I think this is was my favorite issue of the series yet, although I can’t imagine the girl-wonder crowd is going to react very favorably to… certain developments with Mary Marvel. Despite the fact that the issue has three pencillers with the addition of Marco Rudy, also known as “the guy who filled in for Ryan Sook on Final Crisis: Resist, but it’s all shockingly contiguous.
Anyway, let’s get to it.
Page 1: Hal on trial in Oa. I presume the Lanterns watching are the jury. The scar Krakky Goodness is talking about was glimpsed in Final Crisis #1, but, oddly enough, isn’t drawn here.
Page 2: I don’t think we’ve seen Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner in this series yet, so that’s Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner, Earth’s other two Green Lanterns who stay on Oa as the Honor Guard rather than live on Earth as its appointed sector protectors like Jordan and Stewart. I love the smirk on Hal’s face in the last panel, that’s a nice detail from Pacheco.
Page 3: After the Manhunters, you’d think the Guardians would be more willing to admit their stuff fucks up, but apparently that’s not how they roll. Guy and Kyle appear to be creating avatars of themselves with their rings to fight Granny/Kraken’s bugs; Morrison established Kyle as a manga nerd back in his JLA run, so that’s what his fight-bot looks like. The Central Power Battery on Oa is ostensibly a collection of willpower that’s tapped by living beings everywhere, but can be used more fully by Green Lanterns with rings – and the Guardians, who blast Kraken.
Page 4: Kraken opening her face like that exposes her, uh, under-face, which is essentially a vacuum cleaner that collects green energy. The “Krona Protocol,” later defined as hiding the Power Battery, is thus-named since Krona blew up the Power Battery during the 1982 Tales of the Green Lantern Corps miniseries cowritten by Mike W. Barr and Len Wein. The “ultimate technology” Granny is referring to is surely the sigil given by Metron to Anthro at the very beginning of #1, although its exact nature isn’t yet clear – I doubt the Green Lantern willpower energy is it, though. I guess she’s using up all her power lifting the Battery, because the restraints on Jordan weaken and he breaks out…
Page 5: And, without a ring, flies at her?? This has to be an art error, since he doesn’t get his ring back from Salaak for another few pages. Either way, he just grounds and pounds the shit out of her, which is kind of an awesome Hal Jordan moment since the dude is so associated with punching stuff. In this situation, yeah, he can hit a God faster than she can think. That’s pretty awesome.
Page 6: I assume the spacetime distortion around Earth is why Hal’s just on trial now in Oa and it’s a month later there. I also assume the machine that can rewrite the laws of being is the Genesis Box from “Rock of Ages”; the word-weapon is obviously the Anti-Life Equation. “Doomsday Singularity” – a quick physics lesson: a singularity is the center of a black hole, an object of infinite density, (so basically a bunch of mass in almost no space), which causes such gravity that it warps time and space. This is, apparently, what’s going on with Darkseid on Earth. Also remember that in the experience Shilo Norman had that caused his awakening, and where he lived hundreds of lives, back in Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle was within a black hole.
Page 7: Why, what *is* the bulk, Professor Beni Khalid? Let’s check Wikipedia:
The central idea is that the visible, four-dimensional universe is restricted to a brane inside a higher-dimensional space, called the “bulk”. The additional dimensions are compact, in which case the observed universe contains the extra dimensions, and then no reference to the bulk is appropriate in this context. In the bulk model, other branes may be moving through this bulk. Interactions with the bulk, and possibly with other branes, can influence our brane and thus introduce effects not seen in more standard cosmological models.
So, pretty much the DC Multiverse as we saw it in Superman Beyond. The OMACs have the classic Kirby look, and their packaging is a clear reference to the “Build-A-Friend” on the cover to OMAC #1. As I’ve seen pointed out elsewhere (God, I can’t remember where for some reason), this is all referencing the “World That’s Coming” of Kirby’s OMAC, especially the Global Peace Agency and their agents that all wore faceless masks to hide their race and identity, just like Montoya’s Question mask.
