Saturday, December 29, 2012

JUSTICE LEAGUE #13


“The Secret of the Cheetah Part One”

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Tony S. Daniel
Inkers: Richard Friend & Batt
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Previously, in Justice League

Darkseid attacks.  World’s greatest heroes fight back.  Justice League forms.  Five years later, David Graves goes crazy.  Forces League to face their fears.  Heroes triumph.  Green Lantern quits.  Steve Trevor fired.  Superman and Wonder Woman kiss…

Synopsis

The Cheetah has returned to gain her revenge on Wonder Woman, but Diana only wants to rescue Barbara Minerva from the horror that her life has become.  As the team deals with the fallout from recent events, they travel to the Congo, where the Cheetah ambushes them and overpowers them all, even transforming Superman into a bestial version of himself…

Notes

Page 1:  This scene takes place immediately after the events depicted in Justice League #12.

Awk-ward.

Pages 2 & 3:



First appearance of the Cheetah.  Real name Barbara Minerva.  First historical appearance (of the Cheetah) in Wonder Woman (first series) #6 and (of Barbara Minerva) in Wonder Woman (second series) #7.  Possesses enhanced strength, speed, durability, agility, razor-sharp claws and fangs and a prehensile tail.

Note that the Cheetah was previous mentioned in Justice League #10 as having been interrogated by David Graves for information about the Justice League, specifically Wonder Woman.


Page 4:  “People are animals!”  I think we should get the Cheetah in the same room as the Elephant Man and let them has this out, don’t you?

Page 5:  “Even if your lasso did work on me, it wouldn't change what I’m saying.”  Why doesn't Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth work on Cheetah?  Is it because of her magical nature?  Or is the Cheetah just a really, really good liar?

Page 6:  “You grew up surrounded by violence.  And you’re still drawn to it.”  The Cheetah exposes one of the great paradoxes about Wonder Woman, in that she is supposed to bring pace to the world, yet she was raised by a warrior tribe that has distanced itself from the rest of the world.  She says that she doesn't want to hurt the Cheetah, and only wants to help her, but she will knock her out and drag her back if that’s what is best for her.  How does Diana resolve this inherent conflict in her mission and her very existence?

Page 7:  Damn.  Cheetah, 1, Wonder Woman, 0.

Oh, well, hey.  It's the Flash and Cyborg.  Nice of you two to show up...

Page 8:  Poor Trevor.  Even fired as the head of A.R.G.U.S., he can’t get away from these costumed guys…

Page 9:  And now, a page to recap “The Secret Origin of the Cheetah”…

“For the next several months, Barbara helped Diana and me on cases that tied to the mythological world.”  As much as I love the current new 52 DCU and the fact that certain titles haven’t had their continuities completely rewritten and eradicated – the Batman and Green Lantern books, most notably – there is a small part of me that would have loved for DC to have done a complete and total line-wide reboot, starting over at Year One, Day One, of only so we could have seen some of these Wonder Woman-Trevor-Barbara Minerva adventures. 

I know, there would have been a great amount of stories invalidated, and certain tales such as the recent “Court of Owls” would not have seen the light of day, but I think it would have given DC a complete blank slate upon which to work and re-craft their mythology.  And, no offense, but four Robins?  Really?  Even I can’t justify the continuity involved with that

“She oversaw the Black Room at A.R.G.U.S. where we sort and store those types of items.”  The Black Room was first mentioned in Justice League #7, and first seen in DC Comics -- The New 52 FCBD Special Edition #1, and has been seen in recent issues of Justice League Dark.

 “Just like she’s blaming herself for David Graves putting me in the hospital.”  As seen in Justice League #12.

Page 10:  

I have a funny feeling that the purpose of the Justice League will be changing quite drastically over the next few months, don't you?

“I don’t get involved when Lex Luthor or Metallo is causing trouble, do I?”  Well, maybe you should, Diana.  Maybe that might be nice.  Superman might like that, don’t you think?

