Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Week 11: The Return of C'est Hay!!

Gonna be a short entry this week--not a lot to discuss, and I'm off to Comic-Con anyway.

In both of this week's storylines, 52's returning to the questions of eroding identity that I talked about in Week 4. This is pretty much the first week that the Question hasn't asked Montoya who she is, but now it looks like that's actually going to be an issue. We have it underscored for us a few times that Intergang are likely to rub out anyone who gets in their way, 401(k)s or no 401(k)s, and now that Whisper's forced her to say her name, well, I assume she's not going to be "Renee Montoya" much longer...

Much as I enjoyed the solid dose of Montoya action this time, I'm getting the sense that the series is juggling way too many threads--just to recap, there's the Ralph/Cult of Conner plot, the Montoya/Question/Batwoman plot, the Black Adam/Isis/Freedom of Power plot, the Lost In Space plot, the Who Is Kidnapping the Mad Scientists of America?/Egg Fu plot, the Booster/Time Out of Joint plot, the Steel plot, the Supernova plot, and the Oh Dear Lord I See It Teh Fifty-Toooo plot, and not only do they not seem to be coming together, most of them are barely inching along, no offense to Mr. Mind. It'd be nice to check in with a few more of them every week, and if that means shorter fight scenes or compressing the recaps of Gotham Central storylines, I'm cool with that.

My diagram of the master plot isn't as complicated as Rip Hunter's: at the center of it are Apokolips and Intergang, who have an established relationship. Apokolips gets arrows drawn to the planet-that-might-be-Adon and Devilance the Catch-and-Releaser, and to the gun Montoya found at 52 Kane (and I like the theory Dennis Culver suggested in last week's comments that Supernova is Lightray). Also, in answer to the "why did Hawkgirl get huge?" dangler, I'm guessing that's what happens when a Boom Tube and a zeta beam overlap. Intergang gets arrows drawn to the 52 Kane warehouse, and now to whatever's going on in Kahndaq under Black Adam's watch; Intergang's also got historical ties to Lex Luthor, which gets us to the Steel/Purple & Green Justice plot. That leaves the Rip/Booster and Worm/Egg plots undealt with, but that's probably enough for right now.

I'm happy to see the assurances that everything will fit together, and there are some hints of it here. It'd be easier to believe if not for the little gaffes and inconsistencies that make it harder to put my faith in the series' controlling intelligence: this issue is the first one that doesn't have a title, for instance, which is not consequential except inasmuch as it suggests that somebody's not crossing the Ts.

Similarly, J.G. Jones' cover is once again pretty awesome, and once again is inconsistent with the interior art. The creatures on the cover are not the creatures inside the comic, and although there's a gun pointed in the general direction of Batwoman, it's Montoya's Kirbytech gun. You'd think the Powers that Be would deal with this stuff the easiest way: if the cover is drawn before the interior, send a copy of it to the interior artists so they can get it right, and vice versa.

History of the DCU: "To Be Continued in the DC Universe Everywhere!" You know, I also wouldn't mind a bit if this plot thread got quietly dropped, then dispatched in a done-in-one issue of Superman or something eight years down the line. I can dream, I guess. Next issue we lose two pages of story but get Waid and Adam Hughes' Wonder Woman origin: hooray!

More notes:

Pg. 1: Grim Ralph is regrowing the facial hair again. Can't wait to see what his blog has to say about this.

Pg. 3: Good to see Montoya's finally got her cast off. And what is the image on Charlie's shirt? It looks like the cover of The All-New Atom #1. (Which, for those of you who haven't read it, is not bad at all--neo-Silver Age fun!) "Lead... the stuff that'll drive you insane"?

Pg. 4: "Her name's Mallory. She's a doctor." Is this anyone we recognize? "Ridge-Ferrick": rings no bells for me. Anyone? Also: what's up with the "Gordon Back?" headline? The first One Year Later issue of Detective Comics had Gordon saying it was "Three months since my return. Six months since Harvey Bullock made his discoveries. Nine since the rot within GCPD first shone as more than a glimmer." In other words, the rot should be more-than-glimmering right about now...

