Monday, September 22, 2008

An attempt at a Final Crisis timeline

I've been curious to see if the whole Final Crisis project has a consistent chronology, so I've been piecing it together. Here's a stab at a timeline, with thanks to Chris Miller (whose Unauthorized Chronology of the DC Universe is mightily entertaining, and very useful for figuring out how Countdown et al. fit into continuity) and David Uzumeri, both of whose helpful suggestions I have totally ignored. (Last updated 12/27/08)

40,000 years ago:

In what will one day be New York City, Anthro meets Metron, who gives him fire. Vandal Savage attacks Anthro's tribe; Anthro fights back. (FC #1)

Slightly less than 40,000 years ago:

In the NYC of the distant past, Anthro draws the Metron diagram and has a vision of Kamandi. (FC #1)

Sometime before Day 1, I'm guessing:

Superman catches the "rip cord back to the 31st century" (Lo3W #1). (He seems to be in a pretty good mood when he's called in, so I assume it happens on a day before everything goes to hell.)

Day 1:

Turpin finds Orion in the garbage in Metropolis. John Stewart is called in to investigate. The Question meets with Turpin and gives him a Dark Side Club flyer. The Guardians seal off Earth. Dr. Light and Mirror Master retrieve Metron's chair during the "protest march against vigilante brutality." (FC #1)

(There could be a time-gap of a day or more in here, but it doesn't seem like either John Stewart or Dan Turpin would delay their investigations if they didn't have something else really pressing going on.)

Day 2:

In Gotham City, the end of the BATMAN R.I.P. storyline happens on the night between Day 1 and Day 2, per BATMAN #683. Batman heads back to the cave and talks to Alfred; he's just gotten a call from the Justice League, probably about Orion.

In Central City, Dr. Light and Effigy carry J'onn to Libra. (REQUIEM) Libra stabs the Martian Manhunter. (FC #1) Then he fights for a while longer (REQUIEM) before his heart explodes (per FC #2). Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Hal Jordan and Gypsy get psychic vibes from J'onn as he's dying. This seems to be a nighttime scene, so maybe it happens after the Justice League's meeting, but I figure it might actually be very early morning. (REQUIEM)

Turpin goes to New York City, where the Tattooed Man takes him to the Dark Side club and he meets Boss Dark Side and the sharp-toothed little kids. The Justice League meets in Washington, DC; the Alpha Lanterns arrive. In the Monitors' realm, Nix Uotan is exiled, and Zillo Valla and Weeja Dell talk. (FC #1)

RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS happens here--between FC #1 and 2, per its opening caption, and Hal's narration indicates that it happens the day after the Code 1011 goes out.

In New York City, Nightwing discovers J'onn's body at the Rose Center. His body is brought to Washington, DC, where Hal and Ollie discuss the situation. Batman, Superman, Hal, Gypsy and Black Canary--who's in Happy Harbor for some reason--write down J'onn's memories. (REQUIEM) (Batman's dressed as Bruce Wayne, which would make the Black Glove's announcement in BATMAN #681 that "the next time you wear [the cape and cowl] will be your last" not literally accurate, but whatever--otherwise he'd have been in the costume for two days straight immediately after R.I.P. Let the guy have a night's sleep in his pajamas.)

Day 3:

In Central City--I'm guessing that's where he is, from the fact that he seems to get local news from the same town as Iris Allen in FC #3--Nix Uotan wakes up in a human body to find the death of the Martian Manhunter being reported on the morning news. (FC #1)

(Again, it's possible that there could be a break of a day or more here, but not likely.)

In Tokyo, Megayakuza challenges Sonny Sumo and gets what's coming to him, while Super Young Team gawk. Shilo Norman, cued by Motherboxxx, comes to Tokyo to talk to Sonny. In Central City, Nix goes to his job at Big Belly Burger and draws pictures of otherworldly super-folks. In Metropolis, the possessed Turpin beats up the Mad Hatter and buys a ticket to Blüdhaven. (FC #2)

In Washington, the Green Lanterns arrive to transport everyone to Mars, and Superman flies J'onn's pyramid there from the Gobi Desert. You'd think if the Alpha Lanterns had quarantined the planet, the very last people they'd want leaving for a little while would be super muk muks, but oh well. (REQUIEM)

