Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Week 37: As Though to Protect What It Advertises

Beautiful portrait-in-a-convex-mirror cover this week. (The poem in the second link came to mind as soon as I saw the finished piece...) I especially love Jones' detail of the additional reflections in Skeets' "legs," which Squashua tweaked so brilliantly last week.

The physical specificity of the cover, though, brings a question to mind, and the correct question is not, as it was posed earlier, "when is Rip Hunter?"--it's "where." The answer is Kandor. But where's Kandor? In the Fortress of Solitude. And where is the "leveled and abandoned" Fortress of Solitude? Um... from page 8, it sure seems to be somewhere icy, with a giant key nearby. (Speaking of icy places: sorry this is so late--Portland is currently totally snowed out, and none of this week's comics have made it here yet. I had to rely on air-mail service from Nanda Parbat to get my copy of this issue.)

A little Fortress of Solitude history (and I'm shaky on this stuff, so if you can correct me, please do--I've changed the commenting system so you don't need a Blogger login to comment): Back in the pre-Crisis day, everybody knew where Superman's Fortress was; it was up near the North Pole, with a huge key disguised as an airline flight-path marker, so heavy that nobody but Superman could lift it. (Grant Morrison riffed on that idea here.) Post-Crisis, John Byrne suggested that Clark Kent was actually Superman's lower-case "fortress of solitude." Then the Eradicator built a Fortress in the Antarctic here; it was pretty badly damaged hereabouts, then rebuilt, then destroyed altogether here.

The next Fortress, constructed with the help of one John Henry Irons, was built in a tesseract, as revealed here, and hidden in an ice field in the Andes. It was destroyed--it self-destructed, actually--in the (baffling) course of the "For Tomorrow" storyline, after Wonder Woman shrugged off its defenses off-panel. At the end of that story, Superman built a new and very public fortress in the Amazon jungle, loosely based on his "mountain retreat" from the very early days. Then Infinite Crisis happened; early on in the IC series proper, Kal-L, Power Girl, Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor met at a fortress constructed by Alex at some icy spot that was located, Kal-L says, "where my fort was on Earth-Two." And post-52, as of this Johns-written issue, Superman's fortress is back in the Arctic, and its history is just like the one in the Richard Donner movies. Ditto for the Phantom Zone criminals we see inside Skeets' visor.

So where exactly is Kandor stored? I've only read part of this partly Rucka-written arc, but it seems to dodge the question. You wouldn't think that Superman would leave an entire city in a bottle in a self-destructed fortress when there was a perfectly good Amazon-jungle fortress he could move it to, would you? And you especially wouldn't think he'd leave it in the smashed-up Antarctic fortress for years on end, right? That's not exactly good stewardship.

I also have to say that Booster delivering a five-page-long tell-all piece of exposition to the murderous entity he's fighting for his life against, while they're fighting, including a "that's right, buddy" boast that he and Rip have been secretly operating out of the place where the fight is happening, is the sort of thing that routinely got made fun of in the Silver Age. (As I recall, Stan Lee used to defend it on the grounds that Shakespeare's characters flapped their jaws during swordfights, too.) In the context of a showdown in a secret headquarters someplace cold and in "the most remote location on Earth," though, that speech comes off a little "I did it twenty-five minutes ago," doesn't it?

In fact, the whole Booster-as-Supernova revelation opens up more questions than it answers, I suspect. For instance, let's take that scene with Supernova and Ralph in Week 31. Superman being out of the picture was the key to Booster having access to the Phantom Zone projector, but "one of two keys"--is there a joke I'm missing, or does it just have to do with the two buttons on the back of the projector? More to the point, how would Ralph have known how to get in touch with Supernova, if Skeets had nothing more substantial to go on than "a tachyon here, a chronal footprint there"? For that matter, why did Cassie think Supernova was Conner, and get a "respect my personal space" reaction from him?

The real tease of future events this time, I suspect, is Adam Strange's crucial fragment of memory: "giant hands and... something else... I can't remember." Now, the most obvious referent there is the giant Alex Luthor gloves that smashed worlds together in Infinite Crisis, the Story So Big It Didn't Have Room for Most of Its Own Plot. The double-page disaster-in-space flashback in Week 5 has something that looks kind of like a pair of hands vaguely visible near the explosion, too.

But the giant-hand-in-space image from DC's history that made the deepest impression on me is from Green Lantern #40, "The Secret Origin of the Guardians," conveniently reprinted in the hardcover Green Lantern Archives, vol. 6, which just came out this week, and guest-starring the guy who apparently ended up with one of Adam Strange's eyes, Alan Scott. Krona, one of the Oans of ten billion years ago, wants to "probe the beginning of all things" with a device that looks like a sort of gigantic microfiche reader. Eventually he finds an image of "a shadow like a giant hand... with something... a cluster of stars in it--! I must go back further--further--!" All of a sudden, his machine is wrecked by a "cosmic lightning bolt," "but from that moment on, evil was loosed on the universe!" Anyway, Krona's turned into energy and the other Oans become the Guardians of the Universe, but he eventually gets loose and builds another microfiche reader that doesn't look a day more modern. Again, we see "the formless hand-like cloud... the starry nebula..." This time, the Guardians smash the device, and all's well.

