One month down, eleven to go — and this week was mostly fight scenes, so not much to annotate! Thanks again to writers Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza for dropping by last week, and belated thanks to Allen Passalaqua for his comments on week one. Here’s Busiek’s debriefing on issue #3, if you missed it.
Anyway, you know the drill by now. SPOILERS FOLLOW.
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“Caped Simioid Thinks So, Hm?”; 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 battle with Konvikt continues, along with the JLA’s clean-up of Thayer’s Notch. Batman discovers Konvikt’s spaceship.
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– To me this exchange is an interesting counterpoint with issue #2′s Wonder Woman/Superman robot-fight conversation. Then, Superman offered to help, but Wonder Woman waved him off, saying she wanted to “finish it [her]self.” Here, although Superman indicates his concern about the townspeople, I get the feeling he’s feeling a little competitive too. A “personal best at ‘hulk’-ing monster smashing,” maybe?
– Looks like John Stewart has recovered, after being incapacitated for most of issue #3.
– I have to say (and I apologize mightily for not saying it sooner) that Mark Bagley and Art Thibert have really done a nice job on the town of Thayer’s Notch. I’ve driven through enough small towns in Kentucky and Virginia to recognize the same blend of venerable architecture and new construction.
– At first I was a little put off by the “scary! Batman” scene, and especially its apparent lack of resolution, but the more I think about it the more I like it. Sure, objectively Batman is something of a jerk, just showing up and telling this terrified family they’re almost too dumb to live. (Okay, maybe not quite.) Besides, he literally scares them away when they’re already plenty scared. However, as I’m sure he’d explain, the point is to get them out of the area. That does the job pretty efficiently, and efficiency has been a consistent part of Batman’s characterization for the past few decades.
– Also, at first I thought the people Batman scared might have joined this group which Wonder Woman helps save. Upon further review, though, they’re different. Of course, I remain a little thick.
– “My agents are in place”: in hindsight, I am guessing this could refer to the blue-furred “beast” who tags Wonder Woman on page 9.
– Odds that Enigma is some Multiversal mashup of Two-Face and the Riddler: 3:1.
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– Konvikt’s “armor-up,” noted by Wonder Woman on the next page, is seen first in panel 4.
– Even if it’s not one of Morgaine’s minions, I wonder if the furry ghost is related to Rita’s savior from last issue?
– The “Omega” symbol has a couple of obvious connotations in the DC superhero realm. Darkseid wields the Omega Effect, an energy beam with a number of uses including destructive force and teleportation. As it happens, the DC Database notes that the Omega beams are ineffective against Wonder Woman’s bracelets … so maybe that’s why the symbol is on her back.
– However, the Omega symbol might also refer to the Omega Men, a group of freedom fighters from the Vegan star system whose number includes the felinoid Tigorr. I read the last Omega Men miniseries, but I can’t remember enough of it to say whether it could also be Tigorr’s girlfriend Felicity.
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– Okay, now I’m wondering if Enigma is some version of Walker “Chronos” Gabriel, a time-traveler who starred in his own eponymous short-lived series (March 1998-February 1999). I’ll lay those odds at 8:1. At least the pattern on his coat reminds me of Chronos’ suit.
– Starting officially with the 1986 revamp of Superman, and before that in the pages of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight, the conventional wisdom surrounding Batman and Superman’s relationship changed. Put simply, it was thought that they were too different to be as buddy-buddy as had been shown previously. Of course, each learned the other’s secret identity before too long, but because they weren’t particularly close, Batman might just call Superman by his last name. Nevertheless, that was some twenty years ago, and in recent years the two have gotten to that first-name-basis point. I say all that merely to observe that while Batman’s use of “Kent” is perfectly pragmatic, it still seems a little cold.
– I guess Konvikt caught Graak after all….
“World-Something…”; plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Mike Norton and Scott McDaniel, inked by Jerry Ordway and Andy Owens, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Pat Brousseau; Elisabeth V. Gehrlein, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: Tarot becomes one with the universe and has a vision of Despero wreaking havoc on a distant world.
