Thursday, June 07, 2007

Things That Made Me Happy...

in my comics this week.

John Stewart's Kryptonite Disco Ball of Death.

Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, together again.

Busiek's baby Chemos.

Bringing Tora to her senses.

Should Cat-Man be putting all his weight on the leg with the arrow wound? That's how butch he is.

Hey, the Monitors are just like the Roman Senate!

Black Adam? Okay; I didn't see that coming.

I get it; Jimmy's the Source!

The DCU has a magazine called "NOMEN"? Somebody stop me...!

Gail, I want a job at the Ivy Town Chamber of Commerce.

The return of the Bug-Eyed Bandit fixes the greatest misjustice of Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Dini surprises me in Detective (although it was all more than a bit reminiscent of a certain episode of Batman: The Animated Series).

Hmm; interesting re-use of Dark Angel.

Nothing says "fun comics" like Jonah Hex biting off the head of a live buzzard!


Anthony Strand said...

Okay, I gotta know so I can buy it - what book has Booster & (I assume) Jaime in it? Did Blue Beetle come out this week?

Luke said...


My LCS didn't get "JSoA" #6 last week (screw up with shipping), so I didn't get to read it until last night. And it is in part because of your recent posts about the LOSH that I am posting this.

I wanted to ask you, did this comic book make any sense to you? I mean, as I said below I'm not a LOSH fan, and am not really familiar with them. Maybe it's Johns and Metzler's scripting, but this issue was so hard to penetrate, it just left me feeling frustrated afterwards. Like because haven't read the stories Johns & Metzler are referring to, I can't get in on the joke. I wanted to like it, and I may re-read it this weekend, but man, the continuity was so dense it was like an X-Men comic!

Hopefully the next issue will be more "JSA"-like.

Anonymous said...

The return of the Bug-Eyed Bandit has somehow brought Kole back from the dead?!

That was the misjustice you were talking about, right?

Nate said...

-Is it just me, or was seeing the headquarters of the Legion of Doom being used as a prop in JSA just awesomeness?

- Did anyone else get a tingle with the layout of the first four pages of Countdown this week? I don't know how it paced so well, but when Jimmy leapt up, I felt exactly the same way.

Steven said...

That WAS the best use of Guy Gardner in a comic he doesn't actually appear in.

I'm pretty sure that was a time lost Bug-Eyed Bandit (since the Floronic Man was still human looking), so that misjustice may be left unfixed.

I LIKED that episode, so I was okay with that.

SallyP said...

Wait...WHERE was Booster and Beetle? I missed this somehow?

But Tora back to life and her own sweet self was lovely, AS was the use of Guy least in name. But what about poor Zinda?

Scipio said...

Ted "Blue Beetle" Kord and Michael "Booster Gold" Carter can be seen together in this month's Justice League Unlimited.

Scipio said...

"did this comic book make any sense to you? "

Luke, tell me what confused you and we'll help it make more sense for you...

Rob S. said...

I *loved* the baby Chemos. And damn, Lana's stylin'!

Luke said...

Alright, I guess the most confusing part was mostly that the LOSH characters were just thrown out there, and as a non-LOSH reader, I have no idea who these people are. Why does Dawnstar have angel wings, what's her deal? If Star Man came from the future, how did he end up in Kingdom Come, which is in the future of another Earth? And also, of course, just where the heck are these kids from, since this Legion doesn't look anything like the one from the actual Legion comic book.

Of course, the other problems are not the story's fault (why, for the love of Hashut, does no one use codenames?!). I guess it's just an issue of not being familiar with the source material. If I, like Brad & Geoff, had some sort of past connection to the LOSH, I'm sure this whole thing would be clear as crystal, not mud.

Matthew said...

I particularly liked the way that the recap page for JSA6 didn't actually RECAP anything from the previous parts of the crossover, which as I don't but JLA I didn't have.

Scipio said...

"Why does Dawnstar have angel wings, what's her deal?"

Dawnstar is from Starhaven, an Earth colony founded by winged mutants (who originally resulted from Dominator experimentation on humans with the metagene). All her people have wings. She has the further abilities of translight speed in and immunity to the rigors of space (powers which are diminished in the presence of gravity wells like planets and such), and near mystical tracking and navigational skills.

She is fairly egregious example of "Superowers Based In or On Ethnic Stereotype".

If Star Man came from the future, how did he end up in Kingdom Come, which is in the future of another Earth?

According the explanation in the story, time travel is not a perfect science and the current DC is a particularly difficult target. Furthermore, Starman took the place of a hoodwinked Colossal Boy; because the time travel device was calibrated for Colossal Boy instead of Starman, Starman was temporary shunted to another parallel universe (Earth-22, the Kingdom Come Earth) before arriving "here".

this Legion doesn't look anything like the one from the actual Legion comic book.

