Monday, July 30, 2012

JUSTICE LEAGUE #10


“The Villain’s Journey Chapter Two: The Belly of the Beast”

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams, Mark Irwin & Jonathan Glapion
Colorist: Alex Sinclair, Gabe Eltaeb, Tony Avina & HiFi
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

Batman calls the Justice League together to inform them that someone has been assaulting and torturing their foes in order to learn more about them, but the heroes soon realize that they have too many secrets from one another to work effectively as a team.  Their new foe, Graves, uses a stolen access code to break into the Watchtower and attacks the League, forcing them to confront their misery; all in the name of making them pay for killing Graves’ family…



Notes

Page 1:  “Three Years Ago.”  This scene takes place a year after last issue’s flashback.  How is David Graves climbing in the mountains now, when he was all crippled and confined to a wheelchair back then?

The Pamir Mountains are a mountain range in Central Asia formed by the junction of the Himalayas, Tian Shan, Karakoram, Kunlun and Hindu Kush ranges.  They are among the highest mountains and have been since Victorian times, been known as the “Roof of the World.”

Sumeru is the name of the central world-mountain in Buddhist cosmology and is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.

Page 2:  

These big, multi-faced, multi-armed guys are the Asuras.  In Hinduism, they are a group of power-seeking deities, usually considered sinful and materialistic, and are often opposed by the Devas.

Page 5Graves captured and tortured Steve Trevor last issue.  Not sure where Graves has been keeping Trevor, though.  Looks like an abandoned warehouse of some sort.

Who exactly is talking to Trevor here?  Is it, as Graves seems to think, his wife and kids, or something else entirely?

Page 6:  Is Aquaman lifting that whole damn ship by himself?  How strong is he these days anyway?

Did this shipwreck occur near Amnesty Bay?  Is that his lighthouse in the background, or just another of the many that dot the New England coast?

Page 7:  “Why’d the pick you as a member of the Justice League?  Was it just right place, right time?”  A running theme in the pages of Aquaman is that he gets little to no respect from the public, being the butt of everyone’s jokes for being “the guy who talks to fish,” despite being a total bad-ass. 

As for membership in the Justice League…it was pretty much “right place, right time” for everyone. 

“Like Vibe.”  A reference to Vibe, real name Paco Ramone, who has yet to appear in the New 52 DCU, but is apparently active as a hero.  As seen in DC Comics -- The New 52 FCBD Special Edition #1, he will apparently play a part in the upcoming Trinity War. 

“Batman says to hit the teleporters.  He wants us up at the Watchtower.”  Where are the Justice League teleporters located?  Are they at a central location or scattered around the country?

And, on that note, is Batman in charge of the Justice League?  He seems to be the one that calls them all together.  Recall how, at the end of Justice League #8, as the group walked through the Watchtower, they all seemed to follow Batman as if he were their leader. 

Since when does Batman "ask" anyone to do anything?

First appearance of Vulko.  First historical appearance in The Brave and the Bold (first series) #73.  The chief scientific advisor of Atlantis, and ally of Aquaman. 

Aquaman’s flashback illustrates how much of a “fish out of water” he truly is.  He doesn’t feel accepted on the surface any more than he does in Atlantis.  Vulko attempts to counsel him, and reminds him that it is ultimately his responsibility to be the Atlantean king. 

Page 8:  The Weapons Master and the Key appeared in Justice League #10.  The Scarecrow first appeared in Batman (New 52) #1, Captain Cold in The Flash (New 52) #3.  Scavenger and the Cheetah have yet to appear in the New 52 DCU

Page 9:  “Because now Graves knows everything about us.”  As seen in Justice League #9, Graves interrogated the Key and the Weapons Master about the Justice League.  But I think that Cyborg is overstating things; Graves knows everything that all of these villains know about the League, but not necessarily everything there is to know about them.

And, filling the role of overconfident, cocky Justice Leaguer is Green Lantern...

Man, Barry, with friends like Hal, who needs Rogues?

