Final Crisis #4
Q. How metal was this issue? A. ALL THE METAL. And I am far from the only person to have noticed that the neon gauntlets Darkseid is all but audibly clanging together on the portrait cover look like they say DC.
As usual lately, I am late to the mark. (And covering this issue before SUBMIT, although it clearly happens immediately after it. I'll try to fix up the chronology tonight or Friday.) David Uzumeri got to a bunch of stuff first, of course...
Carol Ferris, created by John Broome and Gil Kane, first appeared in SHOWCASE #22 in 1959.
The top panel is the London Underground. The cab is indeed probably in New York, but who's the passenger in the fedora? And should I recognize the cabbie?
That J might be for "Justifier" (see notes on the S-for-scapegoat in SUBMIT, above). The Ray appears to be the Ray Terrill version, who first appeared in 1992's THE RAY #1, created by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada (rather than the S.H.A.D.E. operative Stan Silver from UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS); he's a variation on a character created by the mighty Lou Fine, who first appeared in 1940's SMASH COMICS #14.
I kind of don't understand how Ray dragged the Tattooed Man in here...
The narration is Turpin's, apparently. The slaughtered Blüdhaven force includes Negative Woman, Director Bones and Count Vertigo, all Checkmate operatives.
This raises the question of who the "powerful, noble spirit" of Darkseid's previous fleshly incarnation was. The quotes around "incubation phase" are very Kirby.
Apparently Barbara did manage to unplug the Internet after all!
As David points out, the Ünternet was created by Kurt Busiek and introduced in ACTION COMICS #853. But who would the "highly placed informer in Libra's secret society" be?
Hawkgirl is fighting Silver Swan (III). The grid is: Ravager, Starman, Blue Devil (M.I.A., perhaps, because of REIGN IN HELL?), Huntress, The Atom, Enchantress (when was she injured?); Uncle Sam (corrupted how?... besides the obvious, I mean), Wildcat I, Wonder Woman (who should by rights be M.I.A., as David pointed out; maybe this is Hippolyta?), Superman, Batman, Cyborg (we don't know how he went missing), Martian Manhunter; Guy Gardner, Hawkgirl, Hourman, Hal Jordan/Green Lantern, Dr. Fate (also maybe missing because of REIGN IN HELL), Power Girl, Wally West/The Flash; John Stewart (who now has a mysterious scar just like Hal did), Sandman, Black Canary, the Kingdom Come Superman (!), Robin, Red Tornado, Phantom Lady; Starfire (when'd she get captured?), Liberty Belle, Green Arrow, Black Lightning, Aquaman, Firestorm and Kyle Rayner. (Thank you, David.)
Castellan is Carl Draper's title as of 2007's CHECKMATE #17; Draper was Deathtrap, although here he apparently claims not to have been the Master Jailer, which he was pre-Crisis.
There was a Warmaker who appeared alongside Sarge Steel in SECRET AGENT #9 (check that Dick Giordano cover!), but this is the one from the International Ultramarine Corps, created by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter, who first appeared in DC ONE MILLION #2. Superbia is their city/HQ in the sky. And Watchtower 4 is Gorilla City; is that Freedom Beast or B'wana Beast?
Black Adam, created by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck, first appeared in THE MARVEL FAMILY #1 in 1945. (As for where his throne room is--why, it's on the cover of 52 #45, of course.) August General-in-Iron and the rest of the Great Ten, created by Grant Morrison and I think J.G. Jones, first appeared in 52 #6.
This leads directly out of SUBMIT. Yes, he looks like Metron now, with the circuit, but he also looks a bit like one of the Metal Men, don't you think? Remember, in Grant Morrison comics, bald men always save the universe!
Wonder Woman/Bernadeth is "Wunda," Giganta/Stompa is "Gigantrix." "Flash fact," I believe, was a phrase from Silver Age FLASH comics that explained some scientific (or occasionally pseudoscientific) principle; I forget which of the writers on Wally's series retconned it to be something Barry used to say to Wally by way of education. [ETA: thanks to commenter msinger for pointing me toward Morrison's use of "Flash Facts" in JLA #3--scroll down a bit to see it.]
"Original costume": Wally originally (briefly) wore a smaller version of Barry's costume, then switched to a predominantly yellow costume, which he was still wearing at the time of Barry's death. He's been wearing the red one ever since, but Barry obviously hasn't been around. [ETA: several commenters make the argument that this is more likely to be a reference to Barry having seen Wally's shinier '90s variation of the Flash outfit in his earlier returns--which raises the question of whether this version of Barry is younger or older than the one seen in his two previous returns.]
Uzumeri, you can't depend on me like that! The League were in a similar pose on the cover of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #4, and vaguely similar situations appeared on the covers of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #26 and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #147, but none of those seem quite right. The version of J'onn in the bottle has his long head, which is doubly confusing...
Yes, I also want to see Morrison write Green Arrow forever.
For "day of holocaust," see SUPERMAN BEYOND #1.
I like the "speed force as life equation" idea--what happens when you plug 3X2(9YZ)4A into Self = Darkseid? "Sorry I was late": the running joke in the early days of Barry's FLASH series was that he was incapable of being on time to anything. Or maybe that's just a reference to this issue's ship date.
I don't get why Shilo's colored pink here (unless this particular heroic bald guy isn't actually him), but he's also gotten out of worse before--see SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY #1. Note also the Metron circuit appearing on the heroes' faces.