Thursday, January 27, 2011

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #14

“Tomorrow is Today”

Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Aaron Lopresti
Inker: Matt Ryan
Editor: Rex Ogle & Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

In the aftermath of his battle with Magog, Captain Atom arrives in the future, the year 2123 to be exact, and finds himself attacked by a new breed of OMAC.  He hooks up with Power Girl and the remnants of the Justice League on the day that they attack the J.L.A.’s moon base to put an end to Max Lord’s OMAC Project once and for all.  Unfortunately, nanobytes infect the team and transform them into the robotic sentinels, leaving Captain Atom the only one who can save the day.  Before he is pulled back to the past, Power Girl warns him that it was the murder of Wonder Woman at the hands of Lord that began the war that destroyed the world.  Captain Atom returns to the present, armed with the information he thinks he needs to prevent the future from occurring…

Notes

Page 1:  “Magog.  Magog was trying to kill me.”  This occurred in Justice League: Generation Lost #13.

“Too much Japanese to be in…Am I in Tokyo?”  Why did Captain Atom, when leaping forward in time, go to Tokyo?  Is it because he needed to be there, to take part in the future-Justice League’s final adventure? 

Or, and I’m just brainstorming here, is there some connection to the fact that Captain Atom did one of his quantum leaps while in Tokyo way back in Superman/Batman #4?  (I know, I’m reaching, but I feel like there has to be some sort of connection there.)

Captain Atom last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #13.

Page 2:  Those are OMACs.  Giant OMACs.  Bad news.

Page 3:  “My powers are in shut-down mode until my body can metastasize the energy.”  This happened to Captain Atom the last time he leaped forward into the future, as seen in Justice League: Generation Lost #6.

Page 4:  The amped-up, armored Batman is Damian Wayne, son of Bruce Wayne and the current Robin. 

The future Shazam is Sahar Shaheen. About whom I know absolutely nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  She’s a blank slate, but pretty cool looking, if you ask me.

“One hundred and twelve years.”  Thus, Captain Atom has leaped to the year 2123, if we assume that the “present day” is 2011. 

This is the amusing thing about comic book time:  the events occurring in Brightest Day and Justice League: Generation Lost take place, at most, only a few weeks after the Blackest Night, but Blackest Night #1 was published in 2009.  So the finale of Blackest Night “takes place” in 2010, but, flash forward a few weeks, and we’re already into 2011. 

Do I have a point?  Absolutely not…I just like to ponder these things when I have nothing else to do…

Page 5:  “97 Miles East.”  Allow me to preface this by saying that I have a lot of time on my hands today.  So O downloaded Google Earth and actually measured 97 miles east of Tokyo. 

At about 64.16 miles, I landed in water, which means that 97 miles would be more than thirty miles off the coast of Japan and in the Pacific Ocean. 

Which means that Captain Atom might not have arrived in Tokyo; it could have been another city in Japan.  Or Power Girl meets with Captain Atom somewhere other than “97 Miles East.”

We met the future-future Power Girl in Justice League: Generation Lost #6; she wasn’t doing too well.  The present day Power Girl last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #10.

In the future, Kara seems to have adopted Superman’s symbol as her own. 

Page 6:  “Nate…this world, our world, is very different from the one you left a hundred years ago…”  Does this mean that, according to Power Girl, Captain Atom left and never came back? 

Page 7:  In Panel One, from left to right, we have Darkseid, Wonder Woman, Giganta, Plastic Man, Superman, Green Lantern, Amazon, Donna Troy and Batman. 

Note that Wonder Woman is in her classic, original costume. 

In Panel Two, we have two OMACs, the Creeper, Green Arrow and Marvel.

Page 8:  I like scenes like this.  I’m pretty sure that this future Justice League will never appear again, but I wonder about their lives, their adventures and how they go to this point. 

The Creeper is a cybernetic-Jack Ryder.  Presumably his half-demon nature helped him survive all these years. 

The Red Hood is Thomas Grayson, a descendant of Dick Grayson, seemingly named after Bruce Wayne’s father. 

J’onn J’onzz has seen better days, to be perfectly honest.  When he calls Captain Atom “an old soldier who has served this world,” he could easily be talking about himself. 

