Thursday, October 23, 2008

Final Crisis #4

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...

Pg. 1:

Carol Ferris, created by John Broome and Gil Kane, first appeared in SHOWCASE #22 in 1959.

Pg. 2:

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?

Pg. 3:

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...

Pp. 6-7:

The narration is Turpin's, apparently. The slaughtered Blüdhaven force includes Negative Woman, Director Bones and Count Vertigo, all Checkmate operatives.

Pg. 8:

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.

Pg. 10:

Apparently Barbara did manage to unplug the Internet after all!

Pg. 11:

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?

Pp. 12-13:

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.

Pg. 14:

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?

Pg. 15:

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.

Pg. 16:

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!

Pg. 17:

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.]

Pg. 20:

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...

Pg. 22:

Yes, I also want to see Morrison write Green Arrow forever.

Pg. 25:

For "day of holocaust," see SUPERMAN BEYOND #1.

Pg. 27:

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.

Pg. 29:

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.


Anonymous said...

re: "Sorry I was late"

Plus there's the hoary old pun of his having been the late Barry Allen for a while now.

Kelson said...

Re: "Flash Fact" as something Barry used to say, it was probably Mark Waid, though I couldn't be sure without re-reading, well, everything.

Oddly enough, the earliest story that comes to mind is actually "Emergency Stop," from Grant Morrison & Mark Millar's short run on the title.

rap said...

You pishers!

Flash Facts were page-fillers with sciences facts, appearing mostly in Julie Schwartz-edited issues.

These guys know.

I think in this context, it's a joke. A little Barry Allen-esque humor.

rap said...

Sorry! Bad link.

Here's the correct one.


Barry's eyes look like they're two different colors in the last panel pg 17.

Fantomenos said...

Anyone else think "It's like trying to beat the ocean unconscious" is reminiscent of Xerxes ordering "that the Hellespont should receive 300 lashes" (Herodotus 7.33)?

Just me, huh?

Also, who's the gold guy at the top right of the grid? Gold?

Jamaal said...

You know, I never thought that 'day of holocaust' referred to Superman Beyond. That makes a lot of sense.

Dan said...

Is this the first time it's been refered to as the Checkmate Global Peace Agency?

Eldar said...

dan - yes it is.

Morrison and I think Rucka are trying to connect Renee as the first of the Faceless Global Police Officers that were in charge of OMAC and Brother Eye in the original Kirby series.

David Uzumeri said...

I can't *believe* I didn't connect Barry's "Sorry I'm late" with his penchant for tardiness in the Silver Age. Dear God, Morrison is the master of character economy.

Matt Singer said...

I agree with kelson; to the best of my recollection it was Mark Waid responsible for the Flash Fact retcon. I may be wrong but I want to say it started right after issue #100 of the series, when Wally got a power upgrade.

Matt Singer said...

Also, I was a bit confused by Barry's "original costume" line. Didn't a Barry from right around the time of Crisis get plucked from the past to help Wally a few times during Geoff Johns' FLASH run? I seem to remember him being a big part of the "Chain Lightning" story a few years ago and according to his Wikipedia page ( which could certainly be wrong) he was also the catalyst for that storyline where everyone on the planet forgot Wally was the Flash. So shouldn't he have some idea that Wally's in that costume by now?

Jake said...

I think Submit was intended to be read after FC4. The release dates had Submit after FC4 up until FC4 was held back so late. Also Morrison deliberately held Requiem after FC1 and FC2 for story telling purposes (according to Didio).

fcfanatic said...

GM has said he's setting up Montoya/Global Peace Agency for someone to run with, which suggests there are no plans to run with it yet.

No Nix/Monitors in this issue. Wondering where all that is going.

No Libra either. I'm holding out for a Xorn-esque big shocker with that one. Lex is the informer? That seems to have been set up pretty well in #3.

I also still think there's another shoe to drop with Barry, and I feel there's some connection with Libra. Hasn't Libra has some changing eye color? His and Barry's re-constitution stories sound similar.

The stuff with Iris was nice, but some of the early dialogue with Wally seemed purposefully off. Also, why have Re-Birth later on if the rebirth happened in this series?