Page 11:  “What happened a few days ago, Superman.  It just happened.”  Pretty sure she’s talking about that kiss, as seen in Justice League #12 and on Page 1.  Or else she’s talking about something else entirely, in which case I am intrigued…

Is Superman actually standing on the floor?  Has this new relationship with Wonder Woman grounded him, both metaphorically and physically?

Page 12:  “I mean I’m not okay.  Green Lantern quit.  Batman and Aquaman are arguing about whose leading the team.”  This all happened in – yes, you guessed it – Justice League #12.  Busy issue, no?

“You think he’s still mad she kicked him into the side of a car?”  This happened in Justice League #11.  But it wasn't intentional.  It was one of those “in-the-heat-of-battle” kind of things, you know?

Cyborg, man, dude, pal...you really need to get a life.

“Sometimes I think I am just a machine that believes it’s a kid named Victor Stone.”  Anyone else get the impression that Cyborg’s a really downer at parties?

Page 13:  “C'mon, Vic, that was just one of Graves’ evil spirits trying to get to you.”  In Justice League #11, Graves used his powers to make each of the Leaguers see someone close to them who has died, in order to prey upon their fears and regrets.  Wonder Woman saw Trevor, while the rest of the team saw their parents.  Cyborg, however, saw an image of Victor Stone, causing him to doubt the fact that he is still alive. 

Up until this point, the Justice League has been pretty much all business, with no room for "secret identities" and camaraderie.  It looks like that will begin to change.

Page 14:  

It's so nice when super-heroes decide to play nice and team up to solve problems, isn't it?

Page 15:  

Steve, Steve, Steve...give it up.  Pack it in.  Move on.  She's dumped you six ways until Sunday, and still you act like a lost puppy-dog.  Give it a rest and find some shreds of dignity, okay?  Please?

Pages 16-17:  So the League is currently looking for the tribe connected to the dagger that transformed Barbara Minerva into the Cheetah, correct?  And, as Trevor mentioned on Page 9, said dagger was from “a lost tribe in the Amazon.”  The same Amazon that is in South America.  In the Western Hemisphere.

So why is the Justice League in the Congo?  In Africa?  In the Eastern Hemisphere?  Way across the Atlantic Ocean from where this lost tribe supposedly lived?  Have they relocated recently?

“Are you sure removing him as our liaison is the right thing for the team?  Or him?  Or you?”  Man, way to sound ominous there, Aquaman.  Methinks thou art predicting the next year’s worth of stories, are thou not?

“I do.  Some kind of chanting.  Across the gorge.”  I don’t care who you are, powers or no powers, its never a good thing when you hear chanting in the jungle. 

Page 18:  

The Cheetah might be a raving sociopath, but she'd pretty darn fast, I'll give her that...

Page 20:  

A "Cheetah-fied" Superman?  Not good.

“On the Outs”

Writers: Geoff Johns & Jeff Lemire
Penciller: Brad Walker
Inker:  Drew Hennessey
Colorist: Jay David Ramos
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

After being replaced as Justice League liaison by Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor has a surprise meeting with Oliver Queen, a.k.a. the Green Arrow.  Queen reveals that he had a recent confrontation with the villain Multiplex, and has uncovered information that points to a much larger conspiracy against the world’s greatest heroes…

Notes

Page 21:  The folks at TMZ were last seen reporting about Trevor and his connection to Wonder Woman in Justice League #9.

“Reasons remain unclear why the League’s longtime liaison has been cut loose, but many say tensions grew between him and Wonder Woman after Trevor’s sister blamed the team for his recent kidnapping.”  Tracy Trevor blamed the Justice League for Trevor’s kidnapping by David Graves in Justice League #11, but that wasn't the whole reason why he was “fired” by Wonder Woman. 

Page 22:  “Security saw Batman and Aquaman in here.”  That was back on Page 8.  And Batman was so sure no one would see them…

Trevor refers to this "top spy" as a "she."  Nightshade, perhaps?

Page 23:  “I've agreed to replace you as the Justice League’s liaison to A.R.G.U.S.”  Oh, that’s a great idea.  The head of the top-secret Suicide Squad, the woman who is now having David Graves write down all of the secrets he learned about the Justice League, is now their liaison.  Sounds like a wonderful plan…

“You have the same problem you've had since we met, Steve.”  Waller and Trevor have a shared past with Team 7.

