Monday, December 27, 2010

BRIGHTEST DAY #13

“Under a Blood Red Sky”

Writers: Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Pencillers: Ardian Syaf, Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Inkers: Vicente Cifuentes
Editors: Eddie Berganza

Synopsis

Hawkman leads the tribes of Hawkworld against the Nth City even as Queen Shrike orders Hath-Set to use Hawkgirl as a key to activate the inter-dimensional gate.  Shrike explains to Hawkgirl how she engineered Khufu and Chay-Ara’s deaths, and tells her daughter that she came to the uncivilized Hawkworld and took control of the planet.  A bloody and battered Hawkman comes to Hawkgirl’s rescue, but even as Shiera kills Hath-Set, Shrike uses her control over Nth metal to take control of Hawkman and secure him to the gate.  With the gate activated, Queen Shrike leads her Manhawks away from Hawkworld to conquer Zamaron…

On Earth, Dove and Boston Brand attempt to locate the as yet-unknown White Lantern.  Brand scratches Mitch Shelley, the Resurrection man, off his list, but then gets the notion that, perhaps, the ring has been waiting for none other than the recently-returned Batman…

Notes

Page 1:  Hawkman last appeared in Brightest Day #8.

Pages 2-3:  Hawkman has teamed up with the Lionmane pride and some of the other Hawkworld clans to battle the Manhawks in an effort to save Hawkgirl.  Note that the members of the Lionmane tribe are tied to pieces of Nth metal ore so that they may rise into the air like their foes. 

Page 5:  “Do whatever you need to do, Tonarr.”  I guess, in the heat of battle, Hawkman forget that the head of the Lionmane pride’s name is “Tonrarr.” 

Damn, those Manhawks are pretty ugly…

Page 6:  Hawkgirl and Hath-Set last appeared in Brightest Day #8.

Hath-Set’s “legacy of death” is composed of the bones of Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s past, er…corpses?  Lives?  Whatever.  Hath-Set built it in Brightest Day #3 and used it as an inter-dimensional doorway to escape to Hawkworld. 

Page 7:  “You got what you want – it brought you here to Hawkworld so you could join my traitorous mother!”  Shiera’s mother is Queen Shrike, about who little is known so far.

“I just realized when the Black Lanterns killed you it was the first time in over two thousand years that both of you didn’t actually die at my hands.”  Hawkman and Hawkgirl were killed by the Black Lanterns in Blackest Night #1.

And that statement isn’t totally true.  Hath-Set had nothing to do with Carter and Shiera’s deaths in Zero Hour #3 and Hawkman (third series) #13, in which they were both absorbed by the Hawkgod. 

Page 9:  Queen Shrike last appeared in Brightest Day #8.

Pages 10-11:  Man, Carter’s looking mighty pissed-off, isn’t he?

Pages 12-13:  Ouch.  Getting crucified on that doorway of bones must hurt like a bitch. 

In case you were wondering, “Khufu” and “:Chay-Ara” were the original names of Carter and Shiera. 

Pages 14-15:  Ah., yes, the obligatory plot synopsis for those of us who came to the party late…

I won’t bore you with the long-winded explanation, but it seems that Khufu’s father was the Pharaoh of Egypt.  The Pharaoh’s wife died, ad did his brother.  So he married his brother’s wife, the lady who would be known as Shrike.  And Shrike was Chay-Ara’s mom.  Which means that Khufu and Chay-Ara were…cousins. 

While marriage between cousins might seem more than a bit strange by most of us, some countries do not prohibit it.  At the very least, incestuous marriages were widespread at least through the Greco-Roman period of Egyptian history; Cleopatra was married to her brother Ptolemy XIII.  Marriage through cousins was actually encouraged for a time, as it ensures purity of the line of descent, provides knowledge of the spouses, and ensures that property and power will not fall into the hands of outsiders.

Am I endorsing cousin marriages?  Nah, it’s creepy.  But I just don’t have any hot cousins, that’s all…

(I am joking.  Chill.)

