Coming in late this week, but this installment was kind of light on the references, and a good thing too. I was going to post a gratuitous photo of Olivia “reading” issue #11, but right now it’s hard to get her to stay awake, even for the Trinitarians.
This week’s revelation about our heroes’ personalities was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, it helps justify previous issues’ discussions about said personalities. On the other, though, it seems more like “telling” than “showing.” I’m willing to excuse that to a certain extent, because with a weekly series, a month’s worth of trait-swapping would have gotten obvious a lot more quickly. Also, it’s a neat idea which fits this series’ mission statement.
Anyway, on to the minutiae!
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“Distinguished Visitors” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: As the Dreambound raid Themyscira, the Justice League sends humanitarian relief to the Anti-Matter Earth.
– We’re behind Doom’s Doorway on the island nation of Themyscira, which is sometimes called “Paradise Island” by outsiders. The original Paradise Island was first seen in All Star Comics #8 (December 1941), Wonder Woman’s debut. This version first appeared in Wonder Woman vol. 2 #1 (February 1987). As penance for straying from their teachings, the Greek goddesses banished the Amazons to Themyscira and charged them with guarding the outside world from the evil creatures imprisoned behind Doom’s Doorway.
– Since the Dreambound are here, I’ll send out special thanks to Xanadude, who I think nailed down the inspiration for the Dreambound in last week’s comments:
The four “new” villains are based on the characters the JLA assumed when testing Black Lightning for membership in Justice League of America #176: Primak was Zatanna, the Trans-Visible Man was the Flash, the Human Starburst was Green Lantern, and the Swashbuckler was Green Arrow.
Actually, it was Justice League of America v.1 #173 (December 1979), but still — very nice catch!
– Cottus is part of a trinity, namely the Hecatonchires of Greek myth. His brothers are Briareus and Gyges. Each has fifty heads and one hundred hands. This version of Cottus made his first appearance in WW v.2 #10 (November 1987), during which he apparently died in battle with Wonder Woman. Eyes, hands, and lots of black are about all you ever see of Cottus, though; so maybe Diana’s spear left him only mostly dead. Besides, it’s not very exciting to show four super-powered people just digging up some dirt.
– As shown originally in All Star #8, Wonder Woman was formed from the clay of Paradise Island and given life by the Greek gods. WW v.2 #1 depicts Hippolyta sculpting baby Diana on the Themysciran beach, and I can’t find the reference to her battling Cottus for said clay. However, the two events aren’t mutually exclusive.
– In fact, Cottus did play a part in WW’s extended origin: as per WW v.2 #12 (January 1988), Diana Trevor, who was Princess Diana’s namesake, fought off Cottus with her handgun. She saved the life of the Amazons Philippus and Menalippe at the cost of her own, and also provided the Amazons with a pistol for their “flashing thunder” test.
– Assuming that the Dreambound successfully harvested a glob of Themysciran clay, there are only two more artifacts to go: one from Superman’s “foundation” and one from Wonder Woman’s “foe.” (Didn’t mean for that to rhyme….)
– I keep forgetting to note: although Power Ring’s shaved head and facial hair is reminiscent of the animated version of John Stewart, I like to think that at least one evil counterpart needs a goatee.
– Remember the scintillating “how does Vixen fly?” debate from issue #3? Here we see that she’s supported on a power-ring platform.
– “A favor like that is an ironclad debt”: as established in “Syndicate Rules,” the Favor Bank is the only solid law on the Anti-Matter Earth. If you do a favor for someone, they must return the favor at a time and place of your choosing. Because (again, in “SR”) the JLA stopped the Void Hound from destroying the A-M Earth, the CSA is in its debt.
– “You all right, son?” Uh-oh — Nice Batman! Something’s terribly wrong!
– I don’t suppose any of us should break our arms patting ourselves on the back for figuring out this wasn’t the “good” Jimmy Olsen. A-M Jimmy first appeared in JLA: Earth 2, where he was portrayed as quite the little pervert.
– “His heart’s on the wrong side”: like everyone else on the A-M Earth, again as established in JLA: Earth 2. Sadly, Jimmy’s heart may never grow three sizes in one day.
– I bet the idea of being interrogated by Wonder Woman was one of the inducements for A-M Jimmy to “go undercover.”
– Again, while on one level Superman’s behavior is meant to remind us of Batman, on another it’s probably exacerbated by his distaste for the Anti-Matter universe.
– “At least fourteen”: By my count (which might not be completely accurate), of the 52 worlds of the current Multiverse, about fifteen are uncategorized. Since Apollo and Zealot belong to Earth-50, that gives Trinity’s creative teams a decent amount of leeway.