There've been a lot of stories that have built on that one over the past few decades; that hand-with-a-nebula image seems to have stuck with a lot of other people, too. (Perhaps the hand even belongs to one of the Seven Unknown Men...) In any case, GL #40 makes the short-list of stories at the core of the DC canon--it's one of the closest things the DCU has to a creation story, and that's within a canon so thoroughly concerned with the importance of secret origins that there have been 13 different series or one-shots with variations on that title.

Which brings me to a question for readers of this site, as a little fantasy-baseball game: if there were going to be a "Roots of 52" volume of Showcase Presents, what would y'all want to see in it? On the strength of this issue, I'd nominate Green Lantern #40 and (for reasons detailed below) Strange Adventures #184, and obviously the backups from the last three issues of All-Star Western would be shoe-ins, but what else?

A good 52-related link, incidentally: Polite Dissent on the medical side of Metropolis's New Year's Eve Catastrophe.

More notes:

Pg. 3: The "clik clik" and atom effect are both, of course, from Ray Palmer's size-changing belt.

Pg. 6: So Skeets is not "really himself," as I suspected when he was going on about Clock Queen in Week 27. And it appears Rip already had a Supernova outfit prepared...

Pg. 7: What were the Atom's belt and gloves doing in "JLA storage"? Last we saw of them was Ray disappearing at the end of Identity Crisis.

Pg. 8: We saw Supernova finding the Kryptonite gauntlet at the beginning of Week 20, although how would Booster know where it was, or how to get into the Batcave to get it? That implies that Booster knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman; had we established that previously? (Or was it a matter of historical record in the 25th century?) For that matter, how'd he get his hands on Hawkgirl's Nth Metal?

Pg. 9: "Unearthly lights and applied teleportation"? First of all: is there a kind of teleportation that isn't "applied"? Second: what about flight? Third: what about the super-strength it takes to catch a falling 200-pound man like Clark Kent? Most importantly: is teleportation really what the Phantom Zone projector does? As far as I can tell, it moves people and things from our dimension to the Zone--it can't transport, say, a crowd of people from point A to point B. (The projector first appeared here, I believe.)

Pg. 12: If Skeets can eat the Phantom Zone, why is he trying to deal with Booster via something as low-tech as firing blasters? What's the current population of the Zone, and why are so many of the people we see in Skeets' visor wearing glasses?

Pg. 15: The "team raison d'ĂȘtre" problem again: what is it exactly that the Birds of Prey do, and why couldn't they simply take some time off instead of bringing in Gypsy? (Note that Gypsy is yet another character who's died and come back to life--in her case, through the intervention of Martian Manhunter's god H'ronmeer.) I suspect the point of this scene is to point out that some of the people Ralph has been interacting with--Cassie and the Shadowpact types--have for some reason not let the more "mainstream" superhero community know they've seen him since Week 13, or haven't been able to. (Although it's not all Ralph's delusion, since Booster mentions Supernova's conversation with him this week.) Also, the old "bouncing off the flagpole" trick--is Dinah actually holding on to anything, or is she about to fall to the cement below? Great kicker to this scene from Ollie, though. The Wizard blog reads it as Ollie not understanding how someone could love someone else "too much to ever, ever let her go." I read it as Ollie watching Dinah bounce away from him and wondering how he could have saved their relationship.

Pg. 17: Last time Lobo mentioned the "golden planets," back in Week 19, there were three of them, not seven. Is Fishy making up the Triple Fish God religion as he goes along? And to refine the question I asked last week: what did the three space travelers see, and when did they see it? By almost all internal evidence, 52 begins a week after the end of Infinite Crisis, which itself occupied just under two weeks, according to this reasonable timeline. (The one piece of 52 evidence that contradicts that is Montoya mentioning early on that three months had gone by since Crispus Allen was killed in Gotham Central #38. Not likely.) The space disaster Alan Scott describes in Week 5 involves a Zeta Beam problem, so it has to have happened before Halo notices the zeta frequency at the beginning of Week 4--probably during Infinite Crisis itself, since Steel asks Alan what happened between his being "there a month ago and here last week." And as I mentioned before, Devilance, under orders from Lady Styx, is already (back) on Adon by the end of Week 5, so word has to have spread pretty quickly about who saw what and where they ended up.

Pg. 20: These are the aliens who gave Buddy his abilities, first seen in this entertaining Gil Kane-drawn story, "The Return of the Man with Animal Powers," in 1966, hence their extremely mod outfits. (It's not in print in any form, but it was reprinted in Adventure Comics #414, cough cough ay eye bee cue cough cough.) Morrison brought them back and revealed their backstory here, and they subsequently turned up all over his Animal Man run. And he doesn't even look all zombified and "believe in her," which is a relief.

The Origin of Firestorm: Just in time for this week's announcement of Firestorm's cancellation, and a good argument for why it got cancelled--there's nothing here that makes the character seem interesting.

And, of course, the DC Nation column: as various people have pointed out, the "secret"--and what a poorly kept secret it's been!--is revealed by looking at the first letter of every third word, starting with the first word. I was briefly going to call this week's posting "Th' Whole Rang-Dang-Doo Multeyeverse," a line from the best parody I've ever seen of massive and extremely important universe-changing crossovers that feature enormous blocks of expository dialogue and still don't manage to explain what's going on.

