Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge 1

Cover: The sliver cover is based on, or at least inspired by, George Pérez's image of the dying Barry Allen in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #8. The portrait cover bears some resemblance to FLASH #193 from 1969, which Johns has noted was the first Flash comic he ever read.

Pg. 1:

Here's that lightning again!

The Flash they killed was Bart Allen, in THE FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #13.

Pg. 2:

"Uh" isn't really a Scots-accent way of saying "a," is it? It just reminds me of Captain Beefheart.

Pg. 3:

"Lex Luthor eatin' outta his hand": guess Luthor was impressed by the explosion in FC #2 after all, so this scene dates this issue to some time after that one. "You better not be dealing again": in Johns-written comics, Captain Cold is vehement about his no-drugs rule for the Rogues (and he beats up Mirror Master for doing cocaine in FLASH #213). So the Rogues' coke scene COUNTDOWN #50 provoked a reaction from him...

Pp. 4-5:

It's maybe not quite correct to say that they "murdered Kid Flash"--Bart was the full-on Flash at that point, and had only gone under the name Kid Flash briefly--but the general cadence of the descriptive blurb is very much like the top-of-page-1 blurbs that used to run in Marvel comics in the late '70s and early '80s. The "Gaspar" on the Daily Planet clipping has to be a reference to Gaspar Saladino, the longtime DC letterer who for a few years did the lettering on every DC splash page... and "I hate running"--of course they would.

Pg. 6:

"Climate is what we expect...": this is often attributed to Mark Twain, but I've yet to see an identified source. (As "Climate is what you expect...," it was used by Robert A. Heinlein in Time Enough for Love in 1973. It's also sometimes attributed to meteorologist Edward Lorenz.)

Pg. 9:

The first Trickster, James Jesse, was created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, and first appeared in FLASH #113 in 1960. The one we're seeing here, Axel Walker, was created by Johns and Kolins, and first appeared in FLASH #183 in 2002.

Pg. 10:

James Jesse was killed by Deadshot in COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #22. Tar Pit was a Johns/Kolins creation who hasn't appeared in a while. Zoom turned up in FLASH: THE FASTEST MAN ALIVE #10, hired by Iris to attack Bart in order to protect him from Inertia. Not sure how the Flash Museum enters into that scenario. Computron, I'm guessing, is Colonel Computron (now there's a name I haven't heard in a while); the Rogues were indeed banished to the "war planet" in SALVATION RUN. Double Down is another Johns/Kolins creation; Bart was tight with the Titans, so of course their enemies would assume that the Titans would take some kind of revenge.

ETA: Commenters point out that a new floating-head Computron was introduced in FLASH #217... and was killed in CHECKMATE #11.

Pg. 12:

"Gambi" is Paul Gambi, the Crime Tailor, who's made occasional appearances since 1963. But what would he do with a bunch of heavily used villain suits?

As David Uzumeri points out in the comments, that's really not how Bart's death happened. Although, of course, the Rogues have tremendous capacity for self-deception--and the Pied Piper noted in that issue that he had his own agenda.

Pg. 13:

Jared Morillo and Fred Chyre, created by Johns and Kolins, first appeared in FLASH #171 in 2001. The Pied Piper, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in FLASH #106 in 1959. He had reformed as of FLASH #20 in 1988.

Pg. 17:

Iris Allen was married to the second Flash, Barry Allen, as of 1966's FLASH #165; created by Robert Kanigher, Carmine Infantino and Joe Kubert, she first appeared in good ol' SHOWCASE #4 in 1956. She was born in the future, died, came back to life, etc. ... long story. As good an explanation as you're going to get is here.

Pg. 19:

"This is a rock." The rock-as-first-murder-weapon is one of the central symbols of the Religion of Crime--see 52 and CRIME BIBLE: THE FIVE LESSONS OF BLOOD. And see David Uzumeri's comment for who some of the folks Libra is talking to are. "Evil's skin is the tool of murder": Squashua notes that Darkseid's skin is rocklike.

Pg. 20:

"One of my... shaving mirrors" would be funnier if Light hadn't vehemently refused Mirror Master's offer of "Peruvian flake" in FC #1 ("No, no! Do I look like some junkie?").

Pg. 21:

Inertia, created by Todd DeZago, Grant Morrison, Mike Wieringo and Ethan Van Sciver, first appeared in 1999 in IMPULSE #50. He was frozen into statue form in last year's ALL-FLASH #1.

This, sadly, creates some difficulties with the timeline, as David U. points out. The Flash Museum was badly damaged by a fire in FLASH #241, so Wally retrieved Inertia from it; by then, though, Iris West was no longer in the condition she's in on pg. 28.

Pg. 22:

Gregory Wolfe (the warden of Iron Heights), created by Johns and Van Sciver, first appeared in 2001's THE FLASH: IRON HEIGHTS. Apparently he didn't actually die in OUTSIDERS ANNUAL #1 after all.

Pg. 25:

The patented Geoff Johns Gross-Out! Yeah, that's quite a myth: the intestine's unstretched length is usually between 20 and 28 feet, and it might be able to stretch a few feet beyond that, but it's really not all that elastic.

Pg. 26:

The Pied Piper's real name is Hartley Rathaway, so he's in the family estate here. (His father paid for Will Magnus to cure his childhood deafness, according to FLASH #190.)

Pg. 27:

The "I'm not a murderer" speech here reprises Cold's dialogue in FLASH #182.

Pg. 28:

Jai and Iris first appeared in FLASH #225 (although we didn't learn their names until ALL-FLASH #1). Their mom is Linda Park-West, created by William Messner-Loebs and Greg LaRoque, who first appeared in FLASH #28.

