Thursday, June 15, 2006

A Visit to Dr. Hunter's Lab

There are many delicious and delightful incidents in this week's comics, but this post will focus on only one: Booster Gold's visit to Rip Hunter's lab in 52 Week 6.

There are a lot of visual elements and possible clues in Dr. Hunter's lab and I thought some of our readers would appreciate a little help deciphering some of them. I know I would!!!

The Video Screens

Not much mystery here: five historical periods / incidents are portrayed. President Lincoln with General Grant in the field during the Civil War (the U.S. one, not Marvel's). The arrest photo of Ethel Rosenberg, who along with her husband was convicted and excuted as a communist spy. The voyage of Columbus. Pop singer Elvis Presley. The Boston Tea Party. A dinosaur, which in DC could be from just about any point in history; personally I like to think of it as the robot dinosaur that Batman & Robin fought on Dinosaur Island, even though it's not.

The Broken Bubble

That's a damaged Time Sphere (a.k.a. Time Bubble), DC's most traditional method of Time Travel. The Legion used one; Rip Hunter used one; heck, even Ma and Pa Kent used one. The Kents were much hipper than people give them credit for.

The Clocks and the Lock

None of the other machinery seems recognizable or significant, except for the many clocks, all of which show approximately 11:55. It's uncertain from context whether the clocks are stopped at that point or whether that's simply the time that Booster arrives. A clock at 5 to 12 is one the famous symbols associated with Alan Moore's Watchmen, and its countdown to destruction. That could be a coincidence ... but I don't think there are a lot of coincidences in 52.

Skeets points out that the time lock on the door is set for midnight Jan. 1, 52 BC. This seems to be one of the series' many gratuitous "52" references, as that date is of no historical significance. The closest date of historical significance is the murder of Public Clodius Pulcher by his bitter political enemy Titus Annius Milo. I never liked Clodius.

The Papers

In the numbered pages 51, 53, 54, 55, and 56, conspicuous by its absence is, of course, page 52.

One sheet has the address "520 Kane St."; that's the address that the Question and Montoya were staking out, where their little run in with the monster occurred. It's my personal belief that this will somehow relate to Kathy Kane, the new Batwoman.

The "Named Papers" all seem to relate to characters whose relationship with continuity is questionable...

The "Infinity Inc." paper refers to a short-lived superhero group of JSA legacies who had a series in the 1980s, many of whose members are still familiar to readers today (e.g., Obsidian, Jade r.i.p, Atom-Smasher, Mr. Bones).

"Casey the Cop" was a humor feature in early DC comics (first appearing under that name in All-Funny Comics #3 1944), including Detective Comics, Batman, Action, and Adventure.

"Silverblade" was a 12 issue miniseries started in 1987 by Cary Bates and Gene Colan about a movie swashbuckler come to life.

The "Sun Devils" was a 12 issue space opera miniseries from 1984-85, which was Dan Jurgens' first assignment at DC. At the time in had no apparent character or plot connections to the rest of the DCU, but Jurgens later made a passing attempt to link it in "The Last Sun Devil" (Superman #86, Feb. 1994).

"Spanner's Galaxy" was another DC out-of-continuity space opera miniseries (6 issues) from 1984-85, by Nicola Cuti and Tom Mandrake.

The Chalkboard

This is where the real action is.

"TIME IS BROKEN". Dr. Hunter seems concerned about discontinuities and incongruities in the timeline; that's consistent with the prevalence of notes in his labs about elements of DC publishing history that have a questionable relationship with the DCU proper. This phrase also tells us that Rip isn't a Heroclix player, or he would have said "Time is borken."

"Dead by lead?" Lead, ingested in certain quantities, is poisonous to humans. But in the DCU, this is most likely to refer to the fact that natives of the planet Daxam (who gain similar powers to Kryptonians under a yellow sun) are hyperallergic to lead and even the trace amounts in most atmospheres will kill them. This "allergy" was discovered during the Dominator-led attack on earth (in the "Invasion!" crossover event). From our perspective it goes back to the first appearance of Mon-El, whom Superboy mistook for his brother. Things like that used to happen to Superboy and Superboy a lot in the Silver Age. Like, monthly. Anyway, Mon-El (correct me if I'm wrong) has been conspicuously absent from the current Legion of Super-Heroes.

This could be a reference to Mon-El's absence, particularly when combined with two other clues on the board: "I'm not kryptonite" and "It hurts to breathe". I have no other speculation on those two clues and the nearby "2,000 years from now" only confuses the matter, because we know nothing of the DCU 2000 years into the future (although it might be an intentionally confusing way of referring to 2000 years into the past -- but that seems unlikely).

"Further time is different." I have no particular insight here except the obvious: Rip seems to be commenting that either the future is not what it's supposed to be, or the very nature of time has changed ... or both.

"The four horsemen will end her rain?" Assuming that Rip doesn't have a spelling problem, this is a pun on "reign". But who "she" is and why she can be said to have a "rain" is beyond my imagining. The Four Horsemen is a bibical reference associated with the apocalypse, the end of all things.

This is the first of the Three Incomprehensible Clues; the second is "He won't smell it", which might be a reference to the olfactory powers of Animal Man. The third is "the reach the reach the reach"; your guess on that one is as good as mine, since I don't have one.

"Find the last 'El' ". Ordinarly, this would be a reference to Clark Kent (Kal-El). However, "last" is double underlined, and there is a possibly related clued on the second half of the chalkboard: "What happened to the son of Superman?" From Rip's viewpoint, is the "El" line supposed to continue into the future and is the son of Superman the missing link in the chain?

"The Tornado is in pieces." Surely a reference to the most recent destruction of the Red Tornado, part of whom is lodged in Mal Duncan's chest. Is that the meaning of the "sonic disruption" reference? No. No, that must refer to inappropriate absence of the incomparable Vibe from the current DCU. Yes. Yes, that's it. Vibe will return.

"Time Masters> Time Servants". Not much clue there, except that "Time Master" was always Rip Hunter's "title". Perhaps time in the DCU is not so easy to master as it once was, eh?

