Sunday, January 31, 2010

Starman #81

“Blackest Night Starman”


Writer: James Robinson

Penciller: Fernando Dagnino

Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz

Editor: Wil Moss


Synopsis


David Knight rises from the grave as a Black Lantern, and tears his way through Opal City on a mission of revenge. Only the Shade and hope O’Dare stand a chance against him, but first they have some relationship issues to work out…


Notes


Page 1: Starman (second series) ran from issue #0 in 1994 until issue #80 in 2001.


A brief recap of David Knight’s extremely short tenure as Starman VI; this scene is taken from Starman (second series) #0.


“My father the great hero, the great scientist.” This refers to Ted Knight, the original Starman.


Page 2: Starman VI, real name David Knight. First appeared in Starman (first series) #25. Killed in Starman (second series) #0. Wielded a Gravity Rod that could harness cosmic energy and allow him to fire energy blasts and fly.


Page 3: These two cops are stationed at the Starman Museum, located in Opal City. It celebrates the lives of the men who have defended the city and adopted the mantle of “Starman."


Colors is a 1988 film directed by Dennis Hopper and starring Robert Duvall and Sean Penn as two LAPD cops trying to keep the gang violence between the Crips and the Bloods at bay.


Pages 4-5: Oh boy, a whole lot of stuff to point out here…


First, let’s look at the pictures and photographs on the walls of the museum. Starting from left to right, and moving clockwise around each wall…


First wall – Ted Knight, Starman I (round picture); Jack Knight, Starman VII; and Mikaal Tomas, Starman III


Second wall – Courtney Whitmore, Stargirl II; Will Payton, Starman V; Prince Gavyn, Starman IV (picture only half seen); Doris Lee, Stargirl I; David Knight, Starman II (the Starman of 1951); and Thom Kallor, Starman VIII


Third wall – Phantom Lady I, Sandra Knight; Brian Savage, Scalphunter (in the old-style photo); Jon Valor, the Black Pirate; Steven Savage, Balloon Buster; Jake “Bobo” Benetti; and Richard Swift, the Shade


Fourth and fifth wall – most of these are obscured by word balloons


Sixth wall; this is the Ted Knight wall -- The Justice Society of America (Starman I, Hawkman I, Sandman I, the Flash I, Hourman I, Green Lantern I and the Atom I); Starman I battling the Mist I, Starman I and Wonder Woman I battling the Shade; Starman I and Black Canary I; Starman I, the Flash I and Green Lantern I after they killed the Rag Doll I; and Starman confronting Etrigan the Demon (Ted is obscured)


“Not much of a gang problem anymore, now Rag Doll’s gone.” The original Rag Doll, Peter Merkel, became a cult leader towards the end of his villain career. He and his cult took to the streets, Opal City was gripped by fear and killing. Starman and the JSA rallied to save the city, and Rag Doll was captured, but the insane cult leader threatened the lives of the heroes’ families. Starman, fearing for his sons’ safety, killed Rag Doll, but is body disappeared form the morgue the next day. This was depicted in Starman (second series) #11.


“Bobo Benetti” refers to Jake “Bobo” Benetti, a former super-villain with super-strength. Upon his release from prison, he decided he was going to rob a bank but it was already in the process of being robbed. Benetti teamed-up with Jack Knight to capture the criminals. This was seen in Starman (second series) #29. He now operates as one of Opal City’s officially licensed heroes.


The “Prairie Witch” was a mystic who battled Ted Knight several times in the 1940s. She reappeared decades later to aid Culp in a ritual against Opal City. Apparently, a new woman has donned the identity of the Prairie Witch.


Turk County” is the region outside of Opal City.


“We’re here guarding the Starman Museum because we don’t want another ‘Kobra’ happening.” Kobra recently stole some of Ted Knight’s note about teleportation technology in JSA vs. Kobra: Engines of Faith #3.


Lot of them died. Ted Knight, of course.” Ted Knight was killed in Starman (second series) #72.


“Black Condor.” Black Condor II, Ryan Kendall, was killed in Infinite Crisis #1.


“The Dibnys.” Sue Dibny was killed in Identity Crisis #1. Ralph Dibny, a.k.a. the Elongated Man, was killed in 52 Week Forty-Two.


“Ted’s son, the one who wasn’t Jack.” That was David, killed in Starman (second series) #0.


“And Jack Knight moved away -- ” Jack Knight moved to San Francisco to love with his girlfriend Sadie in Starman (second series) #80.


“The O’Dares like him.” Two generations of the O’Dares have been members of the Opal City Police Department. Clarence, Mason and Hope are still alive.


Page 6: The police officer is feeling fear, rage and will.


Page 7: Black Lantern David has stolen one of his father’s old Gravity Rods and uses his power ring to transform it into something a bit more brutal.


Page 8: The Shade, real name Richard Swift. First appeared in Flash Comics #33. An immortal connected to the Shadowlands, able to manipulate and control darkness at will.


