Word has begun to spread that at one point in the past a group of Justice League members determined it was expedient to wipe the minds of some villains, primarily members of the Secret Society. This was revealed in Identity Crisis, and not only has it caused a schism between the League members involved and those previously ignorant, the villains have recovered their memories and previous personalities. They again know the civilian identities of the Justice League, aren’t happy about what’s been done to them, and are out for revenge.

If you’re a superhero fan the residual joy of childhood can always be rekindled by a well plotted slugfest between a team of superheroes and a team of super villains, and that’s what writers Geoff Johns and Allan Heinberg are aiming for as a starter. They go beyond, however, and tie in the big revelation that so offends the Martian Manhunter with an occasion when he carried out much the same procedure, telepathically rather than using Zatanna’s magic. Another villain has recovered their memory, and they’re as dangerous alone as the sum of the Secret Society. Chris Batista’s clean and open style is ideal for the type of story being told, although he occasionally poses Catwoman and Black Canary exploitatively.

Not all Justice League members have been present in preceding collections (Pain of the Gods, Syndicate Rules), but the writers ensure almost anyone considered core to the classic Justice League line-up makes an appearance, even it’s just a cameo. Atom fans may be disappointed. Perhaps the writers had no good role for him, as they make good use of other second tier members. While the title could refer to Zatanna alone, Hawkman’s military pragmatism is well aired, and there’s some teasing with another member, at first seemingly cast as victim yet again, before a surprise. This is far more fun than the dark theme would suggest.

Crisis of Conscience links Identity Crisis with Infinite Crisis, and as such it’s preferable to head straight there instead of bothering with the disappointing conclusion to this JLA series in World Without a Justice League.