“You once told me you’d never work with anyone who wasn't expendable again.”  Hence the establishment of the Suicide Squad…It’s all there in the name, now isn't it?

Page 24:  “Looks like they don’t want you, either.”  As seen in Justice League #8, Green Arrow has made repeated attempts to join the Justice League, only to be rebuked each time.

“You asked me to keep a look-out for anything that might threaten the League.”  After being repeatedly refused membership in the Justice League, Green Arrow accepted an offer from Trevor to use his talents for “another team.”  Presumably, this mission has something to do with the upcoming Justice League of America team.


 First appearance of Multiplex.  Real name Danton Black.  First historical appearance (as Black) in Firestorm (first series) #1 and (as Multiplex) in Firestorm (first series) #2.  Possesses enhanced strength and the ability to split himself into identical duplicates. 

“Yesterday I got word that someone calling himself Multiplex was planning to hijack a shipment of high-end electronics in Seattle.”  Seattle is, as readers of Green Arrow know, Green Arrow’s base of operations. 





Page 26:  “What about the insignia?”  Yes, what about that insignia, hmmm?


That’s the same symbol that we saw on the cuff links of the “super-villains” in Justice League #6.  It also bears more than a passing resemblance to Pandora’s Box, most recently seen in Justice League #0. 

“I've never seen it before.”  You know, for a super-spy, Trevor’s a horrible liar.  Nick Fury would have been much more convincing…

“And I think I do too, Colonel.  The rumors are true.”  What rumors are those, hmmm?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

EARTH-2 #5


“Welcome to the Grey!”

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Nicola Scott
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Dezi Sienty
Editor: Pat McCallum

Synopsis

The crisis escalates as Grundy’s power threatens to destroy the Earth.  Despite his better judgment, the Atom joins with the Flash and Hawkgirl against the Grey’s servant, even as Green Lantern travels within the world to negotiate with the Grey itself.  The Grey can’t control Grundy, but they want Green Lantern join with them, and offer him a chance to reunite with the deceased Sam.  Meanwhile, the World Army, under the advice of Terry Sloan, has decided to launch a nuclear strike on Washington, DC, ending the Grundy threat once and for all…


Notes

Page 1:  


First appearance of Commander Dodds and his Sandmen.  First historical appearance (of Dodds) in Adventure Comics #40.  Real name Wesley Dodds.  Current powers and abilities unknown, although he/they seem to have some sort of teleportation ability.  I am assuming that the “Sandmen” are artificial life forms created by Dodds, but that has yet to be revealed.

“Lightfoot” is presumably the Secret Service codename for the President of the United States.

Pages 2-3:  It is revealed here that Commander Dodds is Canadian.  Go Canada!


First appearance of Commander Amir Kahn, current head of Sentinel, the intelligence branch of the World Army. 

“Chief Marshall Vodchenko, with all due respect…shut your mouth and listen to me.”  I like this Kahn guy already…


Kahn needs to recap the current crisis for everyone because there has been a month-long gap in this story line, what with the zero issue and all.  Darn flashbacks...

“…apparently by new Wonders.”  Wonders are, of course, what super-heroes are called here on Earth-2.

“The ‘Hawkgirl.’  One of the World Army’ own team of fledgling Wonders.”  In Earth-2 #4, it was hinted at that Hawkgirl and the Atom had a past connection.  It seems that both were products of the World Army’s attempts to create their own Wonders.

“Sir, the Atom landed on Grundy!”  This took place in Earth-2 #4.

Page 4:  “Don’t know what kind of power you’ve got, big guy?  Can’t say I care…’specially as my own atomic energy apparently makes me immune to it.”  So why is the Atom immune to Green Lantern’s power?  

Page 5:  

The Flash continues to combine his Parkour skills with his super-speed to use his abilities unlike any other speedster before.

Page 6:  “Oh yeah?  Bully!”  This is an ironic comment from the Flash given that, at his normal size, the Atom is about five feet tall.  Not exactly the prime height for a bully, you know?

