Friday, March 16, 2012

JUSTICE LEAGUE #6


Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams with Sandra Hope, Batt & Mark Irwin
Colorist: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

While Batman attempts to rescue Superman from Apokolips, the rest of the heroes attempt to blind and incapacitate Darkseid.  Upon being freed, Superman faces Darkseid in hand-to-hand combat even as Cyborg, with Batman’s help, closes all of the Boom Tubes, banishing the forces of Apokolips from Earth.  In the aftermath of battle, the President of the United States honors the group.  Even though they question the assumption that they are a team, they begin to recognize the wisdom in forming one.  Meanwhile, darker forces conspire against the newly-formed Justice League…





Notes

Page 1:  This is the first appearance of David Graves, first mentioned in the text pages of Justice League #3.  As described in that issue, he “is the best selling world-renowned writer of some of the most popular books on the paranormal, supernatural and mythical, but he became the most important author of our time when he wrote his first-hand account of the formation of the Justice League and their role of saving him and his family.” 

Looks like his family needs some saving right about now, doesn’t it?

Pages 2-3:  Our heroes are opening up a can of whoop-ass on Darkseid, aren’t they?

Page 5


The idea of Superman working for Darkseid’s cause is nothing new.  In Superman: The Dark Side, an Elseworlds story, Kal-El’s rocket is diverted to Apokolips by Metron.  Darkseid then raises Superman as his son and orders him to attack Earth to find the Anti-Life Equation.  Later, in the two-part Superman: The Animated Series episode “Legacy,” Darkseid successfully brainwashed Superman into being his soldier to attack Earth, which led to the world distrusting the Man of Steel for a time. 

The whole "daughter of Darkseid," however, is a new development.  In the past, Darkseid has had a multitude of sons – Orion, Kalibak and Grayven – all of whom are, in one way or another, a complete headache for the lord of Apokolips, but he’s never had a daughter.  So who is this lovely little lady, and why is Darkseid so intent on finding her?



Page 6:  


First appearance of Desaad.  Historical first appearance in Forever People #2.  A cruel sadist who is a brilliant inventor of weapons and torture devices.    

First appearance of Steppenwolf.  First historical appearance in New Gods (first series) #7.  An expert military leader and tactician frequently armed with an electro-axe and a cable snare. 

Page 8:  

Wonder Woman has her bad-ass moment of the issue...

Page 9:  

As do the Flash and Aquaman, doing the DC Comics version of the "fastball special."

Page 10:  

Seems like it's definitely not a good idea to open up a whole bunch of Boom Tubes at once.

Page 11:  


“The images they pumped into my brain.  The death and torture Darkseid’s spread across a…multiverse.  I think I saw…me.”  Looks like Superman got a sneak peak at the cover to Earth 2 #1, on sale in May. 

All kidding aside, this hints at the idea that Darkseid has been attacking Earths throughout the multiverse in search of his daughter, whoever she may be. 

“I am Darkseid.”  Yeah, yeah, we got that already.

“We need Superman.”  Somehow, the Justice League just isn’t the Justice League without the Man of Steel.







Pages 12-13:  And Superman shows Darkseid that it’s not a wise idea to mess with the Earth.

Page 14:  “Where the hell did he come from?”  Krypton.  Duh.

It's "let's all pile on the bad guy" time!


Page 15:  Good to see that Batman always carries a spare cowl in his utility belt, just in case he throws his first one away for some ridiculous reason and then comes to his senses and realizes that he should probably be wearing it. 




Despite being the only non-powered hero in this group – or, perhaps, because of it – Batman is proving his worth because, more than anything else, he believes in the person behind the powers.  Super-strength, super-speed, a magic lasso, and an alien ring that can do anything one can imagine are totally worthless unless the person controlling these abilities believes in themselves.  And if they don’t, Batman will be there to remind them that they should. 

Page 16:  Cyborg finally gets his act together…








Page 17:  

Sounds like a threat.  The promise of a "crisis," anyone?

Boom Tube go “BOOOOM.”

Page 18:  Would it be too snarky to wonder how long this page took to draw?

Yeah, probably…

Page 19:  “Um…should we leave before they blame us again or…”  Flash has gotten so used to being hunted and blamed for their actions that he’s pretty unprepared for what happens next…

Oh, yeah, you've hated and feared them for months. but once they go and save the world from an extra-dimensional tyrant, all of the sudden they're so great and everything?  Humans are so damn fickle...

Pages 20-21:  The obligatory “let’s honor the heroes after the save the world” scene.


Considering that this takes place “Five Years Ago,” I assume that the DC Universe President of the United States was George W. Bush, as it was in the “real world,” whatever that means. 

I like how Green Lantern and Aquaman object to their attire being described as “costumes.”  And, really Aquaman, Atlantean scale mail doesn’t come in any color other than orange?

“The super friends saved us, daddy!”  A nice little shout-out to the old Super Friends TV show, for those of us old enough to remember it. 

“It’ll keep the Gotham P.D. off my back.  The Air Force off yours.”  A completely logical and sensible in-universe reason why Batman would even be a part of such a team. 

“I don’t have time to belong to a team.  I’ve got other responsibilities.”  Oh, but you had time to belong to a team before this one, didn’t you Aquaman?  (See the upcoming storyline in Aquaman for more details.)














Methinks Green Lantern doth protest too much...

Page 22:  “I’m writing a new book.”  And I wonder what book that is?

“What are the chances of that?”  Oh, if only you knew…

“We have a name, Mr. President.”  The Flash has, historically, had a hand in naming the Justice League. 

In Justice League of America (first series) #9, which told the original origin of the JLA, Superman, Batman, the Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter assembled in the aftermath of their battle with the Appelaxians to discuss the wisdom of forming a team.  

