Funnybook Babylon

January 21, 2009

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

When last we left our intrepid heroes back at the end of August(!), Superman and Captain Allen Adam were facing down Ultraman in Limbo as Ultraman hoisted the Infinite Book and Mandrakk’s Monitor nanomachinery cracked through the sky into Limbo. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel got knocked back to being Billy by the feedback of the end of the Infinite Book, but not before leaving a riddle: “Ultimate evil is ultimate good. The most despised will save the most beloved.” Zillo Valla, their Monitor guide, ends up getting all vampiric and sucking Overman’s blood to power the Ultima Thule, the ship.

So let’s take a look at pages 31-62 of the Final Crisis: Superman Beyond one-shot, which would have eliminated a lot of confusion about the FC timeline if it’d come out in one piece as planned.

Page 1: Mammon’s from the Christian Bible, and is basically as Ultraman describes him here.

Pages 2-3: I don’t have much to add here but to note what a cathartic moment this is for Animal Man fans – the poor, sad king of Limbo has been haunting me since I read that book, and I seriously got chills down my spine seeing that final panel of the poor, oppressed, forgotten denizens of a narrative compost pile finally rising up. That face Merryman makes, with one eye closed – I can’t imagine anybody but Mahnke drawing this book.

Page 4: The Ultima Thule appears to be running straight off of Zillo Valla’s circulatory system now. It’s clear at this point from Overman’s statements that every Earth is facing its own kind of crisis right now; as stated in the last annotations for this book, Overman’s cousin is Overgirl, who we know landed on New Earth and picked up and experimented on (well, they tried to) by Checkmate and S.H.A.D.E. “Every monster has a story” is a pretty solid theme to this issue (as Mandrakk’s story isn’t too uplifting itself), and the word and concept “story” play pretty huge parts in this comic as Morrison places the entire concept of the heroic narrative under a Mandrakk Attack.

Page 5: See, internet commenters? Even a child can figure this story out! The “love story” Billy smells is that between Zillo Valla and Dax Novu, as her motive in all this is to hopefully get Superman to restore Mandrakk to the science-god she loved. Of the rejected alternate Supermen she mentioned, Majestic and Icon are the “burly flying strongman” archetypes of the Wildstorm and Milestone Universes respectively, and therefore DC has the ability to straight-up use their names. The others, I think, are references to ones they can’t: Savior is Samaritan from Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson’s Astro City; Supremo is Supreme, created by Rob Liefeld for Awesome Comics but most famously written by Alan Moore, whose presence is felt all throughout this issue in a variety of ways; Guardsman is Sentry, agoraphobic schizophrenic hero/villain of the Marvel Universe; Hyperius is Hyperion, blatant Superman analogue of the Squadron Supreme universe at Marvel, and Principal is Prime, fame-seeking hero of the Malibu Ultraverse. Whew.

The two syllables Zillo references are, of course, “Sha” and “Zam.”

Page 6: The Monitor mind Adam’s trying to contact isn’t the mind of Zillo Valla or any particular Monitor, but rather of the “vast MONITOR intelligence” (capitalization from Morrison’s notes at the end of the Secret Files – it makes it sound sort of like a computer, which is, I think, the point) that encompasses the void around the Multiverse.

Page 7: Mandrakk’s attacking with Shadow Demons, which are I assume the result of Monitor technology, explaining their use by the Anti-Monitor in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Page 8: Marvel calls the Monitors “space angels,” and it’s a term that’s repeated in the Secret Files Sketchbook, so a direct comparison between Dax Novu’s fall to Mandrakk and Lucifer’s fall to Satan can be fairly easily made, but there’s obviously a considerable twist in this story as we’ll see later. (Morrison’s really all about the devil archetypes recently, the Fallen; Mandrakk, Darkseid, Simon Hurt.) The “weapon” Marvel’s referring to is that big Superman statue from the Monitor origin story in the first issue; using his quantum powers to make multiple (size-changing) copies of himself was a trademark trick of Adam’s inspiration, Watchmen‘s Dr. Manhattan.