On Mars, Superman gives J'onn's funeral oration (FC #2), which is simulcast in Metropolis (REVELATIONS #1). Then everyone stands around for a while. After the GLs fly most people home, the transcribers say their final goodbyes. (REQUIEM)

In Central City, Libra and crew (still including Mirror Master and Weather Wizard) meet again. In Washington, the Justice League talks to Kraken; Batman suspects a bullet was involved. In Metropolis, that night, John Stewart and Opto investigate Orion's murder, and John finds the god-bullet and gets attacked. (FC #2)

That night, in an unknown location, Dr. Light has a little party, and gets melted by the Spectre. Somewhere, Sister Clarice flatlines. In Hollywood, the Spectre melts Effigy. (REVELATIONS #1)

We now encounter a weird little glitch, if we're going to count JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 as canonical to FC: the Shadow Cabinet is in the Hall of Justice and the JLA satellite stealing Dr. Light's mortal remains ("an old candle"), and they're met by a crew including John Stewart (and Superman), and Batman is Bruce. #30 appears to be the first post-FC issue; I have no idea where the story in #27 could have time to happen.

Somewhere in here, the League has to locate and rescue the injured John Stewart, who is holding the god-bullet (FC #2). Batman collects the bullet and sticks it in his utility belt (BATMAN #683).

Day 4:

In Coast City, very early in the morning, the Alpha Lanterns arrest Hal. In Washington, Superman and Batman confer, Batman fights Kraken, and Kraken throws him into a Boom Tube. In Blüdhaven, Turpin finds Rev. Good, who leads him to Command D, where he sees Kamandi and the restrained Batman. In Metropolis, Clark Kent turns in some copy, and Clayface-as-Jimmy blows up the Daily Planet. (FC #2)

The events of ROGUES' REVENGE #1 have to happen here--Luthor at least gives the Rogues the impression that he's "eating out of Libra's hand" (although he doesn't seem to have ever really gotten with Libra's program), Libra is still in the Central City club, and Barry's not back yet. The final scenes of the issue happen around 3 AM; the tingling the twins feel probably has to do with Barry's return. (ROGUES' REVENGE #1)

That night, Wally and Jay investigate Libra's HQ in Central City and find Barry. (FC #2)

Also that night, in New York, S.H.A.D.E. hits the Dark Side Club, where they find Montoya and Boss Dark Side's corpse. Überfraulein falls out of the sky; S.H.A.D.E. tells Montoya to come with them. (FC #3)

Day 5:

In Central City, Nix gets fired, and Jay brings Iris and Wally's family up to date. (FC #3).

The Rogues find Gambi; the "new Rogues" tell them to "report back to the club." Zoom is training Inertia. The old Rogues dispense with the new; Iris is crying with happiness after getting the update from Jay. (ROGUES' REVENGE #2)

In Portsmouth, England, Montoya fights the Bible Crew and jumps onto a boat. (Perhaps S.H.A.D.E. gave her a lift there, off-panel.) The Spectre goes to the Central City Community Center to meet up with Libra, who's conferring with the Hangmen; the Spectre kills the Hangmen and vanishes. (REVELATIONS #1) Morrison has suggested that Libra relocates because the Flashes compromised the Central City hideout, but I suspect the smoking midair corpses of the Hangmen were a much more significant compromise...

At the Hall of Evil in Florida, Libra puts the Justifier helmet on Mike, and Luthor notes that Superman "hasn't answered a single emergency call for 18 hours." (Perhaps Libra figured that the HQ wasn't the best place to be with all those dead Hangmen there.) Libra says that the Big One is coming "in less than 24 hours." (FC #3) Libra, still at the Hall of Doom (see the establishing shot at the top of the page), confers with Grodd; his monitor board has lots of shots of what's happened to a bunch of characters and... anticipates what's going to happen to Wonder Woman. (ROGUES' REVENGE #2)

In Central City, the Rogues head to the Observatory, then fight with the Zooms; Libra shows up with the kid. A big fight transpires, and the Rogues drop off Kid Zoom's body in Keystone City, then return to the basement of the Flash Museum. (ROGUES' REVENGE #3)

Back off the coast of England, the Cultists find the Spear of Destiny and fight Montoya. Cris goes to his son's grave--although, actually, the grave he goes to is Jake's. Which is strange, because Jake Allen isn't dead; Malcolm is the son Cris-as-the-Spectre killed in CRISIS AFTERMATH: THE SPECTRE #3. I guess we can chalk that up to Darkseid's fall too. Anyway, the Spectre proceeds to teleport himself to where Montoya is to judge her. (REVELATIONS #1) They fight, then the Spectre teleports them away... (REVELATIONS #2) ...and the first big internal continuity hiccup of the project happens here. See Day 6 for details.

