Sunday, November 27, 2022

Per Degaton, Part 7: "We Are Undone!"

 In dystopian 1957, Per Degaton and Kale RULE. Literally.

Not metaphorically. Only Kale rules metaphorically.

But as you can see, there's trouble in dictatorial paradise. The Change is become unchanged, and any MINUTE now that phone could ring to announce the launching of SPUTNIK. Degaton's in deep kimchi, because something must have gone wrong (or, from our perspective, RIGHT) back at the Battle of Arbela in 331 BCE.

Not SULTAN, you hick. Try "Khshayathiya Vazraka," or just "Shah" if you're pressed for time. I mean, I ASSUME you're speaking Ancient Persian that's being translated for the readers' sake, cuz I know Darius didn't speak English.

At first things were going perfectly wrong, with Degaton's Diabolical Forces machine-gunning the Macedonians (who, btw, are already outnumbered five to one). Even Alex The G himself can't rally against that!

Hey, YER MAJESTY, you may wanna ixnay on the emocracies-day, seeing as how you got rid of all that when you subjected Greece to Macedon. Just ask the Thebans! Oh, that's right; you killed them all and burnt the city to the ground.

But then the JSA show up to un-ruin everything!

Assignments. Of course. The JSA is never too disheveled to omit the assignment process.

Sure, Johnny Thunder may be a moron. But he's still a man of his time and knows to SHAVE and fix your BOWTIE before going into battle.

Then comes the moment that nowadays would launch a thousand fanfics.

Naturally, Alex is INSTANTLY SMITTEN by Alan.
Don't weep, Alex; looks like there's a world left to conquer after all!

I give a lot of credit to Golden Age writers, seriously, for knowing that the value of heroes is inspirational.  The JSA don't win the battle simply with superpowers (it's why Jay was de-powered first, you'll notice); their heroism inspires Alexander's troops and THAT is what turns the tide of battle.

I'll concede that Atom's a small target but how it's harder to hit hulking HAWKMAN than a clay pigeon I cannot imagine. The element of surprise is more powerful than Special Metal.

The Macedonian forces win the battle and Alexander summons the JSAers to his tent to thank them properly.

"Oh. Alan. All your friends came, too.  
How... nice."

Here he engraves and signs the shield with his thanks; the very shield they are playing back this entire story on like a DVD thanks to Wonder Woman's magical past-o-meter.

"In fact, I'll keep it under my pillow. Alex.
And think of you every night I look at it."

THEN THEY DISAPPEAR. But you can probably guess why, because you are a modern person who has read time travel stories before.

Explanatory Floating Head of Wonder Woman would be a great meme.

Once they're back, Wonder Woman hits the Google Translate button on her Magic Sphere.

"Are you SURE it didn't say, 'Love, Alex'?"
"Yes, Alan."

So Per Degaton, in classic comic book irony, is back to square one, as a harmless dishwashing lab assistant.

I like to imagine that, à la Pinky & The Brain, this happens every night for Degaton, and that every time we see him is just his next work day, so that from his perspective, even though it's 80 years later, he's still only worked for Professor Zee for a week or so.  That's why he's always the same age.

Which leaves us with the real question: 


P.S. Yes, I am aware that there is a SERIOUS CONTINUITY CONTRADICTION between this story and CRITICAL HISTORY OF AN ICONIC DC HERO who does not appear in this story.  I want to assure my readers that not only I am aware of this issue, I will soon bravely tackle it, with a hot take that will split the internet, and possibly the membership of the Classical Association of New England of which I am an alumnus, asunder. Prepare yourselves accordingly.


Bryan L said...

A continuity error? Merciful heavens!

I just re-read Geoff Johns' Stars and STRIPE, and was reminded he had retconned the Seven Soldier to include the Spider as a (traitorous) archer, killed off Billy Gunn via arrow to the throat, and (I think) included Stuff the Chinatown Kid as a member (seven was more of a guideline than an actual rule, so I didn't do a headcount).

I pondered these events for a moment, then I realized I have absolutely no idea what continuity even means in DC Comics any more.

Anonymous said...

They're Degaton and Kale
Yes Degaton and Kale
One's enthusiastic
The other's just Kale

... yeah I was having trouble coming up with a last line there. Is he practicale? A remarkably hot male? reliabale?

Anonymous said...

I wonder if, from Alexander's perspective, these events occurred before or after he himself traveled through time in Leading Comics #3 (1942).

Scipio said...

Is he practicale? A remarkably hot male? reliabale?

All of the above.

Scipio said...

Leading Comics #3

Yes, I am aware

Anonymous said...

Odd that Johnny Thunder was in the issue but didn't get his own story like most of the others did. I read somewhere that he usually got the text stories but per the GCD, he didn't even get that this time around. Hm.

Anonymous said...

Alexander the Great also met Rip Hunter and the Time Masters in Showcase #21.

CobraMisfit said...

I'm just going to replay the video of the Battle of Arbela with machine guns, JSAers, and a randy-Alex-for-Alan over and over in my head.

Because, dang it, THAT is a DC movie I want to see!

Anonymous said...

(seven was more of a guideline than an actual rule...)

As a result, the Seven Soldiers' ranks included at least three and perhaps four sidekicks. Just think of all the potential sexual innuendo jokes. And I'll shut up about them now. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Since the JSA arrived AFTER Degaton and company arrived (which I presume is why/how they retained the autographed shield in the first place), they shouldn't have been able to straighten out that particular bit of the past -- they'd have needed to stop Degaton and company from even getting out of the time machine for that -- but I suppose it was fixed by whatever cosmic being(s) managed the timestream back then. ;-)

Anonymous said...

So is there any indication in this story, any whatsoever, that Johnny Thunder is in command of an electric genie that can bend reality on command? All along I was thinking "okay, it's not time to break out the thunderbolt yet", but then we got to the end of the story and I finally noticed it never happened.

Were the writers still thinking in terms of, Johnny accidentally summons an invisible genie and it grants his inadvertent wishes?

Anonymous said...

"I have absolutely no idea what continuity even means in DC Comics any more."

Nothing. It's meant nothing for YEARS.

I consider this DC's unofficial slogan on the matter: "We don't care, why should you?"


Scipio said...

"So is there any indication in this story, any whatsoever, that Johnny Thunder is in command of an electric genie that can bend reality on command? "

To be fair, that was GENERALLY the case in JSA stories. Johnny Thunder wasn't a hero/crimefighter; he was a comedy feature.