The tale about how the Thanagarian ship was discovered by the Egyptians and how it connects to Hawkman and Hawkgirl was first told in JSA #22-25.

Previously, Hath-Set acted alone in killing Khufu and Chay-Ara.  It is now revealed that the lady to later be known as Queen Shrike directed Hath-Set in his actions. 

As revealed in Brightest Day #8, Queen Shrike left Earth centuries ago and came to Hawkworld to conquer it. 

Page 16:  “Looking at your wings and face, I’d have to agree.”  Queen Shrike is looking a bit…Manhawkish, if I do say so myself. 

Page 17:  Yep.  Carter’s definitely pissed-off now.  Seeing your wife crucified to a magical gateway made up of the bones of your past lives will certainly do that to a guy.

Page 18:  Ah ha!  Hawkman reveals that Queen Shrike’s original name was…Khea.

Nope, doesn’t mean anything to me, either…

Page 19:  Damn, Hawkgirl’s all hardcore, snapping Hath-Set’s neck like that.  Does this mean that the curse is over?  Or is it in effect because Queen Shrike is still alive?

Page 21:  As they travel through the gate, Hawkman and Hawkgirl are experiencing their deaths all over again like they did when they first come to Hawkworld in Brightest Day #4.

Page 22:  Queen Shrike has opened a gateway to Zamaron, home of the Star Sapphires and the Predator, the violet entity of love.  Remember that the Zamarons procured the first of their star sapphires from the crystallized bodies of Khufu and Chay-Ara, and that Miri Riam gave Shiera a piece of her original body after the events of Blackest Night #8.

Carol Ferris last appeared in Brightest Day #1.

Page 23:  Dove and Boston Brand last appeared in Brightest Day #12.

Resurrection Man, real name Mitchell “Mitch” Shelley.  First appeared in Resurrection Man #1.  Due to the presence of tektites in his body, is able to resurrect each time he is killed, with new metahuman abilities with each “life.”

Interesting that Resurrection Man played no part in Blackest Night.  Given that he has technically “died” man times, it would have been cool to see the Black Lantern power rings attempt to “raise” him. 

Page 24:  Batman, real name Bruce Wayne.  First appeared in Detective Comics #27.  Skilled hand-to-hand combatant, athlete and acrobat, master strategist and regarded as the world’s greatest detective.  

Okay, let’s talk continuity for a few minutes here…

Way back in Green Lantern (fourth series) #43, the Blackest Night prologue issue, Black Hand walks into the Hand Mortuary and slaughters his entire family.  As Hand enters, we can see a sign that reads “Happy Easter,” implying that the events of that issue take place sometime around the Easter holiday which, in 2010, was on April 4.  Within a matter of days, the black rings falls to Earth, the Black Lanterns rise, and the Blackest Night begins.

Now, the events of Blackest Night #1-8 and all of its tie-ins and crossovers take place over the course of a day or two, no longer.  I don’t work for DC, nor has anyone from DC ever verified this, but, if you read the story, you can see that it’s not occurring over an extended period of time.  It’s a very short, compact story. 

Brightest Day #0 seems to take place the day after the heroes rise in Blackest Night #8.  It’s a day of celebration and remembrance for those who lost their lives in the Blackest Night.  During that story, Boston Brand bounces all across the universe and looks in on the White Lantern Twelve, those restored to life by the Entity of the White Light. 

In reviewing the events of Brightest Day so far, it would seem that these thirteen issues span no more than a week to a week and a half.  That goes for the events of Justice League: Generation Lost as well. 

So, for arguments sake, we’ll say that at this point, in Brightest Day #13, we should be somewhere in the realm of seven to ten days after Easter.  Sound okay?

Let’s backtrack for a moment.  In Batman and Robin #7-9, “Blackest Night,” Dick Grayson attempted to use a Lazarus Pit to restore Bruce Wayne to life.  As it turns out, the corpse wasn’t actually Bruce’s; it was a mindless corpse created by Darkseid and substituted for the real Bruce after Batman was sent into the past by the Omega Sanction (phew). 

