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.

10 comments:

David Uzumeri said...

I'm not sure if they were suggesting that Abraham's son was the ram; I think they were suggesting that Cris's son was, in fact, the smaller sacrifice in comparison to an as-yet-unrevealed larger sacrifice. I'm really not sure how the Cain stuff ties in with the meteor exposure, but that seems like a large enough detail that Morrison and Rucka would have hashed out an explanation.

Will Staples said...

As per S.O.P., she's fighting what I'm guessing is one of Intergang's giant lizard critters.

Are you sure it's not Killer Croc?

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?

My personal fanon: Vandal Savage represents Cain for the Dark Faith as the first human to willfully harm another; Cain of the Dreaming, on the other hand, is a sort of avatar born from humanity's collective imagination; and the Cain and Abel story as told in Genesis never literally happened in the DCU.

And the Spectre gave him his mark? Which looks kind of like a set of scales?

Actually, it would have been Eclipso; the Spectre didn't replace him as God's vengeance until after the Deluge. Maybe Savage just doesn't realize the distinction between them or something.

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.

It's my understanding that in the DCU, anything that the Bible said God/The Presence did was actually done by one of his avatars (the Spectre, the Radiant, the Word, etc.) representing Him.

Also, again, I'm assuming that the Old Testament myths didn't happen literally in the DCU any more than the DCU was created from Xaos or Ymir or any other mythic origins.

Here's what's bothering me, though: In Final Crisis #3, the Question was apprehended by SHADE personnel outside the Dark Side Club. So how does that square with Revelations?

Cobalt said...

There's also the matter of Abel saying that the events described in Genesis didn't happen on Earth in the Sandman series (right before he was murdered again by Cain for revealing that secret).

So the Vandal Savage/Cain thing might be more of symbolism rather than him literally being THE Cain. Either that or the writers at DC want to leave it vague on purpose (or did not check up on how this would work out with the Vertigo series before they wrote Revelations).

Aaron Strange said...

I assumed that Vandal Savage was an embodiment of Cain -- a sort of third-dimension emanation of a mythic figure, in the same way that the Super Young Team stand in for the Forever People.

David Uzumeri said...

Oh hey, Final Crisis #7 doesn't come out in December! Le sigh.

Tor Hershman said...

The KJV is the gayist production.

Jeff O'Boyle said...

>>> 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.


I thought of one way in which such a suggestion could be orthodox (in Christian circles).

Biblically speaking, Typology is of course the study of people and events in the Old Testament which prefigure Christ and events in the New Testament.

Abraham being willing to sacrifice his most precious son, Isaac, prefigures God the Father willing/permitting His Son, Jesus, to be offered up on the Cross to conquer death and the devil -- and to take away the sins of the world. God asked Abraham to spare no price, when in reality God Himself is the Father who would indeed spare no price and had to watch His Son die.

Though not killed, Isaac is a type of Jesus -- that is, Isaac was a human offered up like a sacrificial lamb. Jesus in Christian terms is "true God and true man" and offered Himself up and was crucified (slaughtered) at the time of a Passover Feast. Pierced by a certain Spear of Destiny upon His death, even.

Both Isaac and Jesus are physically descended from Abraham. Both are therefore sons of Abraham.

The Typology is continued in the fact that God provided the ram (the male lamb) to take Isaac's place. Yes, in mercy the Lord literally provided a four-legged animal covered with wool at that point in time in place of Isaac. But that ram was also a sign of things to come. Ultimately, God would provide Jesus, the Lamb of God, in place of Abraham, Isaac, and the whole of the human race as the one, true, pleasing sacrifice.

Therefore, in standard Christian Typology, both Isaac and the ram on Moriah are types representing Jesus -- son of Abraham and Son of God.


>>> "Was his son meant to be Isaac? Or was his son, instead, the ram??"

FINAL CRISIS: REVELATIONS may be suggesting that the most important son in this story from Genesis, the one God really meant, is actually Abraham's then-future descendant, Jesus.

Jesus Christ -- essential to the post-Crisis, post-Zero Hour origin of the Spectre.

(And the whole of the human race, eternally speaking, can unite itself spiritually with Christ on the Cross as best as each person understands or accepts this ability and gift. Even Crispus Allen of New Earth, in his own feelings of loneliness and abandonment after having to punish his own son, may unite this suffering with Christ's sufferings on the Cross to bring about great good. In Christianity overall, suffering can provide no meaning or good fruit for the believer unless such pain is united with Christ.)

In Typology, Cain's brother Abel, pleasing to God yet murdered by Cain, is one of the earliest prefigurements of Christ in the Old Testament.


***************

>>> "Was his son meant to be Isaac? Or was his son, instead, the ram??"

The only other way I could read Clarice's comment here is if the "his" actually refers to Crispus and not to Abraham. "Was Crispus's son meant to be Isaac?" [meaning it was a test in obedience and the son could have been spared somehow] "Or was Crispus's son, instead, the ram??" [meaning Cris's son in this case was indeed the life God willed be taken]

If Cris's son was the ram, that could tie in with both Typology and David's comment:

>>> I'm not sure if they were suggesting that Abraham's son was the ram; I think they were suggesting that Cris's son was, in fact, the smaller sacrifice in comparison to an as-yet-unrevealed larger sacrifice.

As Abraham's ram at Moriah prefigured the everlasting sacrifice at Golgotha, perhaps the death of Cris's son could indeed be a sign of "an as-yet-unrevealed larger sacrifice" to come.

Or else, as hard as it might be for Cris to believe, perhaps the death of his own son was actually God's mercy, sparing something worse from happening to the Allen family or the world.

Caleb said...

The Cain from The Sandman was marked as well. Dream used him as a messenger once--either in Kindly Ones or the one where he inherits hell's real estate--because the mark protected him from people messing with him. In that context, it wasn't that the mark guaranteed immortality so much as it was a warning that if anyone messed with Cain, God would kick their ass.

Mr. Peepers said...

So Gehenna is not related to the character with the same name who was created, not born, and is now part of the Firestorm matrix?

David Uzumeri said...

Mr. Peepers, totally different. I've got a feeling, due to the whole "Cain rising" thing, that he cribbed it from Vampire: The Masquerade. (Thanks, misspent youth!)

Also, FC #4 is now 10/22. The Final Crisis delay train rolls on. Choo-choo.