That's an oddly random assortment of villains. Oh, sure, the big arches are all there, but Humpty Dumpty and the White Rabbit in the back? I don't even know the one with wings on the far left. And Bizarro hasn't even really appeared yet at all, has he? His villain month issue was about a failed prototype.
Lex Luthor is threatening some guy in a helicopter for no real reason and it's really edgy and dark oh god Luthor you're so cool because you're so ruthless and hateful
That's when a sonic boom caused by what appears to be Superman causes the chopper to crash into Luthor's building. Meanwhile, prisons housing supervillains are being broken into and thereafter out of. By bad guys who remind you of some good guys you may know. They're given coins and told to come to a gathering
Basically every villain of note to appear so far in the new DC universe shows up at the ruins of the JL's Watchtower satellite off the coast of Maine. There's a lot of "ha ha ha are you for real" attendees, with the standouts in my opinion being Black Adam, Hector Hammond, and freaking Starro (by way of a human host); I don't buy that any of those guys would be interested in a huge group of villains where they aren't in charge, or in Starro's case, in the affairs of humans at all.
Everyone at the gathering is doing that Contest of Champions, "[a regular sentence], [name of the person I'm talking to]" thing. What the crap is that about, isn't that a device for clumsily introducing a lot of characters at once? These guys have all appeared before, even the Crime Syndicate. And does the Cheetah even know Grodd, for instance? Oh, and even though I saw something about this on Siskoid's blog a few months ago, I was still surprised to see the Black Bison, Plastique, Hyena, and Multiplex were here.
And let's be honest -- who wasn't chosen for this? They got basically every villain they possibly could, even Starro. They aren't exactly discriminating employers, being picked by these guys isn't a huge accomplishment.
Then the evil Justice League shows up and says they killed the Justice League.
There's also an evil Cyborg named Grid, who is fully robotic and works behind the scenes. Oh, and I kind of hate these guys as characters, they're either flatly eeeevil or annoying as hell. Anyway, the Syndicate presents trophies such as Aquaman's trident and Superman's cape as proof of their conquest, then introduces themselves before a worldwide audience via the classic "hijacking literally all the airwaves and running on every screen" supervillain trope.
I think it's pretty stupid that there are Earth-3 versions of Firestorm and the Atom but not Aquaman. Well, I heard there was one, with the beard, long hair, and a crab-like claw, who died almost instantly. Still, Arthur's a member of the Justice League, he should be represented in this story arc - Johns is writing this guy's title, for crying out loud. Power Ring can eat me so much -- he's a cringing fearful wimp because that's the opposite of what being a Green Lantern is, so clever. I know the Crime Syndicate never had much characterization besides "crazed tyrants", but look at this. Johnny Quick said it was "cray-cray time" a few pages ago. A tiny woman ruled the world and she introduces herself saying "What is up, y'all?" The only cool thing about these characterizations is that at least Hal won't be the center of the universe for once.
Of the villains assembled, Monocle doesn't buy that these guys aren't just the Justice League in slightly different costumes. So Ultraman proves he isn't Superman by killing him with his eye beams. Oh, man, the real Superman would never do that... which is what we were saying a few months ago when he did that in a Johns-penned issue of JLA.
Even though I'm reading Nightwing, I can't really bring myself to care too much about the "Syndicate captured Nightwing, exposed his identity to the whole world" thing. Especially since his arch-enemy the Prankster seems to have no goddamn reaction to this development. Metallo and Parasite came to blows over who got to keep Superman's cape, I guess Nightwing's only villain isn't that into him.
The sun starts to come up, weakening Ultraman. He decided to do something (idiotic) about it. Note: this wasn't written by a 6th grader. That's a disclaimer that should go on a lot of Johns' material.
That's another great example of 'cute' Johns dialogue that I can't stand. And eclipses last for a few seconds to a minute or two, since the moon and the Earth both revolve and rotate. Ultraman has the exact same evil plot as Mr. Burns -- to block out the sun -- except here we're actually supposed to take that seriously and pretend like that makes any sense.
It's just, this is so stupid. He snorts kryptonite and is allergic to the sun.
And Luthor sincerely wants Superman to save him. That's how the issue ends. Freaking...