That is part of the mystery and is intentional. On the whole, what you are seeing are "pre-Crisis" versions of Legionnaires. However, it's not a simple as "that's the pre-Crisis Legion". There are internal inconsistencies that make that impossible (for example, the hero from Orando, Projektra, did not adopt her 'Sensor Girl' identity until after Karate Kid died).

My best guess on the resolution is that the Legion in the LSH series is the Legion of New Earth's future, and that the Legion we see in JSA/JLA is the Legion of the future of Earth-1. Earth-1 has not yet been discovered by New Earth, but that that discovery will happen has already been predicted in JLA #0. The discovery, it states, will made by the Flash.

So my personal theory is that the Visiting Legion has determined that its past somehow depends on New Earth and Earth-1 discovering each other and joining forces. Therefore, they have returned to the past of New Earth in order to resuscitate Barry Allen (or maybe Wally West) so that he can discover Earth-1.

This will make history unfold as the Legion needs it to, and is why they must keep their mission secret, so they don't screw up the history by having someone else discover Earth-1.

By the way, Sensor Girl is the person in the full face mask whom the Legionnaires rescue from Slaughter Swamp. She has the power of illusion and controlling what she and other sense or perceive; the whole scene in the "Legion of Doom" HQ was just an illustration with which a confused Sensor Girl was protected herself from being found by the JSA and JLA. The scene she deceived them with is from a classic Legion story in which one of the bodies of Triplicate Girl is killed by the renegade AI named Computo.

"why does no one use codenames?!"

For the JLA, this is an inappropriate affectation of the current writer.

I'll think you'll find the JSA and the Legion are using their own codenames. This is striking for the Legion, since they do not have secret identities to protect and often use their personal names when not in battle.

Luke said...

That does explain things somewhat. I didn't read "52" so the New Earth and Earth-1 being different thing was still a little shakey to me. And I appreciate the info on the different Legionairres. Wasn't Sensor Girl supposed to be Supergirl in disguise for a while?

I don't think the JSA were using their codenames throughout the story, but a few were in there. I know Supes called Mr. Terrific by his codename, but Hourman, Damage, Power Girl and Liberty Belle all used regular names.


Matthew E said...

Wasn't Sensor Girl supposed to be Supergirl in disguise for a while?

That was a popular theory. And I think that's what Paul Levitz, the writer at the time, intended to do. But the Powers that Be wouldn't let him use Supergirl, so he made her Projectra instead.

Jacob T. Levy said...

This is striking for the Legion, since they do not have secret identities to protect and often use their personal names when not in battle.

That's varied a lot by era as well as varying by character. "Cos" has always been as common in conversation as "Rokk," "Brainy" much more common than "Querl" (has a teammate *ever* called him Querl in conversation?); "Shady" and "Violet" or "Vi" have traditionally been pretty common; "Wildfire" not "Drake" most of the time; "Cham" as much as "Reep;" and pre-Crisis "Mon" or "Mon-El" were more common than "Lar."

On the other hand, it's certainly true that lots of Legionnaires were routinely called by their real names, even in combat, if their code names didn't readily lend themselves to diminutives.

Dave said...

Dini surprised me, too. I didn't see that coming at all.

That said, Gail's Ivy Town brochure was just a little too smart-ass for me. But anybody who can bring that lame-ass rogue's gallery back -- and give me that last page -- gets a free pass.

Christine Smith said...

I must be the only one in the world who doesn't mind the first name thing in JLA. They've known each other forever, after all. Well, except Geo-Force.

Come to think of it, they should make him be the only one to have to use their code names in private. "So..... Roy..." "Ah ah ah! Sorry, Brion, but that's Mister Red Arrow, SIR to you."

God I hate that guy. His sister is perhaps my favorite comic character of all time, but Geo-Force? No THANK you.

Anonymous said...

So if Mary Marvel was *apparently* given the power of Black Adam's Egyptian gods, does that mean she will be as crazy as he was? More likely to rip a flying cowboy in two?

Or was that just Teth-Adam's way of dealing with his loss. (He seemed pretty cool before he found out his family was murdered by the Metamorph and Vandal Savage in the days of Prince Khufu and Chayara.)

Just think if Guy Gardner pinches Mary's ass now... she might rip his arm off... sad day.

Christine Smith said...

Anyone else thing that the Mary Marvel arc may end with Mary posessing the grace of Selenam the strength of Hippolyta, the skill of Ariadne et al? And if so, how would that work?

Anonymous said...