Page 7:  “The Atom.  Yeah, there’s some history.”  Like, old friends history, or something more?  Do tell…

Page 8:  

This is what happens when you assume that the undead plant monster is actually dead just because you squashed him.  

Page 9:  

I'll give Grundy this...he's very committed to his job...

Page 10:  Though he’s completely overwhelmed by the current situation, the Flash finds inspiration and comfort in Green Lantern’s presence.  In a world without a Superman, Alan Scott has stepped up to become the de facto leader of this next generation of Wonders, whether he wants to be or not. 

Page 11

It seems that the energies of super-humans -- I mean, Wonders -- feeds Grundy, empowering him.  Thus, in retrospect, throwing a group of Wonders at the guy doesn't seem like that smart of idea, does it?

Page 12:  

In Earth-2 #2, Sloan used airborne nanites to take control of Michael Holt's T-Spheres.  It seems that he has similar nanites that can dissolve matter.  

Page 13:  “Hey man, how you doing?  I’m Jay – No, I’m the Flash.”  In Earth-2 #2, Jay saved a couple from an Apokorat attack, and they misheard him, thinking that he called himself the Flash.  This information was reported in Earth-2 #4, in a telecast that Jay saw, and he has since called himself by that name. 

“Good for you.  Now shut up a minute.  My head’s killing me.”  Man, someone’s a grouch today…Besides, Al, what do you expect when you take on an undead plant guy all by yourself?  You’re bound to get your head clocked every one in a while…

Page 14:  

"Always," hunh Alan?  Kinda presumptuous of you, don't you think?  I mean, you've known this Grundy guy for what, a few minutes, and you just assume that he "always" re-forms after you smash him apart?  Have you adequately tested this smash/re-form theory of yours?  Is there a control group?  No, I didn't think so...

“Hawkgirl’s a wanted fugitive…”  Though the circumstances of Hawkgirl’s origin have yet to be revealed, Kendra is a fugitive because went AWOL from the World’s Army’s team of Wonders. 

“…and you and Speedy Gonzales are what?”  Speedy Gonzales is a mouse that was featured in Warner Brothers Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies series of cartoons.  “The Fastest Mouse in all of Mexico,” Speedy could run extremely fast and spoke with an exaggerated Mexican accent.  I assume that Al compares Jay to Speedy because of their super-speed, and not because Jay sounds like he is from Mexico

“Yes, little big man, and we can go again if you want but now isn’t the time.”  Little Big Man was an Ogala Lakota, a fearless warrior who fought under and was rivals with Crazy Horse; he later fought at the battle of Little Big Horn and was suspected of involvement in the murder of Crazy Horse. 

Little Big Man was also a novel, and later a movie, that chronicled that life of a white man raised among the Cheyenne nation in the 19th century and how he crossed paths with many of the West’s most notable figures.

In no way, shape or form do I think that Alan was comparing Al to either a Native American warrior or a novel about the old West.  I think he was just being snide and calling him a “little big man.”  But I do like to go off on tangents and all…

Page 15:  “Thing is, for me to do this, I’ll have to leave my body here on Earth…Bond with the internal matrix within the world where the Grey resides.” How long has Alan had these powers?  A few hours?  And he seems awfully sure of himself even though he didn’t even get an instruction manual on how his powers work…

Page 16:  

Man, you are just begging to be killed off, aren't you?

“Whatever, ‘team spirit,’ don’t think I’ve forgotten you pulling a Ted Grant on me a moment back.”  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Ted Grant was known as Wildcat; he was also a heavyweight boxer.  A poster seen in Earth-2 #2 advertised a bought between Grant and Montez.  Al is referring to the fact that Jay walloped him across the face on Page 6, slapping him around just like Ted Grant would. 

Pages 17-18:  Alan travels through a trippy, Ditko-esque world to communicate with the Grey.  Probably not the best idea in the world, but who am I to critique?

