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Across the DC Universe #47 - 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.

Outsiders #20

Crossovers: Batman: Reborn

Vandal Savage and Ra’s Al Ghul team up to end the threat of the Insiders. For Ra's the reason for pursuing them centers on the group's jealousy of other immortals and their destruction of his life-giving Lazarus Pits in the past. For Savage it is even more personal. The Insiders are revealed to be former members of his tribe, explaining their "immortality" and why they are so obsessed with discovering fragments of the meteorite that gave him his powers.

Ra’s Al Ghul, members of the League of Assassins, Vandal Savage and the Outsiders all converge on the Insiders’ base just as the cult-like organization’s technology for finding meteorite shards begins to do irreparable damage to the planet. The Creeper arrives in time to save the day but he destroys the Insiders’ HQ in the process. All sides depart but more battles in this war seem inevitable...

The Bigger Picture: Vandal Savage was cursed to wear the Mark of Cain by the Spectre in the Final Crisis: Revelations miniseries.

Ra’s Al Ghul has returned to prominence in the Bat-books of late keeping tabs on Tim Wayne’s search for his mentor in Red Robin and on the activities of Hush in Batman: Streets of Gotham.

Various versions of groups calling themselves the League of Assassins have been seen operating across the DC Universe recently. Ra’s Al Ghul's group are active in this issue and over in Red Robin, Talia Al Ghul was seen with her own assassins including Merlyn in Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight #s 1-3 and Shado headed up her own super-powered faction, while posing as Ra’s Al Ghul in Green Arrow and Black Canary #s 10-12.

Questions: Why are the Insiders so convinced there is no afterlife when all evidence in the DCU would point to the exact opposite? When will the surviving Insiders come into conflict with Savage again? How will Vandal Savage remove the Mark of Cain? And just how stable is the Creeper...?

Green Lantern #44

Investigating the desecration of Bruce Wayne’s grave by Black Hand, Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Flash Barry Allen are interrupted by J’Onn J’Onzz, now a Black Lantern, who claims his former friends should still be dead. A knock-down fight between the three leads to J'Onn's apparent victory. On Oa Scar explains her corruption to her fellow Guardians. And John Stewart, paying his respects where Xanshi used to orbit, finds the ramifications of the Blackest Night could have horrific consequences for him...

Crossovers: Blackest Night

The Bigger Picture: This issue elaborates on what happened next after Black Lantern Martian Manhunter confronted Hal Jordan and Barry Allen in Blackest Night #1.

The Black Lanterns see people in terms of where they stand in the emotional spectrum. J’Onn sees Hal Jordan as green-colored "Will" and Barry Allen as blue-hued "Hope".

Black Corps-serving Guardian Scar reveals more details of her transformation. When the Anti-Monitor injured her during the War with the Sinestro Corps her body "died" and, for her, "the voice of death grew louder". Her mission statement for the BL Corps is to use it to annihilate all sentient life as sentience breeds emotion which, in turn, breeds chaos.

Hal talks of the last days of J’Onn J’Onzz’s life when he became more withdrawn from humanity as shown in the last Martian Manhunter miniseries in 2006.

Continuity Corner: For more on the life and times of the Manhunter from Mars check out the latest excellent entry in my BF colleague Fletch Adams’s Blackest Night series here.

John Stewart's failure was responsible for the destruction of the planet Xanshi way back in the '80s Cosmic Odyssey miniseries.

Questions: Just what is the nature of the Black Lanterns’ sentience? Have they been corrupted by Black Hand/their rings to serve the Black Lantern Corps? To what extent are they targetting characters who have been resurrected?

Power Girl #3

The Ultra-Humanite’s ultimatum to Power Girl is that either she gives up his body to him or he will destroy Manhattan. In their ensuing battle, aboard his floating ship, the villain is horribly burned. This leaves PG with a massive problem in returning the "skyjacked" Manhattan to earth. With the help of Terra and members of the JSA she eventually succeeds but not without making a serious enemy of the now hideously disfigured Ultra-Humanite. Approaching Earth, meantime, are three alien party girls looking for a seriously good time...

The Bigger Picture: Power Girl and Terra’s friendship began in Terra #4 published at the end of last year. In a nice spot of Palmiotti/Gray cross-title pollination that issue also featured Satana and her Animal Men. Satana, as you may recall, was shown as a former colleague of the Ultra-Humanite in Power Girl #2.

Continuity Corner: For more on the confusing continuity issues surrounding the Ultra-Humanite’s appearances in this arc check out last month’s entry on Power Girl #2.