In Metropolis, Superman is by Lois's side, and Jimmy notes that "Superman hasn't been seen since yesterday." Zillo Valla walks in and gives Clark "one ultimate chance." (FC #3) She freezes time, which apparently gets unfrozen sometime after that, and she and Superman head off for nutty parallel-Earth adventures. (SUPERMAN BEYOND #1) In Washington, Alan Scott and Wonder Woman suggest it's time to invoke Article X. (FC #3)

Day 6:

Oracle, Aquaman, Freddie Freeman, Supergirl, Green Arrow and Black Canary get their draft notices delivered on paper (Ollie and Dinah seem to be getting theirs in the morning). Alan Scott assembles the forces. We can assume everybody gets where they're going by some kind of fancy JLA teleportation-type device. (FC #3)

In Tokyo, Shilo's about to leave Japan when he and Sonny are attacked, and rescued by Super Young Team in the Wonder Wagon. Wonder Woman investigates Blüdhaven and gets attacked by Mary Marvel, who gives her a disease. At 5:30 PM EST (per FC #4), also in Blüdhaven, Mokkari sends the ultimate spam message out. In Washington, Oracle tries to pull the plug on the Internet (FC #3), and actually succeeds, per FC #4.

Here's that first continuity hiccup: we have to assume that the Spectre teleported Montoya mid-word from Day 5 to Day 6, as well as from the boat to Gotham City. The scenes with the Spectre and the Question together in REVELATIONS #1 and 2 clearly happen continuously, and occupy five or ten minutes at the very most; in the meantime, Wrack gets the Spear of Destiny back to shore, then gets the word out, summons the forces, heads to wherever Vandal Savage is located (which sure doesn't look like it's anywhere near the coast of England), stabs him and turns him into Cain. [Perhaps this is one of the "time distortions" mentioned in FC #5.]

So. Having jumped a day into the future, Cris and Renee observe Batwoman, and then the Radiant shows up. Cris cries over the son he didn't kill, rather than the one he did. Cris, Montoya and the Radiant talk theology. The Gotham Central Anti-Life Crew attacks. The Radiant teleports Montoya away, and she's attacked by Anti-Life Batwoman. (REVELATIONS #2)

The Spectre and the Radiant fight Anti-Life legions; Montoya fights Batwoman. Vandal Savage/Cain leads his crew along the tree-lined coastline, and... lickety-split, they're in the U.S., gazing upon the strung-up bodies in Westbrook (or whatever that suburb of Gotham is called). Maybe he's got some kind of magical teleportation powers. In Gotham City, Montoya, the Radiant and the Spectre take refuge in a cathedral, while hordes of Darkseidians attack outside (and Catwoman is hanging out outside too). Cain shows up and stabs the Spectre. (REVELATIONS #3)

[Weirdly, Montoya asserts that "what's happened in Gotham, it's happened everywhere... I was at the Checkmate castle. I've seen it." It's hard to imagine when that might have happened; she was in S.H.A.D.E.'s custody late on Day 4 and early on Day 5, and turns up at the castle on Day 20, below, but there's no space in the story between the Ultimate E-Mail and this sequence for her to get there and back, or indeed to find out what's going on anywhere other than her immediate surroundings.]

Cain has split the Spectre from Cris. Montoya fights Cain; then the Huntress shows up. The Radiant protects the church, and explains the Spear of Destiny to Montoya. Then she confronts Cain, who makes the Spectre recite the Anti-Life Equation and declares victory. (REVELATIONS #4)

Meanwhile, in Antarctica, Ice shows up and attacks the Checkmate outpost; Mr. Terrific and Taleb hunker down in the bunker, and Sasha Bordeaux shuts down. (RESIST)

Day 10:

At S.T.A.R. Labs in California, Snapper Carr destroys the bioweapons, then returns to Antarctica. (RESIST)

Day 11:

Snapper goes to the Watchtower to confront Firehawk and sees the Cheetah. (RESIST)

Days 17, 20, 25, 27, 29:

Snapper keeps up the resistance (RESIST).