Page 9: “I’LL DO WHAT I CAN TO PLUG THE HOLE IN FOREVER!” Adam tears up what I assume is Mandrakk’s Destroyer while musing to himself about the nature of Dax Novu’s final great weapon, the almighty Superman thought robot. The long-referenced matter/antimatter explosion is, according to Adam, the activation sequence for the thought-robot, which is kind of interesting since I’ve been wondering where the Anti-Monitor was with all this Monitor chicanery going around. I mean, the first issue straight-up said the original Monitor was the dude from Crisis on Infinite Earths; did he have to split into matter and antimatter parts to enter the multiverse? Simultaneously, does that mean Superman has to essentially merge with his opposite to enter the Form-world of the Monitors?

Page 10: Well, that’s basically what he does. Adam evokes symmetry as opposed to duality, since good and evil are halves of the same thing. (Of course, leave it to the barely disguised Watchmen character to bring up symmetries as well.) The Ultima Thule takes off (with another quantum Captain Adam in it), and Adam claims to be “BEYOND conflict,” the ultimate superhero, beyond good and evil as the perfect Nietzschean Superman. Adam clarifies that this was all meant to happen; these specific people in this specific circumstance, since Limbo won’t be affected by the explosion (apparently).

Page 11: Superman and Ultraman combine to create the full Superman essence, which Adam is cradling in his hands and sending past the walls of the multiverse into the Void to inhabit…

Page 12: Superman’s Cosmic Armor, the Thought-Robot! Man, the names in this thing are both amazing and ridiculous. I have no idea why Limbo is some spinning sawblade far away from the Orrery, but apparently it is.

Page 13: I discussed the Thought-Robot earlier, but yeah, I guess it was made just for this day by Dax Novu to protect the Monitors from… Dax Novu.

Pages 14-15: This graveyard walk (any idea on the origins of “Yivaroth?”) reminds me a lot of Jack and the Blind Chessman’s walk through the symmetrical whole of the world of the Outer Church and Invisible College. This is really the page where I started to wonder how appropriate the 3D look was for this book; while it might have worked better with clearner lines, Mahnke packs so much detail onto this page that’s obscured by the 3D effects that it’s a shame it’s there, especially when it ended up serving not that much narrative purpose.

Superman posits that the Overvoid is shaped purely by the thoughts of the Monitors; controlled entirely by their whims. Weeja Dell refers to Uotan’s exile as “long ago,” and the premises do in fact look a lot shittier than they did back in Final Crisis #1, so I assume much more time has passed for the Monitors than it has on Earth-0. (If, indeed, time really passes in the Void at all.)

Is that creature Weeja’s playing with in the last panel a hyperfly like Mr. Mind?

Page 16: Bleed comes from the multiverse, so if it’s being siphoned to the Sepulchre of Mandrakk, that makes it pretty clear that the entire multiverse basically exists to feed him. It’s left unclear, though, whether all of this has been happening for a while or whether it’s all happening now; Superman’s comment about the “story growing around [him]” I would take more metaphorically in any other work, but since we’re dealing with science-gods whose narratives “formed around them, like crystals in solution”…

Page 17: So all the Monitors are vampires! This is where I have to start wondering what the basic metaphor going on here is – are the Monitors fans? That was my initial thought, but the thing is, the fans certainly don’t have the ability to transform thought into reality. Is Morrison basically trashing his boss and coworkers here? Or will things be clearer?

Either way, the nature of the Monitor is to both protect and feed off of the stories and life of the DC multiverse. Mahnke kills that panel of Ogama hanging upside down, feeding off of New Earth.

“Now comes the CONFLICT, THE FINAL CRISIS!” I usually hate it when characters in crossovers say the name of the crossover, but when the whole thing is wrapped up in mythology and prophecy like this in the first place it really works. I guess Rox Ogama is Dax Novu’s brother.

