BeforeÂ I launch into the annotations for this issue, a few corrections regarding my previous stuff and other interesting things from the Director’s Cut:
- The evil Monitor isn’t Solomon from Countdown, it’s “Rox Ogama.” The Monitor we first see in FC #1 is “Zip Hermuz”.
- The Monitors’ world was supposed to seem largely like a dying civilization, and the number of worlds wasn’t specific in the script. It’s also mentioned that New Earth is suspended in a mercurial substance reminiscent of the supercontext from The Invisibles.
- Hal’s scar is a clue – it’s specifically mentioned in the script.
- Morrison mentions that the Tattooed Man will play a major role nearing the end; I can’t help but wonder what would happen if you tattooed Metron’s sigil on him…
So. Yeah. Forward! Douglas Wolk has the annotation/”Who is this?” part of this pretty damn down pat, so I’m gonna focus largely on analysis and speculation here.
Page 1 – Frankenstein, from Seven Soldiers, raids the Dark Side Club with a group of SHADE (Super Human Advanced Defense Execute – originally SADE but modified by DC, so I wonder if that played any significance regarding Desaad) agents. Inside, they find the mummified shell of the human Darkseid resided in as Boss Dark Side, and left back in #1.
Page 2 – I love the panel layout here, with the Dark Side Club scenes taking place inside the building on the street in the greater picture, both within the story and on the page. The fissure in the sky is Overgirl entering the New Earth universe.
Page 3 – Overgirl crashes through a building, which Chris Eckert was able to find is one of the planned World Trade Center replacements that Morrison has apparently decided already occurred in the DC Universe. On this page we’re also introduced to what looks to be the new Source Wall; the hand is a floating pixelated hand pointer cursor, like God’s hovering over a hyperlink. He delivers the message “Know Evil”, and I assume this means that the Source is initiating Man’s ultimate test, as alluded to in the admittedly apocryphal Death of the New Gods. The concept of God releasing Evil on Earth to force it to grow and improve isn’t new to Morrison, especially considering the “blind chessman” playing good and evil against each other in The Invisibles.
The man in the mask is Father Time, the head of SHADE, from Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein; he later became an old white guy in the Gray/Palmiotti Freedom Fighters series but I guess maybe he just took a new body? The man on the screens is Taleb Beni Khalid, Black King of Checkmate, who apparently wants to induct Montoya (for what sounds like the next stage of Greg Rucka’s Big DC Story).
Page 4 – Overgirl, the Nazi Supergirl of Earth-10 (who was drawn last issue by Nix Uotan), claims that Heaven is bleeding and Hell is here, echoing Orion’s statements in the first issue that Heaven was “cracked and broken.” It’s unclear what happened to Overgirl, or who beat her up like this; we haven’t seen any of the other worlds so I’m not sure if they’re just unstable due to Darkseid’s presence on New Earth or if he worked his way through them first. I assume Montoya’s story will continue in Revelations.
Page 5 – Poor Nix Uotan gets fired. Regarding the graviton comment, here is commentary from an ACTUAL IVY LEAGUE PROFESSOR:
Unless Morrison is more well read than I am on string theory, “graviton impact” doesn’t really mean anything. I’m not even sure what that would mean. A graviton is a boson: a force mediating particle. It doesn’t really “impact” anything. You can get pretty lofty with “dimensional barrier breakdown” if you start talking about multiple dimensions/the string theory multiverse/etc. but it’s probably just jargony fun.
So yeah, Morrison just took a cool name from string theory for Nix to use, and unfortunately graviton impacts don’t exist in any real multiversal scientific context. We cut to Cave Carson discovering the Metron symbol on a cave wall; since the one in #1 was drawn in the sand, and they soon claim a crop circle has the symbol, it seems Anthro got around to spread some sigil love. That’s Monitor Zillo Valla in the last panel; it’s unclear whether she passes by or actually approaches Uotan (I assume we’ll find out in Superman Beyond).
Page 6 – This seems to be the West household. In the first panel we have Iris West-Allen (Barry’s wife) talking to Jay Garrick, while Jay’s wife Joan provides coffee, Linda Park-West (Wally’s wife) stands around and Wally’s children Iris and Jai are, apparently, chilling.
Page 7 – The three generations of the Flash and the Black Racer. It’s now explicitly shown that this is the same bullet that killed Orion; the quick shot we see of the bullet also doesn’t contain the organism we saw at the end of #2 (this could just be due to coloring).
