Saturday, November 05, 2022

The Thirteen

Let's talk about this, shall we?

It's a scene from the end of Beyond Flashpoint (#6) which naturally you are not reading.  You're not reading it because anything titled "Beyond" is the theoretical and non-canonical future version of Something and anything Flashpoint is not only an Elseworlds but an Elseworlds that's been dunzo for over ten years. The only thing less relevant would be, I guess, Bizarro Dark Anti-Matter Beyond Flashpoint, but I probably shouldn't give DC any ideas.

However, Geoff Johns wrote it and it's part of his fan-wan--er, I mean, love-letter to Alan Moore's Watchmen, which admittedly was pretty cool when I read it over 35 years ago, but, oh my god, can we please all move on now? I feel like I'm in a Gravitas Ventures movie where I've escaped the heavily-inked horrors of the Jack Kirby Kultists who ruined my childhood only to fall into the clutches of Alan Moore Maniacs who've trapped me as an adult in a nine-square grid.

You know, Moore actually uses a nine-panel grid in a cinematic way to equalize time,
not in a graphological way to separate units of meaning as comic books do.
Real comics used a wide variety of lay-outs and frequent panel extrusions.
What most people don't realize is that Moore's Watchmen work doesn't look like comics at all;
it reads like watching a movie.

Anyway, since the Riddler secretly took over DC (about the time it published 52), all important line-wide change is presented as a grand puzzle with pieces of information strewn about in as many publications as possible. The assumption (or hope) behind this tactic is that we'll all read everything, but the real result is that no one understands anything, like the Parable of The Blind Men and The Elephant.  

It's like one of those world-destroying macguffin devices that can be destroyed for some reason, and instead get broken up into many pieces and buried as widely apart as possible so that no one can ever reassemble them again.

Well, this panel, buried in the back of this publication no one in their right mind is reading, is one of those pieces, listing thirteen characters who are being baldly retconned into Golden Age comics history.

What unprecedented nerve.

Retconning the Golden Age is... not something that should be done lightly.

Although, as we discussed during Black History Month sixteen years ago, there are certainly aspects of the Golden Age that merit revision.

Let's explore about who these retro-insertions might be.

Betsy Ross

This one is easy.

It's her.

That's from the cover of the forthcoming Stargirl and the Lost Children, the story where Stargirl (because of course it's Stargirl) finds of a bunch of lost sidekicks in a pocket dimension (or some such).  And that person is obviously "Betsy Ross".  It's not clear to me what hero she'd be associated with; my best guess would be a Golden Age version of Wonder Woman (which we'll surely be getting somehow).

Molly Pitcher

Another easy one:

It's the girl holding the pitcher.

She's holding onto that thing like it's the source of her powers not just her name.  So my guess is going to be she's a sidekick for Liberty Belle, because that would be perfectly ridiculous. Now, her costume, is clearly meant to coordinate with Betsy Ross's and they have similar patriotic names.  Does that imply they are sidekicks of the same hero or not? Or is it parallelism across dynasties? To further complicate matters: the costume design and color scheme is strongly reminiscent of Merry, Girl of a Thousand Gimmicks, who's from a different dynasty entirely (she's the sister of the Star-Spangled Kid, which makes her a Starman character).  Very curious.


I'm guessing that's her.

Based on the name, the ONLY thing that makes sense is a sidekick to the Golden Age Blue Beetle.

Salem the Witch Girl

I get no points for guessing this one.

Must be related to Joe Meach

I think it's really weird to retrofit an analog of Jack Kirby's vague and goofy Klarion the Witchboy into the Golden Age, especially as a sidekick for the very Egyptian Dr. Fate.  But DC is a patchwork quilt.

Cherry Bomb

Points for the dead-on name:

And the logo. Which doesn't evoke breasts at all.

