catches him trying to sneak a peek while disguised as her furniture.

Once the JLA is notified of the attack on the Amazons' shelter, they respond and treat the Amazons' injuries. The paramilitary geeks left the woman behind, but they were able to get the baby. She speaks a completely unknown language, so Green Lantern uses his power ring to translate, and Wondy uses her Magic Lasso to make sure she's telling the truth. She lays a sob story on them about the Rama Khan, the dictator of a hidden nation called Jarhanpur, who is holding her baby prisoner. Wonder Woman gets all hyped up on uniting a mother with her son, and the JLA teleports down to Jarhanpur.

Of course, there are complications. Jarhanpur is an earthly paradise, wealthy, beautiful, full of happy citizens, and combining all the best elements of Hindu and Muslim societies. The Rama Khan, though distrustful of the League's motives, shows them lavish hospitality. He explains that Jarhanpur has been hidden from the outside world for over 5,000 years, and that he, his people, and the nation itself are all mystically linked--when one thrives, they all thrive, and when one fails, they all fail. He also tells them that the kidnapped child had been chosen to become the new Rama Khan; if the boy were to refuse his post, disaster would befall all of them.

Still unconvinced, Wonder Woman calls for a telepathic JLA conference. She's still hot to clobber Rama Khan, but the other team members are concerned that the complexity of this case makes direct action extraordinarily risky. Who are they to weigh a mother and child against the well-being of an entire nation? Wondy, however, is still clinging (more than a bit irrationally) to the idea that she must reunite the boy and his mom.

Meanwhile, the Rama Khan, fearing that the Leaguers were telepathically plotting against him, has the team teleported outside the city. He tells 'em to get the hell out, and the JLA (with the exception of Plastic Man, who wants to hang with Jarhanpur's dancing girls some more) reacts badly. A fight breaks out, and it turns out that the Rama Khan is able to turn the earth and plants of Jarhanpur against the JLA. He's also able to transform himself into a Godzilla-sized rocky dude. Wonder Woman gets her Golden Lasso around him, expecting him to be revealed as a tyrant who lies to his people to preserve his own power base, but she is surprised to discover that the lasso proclaims that he, like the mother, is telling the truth. Suddenly incapable of understanding the concept of subjective truth, Diana gets all angsty and twitchy, her "unbreakable" lasso breaks, and the issue ends in a vaguely embarrassed muddle.

Cool Moments!
I liked the bit, during the telepathic conference, where we see everyone's mental images of themselves. Green Lantern's a knight in black and green armor, Plastic Man is a formless blotch of color, and Superman is a big farmboy in a cape.

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