Across the DC Universe #41 - Part 2

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Welcome to Part 2 of Broken Frontier’s weekly issue by issue roundup of events from every corner of the DC Universe. For Part 1 click here. This is where to come to catch up on what’s been happening with your favorite DC characters and how events in their books affect the DCU’s recent "Bigger Picture". We also point out any interesting continuity tidbits, link to suggested background reading and examine any pertinent questions raised by events in the week’s releases.

Spoiler Warning: Read no further if you’ve not had your DC fix this week and don’t want to hear about key story elements.

The Titans #14

Cyborg takes some down time, meets a face from the past and saves S.T.A.R. labs from a new super-villain. And all before he gets into the Internet dating game in a special spotlight issue on Vic Stone.

The Bigger Picture: The Titans are "on sabbatical" after the harrowing events with former member Jericho in the Titans/Teen Titans/Vigilante "Deathtrap" crossover.

Cyborg has a heart to heart with former romantic interest Sarah Simms (who first appeared in 1981’s New Teen Titans #18). He mentions his disastrous founding of Titans East as shown in the Titans East Special #1, a team who were devastated in their opening mission. The impression given here is that most of the members were killed in that Special whereas, in reality, only Power Boy died. It should be noted, though, that Anima was subsequently brutally murdered in Faces of Evil: Prometheus #1 and Little Barda’s current status is open to doubt given the events of The Death of the New Gods.

Vic Stone’s childhood friend and former gang member Ron Evers returns as a priest in the First Church of Anti-Technocracy. Evers appears to have now repented his violent past after last being seen in the recent DC Special: Cyborg miniseries as a cybernetically-enhanced villain.

Questions: Will Vic’s date Dr. Tamara Belson become a regular supporting cast member? Is there more to Starfire’s erratic behavior this issue?

Green Lantern Corps #37

Ion gives up his life (?) to reignite Daxam’s sun, empowering his fellow Daxamites for their struggle against the Sinestro Corps’ invading forces. Lanterns Ash and Saarek realise that rogue Guardian Scar has been manipulating them both in their search for the Anti-Monitor’s corpse. Meanwhile on Oa the Corps struggle to stop the mass jailbreak of the "Yellow Lanterns" until the Alpha Lanterns step in. But as one crisis is averted a greater one begins – Scar opens a "door" to something beyond, shattering Oa’s defences and signalling the beginning of Blackest Night.

Crossovers: Prelude to Blackest Night

The Bigger Picture: Green Lantern Saarek can hear the dead and as this summer’s Blackest Night crossover approaches their voices are becoming so loud he is bleeding aurally.

Kanjar Ro is a prisoner of the Guardians of the Universe on Oa. The alien villain was last seen in Trinity #52 being transported to inevitable incarceration by the Green Lantern Corps. While Kanjar believed he was being taken to the prison planet Takron-Galtos, the GLC were also transporting Despero for imprisonment on Oa at the same time, so it is possible both bad guys ended up there. 

Continuity Corner: Bolphunga the Unrelenting is another of the freed Sciencell prisoners on Oa fighting alongside the GLC against the escaping Sinestro Corps. Bolphunga first appeared in an Alan Moore-scripted backup in Green Lantern #188 (May 1985) looking for the legendary GL Mogo in that classic tale that also first introduced the sentient planet. He has appeared since as a bounty hunter in the Green Lantern Corps: Recharge miniseries and in the follow-up ongoing series Green Lantern Corps #s 3-5, where his current grudge against Guy Gardner was further explored.

Questions: What is the full history of Scar’s Book of Black? Is Ion/Sodam Yat really dead? Will Arisia and the Daxamites be able to see off the Sinestro Corps? Why are the recent dead of the DCU in a "black, desolate place" rather than any number of the afterlifes that have been depicted in the DC line in the past? Where is Despero when the rest of Oa's prisoners are freed?

Final Crisis: Escape #2

Crossovers: Final Crisis (follow-up)

Nemesis continues to struggle to ascertain what is real and what is illusory as no end seems likely to his imprisonment in the Global Peace Agency’s Electric City.

The Bigger Picture: Electric City is currently housing security personnel and operatives from a number of espionage agencies. While it is unclear who is actually physically there and who is an illusion in this issue we can see Checkmate pawns, Fire, a Blackhawk (possibly the Blackhawk?), the Suicide Squad’s Amanda Waller and Rick Flag, the DEO’s Cameron Chase and Captain Nazi, amongst others.

Continuity Corner: Tom Tresser discovers a Time Pool within Electric City. The Time Pool was created by Professor Hyatt and was a storytelling device that allowed the Silver Age Atom Ray Palmer to have a number of time-travel adventures in the early ‘60s. Alpheus V. Hyatt first appeared in The Atom #3 (Oct-Nov 1962).

Questions: Where is Electric City? Is it actually in any one locale, is it accessible from a number of locations or is it somehow travelling between them? Which of the inmates of the prison seen so far are actually there? What is its ultimate purpose? What is the significance of the Time Pool and its effects on certain prisoners?

The Flash: Rebirth #3

Revealed as the new Black Flash, Barry Allen decides to run back into the Speed Force when he realises his presence on New Earth is seriously affecting the other speedsters of the DCU. Although the JSA and Superman try to persuade him of alternative solutions Barry races back into oblivion only to find a disintegrating Johnny Quick, an entrapped Max Mercury and a mocking Professor Zoom. The Reverse Flash proudly tells him he has shifted Barry into reverse...