Good point about Sensor Girl being written as Supergirl in disguise. I remember reading the run at the time and getting a real "what the?" feeling when Projectra was revealed. Not quite as bad as the Hawk/Captain Atom is Monarch switch in Armageddon 2000, but still...

As far as speculation on the ending to the Lightning Saga, I notice that the storyline has played with those of us with a more extensive comics library. A lot of misdirection, with the lightning rods, slaughter swamp, the Legion of Doom and lots of other references pointing to certain characters and events only to shift at the last minute, which is why Flash rather than Lightning Lad is the best bet for a last issue appearance. The misdirection also makes me sceptical of the Ultra Humanite appearance. All is not what it seems.

It's a pity if those without the background knowledge get anything from it. Unfortunately most of DC's best work at the moment does appear to be this continuity dense self-reflective stuff, which is a shame for the newcomer. Kudos to Scipio and all the other crazy bloggers plugging the information gaps.

Consider Superman's recounting of his original encounters with the Legion in JSA #6. This implies that at least some of the original Adventure Comics stories are part of current continuity. But so are the current Supergirl and the Legion Of Superheroes stories. So in both instances a hero from Krypton has potentaily crossed dimensions as well as space. Which makes sense if you consider Starman’s excursions in Kingdom Come Earth. But then look at Action Comics 30# where Supergirl and the Legion catch glimpses of a classic 50s Superman and the Mullet Superman before latching onto New Earth Superman. Brainiac 5 dismisses these as Chronal distortions or something like that. Is this what his superior intellect describes the 52 as? Or are their chronal distortions within each dimension? Is Earth 39 Mullet Earth?

Jacob T. Levy said...

They've known each other forever, after all. Well, except Geo-Force.

The Trinity plus GL and Canary have known each another forever. One of the things they know about each other is that Superman and Batman have secret identities that they consider incredibly important to preserve.

Prior to the beginning of this arc of JLA, how many on-panel interactions have there been among any of Hawkgirl, Black Lightning, and Speedy? For that matter, how many on-panel interactions has BL had with any of these characters besides Batman, or Hawkgirl with any of them except Canary? Hal's been *dead* for most of Kendra's superheroic career. Black Lightning's had *very* little interaction with any superheroes who weren't Outsiders.

And, for all that some of the others have known each other for a long time, there was never any reason to think some knew each other's identities until Meltzer effectively declared in IdC that everyone from the Silver and Bronze Age knew each other's identities (thereby invalidating a huge chunk of post-Crisis continuity, but that was a Superboy punch, I guess). Pre- or Post-Crisis I don't think we ever had reason to think Roy Harper knew Superman's identity.

word verification: gbrzod. gbrkneel gbrbefore bgrzod.

Scipio said...

The misdirection also makes me sceptical of the Ultra Humanite appearance. All is not what it seems.

Significant is Despero's appearance; I deduce from it that those are Earth-1 villains not New Earth villains.

Consider Superman's recounting of his original encounters with the Legion in JSA #6.

Clearly, there have been changes to Superman's past due to the depredations of Mister Mind. I'm currently choosing to assume that Earth-1 past diverged from New Earth's after Young Superman had his adventures with the Legion (although there are already things we know about Earth-1 that contradict that theory).

Anonymous said...

Assuming that the "second Earth" sequence in JLA#0 (they know the Multiverse but not that there are other Earths?) is related to reveal of Earth-1, then Earth-1 would appear to not be Earth-One at all. It's more likely a merger of Earths-One and -Two in its Bronze Age, a "classic" and DC-only version of New Earth. That also explains the Earth-1 Despero, Ultra-Humanite, and Degaton team-up.

At a guess, Earth-1's Superman is the Golden Ager, with no career as Superboy. That made room for New Earth Clark to join the team.

Christine Smith said...

The Trinity plus GL and Canary have known each another forever. One of the things they know about each other is that Superman and Batman have secret identities that they consider incredibly important to preserve.

Not just them. They all knew Roy from his time on the original Titans, just as they all know Dick Grayson. Hell, we've seen Superman giving them all a tour of the Fortress. Black Lightning was invited to be a member from WAY back. Although he didn't accept, the classic leaguers have known him for years. Kendra, you have a point about. She would be unknown to Hal. However, Dinah was in the JSA with her, and the Trinity would know her from thanksgivings.... still not the depth of trust as you'd expect, but surely she's earned her creds.

And yes, they have secret identities they need to protect from civilians and villains. But when they're alone? In private? They're colleagues. And yes, most of them have known each other for years and years in a variety of contexts. Am I really to believe that there's such a rigid code among the JLA that there's no room for formality? Ever?

Frankly, I find the assertion that they never would refer to each other by name much more incredulous than assuming that Green Arrow would call Dinah 'Black Canary' when alone. After all they've been through? I'm supposed to believe that would never happen? What?