I wouldn't expect the Human Bomb to have a sidekick (but then again, I wouldn't expect Tim Sale to do her make-up, either).  I assume that the Human Bomb and Cherry Bomb (my gosh, that's adorable) become stand-ins for the actual Golden Age duo of TNT and Dan The Dyna-Mite (who were even more absurd).

John Henry, Jr.

Another easy pick:

It's hammer time.

I don't want him to be Amazing-Man's sidekick, but you just know he is.

The Golden Age Red Lantern

No visuals available that I know of. I wonder whether his costume will be as garish as Alan/s?  It makes perfect sense that Geoff Johns would strive to extend his Spectrum Lantern concept backwards in time to the Golden Age.  I may not like, but he'll probably pull it off.  I assuming the Golden Age Red Lantern will be to Alan as Rival is to Jay.

Judy Garrick

This required a screen cap:

From a DC promo video, which shows that Geoff Johns has not only re-acquired power, he has also re-acquired HAIR.

That's clearly Judy Garrick, who will (also clearly) be a Golden age Kid Flash.

The Harlequin's Son

No visuals that I know of. The Harlequin was a Golden Age Green Lantern foe who was secretly his secretary. Hijinx ensued.  

She's was really just trying to get his interest, which for some reason she couldn't do as a civilian.

While Alan had children (with another villain), Harlequin did not. But now she will have. This will be interesting. Will he be a villain? Who was his father? Will he wear fabulous cat-eye glasses and that skirt?!  Here's hoping!

The Golden Age Aquaman


It will be all be worth it for this.

Like all things Geoff Johns, I would never have expected this in a thousand years and therefore it is exactly what I should have expected.  The potential impact of this is as earthshaking as Poseidon himself. I feel like retiring to a desert island for a year simply to contemplate the possibilities, knowing that I still would not have thought of whatever Johns will actually do, which, once he's done it, will be obvious in retrospect.

If a Golden Age Aquaman is inserted back into history, will he still be around now? It would be nice for there to be an elder Aquaman to act an Elder Statesman for the Aquaman Dynasty. One who always lives on land, stays at the lighthouse, teaches marine biology, works with the Sea Devils, that sort of thing. Maybe Golden Aquaman will actually be current Aquaman's FATHER.  

Quiz Kid

Curious.  "Kid" certainly implies sidekick.  There are leftover sidekicks I haven't mentioned. 


who will be Spectre's sidekick, JUST as I used to play her in Heroclix
Please make him Hal's new sidekick. Puh-LEASE.

Hourman's Sidekick
Um... Rent Boy?

Jack Kirby's odious Newsboy Legion, which I refuse to discuss.

Everything Kirby made was stupid

And a Mr. Terrific Sidekick

"Play Fair" is witty

"Quiz Kid" isn't a sensible or even possible name for any of them, with the possible exception of Master Terrific, there.  But the Terrific "power" is having lots of talents, not all the answers.  "Quiz Kid" sounds like an updated name for Genius Jones. Could this kid be Genius Jones?

The Golden Age Legionnaire

It's hard to imagine that anyone (let alone Geoff Johns) would create a character called "Legionnaire" without expecting people to think of the Legion of Super-Heroes (LSH). But the LSH (which is currently not being published) traditionally connects only to SupermanIt makes no sense that this character (whatever it is) could connect to the LSH in the 31st (30th?) Century.  That doesn't mean, however, the Geoff Johns won't make it make sense.  

Will Boxing Boy, a.k.a. the Golden Age Karate Kid, be able to save the League of Nations from Corporal Punishment?

The question is: it is a Golden Age character named Legionnaire or a Legionnaire in the Golden Age? Neither makes any sense.  If it's a Golden Age character name Legionnaire described as "The Golden Age Legionnaire" rather than just "The Legionnaire" that implies that there's a non-Golden Age character named Legionnaire, which there isn't, and I can't imagine there will be.  If it's a Legionnaire (from the LSH) in the Golden Age, well, there's only one Legionnaire who's actually from the Golden Age and not the 30th (31st?) Century.