Hope O’Dare, youngest of the O’Dares. First appeared in Starman (second series) #1.


The Shade and Hope O’Dare have always had an interesting relationship. Despite the fact that Hope is ant-English, she trusted the Shade and eventually told him that she wanted to go out on a date. As we can now see, the two of them are doing far more than just dating, but, they are two consenting adults and it’s really none of my business.


“It seemed fun when it started. But it was so soon after your brothers died…and Jack leaving and Ted dying…then it was all we were looking for.” Barry and Matt O’Dare, Hope’s older brothers, were killed during Nash’s second crime spree in Opal City. Ted Knight was killed preventing a doomsday bomb from destroying the city. These events were depicted in “The Grand Guignol” storyline in Starman (second series) #62-73. Jack Knight left Opal City in Starman (second series) #80.


Page 9: “Barnabas Collins” refers to the main character of the ABC soap opera Dark Shadows, played by Jonathan Frid. He was a vampire, hence Hope imagining that Shade’s home was “creepy and dark.”


Page 10: Clarence O’Dare, commissioner of the Opal City Police Department. First appeared in Starman (second series) #10.


It seems that a lot of people online assume that Clarence O’Dare is killed in this scene, but I don’t think so. He’s on the phone with the mayor and, as he chats, David is killing police officers all across Opal, as seen on the next page. Nothing in the inset panels indicates that Clarence is killed, and, until James Robinson himself declares that Clarence is dead, I am sticking to my guns on this one.


That photograph in the bottom right panel is of Clarence O’Dare and his wife Faith.


Page 11: David on a killing spree. Lovely.


Page 12: Mason O’Dare, a beat cop. First appeared in Starman (second series) #1.


“Husband to the psychic.” Mason O’Dare is married to Charity, a fortune teller, as revealed in the Trinity series. And, yes, that means that the women of the O’Dare family are named Faith, Hope and Charity.


Mason is feeling will and love.


Page 13: Hope is feeling hope (well, duh), will and rage.


“You’re ashamed of your sex…the girl…the weak girl in the family of men.” Hope has always felt like she had had to prove herself, being the only girl in a family of cops.


Page 14: The Shade loves nothing more than making a grand entrance.


Page 15: “For all your ‘banter,’ knowing this and that, I sense there’s nothing of the real David Knight in you at all.” The Shade correctly deduces that the Black Lanterns aren’t really the heroes and villains brought back to life; rather, it is some force that is using the bodies of the deceased for dramatic emotional effect.


“I’m sure he’ll think he’s ‘talking with David’ until the moment I rip out his heart.” After Jack Knight became Starman, he began having annual visits from his dead brother David in his dreams, where they would talk about their family, friends and the heroic legacy of their father. These tales, known as “Talking with David,” began in Starman (second series) #5.


The Shade is feeling will.


Pages 16-17: The Shade is now rattled; he’s feeling hope, love and fear.


When the Shade was first introduced, he was just an ordinary villain with darkness-casting abilities. James Robinson cast him as a morally ambiguous individual who had a certain love and fondness for Opal City. Basically, he would defend Opal City with his dying breath, but outside of Opal he indulged in his villainous ways.


The Shade is feeling will, love and rage.


Page 18: Ouch. That looks like it hurt.


Hope is feeling love and fear.


Page 19: The Black Lantern power ring is having trouble “reading” the Shade and can’t raise him, mainly because he probably isn’t even remotely human anymore. The rings have had similar issues with Dove and Etrigan the Demon.


Pages 20-21: “You threaten my city! My Opal!” The Shade takes an extremely poor view of those who threaten his city.


Pages 22-23: “I’m sorry, my darling. But if there is one thing I love almost as much as you…it’s dramatic effect.” That Shade is such a showman…


Page 24: So, the Shade and Hope are still kinda-sorta dating? And he loves her, and she doesn’t not love him?

Sounds like those crazy kids have a bright future ahead of them after all…



Friday, January 29, 2010

Green Lantern Corps #44

“The Red Badge of Rage” Part 2


Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Penciller: Patrick Gleason

Inker: Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen, Keith Champagne & Patrick Gleason

Editor: Adam Schlagman


Synopsis


After the Black Lanterns destroy the Green Lantern’s Central Power Battery, all looks darkest until Mogo arrives and purges Oa of the threat. But the Green Lanterns can’t rest until they rescue Guy Gardner from the control of a Red Lantern power ring…


Notes


Page 1: Mogo last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #43.


Page 2: Kyle Rayner and Soranik Natu last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #43. Salaak last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #42.


Page 3: “What kind of action could Mogo possibly take?” Why do people ask such silly questions when they can’t possibly like the answer?


Kilowog, Arisia, Munk, Vath Sarn, Isamot Kol and Star Sapphire Miri last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #43.


Pages 4-5: Red Lantern Guy Gardner and Kryb last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #43.


Because Guy is in possession of rings from two different corps – Green and Red Lantern – he has been extremely effective at destroying the Black Lanterns. Unfortunately, he’s also crazy, but sometimes you have to take one for the team, don’t you?