Graves knows the Flash doesn’t like working outside of the law because he’s a police officer.  He even knows about his relationship with Patty Spivot.”  Now, presumably, Graves tortured and interrogated Captain Cold to learn about the Flash.  But since when does Captain Cold know that the Flash works as a police officer?  He might known that he’s a goody-goody and won’t break the law, but it’s a serious leap to make that he is also a cop.  And, even so, how would Cold know about Patty Spivot?  In that case, why not just tell Graves that the Flash is Barry Allen?

Graves knows about the woman on the Apache reservation who Wonder Woman visits every month.”  Who is this mysterious Apache woman?  And how does the Cheetah know about her?

“I thought your mother lived on Paradise Island?”  She did.  At least until recently.  We’ll get to that later.



Interesting to see how much these Leaguers don’t know about one another, isn’t it?

A friend.  Yeah.  Right.  Sure he is.

Graves also knows that Batman doesn’t trust anyone on the team.”  Yeah., like that’s a stretch.

Graves doesn’t know everything.  Batman trusts me.”  It’s good to see that this “friendship” has been preserved to an extent.  But why, out of all the heroes on the team does Batman trust Superman?  Does he truly like working with the Man of Steel, or is the Dark Knight just keeping tabs on him? 

Page 10:  “And I’d like to say I trust you, Superman, but I don’t know a thing about you.”  Difficult as it is to believe, Superman seems to be even more secretive than Batman, and that’s saying a lot. 

“You seem like a nice guy.  You say the right things when you do talk.  But you’re always floating behind us.”  The New 52 DCU Superman is far more aloof and “alien” than his previous incarnation.  He’s still trying to figure out his place in the world and on the team.






Not sure if you could handle Catwoman or Talia al Ghul, Superman, but you are more than welcome to try...

Superman and Batman were seen working together in Justice League #9. 

Page 11:  “If it can be found on a computer, it can be found in my head.”  Which makes Cyborg pretty darn powerful, now doesn’t it?

“Which is in the trash.”  Anyone surprised that Hal Jordan has a crappy credit score?  Anyone?  Anyone?

“You’re worse than the Martian.”  The Justice League’s history and conflict with the Martian Mahunter was only hinted at in Justice League #8, but things didn’t seem to end well.  Regardless, this seems to be a very xenophobic thing for Green Lantern to say, especially since he regularly hangs out with aliens of all shapes and sizes. 

A reminder that Cyborg can't have either a normal life or a secret identity like the others can.

“So, some of us know each other’s secrets, and some of us are still in the dark.”  Let’s take a moment to recap who knows what, shall we?

Presumably, Cyborg knows pretty much everything about everyone else, or at least has access to that knowledge.  Whether he consciously knows it all has yet to be seen.  And everyone seems to know that he is Victor Stone.

I’d imagine that Batman knows everyone’s identities and secrets, being that he is Batman.  Justice League #9 confirmed that he and Superman know one another’s identities, and regularly work together. 

Superman seems to be an enigma to everyone else. 

The Flash and Green Lantern worked together before the League was formed, as seen in Justice League #2, and know one another’s identities.  Green Lantern knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne, since Batman unmasked before him in Justice League #5, but it doesn’t seem like he shared this information with the rest of the team. 

Wonder Woman and Aquaman seem to be on the short end of the stick.  They don’t seem to have secret identities, and their lives are pretty public, but they don’t know much about anyone else. 

This current story line examines how the Justice League works versus how it should work.  Just because the League is seen as "the world's greatest super-heroes" doesn't mean that it is.

In my mind, this story would work much better had the League been operating for a year, maybe two.  To be a group for five years and only now is its members questioning the fact that they know next to nothing about one another strikes me as strange.  But I guess this is the trade off for having a five-year timeline so that DC history isn't completely eradicated; personally I would have rather they just went with a full-on reboot in the first place, but no one at DC listens to me these days…

“In case someone tried to force one out of him.”  The access code that Trevor gave to Graves in Justice League #9 was a fake to warn the team of danger.

Page 12:  “You can’t see anything bad happening from way up here.”  It almost seems like Graves wants to make the Justice League better, kind of like Hunter Zolomon, a.k.a Zoom from Geoff John’s The Flash run years ago. 

Page 13

They have absolutely no idea who Graves is, do they?  Nope, not a one.


Yeah.  Steve's just a "friend."  Right.  Keep telling yourself that, Diana...