Can't tell exactly what's on the next cover, but like other commentators, I'm guessing it has to do with the Four Horsemen: Poison, Radiation, Recycling and Molecular Diagrams.

69 Comments:

At 1:30 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

The secret of 52 is taht eht esrevitlum llits stsixe.

As translated by TCJohnson on the Newsarama forums.

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Keith said...

good thing nothing happened this week

 
At 3:07 PM, Blogger Eric said...

Hmm...might want to jumble those a bit more. It still read plain as crystal to me.

Or maybe I have an inherent mutant power unlocked by reading too much Encyclopedia Brown.

Oh wow! Before posting this, I sought out the source of your info.

 
At 6:04 PM, Blogger Jeremy said...

that would be a bit underwhelming if it's THE secret. I would be okay if it's "a" secret of 52, as in one of many . . .

 
At 6:48 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

That ruckus you hear is Marv Wolfman banging his head against the wall screamin "I went through all that shit for nothing?!?"

I guess this really isn't that much of a surprise. I can't say I'm thrilled about the notion but maybe they'll do something fun and interesting with it. And now that the cat's out of the bag, I wonder if we'll start to learn some future publishing plans or if we'll have to wait until the secret is officially unveiled in 52 #52.

In other news, the last page of this issue has me more excited than anything that has happened in the series so far. And now that I think about it, the appearance of those characters may have something to do with the secret.

 
At 6:49 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

Oh and did you read the Helmet of Fate? It doesn't address 52 directly but very strongly implies that the Fate helmet with Ralph isn't legit.

 
At 7:46 PM, Blogger thedeadpenguin said...

If it's handled like Wildstorm (or even Marvel!) handles it, I'm down with the idea. A feature, but not the focus.

 
At 9:15 PM, Anonymous CaliMike said...

You should also check out the recent issues of Ion - lots of interestng things in that regard happening there.

 
At 10:13 PM, Anonymous nathan said...

Hey Doug, are you going to review "52: The Novel" on 52 Pickup, you know, just for the symmetry of the thing?

 
At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Devin! said...

Let me ask you guys this:

Did the Mr. Mind subplot just disappear? It seemed from the first few issues that he was going to be a significant presences, but -- pffft. Nada.

What gives?

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Josh said...

A couple of continuity notes (correct me if I'm wrong...)

The 'one of two keys' is referencing Superman being gone, and also, the enormous key to enter Superman's Fortress of Solitude. What is strange is that I don't think the giant key exists in this Earth's continuity... strange.

Booster was able to find the Batcave during Infinite Crisis. I assume he remembers where it is, and realizes that it's directly beneath Wayne Manor. How he knew where the Gauntlet was, or how Batman got it in the first place is beyond me.

Ruin used a Phantom Zone projector to faciliate teleportation in a Rucka-penned arc, although doing so caused him physical harm. Why it doesn't hurt Booster, Rip, or the innocent bystanders they have used the equipment on is beyond me.

Hawkgirl's Nth Metal may account for Supernova being able to carry Clark Kent without struggling.

With Buddy already being aware of the 'Metaverse,' it makes perfect since that he will be the character to unlock the mystery of 52. I suspect that, unlike the other space heroes (minus Red Tornado) he remembers exactly what he saw during the Crisis. Speaking of which, where did the Red Tornado sub-plot go?

The Detective Chimp/Dr. Fate one-shot supports my theory that Fate is really the Phantom Stranger in disguise. When I'm proven right about this I want a prize, because I've been completely wrong about everything else so far.

Perhaps 52 can use the newfound momentum they gained from this issue to lead us into a fantastic, well-written conclusion. I think we all want the end of 52 not to suck, especially you, Mr. Wolk.

Josh-2
shyguy511@hotmail.com

 
At 11:17 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

Supernova's flight and strength would be from his Booster powers (the suit and the flight ring).

Why the Atom's belt and gloves are in storage is an excellent question.

He could have gotten Hawkgirl's nth metal while she was recuperating, but we've seen her flying around at New Year's. Plus we're getting back into the whole issue of how no one seemed to miss the things he borrowed.

And even if Ralph had figured out the tech behind Supernova's powers (which is a stretch in and of itself), I would love to hear a logical explanation of how he then realized it was Booster, especially since he was there when Booster "died."

 
At 11:29 PM, Blogger Filby said...

Ruin used a Phantom Zone projector to faciliate teleportation in a Rucka-penned arc, although doing so caused him physical harm. Why it doesn't hurt Booster, Rip, or the innocent bystanders they have used the equipment on is beyond me.

Rip Hunter is just smarter/understands the tech better than Hamilton/Ruin did, I suppose.

Speaking of which, where did the Red Tornado sub-plot go?

To a junkyard near Alice Springs.

 
At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Benjamin Birdie said...

Ha! I was really itching for a Fleagle reference (ZOMG NO PUN INTENDED SERIOUSLY!!) this week and you delivered with aplomb.

Great issue.

 
At 1:59 AM, Blogger Brad Bice said...

