Thursday, October 05, 2006

Week 22: Fried

That headline describes my current state--hence this week's late, abbreviated 52 Pickup--and it's also the punch line to a joke I liked as a kid, involving an elderly and memorious Native American.

The story of the original Standing Bear is worth looking into--it's the one really sharp reference to Native American culture this issue. The title "Burial Ground" is, er, a little on the corny side. As for the Manitou Stone--it's probably not this one--"Manitou stones" are in fact a generic name for certain kinds of headstones in New England; as this page puts it, "manitou" is "a word used by the Algonquin speaking peoples of New England to mean 'spirit,' as in having spiritual power."

That's Algonquin, not Iroquois. "A great noble of the Iroquois nation" wouldn't have called on "manitou, the great spirit in things"; he'd have called it "orenda." (If he'd been Sioux, he'd have called it "wakanda.") The effect is roughly the same as having, I don't know, a Greek character thinking back to growing up in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

Super-Chief (no, not that Super Chief) first appeared here, in All-Star Western #117 (a story reprinted here, and I think I know what I'm looking for next time I go to the back-issue bins); he appeared in what I'm guessing was not quite his original context here. There were only three original Super-Chief stories, in the final three issues of All-Star Western, and I now desperately need to track down all of them to see if he actually fought dinosaurs. Or, you know, I could just wait for this. For a really, really long time.

Saganowahna, by the way, is not an actual name in any tradition other than the DCU's. You thought otherwise?

(Also: sorry to see Stephen Wacker go, and good luck to him in his new endeavors! As much as I've given him a hard time here, I do really appreciate everything he did to make 52 possible.)

More notes:

Cover: I like this one a lot, even though it manages to conflate two other people's trademarks on the same cover that sticks the little "registered" sign next to "Green Lantern." I can't help thinking those alchemical symbols look a lot like "PLOT 04" too.

Pg. 1: So Supernova does have remote disintegration power. Who do we know who has that power? Besides Coagula, that is.

Pg. 2: Good use of the teaser line.

Pg. 4: Luthor really likes that expansive "behold!" left-hand gesture, doesn't he?

Pg. 5: "Fastback" is a good name for a DCU bus line--the turtle of that name was part of Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew. Silverblade was mentioned on Rip Hunter's chalkboard, and it's a perfectly appropriate subject for a big-budget action flick. And the Earth-Prime Highway 52 runs northwest-southeast between Portal, North Dakota and Charleston, South Carolina; apparently the DCU version cuts east a little further north to pass through or near Metropolis. Jon is reading the same issue of "Metahuman Journal" that was in Clark and Lois's apartment three months ago (cover-dated July); why is that one so interesting? The back page of the newspaper in panel 2 is apparently advertising a TV version of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", which the DCU version of Alan Moore will, I'm sure, make very clear that he's not going to watch.

Pg. 6: Of course it's Gate 52. Will we ever see Ms. Red-Hair-Glasses-and-Freckles again? And how do the cops know Jon's "service record"--and from what?

Pg. 8: Bad storytelling in the first panel--I guess that's a funeral (for Jon's father), but that's really not a convincing coffin, and I'm not sure what the thing it's on top of is. Beyond the service record, it looks like Jon's been in jail at some point...

Pg. 9: The "Six Nations" was an Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) confederacy (the Cayugas, Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Senecas and arguably the Tuscarora). But the book is also a kind of Secret Six (how great a cover is that, by the way?).

Pg. 11: Whoa: was killing him what Jon's grandfather wanted him to do? I'm thinking maybe not, since they're both wearing different outfits in this scene than in the previous one (and the grandfather is still making some noise in the last panel). Odd to see Booster on the cover of "TV Nation," since he couldn't seem to scare up much interest for his funeral...

Pg. 12: That's awfully old-fashioned architecture for a new business school (apparently the one Luthor was talking about last week). Is it a rededicated older building within an established university?

Pg. 13: Have we seen Mr. Ferry before? "Themyscira" just isn't as funny as "medieval," although I'm wondering if it's a cue about the DCU Mercy's background.

