Monday, February 22, 2010

Secret Six #18

“Danse Macabre” Part 3


Writer: Gail Simone & John Ostrander

Artist: J. Calafiore

Editor: Sean Ryan


Synopsis


The Secret Six and the Suicide Squad must unite to battle the Black Lantern Suicide Squad, but even that might not be enough. Only Amanda Waller has the key to defeating the undead threat, but time is running out…


Notes


Page 1: Count Vertigo, Black Alice, Nightshade, Bane and Black Lanterns Atom, Shrike, Psi, Manticore, Ravan, Twister, Punch and still as-yet unidentified blond lady last appeared in Secret Six (second series) #17.


Page 2: Richard Rogers “Rick” Flag, Jr., Deadshot, Jeannette, Ragdoll, Virtuosa and Black Lanterns Fiddler and Yasemin Soze last appeared in Secret Six (second series) #17.


Page 3: Catman and Bronze Tiger last appeared in Secret Six (second series) #17.


Page 4: Dr. Amanda Blake Waller, Multiplex and Scandal Savage last appeared in Secret Six (second series) #17.


“Turns out this house has a gargoyle for some reason.” In Secret Six (second series) #17, Scandal released Gregory the Gargoyle so that he could take out some of Waller’s troops.


“The Manhunter android we recovered from the swamp…” The swamp in question surrounds Belle Reve prison, the headquarters of the Suicide Squad. Now, this is a wild guess, but I assume that the Manhunter android was from way back during the Millennium affair, involving Manhunters, the Guardians of the Universe, and some chosen ones who were supposedly important to the future of Earth.


Anyway, at one point, Batman, the Spectre, Captain Atom, Firestorm and the Suicide Squad were all involved – separately – in an attack on a Manhunter temple in the swamp. Lots of Manhunters were destroyed, and presumably, this android was recovered from that battle. This story was chronicled in Millennium #4, Detective Comics #582, Captain Atom (second series) #11, Suicide Squad (first series) #9 and The Spectre (second series) #10.


Page 5: “I can’t. I don’t have my powers, Flag! That little brat’s got ‘em!” Black Alice has the ability to “borrow” the powers of other mystical heroes or villains. She stole Nightshade’s abilities in Secret Six (second series) #17.


Page 7: “Fiddler? Thought you said you killed him, Lawton.” Deadshot killed the Fiddler in Villains United #1.


Page 10: The Secret Six are a bit troubled after emerging from the teleportation field because they had to travel through the Land of the Nightshades, once a fairy-tale land of magic and sunshine, now a nightmarish realm of madness. Nightshade usually has others close their eyes as they pass on through. The fact that Ragdoll wants to go back through says much about his fragile mental state.


“Another step and I’ll click it and blow off the back of your head with that chip we installed inside you when you worked for us.” Bane joined the Suicide Squad in Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag #8. In Salvation Run #2, he was tricked by teammates and exiled to a prison planet; he doesn’t have many good memories of his time with the Squad.


Page 11: “Something is sucking the energy right out of me!” Is this just Black Alice losing Nightshade’s abilities, or is something else going on here?


Pages 12-13: I gotta say…this is one cool two-page spread.


“I took Batman once, you know.” Batman and Catman last fought in Secret Six (second series) #2. According to Catman, he let Batman win. Not sure if I believe that…


“Ack! It’s All-Dead Atom!” A spoof on the title of one of Gail Simone’s former writing gigs, The All-New Atom.


Page 15: King Faraday last appeared in Secret Six (second series) #17.


I’m not sure if “Stein” is supposed to be Harry Stein, a former veteran of the NYPD who later went to work for the first incarnation of Checkmate. I assume it’s not, because he’s never shown any scientific aptitude in the past.


“Tell me this isn’t the same helmet Mrs. Waller used to control Chemo, Stein.” Waller used this same technology to control the rampaging creature known as Chemo in the Suicide Squad: Raise the Flag mini-series.


“And let’s hope the Flash knows what he’s talking about!” Waller refers to Barry Allen’s Paul Revere” run, in which he informed the heroes of the world about the threat of the Black Lanterns and how to defeat them.


Page 17: “You think you can win, banshee?” Jeannette, the woman to whom Black Lantern Fiddler is speaking, is a banshee.


Page 18: Waller is using the former Dr. Light’s light grenades as well as the Green Lantern energy stored in the Manhunter’s power core to destroy the Black Lanterns.


Unfortunately...that shouldn’t work.


Intense light has been shown to destroy Black Lanterns. Both Halo and Doctor Light (the good one) were able to use their light-generation abilities, turned up full-blast, to destroy Black Lanterns. But I doubt that some light grenades would have the same power levels.


And Green Lantern energy can destroy a Black Lantern, but only when combined with the energies of another shade of the emotional spectrum. Green Lantern energy alone is ineffective.


