It’s time once again for “I Use Google So You Don’t Have To!”
In his weekly interview with Newsarama, Kurt Busiek stated that all the story titles will appear somehow in the stories themselves, at least for the foreseeable future. Personally, I think “KPLOW” is a bit of a stretch, but the story isn’t particularly deep anyway….
As always, SPOILERS FOLLOW.
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“KPLOW”; written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, lettered by Pat Brosseau; Elisabeth V. Gehrlein, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: The Justice League joins the fight against Konvikt, but when Superman shows up, it doesn’t make much difference.
– I’m getting a twisted Timon & Pumbaa vibe off Graak and Konvikt. That’s not really a bad thing.
– Picking up from last issue, obviously, there’s Green Lantern John Stewart in a tight spot. In that Newsarama interview linked above, Busiek seemed to hint that Konvikt was able to disrupt John Stewart’s concentration somehow, and thereby weaken his control over his power-ring constructs.
– Okay, so I was wrong on the little Massachusetts town: it’s “Thayer’s Notch,” not Housatonic. Google still didn’t help me find a real town called Thayer’s Notch, but I’m open to a correction.
– Looks like the two-page spread on pages 2 and 3 might be a regular feature of this series.
– The Justice League of America has been DC-Earth’s premier superhero team pretty much since the dawn of the current “heroic age,” some dozen or so years ago, DC time. Originally conceived by writer Gardner Fox, artist Mike Sekowsky, and editor Julius Schwartz as a revival of the 1940s Justice Society of America (which first appeared in All Star Comics #3 (Winter 1940-41)), the JLA first appeared in The Brave And The Bold vol. 1 #28 (February-March 1960). The Trinitarians, who were charter members, consider themselves its guiding spirits. Members shown here are Hawkgirl, Black Lightning, Red Arrow, Black Canary, Flash, Vixen, and Firestorm.
– Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders) first appeared in JSA Secret Files & Origins #1 (August 1999), written by James Robinson and David S. Goyer and pencilled by Scott Benefiel. The soul of the original Hawkgirl (her relative Shiera Sanders Hall) now resides in Kendra’s body. This connects Kendra not just to the original Hawkgirl, but also to Hawkman (her lovah across the ages) and the couple’s history of reincarnation. Shiera was created by Gardner Fox and Dennis Neville and first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940) before donning mask and wings in All Star Comics #5 (June-July 1941). Originally a member of the Justice Society, Kendra later became a Justice League reserve member, and was “activated” in JLA #69 (Early October 2002). She joined the League as a full member in Justice League of America vol. 2 #7 (May 2007).
– Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce), created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, first appeared in Black Lightning vol. 1 #1 (April 1977). A longtime member of the Outsiders and colleague of Batman, the electricity-wielding BL initially turned down JLA membership in Justice League of America vol. 1 #173 (December 1979). Nevertheless, BL also spent time as a League reservist before joining fully in JLofA v2 #7.
– “Red Arrow” is Roy Harper’s third codename. As the first Speedy, Roy was Green Arrow’s sidekick from More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941) to New Titans #99 (July 1993), when he took the new name of “Arsenal.” That lasted until the aforementioned JLofA vol. 2 #7, when he dubbed himself Red Arrow and joined the current League. However, in the alternate future of Kingdom Come (1996), Roy had “already” adopted the Red Arrow name and costume in homage to his then-retired mentor. It’s worth noting that the current issue of JLofA (also out this week) features a subplot about the romance between Red Arrow and Hawkgirl, but that has no bearing on Trinity’s story.
– Black Canary, created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino, first appeared in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947) and was a longtime member of the Justice Society. The current Black Canary, Dinah Laurel Lance, is the original’s daughter. She is the JLA’s leader and possesses a sonic-scream power, called the “Canary Cry,” which her mother lacked. The definitive biographies of both Black Canaries (written by Alan Brennert and pencilled by Joe Staton) may be found in Secret Origins vol. 2 #50 (August 1990). BC married Green Arrow in the Green Arrow/Black Canary Wedding Special (November 2007) and has been an aunt/older-sister/mentor-figure to Red Arrow. (Among other things, in Green Lantern #86 (October-November 1971), she helped Roy get off heroin.) In the current timeline, she was a founding member of the Justice League (see, e.g., Secret Origins vol. 2 #32 (November 1988) and 52 #51 (June 2007)).
– We’ve already met the Flash (Wally West) in issue #1. Like Roy Harper, Wally was a longtime member of the “junior Justice League” (don’t call them that!) known as the Teen Titans. As the Flash, he joined the European branch of Justice League International in Justice League International #24 (February 1989) and has been with the League in one form or another ever since.
– Vixen (Mari McCabe), created by Gerry Conway and Bob Oksner, first appeared in Action Comics #521 (July 1981). The “Tantu totem” she wears allows her to mimic the abilities of any animal or bird. However, lately (in the pages of JLofA, including much of this week’s issue) she has been able to mimic her teammates’ powers. She joined the Justice League in Justice League of America Annual vol. 1 #2 (1984).
– Firestorm was created by Gerry Conway and Al Milgrom and first appeared in Firestorm vol. 1 #1 (March 1978). The original Firestorm was a Justice Leaguer and later appeared in the Busiek-written Power Company. The current Firestorm, Jason Rusch, is … well, let’s call him version 2.0. Like his predecessor, Jason can “fuse” with another person, who then becomes a disembodied presence advising him. However, Jason can also operate by himself as Firestorm, which looks like what he’s doing here. Firestorm can fly and shoot energy blasts which affect inorganic matter. He can also transform inorganic matter — turn a safe into a rubber chicken, for example. Jason’s version of Firestorm first appeared in Firestorm vol. 3 #1 (July 2004), written by Dan Jolley and pencilled by Chriscross. Jason joined the Justice League in Justice League of America vol. 2 #15 (January 2008).