The Bigger Picture: Professor Zoom, the original Reverse-Flash stands revealed as the apparent mastermind behind events and the killer of the police scientists in The Flash: Rebirth #1, where he appeared to duplicate the accident that gave Barry Allen his powers. He also seems to dispatch Flash villain Abra Kadabra this issue which may be linked to the fact they are both bad guys from the future with grudges against Barry.

Bart Allen appears here following his resurrection in the yet-to-be-completed Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds miniseries.

Continuity Corner: The original Liberty Belle and Johnny Quick were, indeed, very much the heart and soul of the All-Star Squadron as mentioned this issue. Check out All-Star Squadron #s 61 and 65 (Sep 1986 and Jan 1987) for more on the origins of these characters.

There’s a thematic homage to the Flash/Superman races of the Silver Age when the Man of Steel tries to keep up with Barry Allen and persuade him not to disappear into the Speed Force again.

Johnny Quick appearing to his daughter Jesse (the new Liberty Belle) in the opening pages is very reminiscent of the way a dying Barry Allen appeared to Batman and Wally West as he raced through time in Crisis On Infinite Earths.


Questions: Is Zoom behind Barry’s resurrection? Is bringing him back as the Black Flash his ultimate revenge? Did Zoom murder Barry’s mother and is this change in Barry’s past part of his masterplan? What is Abra Kadabra’s final fate? Is Zoom’s attack on him due to the possibility that Kadabra may have future knowledge of upcoming events that could disrupt his vengeful schemes?

JSA Vs. Kobra #1

The new and revitalised Kobra cult begin a campaign of terror with an attempted assassination of the JSA/Checkmate’s Mr. Terrific. While the JSA chase around after Kobra’s pawns they are unaware they are being distracted while the terrorist leader launches his true agenda...

The Bigger Picture: Sasha Bordeaux, formerly a feature character in the most recent Checkmate series, is seen in the comatose state she was left in after events in Final Crisis. Sasha is romantically involved with JSAer Mr. Terrific.

The new Kobra is the previously deceased Jason Burr, brother of original Kobra Jeffrey Burr (who died in JSA #51 at Black Adam’s hands). Jason was resurrected in Faces of Evil: Kobra #1 earlier this year.

Mr. Terrific reveals that Checkmate have been releasing terrorists as sleeper agents with post-hypnotic commands that cause them to inform on their organisations with a trigger codeword.

Continuity Corner: The Kobra terrorists are using bombs made with Thanagarian Nth Metal from Hawkman continuity.

The weapons smugglers the JSA take out this issue are from Bialya, the country whose various rulers were such a pain the behind for the Justice League in the classic Giffen/DeMatteis ‘80s/’90s Justice League International series. Bialya was devastated by Black Adam in World War III.

Questions: Who is Kobra’s ultimate target – the JSA? Checkmate? Both? Is he looking for revenge for the JSA’s perceived involvement in his brother’s death or the Checkmate agency’s ill-fated guardianship of the Kobra "serpent babies", last seen in Checkmate #25 before Kobra had them slaughtered in FOE: Kobra #1? Is Jason Burr still determined to kill off the heroes of the DCU one-by-one - a mission established in that one-shot?

Rounding up... Vril Dox's new team and the Omega Men face the forces of the "real" Starro the Conqueror in R.E.B.E.L.S. #5... This week's visit to Earth-50 comes courtesy of Gen13 #30... And for the junior Captain Marvel fans there's the all-ages Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam #5

Fanboy Moment of the Week

It’s the first week of DC’s new "co-feature" experiment with Blue Beetle sharing the pages of Booster Gold alongside that book’s title character. In unapologetic fanboy mode this takes me back wistfully to 1980 when DC instituted a line-wide series of backups as all regular DC books increased their page counts by eight. On the right is the quite wonderful house ad that ran the month before announcing the new backup strips, including the debut of Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape’s Nemesis in his own feature in The Brave and the Bold.

I have a very warm feeling of nostalgia thinking about the excitement this caused at the time. Let's remember there was no Internet back then and 11-year-old lads like me, especially in the UK, couldn’t even conceive of something like the fan press. Imagine picking up a DC book that month then, seeing that advert for the first time and, without any forewarning, being bombarded all at once with all the potential goodies that were coming in just four weeks (we got our comics in one big monthly batch in British newsagents back then).

It was one heck of a long month's wait...

That's it for another week. Join us again at the weekend for the next stop in our neverending package tour of the DCU. Thanks for reading!

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  • Tonya Crawford

    Tonya Crawford Jun 15, 2009 at 8:58pm

    Hyatt and the Time Pool were also recently featured in Gail Simone's All New Atom run. It was revealed there that Hyatt was suffering from Alzheimer's disease which resulted in some interesting events with the Time Pool. Eventually one of the Linear Men allowed Hyatt to live but charged Ryan Choi -- the Atom -- with keeping an eye on Hyatt and the Time Pool

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 16, 2009 at 6:21am

    Yeah - I wanted to go into more detail on both the Time Pool's history and recent appearances but I was hideously over word count this week so that, and a coupla other things had to be cut. I'm sure there will be opportunity to cover them in future editions. There are some nice covers I'd like to spotlight... ;)

  • NinjaGeorgie

    NinjaGeorgie Jun 19, 2009 at 9:27am

    I am a cheat because i know Andy but this is my favourite part of your sight.

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