"The Scarab is eternal?" and "Where is the Curry heir?" are pretty clearly references to the new Blue Beetle and Aquaman series. As for "Man of Steel", I suspect that John Henry Irons may have been infected with Luthor's new salable metagene, and may wind up more akin to Colossus than Iron Man before everything's done. Have we seen him in OYL yet...?

"Who is Super Nova?" is one of the mysteries of 52. I suspect this Super Nova will turn out to be the real Booster Gold and the one we are currently followed is a leftover from a future that no longer exists, which is why Rip Hunter suspects that the temporal incongruities are "all his fault". It's important to remember that Booster Gold's significance is twofold. Within the DCU, he is the only character (I can think of), other than Bart Allen, who is from the future. Metatextually, Booster Gold is the first new character of the post-Crisis DCU and therefore a symbol of the destruction of the multiverse.

"Who is Diana Prince?" is a witty turn on the "who is Donna Troy?" trope and hinges on the return of Wonder Woman's secret identity (buy WW#1, people!).

"Don't ask the Question. It lies." That's rather disturbing. As a character, the Question is about the search for truth. But why refer to the character as "it"? That's creepy, unless there's an actual "question" that Hunter is refering to. Except of course questions cannot lie, since they make no assertions of truth. Hmmmm.

"Im Mortal Savage" refers to the newfound mortality of Vandal Savage being played out in JSA Confidential, which may be inconsistent with Hunter's understanding of the future.

"The Secret Five" refers, I'm assuming to depletion in the ranks of the Secret Six, so dramatically about to be filled by the Mad Hatter.

"The old gods are dead, the new gods want what's left." On the surface, it would seem to refer to the withdrawal of the Olympian gods from this plane and the currently missing "new gods" of Kirby's Fourth World, who, like crazy loud relations, will surely show up when it is least desirable.

"Where is the Batman?" could be a simple reference to Bruce's absence from the scene during his trip with Dick and Tim. Or could it be a reference to his absence from the days of the JSA? We did just see "Batman's ghost" in JSA, after all. "Who is the Batwoman?" Well, if you don't know that by now, you're probably not reading this blog.

"Te versus (Au +Pb)" Now, that's juicy. Te is the symbol for Tellurium: Element 52. Au and PB are elements 79 and 82, but it's probably not their numbers that are signficiant. Au is Gold and Pb is Lead. This might refer to the now inoperative Metal Men of Doc Magnus. But given the rest of the board, I'm leaning toward some connection to Booster GOLD and the "dead by lead?" clue.

Oh, and exposure to Tellurium will give you "garlic breath"; could that be the "He won't smell it" reference?

"Someone is monitoring. They see us. They see me." Well. I suppose there's a new "Monitor" in town.

"I'm supposed to be dead?" Yes, Rip, you are; you died in your own miniseries in the early 1990s, I think.

"The Lazarus Pit RISES." I don't care what this means, as long as it doesn't mean the return of Ra's Al Ghul. Yawn.

"Khimaera lives again" I'll assume this is a mistransliteration of the Greek word rendered as "Chimera" in Latin, the hybrid monster defeated by Bellerophon. I'm hoping it's a new name for ... the Composite Superman!

"World War III" and "When am I?" Rip's obviously worried about where things are headed and his current placement in things. But I wonder ... perhaps he isn't worried that WWIII is coming. Perhaps he's worried that it ISN'T. WWIII was a part of pre-Crisis fact in the DCU, after all..

"OTHERS?" Hm. Other people who realize history is askew?


Jeff R. said...

"Sonic Disruptors" is another out-of-continuity DC miniseries. (Surprised we didn't see a reference to Outcasts, too...)

What about the globe? Russia appears to be underwater...not sure where the X's correspond to.

And I think that the arrows are pointing at Skeets, not Booster...

Tom said...

Scipio, this is fantastic. You're like the Brian Boyd of DC Comics. (He's the scholar responsible for copious annotations to Nabokov--both Pale Fire and Ada, or Ardor.

Bruno said...

I can't wait to get my ands on this comic.

And like Jeff said, sonic disruption immediately reminded me of

Scipio said...

Thanks for the word up on "Sonic Disruptors"!!!

Vibe wasn't in that, though, was he?


Xocolotl said...

I haven't read it yet, but I was struck with alternate interpretations of two phrases:

"the Reach the Reach the Reach" made me think immediately of the Elongated Man. He's a big part of the plot, and this may be the only phrase that could mention him. As far as I can tell, all the other elements we've seen so far appear on the chalkboard (which leads to another consideration: is there anything that's conspicuously absent? If so, is that absence significant)

"Don't ask the Question. It lies." "It" may not refer to "the Question". We can't know without the context, but it's possible that we could rephrase this as, "Do not ask X the Question, because X lies."

k26dp said...

Well done sir, well done.

Steve said...

I believe in the 1990s Time Masters series, Rip Hunter is not killed. Instead, he's trapped at the Dawn of Man after witnessing the origin of Vandal Savage née Vandal Adg.

"Sonic distruption" likely means Vibe, but I guess it could mean the Sonic Disruptors series from DC in the late 80s/early 90s.

Whatever happened to Inferno, the pre-OYL Work Force member who stayed in the past? I know she appeared in Titans or in Superboy along the way, but I don't know if she lived.

"He won't smell it" clearly means that "He won't deal it", because whoever smelt it, dealt it.

Scipio said...

Inferno -- nice one...! But I meant that only Bart and Booster have been seen to exist in "New Earth".

"Because X lies". Hm. Lending credence to the "Skeets the Evil Mastermind Theory", because Skeets IS an 'it'.

Haole said...


That booking photo on the video screen is of Rosa Parks, not Ethel Rosenberg.

Excellent work, though.

Chris Sims said...

I really have nothing worthwhile to contribute, but really: Nice work on this one, Scipio.

Scipio said...

Rosa Parks! GOOD. That makes MUCH more sense than Rosenberg...!

Matthew E said...

