Thursday, May 29, 2008

Final Crisis #1

And away we go!

Pg. 1:

This is Anthro; he was created by Howie Post, and first appeared in SHOWCASE #74 in 1968. Morrison has said that FC will begin with the first boy on Earth and end with the last boy on Earth (Kamandi). The standard line on Anthro is that he's the first Cro-Magnon boy. (And Metron calls him "man"; I suspect that the distinction between boys and men may be thematically significant, as well as the distinctions between gods and men and between mortality and immortality.)

So what period are we seeing here? Cro-Magnons, specifically, seem to have first appeared about 45,000 years ago; modern humans date to something 130,000 years ago; the people Anthro attacks a little while later seem surprised by fire, although controlled fire predates modern humans by many hundreds of thousands of years; at the end of this issue, Anthro's got a bow and arrow, which were invented only around 10,000 years ago. In other words: this happened a long time ago, and Morrison is hand-waving on the details.

Pp. 2-3:

Metron, sitting in his "Möbius Chair" on the right, is the first of many, many characters we'll see in this series that were created by Jack Kirby. He first appeared in NEW GODS #1 in 1971, and apparently died in THE DEATH OF THE NEW GODS #7 a couple of months ago.

Metron is significant in connection with Morrison, who claims to have summoned him in a magical ritual. He's talked about it several times, notably in this Arthur interview: "So when Chaos Magic came along to say that instead of summoning up Hermes, you could just as easily summon up DC comics super-speedster The Flash and The Flash would appear, visibly, I was naturally excited. [laughs] So I’m going, Bullshit, and I summoned Metron from the “New Gods” comics…and I got Metron! Or I should say what I got was the distilled, descending power and magic of language, speed and information which was wearing Metron drag in order to talk to me."

It's also worth mentioning the connection to Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY project here. SEVEN SOLDIERS #1 includes a scene drawn by J.H. Williams III in high-Kirby style, in which we learn about the origin of super-heroics on Earth: in 40,000 B.C., "the sky tribes bring structure to a savage world," the caption says, and we see Neanderthals running from Metron, Orion and Lightray of the New Gods. Aurakles, a Neanderthal warrior, becomes Earth's first superhero, and a civilization arises, until the world is harrowed, leaving just enough people for humanity to rebuild itself. (Call it the Sheeda catastrophe theory.) Presumably, that all happens before Anthro's time. Unless Anthro is actually Aurakles, which doesn't seem right: his hair is reddish here, but it's not Aurakles-style flaming red.

Pg. 4:

Panel 3: The fiery sign Metron is making with his finger appears to be the astrological symbol of Mars, the god of war. Is Metron playing Prometheus, giving fire-as-knowledge to mortals? Sure looks like it, and the caption on pg. 7 reinforces that idea.

Pg. 5:

The black-haired guy in the middle is the immortal Vandal Savage, who was created by Alfred Bester and Martin Nodell and first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #10 in 1943. (Man, that's a good cover.) He's been around since roughly 50,000 B.C.

Pg. 6:

The characters in the original Anthro stories could talk. Nobody's sure when spoken human language developed, but one guesstimate is around the time of Vandal Savage's birth.

Panel 4: Is there a more enduring cliché than the caveman dragging a woman by her hair?

Pg. 8:

Grant Morrison's script for this and the next four pages can be seen at Entertainment Weekly's preview here. My favorite detail: Morrison's description of Turpin as "Jack Kirby as drawn by Frank Miller."

We seem to be in Metropolis in this scene--note the "Star Liner" ship. (Metropolis has a little bit of a star/planet motif: in the early years, the Daily Planet newspaper was the Daily Star.)

Panel 2: Dan "Terrible" Turpin was created by Jack Kirby, and first appeared under that name in NEW GODS #5. (There's a retcon I'm not gonna get into here that would have made him appear earlier as Brooklyn of the Boy Commandos.)

Panel 3: Orion was also created by Jack Kirby, and also first appeared in NEW GODS #1. When we last saw him, in COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #2, he had just ripped out the heart of his father, Darkseid, and was staggering off into the distance, badly injured. If Orion's Mother Box has been destroyed, though, you'd think his face would appear more bestial. [ETA: Per that infamous Morrison interview, we've... actually last seen Orion in DEATH OF THE NEW GODS #6, and COUNTDOWN #2 is more or less apocryphal.]

Panel 4: "Six missing kids": besides the obvious referent later this issue, this echoes the group of six Titans that Dark Side is trying to collect in this week's TEEN TITANS.

Pg. 9:

Panel 1: As we saw in the Metron/Anthro scene, knowledge-as-fire burns.

Panel 3: "They" are presumably the New Gods (killed off in, naturally, DEATH OF THE NEW GODS); "he" is presumably Darkseid.

Panel 4: That's the (newly redesigned) death avatar Black Racer in the background: created by Jack Kirby, who else, he first appeared in NEW GODS #3. Note that the sky has turned red over the course of the page: the Crisis is on now.

Pg. 10:

Panel 1: The script says this is the version of New York seen in SEVEN SOLDIERS--the "Cinderella city" between Metropolis and Gotham City--but commenter chad nevett points out that it's actually drawn as Detroit, which is what the script for the second panel asks for.

Panel 4: "2814.2": John Stewart is one of the two Green Lanterns assigned to Space Sector 2814, which includes Earth. [Thanks for the correction, doc_loki.]

Pg. 11:

Panel 1: "Metropolis Special Crimes Unit": a division of the police department devoted to superhuman-related affairs. Created by John Byrne, it was first referred to in SUPERMAN #4 in 1987.

Panel 4: 2814.1 would be Hal Jordan, who's based in Coast City (commenter pla points out that it's apparently somewhere in California).

Pg. 12:

Panel 2: The woman in the hat is Renee Montoya, a.k.a. the Question. In her civilian identity, she was created by Paul Dini and Mitch Brian, for Batman: The Animated Series, and first appeared in comics in BATMAN #475 in 1992. She became the Question over the course of 52.

Panel 3: The first Question, Charles Victor Szasz, a.k.a. Vic Sage, was created by Steve Ditko and first appeared in BLUE BEETLE #1 in 1967. He did indeed die of lung cancer in 52 #38. Which, as Turpin suggested earlier, sort of counts as another way of using fire to kill oneself.