The Blue Scarab looks as if he has a more insect-like appearance than the Blue Beetle ever did.  Perchance it is more alien than before?

Interesting that the new Black Canary is a descendant of Hawk and Dove; does she have their mystically-enhanced abilities?  And was Dinah Lance such an influence on the present-day Hawk and Dove’s lives that her influence was felt over a hundred years later?

Interesting that Plastic Man is a clone of the original, and not Eel O’Brian himself.  Supposedly, Plastic Man is nigh-immortal and indestructible; did something finally destroy him?

Page 9:  “He’s 131.  He uses the Lazarus Pit.”  By this math, that would mean that Damian was born in 1992, making him 19 in 2011.  However, he is depicted as being in the 10-11 year old range, making this comment an error.

The Lazarus Pit is a unique chemical blend that is usually found at the conjunction of ley lines on Earth.  They have the ability to rejuvenate the sick and injured and raise the dead.  Ra’s al Ghul, Damian’s grandfather, has used the pits for years, making him virtually immortal.

Page 10:  A Boom Tube is a form of teleportation, generated by a Mother Box, used by the New Gods.  It creates a tunnel in space through which individuals can travel. 

“Decades ago, Max Lord seized control of the J.L.A.’s moon base.”  In the present day, the Justice League of America has the Earth-based Hall of Justice and the Watchtower, a satellite orbiting the Earth.  The previous Watchtower was a moon-based headquarters; presumably, at some point in the future, it was rebuilt. 

Page 12:  “The rise of the Anti-Monitor.”  Which led to the Crisis on Infinite Earths. 

“The murder of Darkseid’s son.”  Which heralded the Final Crisis. 

Page 14:  “It’s a new OMAC project!”  A sly reference to The OMAC Project mini-series that served as a lead-in to Infinite Crisis, which featured normal humans transformed into superhuman-hunting OMACs.

Page 15:  Why do these new OMACs have creepy-looking eyes on their chests?  Look pretty damn weird, if you ask me…

“Kryptonite.”  Remember that, since Power Girl is technically from the pre-Crisis Earth-Two, only Kryptonite from that universe affects her.  Plain old New Earth/Earth-0 Kryptonite has no affect on her. 

Page 18:  “Diana.  He killed Wonder Woman.”  In retaliation for Diana killing Maxwell Lord back in Wonder Woman (second series) #219.

Page 21:  In Justice League: Generation Lost #6, we saw that, in the year 2351, the moon had been destroyed years before.  Now we know how that came to pass. 

Page 22:  “Just don’t think I won’t hit back.”  Especially Max.  He deserves a few hits.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BRIGHTEST DAY #14

“Acrobats”

Writers: Geoff Johns & Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Editors: Eddie Berganza

Synopsis

Boston Brand interrupts a heist committed by Mr. Freeze, and is saved by the newly-returned Batman.  Brand believes that the Dark Knight is destined to be the new champion of the White Light, and forces the White Lantern power ring to slide onto Batman’s hand.  The Entity tells Brand that he will only find the champion by embracing and living life, not by seeking out the chosen one.  After one of Mr. Freeze’s henchmen shoots and kills Brand, the Entity shows Brand that he never cared about anyone when he was alive.  Brand realizes that he wants his second chance at life, and he wakes up, restored to life.  The Batman has vanished, and Brand and Dove share a kiss.

Later, Batman contacts someone and informs them that they need to speak about Maxwell Lord…

Notes

Page 1:  Boston Brand and Dove last appeared in Brightest Day #13.

“A replacement has been chosen.”  So something happened, at this moment, to choose the new champion of the White Light…am I reading this correctly?  Was this person not known by the White Lantern yet? 

“You’re talking about old bat ears now that he’s back, aren’tcha?”  Obviously, the events of this issue must take place after the return of Bruce Wayne, as seen in Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6.  Wonder where they came up with that title…

Pages 2-3:  Cool shot of Deadman. 

Pages 4-5:  Hmmm, whatever happened to Deadman’s little elf-booties?  He is wearing regular old boots now.  ( I know, he’s been wearing them since Brightest Day #0, but I just got around to being annoyed by it…)

Page 6:  “You’re dead, man!”  Ha!  Those Gotham henchmen are so darn witty!

