Friday, October 22, 2010

And now a word from the writer of this blog...

Due to some personal issues, including, but not exclusively, having to up and move apartments quite suddenly, I just have had neither the time nor the financial resources to either buy or annotate comics lately.  It's a temporary setback to be sure, and I should be back to my regularly-scheduled notes and reviews come November.  Thanks to everyone who drops by here, and I hope to be back to posting soon...

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #10

“The More You See, The Less You Know”

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Joe Bennett
Inker: Jack Jadson & Ruy José
Editor: Rex Ogle & Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

Spurred on by his vision of an apocalyptic future, Maxwell Lord recruits the aid of Magog to attack and terminate Captain Atom.  Meanwhile, Skeets informs the J.L.I. that he has the locations of four formerly-dormant Checkmate cells that Lord has been in contact with.  Later, Ice and Fire have a heart-to-heart and mend the bridge between them.  Power Girl visits Batman at the Bat-Bunker and the two nearly remember who Max is until Lord’s mental whammy causes them to forget him once more.  In China, Fire, Ice and Rocket Red break into one of Lord’s robotics labs, only to find themselves under attack by the Metal Men…

Notes

Page 1:  Pages one through four expand upon a scene originally depicted in Kingdom Come #1 page 27.  This is the vision that Maxwell Lord received from the Entity of the White Light in Justice League: Generation Lost #7.

Technically, the events of Kingdom Come occurred on Earth-22, but those same events could come to pass on New Earth, and this is what Lord must prevent from happening.

The Parasite, presumably Rudolph C. “Rudy” Jones.  First appeared in The Fury of Firestorm #58.  Able to absorb energy, superhuman abilities and intelligence from others through physical contact.

Page 2:  Seen here is the Justice Battalion, a more violent, uncompromising version of the Justice League, led by Magog.  The team and its members first appeared in Kingdom Come #1.

Here the team is called the Justice Brigade.  I am not sure if this is an error, or, because this is technically New Earth’s future, the team goes by a different name than the group on Earth-22.

Depicted here are Alloy (composed of all of the Metal Men fused into a single being), Nightshade, Captain Atom, Peacemaker, Thunderbolt and Judomaster.  Besides Captain Atom, the identities of these heroes have never been definitively revealed. 

Page 3:  After touching Magog, Parasite turns the anti-hero’s own energies against him. 

Page 4:  Parasite absorbs Captain Atom’s abilities, allowing him to pierce the hero’s skin and cause nuclear devastation in the middle of Kansas. 

Page 5:  The battle between Superman and Captain Marvel, with the rest of Earth’s heroes thrown in for good measure, was originally seen in Kingdom Come #4.  Needless to say, it didn’t end well.

“Stop the war.”  However…if you recall, in the aftermath of the battle, things got better, and Earth’s heroes realized that they had a responsibility to the world and to one another to make life better.  But this all happened on Earth-22; perhaps, here on New Earth, it doesn’t have such a happy ending?

Page 6:  Maxwell Lord and Magog last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #9.

“But it’s been my understanding that my lance is a tool of magic.”  Magog isn’t too sure about all that much about himself; his true origins and nature are still a bit vague, but hints have been dropped in the pages of the recently-canceled Magog series. 

Page 7:  Since Magog is pretty hardcore to begin with, I am pretty sure that Max didn’t need to use his mind control abilities to convince him to go after Captain Atom. 

Page 8: Rocket Red, Ice, Captain Atom, Fire, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and Skeets last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #9.

 “On the day of Max Lord’s resurrection, and his mind-wipe of the world…”  I was under the impression that at least a day went by before the JLA and Earth’s heroes began their manhunt of Lord, but it seems like they began searching for him immediately after the events of Blackest Night #8.

“Yes sir.  During our illegal break-in to Checkmate.”  The J.L.I. attempted to sneak into the Checkmate Castle in Justice League: Generation Lost #7 & 8.  Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned.

Page 9:  “Most are still encrypted, but in the moments before Max Lord’s attack, I had just completed decoding the whereabouts and transmission of these activated cells.”  The ever-reliable Skeets did this in Justice League: Generation Lost #9.

Page 10:  For a J.L.I. embassy that was never used and was presumably decommissioned years ago, the German embassy has quite the souvenir room, don’t you think?

“He said Skeets found you a safe house in Portugal.”  Who runs this safe house?  Given that the J.L.I. are on the run from Checkmate and are persona non gratis with the rest of the world’s super-heroes, who exactly is going to take them in at this point?

Page 11:  “Max marched into a J.L.I. embassy, took control of you, and had you attack us…you begged Atom to kill you before you had a chance to hurt any of us.”  This transpired in Justice League: Generation Lost #8 & 9.