Pg. 13:

Panel 2: "Danny boy": the previous Question sang "Danny Boy" at dramatically significant moments in THE QUESTION #2 and 52 #34.

Panel 4: The Dark Side Club first appeared in SEVEN SOLDIERS: MISTER MIRACLE, and has been turning up in various DC titles over the last couple of weeks.

Pg. 14:

Panel 1: The Mister Miracle poster on the wall is presumably for the Shilo Norman version of the character, as seen in SEVEN SOLDIERS: MISTER MIRACLE.

Hal's facial scar here is significant, the Director's Cut edition notes.

Pg. 15:

Panel 1: "Lagrangian point" (or Lagrange--not "LaGrange"--point) is defined here; there are actually five such points in the planet's orbit, I believe, but hey, the Guardians are guardians, not astrophysicists. And "dust for radiation prints"--I get what they're saying, but the metaphor's a little strained.

Panel 2: The Alpha Lanterns are essentially the Green Lanterns' internal-affairs investigation force.

Pg. 16:

Panel 1: Metron's Möbius Chair.

Panel 2: Sparx, created by Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and Ed Hannigan, first appeared in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN ANNUAL #5 in 1993. Empress, created by Peter David and Todd Nauck, first appeared in YOUNG JUSTICE #16 in 2000; David Uzumeri points out that she has a piece of the Anti-Life Equation in her brain. Mas y Menos, created by Sam Register, Glen Murakami, David Slack and Alex Soto for the Teen Titans animated series, first appeared on-panel in comics in TEEN TITANS #38 in 2006. This is the first we've seen of the League of Titans. And, most likely, the last we'll see. Is the New Gods' domain really "another reality"?

Panel 4: Dr. Light was established in IDENTITY CRISIS as a serial rapist.

Pg. 17:

Panel 1: [ETA: Commenter raphaeladidas points out that the guy in the yellow cape is Signalman, created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, who first appeared in BATMAN #112 in 1957.] (And shouldn't most of these folks be in jail anyway? Or is there something we don't know from SALVATION RUN? For that matter, what's Red Tornado doing with a body?) On the right: Black Canary, a version of a character created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino who first appeared in FLASH COMICS #86 in 1947. (This is actually that character's daughter, although explaining how and when the switchoff occurred is kind of a headache.)

Pg. 18:

Panel 1: The bald guy is Doctor Sivana, created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, who first appeared in WHIZ COMICS #2 in 1940.

Panel 4: Libra is now sitting in Metron's chair, and has a Crime Bible. [Thanks, alonso.]

Pg. 19:

Oh, Mike. Sigh.

Might be a red herring, but commenter michael suggests that Libra's staff might actually be the Spear of Destiny--the spear that pierced Christ's side, which is a very powerful mystical artifact in the DCU. The long explanation is here, but when last seen (in DAY OF JUDGMENT SECRET FILES #1 in 1999), it had been hurled into the sun and could only be retrieved by the Sentinels of Magic working collectively. [ETA: The solicitation for FC: REVELATIONS #2 mentions the Spear of Destiny being in Vandal Savage's hands...]

Pg. 20:

Yes, maybe fire was a bad idea. The guy with the flaming head here, as David Uzumeri points out, is Effigy, created by Ron Marz and Darryl Banks, who first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #113 in 1999.

Panel 3: M'yri'ah was the Martian Manhunter's late wife. I suspect that J'onn isn't really dead--not just because N.E.R.D. in superhero comics, but because we've seen in MARTIAN MANHUNTER #1,000,000 that he's alive many centuries in the future, and his history is bound up with Darkseid's.

Pg. 21:

Panel 2: Blüdhaven, located near Gotham City, was destroyed in INFINITE CRISIS #4. This is Rev. G. Godfrey Goode, a variation on Glorious Godfrey, a demagogue created by Jack Kirby who first appeared in FOREVER PEOPLE #3 in 1971. [Thanks for the correction, innerbrat.]

Panel 3: This is Mark Richards, the third Tattooed Man, who first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #9 in 2006; he's a variation on a character created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane in GREEN LANTERN #23 in 1963.

Panel 5: We're in New York now--cf. the Statue of Liberty in the background. I guess Turpin doesn't have to worry about jurisdiction issues.

Pg. 22:

Dark Side is a sort of human projection of Darkseid, the evil god created by Jack Kirby who first appeared in SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN #134 in 1970; this version of him is the one seen in SEVEN SOLDIERS: MISTER MIRACLE.

Panel 3: The original versions of Kalibak and Kanto are also Kirby kreations, respectively first seen in NEW GODS #1 and MISTER MIRACLE #7, both in 1971.

Panel 5: "My father used to say the same thing": Turpin is being identified as, perhaps, the new Orion, since Darkseid was Orion's father. "Granny" would be Granny Goodness, created by Kirby for MISTER MIRACLE #2 in 1971. Her Dark Side Club incarnation was apparently killed (gruesomely) in last week's BIRDS OF PREY #118.

Pg. 23:

Panel 1: "There was a war in Heaven... and I won." Compare Metron's speech in SEVEN SOLDIERS: MISTER MIRACLE #1: "There was a war in Heaven. And the wrong side won. The dark side won."

Pg. 24:

You know, you'd think Superman would talk about the New Gods in a more familiar way, since he was on panel for most of DEATH OF THE NEW GODS. (The aforementioned Morrison interview notes that those stories were written after this one.)

Pg. 25:

Panel 1: Green Man, created by Mike W. Barr and Keith Pollard, first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #164 in 1983. Boodikka, created by Gerard Jones, Pat Broderick and Romeo Tanghal, first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #20 in 1992. Varix, created by Paul Kupperberg and Trevor von Eeden, first appeared in TALES OF THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS ANNUAL #2 in 1986.

Panel 2: "New Earth" is the main DC Universe Earth, following the rejiggering of all creation in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, INFINITE CRISIS and 52.

Pg. 26:

The universe of Earth-51 was destroyed in COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #13, then partly re-created and re-destroyed, as far as I can tell. (I'll get around to reading that series one of these days. Maybe.) If anyone can identify these Monitors by their hairstyles, please do. The original Monitor was created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez, circa 1982, and appeared in a bunch of comics leading up to CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, in which he was a major character.