Some other coloring goofs -- or the multiverse gone wonky? Beside white Shilo, Supergirl's skirt has gone back to normal after the roll-out of last issue's red.

Have to go back and check out the scar on Jon Stewart. Similar to the one Hal had?

Wondering if FC: Resist was supposed to come out before this, just based on the solicit of that comic. The placement of those Daily Planet headlines seems purposeful. Unfortunately, looks like Checkmate's offensive in Bludhaven didn't work out too well.

Love the granty idea of the Planet as underground newspaper of the resistance.

Douglas Wolk said...

Wow--good catches, everyone, especially the Global Peace Agency thing.

Matt, the returning Barry in the earliest of those stories told Wally that he'd see him two more times. So this Barry actually predates the Barry of his previous returns--it's happening later in Wally's life but earlier in Barry's.

SUBMIT was originally solicited to come out two weeks after FC #4, and RESIST three weeks after SUBMIT--!

Cahse Garland said...

Uncle Sam is based on the spirit of the American People. In other words, his powers are directly based on people's faith in America. They can also be corrupted, as shown in Shade, The Changing Man (Vol 2) and the Spectre, with the American Scream.

Since America has fallen to the Anti-Life Equation, it makes since that Uncle Sam has fallen through the masses.

Yonatan said...

As to the Original Suit. Wally started out in a suit almost exactly what Barry used to wear. But then he got a new suit around the time Mark Waid Started writing.
This one was shinny, showed mussles and gave Wally "batman eyes" he kept that suit (which barry saw him in during around issue 200 or so. After that he went back to the suit that he had when he started out (Barry's minue the boot wings)
differences can be seen in this shot from Waids "return of barry allen" arc.

Yonatan said...

This is wally in his original suit.

DeepSpaceTransmissions said...

I think thats the Global Guardians' Bushmaster and Impala with B'Wana/Freedom Beast at Gorilla City. I thought Bushmaster was dead, and Venezuelan, which would make him South American and not African... Maybe he just rose from the dead and headed on over to help a buddy.

Its Cliff Steele in the top right of the heroes grid, hes been doing some auxilary Justice League stuff in the unexpectedly awful DC Decisions lately.

Didn't Superbia already fall out of the sky in Morrison's JLA Classified arc? And I thought all the Ultramarines died trying to stop the Nebula Man/Infant Universe thing.

Surely the costume thing with the Flash is a reference to Wally going back to wearing Barry's costume and not his very shiny 90's update.

Don't know if its a direct reference but the 'You Have Been Reading...' at the end of each issue echoes the end of several British sit coms by Perry & Croft. Allo Allo, Dad's Army and others all end with 'You Have Been Watching...' and then a parade of the shows principals.

rwe1138 said...

That would be Freedom Beast in this issue. He succeeded B'wana Beast as South Africa's protector in Morrison's Animal Man #13

Cahse Garland said...

That's Kid Impala from Morrison's JLA Classified arc in Gorilla City. He's the character on the bottom left.

Cahse Garland said...

Also, the skies seem to be bleeding because the spaces between teh Ultra Menstrual are breaking down. So, the skies are quite literally on their period.

Grant said Darkseid's precense decays things, and his presence in the physical universe would do the same to it. Looks like he made good on that promise.

Kris Weberg said...

"S" for Superman, perhaps?

Well, I guess this issue answers all that stuff with Libra really wanting to get the Flashes over in Rogues' Revenge.

Fighting the ocean is an old mythic theme regarding futility: King Canute pretended to fight the waves to prove to his advisors that he was not omnipotent; the Irish hero Cuchulain went mad upn unwittingly killing his own son and fought the waves off Baile's Strand; and there are certainly other such stories predating or contemporary with the Xerxes line.

Darkseid's Elite, as usual, fight amongst themselves when the Big Omega's not there to rein them in.

The Ultramrines didn't die trying to stop Kwewk from being corrupted; as explained in Frankenstein #4, they actually won, introducing the flaw of entropy that Frankie-baby used to kill the adult universe of Kwewk, aka Nebula-Man. The Knight, one of the heroes injected into Qwewq/Kwewk in JLAC #3, was seen in a later Morrison story during his ongoing Batman run and just had a cameo a few issues back in Batman R.I.P. So evidently the UMC did their job and got out of Nebula-Man behind-the-scenes at some point.