Image taken from Justice League of America Archives Volume 2.


Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths, the team had their origin re-told in Secret Origins #32.  This time around Black Canary says that working together would be like the old Justice Society of America.

Image taken from Secret Origins #32.
 And, thus, the Flash comes up with the Justice League of America

“You can call us…the Super Seven!”  Okay, it looks like the Flash struck out this time around…

Page 23:  “We’ll think of something.”  Yes.  Yes you will. 

Justice League: Gods Among Us was published in 2006 by Historic Publications (according to the “About the Author” page of The Secret History of Atlantis as seen in Justice League #3). 

The cover of the book is homage to the cover of The Brave and the Bold (first series) #28, the first appearance of the Justice League of America, in which the group battles Starro the Conqueror.  Presumably, Starro was the “trouble” that the League went off to fight.

Cover from comicbookdb.com.
























This makes me think that a certain amount of the JLA’s history has been preserved, albeit in altered forms, despite the fact that their origin has changed, but this remains to be seen. 

Note the memo underneath the book on letterhead from “Pasko Pub(lications?)”  This is a reference to Marty Pasko, a former DC Comics writer who handled Superman, Wonder Woman, Action Comics, DC Comics Presents, a revamp of Doctor Fate and, of course, Justice League of America

“They’re the world’s greatest super-heroes.”  Well, it’s about time someone started calling them that.

Page 24:  First appearances of Shadowy Figure #1 and Shadowy Figure #2.  Seriously, I have no idea who they are.  



The one with the demon-like silhouette could be Ra’s al Ghul; his name does mean “the Demon’s Head,” after all.  As for the other guy?  No clue. 

“The Justice League.  Green Arrow.  Zatanna.  Hawkman.”  There’s a new one showing up every day.”  We can assume that these other heroes made their debuts shortly after the formation of the League.  There is one notable absence, at least in my mind, that being the Atom.  Although Ray Palmer currently appears in Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., we still do not know if he ever had a costumed career.

“I guess they’ll call us super villains.”  I guess they will.





This cuff link reminds me a whole lot of the rings worn by the members of the Religion of Crime in All-Star Western #1.  Any connection?  And, if so, does that mean that there two fine "super-villains" are followers of Darkseid?

Image from All-Star Western #1.

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

Pandora investigates a murder, but finds herself harassed by the Phantom Stranger.  He admonishes her recent tampering with reality and tells her that she can’t be trusted.  She attacks him with her mystical guns, briefly injuring him.  She threatens to tell the world who the Phantom Stranger really is if he doesn’t leave her alone, and declares that the Justice League will help her in her mission, whether they like it or not…

Notes

Page 25:  “Did anyone see who killed him?”  To heck with who killed him…who is he in the first place, that’s what I want to know. 

Page 26Pandora, real name unknown.  First appeared in Flashpoint #5.  Powers, abilities and origin all unknown. 

Yeah, she’s pretty much a total enigma.

Page 27:  First appearance of the Phantom Stranger.  Historical first appearance in Phantom Stranger #1.  Real name unknown.  Powers and abilities unknown.  True nature unknown.

I’m sensing a trend here. 

“Don’t tell me you’ve actually grown fond of what you’ve unleashed.”  Is the Stranger implying that Pandora is actually the Pandora of myth, who opened up a jar or box and unleashed all of the evils of mankind?

“So they sent me.”  And who, might I ask, are “they”?

“Be glad they couldn’t persuade the Spectre.”  This is the first confirmation that the Spectre exists in the New 52 DCU.  Who his human host is, if he has one, has yet to be revealed. 

“I’ve already been judged, Stranger.  By a higher power than that.”  A higher power than the Spectre?  God, perhaps? 

Page 28:  “The Circle of Eternity made it clear, Pandora:  people like you and I are cursed to watch what we have sowed.”  This raises a few questions.  First, what is the Circle of Eternity?  What did the Stranger “sow”?  And what is the connection between him and Pandora?

“You rewrote reality.”  At the end of Flashpoint #5, Pandora merged three timelines – the “old” DC Universe, the Wildstorm Universe, and the Vertigo Universe, -- into one, creating the New 52 DCU.  And to think that everyone keeps on blaming Dan DiDio for everything…

“I realigned it.  I strengthened it.”  Pandora’s interpretation of the situation. 

Tell him how you really feel.
Yep, she's the Pandora from myth.




































“I’m curious if those warlocks and witches still exist after rumors of the Circle’s destruction.”  Wait, we just learn about this Circle of Eternity and they’re already destroyed?  What gives?!?

“No.  The Third Sinner is still out there.  Still walking.”  So I assume that the Stranger and Pandora are the first two sinners.  So who is the third one, and why is he walking?  Is he like Kwai Chang Caine from Kung Fu?

“The box can’t be in your possession any longer, Pandora.”  It’s her box, man, let her keep it.

Page 29:  


Whoa.  Pandora’s packing some serious heat.  And she’s got some mad ninja skills, yo. 

(I have no idea what the preceding sentence means, but I think it sounds cool.)

Page 30:  

Are the coins around the Stranger's neck supposed to be, as some online have theorized ,
thirty pieces of silver, the price for which Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus before the Last Supper?

Oooooooooooo, tell me, please, please, I won't tell anyone else, really I won't, oh please, please, please...

“I will be released from my curse.  But only after I find and imprison the Strange.”  Who the hell is the Strange?  What’s going on here?  Who are all you people?

Sorry.  Head’s spinning.  I’m back.

“You won’t help me do that.  But the Justice League will.  Whether they like it or not.”  Sounds ominous. Methinks the team will run afoul of this Pandora chick pretty darn soon.

Question of the month…if/when Jim Lee no longer pencils this book, who would you like to see take his place?  Discuss.