Pages 14-15Graves draws upon the Leaguers’ misery and fears to incapacitate them. 

Graves is really creepy, what with his wife and kids peeking out from his skin.  Kinda gross, if you ask me. 

As seen in Wonder Woman (New 52) #4, Hera transformed Hippolyta and the Amazons of Paradise Island to stone.  

Page 16:  Yep, Batman’s in charge.  Or, at least, he thinks he is. 

Page 18:  What do the Asuras do to Graves and why?  They must have some sort of agenda to give him so much power. 
So are those actually Graves' wife and kids, or something else posing as them in order to manipulate Graves to do its bidding?

"Pa" refers to Jonathan "Pa" Kent,. Clark Kent's adoptive father, who died of a heart attack before Clark came to Metropolis.

“The Justice League killed my family.”  You keep saying this, Mr. Graves, but how exactly did they do this?

Page 20:  Whoa, when was Batman taken out?  He doesn’t even merit a panel or being overwhelmed by misery and grief?

“Shazam!”

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

Synopsis

After Billy Batson sneaks out in the middle of the night to feed his “friend” Tawny a burger, he and Freddy Freeman get a little closer to being actual friends.  Meanwhile, Doctor Sivana uses his ability to see magic to free Black Adam from his ages of imprisonment…

Notes

Page 21

Both Vasquezes were in the foster care system, which is why it is so important to them to take in kids that need their help.  

“Maybe with time it’ll get better.  You remember Mary when she first came here.”  Was she a problem child too?  Was she wearing goth clothes and getting strung out on magic, hanging out with dark gods and trying to take over the world?  Oh, wait, sorry, that was pre-Flashpoint.  I always get confused…

Page 23:  

How does anyone sneak out of the house with noisy steps as noisy as these?


Page 24:  

To what does that graffiti refer?  Alice in Wonderland, perhaps?  Is Billy due for a trip down the rabbit hole sometime soon?


Page 25:  Tawny is the zoo tiger, with whom Billy has a strange and probably one-sided friendship.

Page 26:  

The photograph of Billy's mom and dad sitting in front of Tawny's cage was seen in Justice League #8.


Page 27:  “Thanks for decking the Bryer brothers today, by the way.”  Billy defends his new siblings from the Bryer brothers in Justice League #9.

Page 28:  So good to see Freddy and Billy making nice-nice.

Page 29:  “This way!  Hahahaha!”  It’s official, Sivana’s gone off the deep end…

Page 30:  “I can see right through the magic attempting to conceal it.”  Due to the events of Justice League #9, Sivana can now see magic.

How is the Language of Eternity connected to the Circle of Eternity, which was first seen in DC Comics -- The New 52 FCBD Special Edition #1?

“…Shazam!”  So what does “Shazam” even mean these days?  If it’s not the name of the Wizard, then what is it?




Page 32:  First appearance of Black Adam.  First historical appearance in The Marvel Family #1.  Real name Teth-Adam.  Possesses magically-bestowed superhuman stamina, speed, strength, wisdom, power and courage.  Previously seen in a flash-forward in DC Comics -- The New 52 FCBD Special Edition #1.

”  Wizard?  What Wizard?  Oh, you mean the Wizard that was part of the Circle of Eternity, gave you powers, and then exiled you for thousand of years?  That the Wizard you’re talking about?

He’s at the Rock of Eternity, but I must warn you, he hasn’t aged very well… 

Monday, July 16, 2012

EARTH-2 #2


“Age of Wonders”

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Nicola Scott
Inker: Trevor Scott
Colorist: Alex Sinclair & Pete Pantazis
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Pat McCallum

Synopsis

Mister Terrific arrives on Earth-2 only to be confronted by Terry Sloane, who sees Michael Holt as a threat to his plans and incapacitates him.  Jay Garrick tries to rescue Mercury, but the Roman god imbues Garrick with superhuman speed, transforming him into the first of a new age of heroes.  Garrick uses his powers to save some people from Apokorats, and then accidentally races to Poland, where the new Hawkgirl greets him.  Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Alan Scott proposes to his boyfriend Sam while riding a bullet train, but their trip is rocked by an explosion…

Notes

Page 1:  

Mister Terrific, real name Michael Holt.  First appeared in Mister Terrific #1.  First historical appearance in The Spectre (third series) #54.  An Olympic-level athlete with a genius-level intellect who utilizes flying robotic T-Spheres of his own design.