Pg. 27:

Nix Uotan first appeared in COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #21 (thanks, commenter amedeo turturro). I think this is the first named appearance of both Tahoteh and Weeja Dell.

Pp. 28-29:

Ditto for Zillo Valla and Ogama. The creepy Monitor in the last panel is Solomon, who was seen in COUNTDOWN.

Pg. 30:

Apparently Anthro has also invented both dreadlocks and cooking, and possibly also archery. Smart kid. And he's drawing Metron's costume design in the dirt.

Pg. 31:

Panel 1: One effect of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths was temporal anomalies like this. The blond kid is Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, created by--ready for this?--Jack Kirby, and the sunken Statue of Liberty recalls the cover of his first appearance, 1972's KAMANDI #1, as well as the COUNTDOWN teaser image (and, of course, Planet of the Apes).

Panel 4: The Metron costume design has appeared on Anthro's face. My guess is that, through contact with the gods, people become those gods: we've earlier seen Turpin becoming Orion, and here, Anthro has mastered knowledge and fire, and is invoking Metron in himself, in a sort of ritual to access his ability to transcend time and space. But other theories are more than welcome here.

Pg. 32:

Panel 1: This appears to be Nix Uotan suddenly finding himself mortal and in an apartment full of human stuff, but I initially read it as the Tattooed Man waking up without his tattoos. And does his Mohawk hint to anybody else that he's got some connection to OMAC?

Panel 2: Nix's bookshelf appears to include a Super Bat title (as seen in the FC Sketchbook). Jog points out that "aww, man" echoes "Man" on pg. 1.

Panel 3: Mark Simmons points out that Nix's head is framed by the image of the sun here--some kind of sun-god thing going on, perhaps?

Panel 4: On the TV is Green Arrow, created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp, who first appeared in MORE FUN COMICS #73 in 1941. Timothy Callahan points out that Nix's wall has a postcard from Oolong Island, the vacation retreat for evil scientists from 52.

As for the title: Mars is the god of war, so the reference might be to Orion (who filled that role in the period of Morrison's JLA stories when the lineup was meant to be analogous to the Greek pantheon) or to the Martian Manhunter, or both.


Please post questions, corrections and emendations in the comments, and I'll try to incorporate them into these annotations. (And note that David Uzumeri has his own excellent annotations up here.)

A quick procedural question: when I link to individual issues at the Grand Comics Database Project, do you prefer links to the issue details or the big cover art?

Also, if these notes are helpful or interesting to you, please consider buying a book from the Amazon links you see on the right.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Justice League of America #21

Hello to io9 readers!

This is a strange, neither-fish-nor-fowl sort of issue--it leads directly into FC, but FC also has to be able to function without it (for the inevitable collection), so it's going to end up being a bit redundant, I suspect. Still, the issue number is formally appropriate: the last time there was a JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21, back in 1963, it was the very first "Crisis"!

Cover: This is the first appearance of the "Sightings" banner, which... well, graphically speaking, it sure doesn't look like Chip Kidd designed it. And that would appear to be a Crime Bible in Libra's hand.

Pg. 1:

Yes, there really was a Mr. Polka-Dot, seen in DETECTIVE COMICS #300 in 1962, and never since. (Fred Hembeck covered that story here, in a piece that also explains the "little girl in the comic strip" joke for anyone who doesn't get it.)

Pp. 2-3:

Can anyone identify the provenance of the Einstein quote? I haven't found a source for it that suggests its context.

John Henry Irons is also known as Steel; "boom tubes" are getting-from-here-to-there-instantly technology created by Jack Kirby for his Fourth World comics.

Pg. 4:

Vixen kissed Superman in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #15, which is also where the "teaching moment" mentioned a few pages later happened.

Pg. 6:

The race was in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #10; the hole-punching bit was in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #6.

Pg. 9:

The "secret mission" was infiltrating Cygnus 4019, the prison planet in SALVATION RUN. (How that series dovetails with this issue is unclear--the final issue was supposed to be out two weeks ago, but it's been pushed back to June 18.) The new Atom is Dr. (Ryan) Choi; Ray Palmer, the previous Atom, disappeared after his ex-wife Jean Loring killed their friend Sue Dibny in IDENTITY CRISIS. Jean, who'd been Eclipso for a while (let's not get into it), was last seen in COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #4, apparently about to either drown or be eaten by a shark. Ray, as of the end of COUNTDOWN, is one of the new meta-Monitors, but word doesn't seem to have gotten around, so "losing Jean" here probably refers to her being insane and institutionalized in IDENTITY CRISIS.

Pg. 10:

Ah, here we go. The Human Flame's first and only appearance before DC UNIVERSE 0 was that 5 2/3-page Martian Manhunter backup in DETECTIVE COMICS #274, a story so skimpy we didn't even learn his last name. It was reprinted in that 80-page DC UNIVERSE SPECIAL: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA a couple of weeks ago, but if you want a really, really in-depth (and very funny) analysis of it, I recommend the Absorbascon's five-part exegesis, here, here, here, here and here.

Pg. 12:

Hawkgirl was created by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Moldoff, and first appeared (under that name) in ALL STAR COMICS #5 in 1941. This incarnation of the character first appeared in JSA SECRET FILES #1 in 1999.

Red Arrow was created by Mort Weisinger and George Papp (I think--Wikipedia claims Paul Norris; can anyone set the record straight?), and first appeared in MORE FUN COMICS #73 in 1941. He started using the name Red Arrow in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #7 last year, although a future version of him as Red Arrow had appeared in the sorta-kinda-in-continuity miniseries KINGDOM COME much earlier.

Pg. 18:

I'm guessing this is supposed to be Twisters (the ceiling lighting fixture is the same), although it'd have been nice if there'd been some common reference for stuff like the exterior, the chairs, the lighting...

I'm gonna need some help to identify the characters here. Panel 2, going clockwise from Libra and the Human Flame, we have [unidentified], Dr. Polaris, the Key, Weather Wizard, Shatterfist, Shrike, Cyborgirl, Ace and... Ten?... from the '80s version of the Royal Flush Gang, and the Icicle. [Thanks to Tom Bondurant and Frank Lee Delano.]