Just as a side note, as someone who grew up on Keith Giffen’s nine-panel grid page layouts in Legion of Super-Heroes, it’s nice to see artists use more than three panels per page. 

Page 13:  Batman last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #4.

Alfred, full name Alfred Thaddeus Crane Pennyworth, originally named Alfred Beagle.  First appeared in Batman #16.  If you need me to explain who Alfred is, then you need so much more help than I can provide. 

The images of Maxwell Lord on the computer screens are taken from various sources…

            Wonder Woman snapping Lord’s neck, from Wonder Woman (second series) #219;

            After Lord shot Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) in the head in Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1;

            And, from happier times, Max with the newly-assembled Justice League International, from a poster designed by Kevin Maguire.

Page 14:  Power Girl last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #2.  Her future self made an appearance in Justice League: Generation Lost #6.

Power Girl’s appearance here occurs between pages 14 and 15 of Power Girl #16.

Page 15:  “Max Lord.  That’s the name Booster kept saying.  A Master criminal.”  In Justice League: Generation Lost #2, Power Girl asks, “Is this a joke?  Did Booster put you up to this?”  Apparently, Booster Gold tried to convince Power Girl of Max’s existence, with no success.

“I fought an android called C.R.A.S.H.  He was huge.  Really cleaned my clock.”  This took place in Power Girl #14-15.

“But then, a man came to claim him.  To teleport him out.”  Max Lord helped C.R.A.S.H. escape at the end of Power Girl #15.

Page 16:  I assume that this is supposed to be the new, current, Dick Grayson Batman.  If so, his belt and gloves are drawn incorrectly here. 

Page 17:  “I lost my train of thought.  What were we just talking about?”  As soon as someone gets close to the truth about Maxwell Lord, they seem to automatically forget what they were doing.  Even the Dark Knight is affected.

Which leads to an interesting idea…Since Bruce Wayne was trapped in the past when Max’s mental whammy hit, will he remember Lord when he returns to this time period?

“I was…um…I wanted help locating one of my former employees.”  One of Power Girl’s employees embezzled funds from her company, prompting her to seek out Batman’s help, as seen in Power Girl #16.

Page 19:  “My own design.  Rocket Red Battalion not have.”  If the mecha empathy was a part of the original design of the Rocket Red armors, why do the updated suits not have this ability? 

Page 21:  Wild theory – Max is using this lab to create duplicates of world leaders that he can use to replace them.  Then, with these robotic duplicates in power, Max can force world peace, just like Metron’s computer wanted to do years ago, as originally explained in Justice League International #12.

Page 22:  The Metal Men – Platinum, Iron, Tin, Mercury, Gold and Lead.  First appeared in Showcase #37.  They are artificially-intelligent robots created by Doctor William “Doc” Magnus that have characteristics commonly associated with their namesake metals.

They don’t seem to be too happy to see the J.L.I. right now, do they?

Friday, October 1, 2010

BRIGHTEST DAY #10

“A Change in Gonna Come”

Writer: Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Ivan Reis, Scott Clark, Joe Prado
Inker: Oclair Albert, David Beaty
Editor: Eddie Berganza

Synopsis

Professor Martin Stein explains to Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond that they are undergoing an unstable metamorphosis as Firestorm.  He has since learned that the matrix which powers them is derived from the Big Bang itself, making them potentially the most dangerous being in the universe…

Aquaman goes off in search of Black Manta’s son on his own, telling Mera that she needs to find help in holding back her people and their attack.  Meanwhile, Jackson Hyde’s father reveals that he is not his son and that a mysterious woman from the sea gave him to the Hydes to protect him.  My. Hyde shows Jackson a locked chest; when Jackson attempts to open it, Black Manta attacks.  Jackson and his father flee, but they drive off the road into the Rio Grande.  Jackson lashes out at Black Manta, but isn’t used to using his powers, and is overwhelmed by Manta and Siren.  Manta is about to kill Mr. Hyde when Aquaman intervenes, telling his longtime foe that he has been waiting for this…

Stein warns Jason and Ronnie that their arguing and bickering could inadvertently lead to the triggering of another Big Bang, leaving them as the only survivors.  On cue, the voice which both Jason and Ronnie have been hearing for days manifests and emerges from Firestorm, splitting the hero into his component parts and incapacitating him.  As Stein looks on, Deathstorm emerges…

Notes

Page 1:  Firestorm and Professor Martin Stein last appeared in Brightest Day #7.