About Blue Beetle's scarab... my personal theory is that the wizard Shazam foresaw his impending death and escaped it by hitching a ride on the scarab. So he should be appearing in the Blue Beetle comic in a few months or so.

I can confirm that Mon-El has not appeared in the current Legion series. And Dan DiDio said at the Toronto convention that he would be making an appearance in a comic book soon, but not SLoSH. (Which disappoints me; as far as I'm concerned, the Legion needs the following characters: the three founders, plus Brainiac 5, plus Mon-El. Everyone else is negotiable, but I am willing to argue that Ultra Boy and Chameleon are also close to indispensable.) Anyway, Dev-Em, or someone with the same name, already has appeared in '52', so that's two twentieth-century-Superman-powered-30th-century-transplants to deal with.

All this blackboard stuff seems pretty cool. It'll be a couple of weeks before I can get to a comic shop, so I hope this post hasn't spoiled too much for me.

Shane Bailey said...

This site may offer clues to the 2000 years from now quote.

Keep in mind time could be a bit off now:

It could be the home era of the Lord of Time (off by a couple of centuries)

38th Century

[3786] Home era of the Lord of Time (aka Epoch).

Or someone from DC One Million (Grant is involved)

41st Century

Veda Nite becomes the hero Doc Midnite. In 4078, she saves the universe.

51st Century

John Irons’ Steel armor is worn by Steel 7.

It would also not be too far from the time Hal was plucked into the future...

[5700] The U.P. has been replaced by the 36 planets of the Solar Council, headed by Chairman Dasor. Periodically, Hal Jordan is plucked from early in his career as Green Lantern (c. 1984/Yr2) and brainwashed into protecting this era as lawman Pol Manning.

One thing is for sure 52 just got a lot more fun with just that one two page spread.

Great post Scipio.

Shane Bailey said...

Hmmmm...the dates are off by a lot, but in 3009:

Thom Kallor travels to the past (see 2004) to serve as Starman Danny Blaine

njgw said...

About World War Three, while it could be the pre-crisis war, our friendly special forces (lead by the Veteran) over in Robin's book called what we normally refer to as World War 2 to be the third WW (with the Napoleonic Wars being the first). So could it be that instead?

Cove West said...

I'll probably have more to comment tomorrow when I pick up the issue, but I just wanted to mention that since the chalkboard scene appears to be pure Morrison idea-bombing, I thought back to the Superman timeline in DC ONE MILLION. There, Kal-El's heir is Superman Secundus, who I never got the impression was the same guy as Connor Kent (not sure why, as he'd be both a true biological heir--being a clone and all--and a dead ringer for Clark, as Jeanty presents him). Of course, that timeline's probably toast these days, but seeing as how Grant seems to be cribbing Solaris and the Justice Legion's Superman for ASS...

Oh, and the nearest references there to the 41st Century are:

29th Century - the JLA and LoSH team up to defeat Solaris and his marauding army of sentient comets.

67th Century - Superman marries the Queen of the 5th Dimension, Gzntplzk, and gains ten new genetic powers.

Which, if nothing else, are stories that need weekly sagas of their own.

kalinara said...

A few things caught my eye, I don't know if it means anything though. On the right hand board only, a number of the statements are marked with a sigma. Are they supposed to somehow be added? Also, on the left amidst all the loose scattering of circled "fifty twos" there are two that aren't circled at all, but just floating there.

I think "further time is different" might mean a distance thing rather than a time thing. Like the farther away from earth, time flows differently. Notice it's placement on the board in relation to the circled earth, with the arrows going to it. (reference to the merging? Or an invasion?) The placement of the Others on the opposite corner might be significant too.

The "I'm not kryptonite" interests me. Kryptonite's the traditional weakness of Superman, yet when Kal-L, Kal-El (in death of Superman) or Kon-El died, kryptonite wasn't involved. In fact...all three were basically beaten to death, weren't they? Kal-L and Kon-El by the same person even.

The Four Horsemen...could that be literal? Representing four actual horsemen, or just four characters personifying them? Or could it be actually relating to death, war, pestilence and famine? Death (and resurrection) as well as the threat of war have already turned up in 52. Luthor's metagene plot could be maybe related to famine (as an impossible hunger) or pestilence, depending on what happens with it...

The Time Masters> Time servants thing really does make me wonder where the precognitive characters are. Now and in OYL.

Could the "Don't ask the Question. It lies." be instead something like "Don't ask, the Question." As in telling the Question not to ask?

Considering all the resurrection talk "I'm supposed to be dead" and "the lazarus pit RISES" would probably be related to that.

World War III...wasn't that a storyline in JLA? Maybe one of the enemies or dangling plotlines are involved?

Anonymous said...

And, of course, the Chimera (in some versions of the Bellerophon myth) was killed when the hero poured molten lead (from his speartip, melted by the beast's fiery breath) down his throat, possibly tying that clue back into several of the other clues.

jonni said...

Crikey, this is like reading the comics forum on Barbelith...

Nimbus said...

I thought the "He won't smell it" bit might be referring to Ralph 'The no longer Elongated Man' Dibny and his ability to sniff out a mystery. But who knows?

Scipio said...

Ah! Nimbus, you've almost certainly got that one right!

As for "precogs", Ravager specifically describes herself as being a "precog" in this week's Battle for Bloodhaven.

Which I thought was odd, since I'd never heard DC use the word before and certainly never thought it applied to Ravager.


Anonymous said...

Re: "Don't ask the Question. It lies",
you said, "Except of course questions cannot lie, since they make no assertions of truth."

I think some questions have assertions built into them; it's just that the dominant force of the sentence is to be a question.
For example: "Do you still cheat on your taxes?" Questions like this are hard to answer w/ a simple yes or no because either way the person who answers it is suggesting that at one time they cheated on their taxes.
There's a false assumption built into the question.

This is how I read "Don't ask the Question. It lies." That said, I suspect they're intending multiple meanings and that the sentences refers to one of our heroes as well.

This is a great post, Scipio. Thanks for the work you've done for us. I thought it was Rosenburg in the photo too. Weird.