I know...nitpicky nitpicky…


Page 20: “My best intel says you’re not making those calls anymore. Bane is.” As of Secret Six (second series) #14, Bane assumed control of the Secret Six from Scandal.


“I do let him think that.” Well, I guess Scandal was just humoring Bane the entire time…


“I am where I belong.” Damn. Deadshot shot Waller.


Nice. Been waiting YEARS for that…


Page 21: “And I owed her a bullet for what she pulled with me.” Waller betrayed Deadshot and sent him to the prison planet in Salvation Run. He wasn’t too happy about that.


Page 22: “They still haven’t twigged that I’m Mockingbird.” Mockingbird is the mystery individual who blackmails the Secret Six into taking on missions that they might not normally undertake. Their first Mockingbird was Lex Luthor, who pitted the group against the Society in Villains United #1. The new Mockingbird first began sending the group on missions in Secret Six (second series) #10.



Adventure Comics #7/510

“What Did Black Lantern Superboy Do?”


Writer: Tony Bedard

Penciller: Travis Moore

Inker: Dan Green, Keith Champagne & Bob Wiacek

Editor: Brian Cunningham


Synopsis


Wonder Girl and Krypto battle the Black Lantern Superboy, even as Connor struggles to free himself from the thrall of the Black Lantern power ring. But freedom might only be achieved if Connor is willing to sacrifice his very existence…


Notes


Page 1: Superboy, real name Conner Kent, also known as Kon-El. First appeared in Adventures of Superman #500. Killed in Infinite Crisis #6. Returned to life in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4. Possesses the standard Kryptonian powers of superhuman strength, speed, invulnerability, senses and flight, as well as tactile telekinesis. Last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


Wonder Girl II, real name Cassandra “Cassie” Sandsmark. First appeared (as Cassie) in Wonder Woman (second series) #105 and (as Wonder Girl) in Wonder Woman (second series) #111. Possesses god-given flight, superhuman strength, speed and durability as well as a mystic lasso. Last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


In Blackest Night #5, Superboy, along with several other heroes, was killed by Nekron and transformed into a Black Lantern. This issue takes place shortly after the events of Blackest Night #6, and concurrent with Green Lantern (fourth series) #50 & 51, Blackest Night: The Flash #2 & 3, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 and The Atom and Hawkman #46.


“The Manchurian Superboy” is a play on the novel The Manchurian Candidate, in which the son of a prominent U.S. political family is brainwashed into becoming an assassin for the Communists.


Page 2: Scenes from Superboy’s life, including…


His debut in Metropolis, shortly after the events of The Adventures of Superman #500;


Battling King Shark for the first time in Superboy (third series) #9; Superboy received his heat vision goggles form Cadmus Labs in Superboy (third series) #0;


Using his tactile telekinesis, for a long time Superboy’s only power, to blow something up;


Hanging out with the Teen Titans, which he joined in Teen Titans (third series) #1;


Romancing Wonder Girl, presumably sometime around Teen Titans (third series) #16, which featured Conner and Cassie’s first date.


Page 3: More scenes from Superboy’s life…


Superboy went all “Manchurian Candidate” on the Teen Titans in Teen Titans (third series) #24;


Superboy-Prime killed Superboy in Infinite Crisis #6;


Starman dug up Superboy’s remains and placed them in the Kryptonian healing chamber at the Fortress of Solitude in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4;


Superboy joined forces with Superman and the Legions of Super-Heroes to beat Superboy-Prime in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5.


Pages 4-5: Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Black Canary, Indigo-1, Larfleeze, Saint Walker, Starfire, Beast Boy, Fire, Cyborg, Atrocitus, Thaal Sinestro, Nekron and Black Lanterns Animal Man, Wonder Woman, Green Arrow, Superman, Donna Troy, Kid Flash and Ice last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


Black Hand and Dove last appeared in Blackest Night #5.


Page 6: Connor, dude, you might want to consider using some moisturizer or something.


I’m not trying to be critical. Just saying.


Page 7: “And we’ve trained ever since, building up mental defenses.” I don’t mind this, except for the fact that we’ve never seen it established in a story before. It makes sense, given what Connor has been through, but it just kind of comes out of left field, you know?


Page 9: “It’s Kara. Sure, she’s technically my cousin, but does that even count if you’re a clone…?” Creepy, Connor, just plain creepy…


Wonder Girl’s magic lasso, a gift from Ares, can channel Zeus’ lighting when she is angry.


Page 10: Wonder Girl is feeling rage.


Page 11: Krypto, also known as the Superdog. First appeared in Adventure Comics #210. He’s a dog, albeit a Kryptonian one, which makes him quite a bit tougher than your average hound. He can fly, and he has a spiffy cape. He’s a good boy. A very good boy. Last appeared in Blackest Night: Superman #3.