Day 31:

Snapper gets busy with the Cheetah, then gets attacked by Justifier-Grodd and teleports himself and the Cheetah back to Camp Oswald. (RESIST)

Day 32:

Mr. Terrific does something hand-wave-y involving the Code Zoo and Sasha. A zillion OMACs attack the bunker, and Mr. Terrific, the Cheetah, Taleb and Snapper head off with some OMACs. (RESIST)

Day 36 or so:

In Washington, DC, Black Lightning, en route to rescue somebody from the Hall of Justice and deliver some papers, runs into the Tattooed Man (who's been protecting his family for "two weeks"), and they have a brief adventure together that ends badly. (SUBMIT) (It would actually have to be longer than two weeks to fit the timeline of RESIST--Mr. Terrific has to get back to the Checkmate castle in Switzerland by this day. Call it a time distortion if you like. But where are the OMACs? Who knows?)

Shortly thereafter, the Ray rescues the Tattooed Man and drags him into the Hall of Justice, which is under attack. Black Canary, the Flash family, the Ray and the Tattooed Man teleport to the JLA satellite, and Green Arrow gets captured.

In Blüdhaven, the Checkmate attack force has been slaughtered, Turpin is fighting off Darkseid's influence, and Kalibak is chowing down on Opto309.

In Switzerland, the Checkmate castle is under attack, and Amanda Waller is about to show Montoya something; then the Wonder Wagon arrives. At the Fortress of Solitude, adorable tykes and a printing press are around. Superbia is falling. Gorilla City is under attack. (FC #4)

In Central City, the Flashes encounter the new Female Furies, then go off and rescue Iris. (FC #3-4)

Turpin/Darkseid gives the thumbs down. (FC #4)

In Blüdhaven, Batman is having his memories strip-mined by the Lump, Simyan and Mokkari. He fights it off. S & M's experiment fails spectacularly, and they shoot the Lump, then run away as it trashes the lab. (BATMAN #682-3)

Hal Jordan is tried on Oa; Guy and Kyle show up and fight Kraken. There are mentions of time distortions on Earth, which would suggest that time is passing much more slowly off Earth, so this could be shortly after day 4 relative to Hal's experience.

At the Checkmate castle, Waller and Khalid show Montoya the Biomacs.

In Blüdhaven, the Female Furies (who've gotten back there somehow...) are suiting up. Simyan, Mokkari and Godfrey are petitioning Turpin/Darkseid, who sends the Furies out to "end it all."

At the Castle, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Alan Scott, etc., are fighting Justifiers. Mr. Terrific arrives where the Wonder Wagon has crashed, and Sonny Sumo shows off Motherboxxx. The Castle's "shields will fail in 15 minutes."

In Blüdhaven, Kalibak and the Tiger-Men ride out, and the cavalry arrives at the bridge.

Wherever Nix Uotan is, he's thrown into a holding cell with the mysterious hooded guy and the Metron-avatar who solves the Rubik's Cube; he remembers Weeja Dell.

Somewhere, Libra is about to hang the Calculator, and has words with Luthor.

In Blüdhaven, John's ring isn't working right. Turpin/Darkseid kills his minions. Supergirl and Mary Marvel start fighting.

The Green Lanterns, approaching Earth, "freefall into the singularity."

In Washington, DC, the Justifiers have found the President's bunker.

Darkseid arrives, and so does Nix. (FC #5)

1000 years from now:

Prime roasts the faux Kents and busts up the Superman Museum, and the Legion of Super-Heroes does their Legiony thing. (Lo3W #1 and 2)

The End of Time:

The Time Trapper complains about bugs. (Lo3W #1)

I'll be updating this as future issues come out, but comments and suggestions are very welcome.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Final Crisis: Revelations #2

EDITED TO ADD: A brief note on the chronology of this issue: it is weird. I'm working on an overall FC chronology, but it appears that all the Montoya stuff this issue happens more or less continuously, with no breaks of more than a few minutes. In the meantime, Sister Wrack recovers herself, gets back to shore, summons every "all of our order for a thousand miles" to wherever Vandal Savage is located, and turns him into Cain. That has to take a lot more time.

The one easy out for this is that when the Spectre teleports himself and Montoya to Gotham City, he also sends them a day into the future. That also means that the Spectre could've confronted Libra the day before Mokkari ended the Fourth World--which would explain why Libra (and the Headmen) were in the Central City strip club rather than the Hall of Doom, to which Libra relocated later that day.