Well, Ray Palmer had an extra Atom belt and suit in storage in 'Identity Crisis' in a trunk in his basement or whatever, why have another 12 outfits scattered around the DCU as hooks for desperate writers.

 
At 5:07 AM, Anonymous Michael B. said...

so this is my first comment, since I don't have one of those blogger thingies, but I've been reading along since the very beginning. I must say how much I look forward to reading your notes every week and to see what you noticed that I didn't..

so here's my big question: is the multiverse operational during 52, or is it (or its revelation) a result of WW3?

We knows its around for ION, but where-else could we have seen it?

 
At 5:21 AM, Blogger webrunner said...

I don't know if he went there specifically looking for the gauntlet, but he probably knew that there'd be SOMETHING useful in the Batcave. It only stands to reason.

It's a pretty good issue if you wear orange and blue and as of last issue were dead.

 
At 5:55 AM, Blogger Matthew Perpetua said...

Well, they kinda blew the "return of the multiverse" thing with the reveal of the Monitors back in that New World special from several months ago, right?

 
At 6:12 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Regarding the Helm of Fate - you all DO realize that it's a strange coincidence when you have TWO super-heroes wandering through the SAME comic that both have self-sustained, floating golden "sidekicks", right?

I've been suspecting the helm to be an iteration of Skeets either in disguise or pre-Skeets.

 
At 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plus we're getting back into the whole issue of how no one seemed to miss the things he borrowed.

Dude, time travel!

(Surely I'm not the only person who's seen Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure!)

-des

 
At 6:51 AM, Blogger R.Nav said...

I'm pretty sure Supernova didn't know where the gauntlet was, but was instead raiding Batman's fridge looking for cupcakes or something otherwise useful.

He's pulling the tarps off of several cases, remember? Off-panel is the scene where he's checking the chouches for loose change.

Also, when you're dealing with time travellers. We know the where was Kandor, but not the when. It's also how you can borrow things. You wait until the holder dies, or nick it from a time they're unable to pay attention to it. Off-Panel are all the adventures time travellers have returning stuff

 
At 7:28 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

Time Travellers have the potential to know everything. Plus, this iteration of Booster knows where the Batcave is; he visited it with Jamie Reyes during Infinite Crisis.

I really felt like the Phantom Zone generator was a cop-out, since I don't really recall one being used much post-crisis. The only ones I know either don't look like that or are iterations of the sort. It was one of my guesses, but I preferred other, more tangible and rational answers to Supernova's powers.

As a keystone comic, I'd say that Flash #123 - The Flashes of Two Worlds, sort of seals the deal if you want to get specific.

And Wizard Blog on 52 - I feel that the personal "insights" they write about have either been notoriously wrong or uninformed. Multiple times.

 
At 7:31 AM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

I still have yet to pick up my issue but it is a relief to know that at least one of OUR theories have turned out to be correct. I mean, we've had many of them but Michael being Nova was suggested way back in the comments for Week 15.

I'm SOOOOOO glad this panned out. Now I just hope he makes it out of this alive.

As for Fate, I've been saying all along that something is not right with him (or Ralph for that matter). Wouldn't surprise me in the least if the helmet turns out bad. Though, if the helmet was there when Ralph addresses 'nova and it and Skeets were working together, wouldn't Skeet's know who 'nova is before this?

Devin, as far as we know, the Mr. Mind subplot has not been addressed but not dropped as it was hinted he may show up on Oolong Island, IIRC.

IMO, Raphael is right about the SS and flight, those where both properties of the Booster suit and the shot we saw last week of the 'nova suit showed us a hint of circuitry....

And didn't Ray internalize his powers so that the belt and gloves were no longer needed? I'm fairly certain that was the case during his Teen Titans stint.

Jamie

 
At 8:18 AM, Blogger Paul I said...

Inconsistencies and nitpicking aside, much as I love nitpicking, did anyone not enjoy this issue a LOT? I actually clapped after the last page reveal, which may be the single dorkiest thing I've done.

(Actually, I think the last page reveal might be the single secret the editors haven't blown in the entirety of 52.)

 
At 9:00 AM, Anonymous zc said...

"...taht eht esrevitlum llits stsixe"

Well, kind of.


"If it's handled like Wildstorm (or even Marvel!) handles it, I'm down with the idea. A feature, but not the focus."

I certainly hope so, but the actual nature of the multiverse leads me to believe otherwise.


"The Detective Chimp/Dr. Fate one-shot supports my theory that Fate is really the Phantom Stranger in disguise. When I'm proven right about this I want a prize, because I've been completely wrong about everything else so far."

See Week 42.

That issue also has a cool Montoya sequence in the beginning. Or at least, I think it's cool.


"Speaking of which, where did the Red Tornado sub-plot go?"

Week 39.


"so here's my big question: is the multiverse operational during 52, or is ...its revelation... a result of WW3?"

Yes.


"Well, they kinda blew the "return of the multiverse" thing with the reveal of the Monitors back in that New World special from several months ago, right?"

I kinda thought they blew it with that whole Justice League of America #0 thing.

And that stupid DC Nation thing, of course. Seriously, why did DiDio do that?


"Inconsistencies and nitpicking aside, much as I love nitpicking, did anyone not enjoy this issue a LOT?"

I know I did. I think the last page reveal is the best cliffhanger in the series so far.