Page 18: The splash-page introduction of the latest addition to the “cosmic DC Universe villains” section of Wikipedia. He looks like, well, a skeletal, vampiric Monitor.

Page 19: If the Void is controlled completely by thought, does that essentially mean that the Monitors are a civilization that progressed to the point of being able to make their own Miracle Machine? And that their stray thoughts are leading to this entire conflict? Superman calls this a “self-assembling hyperstory,” again calling into question where there really even was a Mandrakk in that tomb, or whether he showed up there for the story to progress. Or does it even matter?

Mandrakk is a lot like Starbreaker, isn’t he? Morrison doesn’t even really shy away from that, stealing the Starbreaker cover pose for the first page of #1 and stealing his “heat of suns!” line as well.

Page 20: The sequence from the beginning of #1, again.

Page 21: Zillo Valla tries to get the Monitors to believe in Superman over Mandrakk — again, thoughts to reality, same as the Miracle Machine — when Mandrakk roasts his woman and has a moment of remembrance and recognition.

Page 22: Of course, like any self-respecting power-mad god, he blames Superman for his loss as soon as it’s feasible.

Page 23: The thing is, Captain Adam said there were no dualities, but here we are, life versus anti-life – I don’t see it being all that symmetrical, either, although apparently their power levels are according to Superman’s narrative captions.

Page 24: And we get the big Dax Novu/Mandrakk reveal blown a few weeks back in the Secret Files. Mandrakk seems to have forgotten that, though, and the knowledge makes him screw up and fall – Superman mentions that he forgets even the idea of Mandrakk, as well, but he seem sto remember the Monitor world so I’m not sure how literally to take that.

Not sure what the rod he uses he impale Mandrakk on is, either – I guess just a random piece of debris.

Page 25: I guess they filled up the grave, since obviously Superman isn’t gonna be lying in it any longer. We’ll find out Superman’s tombstone inscription on the final page (it’s utterly perfect), but check Ogama getting led away in the last panel and the shit-shared look on his face.

Page 26: He splits in two as he falls, of course, since Overman is with him. I guess Superman finds his way back to the Ultima Thule pretty quickly.

Page 27: (Thanks to commenter Joe Iglesias for noticing this) Superman can’t speak because he’s holding the sample of Bleed in his mouth, which he’ll return to Lois via a kiss on page 30, therefore healing her completely.

Page 28: And what’s up with Ultraman landing next to what looks like a ruined-ass Ultima Thule? Is there a copy of it shaped by memory in Limbo now? I assume that’s where this is, that or the graveyard Universe-51. I guess Mandrakk really is sort of a Man-Dracula, if he’s getting followers through his blood at this point.

Page 29: So I guess Ultraman, Ogama and Mandrakk will be showing up in #7, with the Infinite Book in tow. (All of existence in a single object! – it might be a book now, but could that be the Worlogog?)

Page 30: This series really had a whole blood imagery thing going on – Lois’s heart was at stake so Superman had to stop using his heat vision to keep the blood pumping to instead keep the blood of the greater multiverse pumping from the Overvoid. All within heartbeats, while her blood was in stasis. More of those Monitore energy-signatures that almost look like they’re trying to be a sort of Kirby dot for these new space-angel-science-gods.

UPDATE: I forgot to mention: This also really clears up the timeline, since it’s still blue skies outside so Superman probably flew away, got caught up in Legion of Three Worlds, and then came back in Final Crisis #6 all after this. So all the parts where I talked about how Superman was busy in Beyond were incorrect, he was actually stuck in the future, so I guess we won’t see everything that goes on there until after well after Final Crisis #7 comes out.