I know that this Krypto made his “modern” debut only a few years ago and is, technically, a Brainiac 13-creation from a false Krypton located in the Phantom Zone that followed Superman back to Earth…


But…ever since Infinite Crisis, and the Superman-origin-revamp as currently depicted in Superman: Secret Origin, it seems that Krypto is once again Kal-El’s dog from Krypton, so trying to determine what the “modern” Krypto’s technical first appearance is has been a little dicey. Hence, I decided to just go with his historical first appearance as his only first appearance, for simplicity’s sake.


Krypto – good boy that he is – is feeling love, rage and will.


Pages 12-13: Poor Krypto, getting all frozen like that.


Bad, Black Lantern Superboy, bad!


Page 14: “If we had different power rings – green, yellow, whatever – we could shut down my black one.” The green light of willpower, when combined with another light from the emotional spectrum, can destroy a Black Lantern power ring.


Man, it feels like forever since I mentioned that nugget of information!


“Okay, girlfriend, it’s time for your Black Lantern makeover.” This fall, on Bravo, “Black Lantern Eye for the Alive Superhero”!


Man, that was lame…:)


Page 17: That mess of crystals in the background is Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, located in the Arctic.


Page 19: Gotta say…I’m not digging Connor’s new look. Bald, boney and wrinkly does not scream “youthful super-hero”: to me.


Page 22: “Remember your training!’ Once again, happy that he got this training. I just wish that we, the faithful reader, had seen some of it before now.


“And I put my fears about ever being like Lex Luthor to bed when I saw the evil he was truly capable of.” Superboy came to grips with his human “heritage” and his connection to Lex Luthor in Adventure Comics #6/509.


Pages 24-25: This is the first time Connor has been able to use his freeze-breath power. Hoo-ray for you, Connor!


Page 29: “I didn’t mess up history, and the chamber will still revive me.” When your continued existence depends upon the fact that you need to keep your corpse dead in the present day so that you can be revived a thousand years from now, you have a far more complicated life than I do…

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3

Writer: Greg Rucka

Penciller: Nicola Scott

Inker: Jonathan Glapion

Editor: Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


Now a Star Sapphire, Wonder Woman struggles to keep Coast City safe from the menace of the Black Lanterns. But her greatest test may come from Red Lantern Mera, who is being consumed by a rage connected to a long buried secret…


Notes


Page 1: Wonder Woman last appeared in Blackest Night #6 and Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 (the two issues take place concurrently). In those stories, Diana was chosen to join the Star Sapphires.


Pages 2-3: Carol Ferris last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


Page 4: “I was possessed. I was a Black Lantern.” Diana became a Black Lantern in Blackest Night #5; the power of the Star Sapphire was able to free her.


“No. I see that your love is unrequited. So your ring fills its place.” The Star Sapphire rings work in a strange way. They seek out those who have endured a great loss, such as Miri Riam, and ask that they choose to fill their hearts with love. In many ways, the Star Sapphires are much like the Red Lanterns; those who choose the red light of rage have felt loss as well, but they choose to lash out in anger, and not embrace love.


Thus, pitting Diana and Mera against one another in this story makes a good amount of sense, since they represent two ways of coping and dealing with loss.


“Loving him from afar is not worthy of him, or you.” The “him” in this case is Hal Jordan. Carol tells Hal that she loves him in Green Lantern (fourth series) #50.


Page 5: Black Lanterns Martian Manhunter and Firestorm last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Events in this issue take place concurrent with Green Lantern (fourth series) #50, Blackest Night: The Flash #2 and The Atom and Hawkman #46.


Black Lantern Maxwell Lord IV last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #2. At some point after the events of that story he traveled to Coast City, as seen here.


Pages 6-7: “…but are you into bondage?” The theme of bondage was introduced early on by Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston, with the heroine frequently tying up her foes and the Amazons engaging in wrestling or bondage play. While later writers toned down these elements, they have never totally vanished from the character.


Page 8: Star Sapphires are able to trap members of other Corps in their conversion crystals, which changes the light of their rings to violet, thereby transforming them into Star Sapphires. Whether or not this would work on a Black Lantern remains to be seen, but this is what Diana has trapped Maxwell Lord in here.


Page 9: Atrocitus and Mera last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


Pages 10-11: “RRAAAR!” Mera’s been a tad inarticulate ever since she became a Red Lantern.


Page 13: “Rage fed by an inconceivable pain, hidden behind years of lies.” I was really getting intrigued by this as I read it, thinking that some deep, dark secret of Mera’s would be revealed.


I’ll discuss my disappointment later on…


Page 15: “…it seems she took my becoming a Black Lantern personally.” Black Lantern Diana and Mera battled one another in Blackest Night #6 and Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2. Mera was more than a little upset about the whole thing.


Page 16: “So much anger…too much…why…?” Just what I was asking myself right about now…


Pages 18-19: Okay, so this two-page spread should give us some insight as to Mera’s state of mind, shouldn’t it? You’d think so, right?