(Though, to be nitpicky, I think it could have been paced better)

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

Yeah, I kinda clapped at that last page also.

I don't think the helmet is Skeets. Why would he care about Ralph?

I also don't buy time travel as the means of gathering the artifacts. I think Rip was using time travel sparingly (if at all) so as not to alert Skeets to his presence. Booster popping around willy-nilly in the timestream would surely have attracted Skeets' notice. Otherwise, why not just go to the 853rd century to either hide or get the tech to defeat Skeets?

And I am seeing this wrong or was this issue another instance where a couple of Skeets' speech balloons looked "human" instead of "robotic?"

 
At 9:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First time I have left a comment, but I must say that I almost look forward to this blog as much as the series itself. Great Work !

 
At 9:23 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

If that's true, then who/what is piloting Skeets: Dr. Fate, The Atom, or Mr. Mind? :-)

 
At 9:28 AM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

When we first discovered that Skeets was bad, I thought there was a possibility that Mr. Mind was in there since he had been addressed since the cocoon hatched. But there is no reason Mr. Mind would be interested in the thing Skeets is interested in.

Maybe the change in word balloons is a mistake or it's just my eyes but I swear it's happened as many as half a dozen times.

 
At 9:30 AM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

HAD NOT been addressed, that is.

Is anyone else having an issue with the word varification not being accepted the first time it's entered. It's been happening to me for this entire post.

 
At 9:54 AM, Blogger Steven said...

Though, if the helmet was there when Ralph addresses 'nova and it and Skeets were working together, wouldn't Skeet's know who 'nova is before this?

HA! Ralph specifically mentions that Fate's Helm isn't there when he confronts Boosternova (Super Gold?). Writers addressing an inconsitency before the fact, maybe?

Wow, as a guy fairly convinced it was Ray Palmer under the mask, the reveal that Booster, in both costumes, has been wise to Skeets since Week 6 (i.e., 13 issues before we were) answers a lot of questions. It wasn't Evil Skeets that set him up to fall, it was himself.

And I was a lot more touched by Buddy's abandonment than by his "death." Perhaps that's because Buddy himself seemed a lot more scared.

Is it perhaps a metatextual comment that death is not the worst fate for a fictional character (you can recover from that), but being forgotten is?

 
At 10:20 AM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

You're not alone Raphael, I'm having the same problem.

And now that I know who Supernova is, I want to know who 'zc' is. :)

Jamie

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

I loved this issue for many reasons, the primary one being that Booster Gold was finally portrayed as a hero, doing heroic things, in an extended (albeit exposition-filled) action sequence.

It was nice to see Booster rising to the occasion. Fighting a dangerous opponent, too. That Skeets slaughtered so many wannabes in the Metropolis massacre and what he did to Super Chief and the others really places him as an A-Level threat, even before he "eats the phantom zone."

So, speculation time:
-- Any thoughts as to why Rip's counting backwards from "52" as he grabs Boosternova and disappears?
-- So, the multiverse is back. All them space heroes saw Alex Luthor shaping world after world at ground zero -- could they somehow hold the secret of navigating these alternate realities (52 of them?)? Is this what Lady Styx wants?
-- Skeets = Braniac? Since Booster is being presented as Superman's pinch hitter, I suspect it's one of big blue's foes that's behind the plot. Maybe. Or if we want to look at old JLI ties, Max Lord was possessed by an evil computer entity for a while, which could concievably make it's way into Skeets (a reach).
-- Would someone smarter than me comment on all these paralells? We're at this point where EVERY MAJOR plot threat in 52 has a character that has undergone a death/rebirth (aside from Steel, unless you count his "I have powers/I don't have powers," or Natasha's transformation as such). Question? Dying. Animal Man -- died, and back (again!). Booster -- "died" and back. Ralph? Seeking to bring back Sue (as more than a straw effigy).
-- Sort of building on that: the point/slogan of 52: " . . . but not a year without heroes" or whatever it is. The series is really starting to establish these lesser-known characters as heroes in their own right with epic stories. What is more heroic than beating an apparent death to save the gosh darn world/universe/multiverse?

I am so glad that even as BoosterNova is revealed, many more questions for stupid speculation abound.

 
At 10:48 AM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

Jeremy,

Steel died during "Our Worlds at War" where he was pummelled to deat by Doomsday of all things. The Black Racer even came for his soul but could take him in the end.

Jamie

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

-- Any thoughts as to why Rip's counting backwards from "52" as he grabs Boosternova and disappears?

Maybe he thought he was counting forward ;)

All them space heroes saw Alex Luthor shaping world after world at ground zero -- could they somehow hold the secret of navigating these alternate realities (52 of them?)?

Although Adam mentions that, it must be what he can't remember that's really important. All the heroes that made it back to earth saw Luthor's hands, so I always assumed that the three of them saw something after the others were gone.

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Jeremy said...

No kidding! I'm not sure how that may or may not fit in with whatever half-assed theory I'm concocting, but excellent to know. Thanks, Jamie.

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Paul I said...

There is, of course, a good chance Booster will still die at the end of the series, otherwise how does Rip Hunter get ahold of his skellington? (Unless that's another red herring.)