Commenter Will Staples asks how this squares up with S.H.A.D.E. picking up Montoya in New York City at the beginning of FC #3. I figure she had a conversation with them and they dropped her off in Portsmouth in time for REVELATIONS #1, which would fit the timeline.

Pp. 2-3:

I see Renee has picked up Charlie's old habit of wisecracking while wearing the mask. Cris was killed in GOTHAM CENTRAL #38.

Pg. 9:

Ah, Batwoman. First appeared in 52 #7, created by... okay, this is a tough one, since so many hands were involved, but I'm going to provisionally say Alex Ross, Greg Rucka and J.G. Jones, and open it up for corrections; she's based on a character created by Sheldon Moldoff and (possibly) Bob Kane who first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #233. As per S.O.P., she's fighting what I'm guessing is one of Intergang's giant lizard critters.

Pg. 11:

As we saw in 52 #1, the Bat-Signal is within viewing range of Montoya's old apartment.

Pg. 12:

Gehenna is almost certainly not the character by that name who first appeared in VILLAINS UNITED #5, as entertaining as it is to consider that possibility. The Spectre appears to be using "Gehenna" to mean something like "unending horrors," but that's not quite what it signifies theologically. In Judaism it's where the wicked are punished and purified for a finite or infinite span; it's named after a dump south of Jerusalem where garbage was burned. Even when Jesus uses the term, it generally implies the fires of God's judgement. In other words, pretty much what the Spectre does already.

Pg. 13:

They made her their leader in 52 AFTERMATH: CRIME BIBLE: FIVE LESSONS OF BLOOD #5.

Pg. 14:

Called it on Clarice/the Radiant as the spirit of mercy!

Pg. 17:

The Radiant is quoting Matthew 5:39. Nice to know that God's agents like the King James Version best too.

Pg. 19:

Since basically every Biblical and quasi-Biblical name has already been used for a comics character, there's already a Lilith who first appeared in TEEN TITANS #25. The "original" Lilith, despite her reputation as Adam's first wife, doesn't quite turn up in the Bible itself, unless you count Isaiah 34:14, which is pushing it. In CRIME BIBLE #2, though, the sex cult affiliated with the dark faith was Lilith's Daughters, and Lilith figures prominently (as a teacher figure) in the Crime Bible and its faith; the text encoded at the beginning of each chapter of the series appears here. The relevant passage is the ending: "the gods once new now old will see the sign and know the time of their reckoning is come."

Pg. 20:

Maybe that's what everybody's computers look like after Oracle failed to unplug the Internet.

Pg. 22:

"And in the days between worlds" etc.: pseudo-Biblical prophecy--I think it's not from any previously seen text, although it might be from the Crime Bible. ("Between worlds," as in after the end of the Fourth World but before the beginning of the Fifth.)

Pg. 23:

So...Vandal Savage is Cain? Not the one who first appeared in HOUSE OF MYSTERY #175, who also killed his brother Abel etc. per SWAMP THING #33, but the marked one? And the Spectre gave him his mark? Which looks kind of like a set of scales?

Wait a second. Consult Genesis 4 (no, not GENESIS #4), in which the Lord Himself puts the mark on Cain--and does it to prevent anyone from killing Cain. Also, FC #1 is fairly consistent with the established history of Vandal Savage (he was a caveman from the Blood Tribe who became immortal after exposure to a meteorite); this isn't. Hmm.

Pg. 24:

Clarice is of course quoting from PICTURE STORIES FROM THE BIBLE: OLD TESTAMENT #3 here. I don't think I've ever previously come across the suggestion that the ram was actually Abraham's son. That's a little heterodox, theologically speaking.

Pg. 25:

Jonah entered the Lord's service in JONAH HEX #24. (I'm kidding. It actually happened in SUPERBOY #98. Although he first appeared on the cover of this issue.)

Stacy, who I don't think ever got a last name, was the perma-temp in GOTHAM CENTRAL whose job was turning on the Bat-Signal; GOTHAM CENTRAL #11 focused on her, although she appeared earlier too.

Pg. 26:

Captain Maggie Sawyer, created by John Byrne, first appeared in 1987's SUPERMAN #7.

Pg. 27:

This is the formulation of the Anti-Life Equation that first appeared in SEVEN SOLDIERS: MISTER MIRACLE #3.

