The start of Act Two means a target-rich environment for research-happy nerds. Let’s get going, shall we?
* * *
“Brave Men And Women” was written by Kurt Busiek, pencilled by Mark Bagley, inked by Art Thibert, colored by Pete Pantazis, and lettered by Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: “A whole new world/ A new fantastic point of view/ No one to tell us no/ Or where to go/ Or say we’re only dreaming…”
– Act Two begins as Act One did, with Krona out in space. Also, I feel compelled to mention that all three of the original Star Wars movies began with an Imperial Star Destroyer.
– To paraphrase boldly where others have paraphrased before: what does Krona, now apparently made largely of energy, need with a utility belt?
– If this is WGBS, it lacks the familiar stylized “G” which normally adorns the headquarters of Galaxy Communications.
– “Josh” appears to be producer Josh Coyle, first seen in Superman #258 (November 1972), in a story written by Len Wein (again!), pencilled by Curt Swan, inked by Murphy Anderson, and featuring a character named “Harry Potter.”
– As mentioned in issue #12′s annotations, prior to the 1986 revamp, Clark Kent had worked for a while as a network anchorman. (Imagine John Chancellor saving Metropolis from a tidal wave and then reporting on it an hour later.) He was given that job by Morgan Edge, head of Galaxy Communications, who had bought the Daily Planet and was making some changes. Thus, I presume Edge is the “Morgan” to whom Lois refers. Morgan Edge was created by Jack Kirby and first appeared in Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #133 (October 1970).
– Drawing a blank on “Amanda,” though.
– “Justice Society International”: apparently, without the Trinity there is no Justice League. The “International” part is a reference to the Justice League of America being succeeded (in a somewhat roundabout way) by the United Nations-sponsored Justice League International. The League acquired its UN affiliation in Justice League International #7 (November 1987). Although the JLI eventually grew big enough for two branches (JL America and JL Europe), the organization as a whole was still called “Justice League International.” Later, after the League lost its UN status and operated just as JL America and JL Europe, the European branch changed its name to “Justice League International.”
– “Newest embassy”: during its period of UN affiliation, Justice League International was considered an independent UN member-state, like the Vatican, and operated embassies throughout the world. JL America operated out of the New York embassy, and JL Europe operated first out of Paris and then out of London. Other notable embassies were located in Russia, Australia, and Antarctica. If memory serves, most of the embassies were seen in Justice League International Annual #3 (1989), with Justice League Antarctica making its memorable debut in JLI Annual #4 (1990).
– “Oranga”: our Earth has an Oranga in New Zealand, but I don’t see one in Africa.
– The monochromatic color scheme and other costume amendments sported by Power Girl, Stargirl, and Damage (and others later on) are reminiscent of the redesigned costumes worn by the post-Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes. An even more drab color scheme was adopted by the alternate-timeline JLAers in 1999’s Son Of Superman graphic novel (written by Howard Chaykin and David Tischman, pencilled by J.H. Williams III, and inked by Mick Gray).
– “Jay, Alan, and I”: these men are Jay Garrick, the original Flash; Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, and Ted Grant, the original Wildcat. In regular continuity, they represent the last of the original 1940s Justice Society still active. (In the regular timeline there’s also Hippolyta, but I hesitate to say she’s active as a superhero now.) Jay Garrick was created by Gardner Fox and Harry Lampert and first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940). Alan Scott was created by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell and first appeared in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940). Ted Grant was created by Bill Finger and Irwin Hasen and first appeared in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942).
– “M’Changa”: the fictional African nation which is home to Mari “Vixen” McCabe. As this site notes, a bust from M’Changa was instrumental in activating the dormant superpowers of Kurt Busiek’s creation Josiah Power.
– “Orin of Atlantis”: known more familiarly in regular continuity as Aquaman. Aquaman was created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris and first appeared in More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941). Originally his real name was given as Arthur Curry, but I think his Atlantean name was revealed to be Orin in The Atlantis Chronicles miniseries (March-September 1990), written by Peter David and drawn by Esteban Maroto.
– “Middleton, Colorado”: site of the early adventures of J’Onn J’Onzz, Manhunter from Mars….
– … and here, I think we can assume, is J’Onn (or “John”) himself. “Green, and walked through walls like a ghost” clearly refers to J’Onn’s regular appearance and powers. The Manhunter from Mars was created by Joseph Samachson and Joe Certa and first appeared in Detective Comics #225 (November 1955).
– As it happens, in regular continuity both Orin and J’Onn are currently considered dead, a fact which our second story indicates may prove important later on. (Of course, depending on when this story takes place, J’Onn may still be alive in regular continuity.)
– This looks like the Wally West Flash we’ve seen before. The fact that his costume hasn’t been altered suggests that he’s not part of the JSI (and, in fact, the next page confirms this). His mercenary streak was on display in regular continuity at the start of his own series, where he revealed his identity to the world and used his powers as part of a delivery service. However, this kind of hucksterism seems more suited to the naked avarice of, say, Booster Gold.
– In regular continuity, the Spectre erased the public’s knowledge of Wally’s dual identity in The Flash vol. 2 #200 (September 2003). It’s unlikely that that happened here, for reasons I’ll get into shortly.
– The “second Flash” was, of course, Wally’s uncle Barry Allen, created by Julius Schwartz, John Broome and Carmine Infantino, who first appeared in Showcase #4 (September-October 1956). In regular continuity, Barry died in Crisis On Infinite Earths #8 (November 1985), only to return to life as part of this year’s Final Crisis.
– Other JSI members include Geo-Force, Black Lightning, and Hawkgirl. Independent operators include Green Arrow, Ravager, and possibly Beast Boy. The guy in the jacket is Dick Grayson, who we’ll see more closely in a moment.