Page 7:  “At least when you brought us back, ring, you brought us back at the physical peak of our lives.”  Which is a good thing, or else Aquaman would be a one-handed squid-dude, Hawk would still be Extant, J’onn J’onzz would be sued for impersonating a Skrull and Captain Boomerang would look like Ron Jeremy’s creepy brother. 

Mr. Freeze, real name Victor Fries.  First appeared in Batman #121.  Wields a Freeze Gun and a an exo-suit that keeps his body temperature below freezing and enhances his strength. 

Page 8:  Batman, real name Bruce Wayne.  First appeared in Detective Comics #27.  Master strategist, world’s greatest detective, incomparable athlete and hand-to-hand combatant.

“It’s zero, Freeze.”  Is Batman making joke?  Or a pun?  A quip?  Seems like he’s lightened up a bit since returning from his romp through time.

Page 9:  Note that Batman is wearing his new costume, which made its debut in Batman: The Return #1.

“We’ve only met when I was an invisible ghost talking through other people.”  This is an interesting point, something you really don’t think about when you’re reading a comic book.  I would imagine that Batman, upon “meeting” Deadman for the first time, would have done a thorough investigation of the man, like he would with anyone he encountered in his travels.

“I also known you were part of a group of people, good and bad, who were brought back to life by one of Green Lantern’s light shows.”  An admittedly Batman-esque version of the events of Blackest Night #8.

“Thanks to Darkseid, I was lost in time.”  Darkseid seemingly killed Batman in Final Crisis #6.

Page 11:  “It can raise the dead.”  As seen in Brightest Day #0.

“It can make the Anti-Monitor shout ‘Ow!’”  As seen in Brightest Day #3.

Page 12:  Hey, White Lantern Batman…anyone else thinks that would make a pretty cool action figure? 

Oh, wait, sorry…

Page 13:  “You don’t care about anyone’s life but your own.”  This hearkens back to the Entity’s advice to Boston back in Brightest Day #7 – “You need to embrace life.”  By this, the Entity means all life, not just his own. 

Page 14:  Damn.  Boston’s got some pretty bad luck when it comes to guns…

Page 15:  The old guy is Boston’s heretofore unseen grandfather.  Not sure if he’s the maternal or paternal grandfather, but it really doesn’t matter all that much.

Page 16:  “I’m gonna see what’s on TV.”  Someone needs to slap that little Boston Brand upside that head and knock some manners into him…

Page 17:  With regards to the Big Belly Burgers setting, note that in Brightest Day #6, when Dove asked Boston what he enjoyed doing when he was alive, the Entity replied, “He loved cheeseburgers.” 

Poor Audrey.  She really had poor taste in men.

Pages 18-19:  The circus strongman is Tiny, the clown is Toby, and the blonde is Lorna Hill, owner of the Hills Brothers Circus. 

This scene takes place immediately before Boston Brand is shot and killed, as originally depicted in Strange Adventures #205 and retold in Secret Origins #15.

Damn, Boston Brand really was a first-class jerk, wasn’t he?

Page 20:  Panel Two is a recreation of the cover to Deadman #1 (which reprinted Strange Adventures #205-206 and House of Mystery #178), penciled by Neal Adams. 

“Even after I solved my own murder.  Even after I was promised I could move on.  I stayed here.  Invisible.  A ghost.”  A recap of Strange Adventures #215-216.

Page 22:  Okay, go on, get a room you two…

“It’s Batman.  We need to talk about Maxwell Lord.”  Honestly, I’ve been waiting for Bruce to return just so he could get involved in the hunt for Maxwell Lord. 

Two questions, though…

First, to whom was Bruce speaking?

And second, did the White Lantern power ring restore Bruce’s memory of Lord?  Or, because he was lost in time when Max wiped his existence from everyone’s minds, was he therefore unaffected upon his return?