Pg. 28:

And what would "the same force that spared Libra" be? Answer: "It's intentionally vague." Although commenter Astro over there notes that, per 2002's SPECTRE #19--and that is one freaky cover--the Spectre's not allowed to kill Darkseid.

No more new Final Crisis books for another four weeks, it appears--back on the first entry of this blog, I've been updating ship dates for everything. FINAL CRISIS #4, ROGUES' REVENGE #3 and LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #2 have all been bumped from Sep. 17 to Oct. 15; SUBMIT has been bumped from Oct. 1 to Oct. 8, the same day as REVELATIONS #3. So--it might be a busy mid-October! See you thenabouts.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge #2

Not a lot to say about this issue, other than "oh wow." Also, having finally gotten to read DC UNIVERSE: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, I'm not going to be annotating it here--it doesn't make any direct references to FINAL CRISIS proper, and it can't possibly fit anywhere in the timeline, despite the original claim that it would be "in-continuity" and "positioned between issues #3 and #4 of FINAL CRISIS." C'est la vie. Let's just call it apocryphal.

Pg. 1:

The character in panel 3 is Black Manta, created by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy, who first appeared in 1967's AQUAMAN #35. The cold thing he did that he's referring to is killing Aquaman's infant son in ADVENTURE COMICS #452--foreshadowing the end of this issue.

On the left of panel 5 is the Rudy Jones version of the Parasite, created by John Ostrander and Joe Brozowski, who first appeared in THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #58 (in a sequence of events instigated by Darkseid!), based on a character created by Jim Shooter and Al Plastino who first appeared in 1966's ACTION COMICS #340. Not sure who the guy on the right is--is it Metallo?

Pg. 3:

Golden Glider first appeared in 1977's FLASH #250, and Chillblaine killed her in 1996's FLASH #113. (It's probably worth noting that he had gotten his cold weapons from her, and that she'd been giving guys cold weapons and calling them Chillblaine for a while--in fact, she killed the first one herself in FLASH ANNUAL #5. But the Rogues, as previously noted, are prone to self-deception.)

Pg. 4:

Paul Gambi, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in 1963's FLASH #141. Chill, created by Frank Tieri and Jim Calafiore, first appeared in GOTHAM UNDERGROUND #4.

Pg. 5:

Also debuting in GOTHAM UNDERGROUND #4: Weather Witch, Mr. Magic, Mirror Man. Burn first turned up in GOTHAM UNDERGROUND #8.

Pg. 7:

The cosmic treadmill explosion was in FLASH #196. [Thanks to Kelson for the correction.]

Pg. 9:

The introductory dialogue here is one of the occasional signs that this was condensed from a 6x22-page story to a 3x30-page story...

Pg. 11:

Heat Wave actually went straight twice: once in the early '90s, once in the late '90s, apparently both times under the influence of the Top.

Pg. 13:

Johns always did write Weather Wizard as a little bit more brainy than the other Rogues.

Pg. 15:

Sam Scudder (the first Mirror Master) died in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #10.

Pg. 16:

We first saw Weather Wizard's kid, Josh Jackam, in 2001's FLASH #170. [Thanks for the correction, Kelson.] As we'll see later, he's got his father's eyes.

Pg. 17:

Yeah, it really wouldn't be a Geoff Johns comic without a little dismemberment, would it?

Pg. 19:

I wouldn't say the Pied Piper is "the only Rogue left who's on the straight-and-narrow"--what about the second Captain Boomerang and Goldface?

Pg. 20:

This ties directly into FC #2-3, of course.

Pg. 20:

For the sake of completeness (and because I don't have a lot of my back issues at hand), anybody know if the nameless Snart-dad first appeared before 2002's FLASH #182? I don't think so--and his face was never quite shown in that issue either.

Pg. 23:

Len did actually cry in FLASH #182.

Pg. 27:

Anybody know what "the observatory" is? I'm drawing a blank here. [ETA: the consensus is that it's probably Clyde Mardon's laboratory on Big Water Lake, as seen in FLASH #110, which makes sense.]

Pg. 29:

Can somebody please parse the phrase "they can unlock the door that our great evil has shut"? Interesting, also, that Abra Kadabra and Dr. Alchemy aren't counted among "the Rogues" proper, especially since Mr. Magic was part of the new Rogues.

Okay, quick quiz: are Libra's eyes white (as seen in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #111)? Are they blue (as seen in DC UNIVERSE 0)? Are they red (as seen on this page)?