Well, we see some images at the top of the page that are from Mera’s mind. We see her being crowned queen of Atlantis; her son, Arthur, Jr., trapped by Black Manta; her and Aquaman kissing; she’s punching out Black Manta, presumably after killing Arthur, Jr.; and her standing over Aquaman while he sleeps.


Okay. Hmmm.


Down below we have some images from Diana’s mind. We have her receiving her tiara as she adopts the mantle of Wonder Woman; two images of her in battle; Vanessa Kapatelis, transformed into the Silver Swan; and she and Bruce Wayne about to share a romantic moment.


And, yes, for those of you howling and complaining out there – Bruce and Diana did, at one point, contemplate a relationship with one another. It never got past the “first kiss, maybe we should, maybe we shouldn’t” phase, but they did have feelings for one another. It was during Joe Kelly’s JLA run and, although you may not like it, it happened. And the world didn’t end because of it, so grow up and deal.


Sorry.


So, what did we learn about Mera’s deep, dark secret?


Nothing. Absolutely nothing.


I’ll complain more in a moment.


Page 20: “Dear Pallas…no wonder she hates herself.” Yeah, it’s no wonder. Could you tell me why, Diana?


“No wonder she burns with rage.” Actually…I am wondering.


“He never knew?” Knew what?


Page 21: “W-what could I tell him? After everything, what could I say?” Okay, look, if you want to tease and hint at some deep, dark secret, then could we at least have some clue as to what it is?


Did Mera blame Aquaman for their son’s death? Did she want to kill him because of it? Did she, as she declares in Green Lantern (fourth series) #50, never want to have children in the first place? Was she secretly in love with Black Manta and wanted to sell Arthur, Jr. into the underwater white slave trade to finance her new boyfriend’s villainous schemes??


Honestly, this issue (and this whole mini-series, for that matter) was a huge and total let-down because I have no idea what the point of it was. What was this whole story building up to, and why, in a story about emotions, is there no emotional payoff?


“…it’s too late for that, now.” That’s because Bruce Wayne is dead…or is he?


“But perhaps not for you. Not if we survive this night.” And why is that? Aquaman is dead, having been transformed into a Black Lantern. Nothing so far suggests that they can be resurrected. So does Mera’s secret have nothing to do with Aquaman?


I have no freaking clue, to be perfectly honest.


Page 22: Indigo-1, the Atom, Hal Jordan, Ganthet, Sayd, Saint Walker the Flash, Lex Luthor, Larfleeze, Thaal Sinestro and the Scarecrow last appeared in Blackest Night #6.



The Question #37

“One More Question”


Writer: Dennis O’Neil & Greg Rucka

Penciller: Denys Cowan

Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz & John Stanisci

Editor: Michael Siglain


Synopsis


Lady Shiva arrives to test Renee Montoya’s skill, but their fight is interrupted by the arrival of Black Lantern Charlles Victor Szasz. Physical force can’t destroy the Black Lantern…so what can they do?


Notes


Pages 1-3: The Question ran from issue #1 in 1987 until issue #36 in 1990. I never picked up a single issue of it, and keep planning on buying the recently-released trade paperbacks collecting the run, but I still haven’t gotten around to it. Sue me.


A recap of the life and death of Charles Victor Szasz.


Page 4: The Question II, real name Renee Montoya. First appeared (as Montoya) in Batman #475 and (as the Question) in 52 Week Forty-Eight. A skilled martial artist, detective and marksman.


Aristotle “Tot” Rodor, first appeared in Blue Beetle (fourth series) #1. A genius-level scientist who invented Pseudoderm, used as the Question’s mask.


Page 5: Lady Shiva, real name Sandra Wu-san. First appeared in Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter #5. One of the preeminent martial artists alive, able to read an opponent’s body language and predict their every move.


“I have come to fight someone, and I would like to get started.” Shiva isn’t one for small talk, as you can see here.


“Lady Shiva, yes. She killed Charlie once.” Lady Shiva killed Charlie – we know him as the Question, though he’s never called that – in The Question #1.


“The Professor neglects the part where I then saved his life.” He got better, though.


Page 6: “The walking dead are roaming the streets, and you show up wanting to play Toshiro Mifune?” “The walking dead” refers to the Black Lanterns…do I really need to explain them? No? Good. Toshiro Mifune was a Japanese actor who appeared in almost 170 films, including The Seven Samurai and Rashomon.


“I’ve got to go outside and get beat up, Professor.” Renee’s not having a good day.


Page 7: Girl fight. Good stuff.


Page 8: Charlie died just outside of Nanda Parbat, and is presumably buried there. As seen in The Phantom Stranger (second series)#42, Black Lantern power rings cannot penetrate the invisible barrier surrounding the hidden city. Thus, if a Black Lantern Charlie is to manifest, it needs to do so from an alternate source of genetic material…like a strand of hair that Professor Rodor procured from his old hat, the one that Renee currently wears, well, then all bets are off.


“Flesh.” Shouldn’t that be “Hair”?