Pg. 30:

Zoom showed up in DC UNIVERSE ZERO, so I'm sort of wondering what took him this long. His deal is that he "challenges" heroes to make them better... although he tends to be pretty homicidal about it.


Looks like, thanks to the FC #3 delay, I probably won't be posting here again until August 6 or so. In the meantime, if you happen to be in San Diego for Comic-Con International, why not come by one of my panels? I'll be moderating six of 'em:

July 24:
1-2: The Future of the Comics Pamphlet, Room 32AB (with Joe Keatinge, DCU 0 namesake Carr D'Angelo, and other luminaries to be announced)
6-7: The Comics Blogosphere, Room 32AB (with David Brothers, Jeff Lester, Laura Hudson and Tim Robins)

July 25:
5-6--Teaching Comics--Room 4 (with Phil Jimenez, Matt Silady, James Sturm and Steve Lieber)

July 26:
11:30-12:30: Image Comics/Tori Amos--Room 6B (with Tori herself and a cast of thousands)
2:00-3:00: Lettering Roundtable--Room 8 (with Todd Klein, John Roshell, Tom Orzechowski and Jared K. Fletcher)
4:30-5:30: The Story of an Image--Room 4 (with Kim Deitch, Jim Woodring, Jim Ottaviani and Kyle Baker)

And, on Friday the 25th at 11:30, I'll be giving a talk called "Against a Canon of Comics" as part of the Comic Arts Conference in Room 30AB, and probably signing Reading Comics somewhere afterward.


David Uzumeri said...

A few extra thoughts here.

Page 12: This is a pretty huge retcon; the way events go down in FTFMA13, there's really no way it could have possibly been an accident. Inertia's explicitly promising them they could kill the Flash, they *know* his super-speed's gone when they zap him, and then after the zap they all run around him in a circle and group-shitkick him. Earlier on in FTFMA13, though, Hartley decks Inertia and talks about a "secret agenda", so...

Page 19: The Geordi LaForge-looking guy with the mysterious-looking villains is the new black Captain Cold from Gotham Underground, along with the new Rogues from that series, too. Here is, and I did not edit this page at all, their introduction:


I imagine these guys will get their asses handed to them before this mini is over.

Page 20: I thought Dr. Light refused to buy coke from McCulloch?

Page 28: (WARNING, SPOILERS FOR THIS WEEK'S FLASH #242) I guess this takes place after the current Flash arc, and that Iris makes it out at her younger age? Or maybe the continuity is wonky? Iris seemingly aged to death at the end of this week's issue.

David Uzumeri said...

Sorry. The picture is here.

David Uzumeri said...

Another note: The last time we saw Pied Piper, he was, and I wish I was making this up, channelling the Anti-Life Equation through his flute to blow up the entire planet of Apokolips. To the tune of Queen.

Adan said...

Good thing Countdown to Final Crisis has no actual bearing on Final Crisis.

rap said...

"Gambi" is Paul Gambi...

Correct. Named after former DC letterhack Paul Gambaccini, now of the BBC. I think he also appeared in that Jonathan Ross Dtko speacial, too.

rap said...

Dtko speacial = Ditko special

Rodrigo said...

Has Computron been killed by Flame in Checkmate?

Kelson said...

It's clear from the early issues of "Full Throttle" and "Countdown" that Piper and Trickster aren't there to kill the Flash. As for the rest of them...? I really thought they seemed more desperate than bloodthirsty in the actual murder scene, though I've never really been able to make head or tail of the standing-in-a-clump picture.

Of course, the other angle is that it's less a retcon than a rationalization. Johns has made clear in his run on Flash that most of the Rogues have a tendency to blame other people for their own mistakes (and even touched on it in the profiling scene).

Kelson said...

Oh, and a new Computron (scroll down to the "Spin-Offs" section) was introduced right after Identity Crisis, working with a group called the Rainbow Raiders. I've only seen them at Captain Boomerang's funeral and in the "Syndicate Rules" story in JLA, but from Rodrigo's comment it sounds like he showed up in Checkmate, too.

Squashua said...

IIRC, Computron did appear with the Rainbow Raiders group. I do believe his disembodied head was killed by Green Flame / Fire in a Checkmate issue.

"Anybody want to unpack the Titans Tower thing?"

I'm pretty sure it's a reference to speculation that the Teen Titans would take revenge against the Rogues for killing Impulse / Kid Flash / Flash / Bart Allen, what with him having been a notable member of their team and Young Justice.

Regarding Libra preaching with the rock, he's doing a pretty blatant job describing Darkseid's skin of rock and blood-red eyes.

David Uzumeri makes a number of good points regarding the lack of coordination here between this book and current issues of the Flash, as well as the ret-con with the shit-kicking. I would guess that the Rogues look backwards with rogue-colored glasses (get it?).

Squashua said...

The full quote on p.19 is "Evil's skin is the tool of murder, Evil's eyes the pools of blood in the cracks."

Using the rock as the first murder weapon, a "murder (rock) skin" and "blood (red) eyes" is pretty much a lock as to the Evil whom Libra refers.

Zoom turned up... (re: Tar Pit's comment) Not sure how the Flash Museum enters into that scenario.

I'm pretty sure it's just rampant speculation and a popular landmark that references the Flash. No one ever said Tar Pit was a mastermind.

Michael said...

Doug, could you drop me a line? I wanted to talk to you about the upcoming "Legion of 3 Worlds" Final Crisis tie-in.