The only Elvis 52 connection I could find through google (I apologize if others have already pointed it out) is that an estimated 52 million people watched one of his performances on the Ed Sullivan show. That would have been a few years after his days at Sun Records though.

So far, I'm still really enjoying this comic and all of its over the top self-referencing. None of the complaints have made much sense to me.

I'm a bit weary of where things are going w/ the Black Adam treaties (is that what's going to start WWIII?) as it's a tad Marvelish but we'll see.

One of the things I'm wondering about is what's going to happen to these characters at the end of 52. So far none of the principal characters have shown up in OYL, right?

-Alex P

Jon said...

Re: Precog - according to Titans Tower, before Slade exposed Rose to his Terminator treatment, she had an actual metagene power, which was precognition. Ravager never technically lost the power, but it's not reliable, so it doesn't really come up much.

joncormier said...

Goes to show how much I pay attention to my reading. I thought a sonic disruptor got lodged into that dude's chest in the last issue. I may check this later. Glad I'm not the only one who thought the mug-shot was from the Rosenberg affair.

Man that chalkboard made up for any possible bad comics anyone bought this week didn't it?

I figured the "Dead by lead?" refered to someone getting shot and "It hurts to breathe" refered to the dude with the sonic disruptor (or not) lodged in his chest.

Matt said...

On the "He won't smell it"...maybe the Question? After all, he doesn't have a nose...

Tellurium is generally found as the telluride (tellurium waste, for lack of a better term) of gold, as well as being combined with other metals. It corrodes and improves the machinability of stainless steel, along other metals. A possible connection to Steel, there? And could tellurium indicate Skeets?

Lastly, the calculus, a sigma denotes a sum. Could these be the questions that Hunter already knows the answers to? In other words, not really questions at all?

Oh, and if anybody's curious, there are 160 circled 52's on the chalkboard, along with 2 uncircled.

simon said...

I think it also bears mention that Skeets did not travel into Hunter's lab with Booster. It did say it needed to stay up top to maintain the time lock, but if we're throwing suspicious glances in its direction, that may not be the whole story. Perhaps hypothetically-evil Skeets is worried that Hunter has some kind of countermeasures set up in the lab? The two-thousand years, by the way, could be the nearly two millenia that separate 52 B.C. from the present,or the actual 2000 years that separate 52 b.c from whatever crisis it is that Hunter is worried about.

Jamie Ott said...


Good post. I came to a few different conclusions tho.

Tellerium - This is a metal used in the making of alloys...predominantly in steel. It also has some solar power generation properties. So I don't think Supernova is a different Booster but Steel. They philosophies at this point seem diametrically opposed, so it make sense they would clash.

Sonic Disruptors -> Time Masters -> Time Servants"

The arrows on the blackboard were drawn from each of these words to the next. This is important because T.O. Morrow (one could say he was a Time Master) had his room cleaned out for making a sonic disruptor out of a cell phone earlier in the issue. The time masters will become servants of time in order to set things right...

The scarab is eternal?

Obviously referring to Beetle's scarab....or is it an Eygptian reference (thinking of Adam and Isis). Maybe they're connected in a way we don't know yet?

Where is the Curry heir?

This likely refers to the new Aquaman, who for some reason I think is the son of the Golden Age Arthur Curry.

The old gods are dead and the new gods want what's left.

They've been telling us to look to the sky's whenever Fourth World characters were brought up for a long time now. I've suspected the mechanations of Apokolips for a while but this seems fairly blunt in the way of 'clues'. Anyone remember Legends? They had a heavy hand in that....right after the last Crisis.

I also think that the villain behind the Great Ten is Egg Fu. He has ties to Ambush Bug, Apokolips, the Metal Men, and was created by the CHINESE.

I think it's been Fu under the direction of Darkseid who stole the scientists. For two reasons, the first being to create new superpowered beings (The Great Ten....) as superpowered human agents and the second to do whatever it was that has affected the timestream as part of Darkseid's larger plan. Obviously, it needs to be fleshed out more but that's the gist of it.


Anonymous said...

52 BC could also mean 52 Before Crisis, whether years, weeks, days, hours, minutes or whatever. Although I would totally rather it be 52 BC in Rome under the sole consulship/dictatorship of Pompeius and Sallust's prosecution of Milo for Clodius' murder. That would be f***ing great!

Marionette said...

Rosa Parks was one of the first recipients of the award given by the Wonder Woman Foundation. The same people that gave Wonder Woman the =W= logo bustier that replaced her golden eagle.

A coincidence?


Other said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Other said...

The son of superman bit is probably referring to 'The Kingdom'. Rip Hunter was very involved with that as well wasn't he?
The Lazarus pit comment might be talking about Nora Fries's recent resurrection as Lazara in the pages of 'Batgirl'. She has the power to animate the dead according her wikipedia entry, which may be wrong but I don't have the issues on hand to check.

Matthew E said...

Also: I've said it before and I'll say it again. Before this series is over, I am convinced that we're going to get some kind of 52-cards-in-a-deck reference. Possibly involving the Royal Flush Gang, and maybe even the Joker.

David Lawson said...

I remember there used to be a comic series called The City of Gold and Lead in the back pages of Boy's Life magazine. It was based off of a story of the same name. Could Te vs. (Au + Pb) have anything to do with that?

k26dp said...

The son of superman bit is probably referring to 'The Kingdom'. Rip Hunter was very involved with that as well wasn't he?

I thought so as well. The son of Superman in that story was Magog, who was stolen from his parents at birth by Gog. With Waid involved in the project (and with more than a few beats of Kingdom Come used in Infinite Crisis), I have to think there will be at least a few ties.

Brandon said...

Does anybody know the status of the Time Trapper? I remember a story where he was able to create a pocket universe that survived the original Crisis. If he's active, and that powerful- is it possible he might somehow be involved in any of these time anomalies?

I was disappointed when I found out the multiple earths concept wasn't coming back. An Earth 2 pocket universe would be pretty rad.

Steven said...

Last seen getting blasted to death by Parallax in Zero Hour.