Page 10: More girl fight. It never gets old.


Page 11: The Question I, real name Charles Victor “Charlie” Szasz, also known as Vic Sage. First appeared in Blue Beetle (fourth series) #1. Killed in 52 Week Thirty-Eight. A brilliant detective and a highly-skilled martial artist.


Page 12: “You’re not as good as you think you are, Shiva.” Ouch. Nice blow to the ego there.


Renee is feeling compassion. Shiva is feeling will.


Page 13: “If I thought for a second you were really Charlie, that would really hurt my feelings.” Renee isn’t going through a requisite period of thinking that Charlie is really back and thinking about how she can help him. She knows it’s not him, and isn’t buying into the Black Lantern’s rhetoric.


Page 14: “Bet this really pisses you off, huh?” Charlie is trying to break Shiva’s will, thereby making her feel an emotion and making her ripe for the killing.


Page 16: Tot is feeling avarice.


“I do not know. I have never been shot before. It is not what I expected.” I have this image of Shiva shooting herself just to see what it feels like.


Page 18: Now this is the part that confuses me. Shiva here is expressing her willpower to shut off her emotions and feel nothing, thereby preventing Charlie from seeing her. But isn’t the act of cutting herself off from emotion an expression of willpower, and wouldn’t that stand out to the Black Lantern?


Page 19: Tot is feeling avarice and fear. Renee is feeling compassion.


“Whatever you’re carrying for Charlie, whatever you left unsaid, you have to let it go, Tot!” Tot seems to have left a lot unsaid when it comes to Charlie.


Page 20: Renee does what Shiva did and makes herself invisible to Charlie.


Page 21: Tot is feeling fear.


“Charlie, son…” It has long been speculated that Tot was Charlie’s long-lost father, but, to my knowledge, it as never been definitively stated. Whether or not Tot truly is his father, or he just thinks of Charlie as his son, doesn’t matter; the feelings are the same.


Despite his feelings, Tot is able to make himself invisible to Charlie.


Page 22: “I’m going to stop him.” Does this mean that Renee’s going to make a visit to the rest of the Blackest Night crew? Cool.



Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Green Lantern #50

“Parallax Rebirth”


Writer: Geoff Johns

Penciller: Doug Mahnke

Inker: Christian Alamy, Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen, Mark Irwin & Doug Mahnke

Editor: Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


The representatives of the Lantern Corps and their deputies get to work containing the Black Lanterns in Coast City, but they are interrupted by a new threat – the Black Lantern Spectre. Knowing that they are severely over-matched, Hal Jordan release the one being that can defeat the Spectre – Parallax…


Notes


Page 1: The events of Blackest Night: The Flash #2, The Atom and Hawkman #46 and Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3 occur between scenes in this issue.


Black Lanterns Firestorm, Martian Manhunter and Copperhead last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Awwww, Copperhead go bye-bye. Too bad; I have a weird fondness for that villain.


Pages 2-3: Larfleeze, Lex Luthor, Mera, Atrocitus, Sayd, Scarecrow, Thaal Sinestro, Ganthet, Carol Ferris, Hal Jordan, Wonder Woman, the Atom, Indigo-1, Saint Walker and the Flash last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


Page 4: This scene takes place concurrent with Blackest Night: The Flash #2, page 10.


Jason Rusch last appeared in Blackest Night #4. He’s currently trapped within Black Lantern Firestorm.


The Flash and Saint Walker are creating a blue light construct of Gehenna, Jason Rusch’s girlfriend, who was killed by Black Lantern Firestorm in Blackest Night #3.


Page 5: Black Lantern Aquaman last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Black Lantern Aquaman is holding Black Lantern Arthur Curry, Jr. in order to torture Mera. Arthur, Jr. was killed by Black Manta in Adventure Comics #452.


“I never wanted children.” I don’t think that Mera means this, at least in a literal way. Red Lanterns are chosen because, after a great loss, they fill their hearts with rage. Quite often, those who are angry turn their backs on other emotions, like love, so that they won’t feel weak. Atrocitus only turned to the red light of rage after everything and everyone he loved in Space Sector 666 was destroyed. In this case, Mera is attempting to hide her love for her husband and son so that she can function.


Page 6: Black Lantern Donna Troy last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


Black Lantern Bug-Eyed Bandit – yay! – last appeared in Blackest Night #4. No one gives Betram Larvan enough love. Really.


Page 7: “What do you think I’m trying to do, Green Lantern? Share?!?!” Larfleeze most definitely does not want anyone, and I mean anyone, wielding the orange light of avarice other than him.


“We’ve got billions of Black Lanterns in space right over our heads…” As seen in Blackest Night #6, the Black Lanterns – all of them – are converging on Earth.


Page 8: Black Lantern Spectre last appeared in Phantom Stranger (second series) #42.


“You have the ability to overcome great fear.” This is the primary qualification for becoming a member of the Green Lantern Corps.