By necessity, this story must take place after Blackest Night #8; shortly after, I would imagine.  But, according to Batman and Robin #7, this story occurs on midwinter, the longest night of the year, which would be December 21, 2010, and a full eight months after the events of Blackest Night.  And it can’t happen before Blackest Night, so the midwinter reference must be apocryphal. 

This is where continuity gets a little fuzzy and rushed.  In Batman and Robin #10-12, the Dynamic Duo are attacked by Slade Wilson and Talia in Wayne Manor, and then meets up with Oberon Sexton, who turns out to be the Joker.  Meanwhile, Superman, Green Lantern and Booster Gold travel into the past to find Bruce Wayne, who is, in turn, traveling forward through time to return to the present.  Dick and Damian then apprehend the Joker, and then confront Dr. Simon Hurt, only to have Bruce Wayne return at the last minute.  We then have the establishment of Batman, Incorporated, and now Bruce is appearing in Brightest Day #13.  Ta-da!  (Yeah, I skipped over a few things.  Sue me.)

Not that it can’t happen…it just feels like a whole lot is happening in an extremely short period of time right now.  And this is just the events in Batman and Robin I am talking about here.  I haven’t even touched upon the events featured in Batman, the Bruce Wayne: The Road Home one-shots, or Justice League of America, which is closely tied into the events of Brightest Day. 

I’m not complaining…simply attempting to get a handle on DC’s current continuity, that’s all.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #12

“The Cold Truth”          

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Fernando Dagnino
Inker: Raul Fernandez
Editor: Rex Ogle & Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

After fighting back against Alloy, Ice’s powers have gone into overdrive and she has lost control of herself.  While Rocket Red evacuates the Metal Men, Fire attempts to subdue her longtime friend.  However, Ice’s power overwhelms Fire, and it is only when Ice remembers her true past and origin that she comes back to herself and halts her rampage.  She breaks down in tears as she recalls that she killed her father with her powers.  Meanwhile,. Booster Gold, Captain Atom and Blue Beetle prepare to leave Chicago to aid their friends, but are stopped when confronted by Magog.  His mission?  To kill Captain Atom…

Notes

Page 1:  Lillehammer is a town in Oppland county, Norway, chiefly known for being the site of the 1994 Winter Olympics. 

Nikolina is Tora’s younger sister.

Page 2:  “When something bad happens, or something hurts, it’s very important that you be calm.  Be quiet.  Be small.”  We’ll come back to this later.

Page 3:  These are Marius and Else Olafsdotter, Tora’s parents. 

“She is a little girl who has abilities.  Our little girl.  Not the return of an ice goddess.”  And what’s wrong with being an ice goddess, hmmmm?  Tora was okay with it before now.

Oh, yeah, that’s right; I forgot to mention that this little trip down memory lane is a complete retcon of Ice’s previously established origin.  Again, we’ll come back to it later.

“All they will do is use her to steal.”  The Is Bygd are a sect of the Romanifolket; presumably, they are thieves and con artists who profit off the misfortune of others.  Marius fears that they will use Tora’s abilities to furthers their goals. 

Page 4:  Ice last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #11.

“The world knows her as a royal member of a magical tribe from Norway.  An ice goddess.”  There’s that talk of being an ice goddess again…

Page 5:  Fire and Rocket Red last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #11.

“You got quite the beat-down from the Metal Men combo giant until you snapped into winter overdrive here…”  Ice was battling Alloy, the giant battle-form of the Metal Men, when she went all wild and blizzardy, as seen in Justice League: Generation Lost #11.

Page 6:  “Borscht” is a soup of Ukranian origin that is made with beetroot as the main ingredient.  Sounds yummy.  Not. 

“Just try and be…calm.”  Fire, telling someone to be calm?  That’s a joke, don’t you think?

Page 8:  Mr. Olafsdotter is Marius’ father.  He is the head of the Is Bygd clan, and not a very nice guy, from the sound of it. 