Pg. 19:

The guy with the arrow on his head is Red Tornado, who was created by Gardner Fox and Dick Dillin, and first appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #64 in 1968. The one with the flaming head, who isn't in a position to even be talking about making that kind of joke, is Firestorm, created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom, who first appeared in FIRESTORM #1 in 1979; this version of the character first appeared in the FIRESTORM #1 published in 2004. And I believe this is the first mention of Libra being an "alien warlord"--I'm pretty sure that wasn't suggested in his first appearance.

Pp. 20-21:

Clockwise after Libra and the Human Flame: Gorilla Grodd, Ocean Master, Talia al Ghul, Vandal Savage, Lex Luthor. Grodd, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in 1959 in FLASH #106. Luthor, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, first appeared in 1940 in ACTION COMICS #23.

Pg. 22:

J'onn J'onzz, here apparently traveling via Boom Tube, was created by Joseph Samachson and/or Jack Miller (not the same person; see comments) and Joe Certa. He first appeared in 1955, in DETECTIVE COMICS #225.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Final Crisis Sketchbook

Not a lot to say about this one, but a few notes:


This is a repurposing of the promo piece for FC, usually captioned "Heroes die. Legends live forever." Clockwise from top left: Green Lantern/Hal Jordan, Superman, Hawkman, Batman, Flash (unclear which one), Wonder Woman. This is also the first official use of Chip Kidd's trade dress for FC, about which there's a pretty interesting interview here.

Pp. 2-9:

I'll get to all the Kirby characters when they're introduced in the story proper, but in the meantime, there's always Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Vol. 1 as a starting point...

Pg. 11:

I love the phrase "orrery of worlds." A quick Google search has revealed two earlier uses of it: an 1856 lecture by Joseph Haven on "mental science as a branch of education," and an 1886 sermon called "God's Great Day-and-Night Engine." Both of which are somehow appropriate.

Pp. 12-20:

Very interesting commentary from Will Staples here on the Japanese heroes and their roots in actual Japanese media--I'm a little put off by some of the names too. It's worth noting, also, that Super Young Team were first mentioned back in 52 #6, and that "Young Team" is a reference to Glasgow gangs (see also the Mogwai album with that title).

Pp. 21-22:

Wow, that sure looks like the Martian Manhunter on fire in the top middle image of pg. 21. And top left image of pg. 22 brings in the gigantic-hand motif that, as commenter I noted in the DCU 0 entry, also looks like it's going to be a part of TRINITY.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

DC Universe 0

Any corrections or observations I've missed are more than welcome; please add them to the comments! A shorter version of these notes originally appeared over at The Savage Critic(s).

Front cover: As with apparently all FC-related covers, the design here involves three vertical columns.

Title: It's worth unpacking this a little. DC is, of course, the publisher of this comic and the corporate owner of its intellectual property; DC stands for DETECTIVE COMICS, one of the first series it published, beginning in 1937. The "DC Universe"--DCU for short--is the shared setting for most of the superhero comics DC publishes, a setting that extends beyond Earth to the entirety of existence. (In fact, the DC Universe is a "multiverse," a set of parallel universes--52 of them at the moment.) And "zero" implies that this story happens "before the beginning" of the forthcoming FINAL CRISIS story. "Zero" also has two other connotations in the context of the DCU. One is that this issue was originally more or less intended to be the final issue of COUNTDOWN, a.k.a. COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS, a weekly series that began with issue 51 and counted down to issue 1--instead of its original plan of ending with issue 0. (Despite its title, COUNTDOWN actually appears to have had few direct ties to FINAL CRISIS; where they're relevant, they'll be described here.) The other is an allusion to ZERO HOUR, a 1994 five-issue miniseries about the destruction and re-creation of the DCU; the month after it ended, all DCU titles published issues numbered 0.

The character in the foreground is Superman. If you need these notes to explain that to you, they may not be much help in general.

Left column, top to bottom (-ish): Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Zatanna, the Spectre (Crispus Allen), Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Black Canary, Green Lantern (John Stewart), Green Arrow, Batman, the Flash (unclear which one).

Middle column: the Legion of Super-Heroes--specifically, the updated version of the first Legion seen in "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes," ACTION COMICS #858-863. (I'll get to an explanation of the three Legions eventually.) In the background, we see the "Superman/Legion" version of the Legion's clubhouse/HQ. Top to bottom: Dawnstar, Wildfire, Colossal Boy, Chameleon Girl, Lightning Lass, Night Girl, Invisible Kid II, Lightning Lad, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Timber Wolf, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy, Cosmic Boy, Shrinking Violet, Brainiac 5, Bloc (obscured by the word "Begins").

Right column: bad guys. Top to bottom, more or less: Weather Wizard, a bunch of Shadow Demons, Killer Frost, Superman Prime, Heat Wave, Giganta, Black Hand, Mirror Master, Dr. Light, Libra, Killer Croc, the Joker (in his "classic" design), Captain Cold, the Human Flame, Zoom, and (obscured by the UPC box) Professor Ivo and Dr. Poison.

Pg. 1:

It's somehow fitting that, on the first page of a multi-title arc that will apparently draw on Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" multi-title arc very heavily, we get a tribute to one of his signature artistic techniques, the extreme long shot. This page seems to have been a last-second rewrite: in the version included in the 2008 New York Comic-Con program, the caption was "I am... everything." Note also that the captions start with a black background, and that the red creeps in from the right as the story progresses.

The idea of an entity that can be everything (and articulate it!) relates to the concept Morrison has mentioned a few times of trying to make the DC universe sentient. "This is me" may refer to "everything"; it may, on the other hand, refer to the tiny little yellow lightning bolt we see between the captions, for reasons that will be clearer later. The implication of this issue is that the narrator is the second Flash, Barry Allen, who first appeared in SHOWCASE #4 in 1956. He died in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #8 in 1986.

Pg. 2:

Panel 1: Clockwise from upper left: Wonder Woman, Superman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Aquaman, the Flash (from context, apparently Barry Allen), Batman, Martian Manhunter. This was the first lineup of the Justice League of America to appear in a published story, THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #28, in 1960 (currently in print in Showcase Presents: Justice League of America, Vol. 1). They appear to be coming out of their original headquarters, a cave in Happy Harbor, RI, which also first appeared in that issue.