Pg. 30:

The correct answer is: purple! Or maybe it's some trick of the light that's also changed Josh's hair from brown to black.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1

Well. Good to see you all again. I'm here late, but on the other hand I got to read this issue while sitting in the shadow of this structure, so I think it was worth it. As expected, David Uzumeri and his Legion of Super-Observant Commenters got to this issue first, so an awful lot of what appears below is cribbed directly from that site. I make no particular claims for originality.

Pg. 1:

As Jeff O'Boyle noted in the comments over at Funnybook Babylon, the Dark Monitor's pose here is based on the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #96. Interesting! Note that Superman is wearing some kind of armor (check out the gauntlets, which are like the ones on the Monitors' "weapon" later this issue), and that his face doesn't quite look like his own, although the cape design is our Kal-El's. (We don't know who's inside the armor, of course, and Tom suggests in the comments that this might be a ZENITH-style switcheroo.)

I could swear I've seen the line "what shall we engrave upon your tombstone?" somewhere before, but I can't think of where.

This (and the opening of the next two-page spread) are pretty clearly a nod to the old DC splash-page tradition--the way stories would open with an image that would somehow encapsulate the central conflict of the story, then jump back to reveal how we got there.

Pp. 2-6:

A flashback to FC #3, of course. Scott over at Polite Dissent has a few things to say about the quasi-medicine on display here. Also, yeah, you'd think they'd have brought in the Purple Ray or some Kilowog-tech or something.

Is it me, or is the "recruit the greatest super-champions of the multiverse" business nearly identical to the premise of COUNTDOWN: ARENA?

Pg. 7:

"Universe designate zero": apparently DC UNIVERSE 0 was named after the place where it's set! The 52 parallel universes are numbered 0 through 51, not 1 through 52... but then what's Earth-1?

Pg. 8:

"Ultima Thule" basically means more north than north. There's also a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem by that title, which may be sort of relevant here.

The word "ultramenstruum" first appeared in THE INVISIBLES #22 in 1999; until now, I'm pretty sure, it was a hapax legomenon. "The Bleed" was first mentioned in STORMWATCH #7 in 1998. (Apparently Überfraulein's mention of the bleeding skies in FC #3 really was meant to have the implication of menstruation after all.) "The bleed" is also, of course, the space off the edge of the comics page

The phrase "germ-worlds" probably first appeared in Zadel Barnes Gustafson's 1879 poem "William Cullen Bryant."

"4-D vision" is also a callback to THE INVISIBLES, a surprising amount of which is concerned with the question of how to represent a greater-than-three-dimensional construct on a two-dimensional picture plane (like a comic book page); a 3-D comic book makes it easier to represent a four-dimensional construct. But what is the fourth dimension, you ask? It's time, of course; 4-D vision allows one to perceive multiple times simultaneously, instead of a temporal cross-section.

Pg. 9:

"Cast off! Weigh anchor!": I'm amused by the way Morrison has alien characters speak in totally Earthly metaphors (e.g. "dust for radiation").

As David Uzumeri notes, Übermensch is saying "We will have to accept losses! This machine is about to explode!" We first saw the Dr. Manhattan-ish version of Captain Atom in Nix's drawings in FC #2, pg. 9. And the Captain Marvel we're seeing here is not the DCU (0) one but the one from Earth-5 (a variation on Earth-S), where all the Fawcett characters live in their original incarnations.

Pg. 12:

Ultraman here--whose "weapons" appear to include a version of Etrigan the Demon and a version of, maybe, Batwoman?--appeared in his initial form in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #29 in 1964. Per pg. 18, this version is the one from Morrison's JLA: EARTH 2, which was actually not about the Silver Age Earth-Two (or the one Geoff Johns used recently in JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA ANNUAL #1) but about an antimatter universe that doesn't seem to be counted among the 52 basic universes. Don't confuse him with the Ultraman from Earth-3's Crime Society of America as seen in COUNTDOWN PRESENTS THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: CRIME SOCIETY #1, although he is probably the Ultraman who turned up in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #11.

Pg. 13:

Earth-6 here, first seen for real in COUNTDOWN: ARENA #2, has a very familiar kind of New York cityscape, and is going through some kind of Civil War/Secret Invasion mashup. Plus: the guy in armor is secretly a shape-changing alien!