Pg. 15: "David" is Doc Magnus's brother, Col. David Magnus, first seen here--another fine cover design. Shade is apparently not this one or this one, but S.H.A.D.E.--the Super Human Advanced Defense Executive introduced here. And the Plutonium Man business Doc Magnus mentions happened in a three-part storyline ending here.

Pg. 18: When did Doc mix the aqua regia? It needs to be prepared immediately before it's used (and Doc mentions that it's "fresh")--otherwise it degrades very quickly. And Doc sure has a problematic relationship with Tina, doesn't he?

Pg. 20: Nice cliffhanger--Lead continuing to rampage in the background after the punch line is a very Morrison touch. Anybody recognize the Sentinel-ish thingie? Also, I like the preview of next week's Drew Johnson/Ray Snyder art, not least because it looks like we're finally getting back to the Montoya/Question plot.

The Origin of Green Lantern: So is Hal's chest insignia green, black or a hologram?... And the non-yellow problem is overridden by Hal's will? Interesting.

Question of the week: does anybody actually click through to the covers I link to? I'm curious.


At 6:48 AM, Blogger Scott said...

Yes, I click through the covers so I can see which I've read, which I own, and which I now realize I need to own.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

"Remote Disintegration". Supernova has "Teleportation" (but not really, read on). He also has been shown to use remote teleportation.

Teleportation can simulate Disintegration by teleporting something (or various parts of something) to destinations out of the view of any observers or into destructive environments (such as the sun).

Keeping the above in mind, Teleportation can be simulated by "Time Travel" by moving from the present to the present in a different location, depending on the rules of Time Travel. One could travel to another time, move 5 feet, then travel back to the present, but Supernova has been shown to teleport instantaneously.

The current reigning theory is that he's Ambush Bug.

At 7:16 AM, Blogger Mark said...

I don't click the covers, but mainly because they are probably blocked at work.

I am thinking that "Ms Red Hair and Glasses" will turn out to be the fake superpowered Batgirl running round in Birds of Prey at the moment.

At 7:18 AM, Blogger Michael Nicolai said...

I click to the images (usually in a new tab). I like them, they help add context.

So, what year does 52 take place in, anyway? There's a disconnect between superheroes and what we on Earth-Prime percieve as the passage of time. So, I was surprised by the release date for Silveblade. 10-13-06. Does 52 take place in 2006, with OYL starting in 2007? Or is this just one of those really early marketing campaigns, like the Spider-Man 3 trailer in front of Superman Returns, a year before it's release date? (Although that's not the type of thing that gets put on buses, if anything ads on buses and taxis are usually a couple of months old.)

From the perspective of someone in the DC universe, time moves in fits and jumps. Especially series with long multi-part arcs that unfold in a few days, but take months to tell. By mapping out the characters actions, by telling you when and where and for long they are doing whatever they are doing; is this what Rip Hunter's board means by time being broken? From Rip Hunter's perspective, is a continuity error any diffrent from a time paradox?

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Notice that Silverblade II was in theatres in "The All-New All-Different Atom #4" released this week. The Atom may be taking place simultaneous to 52 since "The All-New All-Different Giganta" makes her theoretical first appearance there and yet, is an established villain in "The All-New All-Different Wonder Woman #1" released a couple months back.

Of course, the revelations in TA-NA-DA #4 this week note that there are time fluctuations around Ivy Town.

And Diana still isn't Wonder Woman in TA-NA-DWW#2, yet she is Wonder Woman in "The All-New All-Different Justice League of America #1", which I suspect must take place One and 3/4 Years Later if we have to stick to a hard timeline.

Yes, I click through to the covers because I'd like to see what you're talking about, though I will never frown on the use of embedded images.

I don't think that the girl in 52 will end up being "The All-New All-Different Batgirl", who I suspect is something else entirely.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger Rob S. said...

Actually, the film in The Atom is Silverblade 2, which could conceivably be a sequel to Silverblade returns, advertised in 52 as opening next Friday.