Panel 2: L-R: Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Green Arrow, Black Canary, the Elongated Man, Zatanna. These are all characters who later joined the Justice League of America.

Pg. 3:

In the DCU, not just the sun but the entire multiverse system revolves around the Earth. It's nice to feel important. "The barriers between parallel universes bleed": This may be a reference to "The Bleed," a transitional space outside reality often seen in WildStorm Universe comics like THE AUTHORITY--the WildStorm Universe is one of the parallel universes that are part of the DCU (specifically number 50 of 52).

"The skies drip red": this is probably a good place to mention the red-and-black symbolism that comes up a lot in this issue. Red, Morrison has occasionally suggested, represents life, specifically animal life (Animal Man is connected to the elemental force "the red," as Swamp Thing is connected to "the green"); black here appears to symbolize not quite death, as such, but "Anti-Life": total submission, futility and loss of the self.

The Anti-Life Equation was the McGuffin of Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" comics in the early '70s, the thing that the free will-despising villain Darkseid sought on Earth. We'll be coming back to this idea. "Red skies" were one of the effects of the events of the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS miniseries; other comics that crossed over with COIE often had red skies visible in their backgrounds (and sometimes very little other connection to COIE).

Pg. 4:

Panel 1 is a George Pérez image from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, in the course of which the then-infinite parallel universes were telescoped into one. The big background figure is the Anti-Monitor. Small figures, clockwise from top left: the Elongated Man, Superman (of Earth-Two), Kole, Black Condor, Dr. Light II, Pariah, Captain Marvel, Aquaman, Tempest (I think), Captain Atom, Harbinger, Power Girl, Mary Marvel, Hawkman.

Panel 2 is a Phil Jimenez image from INFINITE CRISIS. Pictured: Superman Prime.

Panel 3 depicts Darkseid. We'll be seeing a lot of him, I understand.

Pg. 5:

This scene happens a thousand years in the future, the setting for most stories about the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Panel 2: The guy with the cape is, of course, Superman, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster; he first appeared in ACTION COMICS #1 in 1938, and is indeed "the last son of the planet Krypton." The guy with scarlet skin is Tyr, created by Cary Bates and the late Dave Cockrum; he first appeared in SUPERBOY #197. Tyr's name is the first direct reference to a god this issue, specifically Týr, the god of fistfights and single combat, a concept with which superhero comics of the era now ending are too familiar.

Panel 3: Superman is also Clark Kent. In recent years' comics, members of the Justice League have often referred to each other by their civilian identities' first names. At the time of Barry Allen's death, that wasn't yet the custom; hence, perhaps, the narrator's confusion ("didn't he?").

Panel 5: It wouldn't be a Geoff Johns comic without dismemberment, but at least this character's meant to be one-handed--and "hands" are going to be a running theme in this comic, so take note.

Panel 7: Followed by "we could use a hand out here." Superman is wearing a Legion flight ring on his middle finger--the custom of members of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the recent "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" story. The Legion first appeared in ADVENTURE COMICS #247 as a group of super-powered teenagers from 1000 years in the future who traveled back in time to befriend Superboy (later Superman) as a teenager; their traditions of costumed heroism were inspired by Superman and his associates.

Panel 8: Brainiac 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes, created by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney, who first appeared in ACTION COMICS #276.

Panel 9: The woman holding Brainiac 5's hand is the White Witch, another Legion member, created by E. Nelson Bridwell and Curt Swan, who first appeared in ADVENTURE COMICS #350. Not sure who the other woman in this scene is. There's a séance going on; the crystal ball on a pyramidal base recalls JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21 (from 1963), "Crisis on Earth-One"--the first "crisis on multiple Earths" story (reprinted in Crisis On Multiple Earths, Vol. 1). Merlin gave the crystal ball in question to the League in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #2; note that in Grant Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY, a Merlin is an "imperishable treasure" made of living language that's given to mankind.

Pp. 6-7:

The shadow demons the Legionnaires are fighting first appeared in CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS. The scene is Superman's home city of Metropolis, a thousand years from now; the building halfway down the right side of pg. 6 is the 31st century HQ of the Daily Planet, the newspaper Clark Kent works for in the 21st century. (The holographic text circling the globe is "Daily Planet" in the future "Interlac" alphabet.) And people say newspapers are doomed! Good guys, clockwise from top left: Blok, Superman, Wildfire, Shadow Lass, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Night Girl, Sun Boy, Colossal Boy, Chameleon Girl, Polar Boy, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lass, Dawnstar.

Pg. 8:

Again with the obvious: we're seeing Batman, who was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, and first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #27, and the Joker, who was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger and Bob Kane, and first appeared in BATMAN #1. The Joker is criminally insane, and in this scene he's institutionalized in Arkham Asylum.

Geoff Johns implied in a Newsarama interview that the scenes of this issue are happening in reverse chronological order; hence, the Batman/Joker scene may be set a little while in the future. [ETA: In any case, it happens before BATMAN #677.]

This scene is a callback to the opening scene of Batman: The Killing Joke, in which Batman goes to visit (a false) Joker in Arkham Asylum. And here we go with red and black again... the version of the Joker visually resembles the scarier version introduced in Morrison's BATMAN, rather than the one we've been seeing in SALVATION RUN (and on this issue's cover).

[ETA: Simon Hacking notes that "Red and black. Life and death," etc., quotes something the Joker said in BATMAN #663.]

Panel 6: The ace of clubs may refer to the Club of Heroes, recently seen in Morrison's BATMAN, and/or its counterpart the Club of Villains; it traditionally represents desire for knowledge. The eight of diamonds traditionally represents material power; as Bruce Wayne, Batman is rich and powerful.

Pg. 9:

In THE KILLING JOKE, the fake Joker of the opening scene seemed to be playing some solitaire variation of Klondike; here, the real one is just dealing cards. (In panel 4, he's doing a fancy shuffle--for a second I thought he was building a house of cards.) The Black Glove has been making mostly-offstage appearances in BATMAN recently.