We also still don't know what happened to Daniel Carter -- unless Daniel is actually rip. I did notice that both Rip and Booster have the same haircut (blond with floppy centre parting), although by that token Animal Man is also Rip Hunter.

 
At 12:11 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

I did notice that both Rip and Booster have the same haircut (blond with floppy centre parting), although by that token Animal Man is also Rip Hunter.

One of the issues with the series for me has been that it is almost impossible to get any clues from the art since it's being handled by so many different persons.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger acespot said...

The Gauntlet: Kara must have delivered it to Bats after her other self kicked the crap out of Luthor.

Good observation last week that Supernova was in a footballer's pose.

JLA Storage: I'm sure that every member keeps extra costumes and utilities in the JLA headquarters, wherever that may be - because you've GOT to replace torn outfits, and have GOT to have backups for equipment which was damaged or used up in fights. We know Ray made at least two belts. Why not more?

Since Supernova utilizes Phantom Zone technology, which has often been used as a means of teleportation, he must have just teleported into the cave.

Hawkgirl's N'th metal: He could take it from "JLA storage (or JSA storage)" or just grab a piece of her GIANT wings when she came back from space.

Superstrength: Just because he's being Supernova doesn't mean that Booster will have relinquished all his former powers.

Teleportation via the Phantom Zone:
STEP 1: Enter the Phantom Zone.
STEP 2: Navigate to a point within the Phantom Zone corresponding to the desired destination.
STEP 3: Exit the Phantom Zone.
I can't bring specific citations, but it HAS been used like this before.

I read the Ollie quote as a comment on the fact that part of the greatest part of loving someone is knowing how and when to let them go. Interestingly, remember how Ollie had, at one time, wanted kids, and Dinah nixed that idea (Longbow Hunters #1)? Ollie eventually let her go without a fight, and today it seems that motherhood is Dinah's raison d'etre. Thus, Ollie let Dinah go in order that she could develop emotionally to the point where she is today. They're obviously still close.
Then again, maybe he was really pondering the fact that Dinah seems to have something of a death wish - jumping to a flagpole without a safety line.

Firestorm: Pretty pointless to feature a character whose introduction is recent. Wouldn't it have been more interesting to explore the origins of the Firestorm elemental force?
And no wonder it's been cancelled: since Dan Jolley left the title, it's pretty much sucked.

Is anybody besides Calimike actually reading Ion?

The Jurgens Titans title featuring a regressed teenage Atom has been ignored since it was cancelled. The only holdover from that series is Argent. All else is a big "whoops!" a'la Hawkman.

And on the Multiverse still being around? Well that's just stupid. I mean, I'm happy about it and all, but the fact remains that two massive miniseries with a multitude of crossovers were dedicated to getting rid of it. And none of it succeeded? That's just ridiculous. Not to mention that even following the first Crisis, various writers found different ways to reintroduce worlds and dimensions that they felt they wanted. One of the most recent was Grant Morrison's Earth 2 series, whose characters crossed over into the JLA title two years ago. And even today, after IC, we've seen many hints in the OYL titles of the multiverse still being around, primary amongst them the existence of scads of Monitors. So I really must ask, what in the world did Infinite Crisis accomplish? Why did Conner die? Why is Pantha's head a'rollin? Why is Ted Kord dead? These things were supposed to have meaning, but now that Didio has come out and told us that "yes, kiddies, the secret of 52 is that the multiverse still exists"? Pshaw. That's the big secret? 37 weeks of mediocrity (or worse) for this? Ridiculous. If I actually paid for this title, I'd stop buying it.

 
At 12:24 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

Pretty much the exact same reason why I've been disregarding most of the visual cues as anything but editorial gaffs. Like Skeets' first human word balloon (though the one in this issue was fairly blatant), Isis' duplicate word balloon, the return of Adam Strange's eyes, and other times.

And heck, most of Lobo's words haven't been properly grammar-checked/spell-checked (at least the ones that are supposed to be spelled correctly) for the last couple of issues. See for yourself.

Due to these problems, it becomes very tough to trust any clue in 52 that is hiding in the artwork.

 
At 12:26 PM, Blogger Filby said...

There is, of course, a good chance Booster will still die at the end of the series, otherwise how does Rip Hunter get ahold of his skellington? (Unless that's another red herring.)

Well, everyone dies eventually.

 
At 12:27 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

My immediate prior comment was in response to Raphael.

Hey acespot, if you have problems with 52 and aren't collecting it, why are you bothering to comment on it?

Who do you think you are? John Byrne?

 
At 12:58 PM, Blogger Garret said...

I have a few ideas on Ray Palmer and Hawkgirl's equipment from storage. Who says they have to be from storage right now? Couldn't Rip have gotten them from the future?

But more bothering, isn't it really hard for other people to use the Atom's shrinking devise? Because everything else he shrunk exploded and there was something special about his make up that let me not explode. Like everyone else had 30 minutes or something. I remember that Superman was probably the only one who wasn't affected by the white dwarf star's effects because of his "nigh invulnerability".

 
At 1:07 PM, Blogger Paul I said...

One of the issues with the series for me has been that it is almost impossible to get any clues from the art since it's being handled by so many different persons.

