SPOILER ALERT:Don't read this Afterward unless you've already read the story!
So...did you guess or know who the bad guy was? Did you guess that this story would re-introduce Hawkman and Hawkwoman?
However, when I decided that I wanted to tell more JLA stories set in "my" universe, I realized immediately that I wanted The Hawks back. So the first plot that I came up with was this one, the Hawks in danger and calling their friends for help. However again, when I thought about it I realized that in the fictional world of "my" DC universe, the Justice League would have gone on without the Hawks. When Hawkman quit in "true" DC continuity, he was gone for seven issues. So I decided that I would tell a story or two (or three) without the Hawks, just to show that they had, in fact, been gone. Hence my stories with the Queen Bee, Dr. Destiny, and the JLA-JSA team-up.
For me, Red Tornado and Elongated Man seem destined to be friends. Their personalities are absolute opposites, but maybe that's why they seem to work together so well. When I thought about how to start this story, I wanted to do two things: mention Red's adoption of Traya, and toss out a Firestorm reference. For some reason it just seemed natural that these two would be hanging out with their significant others. Is this just me?
Mera is one of my favorite characters, but she really hasn't gotten a lot of respect until the last few years. It made sense to have her here on patrol with her husband; it also allowed me to have another point-of-view so Aquaman wasn't just talking to himself as he dealt with the mystery of the alien chess pieces.
Sad to say, it never even occurred to me to bring Mera into the next issue. As soon as one of my buddies asked me about it, I realized I could have (should have) had her join in the fun. Sorry, Mera!!
The Wonder Woman section was the most difficult for me to write. The way I had it originally, Diana defeated the chess piece easily, in a story that only took two pages. I realized I had to make it more difficult for her somehow. Eventually I hit on the idea of the chess piece being mobile, and being able to dodge her "bullets and bracelets" maneuver. This worked, and gave me the extra pages I needed.
As soon as I was near completion of this section I thought I should have used a different villain (Slip Knot, anybody?) but by that point it was too late. I do think I have used the Count a bit too much. I will try to retire him for the foreseeable future.
One of the reasons I wanted to use Superman in this story is because I don't like how I draw him. I wanted an excuse to practice on him. He turned out okay, but he and The Flash are still my least favorite characters to draw.
One last thing about my name-dropping of Firestorm. After the original issues this story is based on, Firestorm joined the JLA in the very next issue. So will Firestorm join "my" JLA in # 37?! Stay tuned to find out...!*
NEXT ISSUE ON-LINE THE WEEK OF SEPT 15
*No. No, he won't.