Panel 6: The eight of hearts traditionally represents the decentering force of love. It's been suggested that the "Batman R.I.P." storyline this scene teases will involve Bruce Wayne giving up his Batman identity because of love. (Love, after all, does not arrive politely.) [ETA: BATMAN #677 indicates that the 8, ace, 8, ace pattern is also an alphabetical substitution cipher: H.A.H.A.]

Pg. 10:

The harlequin pattern of the joker card is echoed not just by the floor but by the layout and color scheme of the page. The sixteen-panel grid and flurry of close-ups recall the look and pace of Batman: The Dark Knight Returnsthe alternating-color panels recall Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' non-DCU series WATCHMEN, as does the spatter of blood on the card.

Panel 1: The "dead man's hand" is two aces, two eights and something else (here, cleverly, the wild card), supposedly the hand Wild Bill Hickok was holding when he was shot. (The aces and eights are usually all black, but this fits the symbolic scheme of the scene and the issue better.) The term also recalls the Hand of Glory from the non-DCU Grant Morrison-written series THE INVISIBLES.

Panel 2: The ace of spades is traditionally known as the death card, and also represents an initiation into mysteries: "let there be light," as that link puts it. (See pg. 24.) "Hurt you so bad you'll never recover": arguably Batman's entire career proceeds from the childhood trauma of seeing his parents murdered.

Panel 5: The hand missing a finger echoes the assailant from BATMAN #675, and also suggests the name of Batman mastermind Bill Finger!

Pg. 11:

Wonder Woman, created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter, first appeared in ALL STAR COMICS #8 in 1941; here she's fighting a minotaur, this variation of which I believe was created by George Pérez and Len Wein and first appeared in WONDER WOMAN #13 in 1988.

Pg. 12:

All three dust samples are being collected from genocide sites. Wonder Woman herself was brought to life from a clay statue; perhaps something similar but more sinister is planned for this soil.

Panel 3: Professor Ivo, created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, first appeared in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #30. He's the creator of the android Amazo; the android standing behind him here, though, appears to be Red Volcano, who has never appeared before but has a name analogous to Red Tornado, a Justice League member who's an android created by T.O. Morrow. (In the series 52, the existence of Red Inferno was mentioned; no water-related android has yet been mentioned.)

Panel 4:

Dr. Poison first appeared in SENSATION COMICS #2, although the one we're dealing with is most likely her grandchild, who first appeared in WONDER WOMAN #151.

Pg. 13:

This would appear to be Zeus and Apollo; Wonder Woman is indeed Hippolyta's daughter and Athena's champion.

Pg. 14:

Barry Allen and Hal Jordan were friends. We're seeing two Green Lanterns here: John Stewart (created by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams; first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #87 in 1971) and Hal Jordan (created by John Broome and Gil Kane; first appeared in SHOWCASE #22 in 1959). The "Federal penitentiary" may or may not be the prison planet in SALVATION RUN; Hector Hammond, the Shark, Evil Star and Black Hand are all characters the Green Lanterns have fought. Black Hand (also created by Broome and Kane; first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #29 in 1964) lost his right hand when Hal Jordan, as the Spectre, burned it off; he's able to reconstruct it by draining people's life force. And I don't think it can be an accident that Black Hand and the Black Glove are both referred to inside of five pages.

Pp. 15-16:

The idea that there are a rainbow's worth of Lantern Corps was established in GREEN LANTERN #25 in 2007; that issue also included a preview of a 2009 storyline called "The Blackest Night," which (as we see in the following ad) involves someone wearing a ring whose design is the same as Black Hand's chest logo. Each corps is, more or less, the reification of an abstract emotion. The Red Lanterns represent rage; the one shown here is called Atrocitus, and first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #28 in 2008. [ETA: That issue also mentioned, for apparently the first time, "the massacre of Sector 666," which caused the Guardians to try to deactivate the Manhunters. And if we see Manhunters again in this series, I'll attempt to explain them, which will take a while. Otherwise, move along, nothin' to see here...]

The Orange Lanterns represent greed; this one is called Agent Orange. The Yellow Lanterns represent fear; this seems to be Mongul, who was created by Len Wein and Jim Starlin and first appeared in DC COMICS PRESENTS #27 in 1980. The Green Lanterns represent will; here we have Hal and John again. The Blue Lanterns represent hope; we're seeing Ganthet and Sayd, two renegade members of the Guardians of the Universe, who started the Green Lantern Corps. The Indigo Lanterns represent compassion; no data yet on who this is. The Violet Lanterns represent love; the characters in the violet panel are Zamarons, for which I have no recourse but to bump you over to their Wikipedia entry or we'll be here all night. The last panel would appear to be a black lantern power battery, which per GREEN LANTERN #25 contains the body of the Anti-Monitor. (What's an Anti-Monitor, you ask? We'll get to that one of these days.)

Pp. 17-18:

This is a flashback to a scene from CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #10, in which the Anti-Monitor is fighting the Spectre. Specifically, this is the Jim Corrigan version of the Spectre (created by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Bailey; first appeared in MORE FUN COMICS #52 in 1940). Corrigan was replaced as the Spectre first by Hal Jordan and then by Crispus Allen.

Pg. 19:

This, in fact, is the Crispus Allen version of the Spectre (created by Greg Rucka and Shawn Martinbrough; first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #742 in 2000; became the Spectre in INFINITE CRISIS #4). Depictions of the Spectre over the last 40 years tend to seesaw between the kind of ultra-cosmic struggle we've seen on the previous two pages and the kind of punishment-fits-the-crime grossouts we're seeing on this page. Carr D'Angelo is named after the real-world person who owns the store Earth 2 Comics.

Pg. 20:

It's unclear who's falling here--could be the Flash, could be Darkseid, could be Orion. [ETA: Geoff Johns says it's Darkseid; I suspect it's not that simple, especially since Darkseid was killed on Earth in COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS #2.] But the image of falling through two-dimensional planes (like comic book panels) that have been rotated through three-dimensional space recalls similar images in Morrison's SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY project, especially the MISTER MIRACLE miniseries. The reddish and blackish planets in the first panel might be Apokolips and New Genesis, the warring planets in Kirby's "Fourth World" comics, although it looks like there's more of a nature/tech dichotomy than a good/evil dichotomy going on there.