Mr. Terrific was last seen in Mister Terrific #8, entering a quantum tunnel that has led him to Earth 2. 

Pages 2-3:  “-Never forget them, for they gave us back our planet…”  This is Alan Scott, from his narration in the documentary of remembrance, as seen in Earth-2 #1.

Italy Still Burns.”  We saw this in Earth-2 #1, when Alan Scott’s plane flew over Italy, still ravaged by firepits from the Apokolips War. 

“Wonder Woman Memorial Delayed.”  The half-finished memorial to Wonder Woman can bee seen in the background.

“- Steppenwolf still believed to be hiding somewhere on Earth -”  Steppenwolf is Darkseid’s uncle, and the leader of his nephew’s forces in the Apokolips War.  Presumably, he is believed to still be on Earth.  Now, if Darkseid attacked Earth 2 after he attacked the Prime Earth (as seen in Justice League #1-6), then this might be true.  Otherwise, if the Earth-2 attack came first, then Steppenwolf got away.  The exact chronology of events still seems a little fuzzy. 

“- Supergirl’s heroic sacrifice -”  As seen in Earth 2 #1 and Worlds’ Finest #1, Supergirl and Robin vanished into a Boom Tube and materialized on the Prime Earth, where they now operate as Power Girl and Huntress.  They are, however, presumed dead. 

“- NASDAQ rose six points with TylerChem’s acquisition of WayneTech -”  With Bruce Wayne presumably dead, WayneTech would be ripe for a takeover.  I assume that TylerChem is run by Rex Tyler who, in the pre-Flashpoint DCU, was the original Hourman.  Joan Williams went off to Los Angeles to work for the company in Earth-2 #1. 

“- Five year anniversary of Batman and Robin’s deaths -”  Again, as depicted in Earth-2 #1 and Worlds’ Finest #1. 

“- Celebrating the anniversary of V.A. Day -”  I assume this is something like “Victory over Apokolips Day.”

There is an upcoming Grant versus Montoez fight.  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, Ted Grant was the Wildcat, and Alex Montez was the brother to Yolanda Montez, who became the second Wildcat. 

(It occurs to me, hours after I posted this originally, that "Montez" more likely refers to "Mauler" Montez, Yolanda and Alex's father, who befriended Ted Grant.  Slip of the mind, there...) 

The All-Star Shop is homage to All-Star Comics, the series in which the Justice Society of America debuted in 1940.  
  


First appearance of Terry Sloane.  First historical appearance in Sensation Comics #1.  The world’s smartest man.  In the pre-Flashpoint DCU, he was the original Mister Terrific; time will tell if he was ever a costumed hero on Earth 2. 

So, I get that Sloane is pretty smart, but how did he know that Holt would arrive where he did, when he did?

“He’s dressed like a wonder or…or from Apokolips.”  On Earth 2, superhumans are known as “wonders.”

Page 4:  “Not yet, but when you understand my intentions, you’re certainly not the type who’ll look kindly upon them.”  So what are Mr. Sloane’s “intentions,” hmmm?

Mister Terrific’s T-Sphere’s have a variety of functions.  They can project holograms, link with other electronic devices, allow Mister Terrific to fly by bearing his weight, and can be used as weapons, by generating electric discharges, exploding with concussive force or by striking as a flying projectile. 

Page 5:  “Unbeknownst to humanity, my brethren, all of them, died helping Diana… Wonder Woman as you knew her…defeat the hordes of Steppenwolf.”  As seen in Earth-2 #1.

Page 6:  “For these half-score years I’ve been held a prisoner.”  Wait, hold on a second…the Apokolips War was five years ago, as we keep getting told.  And a score is 20 years; making a half-score 10 years.  So was Mercury held captive for 10 years, and then jumped back in time another five years to come to find Jay Garrick…or is he just confused abut how long he was captive?  Does a “score” mean something different on Mount Olympus?

“Not Apokolips…a greater danger…greater…darker still.”  And what is this “greater, darker danger” this is coming for Earth?  Something old and rebooted, or something brand new?