Page 9:  Uh-oh, looks like Tora’s not heeding that advice about staying calm…

Page 10:  People tend to notice it when you shoot ice out of your hands at them. 

Page 11:  “It’s Max.  It’s gotta be Max.  Max Lord is controlling you.”  Sorry, but no dice.  It is understandable that Fire thinks this, considering that Max took control of her and forced her to attack her allies in Justice League: Generation Lost #9.

Page 12:  “Because you seem to have tapped into some kind of amount of power you never had before.”  Ice’s power level has fluctuated over the years.  At times she is quite adept at using her abilities, while at others she simply shoots ice at others. 

Page 13:  “And I can’t let you just kill me.”  But in Justice League: Generation Lost #9, she told Captain Atom to kill her is he had to; she has definitely learned the value of her life in the past day or so. 

Page 14: “It has to be Max.”  No, really, it doesn’t.  But thanks for playing. 

Page 16:  “We’ve waited 700 hundred years for her to return.  Her people need her.”   Secret Origins #33 explained that Tora Olafsdotter was from a hidden tribe of magic-wielding Norsemen.   This story effectively erases that one from continuity.  But what if the Is Bygd is this same tribe, only they came to the outside world centuries ago to wait until their princess returns to them so that she might lead her clan?

Sorry, just thinking a little outside the box here…

Page 18:  Tora finally remembers her past and what she did the last time she lost control of her powers.

Page 19:  “Just…be careful.  Always be careful.  Be quiet.  Be…be…calm.”  So…is this whole story, this origin retcon, a way to explain why Ice is quiet and reserved?  Is there a legitimate reason why she can’t just be introverted; quiet and respectful without having a tragic event in her life forcing her to act this way?  I don’t mind the change, I just question the need for it is all. 

Page 20:  “I’m not an ice goddess!  I never was!”  And this is where the origin change affects other stories.  Now, I can accept that Tora’s mind invented the tale of the lost tribe and her status as an ice goddess to cope with accidentally killing her father; that I’m cool with. 

And, yes, the War of the Gods story in Justice League Europe #31 in which the JLI battles the Norse gods and meets (albeit briefly” Tora’s tribe probably never happened, but, really, who but me even remembers War of the Gods?

What becomes problematic is that there was a story back in Justice League America #84-85 in which Tora returned home, battled her brother Ewald and got a power upgrade. 

Don’t get me wrong; those issues weren’t brilliant or anything.  I’m not bemoaning that they are no longer in continuity or anything like that.  But the thing is that they led into a little Justice League-crossover called “Judgment Day,” that climaxed with Ice’s death in Justice League Task Force #14.

The reason she was killed was because she rebelled against the Overmaster’s mental influence.  And the reason why she was under his thrall was because she was linked to the Overmaster’s power, which caused her power increase.  And she was linked to the Overmaster’s power because she absorbed some of her brother’s power after his death.

Obviously she died, but the details of her death have yet to be revealed.  Not sure if Judd Winick plans on doing this, or if he’s just going to sidestep the issue.  I really don’t mind all that much, and I don’t feel the need for an 80-page Ice special that explains her entire life story…I’m just here to nitpick, that’s all.  

Page 21:  Booster Gold, Captain Atom and Blue Beetle last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #11.

I assume that Skeets is with Booster and company here, but is off on his own somewhere.  Maybe trying to steal some cable, or use the lab’s wi-fi service.

“Even if they still think Luthor was behind the OMAC invasion, they’ll have a few ‘questions,’ that’s for sure.”  In The OMAC Project and Infinite Crisis, Maxwell Lord activated the OMACs and sent them after Earth’s metahumans.  Ever since Lord mind wiped the world to forget his existence, everyone is convinced that Lex Luthor was in control of the OMACs, as revealed in Justice League: Generation Lost #2.

Page 22:  Magog last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #10.  Lord sent him to attack and kill Captain Atom, by any means necessary.