Page 8: Darkseid rocks Levis pretty well, and I guess Wonder Woman’s beast face was, in fact, just a mask (check the second panel). The seven pages previous were definitely Carlos Pacheco, and this one is definitely J.G. Jones.
Page 9: Darkseid’s body is clearly still in a lot of pain, as he isn’t speaking incredibly clearly.
Page 10: I think this is still Jones, but I’m not sure? Behind Hawkman are Bulleteer (I swear to God, Bulleteer flying in Grant Morrison comics has to be an ongoing joke on him at this point), Black Condor, Blue Beetle, Starman, Cyclone and Stargirl, with, I *think*, Argent making that Bobby Drake-style ice-wave thing. The Justifier with the conspicuously placed breasts in the starfield outfit is Donna Troy, former Wonder Girl.
Page 11: Aaaaaand Superbat gets the line of the entire series so far. The guard’s reaction definitely implies that he wasn’t in control when he shot Norman. Obviously, the Super Young Team and the rest of the New New Gods have had adventures off-panel, and I guess they had the Metron symbols on their face the whole time.
Page 12: The “she” Norman’s referring to is Motherboxxx, the last remaining Mother Box of New Genesis.
page 13: I guess now space is warping as well as time, since the Swiss border is getting further away from the castle. (The spacetime distortion at work here, as well as all the multiverse stuff, seems very similar to Stephen King’s Dark Tower books and the accompanying sense of doom). I imagine everyone painting their faces with the Metron symbol is part of some kind of massive spell to overcome Anti-Life – could Metron’s gift to man have been magic and imagination? Later scenes certainly kind of seem like it could be.
Pages 14 & 15: Kalibak and his tiger people clearly very deliberately evoke the Tiger People of Kirby’s original Kamandi series, which took place on a post-Great Disaster Earth. Evidently, construction is pretty far along in Bludhaven to create a new seat of power for Darkseid.
Pages 16 & 17: Pacheco gets the sweet money shot spread, I guess. Freddie Freeman/Shazam, Rocket Red, Black Adam, John Stewart/Green Lantern, Supergirl and some Spanish dude I don’t recognize at all make up the flying contingent, with Frankenstein on a motorcycle heading up the land crew. To his left are Vixen, Blue Devil and Bronze Tiger on the humvee, Hourman and Liberty Belle on the motorcycle, and J.A.K.E. from the Creature Commandos (recently returned to earth in this week’s Action Comics #872!). To his right are Wildcat & Son on the red motorcycle, Red Arrow on another one, and Mr. America and what appears to be Major Disaster on the car.
Page 18: “Anti-Life: The choice that’s made for you!” I love these little ad slogans for slavery. Frankenstein is just getting people left and right. Frankenstein’s quoting Paradise Lost.
Page 19: Mary Marvel is so crazy.
Page 20: UPDATE: Commenter Super-Dad posits that Black Adam’s comment about the eyes of a leering old man is indicative of Desaad inhabiting Mary Marvel much like Granny Goodness is inhabiting Kraken, which explains why she operates independently from the other Furies and is so incredibly depraved.
Page 21: I… what? I’m really kind of at a loss here, did Grant Morrison just get DC to approve a comic where Mary Marvel crotch-grinds Freddie Freeman? I’m sort of in awe, and I’m pretty sure we’ll hear a bunch about this scene from all the usual commentators later, so I’ll just say that even I’m kind of questioning whether that was necessary. Anyway, Kalibak hits Tawky Tawny in the face with a mace, promising some upcoming hot tiger-on-tiger action.
Page 22: Nix Uotan is thrown in a room with what appear to be Metron’s form from Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle and a mysterious hooded figure. I guess the word balloon on the second panel is a mistake, since it’s pointing at Metron, who shouldn’t be talking. Hooded Figure talks about God’s number; the article states that theoretically the lower bound of God’s number has to be 18, so… well, we’ll see in a page or so. Note the furry finger as Hooded Guy gives Uotan the Metron symbol, and also claims he “made” this moment, probably referring to his powers (and the powers of the Monitors – “his kind”) as seen in Superman Beyond. Hooded Figure says this is a time for “something — DIFFERENT! Something that was UNFORESEEN…”, a reference back to the original description of Metron in New Gods #7: “I have no link with the Old Gods — or New!! I am something different! Something that was unforeseen!! — On New Genesis — or here!!” Is this the death of the Gods and the dawning of the age of reason? I’m also guessing this is the first Marco Rudy page.