Page 19:  See Alan?  You try to commune and negotiate with a vast, cosmic intellect that only wants to eradicate humanity and all they want is for you to join them, and they’ll even throw your dead boyfriend in to sweeten the deal.  Don’t fall for it, man, it won’t end well…


“Yes, genocide!  He’s a maniac, a third of my country was destroyed when he wiped Pakistan off the globe!”  To be fair, Sloan only destroyed Pakistan and the other countries because their inhabitants were hopelessly under the control of the Anti-Life Equation…not that Kahn really wants to hear all about that right about now.  Check out Earth-2 #0 for more information.

“Come on, Kahn, Red Tornado is unfinished, and Captain Steel is halfway around the world.”  Presumably the Red Tornado and Captain Steel are two more Wonders developed by the World Army.  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, the Red Tornado was an android built by T.O. Morrow that was inhabited by the Tornado Champion and developed cyclonic abilities; he later joined both the JSA and the JLA. 

I am taking a guess that Captain Steel is the Earth-2 version of Hank Heywood, formerly known as Commander Steel, who was enhanced with mechanized steel devices after an attack by saboteurs left him for dead.  Like life hasn’t been rough enough for him, it looks like he’s gotten demoted as well…

And as for the other Red Tornado…yes, there was Abigail Mathilda “Ma” Hunkel,” one of the first female heroes in comics, who also fought crime as the Red Tornado.  She threw on some long johns and an cooking pot to protect her head, but I really hope that the Earth-2 Red Tornado is a bit more sophisticated than that. 

Page 20:  “…the missiles left their Kings Bay silo 67 seconds ago.”  Kings Bay refers to the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay located adjacent to the town of St. Marys, Georgia.  It is the U.S. Atlantic Fleet’s home port for the U.S. Navy Fleet ballistic missile submarines armed with Trident nuclear missile weapons.  Said missiles, after the third stage motor fires, travel at around 13,600 mph

Now, according to Yahoo! Maps, the Kings Bay silo is about 683 miles away from Washington, DC.  Thus, it will take the missiles approximately two and a half minutes to reach their target in the nation’s capitol. 

Damn. If Flash, Atom and Hawkgirl don’t want to become atomic ash, Green Lantern better get a move on…

Oh, wait.  Hold up... 



Never mind.  They’re screwed.  

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

JUSTICE LEAGUE #0


“Shazam!”

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Gary Frank
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Nick J. Napolitano
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

At the Rock of Eternity, Billy Batson meets the last of the Council of Wizards, who bestows upon the teen the power of the living lightning.  Now known as Shazam, Billy has become the champion of magic, charged by the Wizard to protect the world from mystical threats.  A bolt of lightning strikes, seemingly killing the Wizard and transporting Billy back to Earth, where he reveals his new superhuman form and powers to Freddy.  Billy revels in the use of his abilities, unaware that the threat of Black Adam has been unleashed upon the world…




Notes

Page 1:  "Where is the Wizard?"  Sivana freed Black Adam from his imprisonment in Justice League #10.

Page 2:   Billy Batson arrived at the Rock of Eternity in Justice League #11. 

The Rock of Eternity seems like a pretty cool place in which to hang out.  I mean, it's got a magic-mirror, a talking suit of armor, a huge dragon skeleton...reminds me of my living room...

Page 3:

So what's the deal with the snowman?  Is that the random "snowman room" that every creepy magic castle is supposed to have, or does it represent something to Billy?  A memory, perhaps?

Page 4:  

When Billy touches the plaque, an image of "Pride" appears.  Pride, along with the other Seven Deadly Sins of Man (and those would be Envy, Green, Anger, Sloth, Gluttony and Lust) is imprisoned in the Rock of Eternity.

Page 5:  

Good to see that Billy's having a grand old time generating images of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Wonder if he'll be so joyful when they're released for real, hmmm?

“This is no time for fun and games!”  Yeah!  You tell him, cranky old man!

Page 6:  

There is just no pleasing this guy, is there?

Page 7:  “I am the last of the Council of Wizards and the keeper of the Rock of Eternity!”  The Council of Wizards was seen in DC Comics -- The New 52 FCBD Special Edition #1.