Hinted that there was a new, female Time Trapper at the end of the mini-series, but that could have been Harbinger.

Scotto said...

I can't help connecting these clues to the other big pieces they've written (like 1 MILLION or Kingdom Come, etc.). Especially since that was one of the most unusual (and most impressive) aspects of the whole Infinite Crisis storyline: they tapped what seemed like every story since COIE and retrofitted it into the Big Plot. AND since The Kingdom was what brought back "hypertime" which has to be closely tied to all this.

So, along those lines, "her rain" puts me in mind of the Sheedha Queen, Gloriana Tenebrae.

What I want to know is: if Rip is a time traveller, then no matter what he's off doing, there's no reason not to finish it and be back instantly -- unless there IS a reason. Logically, either he never comes back, or he has a reason for coming back to a different moment. Now, plenty of comics stories have completely ignore this, but let's give these guys the benefit of the doubt. The lab is left in shambles. The only reasons to leave it that way are 1) to make somone (ie, Booster) find it, or 2) because of some horrible thing happening that he has to avoid by skippping past it.

Okay, or 3) Rip sees HIMSELF as a threat to be kept away from others, 4) time travel to this era is blocked, or 5) this era is just not interesting enough to live through. But I doubt that last one.

The Eyeball Kid said...

"Reach Reach Reach"


"Reich Reich Reich"

Anonymous said...

"the reach. the reach. the reach."
I thought of the Zeta-beam, first time it "reached" it dropped animal-man, starfire and adam strange in the heaven plant
second time it brought the messed up heroes to earth, and I guess we will see what happen if/when it lands the third time.

"Someone is monitoring. They see us. They see me."
the guys who started monitoring Morrow in this issue, and probably beind the kidnapped scientists.?

other timelines? other skeets trying to change history? people are being replaced by others (skeet, steel)?.

"World War III" and "When am I?"
ww3 happens at the wrong time? black adam is going to start ww3 before its supposed to?

Tom said...

I'm not sure I'm following why Skeets has to be evil. Couldn't he just be malfunctioning due to the events of Infinite Crisis--after all, a New Earth would seem to indicate a new future, and hence his information would be unreliable...

I assume, for those of you who are evil Skeets proponents, that you understand his lapses into binary as merely an act.

Tom said...

As far as the arrows go, I count 3 pointing to Booster and 3 pointing to Skeets. Of course, many of these arrows are ambiguous, leading me to wonder how reliable they are as indicators. For example, the arrow in the top picture stops at Skeets, but its angle could indicate Booster...

Axel M. Gruner said...

um... 52 BC + 2000 years in the future, would that be 1948?
Did DC publish/change something significant in 1948?

DCUBoy said...

Do you guys think that when all is said and done, DC will publish a campanion or something that will explain every clue in 52? That would be cool.

Matthew E said...

As best I can tell, there's no Time Trapper in the current version of the 31st century.

Craig said...

Wow, this was really helpful....
I didn't read through all the comments, but hey.... Did anyone mention that the "Someone is monitoring. They see us. They see me." might be Morrison-meta, like his run on Animal Man?

Tom said...

Scipio, I don't know if you know this, but this post has been linked to in the Wikipedia entry for Rip Hunter.

Chance said...

Might Au + Pb = magic? As in, the old alchemist wanting to turn lead into gold? It's a bit thin, I know, but given DC's revamp of magic lately, it might not be too far off.

Moose N Squirrel said...

Just felt I had to note my awe for Scipio's encyclopedic knowledge of DC minutiae. A different kind of awe than the awe inspired by Widow-Maker Week, but I am humbled nonetheless. Well done, sir.

kyle said...

Regarding the 2000 years/ 52 BC connection (if any): Since there's no year 0, and the claendar goes from 1 BC to AD 1, I think 2000 years from 52 BC would be 1949. Not an especially auspicious year in DC Comics, so far as I know.

Also of note in 52 BC: the consuls were Pompey the Great and (eventually, after he bailed Pompey out from a bribery charge and Pompey abandoned his sole consulship)Caecilius Metellus..or, more fully, Quintus Caecilius Metellus Pius Scipio.

Scipio, huh? No wonder he's trying to shift all the attention to Mon-El and Booster Gold.

Moose N Squirrel said...

"Someone is monitoring. They see us. They see me."

I read this as yet more foreshadowing that they're going to bring back one or both of the Monitors. Who else does "monitoring" in the DCU?

Byfield said...

"KHIMAERA LIVES AGAIN" could very well be a reference to the surrent story arc in Hawkgirl...

kalinara said...

I think 2000 years from 52 BC would be 1949. Not an especially auspicious year in DC Comics, so far as I know.

Well, this might be a long shot, but according to Wikipedia, Superboy first got his own self-titled comic book in 1949.

I've heard that Superboy was considered to live on Earth-1, whereas the Earth-2 Clark Kent had only become Superman as an adult.

Could that be symbolic, somehow, for Earth-2 giving way in comic-book prominence for Earth-1?

naladahc said...

Wow. When I decided to check back this morning the comment prior to this one was 52.


Scipio. Thanks for having written all this up from those pages.

I've found myself referring back here, instead of the actual comic, twice yesterday because of this!

farsider said...

Here's another angle on the Te/Au/Pb reference. The Greeks and Romans associated each known metal with one of the planets, which in turn were associated with gods. The sun (which they considered a "planet") was identified with gold and with Helios (later Apollo). Saturn was associated with lead and the Roman god Saturn (Greek: Cronos). Of course they didn't think of the earth as a planet, but when element no. 52 was discovered in 1798 it was named after the Latin word, tellus meaning "earth."

Also, Morrison associated the planets with the JLA in DC 1,000,000 project. IIRC, he associated the sun with Superman, and Saturn (the "ringed planet") with GL.

Scipio, you must have loved the DC Challenge.

Anonymous said...

since this entire series is being set up in a "Lost" fashion, could the "others" ref be a nod to that?