Page 23: We see Mysterimonkey looking at Uotan’s drawings of his remembrances of the multiverse, and I guess makes him remember who he is with the drawing of Weeja Dell. Was that the Word of Attention that was stripped from him by Ogama?
Page 24: I guess that isn’t Mokkari, although he has identical facepaint, since Mokkari’s currently bowing before Darkseid-in-Levi’s. Meanwhile, Metron solves the Rubik’s Cube in less moves than the lower bound of God’s Number (apparently), which turns the Rubik’s Cube into a Mother Box? I assume exactly what’s going on on this page will become clearer later.
Page 25: And finally, we check up on Libra and the supervillains, who we haven’t seen since #3. I guess Luthor decided to follow him, and so did many other villains, except Calculator who it looks like is about to get hanged. And is Libra offering Luthor a place at the front of the Supergirl rape line? There’s going to be a Supergirl rape line? Really? I know this is a self-conscious over-the-top attempt at mocking Meltzerish Law & Order: SVU cheap villainy, but I’m still kind of surprised that got printed.
UPDATE: Gabe Mariani pointed out that this page seriously implies that Luthor was the person who sold out the Unternet codes, and not Calculator, which is true.
Page 26: I guess Darkseid’s awful gravity is causing John to lose access to the Power Battery. I guess the experiments on Batman that we’re currently seeing in his title didn’t work, because Mokkari, Simyan and even Godfrey all get to die for their failures (this isn’t a surprise, though; Darkseid kills and resurrects his subordinates on a regular basis).
Page 27: Frankenstein’s still quoting Milton as we finally get the start of the much-ballyhooed Supergirl vs. Mary Marvel battle for the portrayal of women in superhero comics. (That’s how Morrison sold it at NYCC; I ain’t making that up.)
Page 28: I guess Hal, Kyle and Guy were able to get a bunch of other Lanterns together, as the posse comes in from out of town. I guess as they approach Earth, the time distortions and “doomsday singularity” create ghost visions of the other Earths as well – could that mean that the Lanterns land on different Earths next issue?
Page 29: The President (it’s not distinct enough to tell who it is – is it the dude from Uncle Sam or a guy from Decisions, where we never even found out who won?) is holed up in the Oval Office with what looks to be a Secret Service agent and Father Time of S.H.A.D.E. Calculator looks pretty dead in the third panel, and Darkseid’s eyes in the final panel remind me a lot of those Jim Starlin-esque “evil eyes” kind of things that he sticks in his books, especially these days with computer effects. (Maybe it’s just me.)
Pages 30-31: Darkseid making his Hitleresque pep rally speech isn’t too surprising, but newcomer Marco Rudy’s doing a pretty good job with this material considering he was thrown in at (I presume) the last minute. The last of the three sections is Not-Mokkari and two Justifiers reacting to whatever happened when Metron finished the Rubik’s Cube; it’s now floating along with Uotan’s drawings, before showing us…
Page 32: Nix Uotan, now fully costumed as we saw him in the Sketchbook as a “surveillance-age superhero.” Uotan’s new look is very reminiscent of that of the Forever Person Vykin the Black, who had a special connection with an odd-looking motherbox; we’re likely seeing that here, as Uotan seems to be establishing a relationship with the Rubik’s Cube Motherbox. I imagine he’ll meet up with the rest of the New New Gods soon enough to save the day during the battle against Darkseid. If a Monitor can become a New God, I wonder what that means the Monitors actually are, and what their relationship is with New Genesis and Apokolips? I suppose we have two issues of this and an issue of Superman Beyond left to find this out in.
See you in two weeks for Batman #683 and maybe some comments relating to the Secret Files.