“Not only has the seeking spell brought me a child, but a rotten one at that!”  Man, this dude is just so critical sometimes…

Page 8:  

Ok, the Wizard might have a point.  Billy is a bit of a tool...

“But you are as imperfect as every other soul I’ve brought here.”  As noted in previous chapters of this story, the Wizard has been “abducting” potential candidates for quite some time, testing them for their worthiness.  Thus far, no one has lived up to his exacting standards of “purity.”

“Well, I’m only fifteen and I already know there’s no such thing as a pure good person.”  Wise beyond his years, is he?  (Speak in your best “Yoda” voice.)

Page 9:  “People are horrible.  They disappoint you.  They let you down.  I’ve spent my life learning that.”  Note to self – whenever you’re down and feeling blue, don’t call Billy Batson if you need to be cheered up.  The kid is a total downer.

“Do you have the embers of good inside you then?  Is that it?”  Good to see that, after several thousand years of failure, the Wizard is open to a new plan…

Page 10:  

Alright, alright, the kid's not a total loss...

Page 11:  

"Shazam" is no longer the Wizard's name, nor does it represent the gods and heroes that gave the Wizard his power.  It is now, even more so than before, a "magic word," a word that bestows power upon a worthy individual.

Page 12:  


First appearance of Shazam.  First historical appearance (as Captain Marvel) in Whiz Comics #2.  Real name William Joseph “Billy” Batson.  Possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina, invulnerability, flight and the control of magic lightning.

I like the redesigned Shazam.  More magical, less standard super-hero union suit.  The hood works for me, as does the emblem on his chest that emits actual lightning.  It looks pretty cool, and different from the rest of the heroes of the DCU.

Page 13:  “You are now the inheritor of my chair on the Council of Eternity.”  Does this mean that the other members of the Council of Eternity – none of whom have presumably been seen for a while – each have their own inheritors too?  Or is this Wizard the only one who has passed on his power?


“The power of the living lightning is yours.”  As opposed to the pre-Flashpoint Captain Marvel – whose powers were derived from gifts given by Solomon, Hercules, Achilles, Zeus, Atlas and Mercury – the New 52 DCU Shazam gets his abilities from a single source, the living lightning, which grants him all of his powers. 

Page 14:  

Did anyone really think that Billy was going to get all responsible now that he had powers?  No, me neither...
Page 15:  “You must stop Black Adam…stop him from awaking the Seven Deadly Sins of Man…”  That Black Adam, he’s such a character…

“Your powers are vast…beyond your flight and strength…and the spells you can weave…” Spells?  He can cast spells now?  Who knew?

“You must learn them…watch over…your family as I should have…”  Is the Wizard referring to Billy’s long-lost parents?  Or his new foster family?

 A bit of foreshadowing?  Will Billy need reminding that his new family will ultimately be his salvation?

Page 16:  “You are magic’s champion, Billy Batson.  You are…Shazam.”  So, as opposed to being another super-hero in a world of super-heroes, Shazam actually has a greater purpose and mission. 

Page 17:  Billy pushed Freddy into the bushes at the Bryer house back in Justice League #11.  But he had a good reason for it…

Page 18:  

"No, how the hell did you become a roided-out adult in a bright red costume with a big honking lightning bolt on your chest?  Really, I wanna hear this story..."

Page 19:  “Maybe he died giving you his magic powers.”  Historically, the Wizard Shazam died after bestowing Billy Batson with the power of Shazam; usually he was crushed by a large stone that fell on him, effectively crushing him.

Page 20:  

It's refreshing to see that being given a magical legacy to protect the world hasn't made Billy any less of a juvenile delinquent...

“Hey!  Let’s buy some beer!  Do you have any money?”  And it’s great to see that Freddy is such a positive influence on his pal Billy…

It seems that Shazam can’t touch anything electrical without shorting it out.  Keep him away from your cell phones and iPads, folks.

Page 22:  

It looks like Billy needs to learns his own strength.  Not that the mugger didn't deserve it.
Page 23:  

Real smooth, Casanova...