Besides, this is hardly the first time we've seen the heroes refer to each other by name. This seems to me like a tacked on complaint to add to one's argument against Meltzer. There's plenty to complain about or to laud without this.

Christine Smith said...

(er, informality... osrry, typing this sick)

Jacob T. Levy said...

The problem isn't that I think *none* of them would *ever* use firstnames *even in private.* The problem is that Meltzer has *every* combination of them *always* using first names in private and often using them in combat situations too.

In Morrison's JLA, the characters whose IDs were known (Flash, GL) were *sometimes* called by their first names, sometimes not, and even sometimes drew distinctions. (GL was known to *ask* people to call him green Lantern rather than Kyle when he was in uniform and in action.)

Maybe this wouldn't bother me quite as much if it hadn't been introduced in Identity Crisis when it was clearly incompatible with then-existing continuity. We can now say "Superboy punch," but the experience of reading IdC entrenched the idea that this was just some bizarre affectation of Meltzer's.

I can't think of another team super-hero book that has been quite so insistent on first names *always,* even when the characters *didn't* have secret IDs, except for the special case of Fantastic Four. People develop informal nicknames derived from code names (Wolvie, Cyke, Shady, Brainy, Cap, Bats, Supes), or just say some short code names a lot (Storm, Flash). Even a group of people who interact with each other a lot over the course of years might primarily think of one another in terms of the ways they interact with each other.

Even if Speedy has interacted with Superman a lot over the years, and even if he's known that Superman was Clark Kent for years (which isn't entailed by his having visited the Fortress; pre-Crisis people like Lois and Jimmy could certainly go to the Fortress), he's still interacted with Superman almost exclusively-- almost never with Clark Kent. Hawkgirl's interacted with Batman, nit Bruce Wayne. Hell, Black Lightning has primarily interacted with Batman; it was a big plot point that the Outsiders did *not* know Batman's identity.

And Superman and Batman are impressive, intimidating figures to other superheroes. Do you really think that, out loud or in their thought balloons, the other heroes would *never* spontaneously think to refer to them as Superman and Batman?

I've known a couple federal judges who were much older than I, and very famous as far as such things go. Given the social circumstances in which I knew them, it was mandatory that I refer to them by their first names or even their diminutive nicknames. But in *my* thought balloons, they retained their honorifics! Same for some senior professors, if I first met them when I was young enough-- calling them by their personal nicknames is something I have to fake (like Roy!), and in my head they're still "Professor so-and-so." And I doubt that any of these judges or professors are quite as intimidating as Superman would be!

Similarly, I know people who can barely bring themselves to call their parents-in-law by their first names, and who are relieved when children come along because it means that the parents-in-law can permanently become grandma and grandpa.

Anonymous said...

I may be interpreting too much into it, but I get the impression that Meltzer is at some level embarrassed by superheroes. Maybe all that time on the NYTimes Best seller list has got to him and he feels some pressure to present a more sophisticated version of superhero comics. So, he drops the superhero names because they seem corny to him and has added way too much narration. In fact, the over-narration almost bothers me more than the name thing. In the first issue of the lightning saga there are 3 narrators in the opening scenes. The narrations tie together in a way that's supposed to seem insightful but none of them really say anything interesting. It just seemed like an exercise in cleverness.

It's really a shame, because there's some great stuff in some of the issues. I really enjoy all of the JLA100-102 references for example. But the JSA issues are so much better. Part of the frustration comes from knowing how easily things could have been better. -alex p

Christine Smith said...


I really appriciate and enjoyed your post on the 'personal name' subject. I certainly agree that some people might use the code name rather than the personal name. Your post has helped me to understand the objections to the affectation, even though I have no problem with it personally.

Really, I think the main problem is that Meltzer's strength lies in finding the emotional resonance in his stories that the average person might relate to. That was the strength of the Archer's Quest, and worked very well for Ollie and Roy. It worked well (IMHO) in Identity Crisis with the depictions of grief and loss, the tough choices and ethical compromise. If you could relatet to those stories, it was probably because you could relate to the CHARACTERS. The common was found in the extrodinary lives of these characters. It seems to me what's really not 'fitting' with most people, is that in the JLA, most people don't WANT to see personal, relatable stories. In the JLA, they want the spectacular and extrodinary, not the ordinary. It's a valid critique. However, like most things, it's a matter of taste. As such, some people will like it, others won't. And any rate, Brad's only in it for a year, and someone else will be in the hotseat next. And the only certainty about the future is that there will be people on the internet bitching about THEIR run in just the same way.

MaGnUs said...

Scipio: where is the kryptonite disco ball? I must see that!

Christa, I agree with you.