Pg. 5: I dig how that tape of the theme from Love Story starts up every time Kate and Montoya are on panel together.

Pg. 7: The Question-Van! Love it. I see he's got files on big tobacco, Ohio 2004, Checkmate (in a box lifted from Gotham's police department) and Hub City (just one box for the whole city he used to live in)--but "Luthor 986"? Anyone want to suggest a connection between Luthor and that number?

Pg. 8: I like the little gesture of the eight cig stubs on the ground as a measure of how long Montoya's been waiting. "HSC": now what could that stand for? Whisper A'Daire, of course, is a Rucka creation--she first appeared here--and Abbot is her confederate's last name (his first name is Kyle).

Pg. 14: It takes a special kind of crimefighter to twist such that you can check out her rack and her butt at the same time. Plus it's not clear where she stores Batarangs the size of Montoya's forearm in that costume. Or where the grappling-hook gun she's rocking on pg. 17 is holstered. And: she is fighting in high heels. How does she do that?

Pg. 20: Something about the setup of the attempted resurrection here--the faithful encircling the "body"--reminds me of the one returning-from-the-dead story in (former) DC canon that I actually really like, "The Super-Sacrifice of the Legionnaires"--and actually I like it even more because of the beautiful retcon in this annual (which I know other people hated, but I thought it was a great idea). Of course, all that stuff is noncanonical twice over now...

Still, a couple of odd things here, which I hope will be cleared up in the fullness of time. Wonder Girl insisted that her branch of the Conner cult had nothing to do with the spray-painted symbol on Sue's grave, but it appears that it was responsible for the breakin at the storage space. And if they're trying to dress the Sue-doo reanimation doll in her stuff, pillbox hat and all, wouldn't they want her wedding band instead of Ralph's? Second-worst-case scenario: this has something to do with Brother Power, the Geek. Worst-case scenario: this has something to do with Giffen creation C'est Hay.

See you in San Diego.


At 11:59 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

"Isis" is going to end up being a Granny Goodness plant delivered via Intergang. Nice theory on the Boom Tube / Zeta Beam crossover.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

BTW, 986 - Look at it as a symbol and not a number.

At 2:12 PM, Blogger Mark said...

Hard to believe Grant Morrison can't give his co-workers hints on how to pace a weekly comic.

Has he forgotten everything The Summer Offensive meant?

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

Last one from me, Douglas: Question since you do your research: Did Kal-El ever consummate with a New God during one of his many mind-controlled scenarios in the Fourth World? Son of Superman, indeed.

At 2:24 PM, Blogger Matthew Perpetua said...

Grant Morrison could very well be the last guy I'd ever ask for advice re: pacing. That's probably his single greatest flaw as a writer!

At 3:04 PM, Blogger Kiel Phegley said...

I know I'm probably the only person on the planet who thought the Heckler was a riot, but regardless, I don't think there needs to be any worries in terms of any of his cast showing up. That was a creator-owned book, was it not?

At 6:01 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Heckler was a fantastic piece of Ambush Bug in a void of comedy. He showed up as a statue-of-honor in Giffen's LSH. According to Wikipedia, Vext lived in the same city. No idea if he's creator-owned, but I doubt it. I enjoyed Major Bummer.

At 12:48 PM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...


Go back and look at those intergang thugs Whisper unleashes on Renee and the Question....actually, just look at their forearms. Now go back to Week 1 and look at the arms of the gents who grab Sivanna. Look familiar?

So, it's more than just the Apokolips/Intergang connection. Egg Fu was created by Darkseid and is creating superpowered agents in China. Now we have possible evidence that Intergang is kidnapping scientists for something. What would that be exactly? We also know that Luthor has ties to both Apokolips AND Intergang and is creating superpowered agents of his own.

And it looks like Adam is setting the two groups against one another.