The he won't smell it" line i agree is Dibny

Anonymous said...

something I just thought of,
could the "lead" in dead by lead refer to lead as in a clue an invistigator follows, instead of the metal lead.

Scipio said...

"Scipio, you must have loved the DC Challenge."

Heh. I think if you'll check my past posts on Challenge,you'll see that you are mistaken..

52 has DC greatest writers working with one another to create a plot; the Challenge had them working AGAINST one another, with predictable results.

Shane Bailey said...

"Do you guys think that when all is said and done, DC will publish a campanion or something that will explain every clue in 52?"

Absolute 52?

Scotto said...

Regarding farsider's thoughts -- it would fit Morrison perfectly. The Seven Soldiers each map to a planet, I believe, and although it's mostly over my head, Morrison's real-life magic practices seem to involve that kind of patterning. I'm sure if you locked him in a closet for twelve hours he would emerge with a full Periodic Table of the DC Characters.

farsider said...

"Scipio, you must have loved the DC Challenge."

Heh. I think if you'll check my past posts on Challenge,you'll see that you are mistaken..

It was a monstrosity, wasn't it? I dropped it after Issue 2.

Scotto said...
Regarding farsider's thoughts -- it would fit Morrison perfectly. The Seven Soldiers each map to a planet, I believe...

Hm. That's interesting. The Greeks knew of seven metals and seven planets. They connected them with the gods, as follows:


They didn't know about Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, of course.

Michael said...

Farsider - Morrison's old JLA run mapped the JLA to the Greek Gods. I was about to extend Scotto's interesting insight to Apollo = Sun God =Superman / Earth = Wonder Woman (made from clay). Saturn maps less well to Batman, but you can make the connection. Saturn introduced agriculture, but also civilization at the same time, the Saturnalia, a winter feast, inverted the ruler/servan paradigm. Saturn also has ties to the underworld, being the father of Pluto. Batman brings order, often inverts or confounds the "way things are" and has imagry associated with death. A stretch, but we're having fun here.

Matthew E said...

A thought: what if 'the last -El', the 'son of Superman'... turns out to be Mon-El? That would be... that would be... well, I'd be very impressed with DC for having the guts to do something like that. Especially if DC then somehow packed him off to the 31st century in time to become a Legionnaire. I would just be very impressed. And grateful.

Michael said...

A few more thoughts:

Black Adam's alliance evokes the House of Marvel from Alan Moore's lost "Twilight" story for DC.

"reach reach reach" feels like another Dibney reference - the elongation needed to reach a conclusion (tieing in to the "smell it out" reference).

Like Scotto, I think "her rain" refers to the Sheeda Queen.

As another suggested, if Steel is going to become infected by Luthor's metagene virus and merge with his armor, the tellerium certainly makes sense as a possible reference to "improving" or "making" steel (a new Steel). Also, "death by lead" could suggest that the old John Henry Iron dies (perhaps metaphorically) to produce the new Steel (lead and steel are not the same, but you ge the drift.) The cover to 52 #14 strongly suggests a very different and new Steel.

The ">" in Time Masters>Time Servants could very well be a "great than" symbol.

farsider said...

michael said: "Farsider - Morrison's old JLA run mapped the JLA to the Greek Gods..."

IMO, Morrison tried mightily but couldn't pull off a one-to-one match between the JLA and Olympians. Some of the match-ups are ideal: Supes=Zeus, Batman=Hades, Aquaman=Poseidon, Flash=Hermes, Steel=Hephastus, Orion=Ares (God of War), etc. But here are some problems with the scheme.
1. There were 12 Olympians. Six were gods and six were goddesses. There weren't enough powerful DC heroines to fit into the six slots. (According to Wizard, Morrison stuck J'onn J'onz into one of the goddess slots [Demeter?]).
2. Wonder Woman could fit into the several of the goddess slots: Hera (Superman's counterpart). Aprhodite/Venus. (Beauty. Morrison ties her to the planet Venus in JLA 1 Million.) Artemis/Diana (Her name.)
3. Pluto/Hades was not one of the 12 Olympians.
4. How could the MARTIAN Manhunter NOT be associated with Ares/MARS?

However, tying Plastic Man to Bacchus was genius.

But speaking of Mon-El, monel is an alloy of nickel and copper. Wait...copper is associated with Venus and nickel is named after the devil...maybe Mon-El is the future spawn of Darkseid and Wonder Woman!!! Or maybe I'm getting carried away.....never mind.

Dhomochevsky said...

Don't know how many of you have seen the upcoming covers for later issues of 52, but there were two that caught my eye: one of SuperNova, and one of Steel holding the head of Natasha's suit. It's been a while since I last saw any SuperNova images (they seem to have disappeared for some reason), but his design reminds me of the cover with Steel.

And, as a general question to you all, am I the only one who found that this series just got a hell of a lot more interesting? Trust good old Uncle Grant to deliver.

Jon Hex said...

There was an unnamed member of the Metal Men, a female I think, who looked a lot like tin. Tellurium resembles tin, and maybe that was what the lost Metal Man was made of. Maybe this lost Metal Man is back and had an altercation with Lead and Gold of the Metal Men. A stretch to be sure, but...
If this 2,000 years reference has something to do 1948(9), maybe that was the year Uncle Sam took the Freedom Fighters to Earth-X or when the Golden Age heroes were forced to resign.
The Time Trapper was revealed to be an older Rokk Krinn in Zero Hour.

BerwynIrish said...

What I want to know is: if Rip is a time traveller, then no matter what he's off doing, there's no reason not to finish it and be back instantly -- unless there IS a reason. Logically, either he never comes back, or he has a reason for coming back to a different moment. Now, plenty of comics stories have completely ignore this, but let's give these guys the benefit of the doubt.

Bats to Kyle in JLA/WildCATS, on being trapped in the past with a damaged time machine (paraphrasing): "It's a time machine. It doesn't matter when we get it fixed, only if."

