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J'onn J'onzz and an alien princess face almost-certain death in the conclusion of "Rings of Saturn!" No defense. No ability to manuever. And the pirate ship J'onn is aboard is about to be blasted into atoms by the Saturnians! But even if J'onn J'onzz escapes this harrowing ordeal, he must still confront the mystery and menace that is...Cabal!

Incapacitated within the piping and walls, J'onn calls out to his "brother" Zo'ok, a Martian symbiote that forms his apparel. Zo'ok reshapes J'onn, allowing to escape his confinement, and make his way to Princess Cha'rissa. He asks of the princess that which is granted with ease and enthusiasm: to become one with him to allow J'onn to reform himself physically. After their love-making, J'onn and Cha'rissa agree that their love would be a lie if they forsake their honor and duty in the pursuit of it, and through their union, Cha'rissa knows what she must do.

J'onn visits the incarcerated pirates in the dungeon, demanding the "dead" body of Captain Destiny. J'onn had shut his brain "off" so that Cabal would not seek him out and fall into his trap. He makes a deal with Destiny, that he will release him and his crew in exchange for helping him with his "plan".

Meanwhile, Princess Cha'rissa visits Prince Jemm, seemingly to get to know him better. When she brandishes a knife, Jogarr shoots her (off panel). Alerted, the council rushes to the scene, and Queen Tareesha is angered, but for all the wrong reasons. She declares that this was wrong, that BOTH were to die, not just her daughter! Kharr does not understand, but Prime Minister Dall explains that some of the council put aside their differences to "save" their respective races by destroying the treaty. Not only Dall and Queen Taressha, Jemm informs them, but also Balik, Jogaar, Synn, Johm, are part of the Cabal. Tareesha and the others bond together to form the aggregate Cabal, ready to put an end to the lies and kill Kharr, Zuhl, and Jemm.

To their surprise, Cha'rissa was only playing dead, and declares that she knew her mother arranged the assassination of the king. Just then, the real Jogarr bursts into the room, announcing that the pirates have broken out of prison. The Jogarr who bonded with the others earlier reveals himself to be J'onn, who now faces the Saturnians within in their own limited capacity. Jogarr prepares to kill Jemm, taking no pleasure in the action, but believing the sacrifice to be imperative in preventing the "mongrelization" of both Saturnian races.

Captain Destiny, however, makes a timely appearance, and shoots Jogarr before he can do any harm to his cousin. Inside the aggregate Cabal, J'onn battles within their minds, a fight that takes place in metaphors. Although their minds are not as powerful as his, the Cabal carries the advantage in numbers. Jemm and Cha'rissa devise a plan to meld together, using their minds to strengthen his soul gem to turn the Cabal's own hate back on itself. The two bond, and the bolt from the soul gem passes through J'onn and into the others, turning their will and minds against each other. As J'onn feels no hatred, he is immune to this attack. An explosion erupts inside, and the minds within the cabal are shattered. J'onn is free to leave, and the Royal Couple comes to his aid. Looking upon the mutated body of the Cabal, J'onn tells them that although they are not dead, their bodies are fused together, and their minds are rubble, trapped together in their own hatred.

Jemm despairs that those he trusts seem forever destined to betray him, but Cha'rissa tells him this is not so. She is his betrothed and will never betray him. J'onn embraces Jemm as his brother once more, promising him that he will not either. Cha'rissa and J'onn share a look, acknowledging that the two are people of honor and duty, and know what their words mean.

When the celebrations were complete, J'onn made ready to return with Captain Destiny to Earth on the Kharma, but not before bidding farewell to Princess Char'issa. Now aboard the Watchtower, J'onn recants his experience with Wonder Woman, who offers her sympathy - to have found love once more and lose it again. J'onn tells her that he has not lost it - he knows exactly where it is, and that as a telepath, love is of the mind as much as it is the body. Cha'rissa and J'onn will always be in touch, he exclaims, as will Jemm, who he has come to love as well. Knowing so much love, how can he feel anything but joy?



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Bound by honour 0

This is a complex issue and without reading the rest of the story arc, a brief synopsis wouldn't really do it justice.  it was a good issue though.  As the conclusion to the arc Cabal's identities are finally revealed as are the plots to take down the betrothed prince and princess.  The sequence of how J'onn appeals to Cha'rissa for help was touching but also a little heart wrenching, especially later.   The sort of double cross that J'onn pulls is also quite well thought out as it came as a su...

5 out of 5 found this review helpful.
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