The line about Granny having access to Oa's Central Battery confirms that she's possessing Alpha-Lantern Kraken. Note also that Kalibak appears to have eaten the arm of that GL from FC #1 and 2.

Gorilla Grodd is one of the Justifiers in the Africa cutaway scene, fighting the Freedom/B'wana Beast.

The new Furies also incude a Lashina counterpart who appears to be Catwoman and a Mad Harriet manque who seems to be Batwoman. Aside from Giganta, in fact, all the new Female Furies seem to be characters with "Woman" in their codenames. I suppose it was too mucht o hope Gigantrix/Stompa would turn out to be Multi-Woman...

The other Justifiers battling Hawkgirl et al. include Bolt, Killer Moth (II?),Typhoon (an obscure Firestorm villain), and Man-Bat. The fiery figurew with the axe seen in one of the Hawkgirl scenes may be ultra-obscure JSA enemy Vulcan, from the 1970s All-Star Comics revival and a few issues of All-Star Squadron. He's certainly the only "fiery axe guy" I know of at DC.

Cahse Garland said...

The first Killer Moth, as Charaxes, was killed in Infinite Crisis 7, so that would have to be the second one, who was introduced by James Robinson in "Face the Face".

Strange thing is, it seems to be Charaxes and not the regular Killer Moth costume.

I think the flaming person on the panel with Hawkgirl and the villains is Sungirl from Titans East a few years back. She has the long hair like the person here does.

Rodrigo Baeza said...

Additional comments:

Pg. 9: Kalibak's body has been bio-factored to look like Prince Tuftan and the other tigers from Kirby's KAMANDI series (they are located in "Command D", after all).

Pg. 10: The Tattoed Man mentions that he worked at the "Dark Side" club, has this been shown in other comics?

Pg. 17: I guess we'll eventually learn more about the "unknown force" who reverse-engineered Barry Allen back to life.

Rodrigo Baeza said...

"The Tattoed Man mentions that he worked at the "Dark Side" club, has this been shown in other comics?"

Answering my own question: yes, he's shown in issue #1, leading Turpin to the club. I'd forgotten about that.

Anonymous said...

Why is Superman M.I.A.? I thought the events of Superman Beyond were supposed to occur "between time."

zack soto said...

I thought it was cute that Gigantrix's helmet is ape-like in shape, she was originally an ape, sorrect?

Anonymous said...

Flash Facts as Barry's "teachable moments" for young Wally: AFAIK, this was first suggested by Morrison himself back in JLA #3 (in that beautiful scene where Wally uses a "Flash Fact" to take out Zum of the Hyperclan).

Can anybody tell me where Jeff Pierce first picks up the circuit he passes along to Mark Richards in Submit? It seems too important not to have been introduced somewhere (although it would not exactly be unlike Morrison to forget to set it up).

As to Shilo colored pink: either this is a huge coloring error, or that ain't Shilo.

And I notice Most Excellent Superbat is nowhere to be seen in that car, though all his other teammates are.


zack soto said...

Ugh, "CORRECT", not "sorrect".

Squashua said...

From what I recall regarding the last few years of the Wonder Woman failure-to-restart and The All-New All-Different Atom, the most recent Giganta is not, in fact, a gorilla, though according to the Wikipedia entry, she's a scientist who transferred her brain into a gorilla, then from a gorilla into a really tall circus woman named Olga. Olga already had the mystical power to grow to giant-size.

fcfanatic said...

You know that scene in the Castle where Alan Scott is looking at the statuses of the various heroes? Some readers thought it was weird that Wonder Woman *wasn't* listed as M.I.A.

If you look at her picture up there, it appears as though she has a pentagram on her tiara.

Anonymous said...

I was rereading this the other night, and wondered if anyone knows what kind of airplane Ferris Air's using. In Seven Soldiers, and again in Final Crisis, Morrison used architecture that was never really built to show that DC's world is more imaginative than ours. Is this an experimental plane from our world that was never built? Or just a funky design J.G. Jones drew up to show that Ferris is using cool experimental planes.