The last I heard, DC seemed willing to indulge Morrison's idea of a self-aware DCU. Granted, the last talk of this was before Infinite Crisis took off, but I was always under the impression that Seven Soldiers was going to make use of this idea. IIRC, the continuity status of SSoV wasn't really confirmed until we were in the middle of IC. Maybe 52 will be picking up this idea and rolling with it, and perhaps the final issue of SSoV is being purposely delayed so as not to spoil a 52 mystery.

Top that for wild speculation.

Matt said...

scipio, congratulations on an AMAZING post. like, the best post maybe ever on anything in the world.

one quick thought: in his 5.2 about 52 feature on newsarama, editor stephen wacker seems to have suggested that readers check out the old booster gold series as well as the old question series, i believe the o'neill penned one. haven't had a chance to poke around them for clues but it's on my agenda. anyone else pick that up, and is there anything that might add to this analysis from either series?

this is ultimate nerdery, right here. love it.

The Thing That Walks Like A Man said...

"Someone is monitoring. They see us. They see me."

I read this as yet more foreshadowing that they're going to bring back one or both of the Monitors. Who else does "monitoring" in the DCU? -- Moose N Squirrel

I thought the quote might be a 4th wall breaker, a la Morrison's Animal Man.

As in, the readers are maybe the Monitors?

Moose N Squirrel said...

I thought the quote might be a 4th wall breaker, a la Morrison's Animal Man.

First of all, Morrison isn't that subtle. When he goes to the "Animal Man" well he doesn't just bring back a bucket - he brings back a tanker truck: the Question staring out of the page and repeating Buddy's infamous line, Zatanna reaching out to break the panel boundaries, Mr. Miracle caught in the pages of a drawn-within-the-splash-page comic book, etc.

Second, why else would they pick the word "monitor"? There's something like at least a dozen references to old DC titles and characters in the same scene, and "monitor" is a pretty awkward synonym if all you want to say is "watch" - unless you specifically want to use it to point to someone else. Given that the Monitors were just about the only key players in the original Crisis that didn't get a return appearance during the second one, I wouldn't be surprised if this was supposed to refer to them.

Mark said...

Anybody reckon they could be setting up a scenario in which Mon-El is no longer a Daxamite, but the son of Kal-El and Lois, maybe projected into the Phantom Zone to protect him from an allergy to lead, leading to him joining the Legion in the future?

Anonymous said...

I apologize if it's been said or if it's too obvious, but I think the Mon-El references likely refer to Mon-El joining the current DC timeframe in the form of the new Superboy. Perhaps somehow he and Kara switched places?


Al said...

Not much to add, great post though.

I did havea question for the collected eyes at work here though. By the 520 Kane page in the lower left hand corner - is that sword on the book cover something that we've seen before?

J said...

I was rereading Week Six while reading these comments, and, just before reading Jamie Ott's comment I came to the same conclusion -- the "Great One" watching T.O. Morrow is Egg Fu.

In the "I haven't been so angry for a long time." panel there's a closeup on an egg in an egg cup. All we can see of "Great One" in the last panel on the next page is something that might be a giant egg - it's the right color and shape.

jason said...

could the Four Horsemen refer to the knights in Checkmate?

might not be mean anything but the 52s in the circles look like the symbol for omega.

Scipio said...

Okay, J, with your teacup observation you've now put me officially and squarely in the Egg Fu camp.

And four horsemen=Checkmate knights? Sheer genius.

Ian Myles Slater said...

Farsider: "3. Pluto/Hades was not one of the 12 Olympians."

Well, several different "canonical" lists of the Twelve Olympians can be derived from literary and artistic evidence. Hades (Pluto) is included in many of them.

He is a son of Kronos (Saturn) and Rhea, and so the brother of Zeus (Jupiter), Poseidon (Neptune), Hera (Juno), Hestia (Vesta), and Demeter (Ceres). Homer makes Zeus the Eldest Son, but Hesiod seems to give that role to Hades, allowing Zeus to be the folktale hero "Youngest Son" (granted his supreme position by his peers, rather than inheriting it from the father he overthrew).

As Lord of the Underword, including the wealth of the Earth, Hades rules a third of the Cosmos: not counting a somewhat vaguer dominion over Tartaros, which functioned as a sort of Phantom Zone for various Elder Beings.

The whole identification-with-the-planets thing seems to have come in very late, under Near Eastern influence.

Not that any of this would be binding on DC, since they have played fast and loose with the whole thing at least since Marston first did a mix-and-match with Bulfinch while creating Wonder Woman, and I doubt that there is recent concern about getting it right.

Jamie Ott said...


That was what first made me think of Egg Fu. The egg was an obvious clue as that was something not typically shown in a comic. It wasn't till I reread the issue that I noticed the 'shell' on the next page. At first I had thought it was a chair.

It was later that I started putting the rest together with Apokolips, the Chinese and the Great Ten.

And the four horsemen being the knights of Checkmate? I agree with Scipio, genius.

I like the Mon-El therories too.


Tragic Fanboy said...

Some interesting things concerning the nature of Time in the DCU:

Back in Time Masters, it wasn't Rip himself, but Corky Baxter that was killed; he committed suicide himself. It was also interesting that in that story, Rip killed Vandal Arg, not realizing that the name would pass on to his son. Rip is then shown to be present when the meteor falls transforming the kid into Vandal Savage. If I remember correctly, this is the last appearance of Rip Hunter (other than the older, Linear Men version) until JSA.

Also, when it said "son of Superman", I automatically thought of the Son of Superman and Wonder Woman from Kingdom who was closely tied into Hypertime. I remember DiDido saying Hypertime no longer existed, but there still hasn't been a real explanation to what happened to it. I don't remember there being any mention or appearance of the Kingdom characters in IC either.

Last, what about the whereabouts of all of the other time-travelling characters (The Linear Men, Waverider, etc.)?

Oh, and I was hoping for at least a mention of Slash Maraud with the out-of-continuity series...

Anonymous said...

"Find the last El" obviously refers to the latest incarnation of El Gaucho, who will no doubt be drafted into the new Global Guardians and, along with the Wild Huntsman, would make up two of the Four Horsemen.