Page 6: Some of the Green Lanterns in panel 1 are Turytt (red-skinned guy having his head eaten by a Black Lantern), Larvox (the guy with the bulbous body and multiple limbs), Rori Stroh (guy with a huge head) and Horoq Nnot (woman with long hair).


“The black of freakin’ oblivion!” You have to give Guy some credit; he’s really getting into his work as a Red Lantern.


Page 7: “Warning: Central Power Battery foundation destabilized.” This is not something that you really want to hear, now is it?


Pages 8-9: Man, things just keep going from bad to worse on Oa, aren’t they? It’s a good thing the rest of the universe is doing okay…


Page 10: “Energy spheres recommended.” No, you think?


Kilowog looks mighty pissed-off, don’t you think?


Page 11: Guy’s slicing into Barin, a former Green Lantern.


“That red ring’s on his finger because of me!” In Green Lantern Corps #42, Kyle Rayner sacrificed his life to prevent the destruction of the Central Power Battery. In Green Lantern Corps #43, a grieving and angry Guy Gardner accepted a Red Lantern power ring to avenge Kyle’s death. Kyle, as we can, has since gotten better.


Page 12: “We don’t know what kind of damage the red ring is causing Guy!” Well, when a Red Lantern power ring is first worn, it replaces the blood of its wearer with a form of red plasma that can be vomited through the mouth. Then, as seen with Atrocitus, it replaces their heart with the ring itself, which, when you think about it, is pretty useful when battling Black Lanterns. But, all in all, it’s detrimental to the user.


Page 13: “The Star Sapphire and Soranik brought me back somehow – I got my - ” As seen in Green Lantern Corps #43.


Page 15: The normally cool-under-fire Salaak seems like he has no idea what to do here.


Pages 16-17: Mogo just jumped to the top of my list of “Favorite Green Lanterns of All Time” here. How many other GLs can generate their own gravitational field?


Page 18: Okay, here we have…


Hold on, wait, stop. Nope, not gonna do it. You want to identify every Green Lantern and Black Lantern and every other extraneous character, by my guest. It’s been a long seven months and my eyes need a break. Suffice to say, there’s a whole lot of characters to name and look up here, so what I suggest you do is invite the family over and make a night of it. Let the kids join in. Have a blast.


I’m going to hold on to the fragile remains of my sanity, because I know we still have two more months of Blackest Night fun coming down the road…


Pages 20-21: Princess Iolande last appeared in Green Lantern Corps #41. She accompanied the injured Green Lanterns from the infirmary to Mogo, where they would be safe.


Page 23: Well, I guess that’s one incredibly efficient way to get rid of a bunch of Black Lanterns. Way to show up the rest of them Mogo…


Page 24: Oh, boy, that Guy Gardner is just such a pest sometimes.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Phantom Stranger #42

“Deadman Walking”


Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Penciller: Ardian Syaf

Inker: Vicente Cifuentes

Editor: Adam Schlagman


Synopsis


The Phantom Stranger and Blue Devil battle the Black Lantern Spectre, only to learn that their efforts are required elsewhere. They travel to Nanda Parbat, where they aid Deadman against a horde of Black Lanterns that wish to destroy the hidden city, and must rescue Boston Brand’s undead corpse so that it may fulfill its secret destiny…


Notes


Page 1: The Phantom Stranger (second series) ran from issue #1 in 1969 until issue #41 in 1976.


The events of this issue take place immediately after the events of Blackest Night #2 pages 14-15.


The Phantom Stranger, real name unrevealed. First appeared in The Phantom Stranger (first series) #1. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. Possesses vast supernatural abilities, most of which have yet to be catalogued.


The “Elysian Fields” are the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and virtuous in Greek mythology.


“Pandemonium” is the capital of Hell as depicted in John Milton’s poem Paradise Lost.


Page 2: The Spectre III, real name Crispus Allen. Allen first appeared in Detective Comics #742. He was killed by Jim Corrigan in Gotham Central #38, and revived to serve as the host of the Spectre in Infinite Crisis #4. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. A Spirit of Vengeance able to project fear, cast illusions, see the future, teleport, turn invisible, cast magic…he’s pretty darn powerful, okay?


In Blackest Night #2, Black Hand used a Black Lantern power ring to raise Crispus Allen and transform him into a Black Lantern thereby trapping the Spectre inside its host. Hence the large, rampaging Black Lantern Spectre.


Blue Devil, real name Dan Cassidy. First appeared in The Fury of Firestorm the Nuclear Man #24. Was killed in Starman (second series) #38. Returned to life in Day of Judgment #4. Last appeared in Blackest Night #2. A demon with superhuman strength, durability and senses armed with the Trident of Lucifer, which can banish demons back to Hell.


Page 3: “Seems Ragman, Shadowpact and the other Sentinels of Magic are taking their sweet-ass time getting here!” There are all other mystical heroes in the DC Universe who are, presumably, busy dealing with other Black Lanterns.