He looks kind of like those kids in the Russian high-school wrestler weigh-in videos.

Yeah, I know you think Superboy is from the Silver Age; you're just wrong. Superboy was the Sensational Character Find of 1945.  The Legion of Superheroes were creations of the Silver Age having been introduced in 1958, so every time they visited Superboy, it was the Silver Age, which why you think Superboy is only a Silver Age character.

The Golden Age Mr. Miracle

No clue. Also, no care. Extending Jack Kirby's influence isn't the future of the DCU. Nor its past.


Bryan L said...

Nice detective work. I do admit to being intrigued -- these sidekicks were "erased from time" and now are found again? Sounds a LOT like the return of the Seven Soldiers of Victory in Justice League so long ago. And Wing is one of the forgotten sidekicks.

Apparently a Red Arrow (forgive me, I've lost track of those) is involved as well? Hmm. I wonder if we'll see a return of the Iron Hand and the enigmatic Oracle? Did Wing's detonation of the Nebula Rod originally erase the sidekicks?

Could Betsy Ross and/or Molly Pitcher be related to the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy? That might line up better with Stargirl. Or I'm letting my Seven Soldiers obsession (dating from those JLA/JSA crossover issues) cloud things.

Anonymous said...

I could also see Betsy Ross & Molly Pitcher being sidekicks to Mr. America/ the Americommando. He already had one, but you never know.

I get your point about a sequel to a 2011 event comic not being a “must read” for most of us, but I’m not reading it because I *really* disliked Flashpoint.

Weirdly enough, M****l continues to publish stories by creators from the ‘80s & ‘90s that are sequels to their old hits. I want older creators to get work, but publishing tons of overt nostalgia bait is pretty sad.

- Mike Loughlin

Scipio said...

Flashpoint is based on Barry doing something he shouldn't; which is something Barry would never do.
And something he wouldn't have even had as an option, if Geoff Johns hadn't decided that Barry and Hal each needed to have Tragic Childhood Parent Loss as part of their heroic backstories to put them on iconic parity with Clark and Bruce. That was a serious miscall by GJ. Part of what makes Hal and Barry awesome is that they don't NEED tragic backstories (or even REASONS) to be heroic; they simply ARE that way.

Anonymous said...

Fully agreed about Hal's and Barry's backstories; making them tragic didn't enrich the characters. Though as for Hal, his tragic backstory actually comes to us long before Geoff Johns, in "Emerald Dawn". It didn't help then either, except that it gave them grounds to portray Hal as a young man with a chip on his shoulder prior to getting the ring.

Batman's really the only major DC hero who requires a tragic backstory. Even Superman's backstory isn't tragic; he grew up on earth, no memories of Krypton (except for some of the shenanigans they pulled in the Silver Age).

Although speaking of Superman, there is an oddity in Superman publishing history. For a time, the guys who published "Superman" weren't in sync with the guys doing "Superboy"; so if you were at the comics rack in 1947, you'd read in "Superman" that Clark didn't start heroing until he reached Metropolis, while the "Superboy" comic right next to that contradicted it. Earth-Two and Earth-One in action, and nobody even noticed!

Brontodon said...

John Henry's hammer looks an AWFUL lot like Mjolnir.

Anonymous said...

I can't put my finger on it at the moment, but there's some hero or other who I associate with factories, steel foundries, and the like. Maybe it's Iron Munro, maybe it's someone else. Anyway, I wonder if John Henry Jr would be that guy's sidekick, and the connection is blacksmithing.

Anonymous said...

Didn't the Human Bomb already have a couple sidekicks in the past like Throckmorton or The Bombadiers?

Scipio said...

Yes, but it's clear that what Johns is going after here is KID sidekicks.

Anonymous said...

...not a lot of sensational finds here.

Scipio said...

Heh; well, it was easier n 1940.

Shmuel Emuni said...

Justice Society 8 shows us the Legionnaire, after a year of suspense. Ferro Lad, I presume!