Pages 8-9 – The Black Racer surveys Orion’s death, collects his soul, and then seemingly doubles back after the Flashes, who turn around because they are understandably scared of the death metal robot on skis. Jay (who looks an awful lot like Robert Mitchum) turns around to make it to the present, while Wally and Barry, as we’ll see, overshoot ahead by a month.
Page 10 – The Hall of Doom, mirror of the Hall of Justice and standard operating spot for the Injustice League/Secret Society/Knitting Club of Super-Villains. Libra’s clearly been here a while, since all the lockers are filled with sweet Justifier gear – which again implies Libra’s been working with the Evil Gods in Bludhaven pretty closely. Evidently, this rejigged Justifier gear comes with a tape loop of the Anti-Life Equation constantly playing in the helmet – the Justifiers being Godfrey’s name for whatever group of people he’s leading that day who justify their hatred via propaganda and claiming a lack of choice (hence the name, and Flame’s dialogue).
Page 11 – Due to his lack of a position at Lexcorp anymore, Luthor’s bodyguards must be hired underground muscle. The most interesting part here is Libra’s request of Luthor, to renounce science and follow Darkseid as a religion; since Luthor is far more of a selfish egotist than any disciple of a religion of crime, and has no aspirations towards an apocalypse, I imagine he’ll either tell Libra to fuck off or swear an oath he doesn’t follow. While Darkseid has certainly used a great degree of science himself, in this case religion is a far more useful tool for converting the people he requires.
Page 12 – Jimmy has apparently forgotten Superman’s identity since he stopped being the New Gods’ “soul collector” at the end of Countdown.
Page 13 – Zillo Valla reaches her destination, to recruit Superman for the adventures of Superman Beyond. She clearly knows what’s about to occur on New Earth, and may even be fighting Ogama/Darkseid’s schemes more than her dialogue at the end of #1 implied. Also, why does Lois’s hospital wristband say “Louis”?
Page 14 – Granny Kraken and the rest of the Alpha Lanterns cart Jordan off to space, getting him the hell out of Dodge before all the serious shit goes down and, persumably, leading to Rage of the Red Lanterns. Clearly, judging from Jordan’s scar in #1 (which was explicitly described in the script according to the Director’s Cut), he was operated on and used by the Evil Gods and, now, framed pretty damn badly.
Page 15 – Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce, later to costar in Submit), Alan Scott and Wonder Woman discuss the present situation. Hippolyta would know about Article X because she was, in fact, a member of the All-Star Squadron herself.
Page 16 – Oracle sets up the draft. The “mysterious new Aquaman” was mentioned by Morrison in the last Newsarama interview as evidence that the multiversal machinery was breaking down, so I assume he’s not Arthur Joseph Curry from the Busiek revamp but rather a new, new Aquaman, possibly from another Earth. The handicapped dude is Freddie Freeman, the new Shazam (the role formerly known as Captain Marvel), who gained that title in Trials of Shazam; Mary Marvel disappeared to, presumably, the byzantine events of Countdown where she went evil and then good and then evil again, hooking up with rocky-look pre-Fall Darkseid. Tawky Tawny is the Marvel Family’s dapper feline friend.
Page 17 – Morrison’s Supergirl is apparently an artist; it’s unclear whether the Streaky here is just Supergirl’s normal cat or the actual Streaky the Super-Cat. Apparently Ollie and Dinah were posted a draft notice really really quickly, and I think it’s worth mentioning that Ollie’s last line here (and the transition to the next page) are probably my favorite Oliver Queen moment from the last few years, just spot-on characterization.
Page 18 – The superhuman draft, and, persumably, the people who we’ll see actually continue as heroes in the crazy new post-Anti-Life-Equation world.
Back row: Cyborg, Cyclone, Bombshell, Firestorm (Jason Rusch), Raven, Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes), Starfire, Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), Metamorpho, Geo-Force, Blue Devil
Next: Kid Devil, Amazing-Man, Zatanna, Mysterious New Aquaman, Red Arrow, Supergirl, Enchantress, Thunderbolt.
Next: Wildcat III (Tommy Bronson), Green Arrow, Liberty Belle, Black Lightning, Vixen, Mr. Terrific, Animal Man, Ragman.
Next: Black Canary, Wildcat I (Ted Grant), someone unclear (Thunder from the Outsiders miscolored?), Dr. Mid-Nite, Katana, Hawkgirl.
Next: Citizen Steel, Damage, Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Red Tornado, The Flash I (Jay Garrick), Power Girl, Argent.
Next: The Atom (Ryan Choi), Robin III (Tim Drake), Stargirl.
Front: Donna Troy, Huntress, Shazam (Freddie Freeman), Hawkman.