If an invasion is coming (Dominators? Apokolips?) what better way to soften up the big threat than to start WWIII?

I also can't help but think that Ridge-Ferrick and the other names mentioned were anagrams of some sort.


At 2:04 PM, Blogger Prof-Fury said...

In response to Squashua's question: Didn't Supes and Big Barda have mind-controlled sex during Byrne's run on Action? That was filmed? (The sex, not the run).

At 5:09 PM, Blogger acespot said...

Cover: Batwoman Begins - Ha ha.
p.1 Completely skipping to day 5...what nothing of note happened on the other 4 days?
p.2 When was Ralph in contact with Bea? Why?
p.3 Guardian cigarettes? And since when do cigarettes actually write the word "cigarette" so prominently on their packaging?
p.4 The design on Vic's shirt changes from panel 2 to panel 3.
Renee and Kate were lovers 10 years ago?
p.8 What happened in Ohio in 2004, and what do you mean regarding Luthor 986 as a symbol, not a number?
p.9 How long does it take for Renee to smoke 8 cigarettes?
p.10 Shipment from Khandaq. But isn't Black Adam completely opposed to Intergang operating in his country?
p.12 Abbott is a werewolf? Whisper is the new Copperhead?
p.16 So, Renee taught Kate how to hit?
p.20 So the cult is creating a Sue effigy? What exactly would be the point of theat?
p.1 Segues are awful.
For instance: description of what OMAC is leads to creation of satellite by batman and appropriation by Max Lord,leading to Wonder Woman killing him, leading to the Crisis refugees taking action? First off, what's with the misdirection? We already know that Luthor and Superboy had been acting for a long time previously with Villains United and the Planet Heist, the kidnapping of J'onn J'onzz, and the retrieval of the Monitor's corpse. And what action could Lois possibly take?
p.2 "But they had to keep fighting the OMACs--" Uggh, awful dialogue...who are "they", and why do "they" have to keep fighting the OMACs? Jurgens hasn't even talked about what the OMACs were doing yet!
p.3 Conner didn't know he couldn't beat Superboy.
"Where do we go from here?" uggh
p.4 "A shadow has crossed the barriers" WTF??? What the hell kind of shadow? What are these so-called "barriers"?
What is "The divergent path"?
"Explain. Now." Uggh.
"Because of this strange deviation in realities...Monitors have chosen not to make their presence known...yet"? WTF??? And sudenly a Monitor shows up out of nowhere and Donna ends up wearing Harbinger's orb as a hat?
Please eliminate the backup feature and give us four more pages of story. And maybe start Secret Origins volume 2 to do the backup stories?

At 5:10 PM, Blogger acespot said...

And what exactly does the cover mean by saying "Elongated Man: Unhinged?" No more so than he already was!

At 6:44 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

Ohio 2004 is a reference to the theory that Kerry actually won the state.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

New theory on "The 52" - is it the count of New Gods?

The Byrne thing, that's what I thought; thanks.

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Jeff R. said...

Did Kerry even run in the DC universe, though? Remember, Luthor won the last election and Ross was sitting in the chair during the election, thoguh he didn't run. Checkmate has us with a president Horne OYL...was he a democrat, repbulican, or Tomorrow Party?

And why would DCU's electoral problem be in Ohio when the 2000 election was enough of a landslide that Florida doesn't find out why hanging chads are a bad idea yet...

At 9:02 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

Jeff, don't you realize that the fans put more thought into these things than the writers do?

At 4:56 PM, Blogger TheDancingCookie said...

Kate and Whisper have the same earrings...the in style in Gotham this season?

At 5:46 PM, Blogger acespot said...

Catwoman, Black Canary, Huntress, Cheshire, Shiva, Batgirl, etc.
NONE OF THEM FIGHT IN HIGH HEELS!!! That's just a recipe for disaster. Broken ankles, broken toes, broken legs...death from falling off a roof...
I predict that this new Batwoman will be dead before too long if she doesn't wise up.


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