I've gradually gotten used to the crappy art (if not the dreadful panel layouts), but the Lady Styx business last issue did suffer on account of Styx looking like a completely different character, issue by issue.

 
At 1:14 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

I'm reading Ion, but mainly because of its links to whatever is going on in the DCU, not out of any inherent love for the book. But I've always been glad they kept Kyle around and active after Hal was brought back.

 
At 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved Animal Man waking up after being left for dead, from what little I remember from the old Morrrison series, that kind of thing seems to happen to him a lot, that is, you can usually expect the rules to not apply to Buddy in some way or another (knowing he's in a comic etc.). But the whole "Don't leave me!" yell was also done recently by the new Blue Beetle, wan't it? He was let behind in space after the big fight right? Maybe there's a connection, at least thematically..

 
At 3:28 PM, Blogger Squashua said...

Time-wise, Beetle's "Don't leave me" cry took place during Infinite Crisis when the scarab blanked him off radar.

So as written, sure it's been about 4-5 months since that Blue Beetle issue, but it's been aobbut 3/4 of a year DCU-time between when it happened and Animal Man's "resurrection".

 
At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Scoop Juicy said...

Why are the Phantom Zone residents wearing uniformly-round glasses? Is this a necessity to see properly in the PZ or is this a Mr. Mind clue?

 
At 5:16 PM, Anonymous Don said...

The problems with continuity can be answered by one statement: The multiverse still exists.

Here's a theory: Alexander Luthor, the "two hands," squished all the earths into one; but if the multiverse still exists, that means he squished all of them into one. Now, as the multiverse starts to "heal" itself, they're bleeding through.

On "Earth Now" (or whatever drivel they called it at the end of Infinite Crisis), the Fortress of Solitude was in a jungle and has been destroyed; but on another earth, it's still in the Arctic, but destroyed; on another earth, it's in the Antarctic and destroyed; on another, it's still standing; and so on and so forth. When the Multiverse starts healing itself, we start seeing all versions of it.

Further, just as certain characters remember only the "re-imagined" past timeline, as the multiverse starts to heal and separate, memories will change to match the past timeline that's bleeding through at this moment.

Finally, it wouldn't surprise me if WWIII is the catalyst that bangs the whole thing apart and allows the Multiverse to return in its infinite (or perhaps, only 52) versions....

 
At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Don said...

Whoops; meant to say, Alex Luthor took bits and pieces, intending to make one perfect earth; but instead, squished them all into one.

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger Blogenheimer said...

As a 1st time commenter, I would also like to thank you for writing this blog. Every Wednesday I come home, read 52, and then check 52 Pickup.

Now that he knows Booster is alive, perhaps Skeets will attempt to use Daniel Carter as a hostage.

Also, page 15 of this issue may be the beginning of something mentioned as a rumor in the year-end edition of Lying in the Gutters.

 
At 7:06 PM, Anonymous zc said...

"And now that I know who Supernova is, I want to know who 'zc' is. :)"

Insert amusing Phantom Stranger line here. Hehe.


"Is anybody besides Calimike actually reading Ion?"

I am, despite it getting increasingly nonsensical as of late (and the absence of Greg Tocchini's beautiful art, which was the real reason I started reading it closely to begin with).

 
At 11:33 PM, Blogger acespot said...

Heh, squasha, thankfully, I'm not John Byrne. Does he do that?

I've just been reading it at Borders and taking notes, or borrowing it from a friend when he's done with them. Mostly. I can't afford a weekly title, unfortunately. (Neither can my friend, but that's between him and his wife.)

And until this post, there were 52 comments!

Verification word: kysnkig. I don't know what a kig is, but apparently I'm kissing it.

 
At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big gold key and the Arctic Fortress:

In Infinite Crisis- issue #6 IIRC- Batman asks GL if he remembers where Superman's old Fortress was. I believe this is after Alex's finger got severed and the (post original crisis) Earth's history got altered yet again. WonderWoman once again helping to found the JLA, Batman nabbing Joe Chill, and apparantly the return of the Silver/Bronze Age Earth-1 Big Gold Key Fortress of Solitude as well as we now have seen in this recent issue of 52 as well as the past issue of Superman Confidential.

 
At 9:48 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

The XXXXX Confidential books seem like typical "tell a good story and ignore continuity" books.

Question: Who are the people in the next issue boxes?

 
At 9:59 AM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

If you guys look very closely at the picture of Rip and Booster outside the FoS, you'll see the giant yellow key, albeit slightly obscured by the weather. That's one key.

The other key would be the Phantom Zone projector, since that unlocks the doorway to the Phantom Zone.

That is, if you want to get cute about it. :)

And I too am reading Ion. Sure, it's jumped around a bit but I'm finding it extremely entertaining after what I thought was a slow start.

Also, for those not reading Omega Men, you REALLY need to at least read through the Lady Styx conversation with Vril Dox to get an idea as to what her purpose is...it's a doozy and has definite ties to 52.

Jamie

 
At 10:31 AM, Blogger Douglas Wolk said...

OK, if you'll forgive me another spasm of ridiculous continuity hairsplitting:

The giant-key Arctic fortress first appeared in Action Comics #241--which is where the pre-COIE Earth-1 Superman's canon is generally considered to start (that's the first story in Showcase Presents Superman vol. 1, for instance). Was there any pre-Infinite Crisis indication that Kal-L had a fortress other than his "Secret Citadel" on the outskirts of Metropolis?