Page 31: And, of course, what brought Lois back was the all-powerful corrupter and purifier of Story. The last-page wink seems like a reference to the end of “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow,” a story which, as supposedly final and apocalyptic as it was, even ended with a bit of hope from the message on the next page…

Page 32: “To Be Continued.” Not only a message to the reader, but also a message to the Monitors (and, by extension, whoever the Monitors are supposed to represent) from Superman that the stories never truly end – what we’re really seeing here is the fight to preserve the superhero narrative from a force that wants it to end forever basically for his own, well, satisfaction.

Which makes me ask, what the hell is the metacommentary here?

We’ve got a race of observers who can transform thought into reality in their world, the Overvoid. They’ve built this big civilization and now it’s down to 52 Monitors and 52 Earths, because their brightest light was fascinated by the multiverse and studied it and I guess tried to cultivate it until he discovered he liked the taste of Bleed and realized he was a vampire? Then the other Monitors kept him in the sepulchre and fed him a steady supply of Bleed until he was crazy enough to go loose?

First off, the whole thing is very reminiscent of the Terrible Time Tailors from Seven Soldiers, a work which definitely takes place in the same universe. If concepts have different faces and the Black Racer can be the Black Flash, are the Time Tailors the Monitors and Zachary Zor Mandrakk? I doubt this’ll ever be resolved or anything, but it comes to mind.

Secondly, following that line of thought… is Mandrakk Alan Moore? Superhero comics pioneer until he got twisted and sucked the life out of it and made everybody else think they had to do the same, and now the idealistic power of Superman is fighting him in Heaven and winning over the belief of the rest of these… writer-gods? Is this how Darkseid won the war in the other Heaven, by having Mandrakk write that it is so?

Just one week, fellas!

33 Comments »

  1. While I love it, this thing is a confusing mess that shouldn’t require annotations in order to be understood.

    Comment by Squashua — January 21, 2009 @ 3:37 pm

  2. I think I need a team of doctors and scientist to explain what happened in this issue to me.

    Comment by Bloods End — January 21, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

  3. Well, on one level, it’s pretty simple. :-)

    There’s a problem. Superman, and alternate-universe analogues, are brought in to help. Supes kicks the bad guy’s ass and saves the day.

    The deeper meaning, I think, has a lot to do with fan culture (the monitors) and the affectations they apply on the narrative (the DCU/Comic Books), with the Overmind/Prime Monitor/Whatever standing in for the creators, and Mandrakk representing the creator who is lost within the world (too immersed to pull himself out of the story to honour it or cultivate it).

    I dunno. It’s something that’s perfect for a Popular Narrative study, but beyond me at the moment. Excellent work, David. You really opened up a lot of thought for me.

    Comment by Jack Tango — January 21, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

  4. Dang, I responded to this and it didn’t take, for some reason.

    I was saying something along the lines of:

    This story is pretty simple, really. Something bad happens. Superman saves the day. The End. It’s the deeper meaning that’s kinda awesome.

    I think you’re right on with some of your guesses, David. This seems to be commentary on how popular culture can affect the media and narrative to a discernible result, and often times gets lost in the mythology creating a self-cannibalizing process which destroys instead of cultivates.

    The monitors are the fans, Mandrakk is the fan/pro/creator, and the overmind/prime monitor/whatever is us/the ideas themselves. It’s heady, heady stuff, and far beyond my abilities to dissect. Definitely up for literary analysis, though. This is good stuff.

    Excellent work, David. You really opened my eyes to a lot of things.

    Comment by Jack Tango — January 21, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

  5. It took me a reread to get it, but I think Superman can’t speak on page 27 because he’s carrying the Bleed essence inside his mouth/inside him, somehow, until he transfers it to Lois with a kiss (which also explains why she tasted something marvelous).

    I have no idea what this story “means” on the metalevel, but I don’t particularly mind– I just loved being swept away on the wave of mad cosmic Kirby poetry, and in that light even the 3D makes total sense. Frankly, I wish Final Crisis proper were more like this.