– See, here Firestorm is turning air molecules into titanium-steel manacles.
– Apparently Konvikt doesn’t want to rule, he just wants to be left alone.
– I presume Konvikt is able to reflect energy attacks back on the attacker, since I don’t think electricity “bounces” like that.
– Firestorm’s nickname for Vixen (“Vee”) reminds me that Zatanna’s colleagues sometimes call her “Zee.” I don’t think that makes it a trend.
– Last I remember, Firestorm also has the power to become immaterial. Apparently it’s not automatic. (Also, more evidence that Jason is going solo: the disembodied “co-pilots” would often act as eyes in the back of ‘Stormy’s head.)
– Here’s the Canary Cry in action. It seems to work independently of Dinah’s normal vocal chords.
– The Trinitarians appear courtesy of the Justice League transporter. You’ll remember that last issue, Batman was summoning them to the Batcave; so unless they then went to JLA headquarters, they used Batman’s transporter. ["But Tom, if Batman has a JLA transporter, why doesn't he use it all the time?" Quiet, you!] It may represent an upgrade from the older versions, which had a more Star Trek “beam-up” effect. This looks like the “doors” used by the Authority.
– Morgaine sums up the leadership dynamic well: even though Black Canary is the leader, the Trinitarians have a special status among their associates. The Trinitarians aren’t exactly humble about this, having established a secret meeting-place within JLA headquarters (first shown in JLofA v2 #21 (July 2008)) to talk about where they want to take the team.
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– … And the streak of Wonder Woman-related story titles ends at two.
– Fans of the Justice League International-era roster might feel a bit of deja vu at Konvikt’s K.O. of Superman. During the “Death Of Superman” storyline, in Justice League America #69 (December 1992), a Justice League team was trashed by the monster Doomsday on its way to killing Superman.
“Earth To Rita”; plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Mike Norton, inked by Jerry Ordway, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brousseau; Elisabeth V. Gehrlein, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: Tarot, reluctant advisor to gangbangers, gets strongarmed by them before they’re mauled by something furry. Also, welcome back an old Superman supporting character!
Page 13 (story page 1)
– I’m not going to get too deep into Tarot interpretation here, and will instead refer you to the Tarotpedia site.
– I was unaware of “Paramore,” but I’m not up on what the kids today put in their Walk-Pods.
– We met Tarot in a cameo in issue #1′s second story, but here she gets a real name: Marguerita Arroyo Covas.
– Another jagged double-line, not unlike Wonder Woman’s symbol or that thing on Konvikt’s head, can be seen in the upper-left corner of panel #1.
– “Like the universe … burped, and no one heard”: I presume this is how superhero-comic creative personnel want their periodic cosmic housekeepings and time-resets to be perceived.
– Although the Daily Planet is based in Metropolis, we’re in Los Angeles. Clearly the Planet has a significant national readership on the order of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, etc.
– “Nightwing” is the current heroic codename of Dick Grayson, who as Robin the Boy Wonder was Batman’s first sidekick, starting in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940). Dick took off his Robin costume for the last time in The New Teen Titans vol. 1 #39 (February 1984) and adopted the Nightwing identity in Tales of the Teen Titans #44 (July 1984). Since he’s presently a curator at The Cloisters in New York City, it’s possible the referenced museum robbery was there.
– Although his last name isn’t given in this story, I have no doubt that the guy in panel 2 is José Delgado, a/k/a “Gangbuster,” created by Marv Wolfman and Jerry Ordway. José first appeared in The Adventures Of Superman #428 (May 1987) and first appeared as Gangbuster in Adventures #435 (November 1987). Both as an educator and a masked vigilante, José fought gang violence in Metropolis for several years.
– Gangbuster has connections with two of the main story’s characters. Not only has he worked with Superman, the Man of Steel suffered a breakdown where he unconsciously assumed the Gangbuster identity (for example, in Adventures #447 (December 1988)). Later, José worked with Black Lightning to stop a Gangbuster impersonator (Black Lightning vol. 2 #6 (May 1995)).
– I’d like to think that the small flyer in panel 2 advertises “The Flaming Carrot.”
– Graffiti very similar to the Gangbuster no-fist symbol can be seen in the background of panel 5.
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– “Been a while since I did this”: Gangbuster’s last appearance was in The Power Of Shazam! #47 (March 1999).
– The shadowy figure in panel 3 could be one of a couple of were-beast villains: the Weasel, who was a guy in a furry suit; or one of the Hyenas. Both were foes of the original Firestorm.
– If it’s someone established, then given the level of violence, I’m guessing the Hyena.
– This story reminds me, at least superficially, of another Kurt Busiek character. During their run on Avengers, Busiek and George Pérez created Silverclaw, an Hispanic heroine who could mimic animals’ abilities and transform herself into were-forms of those animals. Here, an Hispanic heroine is saved by what looks like a were-beast.
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– Since Morgaine opens issue #2 by saying she has “set matters in Los Angeles into motion,” I presume she’s behind Rita’s savior.
– Rita’s cameo in issue #1, where she refers to “the gangs … that dream … whatever that monster was,” foreshadows the events of this story although it takes place after them.
– Back in issue #1, Morgaine lists the Tarot as one of the ways “the ancients” could “chart and manipulate the fundamental forces of reality.”
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Well, that’s all I’ve got this week. Keep an eye out for Busiek’s next Newsarama interview, and I’ll be back next Thursday!