Page 9: “You will rejoin me and deliver the consequence of living to everyone.” After Jim Corrigan went to his final rest, Hal Jordan became the host for the Spectre; he sought to atone for his actions as Parallax. After the Spectre force purged Hal of Parallax, Hal was reborn and became a Green Lantern once more.


Page 10: Hal Jordan and Barry Allen outraced the Black Lantern power rings meant for them in Blackest Night #6, but the Spectre gets the better of Hal here.


Page 11: Ganthet and Sayd are able to use their powers to free Hal from the Black Lantern power ring.


Pages 12-13: Ganthet and Sayd are trapped by dark tendrils, like their fellow Guardians of the Universe have been since Blackest Night #1.


“Bats in the belfry!’ Scarecrow has a bit of an obsession with bats, which is only natural given that he’s been hunted by Batman for years.


Page 14: Scarecrow is now generating yellow-light crows.


“I’m terrified. I’m shaking.” As seen in Blackest Night #4, Scarecrow can no longer feel fear. However, judging by his comment in this scene, it appears that the power of the yellow light can even instill fear in the Scarecrow.


Page 15: “You have the ability to instill great fear.” This is the recruitment qualification for members of the Sinestro Corps.


“You will do that as your namesake.” Black Lantern Spectre transforms the Scarecrow into a literal scarecrow.


Pages 16-17: “I sense great rage within this Black Lantern.” I imagine that, because the Spectre is a Spirit of Vengeance, it seethes with rage.


Page 18: “Connection…” The Lanterns almost destroy Black Lantern Spectre…but it’s not going to go down that easily.


Page 19: “Why the hell didn’t that work?” Hal, Hal, Hal…you’ve been at this longer than anyone. If it seems too easy, then it probably won’t work. You really think staking the Spectre through the heart would kill it? Come on, man…


“The Spirit of Vengeance is absolute rage fused with death. It must belong to us, Mera.” Careful, Atrocitus, you’re starting to get as greedy as Larfleeze.


“And then we kill the king.” Mera’s sounding awfully repetitive lately.


Page 21: “Parallax is inside your power batteries?” In Green Lantern (fourth series) #24, the Green Lanterns of Earth defeated Parallax by trapping him within each of their power batteries, so that he could no escape and reform on his own.


Pages 22-23: Parallax the fear entity. First appeared in Green Lantern: Rebirth #3. Able to instill fear in others and control their minds.


Note that the design of Parallax the entity is based off the design of Parallax the megalomaniacal cosmic anti-hero.


That’s my own designation, in case you hadn’t noticed…


Page 24: “Last time you destroyed the Corps.” After Mongul and the Cyborg-Superman destroyed Coast City, Hal Jordan was a little bit pissed-off. Influenced by Parallax, he went on a rampage to Oa, battling those Green Lanterns who got in his way. He eventually freed Parallax and the entity bonded with him, creating a…well, a megalomaniacal cosmic anti-hero. If the designation fits…


This all happened in Green Lantern (third series) #48-50.


Page 26: “Fear.” Parallax is playing upon Hal’s fear about his father’s death when he was a child.


Pages 28-29: Parallax the megalomaniacal cosmic anti-hero, real name Hal Jordan. First appeared in Green Lantern (third series) #50. Able to alter reality and time.



Monday, February 8, 2010

The Atom and Hawkman #46

“Bye Bye Birdie!”


Writer: Geoff Johns

Artists: Ryan Sook & Fernando Pasarin

Editor: Adam Schlagman & Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


Ray Palmer, the newest member of the Indigo Tribe, must protect Indigo-1 as she attempted to bring the various Lantern Corps to Earth to battle the Black Lanterns. But this is easier said than done, as Ray must battle not only Black Lanterns Hawkman and Hawkgirl, but his ex-wife, Jean Loring…


Notes


Pages 1-3: In 1968, Hawkman ended its 27-issue run and the Winged Wonder began appearing in the pages of The Atom. With issue #39, The Atom was re-titled The Atom and Hawkman, and ran until issue #45 in 1968.


A recap of the life and troubled times of Ray Palmer, a.k.a. the Atom. Unlike the rest of the Blackest Night-related titles from the past few months, the subject of this recap isn’t being raised as a Black Lantern.


Page 4: The Atom II, real name Raymond “Ray” Palmer. First appeared in Showcase #34. Able to shrink his body to varying degrees while controlling his weight and mass. Now a member of the Indigo Tribe. Last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


Note that Ray’s Indigo Tribe uniform is based on his look from the Sword of the Atom mini-series.


Page 5: Hawkman, real name Carter Hall. The reincarnation of Prince Khufu of Ancient Egypt. First appeared in Flash Comics #1. Killed in Hawkman (third series) #13. Was reincarnated in his current body in JSA #23. Killed again in Blackest Night #1. Able to fly using his Nth metal belt and artificial wings; also has enhanced strength and healing factor. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Hawkgirl II, real name Kendra Saunders. The reincarnation of Princess Chay-Ara of Ancient Egypt. First appeared in JSA Secret Files and Origins #1. Killed in Blackest Night #1. Able to fly using her Nth metal belt and artificial wings; also has enhanced strength and healing factor. Last appeared in Blackest Night #4.