    Comment by Joe Iglesias — January 21, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

  6. A few more notes up over at http://finalcrisisannotations.blogspot.com/2009/01/final-crisis-superman-beyond-2.html . But this is terrific–thank you, David.

    Comment by Douglas — January 21, 2009 @ 7:22 pm

  7. Joe, great point, I’ll add that in (with attribution, of course – mea culpa).

    Doug, I just commented on your blog, but I just want to make sure anybody who reads this site and not his (although I have no idea if such an area on the proverbial Venn diagram even exists, but whatever) check that out for page twelve (although really, you should be reading Wolk’s take as well anyway). It’s a BRILLIANT moment in the issue that totally escaped me.

    Comment by David Uzumeri — January 21, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

  8. I need to process it all a bit more, but I think you’re wrong about the 3D effect, David – look at where it’s (exclusively) used, in each issue (possibly slightly justifying there being 2, but really not). I really liked it, although it actually works better with scans – which I’ve just read, because UK – than print.

    Comment by Duncan — January 21, 2009 @ 10:16 pm

  9. I think the whole part about Superman not speaking was because he was holding the Bleed inside his mouth so he could deliver it to Lois at the end. This didn’t occur to me at all until a few hours after I read it.
    Thanks for the annotations, I’ve really enjoyed them.

    Comment by BJ Dowd — January 22, 2009 @ 1:10 am

  10. Hi David, great analysis as usual!

    Regarding The Monitors and their vampiric behaviour:

    I think they are, in a way, meant to be fans. I think you could argue that fans shape stories with their thoughts both in the experience of the story as they read (each forming a different interpretation of a single story) but also, in a way, their thoughts of a story (or comic) can result in a change in sales on a book which could effect change within the story. The seeming bloodthirst of Ogama, Mandrakk and other Monitors could reflect the “event driven” tastes of audiences who buy them up, initiating more events through their popularity and of course the literal “blood spilt” by constant events.

    But, Superman is the one character who, and whose story, is immune to change. Whatever changes made in the story are always temporary because the core of the character will always remain and return due to the character’s status as an international icon of heroism in the public conciousness. Thus Superman is immortal and ultimately undefeatable.

    Anyhoo, thats my thoughts. Great work again dude!

    Comment by Dan (oddballuk) — January 22, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  11. “So all the Monitors are vampires! This is where I have to start wondering what the basic metaphor going on here is – are the Monitors fans?”

    Maybe the Monitors represent Paul Dini and his co-writers on “Countdown” who tried to sucked the multiverse dry.

    Comment by St. Gimp — January 22, 2009 @ 10:08 am

  12. When I saw the spinning saw blade/limbo thing I thought it was wierd, but then I thought maybe that was just some cosmic dust or a stray glaxy or something out there (or something for the reader who doesn’t want to look to hard into the subtexts of the story) and that he was actually pointing to the white space between the panels of the comic. Maybe not, but it seemed plausible.
    Also, just thought this was a kind of cool coincidence; I don’t remember the skies ever bleeding before in a Crisis (although I’m sure the turning red is close enough), but when the wall between realities was crumbling in the last DC/Marvel crossover (the one before JLA/Avengers) the skies actually bled and it rained blood or something like that. I think it even made Darkseid cry.

    Comment by Fearing — January 22, 2009 @ 11:05 am

  13. My thoughts on Limbo’s shape: Maybe it’s a gimpy “51 and change” world. Or else it’s been bled nearly dry to feed Mandrakk already.

    Maybe Monitors are editors/publishers? Dependent on stories to (make a) live(ing), but disdaining them as germs? In theory, an EiC could fall into to Dax Novu/Mandrakk mode of turning a company around before getting greedy & no longer caring about the fans/stories/writers. I can’t say for certain that’s what G-Mo is going for, but he had some trouble with management during Countdown it seems.