In Brightest Day #7, Ronnie and Jason swapped roles – Jason is now in charge, while Ronnie becomes the disembodied, invisible head – after receiving a vision from the Entity of the White Light. 

Page 2:  “The Firestorm matrix bonded with Ronald much more than it ever did myself, In a way, it even rejected me, transforming me briefly into a fire elemental.”  Way back when Stein become Firestorm on his own, it was revealed that he was originally intended to be the sole recipient of the fire elemental’s power, but Ronnie’s presence fouled things up.  Now it seems that the shoe is on the other foot, and that this Firestorm matrix, whatever it truly is, was meant for Ronnie and Ronnie alone. 

“And now that the matrix is fully bonded to you both, Firestorm is going through yet another metamorphosis.  A final stage, I mentioned.”  So, is this going to be the one, true, ultimate Firestorm?  No more revamps or reboots five years down the road?

Page 3:  Nothing like finding out that your whole body is an unstable sun, is there?

Page 4:  “When Ronald and I first met, I was attempting to validate my theories on the existence of the Big Bang.”  A bit of a retcon here…when we first met him, Martin Stein was the designer of a new nuclear power plant outside of New York City.  Ronnie was part of a group protesting its construction; if I recall correctly, he was only there to impress a girl.  Anyway, a terrorist set off a bomb and Stein and Ronnie were caught in the blast, fusing them together as Firestorm. 

So Stein goes from being power plant designer to the guy who “captured” the spark that preceded the Big Bang?  Man, he’s a hell of a lot smarter than anyone ever gives him credit for…

Question time…how is it that Stein can hear what Ronnie is saying?  I thought that only Jason would be able to hear him.

Page 5:  “According to countless scientists, including the Atom, this universe’s expiration date is long overdue.”  This was an idea that was first hypothesized way back during the “Our Worlds at War” storyline that ran through the Superman titles back in 2001.

Page 6:  Aquaman and Mera last appeared in Brightest Day #9.

Page 7:  Jackson Hyde and Mr. Hyde (no relation to Dr. Jekyll) last appeared in Brightest Day #9.

“The cottage?  I didn’t know we had a cottage.”  Dude, it’s a shack in the middle of nowhere, not a palatial mansion overlooking the French Riviera.  Deal. 

Page 8:  “Because I change when I hit water.”  So does Jackson get all glowy and stuff whenever he takes a shower? Or washes hands?  Or drinks a glass of water?  Or does it only happen at dramatic moments, like in the middle of a rainstorm?

That is one creepy looking chest, if you ask me…

Page 9:  So…anyone else notice a resemblance between the women that rose up from the sea and Mera?  Anyone?  Anyone?

“Is Jackson even my real name?”  Considering that you’re from another dimension, and that representatives from said dimensions have names like “Mera,” “Hila” and “Quana”…probably not.

Why does Aquaman’s “A” symbol appear on the chest as Jackson touches it?  Does Arthur have more of a connection to this kid than he knows about?

Page 10:  Black Manta last appeared in Brightest Day #9.

A brief aside for a moment here…Is anyone else reciting Black Manta’s lines in the voice he used to have on the Super Friends series?  You know, when he sounded all creepy and cool? 

Or am I the only one doing that?

Okay…moving on…

Page 11:  “You can drive.  Just get in!”  Drive, you future teen sidekick you!

Page 12:  “I knew something was happening – the ponds drying up around town – the rainfall and lightning ten times what’s normal.”  I’m no meteorologist, but how are the ponds drying up if the rainfall is ten times what is normal?

Page 14:  Jackson just opened up a can of whoop-ass on his absentee father, now didn’t he?

Page 15:  “What did they do to you?”  So are Jackson’s power’s an anomaly?  I have been assuming that they were the result of his birth, but was he somehow altered, and even Black Manta didn’t know about it? 

Page 17:  Siren last appeared in Brightest Day #9.

“No.  He’s different from us.”  True.  Mera and Siren can create structures out of water.  Jackson, on the other hand, actually manipulates water, and also has funky webbed fingers. 

“He is not your father.”  Go ahead.  Speak this line out loud with your best “Black Manta” voice.

Go on.

Do it.

You know you want to…



Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Page 18:  Oh, yeah…I’ve been waiting for this moment.  Aquaman gets to let loose and kick some Manta-ass…

Page 19:  The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest particle accelerator, lying beneath the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. 

Page 20:  It’s never a good thing when the voice inside your head takes physical form and tears you apart.  Really, I know this from personal experience, it so ruins your day…

Page 22:  This fine-looking gentleman, who bears a striking resemblance to Black Lantern Firestorm, is known as Deathstorm.

“Deathstorm.”  And who said all the cool super-villain names were taken?