“Your idea of sending Zatanna off to get the JLA isn’t looking too good right about now, Stranger!” After the events in Blackest Night #2, Zatanna teleported to the Secret Sanctuary in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island to recruit the fragments of the JLA, as seen in Justice League of America (second series) #38. In Justice League of America (second series) #39-40, Zatanna and the League went to the Hall of Justice, where they battled Black Lanterns Steel, Vibe, Doctor Light and Zatara.


Page 5: “How about a little fire, Scarecrow?!” A line from the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, spoken by the Wicked Witch of the West to the Scarecrow as she tries to set him on fire.


Page 6: That’s the real Spectre, trying to break free from the Black Lantern Spectre’s confines.


Page 7: Well, the Spectre tried, you have to give him points for that…


Page 9: “Ah, there you are. I see you.” Black Lantern Spectre has a real mad-on to attack Hal Jordan. Judging by the emerald gleam in his eye, he seems to have found him.


Page 10: “Hal Jordan must face judgment!” Well, that can’t end well…


Hal Jordan’s battle against the Black Lantern Spectre is depicted in Green Lantern (fourth series) #50-51


Blue Devil: Yeah…we’re still alive.

Phantom Stranger: Speak for yourself, Devil.


Is the Phantom Stranger giving some insight as to his true origins here? Or just cracking jokes? Because he’s not known for doing either of those two things.


Page 11: In case you hadn’t figured it out by now, that grave belonged to Boston Brand, the former circus aerialist-turned-ghost known as Deadman. His corpse rose as a Black Lantern in Blackest Night #2 and Blackest Night: Batman #1.


Left behind in Brand’s coffin are his “touchstones” or “totems”: an old circus poster, a trapeze bar and his “Deadman” mask.


Page 12: “My definition of ‘interfering’ is quite subjective, as is my choice of being proactive during the course of my, shall we say, travels.” The Phantom Stranger usually acts as an impartial observer of events, but he quite often becomes an active participant in saving the world, especially during times of great crisis.


Pages 14-15: Deadman, real name Boston Brand. First appeared in Strange Adventures #205. Last appeared in Blackest Night: Batman #3. He’s an invisible and intangible ghost who can instantly possess the body of any sentient being.


Deadman’s appearance in this story takes place before he finds Ray Palmer and Mera in a Black Lantern power ring as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #49.


As seen in Teen Titans (third series) #78, Black Lanterns can destroy one another, which is why Deadman, occupying the body of a Black Lantern, can kill another Black Lantern.


Nanda Parbat is a hidden city nestled high in the mountains of Tibet. Watched over by the goddess Rama Kushna and her monks, it is said to be a place of enlightenment and healing. Rama Kushna is best known for transforming Boston Brand into Deadman.


Page 17: As Deadman enters the Phantom Stranger, he sees past events of the Stranger’s life, and what could be his possible origins. Seen here, from left to right, are the Stranger as the Wandering Jew, as a citizen condemned by an angel to walk the world forever, and as a fallen angel who didn’t side with either Heaven or Hell in the rebellion. These conflicting origin stories were told in Secret Origins #10.


Page 18: “You have seen everything and you have seen nothing!” Way to be vague and obtuse, Stranger.


Page 19: Black Lantern Deadman last appeared in Blackest Night: Batman #1.


Page 20: “Awaiting the moment it is destined for.” Apparently, Boston Brand’s corpse has a greater destiny in Nanda Parbat; presumably, this has something to do with defeating the threat of the Black Lanterns.


Page 21: The Black Lantern power ring can’t penetrate the invisible barrier that surrounds Nanda Parbat.


Page 22: In Nanda Parbat, Deadman regains his physical form and can interact with the living.


Taj-Ze is the sword-wielding guardian of Nanda Parbat.


Page 23: “The body of Boston Brand is of singular importance, gatekeeper.” After all this build-up, in Brand’s body isn’t important to the conclusion of Blackest Night, I’m going to cry fowl…


“Chunky Monkey” and “Cherry Garcia” are two flavors of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.


“Yeah, that something to do with the white light ain’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of stopping Nekron.” As we saw in Blackest Night #5. Thanks for letting us know that now, Deadman…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Secret Six #17

“Danse Macabre” Part 2


Writer: Gail Simone & John Ostrander

Artist: J. Calafiore

Editor: Sean Ryan


Synopsis


The Suicide Squad and Secret Six meet in battle, but both groups are unprepared for the threat of the Black Lanterns. Black Lantern Fiddler comes closer to getting his revenge of Deadshot, even as the Black Lantern Suicide Squad is about to kill everything in sight…


Notes


Pages 1-3: A recap of Yasemin Soze’s life and death; her last name is revealed here for the first time.


Yasemin Soze last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


Page 4: Amanda Waller, Scandal Savage and Multiplex last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


Insignificus was once a Lowlie from Apokolips who now serves Scandal.