Pg. 21:

Panel 1: "A runner poised on the line": another suggestion that our narrator is some version of the Flash.

Panel 2: Left to right, we're seeing:

*Dr. Light (I): created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, first appeared in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #12 in 1962
*Killer Frost (II): this version created by Gerry Conway and Raphael Kayanan, first appeared in THE FURY OF FIRESTORM #21 in 1984 (an earlier version had appeared in FIRESTORM #3 in 1978)
*Captain Cold: created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in SHOWCASE #8 in 1957
*Heat Wave: created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in THE FLASH #140 in 1963
*Giganta: created by William Moulton Marston, first appeared in WONDER WOMAN #9 in 1944
*Killer Croc: created by Gerry Conway and Gene Colan, first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #523 in 1983
*Mirror Master (II): original version created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in THE FLASH #105 in 1959; this version created by Grant Morrison and Chas Truog, first appeared in ANIMAL MAN #8 in 1989
*Shadow Thief: created by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert, first appeared in THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #36 in 1961
*The Human Flame: created by Jack Miller and Joe Certa, first appeared in DETECTIVE COMICS #274 in 1959
*Weather Wizard: created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in THE FLASH #110 in 1959
*Zoom: created by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins, first appeared in THE FLASH: SECRET FILES & ORIGINS #3 in 2001 (based on Professor Zoom, created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino, who first appeared in THE FLASH #139 in 1963)

On the table is the Crime Bible, the sacred book of a religion of crime that appears to have links to Darkseid; it first appeared in 52 in 2006.

"The heart of Flash territory": they're apparently somewhere in Central City, the fictional city in which Barry Allen was based. And what's the presence Zoom is feeling?

Panel 3: The speaker appears to be Libra, created by Len Wein and Dick Dillin, who first appeared in 1974's JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #111, in which he stole half of the Justice League's powers; at the end of that story, he attempted to become "one with the galaxy" and dissipated into nonexistence. It's not clear from that issue (reprinted in DC UNIVERSE SPECIAL: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1 recently) what color Libra's eyes are--there's only one panel in which his eyes are visible, and they're colorless--but here they're definitely blue. (This is a suggestion that this Libra is Barry Allen, whose eyes were blue.)

It's particularly odd that the Shadow Thief is part of Libra's group, since Libra double-crossed him (and knocked him out) in Wein's story! He also betrayed Mirror Master, but that was apparently the earlier version of the character.

As for what this location signifies: Geoff Johns hinted (in the Newsarama interview linked from pg. 8) that it's something specific. The skyline behind the club on pg. 24 is drawn more or less the way Carmine Infantino used to draw it in old FLASH comics--but in those days it wouldn't have been a strip club. My best guess is that it's the former location of the Central City Community Center that was a nexus between Earth-One and Earth-Two way back in THE FLASH #123 and #137. (Judging from pp. 21-23, it's been redecorated, and now has very peculiar hexagonal skylights. Curiously, the plot of THE FLASH #137 has to do with peculiar "sky-lights," i.e. lights in the sky.)

Pg. 22:

"A new god": the characters in the "Fourth World" stories are the "New Gods."

Pg. 23:

"Believe in him, that's all he asks!" Libra seems to be talking about Darkseid here, but "believe in him" explicitly echoes the "believe in her" refrain chanted by the followers of Lady Styx (seen in 52 and MYSTERY IN SPACE), a goddess whose legions kill planets' entire populations and transform them into zombies--a process rather like the Anti-Life Equation.

The hand clutching something and crackling with energy alludes to a recurring image in DCU cosmology: a shape like a gigantic human hand, holding a cluster of stars, at the beginning of time. It first appeared in GREEN LANTERN #40 in 1965 (currently in print in Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups - Volume 1 (Crisis on Multiple Earths)), and is generally the closest thing DC has to a creation-story icon.

It's rare, these days, for the Secret Society of Super-Villains to be referred to by its full name, rather than simply as the "Secret Society."

"And this is me": Barry is again implied to be Libra here.

Pg. 24:

If you look above that Infantino-style skyline, lightning plus red sky plus enormously oversized moon equals Flash costume. The scene suggests that Barry Allen has returned--or that, in any case, some version of the Flash has returned.

Here's where things get metaphysical: rather than death as such, what supposedly happened to Barry Allen is that he transcended time and was absorbed into the "speed force," eventually traveling back in time to become the lightning bolt whose strike gave him his powers. (This page is a guide to his post-life activities; the same site has this useful chronology of Barry's final days.) So it's not clear how he'd have become one with the universe in the same way as Libra, or would have returned from the great beyond as Libra.

The other possibility would be Bart Allen, Barry's grandson, who wasn't the Flash very long before he was apparently killed by Captain Cold, Heat Wave and Weather Wizard. The storyline in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA and JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA that's now been collected as Justice League of America Vol. 2: The Lightning Saga coincided with that storyline; at the climax of it, it appears that members of the "Legion of Three Worlds" Legion of Super-Heroes have managed to capture Bart's spirit immediately before his death.

I assume "Twisters" is where the Society's meeting; Morrison has mentioned that this is where FINAL CRISIS proper begins, an instant after this scene. (Is the club's name a hint at something involving the Red Tornado? Or Barry Allen's children, the Tornado Twins?)

"Let There Be Lightning": the obvious allusion is to God at the beginning of Genesis, but see also the link to the ace of spades, above (pg. 10): "let there be light" as an initiation into mysteries.

Schedule and contest

A few notes on what exactly I'm doing here:

I'll be annotating FINAL CRISIS and all its direct tie-ins as they're released or as pages are made public. I will update entries in this blog as new information becomes available, or to correct the errors I will surely be making. If you have additional information or corrections not covered here, please leave a message in the comments or email me at finalcrisis [at-sign-goes-here] douglaswolk period com.