Page 6: “Not you and Carter. That’s what you do. You come back from the dead.” Due to a curse placed upon them by Hath-Set thousands of years ago, the souls of Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara are fated to be reborn over and over again.


Page 8: Indigo-1, leader of the Indigo Tribe. First appeared in Green Lantern (fourth series) #25. Power staff allows her to fly, create energy constructs, and duplicate the abilities of other Lantern Corps. Last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


“But take care. Some are loud. And some are difficult to control.” The emotions at the far ends of the emotional spectrum – rage and love – have been shown to be quite difficult to control and harness.


“BLAAARRGHH” Oh, yeah, right…Red Lanterns vomit their crimson plasma. Pretty gross, really.


Page 9: “Every Black Lantern in the universe is heading towards Earth.” John Stewart already knows this, as seen in Blackest Night #6.


Page 10: Those two Black Lanterns in the wings are the aforementioned Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara. They last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


In the background, the rest of the Lantern Corps are battling the Black Lantern Spectre, as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #50.


“Mine! That doesn’t belong to you!” Ray is channeling the power of the orange light of avarice, hence the greed-fueled ranting.


Page 11: Using the power of the Orange Lanterns, Ray creates avatars of the dead, in this case Hawkman and Hawkgirl.


“I know why you stayed small at Justice League meetings. Sitting in that little chair.” As anyone who is a fan of the classic JLA knows, the Atom had his own small chair that he sat in at meetings.


Page 12: Jean Loring, formerly known as Eclipso III. First appeared (as Jean) in Showcase #34 and (as Eclipso) in Day of Vengeance #1. Killed in Countdown to Final Crisis #17. Wields the Heart of Darkness which bestows superhuman strength, invulnerability, and the ability to project eye blasts. Last appeared in Blackest Night #6.


“Infection detected.” By leaping into Indigo-1’s power ring, Black Lantern Jean Loring has corrupted it.


Page 13: And that’s what Black Lantern infection of another Lantern’s power ring looks like. Not a whole lot of fun.


Page 14: That cake is for Ralph Dibny, a.k.a. the Elongated Man.


Time to start pulling at the heartstrings…


Page 15: Ray is witnessing the events that led to the death of Sue Dibny, as originally seen in Identity Crisis #1.


Page 16: Ray is feeling love, compassion and rage.


“You killed her. You killed her…for me.” As revealed in Identity Crisis #7, Jean Loring wanted to get back together with Ray Palmer. In her slightly-deranged mind, she rationalized that if someone threatened one of the loved ones of a super-hero, then the other heroes would rush to protect their loved ones. She only wanted to scare Sue Dibny, but instead ended up killing her by shrinking to microscopic size and walking around on her brain. Ray did, in fact, worry about Jean, but quickly turned from her when he learned what she had done.


Page 17: “The princess of Lilliput.” Jean refers to Princess Laethwen of the Morlaidhans, with whom Ray was involved during the Sword of the Atom mini-series and specials.


“Lilliput” is, of course, an island nation populated by tiny people “not six inches high,” as depicted in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.


Page 18: “Burned along with the rest of her people in the jungle.” As revealed in Power of the Atom #1, the Morlaidhans were destroyed by loggers who burned the jungle in which the colony was located.


Page 19: “You’re right. I’ll never forget you. But I won’t be haunted by you anymore.” Really? Are my hopes and dreams finally being answered? Is someone actually moving on from a tragedy and putting it behind them?


“Will.” Ray is using his abilities to duplicate the power of a Green Lantern power ring.


Page 20: Combining the green and indigo energies, Ray is able to destroy Black Lantern Jean.


“…but I’m moving on.” Yayyyyyyyy! It’s about freaking time! Now if only Garfield Logan can stop pining for Tara Markov, all will be right in the world.


Page 21: The members of the Indigo Tribe travel across the universe to the home worlds of the other Lantern Corps to recruit their aid against the Black Lanterns. Some notes…


As seen in recent issues of Green Lantern Corps, the Green Lanterns have been waging their own war against the Black Lanterns. I’m not sure when the Indigo Tribesmen arrive, though, because, as seen in Green Lantern Corps #44, Mogo destroyed all Black Lanterns on Oa.


In Green Lantern (fourth series) #46, Sinestro relocated the yellow power battery from Qward to Korugar. The members of the Sinestro Corps have been stationed there ever since, awaiting orders from their leader.


Zamaron is in shambles ever since Prince Khufu and Princess Chay-Ara, the two lovers whose embrace created the first Star Sapphire gem, were raised as Black Lanterns and freed the predator entity, as seen in Green Lantern (fourth series) #46.