– Wonder Woman analogues mentioned here may include Zealot, the Shazamazon (who could belong to Earth-5), the Artemistress, and the Shining Star. Superman analogues may include Apollo, the Starchild, and Galactiman. Batman analogues may include Moonrunner, the Twilighter (although I’m surprised Earth-50′s Midnighter wasn’t mentioned), and Nightfalcon.
– “As to why worlds manifest that way…”: actually, it’s ironic that Red Tornado is making this statement. According to 52, Reddy seems to have witnessed the reborn Multiverse, and the information stored in his head was used by Rip Hunter, Time Master to navigate it. Rip knows (but Reddy may not) that the current Multiverse (introduced in 52 #52 (May 2, 2007)) is essentially our Earth plus 51 duplicates, each altered to various degrees by the intervention of the creature Mr. Mind. Therefore, it’s more likely than not that each parallel Earth would have a Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman analogue.
– “This world”: Ultraman had a similar reaction to “our” Earth when he traveled there in “Syndicate Rules.”
– Faces on Evil Mount Rushmore are, obviously, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Idi Amin, and a Roman Emperor (probably Nero or Caligula).
– I don’t know whether the Cookie Wars remind me more of the battling Girl Scouts from Airplane! or something out of American Flagg!; but either way, nice work.
– “We can’t save it, can we?”: Obviously this is further evidence of the Trinitarians’ outlooks merging, but it’s also something of a callback to JLA: Earth 2. There, Batman was the most reluctant to travel to the Anti-Matter Earth.
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“The Next Step” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Tom Derenick, inked by Wayne Faucher, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Ken Lopez; Rachel Gluckstern, assistant editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: Hawkman and Gangbuster battle the Dreambound while the Outsiders guard a blind alley.
Page 13 (story page 1)
– Geo-Force, a/k/a Brion Markov, was created by Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo. He first appeared in The Brave and the Bold vol. 1 #200 (July 1983), as a charter member of Batman’s first group of Outsiders.
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– I haven’t been counting, but there sure are a lot of Washington, D.C. locations in this series. This is the Smithsonian’s Castle, which houses administrative offices and a visitor’s center.
– Clearly, for someone with Hawkman’s history of reincarnation, he could pose as his own relative without too much trouble.
– [By the way, until the context indicates otherwise, I’m ignoring the recent Hawkman Special.]
– Mall geography: the Castle is separated from the Air & Space Museum only by the Arts & Industries Building and the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden. If Carter and José are towards the United States Capitol building, they’re looking eastward along Jefferson Street SW.
– I understand why the Castle and the Air & Space Museum appear here, but at one time the real-world National Museum of American History (also part of the Smithsonian) housed one of Christopher Reeve’s Superman capes, as well as a representative issue of The Adventures of Superman.
– Hey, Primat, put that down! It’s (probably) Friendship 7, which (on February 20, 1962) helped John H. Glenn Jr. become the first American to orbit the Earth! (However, the partners at Sterling Cooper were not impressed.)
– The space-plane Constitution, seen just to the right of the pillar of flame in panel 2, is a fictional analogue of the Space Shuttle orbiter. It first appeared in The Man Of Steel #1 (October 1986), written and pencilled by John Byrne. As part of the City of Metropolis’ 250th-anniversary celebration, the Constitution was supposed to land at Metropolis International. However, an accident involving an errant civilian plane forced the as-yet-uncostumed Clark Kent into the open. Of course, Clark saved the Constitution and her crew, which included civilian reporter Lois Lane.
– If one examines Man Of Steel #1, one might notice that, from certain angles, the Constitution looks a whole lot like a Space Shuttle orbiter. Alan Kistler states that the Constitution’s look was altered “at the last minute” following the January 1986 explosion of the shuttle Challenger. There may be a Byrne-board post on this topic, but I haven’t found it. [UPDATE: With thanks to commenter Vinnie B, here's some more info from the latest "Urban Legends Revealed."]
– In the world of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City, the Superman-analogue Samaritan does in fact save the Space Shuttle Challenger, albeit in a comic book published some ten years later.
– I suspect that the Constitution, in whatever form, was an indirect reference to both the prototypical Enterprise orbiter and the prototype for Star Trek‘s Constitution class of starships. Again, this might have been addressed on the Byrne board.
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– As shown in MOS #1, “Mysterious Superman Saves Space Plane” was also the headline on the corresponding edition of the Smallville Post.
– The 2003-04 miniseries Superman: Birthright (written by Mark Waid and drawn by Leinil F. Yu) revised many details of Superman’s origin and early years, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t erase the Constitution‘s rescue.
– We’ve already had “Truth, Justice, and the American Way“; so “strange visitor” is another reference to the opening narration of the “Adventures of Superman” TV show.
– With this “foundational” artifact obtained, there’s just one more to go.
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Looks like that’s it for this week. These may appear irregularly for a while, as I get used to being a dad, but I’ll try to have ‘em up by the weekend. See you soon!