Wednesday, January 23, 2013

JUSTICE LEAGUE #14

"The Secret of the Cheetah" Chapter Two

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Tony S. Daniel
Inker: Matt Banning & Sandu Florea
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Brian Cunningham

Synopsis

The Justice League battles a bloodthirsty Cheetah, even as Superman is transformed into a mindless creature by her bite.  The Flash, Wonder Woman and Aquaman successfully trap her, but revelations about the villainess' past cause Wonder Woman to question herself.  Superman brings Wonder Woman to Smallville to show her what he fights for, but the two are unaware that Batman he been spying on them...





Notes

Page 1:  "Deities with great power who battle against the evils of this world."  Kind of like the Justice League, no?

Page 2:  "Until Barbara Minerva ruined it all." The details about how Minerva came into possession of the Cheetah's power were revealed in Justice League #13.

Page 3:

Superman was transformed into a were-Cheetah in Justice League #13.

"I'll be back, Hara!"  So I assume that Hara is the tribes-woman with the horn.  Funny...she doesn't look like a "Hara"...

Page 4:  "Cyborg stays with me.  Everyone else brings Minerva back here."  Good old Batman...bossy as ever.

"- have a plan.  And I do."  Oh, good, just what the League needs.  Two bossy know-it-alls...

Page 5:

Oh, well, someone's getting a little but cocky, now isn't she?

"They become one with the Cheetah just before death."  We'll, that just doesn't sound good, now does it?

Page 6:  "I don't want anyone else getting hurt because of me". Wonder Woman is having a difficult time involving the rest of the Justice League in what she perceives as "her" problems.  This is just another example of the group's current "growing pains" as they learn to trust on another more.

"Superman is one of the most important people in the world.  This man is my friend.  Tell me this will work."  A rare expression of genuine concern from Batman.

Page 7:

Damn, Flash, maybe you should stop letting the Cheetah sharpen her claws on you...

Page 8:  "You can still get free of this curse."  Uh, yeah, Wonder Woman?  About that...

Page 9:  Seems that the Cheetah has always been a force for good for the San Tribe, as opposed to a curse.  Funny how these things get misunderstood, isn't it?

"Until my mother was murdered by a man wielding the Godslayer - a knife said to have been forged by a being so evil, his name must go unspoken."  So who is this unspeakably evil being that forged the Godslayer?

"Throughout time, the Godslayer was used to kill many other deities - the lioness Pakhet of Egypt, the frigid Skadi and a mysterious alien sun god who angered many others."  Pakhet is the lioness goddess of war in Egyptian mythology whose name means "she who scratches."  Skadi is a goddess from Norse mythology often associated with bow hunting, skiing, winter and mountains and has an affinity for human hosts with red skulls.  Not sure to whom Hara refers when she speaks of the "alien sun god"...the Kryptonian god Rao, perhaps?

"When I'm through with you and your friends I'll go after Steve."  Steve, of course, refers to Steve Trevor, the Justice League's former liaison to A.R.G.U.S.

"The next being the hater pursued was Ya'Wara - the chosen jaguar goddess of the Amazon."  Ya'Wara was an ally of Aquaman and a member of the Others who first appeared in Aquaman (New 52) #7.

"And for a time the knife was lost.  Until it ended up in Barbara Minerva's hands."  Which explains why the knife used to "curse" Minerva with the power of the Cheetah was found in the Amazon, when the Cheetah itself actually originated in Africa.

Page 10:

Say...you think that the Cheetah is all that fond of water?

Page 11:  So..Aquaman's got the Cheetah trapped underwater and surrounded by a school of bloodthirsty piranha.  Anyone wanna call him "lame" to his face?

Page 13:

Hey, Cheetah!  Who ya talking to?

"Just tell me when Black Manta arrives."  As seen in Aquaman (New 52) #14, Black Manta was imprisoned at Belle Reve following his capture at the hands of Aquaman and the Others.  What connection he has to the Cheetah and her mysterious ally has yet to be revealed.

Page 14:  "Her name is Barbara Minerva now, but she's gone by Priscilla Rich, Deborah Domaine and Sabrina Ballesteros."  Oh and this is why these annotations take me forever, because I spend the time to explain all of these nit-picky, continuity references that the casual reader just might not pick up on...

Image from Wikipedia.


Priscilla Rich was the Golden Age Cheetah who first appeared in Wonder Woman (first series) #6.  She was a Washington, D.C. debutante who suffered from a split personality.  She fashioned a costume out of a cheetah-skin rug and battles Wonder Woman.








Image from Wikipedia.


Deborah Domaine was Rich's niece who was unaware of her aunt's criminal career.  After Rich died, Kobra kidnapped Domaine so that he could torture and brainwash her into becoming the new Cheetah so that she could aid his organization.  She first appeared in Wonder Woman (first series) #274.







Image from Wikipedia.

Now, keep in mind that this was all pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths.  In the post-Crisis DCU, Barbara Minerva became the Cheetah in Wonder Woman (second series) #7, with no mention of either Rich or Domaine.  Or, at least, at first.  I'll explain in a minute.








Image from Wikipedia.


Then we come to Sebastian Ballesteros, an Argentine business tycoon who first appeared in Wonder Woman (second series) #170.  He worked with Circe and stole the power of the Cheetah from Minerva; he was also responsible for transforming Vanessa Kapatelis into the new Silver Swan.  Not a nice guy.    Minerva later killed him and reclaimed the power of the Cheetah.  Minerva's alias "Sabrina" is an obvious reference to Sebastian.