Odym…is pretty darn peaceful. There’s hope for a brightest day right around the corner, I guess.


Considering that the last time we saw Ysmault in Green Lantern (fourth series) #47 the Red Lanterns were battling against the Black Lantern Five Inversions, things are pretty calm here. We never did see how Atrocitus escaped from the Five Inversions, but we do know that they are headed to Earth, as seen in Blackest Night #6.


Page 22: “Help me figure out how to bring Hawkman and Hawkgirl back to life.” I figured that was going to happen sooner or later. You can’t keep a good winged wonder down…



Blackest Night: JSA #2

“Troubled Souls”


Writer: James Robinson & Tony Bedard

Penciller: Eddy Barrows & Marcos Marz

Inker: Julio Ferreira, Eber Ferreira & Luciana del Negro

Editor: Brian Cunningham & Eddie Berganza


Synopsis


As the members of the JSA attempt to hold the line while Mister Terrific searches for a way to defeat the Black Lanterns, more and more of them are being swayed by the undead menace. When Black Lantern Damage blows a hole in the JSA’s defenses, no one can stop the resurrection of Kal-L of Earth-Two…


Notes


Pages 1-3: A recap of the lives and deaths of Damage, Johnny Quick and Lois-Lane Kent of Earth-Two.


Note that, on Page 3, Lois is incorrectly identified as “Lois Lane.”


Pages 4-5: Green Lantern I, Doctor Fate VI, Stargirl, Mister Terrific II, Doctor Mid-Nite II, Mister America III, Lightning, Magog, Wildcat III and Black Lantern Solomon Grundy last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #1.


Pages 6-7: Wildcat I, Power Girl, “Ma” Hunkel and Black Lantern Lois Lane-Kent last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #1.


Power Girl is feeling love, compassion and hope.


“You were like a daughter to me, Kara.” Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, Power Girl was the cousin of the Superman of Earth-Two, who came to Earth from Krypton decades after Kal-L. Clark and Lois Lane-Kent took her in and treated her like she was their daughter.


Clark’s dead again, isn’t he?” The Superman of Earth-Two was killed in Infinite Crisis #7. He was raised as a Black Lantern in Blackest Night: Superman #1, but was rendered “inactive” by the Medusa Mask in Blackest Night: Superman #3. Mister Terrific is currently studying his body.


Pages 8-9: Liberty Belle II, Hourman II, and Black Lanterns Johnny Quick and Doctor Mid-Nite last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #1.


Liberty Belle is feeling hope and love.


“But I have a costume like yours. I do, dad.” Jesse first wore her new, Johnny Quick-inspired costume in The Flash: Rebirth #5.


Anyone else creeped out by the fact that Jesse is changing costumes in front of her undead father? Sure, it’s at superspeed, but it still strikes me as a wee bit weird…


Page 10: “See? I’m Jesse Quick.” You were Jesse Quick back when your father was alive, Jesse, so why are you making such a big deal about it now?


Jeez, someone has some daddy issues to work through…


Pages 12-13: Judomaster III, Atom-Smasher and Black Lantern Damage last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #1.


Judomaster is feeling love. Atom-Smasher is feeling fear and compassion.


“I used to think my face was the worst thing imaginable…” In Infinite Crisis #1, Zoom mangled Damage’s face by punching him at superspeed. Ever since, he has worn a full-face mask to hide his injuries.


“How many times did you end up on the wrong side of a fight? You stood with Black Adam! You killed for him!” Atom-Smasher does not have the best track-record when it comes to choosing right from wrong. After his mother was killed in a plane crash engineered by Kobra, he went back in time and replaced his mother with a weakened Extant, murdering the villain. He later left the JSA and joined forces with Black Adam and other rogue metahumans to take control of Khandaq. He battled his former friends in the JSA, but was eventually brought back to the U.S. to stand trial for his actions. He was eventually released, but not before he worked with the Suicide Squad. Quite a pedigree.


Pages 14-15: Cyclone, Citizen Steel and Black Lanterns Sandman and Mister Terrific last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #1.


“Your wife loves you with all her heart, junkie!” Liberty Belle/Jesse Quick is Hourman’s wife. At one point, Hourman was addicted to Miraclo, the drug that gave him his abilities, hence the nickname “junkie.” He now uses a non-addictive form of Miraclo.


Pages 16-17: Black Lanterns Cavalier and Maxwell Lord last appeared in Blackest Night: JSA #1. Maxwell Lord, presumably, travels to Coast City shortly after this, so that the may confront Star Sapphire Wonder Woman in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #3.


Pages 18-19: “WHOOOOM” Man, that was a bit of overkill, don’t you think?


Pages 20-21: “Connection severed.” Black Lantern Lois Lane-Kent was merely the messenger. Someone else can do a lot more damage with a Black Lantern power ring than she…


“Kal-L of Krypton. Rise.” You can’t keep the world’s first super-hero down…