Page 6: That’s a big honking gargoyle that the Secret Six has stashed away in the House of Secrets for emergencies such as this.


Page 7: Bane and Nightshade last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67. Note that, when this fight started, Bane and Nightshade were within the prison; it seems that Nightshade has teleported them outside off-panel.


“This was all foretold like the sand of an hourglass.” This is awfully...profound for a prison security guard.


Page 8: Count Vertigo last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


I’m not sure how Count Vertigo’s ability to “unbalance” others causes Bane to see visions of Batman. He might become dizzy, but to hallucinate? Not buying it.


Page 9: Black Alice last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


“No Scandal. You were meant to be saaafe!” Bane has been overly protective of Scandal for quite some time now; she doesn’t really appreciate it.


Pages 10-11: Black Lanterns Atom, Psi, Manticore, Ravan and Shrike last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67; they are wreaking havoc within Belle Reve.


Twister, real name Theresa Zimmer. She is next to Manticore, her face all askew. First appeared in The New Teen Titans (second series) #26. Killed in Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #8. Able to induce horrifying illusions in the minds of others.


Punch, real name Clyde Phillips…perhaps. Punch’s real name has never been revealed, but “Clyde Phillips” was apparently raised with the others, so I am going out on a limb and identifying him as Punch. First appeared in Captain Atom (first series) #85. Killed in Checkmate (second series) #7. Wore boots that allow him to walk on air and wields sting strings that allow him to take control of another’s actions.


I still have no idea who the undead blond woman is.


“Nasty little sinners. Every one of you.” The last time we saw Twister, she had found god and wanted to punish all those she thought of as sinners.


The Belle Reve prison guards are feeling rage, fear and will. The prisoners are feeling rage and fear.


Page 12: Bronze Tiger and Catman last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


Pages 13-15: Not much to say about this fight except for that fact that it’s a damn good, knock-down, drag-out brawl. Catman actually holds his own and shows that he’s a damn dirty fighter.


Page 16: Ragdoll, Virtuosa and Jeannette last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


“If I still had my – you know – I’m certain they’d be ruptured.” Ragdoll has been castrated and is a eunuch.


“Hush. I sense death walking.” As a banshee, Jeannette can sense death.


Page 17: Black Lantern Fiddler last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


Jeannette is feeling will; Ragdoll is feeling rage, avarice, fear, will, hope, compassion and love – the whole spectrum of emotions. Virtuosa is feeling love.


“Paganini” refers to Niccolò Paganini, a 17th century Italian violinist and composer.


Page 18: Jeannette is going into full-banshee mode here.


“A little of Pagnini’s Caprice No. 1 in E major andante.” Caprice No. 1, nicknamed “L’Arpeggio,” is one of Pagnini’s 24 Caprices for Solo Violin. “Andante” refers to the piece’s tempo; it is played at a walking pace, 76-108 bpm (beats per minute).


Page 19: Rick Flag and Deadshot last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


Flag is feeling will and rage with a hint of fear.


Black Lantern Yasemin used her Black Lantern power ring to create her guns.


Page 20: The usually unemotional Deadshot is feeling small traces of rage and will.


Page 22: King Faraday last appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #67.


“Our regular tap of JLA comms has brought a message from the Flash.” This was the message that Barry Allen relayed to all of Earth’s super-heroes regarding the threat of the Black Lanterns in Blackest Night #4.


According to Suicide Squad (first series) #67, the Secret Six arrived at Belle Reve Penitentiary 24 hours after the Fiddler and the other villains under the Hall of Justice rose. Are we to believe that, after Barry Allen and company escaped from the Hall of Justice shortly thereafter, it took them a full day for Barry to do his “Paul Revere” run around the world? I don’t think so. I’m thinking that the “24 hours later” notation is a continuity error.



Suicide Squad #67

“Danse Macabre” Part 1


Writer: Gail Simone & John Ostrander

Artist: J. Calafiore

Editor: Sean Ryan


Synopsis


The Fiddler is raised as a Black Lantern, and his first target is the man who killed him…Deadshot! Meanwhile, the Suicide Squad draws the Secret Six into a trap even as Black Lantern rings descend upon Belle Reve to raise a group of dead heroes and villains…


Notes


Page 1: Suicide Squad (first series) ran from issue #1 in 1987 until issue #66 in 1992.


This is a brief recap of the life and death of the Fiddler. Worth mentioning is that, while his revised origin as seen in Hawkworld Annual #1 remains intact, his death in that issue has been ignored, probably due to a Crisis of the Zero Infinite Hour or some such event.


“My triumph was making him, his fellows and the entire city not only disappear, but forgotten until another Flash restored them all.” A reference to the classic “Flash of Two Worlds!” story, originally told in The Flash (first series) #123, and retold in Secret Origins #50. The Fiddler had some help from the Thinker and the Shade in making Keystone City disappear, but you’ll probably never hear him say that.


