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Across the DC Universe #42 - Part 1

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Welcome back to Broken Frontier’s weekly issue by issue roundup of events from every corner of the DC Universe! 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 Brave and the Bold #24

Jefferson "Black Lightning" Pierce gives an address at Virgil "Static" Hawkins’s graduation ceremony at Hemingway High, Dakota. Neither hero is prepared, though, for Holocaust gatecrashing proceedings looking for revenge on Pierce for disrupting his gambling operations.

The Bigger Picture: Static made his first official DCU appearance (if we ignore 1994’s Worlds Collide Milestone/Superman crossover) in the recent Terror Titans miniseries, before becoming an official member of the Teen Titans shortly thereafter.

Black Lightning was recently a member of the Justice League of America, can currently be seen in Outsiders and recently had his own Black Lightning: Year One miniseries for those wanting to find out more about the hero.

Continuity Corner: Holocaust debuted in Blood Syndicate #1 (April 1993) as a member of that group before leaving the Syndicate and embracing a focused criminal leaning. It would appear that he has followed much the same career path in his revised New Earth history as he blames Black Lightning for disrupting a previous illegal gambling operation. The character had his own My Name is... Holocaust limited series in 1995 and, before the Milestone characters were officially absorbed into the DCU, was last seen in 2001’s Static Shock miniseries.

Virgil Hawkins is suspicious of Black Lightning because he once served in the Luthor administration, albeit undercover, after Luthor won the Presidential race in the Superman books in 2000.

Holocaust speaks disparagingly of minor Milestone villain Hotstreak in a throwaway line this issue. Hotstreak first appeared in Static #1 (April 1993).

           

Holocaust is sent to Iron Heights, the specialist super-villain prison from Flash (see 2001’s The Flash: Iron Heights one-shot for more info), at story’s end.

Questions: To what extent are the Milestone characters’ histories changed in light of their pasts now having occurred on New Earth?

Batman: Streets of Gotham #1

Harley Quinn goes (mostly) legit while a violent new vigilante enters the scene. Meanwhile Hush manipulates Damian Wayne and the Firefly ups his game to become a major threat to the Batman Family as he begins slaughtering Gotham’s citizens with ostentatious audacity.

Crossovers: Batman: Reborn

The Bigger Picture: Harley Quinn moves on from here to Gotham City Sirens #1 next week. There’s a quick mention of help she gave Catwoman in taking down Hush in Detective Comics #852/Batman #685 which was, in turn, in revenge for Hush’s brutal treatment of Selina Kyle in the Heart of Hush storyline (Detective Comics #s 846-850 ). Hush has been imprisoned in Wayne Tower ever since.

The three-way gang war between Penguin, Two-Face and Black Mask exploded in the Batman: Battle for the Cowl miniseries. Firefly was one of a number of villains forcibly "recruited" by Black Mask in Batman: Battle for the Cowl.

Questions: What is the story behind the new mystery man calling himself Abuse who takes out a pimp and his child molesting client this issue? How is Hush planning to escape his confinement? How far is Firefly prepared to go with his "final blaze of glory" and how will the Black Mask react to this suicidal final curtain bow?

Manhunter co-feature

Moving to Gotham, Kate Spencer begins a new life as the city’s D.A. following the murder of the previous incumbent of the role.

The Bigger Picture: Kate Spencer’s recent DCU appearances include her own Manhunter series which recently concluded with #38 along with membership of the team in the latter stages of the Birds of Prey series. She fought alongside other Bat-related heroes in Batman: Battle for the Cowl: The Network #1. For more on Kate's story check out her series of trade paperbacks.

Jane Doe murdered Gotham D.A.Linus Hampton on Black Mask’s orders in Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2. She framed Two-Face for the killing while she was there.

Continuity Corner: Jane Doe debuted in 2003’s Arkham Asylum: Living Hell miniseries.

Questions: How will Kate’s move to Gotham affect her relationship with her son Ramsey? Will she bring her own brand of violent justice to Batman’s world and how will that be perceived by the rest of the Batman Family?

Outsiders #19

The Outsiders come into conflict with Deathstroke who is working as an assassin for the mysterious Insiders as they search for fragments of the meteorite that gave Vandal Savage his powers. In space the Insiders take the battle back to the heroes but discover on the Outsiders’ satellite HQ that the Creeper is a force to be reckoned with. And in a remote arctic locale Vandal Savage meets up with Ra’s Al Ghul, as the schemes of major DCU super-villains begin to converge...

Crossovers: Batman: Reborn

The Bigger Picture: Geo-Force’s ongoing feud with Deathstroke that appeared to come to a head in DC Universe: Last Will and Testament #1 flares up again in this story arc.

Vandal Savage was last featured in the Final Crisis: Revelations miniseries wherein he was cursed to bear the Mark of Cain, as seen here.

Ra’s Al Ghul most recently popped up in last week’s Red Robin #1, following Tim Drake/Wayne’s search for the supposedly dead Batman.

Questions: What is Savage’s reason for meeting Ra’s Al Ghul? How aware is he of the machinations of the Insiders? What is the significance of the numbers that Deathstroke’s victim writes in his own blood? Is Deathstroke aware of Jericho’s horrific fate post-Deathtrap?

Green Arrow and Black Canary #21

Villain Discord’s silence-based revenge attack on Black Canary is interspersed with flashbacks to Dinah’s childhood and Wildcat’s involvement in it. Meanwhile Ollie’s violent admirer Cupid continues to prove herself to be a major nuisance...

The Bigger Picture: The Canary Cry flashback storyline and Green Arrow and Black Canary having relationship problems were foreshadowed in the "Origins and Omens" backup that ran in Green Arrow and Black Canary #17. Tying into this, the book’s title was given as Green Arrow vs. Black Canary on the cover for the second issue in a row.

Villain Discord was an innocent civilian who, unknown to Black Canary, was rendered entirely deaf when she recklessly used her Canary Cry in Green Arrow and Black Canary #15. There is an obvious thematic parallel between his plight and that of Dinah’s innocent childhood friend Sam, also permanently deafened by her sonic power.

Questions: How will Dinah react to the knowledge she has seriously injured someone with her Canary Cry a second time? Are there revelations to be made about the origins of her Canary Cry in the current continuity?

That’s it for part 1. Join us in two days for the second part of this week’s roundup where we focus on events in this week’s Super-books.

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