Now back to Priscilla Rich for a minute.   As I mentioned, she was the Golden Age Cheetah, whose existence and career were erased after the Crisis wiped the Golden Age Wonder Woman from DC continuity.  However, John Byrne established that Queen Hippolyta travelled back to the 1940s to serve as Wonder Woman and join the Justice Society of America.  Later, in Wonder Woman: Our Worlds at War #1, it was revealed that Priscilla Rich was restored to DC continuity as Golden Age Cheetah and battled Hippolyta and even joined with other Golden Age Wonder Woman foes as Villainy, Inc.  Rich was later killed by Minerva in The Flash (second series) #219.  Deborah Domaine still existed in the post-Crisis DCU, as evidenced by a photo in Rich's mansion inscribed, "Aunt Priscilla, love Debbie."

Phew.  Continuity hard.

"Barbara is the one that corrupted the Cheetah."  This make Wonder Woman a horrible judge of character, now doesn't it?

Page 15:
.
Yep...horrible judge of character...

"You have an entire team of people you can trust."  This is something that the entire team needs to work on, to be honest.

"I don't know that much about you, Superman."  These guys so need to start hanging out more often...

Page 16:

Oddly enough, "super-knowing-everyone's-name" is not one of Superman's many abilities.  Nice try, though...

Page 17:  "When we were stopping Darkseid from transforming this world into a firepit, or keeping David Graves from unleashing an army of parasitic spirits on the world, this is the world I'm fighting for."  Darkseid's attack was seen in Justice League #1-6, which resulted in the for action of the Justice League.  David Graves attack on the team was seen in Justice League #9-12.

"They passed on.  Some time ago."  In the New 52 DCU, Jonathan and Martha Kent died before Clark Kent left Smallville for Metropolis.  He could also be referring to Jor-El and Lara, his Kryptonian parents, who aren't around anymore either, given that their planet blew up and all.

"The farm's run by another family who leases the fields, but I kept the house I grew up in."  As seen in Action Comics (New 52) #6, Clark leases the fields to Mr. Fry.

Page 18:  "There is life outside the Watchtower.  Outside the Justice League."  You should be talking to Cyborg, Superman.  From the way he was talking to Flash in Justice League #13, the guy has absolutely no life.  At least Wonder Woman has her own series....

"Sometimes it's still that simple.  As simple as Smallville."  Man, that guy is smooth...

Page 19:  Damn.  That kiss literally knocks both of them off their feet...


I know, I know, that was bad.   Sue me...

Page 20:

Batman...the Peeping Tom of the DC Universe...


“Shazam!”

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

Synopsis

While Billy Batson, accompanied by his partner-in-crime Freddy Freeman, gets used to his new powers and abilities, Sivana introduces the modern world to Black Adam.  The two attempt to enter the Rock of Eternity but find that they cannot because the Wizard has duded and passed on his power to a new champion.  Thus, Black Adam enlists the aid of an old friend/foe...

Notes

Page 21:  "The world's changed, Black Adam.  It's called a city."  For that obnoxious comment alone, Black Adam should squeeze Sivana's head into a bloody pulp...

Seven chapters in, and we're still left wondering what is wrong with Sivana's family that only magic can cure.  

"Then what kind of empty lives do these sad people lead?"  Very empty.  And we are very sad.  Pathetic, even.  Thank you, Black Adam, for pointing out how empty and sad our lives are.  We really appreciate it...

Page 22:  "This city is strange."  You're flying around wearing a black hood and cloak while lightning bolts crackle from your chest and you call the city strange?

Actually, you are in New York City so, to be quite honest, you fit in quite nicely...

Page 23:  It's good to see that Black Adam isn't going off half-cocked in this new, strange world...

Page 24:

this reminds me of the opening scene from Action Comics (New 52) #1, in which Superman threatens Mr. Glenmorgan high above Metropolis.  Mr. Glenmorgan, however, suffered a decidedly less fatal fate than Mr. Gray here...

Page 26:  "They flee in fear from the one who saved them?"  Could have been that you ever-so mildly freaked them out by dropping the guy's body several hundred feet, thereby reducing him to paste and covering them in his blood.  Kinda turns people off, to be honest...

Page 27:  "The Rock of Eternity may only be accessed underground."  Which would explain why Billy Batson was taken from a subway car to the Rock of Eternity, but what about all of those other "mystical abductees" seen in Justice League #7?  One of them was taken from an elevator, while another vanished from his bedroom.  No e of them seemed to be underground...

Page 28:

Sivana's got this mad-on to find the Rock of Eternity.  You know, need to find magic, save the family, yadda yadda, same old...
Page 29:  "If something is not done, you will wither, and it will be painful."  Thereby transforming this strapping and healthy Sivana that we have come to know and love into the frail and scrawny Sivana that we have all been secretly longing for months now.

"The Wizard...his light is dim.  His body is still.  He must have given his power away.  He must have chosen a new champion."  The Wizard passed on his power to Billy Batson and subsequently died in Justice League #0.

Page 30:

Freddy's not exactly the guy I'd have choosing my clothes for me, no offense...

Page 31:

Yeah, Billy, you look great.  Everyone's sporting gold bracelets and boots with a bright and shiny lightning bolt on their chests these days...

Page 33:

Well, this guy is a total slob.  Reminds me of a college roommate...

Page 34:  "And I am your sworn enemy."  That was back when Black Adam was the Wizard's champion.  Now?  Things are a bit different...

Seems like someone has some "Wizard issues" to work through, no?