Page 2: The Fiddler, real name Isaac Bowin. First appeared in All-Flash #32. Killed in Villains United #1. Able to use his violin music to hypnotize others and generate powerful sonic waves. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


“Irwin Bowin of Earth.” Aaaaaaaaah! The Fiddler’s real name is “Isaac Bowin,” not “Irwin Bowin,” as seen here, or “Isaac Bown” as seen on his casket in Blackest Night #1. Does someone have something against the Fiddler and his real name?


This page takes place concurrent with Blackest Night #3, page 26.


“Power Levels 57.01%” Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve seen this! That would place this scene right after Black Lantern Firestorm turns Gehenna into salt (Blackest Night #3, Power Levels 56.58%) and before Black Lantern Hawk kills Hawk III (Blackest Night: Titans #2, 57.03%).


Seen here emerging from their caskets underneath the Hall of Justice are Doctor Light II, Maxwell Lord IV, Copperhead, Alexander Luthor of Earth-Three, the Psycho-Pirate II, Brain Wave I and Baron Blitzkrieg. Black Lantern Firestorm watches from the sidelines.


Page 3: Fiddler uses his Black Lantern power ring to recreate his fiddle.


“Come on guys. There’s a few left upstairs.” Immediately after this, Black Lantern Firestorm and the raised villains attack Barry Allen, Ray Palmer and Mera in Blackest Night #4, pages 2-3.


Page 4: Count Vertigo, real name Werner Vertigo. First appeared in World’s Finest Comics #251. Able to fly and induce a vertigo affect which alters the balance of others and can induce dizziness.


Nightshade, real name Eve Eden. First appeared in Captain Atom (first series) #82. Able to create shadow constructs, become a two-dimensional shadow and transport herself and others through the Land of Nightshades.


Multiplex, real name Danton Black. First appeared (as Black) in Firestorm (first series) #1 and (as Multiplex) in Firestorm (first series) #2. Able to split off into duplicates of himself called duploids.


Richard Rogers “Rick” Flag, Jr., real name Anthony Miller. First appeared in The Brave and the Bold (first series) #25. Seemingly killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #26, but reappeared alive in Checkmate (second series) #6.


Bronze Tiger, real name Benjamin “Ben” Turner. First appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #1. One of the world’s greatest martial artists, who has bested the Batman in hand-to-hand combat.


Yasemin Soze, first appeared in Birds of Prey #87. Possesses infallible aim with any gun of any kind.


Page 5: Dr. Amanda Blake Waller, also known as “the Wall.” First appeared in Legends #1. A master tactician, strategist and manipulator as well as a brilliant political analyst who is an expert with firearms.


“And now, I am given a choice – either work fulfilling this insane woman’s bloody agenda or she detonates the explosive chip she had implanted in my skull.” To keep their criminal operatives in line, the Suicide Squad implants an explosive chip in their operative’s skulls; if they fail to follow orders…Boom.


Page 6: “Officially, this, this team she put me on, they call themselves Task Force X. But in my circles, they go by another name. The Suicide Squad.” Because it’s hard to get government funding for a group called “the Suicide Squad,” bureaucrats had to give it a more-official sounding name, hence “Task Force X.”


Page 7: “Belle Reve” refers to Belle Reve Penitentiary is the prison located in Houma, Louisiana that serves as the base of operations for the Suicide Squad.


King Faraday, also known as I-Spy. First appeared in Danger Trail #1. A highly-trained espionage agent, skilled hand-to-hand combatant and an expert marksman.


Whatever Waller is doing with all of those metahuman corpses in that laboratory can’t possibly be good.


“You broke trust with him when you exiled him off planet with all the other villains.” This happened in the Salvation Run mini-series.


Page 8: “72 hours later.” Since the Suicide Squad-invades-Mexico scene occurred “72 hours earlier” than Fiddler rising, we can assume that this scene take place at the same time as the first.


“The House of Secrets, Rutland, Vermont.” The Secret Six uses the House of Secrets as its headquarters.


Bane, also known as “The Man Who Broke the Bat.” First appeared in Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1. An expert at hand-to-hand combat in peak physical condition, he also possesses a genius-level intellect and is an expert strategist.


The redhead is Liana Kerzner, Scandal Savage’s girlfriend and date for the evening.


Ragdoll II, real name Peter Merkel, Jr. First appeared in Villains United #1. Has had his biological joints replaced with artificial ones, which allow him to bend, compress and contort his body in ways even master contortionists cannot.


Page 9: “I feel I must ask. What exactly are your intentions with my…with the girl.” Bane has developed an extremely unhealthy fascination with Scandal Savage and her relationships. Unhealthy because Scandal is a lesbian, and really isn’t attracted to Bane at all.


Scandal, full name Scandal Savage. First appeared in Villains United #1. A master of hand-to-hand combat who has enhanced durability due to being the daughter of Vandal Savage.


Page 10: Black Alice, real name Lori Zechlin. First appeared in Birds of Prey #76. Able to temporarily borrow the magical powers of other mystical heroes and villains.


