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Across the DC Universe #48 - 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.

Justice Society of America #29

Associate JSA member Obsidian is discovered in the JSA HQ having regressed into a black egg-like object. Meanwhile two new JSA legacy heroes join the team – the All-American Kid, who claims to be descended from the unheard of partner of the original Mr. America, and King Chimera, alleged son of The King. The JSA are later lured into a trap by small-time villain Tapeworm who unleashes a veritable army of bad guys on the team. Back at the JSA Brownstone All-American Kid is apparently possessed by an outside force and stabs Mr. Terrific in the back, leaving him for dead...

The Bigger Picture: Mr. Terrific’s "death" was foreshadowed in the "Origins and Omens" backup in Justice Society of America #24.

There’s an implication that Obsidian has remained a recluse who never leaves the JSA Brownstone foundations. This is difficult to reconcile with the character’s appearances in the recently-cancelled Manhunter. However, we are only at the first part of this arc so explanations may well be forthcoming.

The army of super-villains that attack the JSA have been active to varying degrees in the DCU’s recent "Bigger Picture". But for the sake of consistency I’ll cover as many as I can here. Many of them are veterans of recent Willingham or Sturges books like Robin, Blue Beetle, Shadowpact and Salvation Run.

The new Dr. Polaris was last seen in the "Boundaries" arc in Blue Beetle #s 29-34 and Matt Sturges wrote Eclipso in the character’s feature in the recent Countdown to Mystery run. Anubis and Devil Dog were also seen in  that Blue Beetle "Boundaries" story. These two losers had originally fought each other for the right to take on the identity of Hellhound but later decided to work as a team. Hellhound died on the Prison Planet in Salvation Run which, of course, both writers also worked on. The Madmen resurfaced not so long ago in Blue Beetle #35, amongst a rogues gallery of Beetle villains. Tapeworm first appeared in Bill Willingham’s Robin #144 and was also seen in Salvation Run.

A second Junkyard Dog first appeared in Robin #139 written by Bill Willingham and Blue Moon popped up in both his Shadowpact (#6) and Robin (#144) runs. The whip-cracking Wild Huntsman also appeared in Shadowpact #6. Tiger Moth was last seen in the Resurrection of Ra’s Al Ghul storyline in Detective Comics #838/Nightwing #138.

           

Superman villain Atomic Skull II last popped up in Manhunter #31. Arrakhat’s one and only appearance, I believe, was in the Robin/Connor Hawke team-up in Robin #s 78-79. Mammoth has just been freed after a long stay in prison over in Teen Titans #s 72-73 to join the latest incarnation of the Fearsome Five. Presumably this issue takes place after that story arc. Flash villain Girder also had a stay on the hell world in Salvation Run and was a member of the Cyborg Revenge Squad in the recent DC Special: Cyborg miniseries. There’s also an appearance of Da’ Bomb from JSA #39.

Some villains who appear here were believed dead. Major Force’s body was supposedly being kept in the JLA vaults as seen in Blackest Night #1 but as that story probably takes place after this one there’s still time for Clifford Zmeck to die yet again. I was under the impression Blackbriar Thorn had died in Day of Vengeance during the Infinite Crisis lead-in but he appears to have renewed himself. And, finally, Killshot of the Hangmen was supposedly killed by the Spectre in Final Crisis: Revelations #1.

Magog’s harsher attitude, on show here, builds on his recent team-up with Booster Gold in The Brave and the Bold #23 and ties into his upcoming Magog ongoing series.

           

Continuity Corner: King Chimera claims a legacy hero relationship to obscure Golden Ager King Standish. Standish went by the moniker The King and first appeared in Flash Comics #3 (March 1940). He was a standard wealthy socialite crimefighter whose schtick was that he was a master of disguise and was believed to be a criminal by the law.

Coincidentally the original Mr. Terrific met his death via a possessed hero when the Spirit King took control of the Flash to murder him in Justice League of America #s 171-172 (Oct-Nov 1979).

Questions: Is Mr. Terrific really dead? Or is it possible that King Chimera’s illusion-casting powers have some bearing on proceedings? Is it really just a coincidence that "possession" has been used for a second time to kill a Mr. Terrific? Who is behind the army of super-villains who take on the JSA this month? What has happened to Obsidian? Is someone really possessing the All-American Kid and, if so, who? Or is he actually a traitor in the ranks? Why do the assembled villains go to such pains to avoid engaging Stargirl in battle? Is it just a coincidence that so many of them are magic-users?

Wonder Woman #34

Slowly coming to terms with relinquishing her identity as an Amazon, Wonder Woman and Black Canary set out on the trail of the body of Genocide – the mystical creature/superweapon forged from Diana’s future corpse with links to both Ares and the villainous Society. Aided by a repentant T.O. Morrow they track it down to Japan where Dr. Psycho is using a metahuman arena as cover for it. Meanwhile, over on Themyscira Achilles, new ruler of the island, offers Alkyone the chance to become his queen...

Shortly after, in undercover combat in the arena, Wonder Woman displays some strange new abilities that vaporize her opponent. That could be the least of Diana’s worries however as, waiting in the wings, is someone with a very personal grudge to settle – Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of violence who blames Diana for the death of her father Kane Milohai in recent issues...

The Bigger Picture: While Dr. Psycho may have Genocide’s body, her "soul" appears to reside in the figurine Ares gave Alkyone, as shown in Wonder Woman #33.

Black Canary is convinced the Japanese metahuman arena operation is one of those set up by Roulette. The villainess can also be seen this week in competition with old-time JLA villain Amos Fortune in Justice League of America #35.