Page 19 – The Christlike resurrection Shilo Norman is referring to is at the end of Seven Soldiers. Morrison has mentioned that Shilo’s seeming amnesia regarding his days with Scott Free, combined with Sonny Sumo’s presence in the present day, are both clues regarding what’s going on. Sumo points out that their crew, including the Super Young Team about to arrive, are all “showbiz people”; this is appropriate, for Morrison’s first Crisis-style event, Zenith, was all about an egocentric celebrity superhero, while here twenty-odd years later the protagonists, although far more altruistic, are in the same industry. The last panel, as I’m sure you can tell, is Justifiers blowing up Norman’s private jet. Norman’s comment that “we don’t have a choice” is appropriate, as in a matter of (hours? minutes?) the concept of choice will soon be wiped from Planet Earth.
Page 20 – The triumphant return of the Super Young Team, bailing our heroes from their predicament! I totally adore these guys.
Page 21 – The Super Young Team’s Wonder Wagon is (I’m sure purposely) evocative of both the Newsboy’s Whiz Wagon and the Forever People’s Super-Cycle – it certainly seems that they’re fulfilling the roles of the Forever People, with Shilo Norman and Sonny Sumo as Mister Miracle and Orion. I’m not sure how the Super Young Team line up; if they do at all, Superbat is clearly Moonrider and Atomic Lantern Boy is Big Bear, but I don’t know how the other three would line up with Beautiful Dreamer, Vykin the Black and Serifan.
Page 22 – The Atomic Knights, introduced to the DCU in Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven, are the appointed watchdogs of the Bludhaven no-man’s-land. Sergeant Grayle is Gardner Grayle, their leader.
Page 23 – Apparently, the government was subsidizing the genetic research in Command D. The Atomic Knights claim it was constructed after Infinite Crisis, which lines up with Captain Atom being held there in Battle for Bludhaven. Replika was introduced in the first Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters miniseries as a SHADE operative.
Page 24 – The “trouble” Diana refers to with Mary Marvel is, presumably, her corruption in Countdown. She looks different from her last moments there; the outfit is even more fetishized, she’s wearing a Kirby circuit around her abdomen, her hair is dyed and crazy. I assume these modifications were all carred out at the Flesh Farm she refers to. However, at the end of Countdown Mary was hanging out with and corrupted by Darkseid before his Fall; I’m not sure how she immediately went to look for post-Fall Darkseid. It’s probably just best to ignore that.
Page 25 – Is this page ghostwritten by Geoff Johns? Brutal.
Page 26 – “Hola!” is an ancient Amazonian battle cry; Wonder Woman is not saying “hello” in Spanish.
Page 27 – It’s unclear what the disease Mary Marvel infects Wonder Woman with is; it seemingly transforms her into the beast we see on the sliver cover and final page, so it might be a less lethal version of Morticoccus (which sort of defeats the point of the name Morticoccus, but hey), or just an unnamed beast virus developed in Command-D.
Page 28 – Aaaaand the Anti-Life Equation is apparently sent to everybody. I assume Darkseid’s been collecting all the commercial email spam contact lists available. I’m not sure how Oracle’s computer recognizes the ALE as a virus; it’s memetic rather than computational. (Perhaps the computational virus piggybacks to automatically open the document). The plugs Oracle’s referring to pulling are likely the ones to the Hall of Justice, rather than any sort of global “Internet plug” like an episode of South Park.
Page 29 – These first three panels echo the beginning of Crisis on Infinite Earths, with the creation of the multiverse from “a single infinitude,” except here Barry and Wally run out of the light instead of a bunch of Earths. They’ve landed a month in the future spatially close to where they were; they’re right next to the strip club rather than inside.
Page 30 – Presumably the new Female Furies, with Wonder Woman as Bernadeth, Giganta as Stompa, Catwoman as Lashina and Batwoman as Mad Harriet. They’re riding what look like Hunger Dogs created in Command-D, and Wonder Woman’s dog carries a necklace of the constricting symbol of the Evil Gods. The “Eddie & Adam” on the KISS FM billboard is likely a tip of the hat to editors Eddie Berganza and Adam Schlagman. On the ground is a flyer, implying that releasing the ALE on the Internet didn’t have an immediate effect, as apparently some degree of further recruitment was necessary.
The title, “Know Evil,” is the same as the Source’s warning/message/master-of-ceremonies introduction to the hellhouse. The skies are red, implying that the multiverse continues to break down, and there are likely a few more anomalies such as Overgirl and the new Aquaman.
As always, suggestions/corrections welcome!!!