Deadshot, real name Floyd Lawton. First appeared in Batman #59. An expert marksman with any type of gun who wears silenced, wrist-mounted magnum.


Catman, real name Thomas Blake. First appeared in Detective Comics #311. A superb hand-to-hand combatant, skilled in the use of bladed weapons.


Mockingbird is the mystery individual who blackmails the Secret Six into taking on missions that they might not normally undertake.


Page 11: “Twenty-four hours later.” Why it takes twenty-four hours for the team to get themselves together and onto their plan to fly down to Louisiana is beyond me.


Also, in terms of continuity, it really doesn’t feel like the entire Blackest Night storyline takes place over the course of more than a day. Sure, a lot of things happen, but certain issues seem to take place over a really short period of time, Blackest Night #6 being a prime example.


However, over in Blackest Night: The Flash #2, Barry Allen says that he’s been attempting to bury his feeling for the past “forty-eight hours,” which means that the Black Lantern crisis has been plaguing Earth for two days, so what do I know?


Jeannette, real name unrevealed. First appeared in Secret Six #3. Possesses the abilities of a banshee, including enhanced strength and durability, an extended life, can sense when one is about to die and is able to release a death wail, causing madness and death in others.


“I know this place. It’s a total craphole.” Deadshot spent plenty of time at Belle Reve Penitentiary as a member of the Suicide Squad.


Page 12: “CATMAN looks like an ad for Grant’s Gym…” I would assume that “Grant’s Gym” is owned by Ted Grant, also known as Wildcat.


Page 13: “I think it’s a giant Goth chick, lieutenant.” I like this line. I really like this line.


Page 14: “This place belongs to the scariest damn woman in history.” That would be Amanda Waller. She and Deadshot go way back.


Page 17: Virtuosa, real name unrevealed. First appeared in Villains United #5. Uses a high-tech fiddle to control others.


Page 22: More Black Lantern goodness coming your way…


Okay, fair warning time – some of these names don’t easily match up with the characters seen here. In fact, we are given seven names, but only six raised characters are depicted. Also, there’s one character that I just can’t place at all, and several of the names/secret identities are so completely out of the blue, they have never before been revealed. I know, I know, it’s fun. So, without further ado…


Manticore I, real name Anastasio Corvo. He’s the big, beastly guy on the left. This could very well be Manticore II, III or IV as well, and I am only guessing that his name is “Anastasio Corvo” because the name is close to the character. First appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #1. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #2. Possesses enhanced strength, durability, razor-sharp claws and a scorpion-like tail.


Psi, real name Gayle Marsh. She’s the woman in the bikini in the back, on the right. First appeared in The Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. Killed in The Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad Special #1. Able to tap into the unused portion of her mind and manifest psychokinetic abilities.


Atom III, real name Adam Cray. He’s peeking over Manticore’s left arm. First appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #44. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #61. Utilized Ray Palmer’s size-changing belt to allow him to shrink to subatomic size.


Ravan, no alternate identity known. He is to the right of the Atom. First appeared in Suicide Squad (first series) #1. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #47. A skilled martial artist who uses a wire garrote and snake-headed dagger to kill his victims.


Shrike III, real name Angel Moore or Vanessa Kingsbury. Her true identity, to my knowledge, was never revealed, and neither of those names seems to link up with any other existing character. You can see her under Manticore’s left arm. First appeared in Justice League of America #234. Killed in Suicide Squad (first series) #25. Able to fly and emit a sonic scream.


The blond woman to the left of Psi? I have no idea who she is. None whatsoever. And that should say something, because I thoroughly enjoy identifying these wonderfully massive crowd scenes. I liked picking apart and naming everyone on that “Battle of Metropolis” two-page spread in Infinite Crisis #7. I have a sick fascination with identifying dead Green Lanterns. But this lady? No freaking clue.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Power of Shazam! #48

“Rest in Peace”


Writer: Eric Wallace

Penciller: Don Kramer

Inker: Michael Babinski

Editor: Brian Cunningham


Synopsis


In Kahndaq, Osiris rises to find that his family is gone and his former home is in ruins. When his “old friend” Sobek confronts him, he finally gets the chance to use his powers for good and be a hero…


Notes


Pages 1-3: The Power of Shazam! ran from issue #1 in 1995 until issue #47 in 1999.


A recap of the life and death of Osiris, including his involvement with the Marvel Family and the Teen Titans.


Confession time – I hate Osiris. Hated him the whole time I was reviewing 52, I hate him now. Mainly for the same reason that I hate Superboy-Prime – he’s a whiny, sniveling twit and he gets on my nerves. Yeah, I have some real hatred for the kid, and honestly wasn’t too sad when he was killed.


So, needless to say, this wasn’t my favorite Blackest Night tie-in issue, but I annotate and move onward.


Page 4: Osiris, real name Amon Tomaz. First appeared in 52 Week Twenty-Three. Killed in 52 Week Forty-Three. Has a portion of Black Adam’s power, including superhuman strength, speed, endurance, flight and invulnerability.