Lira, one of WW and BC’s opponents in the arena, is revealed to be a Professor Ivo construct. Diana also mentions Ivo’s recent role in upgrading the Society’s armory. Ivo will be getting his comeuppance shortly, as he was captured by S.H.A.D.E. in Solomon Grundy #5. Given the proximity of that book to Blackest Night I would assume that story takes place after events here...

Continuity Corner: There’s definitely something of a trashy "Nightwing and Flamebird" vibe to the costumes Diana and Dinah wear to infiltrate the arena operation.

Questions: How will Nemesis deal in the longer-term with the recent revelations about his relationship with Diana? How soon until Genocide is effectively "reborn"? Is Themyscira about to be attacked from within? What was the reason for the mysterious powers Diana displayed in the metahuman competition? How far will Pele take her vengeance?

Teen Titans #73

In the near future another Titan lies dead. In the present the Calculator continues his attack on the team via his new Fearsome Five, looking for revenge for the death of his son Marvin and the horrific injuries his daughter Wendy suffered when the siblings were part of the Titans. As part of the trap Calculator has set, Mammoth murders nuclear-powered villain Geiger, whose body starts building towards a nuclear explosion.

With the assembled Teen Titans and the Fearsome Five both trapped within what will be the blast radius, it appears only the now-powerless Eddie Bloomberg can save the day... Ravager co-feature: Ravager’s chemical addiction has led to her collapse in the remote town of Angelsport. While recovering she seems to make a new friend in the local bar owner Will. But Will is not all he seems and he brings in a team of assassins to kill Rose...

The Bigger Picture: Geiger was last seen as part of The Nuclear Family in The Battle for Bludhaven limited series. Nano, one of the two new Fearsome Five members, made his debut in the Cyborg story in the recent The Titans #14. As mentioned above Mammoth appears here with the Fearsome Five in the same week he is seen as a member of the small army of super-villains in Justice Society of America #29. Time will tell exactly what the relative chronology of these two story arcs is.

Wendy and Marvin were savaged by "Wonder Dog" during Lycus’s attack on the team in Teen Titans #62 and the Calculator was last seen in Oracle: The Cure #3 being taken into custody by the police.

Eddie Bloomberg’s demise was hinted at in the "Origins and Omens" backup in Teen Titans #68...

Questions: Who is the dead Teen Titan? Is it Kid Devil/Eddie Bloomberg? How did the Calculator get free after Oracle: The Cure? Ravager co-feature: What is going on in Angelsport? Who is Will and why does he want Rose Wilson dead?

Rounding up... Several years in the future, in The Last Days of Animal Man #3, Buddy Baker struggles to come to terms with his fading powers by beginning an affair with former Teen Titan Starfire. This issue references events when the pair were lost in space in 52 and builds on Buddy and Koriand’r’s relationship in the Countdown to Adventure miniseries...

In Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #3 we get some insights into the origins and backgrounds of major Green Lantern players Kilowog and Arisia. There’s also a reprint of Blackest Night #0 with a writer’s/editor’s commentary attached. On the peripheries of the mainstream DCU Earth-50’s entry this week comes via Wildcats #13 while Unknown Soldier #10 and Madame Xanadu #13 are our borderline Vertigo representatives...

Fanboy Moment of the Week

As the years go by, pleasant surprises in my weekly reading pile become less and less likely but every so often I open an issue and something therein brings an unexpected smile to my face.

This week it was the turn of yet another Johnny DC book to provide me with my Fanboy Moment when I realised Billy Batson and the Magic of Shazam! #6 had been pencilled by none other than Stephen DeStefano. Older readers out there may recognise Stephen’s name as the one behind the visuals on the utterly charming and totally delightful ‘80s book ‘Mazing Man.

I hadn’t seen that much of Stephen’s work of late so this was a wonderful reminder of one of my favorite runs of all time. ‘Mazing Man is up there with John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad in the ranks of "comics that have never, ever been collected but really, really should have been by now". Well worth hunting down in the back issue bins!

And on that note we come to a halt for this week’s roundup. Join us at the weekend for our next joyride around the DCU. Thanks for reading!

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Comments

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Aug 4, 2009 at 8:47pm

    Thanks for the rundown of villains, Andy. There were a few I didn't recognize (which is unusual given how much DC trivia I have in my brain). Must be because I haven't been reading a lot of Willingham's DCU work. In any case, I sure hope Mr. Terrific is not dead. That would be quite a waste.

  • BriGuy

    BriGuy Aug 4, 2009 at 10:03pm

    Jeez, it doesn't look like Willingham keep shis own stories straight. Well this is the first JSA issue I've skipped since the '92 series and so far I'm not regretting the decision. If Mr. Terrific is dead that will be a complete waste. Just another ??? decision made by DC in recent years. Even if he comes back as a Black Lantern and then back tot he land of the living, I still don't get it. It's not like there aren't enough JSA-related characters to make Black Lanterns. We've already seen one in Jade.

    Oh well. Shame. I just hope the book(s) survive this run, so there's something for me to come back to.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 5, 2009 at 8:46am

    I doubt Mr. Terrific is dead. Though, that said, it's interesting that those characters who "died" in FINAL CRISIS #7 (Hawkman, Hawkgirl and Mr. Terrific) all appear to have died again since. As for All-American Kid - there seem to be an awful lot of people convinced he is actually Kid Karnevil from SHADOWPACT/SALVATION RUN...

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