It's like this... Tuatara, being the only non-magical hero on the DCU who can peer into the future without travelling through time, has realized that time is broken and has reformed the Global Guardians to position them as a third party in the coming conflict (like Batman's group in Kingdom Come). The GG will try and remain neutral until they figure out exactly what is going on.

Unfortunately they will acidentally kill Isis during a confrontation with Black Adam, effectively ending her reign as well as the shower of love she bestowed on BA. This will enrage BA, and in his fury he will launch a retaliatory attack on all parties not in his coalition.

World War III, and it's all Booster's fault.

The other two Horsemen will be naturally be a time travelling Jonah Hex and Lobo, who will have to assume the position of "heavy hitter" since former GG member Olympian is most likely powerless now.

Or maybe not.

Scotto said...

anonymous, I'm speechless. I wish I could keep up.

Anyone else wonder about the map on the globe? The one with the graffiti about WW3? It appears to be ... sort of missing China? (Refresh your memory here, thanks to Wizard).

Also: What's up with the magnet on a tripod? What was Rip trying to measure?

Also: note that the "question" reference is a capital "Q", so presumably is Sage.

Also: I wondered about the broken Time Sphere (broken into or out of?) and realized that it shows no evidence (that I can see) either way. Which implies it was broken and THEN brought back to the lab. And frankly, that implies that it time-travelled there AFTER being broken, because carrying around a bubble of shattered glass physically will tend to make shards fall out.

J said...

Rip Hunter shows up in the underrated "Chronos" series, in which he is seemingly killed, or removed from time, or phased out of existence, or something like that.

You know, the kind of thing that always seems to happen to comic book time travellers.

Squashua said...

I agree with the anonymous poster from 6/16 - OTHERS is probably a nod to the Lost TV series.

Scavenger said...

David Lawson said: I remember there used to be a comic series called The City of Gold and Lead in the back pages of Boy's Life magazine. It was based off of a story of the same name.

This is the second in John Christopher's White Mountain's series, about the Earth being taken over by aliens who travel in giant war machines.

Also: What's up with the magnet on a tripod? What was Rip trying to measure?

Those Giant war machines? They're called TRIPODS, which is the other name the series is known by (and the name of the BBC adaptation).

So OBVIOUSLY 52 is all about an invasion by alien slugs...likely those guys from the Armegeddon alien Agenda mini series.

Michael said...

The bit about the Time Trapper... the post-reboot Legion did show him, but not too much. He was one of the main characters in a story with the Legionnaire XS.

Which is another sticky point, by the way... assuming Barry Allen still went to the future with Iris for a little while before the Crisis hit, and still had time to concieve his kids Don and Dawn Allen, then the presence of Bart (Don's son) would imply the presence (somewhere, somewhen) of Jenni (Dawn's daughter), aka XS. Bart and Inferno are 20th century refugees from the post-Zero Hour, pre-Infinite Crisis 30th century.

Matthew E said...

I hope so. I miss XS; she was an excellent character.

ABS said...

Haha, Clodius and Milo! Thanks for pulling that out of the back of my brain! I used to give Clodius points for finding a conveniently-named plebeian family to adopt him, but then I found out that it was just the plebeian branch of his own family. I guess I have no reason to like him any more, either.

Shawn L. said...

One thing that was not mentioned here was that the last part of "Sonic Disruptors" was scribbled out.

This HAS to be a reference to the mini-series of the late 80's, "Sonic Disruptors" that DC put out, but cancelled before it was finished, aborting mid-story. Especially with the references to other non-DC Universe mini-series of the past scattered about.

Shawn L. said...

"So OBVIOUSLY 52 is all about an invasion by alien slugs...likely those guys from the Armegeddon alien Agenda mini series."

Actually it's probably the Dominators. In a recent issue of Legion of Super-Heroes, the Dominators were shown coming to Earth to hatch some plot, and one puncuated the conversation with a sort of "Remember Pearl Harbor" like slogan... "Remember the Fifty-Two" or an alien-slurred version of it.

Anonymous said...

In science, a chimera is a thing that has two different kinds of make-ups, like a plant with a graft or a person with an ape heart.

Kon-el was always a behind the scenes reference to Mon-el. And a clone with human and Kryptonian genes would be a chimera.


chicodp said...

I think the monitor comment refers to the checkmate suicide squad espionage side to the dcu, which might be involved in all these disappearances.

Anonymous said...

Could the sonic disruption refer to Black Canary's canary cry? She's a character whose history covers both Earth 2 and Earth 1.

David Spolidoro said...

In "The Kingdom" there were monitors....the Quintessence..if i am not mistaken the existed in continuity as well until the retired after the Our Worlds at War story line....the linear men including Rip Hunter were very up set at this...Where are the Quintessence now...Zues > Withdrawn with the amazons i presume..Ganthet is still kicking around on Oa i think..High Father > amoung the rest of the New Gods missing but expected to arive soon..Wizard Shazam > distroyed by The Spectre...but Wait "The Kingdom" had another member of the Quitessence...The Phantom Stranger. I believe he is stilling kicking around during the missing year. He is suppost to be outside of the big blood barrier in the pages of shadowpact..which has cause alot of contoverse cause the detective chimp is suppost to be in the barrier for a year yet on the cover of a future issue of 52...also in "The Kingdom" the last "El" was the son of Superman and Wonder Woman named Jonathan Kent...and he had power over the Hyper Time (Multiverse)..It turns out that at the end of "The Kingdom" the Phantom Stranger turned out to be the same son. hmmmm wouldn't be hard to make a fellow shadowpact member be in 2 places at once if you have powers over the timeline...hmmmm...but wait Rip Hunter also played a big part in "The Kingdom" hmmmm..not that any of this means anything but i find the coinidences interest so just for fun let me say the monitors could be...1.a new Quitessence 2. the one member of the origanal not to retire (the Phantom Stranger)
and the last "El" could easily be Jonathan Kent in disguise of The Phantom Stranger..and i can see why a time traveller would want to find someone with a power over Hypertime...these are all probally mean absolutly nothing but i just want to throw in my 2 cents