Page 5: “Adam and Isis” refer to Black Adam, the former king of Kahndaq, and Isis, Osiris’ sister.


Page 6: “What happened to Kahndaq?” Kahndaq has fallen upon hard times. The Four Horsemen attacked the Black Marvel Family, and then Black Adam proceeded to declare war on the world. He was taken down by the combined forces of Earth’s heroes, leaving the country without its king. Things are bad, here, really bad.


“That poor man” is showing fear.


Note that, unlike pretty much every other Black Lantern who has risen thus far, Osiris is acting pretty much like himself. No mad rampages, no killing sprees, no hearts getting ripped out of the chests…boring, actually, like Osiris when he was alive.


All joking aside, does this have to do with Osiris’ mystical nature, which is preventing the Black Lantern power ring from taking him over so completely?


Page 7: Billy and Mary Batson were formerly known as Captain Marvel and Mary Marvel, but in Justice Society of America (second series) #25 they were stripped of their powers by the wizard Shazam.


On the previous page, when Osiris is hovering above Kahndaq, there’s nary a soul to be found. So who exactly is filming him so that Billy and Mary can watch it in real-time online?


“He used another part of his powers to restore Amon’s body.” Presumably, this occurred before Osiris’ burial as seen in 52 Week Forty-Four.


Page 8: Sobek, also known as Yurrd the Unknown. First appeared in 52 Week Twenty-Six. Killed in 52 Week Forty-Three. Possessed superhuman strength as well as the ability to generate a wave of widespread hunger which affects him as well.


Other Sobek notes – in 52 Week Fifty, Teth Adam is seen wearing crocodile-skin boots made from Sobek’s flesh. And Yurrd the Unknown returned in the 52 Aftermath: The Four Horsemen mini-series, but it was in his “true” hyena form, not as Sobek, which begs the question, were Sobek and Yurrd two different entities? Did Yurrd just take control of the Sobek form?


Page 10: Shazam stripped Black Adam and Isis of their powers and transformed Teth-Adam and Adrianna Tomaz into stone in Justice Society of America (second series) #25. Spiteful wizard, that Shazam is.


All these poor people of Kahndaq are feeling fear.


“Feast.” Sobek’s presence nearby is casing Osiris to “feel” hungry, urging him to feast.


Page 11: This young girl is feeling love, compassion and hope, while her mother is feeling rage.


Page 12: “I don’t want to hurt anyone!” Yeah, yeah, yeah, so why don’t you stop hurting people, you whiny little you-know-what? Man, he’s totally going Superboy-Prime on us right now.


Page 13: “Wait…I remember now…I became human again…I was weak…and then you…” Sobek convinced his good friend Osiris that the best way to atone for the misuse of his abilities was to stop using them. Osiris then spoke Black Adam’s name and transformed back into the mortal Amon Tomaz, at which point Sobek promptly ate him.


“I’m dead…” Really, someone should have given this poor kid a mirror so he could have come to this realization like, ten minutes ago.


Page 15: “I had no c-choice! My mind wasn’t my own!” Now then, perhaps there is some truth to this matter. It is possible that Sivana created Sobek from a bio-engineered crocodile, and he existed as his own, distinct persona that was soon taken over by the Yurrd entity and corrupted. Maybe, at one point, Sobek was Osiris’ friend, and he was too weak to fight the creature inside him.


Or, maybe he’s just lying. Who knows?


Osiris is feeling hope and compassion.


Hey! What gives?!?! Since when can a Black Lantern actually “feel” an emotion? Is this, once again, a quirk due to Osiris’ mystical nature?


“I…don’t wish to be alone.” Sobek is playing upon Osiris’ fears about being alone in the world.


Page 16: “I was hungry.” It was a running joke/gag/scene in the pages of 52 that Sobek was always hungry, no matter what he ate. After Sobek attacked, killed, and ate Osiris, he said, “I’m not so hungry anymore.”


“I wasn’t trying to kill the Persuader! I was trying to protect my sister!” In 52 Week Thirty-Four, the Suicide Squad attacked the Black Marvel family in an effort to show the world that they are a threat. The Persuader nearly killed Isis, until Osiris flew right through the villain, killing him.


Page 17: Osiris is feeling rage. He’s going all Superboy-Prime again.


These poor, suffering residents of Kahndaq feel fear.


Page 19: “I just need your heart.” As previously mentioned, this is the first time in which one Black Lantern has gone after another for their heart.


Osiris is feeling fear, and then hope.


Page 20: By speaking Black Adam’s name, Osiris calls down the mystical lightning that transforms him. In this case, it severs the connection that Osiris and Sobek have to their Black Lantern power rings, destroying them.


Page 21: It’s interesting to note that, unlike other Black Lanterns who pretty much explode and vanish after their connection to the Black Lantern power ring is severed, Amon Tomaz’s body is still intact. It looks like hell, but it’s intact.


Page 22: Well, it looks like Osiris got what he wanted in the end, to be seen as a hero.