Page 7:  Note that Earth-2 had its own Trinity, referred to as the Trinity of Wonders – Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.  Were there any other active heroes, besides, Supergirl and Robin around this time?

Page 8:  


First appearance of the Flash of Earth-2.  First historical appearance in Flash Comics #1.  Real name Jason Peter "Jay" Garrick.  Able to move at superhuman speed.  

James Robinson has stated in several interviews that many of Earth-2’s heroes will have more magic-based origins, which I think is cool.  Too often in the past, the “legacy heroes” are too similar. 

Both Jay Garrick and Barry Allen received their speed powers from science experiments gone wrong, and were connected to the Speed Force. 

While Alan Scott was not a member of the Green Lantern Corps like Hal Jordan, his Starheart-derived abilities were connected to the Guardians of the Universe. 

Even the reincarnated-throughout time Hawkman and Hawkgirl gained their powers from Thanagarian Nth metal.

So it’s nice to see some differentiation between the alternate versions of these heroes, so if and when the heroes from multiple Earths meet one another, they aren’t carbon copy clones. 

Page 9:  The World Army was seemingly organized in the wake of the Apokolips War to better protect the world.  How it will react to this new emergence of wonders remains to be seen.

Page 10:  Note that, just as Barry Allen was the first hero of the Silver Age of comics, Jay Garrick is now the first hero of a new age on this Earth.  (Yes, an argument could be made that J’Onn J’Onzz, the Martian Manhunter came before Barry and was the first Silver Age hero…humor me.)

Page 11:  “How was Beijing?”  As seen in Earth-2 #1, Alan Scott has some business to attend to in China.

Sam is Alan’s boyfriend.  Since he doesn’t seem to have a last name, I guess he’s someone known by only his first name, like Madonna, Leo or Prince.

Page 12:  

Yep, Alan Scott's gay.  And the Internet is still around.  Who woulda thought?

Personally, I don’t care about Alan’s sexual orientation that much.  It’s part of who he is and informs his personality and decisions in life, but I don’t think that he’s now the “Gay Green Lantern.”  He’s a businessman.  He’s a hero.  He’s gay.  No big deal.

“Why not, it sounds magical…”  As noted above, these heroes will have more mystical origins than on other Earths. 

Page 13

What signs?  What is this guy seeing?  And who is he anyway?  Some random nutjob or someone important in the grand scheme of things?
The Flash's costume responds to his thoughts, appearing and disappearing at will.  

Page 14:  "Makes doing my Parkour way easier - "  Parkour is a physical discipline and non-competitive sport that focuses on movement around obstacles.  It teaches participants how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and leaping.  I think that it’s cool that he’s a practitioner of this, and will incorporate his speed into his Parkour, making the way Jay moves quite different from how Barry Allen does. 

Page 15:  I imagine that Apokorats are the result of the Apokolips War five years ago.  According to what Jay says about not thinking that they had invested “this far inland,” they must congregate on the coasts, near water.

Page 16:  

As Jay races towards us, we see the blueshift around him.  It's the decrease in wavelength and the corresponding increase in frequency caused by e relative motion of a source (in this case, Jay) towards an observer, as described by the Doppler effect.  If he were moving away from us, then we would witness a redshift.

Page 17:  “Invader!  Parademon!”  Okay, he looks a little strange, but does he really look like a Parademon?  I don’t think so…

The Silesian Beskids is one of the Beskids mountain ranges in Outer Western Carpathians in Southern Silesian Voivodeship, Poland

Page 18:  


First appearance of Hawkgirl.  First historical appearance in JSA Secret Files and Origins #1.  Real name Kendra Saunders.  Able to fly, has enhanced strength, vision and regenerative abilities, and is a fierce combatant.

It remains to be seen if Hawkgirl has any connection to or derives her abilities from Nth metal.

“…And you sure took your time getting here.”  How did she know about Jay?  What’s with the know-it-alls on this Earth?

Page 19:  Awww, Alan’s proposing.  How sweet…

Page 20:  Alan Scott’s Golden Age origin involved a derailed train, an explosion, and a green lantern.  So the bullet train leaping off the tracks in a fiery blaze was not unexpected…

And I’m thinking that we’ve probably seen the last of Sam.  Don’t quote me on that, though…