The Batman/Green Lantern dialogue in IC is about "where Superman's fortress used to be," which implies that it's not there any more. (That spot is apparently Alex Luthor's HQ, since Batman shows up there a few pages later to stand over Conner's corpse.) Darn that wall-punching Superboy-Prime!

 
At 11:09 AM, Blogger Squashua said...

No. I think we're left to assume that anything Silver Age or previously ret-conned is considered "in play" at this time.

Sort of like how Morrison's concept of Hypertime worked. From what I understand, the historical timeline was flexible; if there was a storyline that could be told, the timeline would bend to conform to it. Hypertime emphasized telling "good stories" over "maintaining continuity".

Would you f*cking believe the captcha is "sodimy"? OMG.

 
At 11:33 AM, Anonymous calimike said...

Wow, last time I said something that to anyone that got as big a reaction as "I'm reading Ion" was when some friends found out I was a closet NASCAR fan...TMI. ;-)
Anyway, regarding Ion, lots of multiverse stuff going on, Monitors lurking, and, most importantly, several characters from the TANGENT universe have appeared on New Earth. It looks like ALL continuity is in play....will be intereesting to see how they sort this out, if at all.
BTW, keep up the great work, Douglas. I've been enjoying this blog since Week 1.

 
At 11:44 AM, Blogger Jamie Ott said...

You like NASCAR?!?!?!?!?!

;)

Jamie

 
At 2:42 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

"...taht eht esrevitlum llits stsixe"

Well, kind of.


Hypertime, please.

 
At 8:29 PM, Blogger ZC said...

"Hypertime, please."

Oh Jesus, I wish.


"And until this post, there were 52 comments!"

...wait a second, I got the 52nd comment?

Cool.


"Question: Who are the people in the next issue boxes?"

Left: The Question and Montoya.

Middle: Nameless Everymen as far as I can see. Honesttly I don't even know why that's one of the "next issue" things.

Right: Our friendly gang of scientists.


Another note: I finally got this stupid blogger account working again! Yay!

Though if this post is any indication, asking Mr. Wolk to allow non-blogger commenting was a good idea anyway. =D

 
At 8:36 AM, Blogger Filby said...

Middle: Nameless Everymen as far as I can see. Honesttly I don't even know why that's one of the "next issue" things.

I'm just going by memory here (don't have the book in front of me), but I believe that the two rightmost are Fury and Matrix.

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger ZC said...

"I'm just going by memory here (don't have the book in front of me), but I believe that the two rightmost are Fury and Matrix."

Well, then you have a better memory than I do. XD

As I said, the part of the panel that they show is pretty... irrelevant. It doesn't really show anything that'll happen, so I dunno why they used it.

 
At 3:18 PM, Blogger raphaeladidas said...

"Hypertime, please."

Oh Jesus, I wish.


Uh oh.

 
At 6:53 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

Another appearance of the Hands at the Creation of the Universe is my story in this issue of Secret Origins. I always loved those hands.

But the main reason I'm commenting, Douglas, is that I'm surprised at this statement from you:

I also have to say that Booster delivering a five-page-long tell-all piece of exposition to the murderous entity he's fighting for his life against, while they're fighting...is the sort of thing that routinely got made fun of in the Silver Age.

I think this is actually a convention of superhero storytelling that makes a lot of sense within the structure and strictures of the comic book medium. Narrative in American adventure comic books is all about compression -- the writer and artist choose from a whole range of actions that are happening over the course of seconds (or more) to depict a single picture per panel that represents the surrounding moments as well; and the reader, through experience, is trained to recognize this.

So a long word balloon is understood not to be uttered at super-speed during the instant that's depicted visually but also in the panel borders -- the spaces (sometimes rather lengthy) between the images that are shown, when other images (active or quiet, long-lasting or not) that have been rejected for the sake of compression can be imagined.

Storytelling media never faithfully represent everything that a scene contains, but develop conventions that allow the creative artist to construct the fictional world effectively. The talking-while-fighting convention is one of those, and to my mind at least, the question isn't whether the convention is good or bad but whether it's effectively used in any particular instance. FWIW, I thought this one was pretty effective, though the dialogue rang false in some spots.

--Dan Mishkin

 
At 1:42 PM, Blogger Matt said...

No clapping for me, but my jaw literally dropped at that last page. "And so it begins"? What does? Buddy's journey home, perhaps across the multiverse?

Between this and the Supernova revelation, 52 just went from being an enjoyable romp to utterly essential reading.

 
At 10:31 PM, Anonymous jim treacher said...

GL #40 was also central to the JLA/Avengers event from a few years back.

 
At 6:15 AM, Anonymous randy meyer said...

Never mind the earlier talk of having comment 52. I've got comment number 69 here, baby!!

Seriously though, first time commenter, longtime reader here. Love this blog and loved the Supernova reveal and the end of this week's issue. I'll admit to not having seen the giant yellow aliens coming. I mean, of course, I KNEW that Animal Man would come back from the dead. I just didn't expect it to be at the end of the issue after he died.

 

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