Pg. 14:

I like this little transtion from the plebeian quasi-Marvel Universe cityscape to the curvy high-tech one in the more brightly-lit world.

Earth-51 would appear to be the one from "moving part 51" that had been lost as of FC #1; its entire universe was destroyed in COUNTDOWN #14, then reinstated in COUNTDOWN #9, then turned into a Kamandi-like mess via the Morticoccus virus, and now... everything's dead again?

Pg. 15:

Lady Blackhawk and a character Morrison has referred to as "Doc Fate" are here on Earth-20. Earth-17 appeared very briefly in 52 #52; it's rather like the old Atomic Knights stories.

Pg. 17:

A yottabyte is one septillion bytes. The Zillo Valla/Overman scene is as weird as seductions get...

Pg. 18:

Overman is saying "All these universes vibrate at different frequencies."

Captain Allen Adam, the Dr. Manhattan/Captain Atom type from Earth-4 (established in 52 #52 as the Charlton-heroes-via-Watchmen world), is I don't think quite the same as the Earth-4 Captain Atom seen in COUNTDOWN: ARENA #4. (There was an albino Dr. Manhattan sort, Doctor Metropolis, who appeared there, according to Keith Champagne.)

Pg. 19:

And now we get to see Grant Morrison doing his own version of ARCHITECTURE & MORTALITY! This version of Limbo first appeared in ANIMAL MAN #25--see also the "monkey with a typewriter" business below. In the lower panel, besides Merryman (of the Inferior Five; created by E. Nelson Bridwell and Joe Orlando, first appeared in SHOWCASE #62 in 1966), Chris Eckert and David Uzumeri have identified Nightblade, members of the Alliance, Ace the Bathound, Gunfire, Voiceover, Ballistic, Golem, Geist, Hardhat, Chronos and Private Eyes.

Pg. 20:

Overman is saying something like "What is that? I can't remember why I made this. The whole business is for the dogs." The broken-off shard from the Rock of Eternity happened in DAY OF VENGEANCE, i.e. it may not have happened to this version of Captain Marvel.

I'm betting what the library gate should say (slightly misspelled) is "facilis descensus Averno" (or "Averni"): a line from the Aeneid, basically meaning "the road to evil is easy."

Pg. 21:

The monkey/infinite pages/infinite content business was referred to in ANIMAL MAN #25, but it goes back at least to 1913. Before J.L. Borges wrote "The Library of Babel" in 1941, he wrote an essay called "The Total Library" in 1939 that covered similar territory; the concept also has ties to Borges' "The Aleph," from 1949, and the Book of Destiny that turned up in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.

Of course, if the Library contains all possible books, it also contains infinite sets of false instructions for repairing the Ultima Thule...

Pg. 22:

"In the beginning" is how a story with a finite starting point begins; "Previously!" is how an installment in a serial begins. And this is, after all, a serialized multiverse. The "concept to contain the flaw" looks a bit like Metron's chair, doesn't it? Also, emphasizing "intricate" in the final panel is a very Kirby-ish gesture.

Pg. 23:

"Liiving" is not to be confused with Liviiing. The last panel is, as David U. notes, a bit from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS.

Pg. 24:

The majestic golden Superman here might be a callback to the conclusion of DC ONE MILLION. I suspect that Superman-as-a-concept is the original "flaw" in "Monitor perfection," the thing that makes possible infinite stories; it's sealed over with the divine golden metal (it's not likely that the golden metal of the time travelers in that totally baffling, apropos-of-nothing scene in 52 #27, which also involved time being frozen and space between seconds, is related, but I can always hope).

Pg. 25:

So wait, is the decadent doomed civilization threatened by "loathing and greed beyond measure" and waitin' for a Superman supposed to be comics readership?

Pg. 26:

"Who knew the day of holocaust would come again!": a callback to the first page of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #96 (Jeff O'Boyle pointed this out).

Pg. 27:

More prophetic language I could swear I've seen before: "ultimate good is ultimate evil," "the thing most despised will save the most beloved."

Pg. 29:

Overman's cousin must've been the late Überfraulein. "Carriers, destroyers, tankers and explorers": the Carrier from THE AUTHORITY is also part of the Monitor nanotech fleet.

Pg. 30:

The book contains all possible stories, including, I'd imagine, ones where evil doesn't win in the end... and I would feel much better about that "coming soon" if SUPERMAN BEYOND #2 were actually on the schedule.

Still catching up. More to follow...