Either way…cool.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #13

“Old Soldiers”

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

Synopsis

In Chicago, Magog attacks Captain Atom, and Blue Beetle and Booster Gold can only watch as their teammate is mercilessly beaten.  When the battle spills onto the streets, Captain Atom finally defends himself, but only to prevent innocent bystanders from being killed.  He finally gets through to Magog, and forces the super-powered Marine to remember the existence of Maxwell Lord.  This all comes far too late, as Lord uses his abilities to force Magog to kill himself, and then compels the world to believe that Captain Atom murdered his fellow hero.  Magog’s energy lance fires, and while Captain Atom absorbs much of the blast, it leaves a crater-sized hole in the middle of Chicago and Atom nowhere to be found…

Notes

Page 1:  Inchon, or Incheon, is South Korea’s fourth largest city, after Seoul and Busan.  On September 15, 1950, it was the site of the Battle of Incheon, in which United States military forces aided a United Nations offensive, resulting in a decisive victory for the United Nations in the Korean War. 

“David Reid” is, of course, Magog.

Page 2:  Magog and Captain Atom last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #12.

Page 3:  “I just don’t give a @#$%!”  Man, what a potty mouth.

Page 4:  Booster Gold and Blue Beetle last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #12.

“And at the moment I’m on an internationally sanctioned operation.”  Magog believes that Maxwell Lord, on behalf of Checkmate, has ordered him to kill Captain Atom, as seen in Justice League: Generation Lost #10.

“Aw, hell, this ain’t good.”  I have to hand it to Jaime, he’s learning…

Say, where the hell has Skeets flown off to?  He hasn’t shown his golden shell since Justice League: Generation Lost #11.

Page 5:  “His lance.  It’s different.”  Captain Atom and Magog battled one another in Justice League: Generation Lost #2; Maxwell Lord “upgraded” Magog’s lance in Justice League: Generation Lost #10, altering its energies.  Nate can tell that something has changed. 

Page 8:  “It’s firing radiation bursts!  And some other kind of unstable energy.”  All so that Magog would be better equipped to deal with Captain Atom.

Page 10:  “It’s similar to that nuke that Max Lord left for us in Yemen.”  As seen back in Justice League: Generation Lost #1.

“The one whose energy I absorbed and tossed me briefly to the year 2351.”  As shown, via flashback, in Justice League: Generation Lost #6. 

Page 14:  Magog’s memories of Maxwell Lord come rushing back to him.  He recalls Max’s time with the Justice League International, the death of Blue Battle at Lord’s hands, and Wonder Woman killing Lord to stop him from mind-controlling Superman. 

“That bastard made us…we forgot.”  Maxwell Lord made the world forget that he ever existed, as seen in Brightest Day #0 and Justice League: Generation Lost #1.

Maxwell Lord IV last appeared in Justice League: Generation Lost #11.

Page 15:  Max’s nosebleed indicates that he’s using his mind control powers.  Kinda messy, if you ask me.

Page 16:  Poor Magog.  We hardly knew ya.

Actually, I am kind of bummed.  I really liked the first few issues of the Keith Giffen-written Magog series.  I know, me and two other people.  But it seemed like Giffen was trying to develop Magog into a Thor-like character with a unique mythology all his own.  I guess we’ll never know what could have been…

“Life returned.”  As revealed in Brightest Day #7 and Justice League: Generation Lost #7, Max was brought back to life by the Entity of the White Light so that he could prevent Magog from stopping a metahuman war, similar to the Kingdom Come future as depicted in Justice League: Generation Lost #10.  Since he has fulfilled his mission, his life has been restored. 

Page 18:  Man, this really isn’t Captain Atom’s day, now is it?

Page 19:  With everyone and their mother owning a cell phone and a Twitter account, a hero just can’t kill someone in cold blood without it being all over the news right away anymore, now can they?

Pages 20-21:  This part doesn’t make much sense to me.  By using Magog’s lance on Captain Atom, Max risks creating a Kingdom Come style future in which a metahuman war breaks out because of Mass destruction.  Granted, Lord could me baking on the fact that Captain Atom won’t let this happen, but it is a distinct possibility.  What’s the difference between Captain Atom exploding and destroying Kansas or exploding and destroying Chicago?

Page 22:  Captain Atom gets thrown into the time stream a lot, doesn’t he?