Not much this week in the way of Easter eggs, but look for a first-act wrapup in the next couple of days.
As for this issue … well, it’s the official end of the first act! Any more and I’d have to say…
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“But So No Longer” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Ken Lopez; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: The Troika sacrifices the Trinity on the techno-altar of creation. (Oooh, poetic!)
– I believe the placement of the sigils on the page (top to bottom) corresponds to their listing in dialogue.
– The “trinity of paladins” phrase goes all the way back to issue #1.
– “Ley-weaving” and the “ley loom” probably refers to ley lines, patterns of some ancient significance which may be connected to the fundamental forces of the Earth. Off the top of my head, I think the Lazarus Pit(s) which help sustain immortal ecoterrorist Ra’s al Ghul are also related to ley lines.
– Remember, this ritual is protected from the dozens of superheroes outside (and Hawkman and Gangbuster trying to get in) by the Troika’s techno-mystic shields.
– In case it isn’t obvious by now, Morgaine’s incantation suggests that the Troika is trying to replace the Trinity as universal “keystones” (again, issue #1′s term).
– Superman and Wonder Woman are praying, or at least calling on their particular patron deities. Gaea is the goddess of the Earth herself, and Demeter is the Greek goddess of nature. Rao is the Kryptonian supreme being. The Neil Gaiman/Miguelanxo Prado Sandman short story “Heart of a Star” (in 2003′s Endless Nights graphic novel) used Rao as the personification of Krypton’s star. However, in Action Comics #839 (July 2006), written by Geoff Johns and some guy named Busiek, the star’s name is actually given as “Eldirao,” with the “El” meaning “star,” same as “Kal-El” meaning Star Child. The Wikipedia article on “Rao” credits Mr. Busiek with the Eldirao name, but I can’t find an independent source for that.
– I won’t get into the issue of Batman’s religion (or lack thereof), but instead of praying, he appears to be meditating on his own inspiration. In the classic Batman origin sequence, first seen in Detective Comics #33 (November 1939), Bruce has completed his initial round of training and ponders aloud how he’s going to fight crime:
Criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible….
And then, of course, a squirrel crashed through the window and he went on to become a cult-favorite Marvel heroine.
– No annotations.
– I presume this is Krona’s creation-energy exploding all over the page (and now that I see that phrase written out … eww). Caught therein are Hawkgirl, Green Lanterns John Stewart and Hal Jordan, Supergirl, and a couple of Troika minions.
– Looks like the Batcave computer is the one freaking out in panel 5.
– “Forbidden Tales”: okay, here’s another wild guess which will probably be wrong, but that hasn’t stopped me before. The woman in panel 6 doesn’t look like either Madame Zodiac or Madame Xanadu (who was just in Countdown, but might now be strictly Vertigo). Anyway, I think the window’s “Forbidden Tales” sign is a reference to the short-lived Gothic horror comic Forbidden Tales Of Dark Mansion (formerly Dark Mansion Of Forbidden Love), published by DC for eleven issues, May-June 1972 to February-March 1974. I have no idea whether the woman was FTODM’s hostess/protagonist, but I’m sure we’ll find out her role soon enough.
– Does this mean the “to be continued” logo will change…?
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“Honor and Justice” was plotted by Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza, scripted by Nicieza, pencilled by Scott McDaniel, inked by Andy Owens, colored by Allen Passalaqua, lettered by Ken Lopez; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: It’s Konvikt’s backstory, coming soon to a country song near you.
Page 10 (story page 1)
– Konvikt and Graak were last seen in issue #5. I had forgotten, but in a “brazier moment” in issue #1, Konvikt actually speaks.
– Konvikt was (through Graak, naturally) talking about honor ‘way back in his first appearance in issue #2.
– Referenced in issue #5, here’s The Slab, the Antarctic maximum-security prison. Back in #5, Konvikt was airlifted here by agents of the D.E.O.
– This may be Hannah Mercer’s first appearance, unless I missed an issue of Manhunter or something otherwise appropriate for a defense attorney.
– I can’t find any references in issues #2-5 to these specific casualties, but I’ll look again. Maybe they were killed before Green Lantern and the League showed up.
– Although Batman and Superman left Graak manacled to an escape-pod bulkhead, dialogue a few pages later revealed that he escaped. How he got from Massachusetts to Antarctica has yet to be explained.
– Speaking as an attorney, I have to say I would definitely not want telepathic client links. Nothing against any of my clients, but I have enough trouble with my own brain.
– Also, it doesn’t exactly seem ethical for Graak to want to exploit Konvikt’s power and thereby make himself “High Lord Adjutant” of the Earth. An attorney shouldn’t have a personal stake in the outcome of his client’s case.
– No annotations.
– Konvikt was ten years old when he met the Ton family, and he had already been part of the military and gotten the “warmods” which change his fur into armor plating? So much for grade school.
– No annotations.
– No annotations.
– “Graak see nothing like this in simioid minds”: guess Graak is telepathic generally, not just with Konvikt.
– Wonder Woman’s reaction suggests that wherever the Trinity has ended up, it’s peaceful and beautiful. It reminded me of the end of the first Forever People series (issue #11, August-September 1972), when the FP found themselves transported to the idyllic planet of Adon.
– Hey, Krona watched the ‘08 Olympics! No CGI footprints here, though….
– Power Girl’s “Society” is obviously her team, the Justice Society of America … or is it exactly the Society we know?
– See, “Interceptor” may refer to a character in the Elseworld’s Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl one-shot from 1998 (written by Barbara Kesel, pencilled by Matt Haley, inked by Tom Simmons, and plotted by all three). That special describes a timeline where Superman and Batman never existed, and Wonder Woman heads the world’s premier super-team, the Justice Society of America. Interceptor is one of the Socialites with no apparent analogue to a current DC character. In fact, Matt Haley has said that “the Interceptor is a couple of characters of mine from college mushed together.”
– The Ultra-Humanite was Superman’s first bald mad-scientist foe, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster for Action Comics #13 (June 1939). Ultra soon became infamous for transplanting his brain into other people’s (and one gorilla’s) bodies.
– “Gotham Economic Boom Continues”: gee, must be nice. With the timeline altered, Metropolis is now tottering on the brink of destruction and Gotham City is the place to be. Dogs and cats, living together — mass hysteria!
– The Toyman is an old Superman foe usually associated with more benign capers. He was created by Siegel and Shuster and first appeared in Action Comics #64 (September 1943). Although Toyman has gotten grim ‘n’ gritty on occasion, the suggestion that he’s maiming people is still an indication that things have gotten real bad.
– I was right — that wasn’t Lola Barnett back in issue #1, but the alt-Lois seen here!
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Okay, that’s it for me for about a day or so. Again, I’ll be looking back on these first seventeen issues over the weekend. See you then!