Page 24:  “WE'RE GONNA BE RICH!.”  Sigh.  How I long for the days when getting twenty dollars seemed like a fortune.

“Questions”

Writer:  Geoff Johns
Artist:  Ethan Van Sciver
Colors:  Hi-Fi
Letters:  Nick J. Napolitano
Editor:  Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

With is dying breath, the Wizard appears before Pandora and apologizes to her for the Councils of Wizards’ judgment millennia ago.  Before vanishing, he warns her that Pandora’s Box can be opened once again, but only by the strongest or darkest of hearts.  Meanwhile, in Hub City, the third member of the Trinity of Sin, the Question, has returned…

Notes

Page 25:  This story takes place immediately after the events of DC Comics -- The New 52 FCBD Special Edition #1, in which Pandora broke into the Black Room to steal Pandora’s Box.

“My name is Pandora and for the first time since I was sentenced by the Council of Eternity -- ”  Her sentencing was depicted in DC Comics -- The New 52 FCBD Special Edition #1.

Page 26:  

I'm still waiting for an explanation why Pandora's Box resembles the cuff links worn by the two shadowy "super-villains" seen at the end of Justice League #6.

Page 27:  The Wizard appears here after his death on Page 16.

“The other two of the Trinity of Sin deserved their punishment, but you…you did not, Pandora.”  The “other two” being the Phantom Stranger and the Question. 
  
So, is this "Great Power" a power for good...or for evil?
“…and only the strongest of heart or the darkest…can open the box and claim its power…can transform the…”  So it seems that it will be a force of either good or evil, depending upon who opens the box.  But who are these individuals who can open it?  And what will the power transform?

“Tell me who!”  Well, he’s not gonna make it that easy on ya, Pandora.

Page 28:  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Hub City was the base of operations for the Question.  It seems that the New 52 DCU Question hangs his hat there as well. 

“We found her!  The mayor’s little girl!”  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, the mayor of Hub City was Myra Fermin, with whom the Question, a.k.a. Charles Victor Szasz, had a relationship.  When Szasz left Hub City, Fermin stayed behind, but she let her daughter Jackie go with him to escape the chaos.  Any chance this little girl is Jackie Fermin?

“I think it’s the kidnapper.  John Dandy.”  So the first two times I read this scene, nothing about this name jumped out at me.  Just the name of a kidnapper.  Nothing interesting, right?

Duh.  I feel like a fool.

Image from Who's Who in the DC Universe Update 1993 #1.

In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, John Dandy was the alter ego of Yankee Doodle Dandy, who first appeared in Doom Patrol (second series) #51, and created by Grant Morrison.

(Side note – if, for some reason, you have never read Morrison’s Doom Patrol run, the please run to your nearest comic book store and but the trade paperbacks.  Now.  Please.  It’s essential to your peace of mind and well-being.  End side note.)

In short, John Dandy was a government agent who worked for the Pentagon’s Unusual Operatives Division.  After stealing research notes from a scientist, he designed a special gas that could be used to create life-like masks that allowed him to become a master of disguise.  After operating for years as a secret agent, his final case took him to the lower levels of the Pentagon…where he vanished.  A year later he emerged, transformed into a faceless being surrounded by seven faces that filled Dandy with power and give him a sense of who his enemies are, were and will be.  Though he became a recluse, he still worked for the Pentagon and was called into active duty to deal with the threat of Mr. Nobody and the Brotherhood of Dada.

So…what does this have to do with the Question?  Or this story?

Glad you asked.  You see, the scientist from whom Dandy stole was none other than Dr. Aristotle Rodor, the man who invented pseudoderm , the synthetic skin which Charles Victor Szasz used to create his mask to hide his identity.  Thus, Yankee Doodle Dandy became a weird, twisted version of the Question,

Thus, in the New 52 DCU, it seems like the Question has finally taken his revenge out on Dandy form stealing from his mentor, in a really weird and roundabout way. 

The "man" and the "girl" are obvious references to the Phantom Stranger and Pandora, but the rest?  Crazy, nonsensical rambling that make the Question sound like he just stepped out of an episode of Justice League Unlimited...