Questions: What is the deal with the Ultra-Humanite’s continuity? Is this a complete reboot of the character’s history and, if so, how does that affect the character’s appearances in recent storylines like the JLA/JSA Lightning Saga crossover and The Time Stealers arc in Booster Gold? Or are there two Ultra-Humanites? When will this version of the U-H return for his revenge on PG?

Gotham City Sirens #2

Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn’s attempts to learn Batman’s true identity from Catwoman are thwarted by mental techniques that Talia Al Ghul taught her some years ago. Selina manages to persuade them that Batman is actually a small army of men, many of whom have died over the years. Later, on a shopping spree, Harley witnesses a gang attempting to kidnap "Bruce Wayne" who is actually secretly Batman’s foe Hush. Harley, feeling a debt to Wayne because he spoke up for her at her parole board, rushes in to save him. A freed Hush sees Harley as his means to getting back at Selina Kyle for robbing him of his fortune and, when Selina and Ivy arrive on the scene, it appears he has abducted their friend in revenge...

Crossovers: Batman: Reborn

The Bigger Picture: Hush escaped his imprisonment in Wayne Tower and began masquerading as Bruce Wayne in last week’s Batman: Streets of Gotham #2.

There are more references to Selina’s ordeal at Tommy Elliot’s hands in the Heart of Hush storyline in Detective Comics #s 846-850. Jason Todd and Selina clashed in Batman: Battle for the Cowl.

Harley Quinn conspired with Catwoman to steal Hush’s fortune back in the two-parter in Detective Comics #852/Batman #685.

Questions: How are the "Sirens" and Hush going to both be able to operate in Gotham without some kind of truce? Will Selina’s lies to her "team-mates" some back to haunt her?

Rounding up... There are three more shorts tying into the war between the Corps in Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #2. These feature the origin of Red Lantern Bleez, an examination of the reasons why Carol Ferris became Star Sapphire and her reacceptance of the role, plus an account of how Larfleeze "inducted" Blume, the self-styled God of Hunger, into his Orange Corps. There’s also a very interesting essay by Ethan Van Sciver on the symbols of the various Corps and what they represent.

In Supergirl #43 Kara’s impending birthday means she has come of age to choose the Guild she enters on New Krypton as per the traditions of her people. In Superman: World of New Krypton we saw Supergirl’s mother Alura choose Kal-El’s Guild for him when he entered the military under General Zod. In this touching issue Kara opts to join her mother’s Science Guild in order to understand her better. And finally in Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance #3 the Super Young Team’s own convention is gatecrashed by the Parasitic Teutons of Assimilation, the spirit of Ultimon Alpha continues to haunt Most Excellent Superbat and old school hero Sunburst’s story veers into new territory – has he been possessed by the worm in his bottle of booze in issue #2?

Fanboy Moment of the Week

As metaphors go it’s perhaps become a little strained as the months/years have gone by, but whiney Superboy-Prime, aka the fanboy’s voice in the DCU, did provide a few moments of comic respite this week. Up front I will say I have never been convinced by this version of the Boy of Steel’s unlikely turn to the dark side. I was there for DC Comics Presents #87 the first time round and, along with Alexander Luthor’s sudden descent into villainy, it’s never rung true for me - a story twist contrived to provide credible villains for Infinite Crisis and not all consistent with established characterization.

However, I have to admit seeing Prime in his parents’ basement, impotently firing off angry comments on the DC Message Boards at the end of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5, was pretty funny. After the impenetrable Final Crisis I thought I’d had my fill of metafictional self-indulgence but Geoff Johns brought a very definite wry smile to my face with this scene.

And yes I am well, well aware of the irony inherent in those two paragraphs...

That’s another DC roundup over. Join us again in a week for our next session of analyses, summaries and continuity pointers. Thanks for reading!

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Comments

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Jul 26, 2009 at 8:28pm

    Huh. Prime as the voice of the whiney fanboy. I hadn't thought of that. I've found the character too obnoxious to consider the possible metaphor behind him. I've had my share of online rants but I do hope I'm not as annoying as this super-twerp.

  • Fletch Adams

    Fletch Adams Jul 26, 2009 at 10:42pm

    I'd love to see someone from DC start posting on message boards AS Prime...might as well take the metaphor all the way :)

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jul 27, 2009 at 8:11am

    They have Fletch. This is the thread on the DC boards seen in the issue and check twelve posts down:

    http://dcboards.warnerbros.com/web/thread.jspa?threadID=2000188640&start=75&tstart=0

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