– I take it the “Where are we?” person is Cassie Sandsmark, no longer Wonder Girl.
– Not sure why Wally is changing clothes here, unless it’s somehow to preserve his secret identity.
– The guy in the bomber jacket is Hal Jordan, apparently no longer a Green Lantern for space sector 2814. Since his career as the Spectre proceeded fairly directly from his last Green Lantern and Parallax exploits, I’d say he was never the Spectre in this timeline.
– … Aaaand, soon as I wonder about a spotlight on Supergirl, here she is, sort of; using the “Interceptor” codename from last issue.
– “Green Lanterns aren’t authorized for Terran missions unless approved through channels”: finally, and I say this completely without sarcasm, someone’s doing a story about Green Lantern jurisdictional disputes! Uh, sort of.
– Okay, the “133t-speak” John spews out does suggest the Kilg%re, about whom we’ve talked previously.
– “Richie Grayson from the Zucco Mob”: as shown originally in Detective Comics #38 (April 1940), Dick Grayson was taken in by Bruce Wayne after his parents were murdered by “Boss” Zucco and his men. Here, “Richie’s” parents might have met the same fate, but it looks like he ended up with a different guardian.
– “A cutie like you”: Dick and Donna were total BFFs in their Teen Titans days, so much so that Dick gave Donna away at her wedding in Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (February 1985).
– Hmmm … wasn’t expecting this here. The Global Police Agency, its logo, and its faceless enforcers were created by Jack Kirby as part of his O.M.A.C. series, and first appeared in O.M.A.C. vol. 1 #1 (September-October 1974).
– “Susan Dibny Murder Watch”: Susan Dearbon Dibny, late wife of the world-famous Elongated Man, first appeared in The Flash vol. 1 #119 (March 1961), and was murdered in Identity Crisis #1 (August 2004). The details of her murder were pretty much as described here, so spoiler alert – she was killed in regular continuity by Jean Loring, Ray Palmer’s ex-wife.
– No annotations.
– No annotations, although I was expecting the “to be continued” logos to change.
* * *
“Something Bigger” 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 Pat Brosseau; Rachel Gluckstern, associate editor; Mike Carlin, editor.
In Brief: A ne’er-do-well dreams of … his own death?
Page 13 (story page 1)
– I have to say, I thought this was a very clever story. I’ve read the original many, many times, but the ending still took me by surprise. Even the title has a fun double meaning.
– Another SPOILER ALERT, just in case you’re reading this first (and why would you be…?): this story is an homage to the classic “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge!” which was written by Denny O’Neil, pencilled by Neal Adams, and inked by Dick Giordano, for Batman #251 (September 1973). That story is remembered fondly (uh, as it were) today for being the Joker’s return to murderous insanity after a couple of decades as just a “crazy crime clown.” It was Bigger Melvin’s first (and, as far as I know, only) appearance, although this story reveals his given name.
– “Falcone”: Crime boss Carmine “The Roman” Falcone was created by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli and first appeared in Batman #405 (March 1987).
– “Queen Industries”: Oliver Queen was a rich playboy at the beginning of his Green Arrow career, but in regular continuity he lost his fortune to a rival, John DeLeon, as shown in Justice League of America vol. 1 #75 (November 1969). Here, apparently, he still has it.
– Bigger’s captions are in this miniseries’ “Batman style.”
– The Batman pose is yet another homage to the cover of Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), the character’s first appearance.
– “Maroni’s”: Sal Maroni, the mobster who threw acid on half of Harvey Dent’s face, was created by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, and Jerry Robinson, and first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942).
– “Gotham has a lot now, thanks to Oliver Queen”: I wonder … how much of Gotham’s economic boom is due to the (unintentional, surely) combination of Queen’s largesse and the mob’s influence?
– Remember, “Park Row” was the name Crime Alley once enjoyed.
– The Green Arrow and Speedy billboard is the latest of many homages to a well-known Carmine Infantino drawing of Batman and Robin, used (among other places) on the cover of Batman From The ‘30s To The ‘70s.
– Fighting Batman and Robin is Signalman, a/k/a Phil Cobb, created by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff, who first appeared in Batman #112 (December 1957). As it happens, in Batman #137 Signalman adopted the oddly familiar alternate identity of the Blue Bowman, who (yes) dressed in blue and used trick arrows.
– “Blackgate”: in regular continuity, Blackgate Prison is located on an island off the Gotham coast.
– This page, and the top panel of the next, is a shot-by-shot remake of Batman #251′s page 8 (and the top panel of page 9). There, Bigger went through the crates, sewer pipe, etc., trying to elude Batman, but no luck. Nicely done, all (especially Messrs. McDaniel and Owens).
– “Burnley”: a part of Gotham named for Batman newspaper-strip artist (and longtime Superman artist) Jack Burnley.
– By the way, the yellow oval around the Bat-symbol was a fixture of the main-line Batman’s costume from Detective Comics #327 (May 1964, his “300th anniversary”) to Batman: Shadow of the Bat #94 (February 2000). When the Batman line was redesigned after the year-long “No Man’s Land” storyline, the oval was dropped.
– Ragman was last seen in this series a brazier-vision in issue #1.
– Tatters, however, is new to this continuity. He was also seen in that issue #1 vision.
– The images of Bigger’s feet, and of the Joker and Batman, are taken directly from Batman #251. The Joker’s image fills the first page of that story.
– “Tri-Corner”: another part of Gotham familiar to longtime Bat-readers.
– No annotations.
* * *
That’s it for me for this week. See you next Thursday, same Rags-time, same Arrow-site!