And the new Superchief killed his grandpa on my birthday! I don't know what I was expecting to happen then, but it wasn't THAT.

At 7:48 AM, Blogger Michael Nicolai said...

Which leads to what is really the most important question of 52: Does Silverblade Returns replace Silverblade 3 in the Silverblade movie canon? Or can we consider Silverblade hilarious adventure with Richard Pryor as a side story?

At 7:54 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

I read it as "Silverblade returns [in Silverblade 2]", meaning a sequel to the original "Silverblade" movie.

Ugh. I am no longer going to perpetuate this portion of the discussion and will instead go review the referenced panels unless someone would like to host/post them somewhere for comparison.

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...


I click through the covers every week as it provides for some wonderful color commentary.

And I hate to blow my own Supernova theory BUT I saw a suggestion on one of the forums that really clicked with me. Ray Palmer as Supernova? Their costumes are similar enough that I could see it and I'm fairly certain that Ray's powers could mimic Supernova's with a little explanation. So I did a little reading on actual supernovas...

And I found that one of the causes of Supernovas in space is a white dwarf star that accumulates enough material from neighbor stars that it triggers a nuclear fusion within itself.

I REALLY wish they would give us something more to go on, though. The Supernova storyline is dragging along way too slowly, IMO.

I'm wondering if we should check the 52 site on 10-13-06 to see if something shows. That seems to me to be a clue that practically shouts that it's a clue.

Good catch on the Batgirl, guys. You may be right.

One last thing. Nightwing #125 has a few murdered scientists from Biotech Labs....a company owned by Luthor that looks like it was performing some type of genetic testing. Biotech is listed on the 52 sites in the banner ads.


At 8:25 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

"The All-New All-Different Atom" displayed light generation abilities this issue (via bioluminescence), and combined with altered use of a time pool and shrinking (a power that can simulate disintegration and theoretically simulate teleportation), you might have something.

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Filby said...

The back page of the newspaper in panel 2 is apparently advertising a TV version of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?", which the DCU version of Alan Moore will, I'm sure, make very clear that he's not going to watch.

I think that may refer to the retrospective documentary on Superman that Lois, Clark, and Jimmy are watching at the start of the first OYL storyline.

Does 52 take place in 2006, with OYL starting in 2007?

I've been working under the assumption that 52 runs in real time from May '06 to May '07, and that OYL begins at around the same time in early '07. Any references to the year 2006 in OYL books are just a mistake as far as I'm concerned.

A large part of the Super-Chief subplot this week bothered me. Between the inacuracies and the stereotypes... I just felt uncomfortable reading it. Trying to inject some more diversity into the DCU by introducing a Native American superhero is one thing, but why give him such an awful name as "Super-Chief"?

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Jeff R. said...

I'll bet that the obnoxious seventies dude on the bus is the character that they originally wanted to use Funky Flashman for...

Interesting how Emerald Twilight (and it's various reprecursions) aren't essential storylines for Hal, and how his origin doesn't mention the whole evil/dead/spectre/better now business.

At 9:29 AM, Blogger Matt said...

Yes, I click on the covers.

And looking at the giant robot again...he looks like one of the Robotman bodies. Which makes me think that maaaaybe somebody's got a hold of ALL of Magnus' plans...or he really HAS gone crazy.

Oh, and something that's really, really old...was flipping through old issues of 52, and I looked at the Sivana sequence from #1 or whatever again...guess who's dragging him out? 2 people, one with tattooed reptile arms, one with wolf arms. Now who does THAT sound like...?

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Did anyone else expect Super-Chief to pull a water fountain out of the wall and throw it through a window after he killed the old guy?

At 2:00 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

I wasn't going to post again, but I can't... stop... laughing. That was genius.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

Yeah, I went so far as to try and figure out how that tied into the 'classic literature' theme.

I gave up the ghost on it, tho'.



At 1:58 PM, Blogger WildCard said...

