Justice League council members responded to an attack by a Luthorcorp strike team on an Earth First hideout. When they arrived at the scene, an abandoned building in Park Row in the East End of Gotham, Clark Kent, J'onn J'onzz, and Bart Allen were informed that the strike team had been incapacitated by Arkham, a former member of the League of Shadows. Intrigued as to how a human could overcome such powerful adversaries, the council members entered the building to speak with Arkham.

Bart Allen (AKA Flash) entered first. He conducted a search of the building, found Arkham, and called for Clark and J'onn to join them.

Arkham was lying on a table. He had been badly injured in the fight. There were rips in his suit where he had been scraped, and he hunched over as if he had been hit in the ribs. Casually, he removed his mask. Under his mask he wore his camouflage face paint.

"Leave me alone!", Arkham yelled at them.

"The building is collapsing. We're getting you out of here",
Clark responded.

Arkham was still bitter about the Justice League's refusal to intervene in the battle between the Legion of Doom and Earth First. Arkham grinned and mocked
Clark, telling him, "I don't want to be saved."

Clark took little notice of this. He turned to Bart Allen and asked him to conduct a search of the surrounding buildings. He then turned to Arkham to pick him up.

Arkham still wore his camouflage face paint, in kryptonite-green and black. As
Clark reached for Arkham he struck Clark on the jaw. Clark fell over.

"Bart Allen!", John screamed.

Bart stepped forward, out of the darkness. Arkham stood still in the center of the room, breathing heavily with anger. He, too, turned and stared at Bart.

"What are you doing?!", J'onn yelled again at Bart, wondering why he didn't stop Arkham's punch.

They all looked as if they hadn't slept in days. Bart blankly looked at
Clark, lying on the ground, and then back to J'onn.

"Who are we", he asked him.

"Bart?!", J'onn asked.

"Who are we", Bart continued, "if we can't stop this massacre."

J'onn was at a loss for words. For months they had followed the Justice League code, a code that forbade them to help others unless they were called upon. In response to this war in which Earth First was being decimated by the Legion of Doom, the Justice League council defended its code. The council was made up of some of the most powerful members of the League. They were the leaders of the league. But as powerful as they were, they agreed that if the few powerful members of the council intervened, the less powerful Justice League officers would follow them, and would not survive.

"Take him into custody!", J'onn ordered Bart.

Bart did nothing. "I could have saved these people", he told J'onn.

"We've had this discussion, Bart!", J'onn continued. "As council members of the Justice League we are only as strong as our weakest link. Take him into custody!", J'onn repeated.

Bart, looked up at J'onn and told him, "No, J'onn. This one's going to the hospital."

A look of desperation appeared on J'onn's face. He waited to see what Bart would do.

"I think it's time I started a new league", Bart said, "Goodbye, J'onn."

"No!", J'onn yelled desperately. J'onn extended his arms, determined to turn the floor below Bart's feet into cement, but it was too late. Bart and Arkham were gone.

In the following weeks, interest grew in Bart's new league among the Justice League officers. The Justice League council met privately with Bart Allen. They offered to make concessions to Bart if he would remain in the league. Bart finally agreed to stay on the condition that a Justice League officer named Shayera Hol (AKA Hawkgirl) would be allowed to join the council. Clark and J'onn agreed.