Page 13 (story page 1)
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– As far as I can tell, the term “worldsoul” as it applies to DC cosmology is new with this issue. (I understand it’s an Iron Fist term, but I won’t get into that here.) However, the idea itself obviously isn’t. Following the revelation that Swamp Thing was an “Earth Elemental” (which happened in Swamp Thing vol. 2 #33 (February 1985)), DC revised Firestorm (not the current one) into a “Fire Elemental” and Red Tornado into an “Air Elemental.” A fourth character, Naiad, was introduced as the “Water Elemental,” and they all got together in “The Elemental War” (Firestorm vol. 2 #s 90-93 (October 1989-January 1990). There, if memory serves, they met Gaia, who was the spirit of the planet Earth itself, or something to that effect.
– “I became … the universe”: That almost sounds like Kismet, a nigh-omnipotent entity created by Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummett for The Adventures of Superman #494 (September 1992). Among other things, she played a part in Superman’s eventual resurrection (as shown in Adventures #500 (Early June 1993)). Later, as the personification of the DC Universe in JLA/Avengers (2003), she “romanced” Marvel’s Eternity.
– Despero (created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky) is an alien tyrant from the planet Kalanor who first appeared in Justice League of America vol. 1 #1 (October 1960). His current appearance dates back to JLofAv1 #251 (June 1986), which was written by Gerry Conway and pencilled by Luke McDonnell. (The “Time Stealers” version seen in recent issues of Booster Gold is from an earlier point in the timeline.) He has popped up here and there over the past few years, most recently in the “Crisis Of Conscience” story in JLA (issues 115-119, August-Late November 2005) and later in Superman/Batman (issues 28-33, September 2006-March 2007). Because he’s pretty powerful on his own (watch out for that third eye!) he doesn’t normally need weapons, but he’s used them in the past.
– As we’ll see, the fellow in the shadows is Kanjar Ro, former dictator of the planet Dhor. Created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, he first appeared in Justice League of America vol. 1 #3 (February 1961). His beefy redesign dates back at least as far as JLA #78 (April 2003), but it might have been introduced in Action Comics #786 (February 2002). Both issues were written by Joe Kelly, with Pascual Ferry pencilling Action and Doug Mahnke JLA. Prior to Trinity Kanjar recently faced the League (including the Trinitarians) in JLofAv2 #19 (May 2008).
– Despero and Kanjar Ro are just two of what you might call the “O-Zone” of Justice League villains. Others include Professor Ivo, his android Amazo, T.O. Morrow (who created the Red Tornado), Starro, and Agamemno.
– Clearly Kanjar Ro is more of a capitalist than Despero.
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– “Interspatial gateway”: in Despero’s first appearance, he used a teleportation system to strand the Leaguers on various inhospitable planets. Superman and Wonder Woman worked together to free themselves, while Batman teamed up with the Martian Manhunter.
– We remember José Delgado from last issue, right?
– I know I should know these guys in the last panel, but I got nothin’. The one on the right looks like the Mist, but I know it’s not. Still, I’m guessing they each fought Blue Beetle and/or Booster Gold at some point. Please tell me where in Infinite Crisis or the Villains United Special they appeared so I can feel properly chastised.
– UPDATE! Thanks to commenters Korvac, my correspondent EdCoyote (he still can’t leave a comment!), and Mr. Busiek, the three stooges are Throttle, Blindside, and Whiteout. I’m going to say that each was created by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton during their late-’80s run on Green Lantern. Throttle and Blindside first appeared as associates of longtime GL foe Sonar in GL vol. 2 #189 (June 1985). They joined Guy Gardner’s army of villains attacking the moon of Qward (as part of the book’s Crisis crossover) in issue #198. Whiteout was similarly an associate (minion? I’m blanking on the “Venture Bros.” term) of Doctor Polaris who first appeared in Green Lantern Corps #201 (June 1986). Throttle can “speed up any moving thing,” Blindside emits powerful bursts of light, and Whiteout can move parts of people into other dimensions. Since I have finally gotten the Vast Comics Library into some kind of order, you’ll notice scans from the aforementioned issues. Apparently, I read about these guys, and then I forgot about ‘em.
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So, on that note, what else did I miss?