I click on most of the covers that you link to. I especially like the ones that are answers to "when do we did see this before?"

At 2:07 PM, Blogger WildCard said...

On the Silverblade date question, I read it as the start of the next season of the Silverblade TV series, not as a movie premier date.

At 2:38 PM, Blogger R.Nav said...

I click the links!

At 3:30 PM, Blogger rfaires said...

Re: Supernova

I really like the Ray Palmer theory, as I'd prefer his "powers" to be not quite what they appear to be. But as I was reading this week's issue, another candidate popped into my head, and I couldn't remember if anyone else had proposed him before.


We haven't seen him for a while, right? And isn't he about to be reintroduced in the Supergirl/Legion book? Given Luthor's obsessive insistence that Supernova is Superman and Wonder Girl's utterance of another "El" name, it might be a way to tie those threads together.

Or not.

Say, is anyone else put in mind of the old Shooter Legion tale when Superboy and Supergirl had to quit the Legion and were replaced by two masked figures, Sir Prize and Miss Terious?

I click through the covers most of the time.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger J Pennington said...

Well that was such a huge let-down to me. After months of looking foward to some kind of a reveal about Supernova, and at the very least some sort of reveal about Superboy, I come out completely empty-handed. How very maddening. Although I caught one thing that still supports my theory.

" My son didn't have telescopic vision! " Yes he did, he first showed Wonder Girl that he had it in the Teen Titans Annual, just before the bedding began. Something to think on.

At 4:55 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Didn't anyone else catch Doc Magnus retconning away that 90's "Metal Men" miniseries in which it was revealed that the robots' responsometers took their personality traits from real people, Gold was destroyed, and Doc became Veridian?

In his conversation with Mercury, the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature, Doc says "I had a bad mental breakdown after the Plutonium Man went rogue. For a while I even thought I was a machine and you were all my flesh and blood friends..."

At 2:14 AM, Blogger Filby said...

What I think about Supernova is that, regardless of who he is, he's working for Apokolips. Whether he's aware of it or being manipulated, I dunno. But I'm thinking that Infinity Inc., the Great Ten, Supernova, and "Ugly" Mannheim in OYL all got their powers from the same source. All have ties to Apokolips: Luthor and Mannheim explicitly, Supernova through his GBS logo (run by Morgan Edge of Intergang), and China, regrettably, through Egg-Fu (God I hate them for bringing him back). This ties into Intergang: they have interest in disrupting Black Adam's Freedom of Powers treaty, and apparently they're the ones who kidnapped Sivana, Morrow, and Magnus. I don't see any evidence yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if Devem has ties to Apokolips as well.

What's been bugging me lately is Mister Mind. When's he going to show up again?

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Who says he hasn't. Quislet (look him up) had a little viewscreen just like Skeets does.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Filby said...

Yeah, but I'm waiting for a confirmation on that.

BTW -- check out Johnny Warrawa's welding mask in last week's issue. Look familiar?

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Dan Mishkin said...

I don't click through but use the delightful IE and Firefox plug-in called Browster (, which allows you to display a link in a popup window that disappears once you mouse away. Tons o' fun.

As for the name "Super-Chief," DC seems pretty committed right now to using names they already own, even when creating new characters.

At 7:57 PM, Blogger Doug said...

I'm glad somebody mentioned the ill-conceived Metal Men mini-series from the '90s (unfortunately, the metallic inks don't reproduce so well) online. I'd figured that the mini's retcon had gone the way of all bad writing when Doc Magnus started showing up again, but is this the first time it's overtly acknowledged as being undone rather than simply ignored?

And yes, I click through.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Scipio said...

"Pg. 13: Have we seen Mr. Ferry before? "Themyscira" just isn't as funny as "medieval," although I'm wondering if it's a cue about the DCU Mercy's background."

Not a clue; a reference. It has been previously established that Mercy is an Amazon.

At 5:08 PM, Blogger Marc Mielke said...

Something is wrong with the links, unless for some reason Campbell's 'Bacchus' is VERY relevant to the storyline.


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