For the sake of history, here are the originally solicited shipping dates (and announced-but-not-yet-solicited release dates) for all directly FINAL CRISIS-related titles:

April 30: DC UNIVERSE 0 (Grant Morrison/Geoff Johns/cast of thousands)--released 4/30

May 14: FINAL CRISIS SKETCHBOOK--released 5/14
May 21: JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #21 (Dwayne McDuffie/Carlos Pacheco tie-in involving Libra and the Human Flame)--released 5/21
May 28: FINAL CRISIS #1 (Morrison/J.G. Jones)--released 5/28

June 25: FINAL CRISIS #2 (Morrison/Jones)--released 6/25

July 9: FC: REQUIEM (Peter Tomasi/Doug Mahnke/Christian Alamy one-shot)--released 7/9
July 16: FC: ROGUES' REVENGE #1 (Geoff Johns/Scott Kolins; not originally intended to be part of FC, but this interview explains how it got gerrymandered in)--released 7/16
July 30: FC #3 (Morrison/Jones)--bumped to 8/6 as of July 9; released 8/6

August 6: FC #1: DIRECTOR'S CUT SPECIAL--announced May 17; released 8/6
August 13: FC: REVELATIONS #1 (Greg Rucka/Philip Tan/Jeff de los Santos/Jonathan Glapion)--released 8/13
August 20: FC: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #1 (Johns/George Pérez/Scott Koblish)--released 8/20
August 20: FC: ROGUES' REVENGE #2 (Johns/Kolins)--bumped to 8/27 as of July 30; released 8/27
August 27: DC UNIVERSE: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT (Brad Meltzer/Andy Kubert/John Dell)--announced May 8; released 8/27
August 27: FC: SUPERMAN BEYOND #1 (3-D special; originally announced as a one-shot by Grant Morrison/Aaron Lopresti, expanded to a 2-issue project by Morrison, Mahnke and Christian Alamy as of May 17)--released 8/27

September 10: FC: REVELATIONS #2 (Rucka/Tan/de los Santos/Glapion)--released 9/10
September 17: FC #4 (Morrison/Jones/Carlos Pacheco)--bumped to 10/1 as of Aug. 19; bumped again to 10/15 as of Sep. 3; bumped yet again to 10/22 as of Sep. 19; released 10/22
September 17: FC: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #2 (Johns/Pérez/Koblish)--bumped to 10/1 as of Aug. 19; bumped again to 10/15 as of Sep. 3; released 10/15
September 17: FC: ROGUES' REVENGE #3 (Johns/Kolins)--bumped to 10/15 as of Aug. 19; released 10/15

October 1: FC: SUBMIT (Morrison/Matthew Clark/Norm Rapmund one-shot)--bumped to 10/8 as of Sep. 6; bumped again to 10/15 as of Sep. 15; bumped yet again to 10/22 as of Sep. 19; released 10/22
October 8: FC: REVELATIONS #3 (Rucka/Tan/de los Santos/Glapion)--released 10/8
October 15: FC: RAGE OF THE RED LANTERNS (Johns/Shane Davis/Sandra Hope one-shot)--bumped to 10/29 as of Oct. 8; released 10/29
October 22: FC: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #3 (Johns/Pérez/Koblish)--bumped to 12/3 as of Sep. 6; bumped again to 1/14 as of Oct. 29; bumped yet again to 1/21 as of Dec. 2; bumped still again to 1/28 as of Dec. 26; bumped a further time to 2/11 as of Jan. 5, but then pushed up to 2/4 as of Jan. 23; released 2/4
October 22: FC: RESIST (Greg Rucka/Eric Trautmann/Ryan Sook one-shot)--bumped to 10/29 as of Sep. 6; bumped again to 11/5 as of Oct. 15; released 11/5
October 29: FC #5 (Morrison/Jones/Pacheco)--bumped to 11/26 as of Sep. 19; bumped again to 12/3 as of Nov. 7; bumped yet again to 12/10 as of Nov. 19; released 12/10

November 12: FC: REVELATIONS #4 (Rucka/Tan/Glapion)--bumped to 11/26 as of Oct. 22; bumped again to 12/10 as of Oct. 29; released 12/10
November 12: BATMAN #682 (Morrison/Garbett)--a FC tie-in--bumped to 11/19 as of Oct. 8; bumped again to 12/4 as of Oct. 22; released 12/4
November 26: FC #6 (Morrison/Jones/Pacheco/Merino)--bumped to 12/31 as of Sep. 19; bumped again to 1/14 as of Dec. 2; released 1/14
November 26: BATMAN #683 (Morrison/Garbett)--a FC tie-in--bumped to 12/3 as of Oct. 8; bumped again to 12/17 as of Oct. 22; bumped yet again to 12/24 as of Dec. 2; released 12/24

December 24: FC: SECRET FILES #1 (Morrison/Tomasi/Frank Quitely et al.)--announced Sep. 13; bumped to 1/2 as of Dec. 12; released 1/2
December 24: FC: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #4 (Johns/Pérez/Koblish)--bumped to 2/25 as of Nov. 7; bumped again to 3/25 as of Jan. 23
December 31: FC: REVELATIONS #5 (Rucka/Tan/Glapion)--bumped to 1/14 as of Nov. 19; bumped again to 1/21 as of Dec. 2; bumped yet again to 1/28 as of Dec. 26; released 1/28

January 14: FC: SUPERMAN BEYOND #2 (Morrison/Mahnke/Alamy)--announced May 17; bumped to 1/21 as of Dec. 26; released 1/21
January 28: FC #7 (Morrison/Mahnke/Alamy); released 1/28 (on schedule, believe it or not)

March 25: FC: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS #5 (Johns/Pérez/Koblish); bumped to 5/13 as of Feb. 4, which means that this project will officially have gone on for an entire year

The remaining schedule, as it currently stands:


As of April 30, there were 7 issues of FINAL CRISIS and 23 additional tie-in comics on the schedule. Here's my three-part contest:

1) How many issues of additional FINAL CRISIS tie-ins will be announced after April 30 but before the end of the series?
2) Which will be the first issue of FINAL CRISIS or its associated titles to be released later than its scheduled ship week?
3) When will the final issue of FINAL CRISIS be released?

Leave your guesses in the comments. I'll accept guesses for each of these until, let's say, June 25, since I am fairly sure that FC #2 is finished. Closest guess on each gets a special prize. [This contest is now closed.]

[As of May 17, DC UNIVERSE: LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT, FC #1: DIRECTOR'S CUT SPECIAL and FC: SUPERMAN BEYOND #2 had all been added to the schedule. On Sep. 13, FC: SECRET FILES #1 was added.]