    Comment by HitTheTargets — January 22, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  14. Weeja Dell identifies herself on p. 15 as the Monitor of Earth-6, revealed in the last issue to be the ersatz Marvel Universe.

    Weird.

    Comment by P_B — January 22, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  15. Interesting comment on the Weeja Dell association. Is it just me or is she the least vampiric (also from her attitude in FC #1) and Superman commented that this was a much more innocent Captain Marvel than the one from his earth.

    It seems that Weeja Dell hasn’t been sucking the life out of her world like many of the others.

    Comment by Kieren — January 22, 2009 @ 5:47 pm

  16. These were great.
    I certainly never would have thought of that Alan Moore connection. If that was what Grant was going for, it seems a little mean spirited for him in a Superman story.

    Comment by chrishaley — January 22, 2009 @ 6:08 pm

  17. Not what I meant. Earth-6 isn’t the Marvel *Family* Universe; that’s Earth-5 (a replacement for the pre-IC Earth-S – for “Shazam”).

    In Superman Beyond 3D #1, Earth-6 is a universe where a crusader in chain mail holding a round shield beats up a fellow superhero in an iron robot suit, while various superheroes in the “civil war” reveal themselves to be aliens attempting a “secret invasion”. Captain Marvel (Earth-5) makes a comment about how the whole universe is screwed up at this point.

    Comment by P_B — January 22, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

  18. Okay, after reading Douglas’ notes, I feel really stupid for not making the Alan Moore connection and for misunderstanding it so completely once presented with it.

    Comment by chrishaley — January 22, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

  19. “the fans certainly don’t have the ability to transform thought into reality”

    I think Morrison would say that actually Yes, any human being with an imagination has that potential ability. The questions are: whether we REALIZE that we have that ability, and whether we take whatever steps are necessary to REAL-IZE whatever’s in our imaginations.

    Great annotations.

    Comment by Don — January 22, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

  20. It makes sense that the Monitors are vampires if they are comics readers. In Animal Man’s world, we are beings that thrive off of the pain and suffering of those in the comics universe, their crises and tragedies.

    Comment by Dane Moniker — January 23, 2009 @ 2:28 am

  21. “the fans certainly don’t have the ability to transform thought into reality”

    Yes they do, in as much as they can stop buying ‘realities’ they dislike, and support ‘realities’ they do like- a good example of this would be the Marvel Knights relaunch of the Punisher as a demon killer that was a failure with the readership, while Garth Ennis’ black humoured return to a basics went down far better.

    Quite like the idea that Weeja Dell is from “Marvel” Earth, considering her relationship with Uotan echoes the Stan Lee way of writing interteam romances (such as Jean Grey and Scott Summers). Which is also echoed in the main Final Crisis comic by the Super Young team romance.

    A final connection between Final Crisis and Alan Moore- is it just me or are the designs and characterisation of the Monitors reminiscent of the Warpsmiths from Miracleman and Warrior?

    Comment by Lee — January 23, 2009 @ 4:26 am

  22. Reading this, I’m reminded of my 2 two attempts to read Joyce. While I can admire it, I can’t actually read it and enjoy it. And I enjoy reading the annotations better than the actual book.

    Comment by Joseph from FBB — January 23, 2009 @ 3:18 pm

  23. Also interesting is that Weeja being of the Marvel Universe and Nix her love interest is from Earth 51, which in the Countdown (which may make this point invalid unless they took this from Morrison’s notes to put in countdown)is a Jack Kirby Kamandi Earth. Marvel loves Kirby? Eh, just a thought. They sure owe him a lot (but I guess that’s true of all comics in general.

    Comment by Fearing — January 24, 2009 @ 12:34 am

  24. Earth-17 is the Kamandi Earth. Earth-51, as presented in Countdown, was basically a world where the supervillains were defeated once and for all, and the superheroes dropped their secret identities.

    Comment by narm00 — January 24, 2009 @ 3:32 am

  25. Joseph,

    What Joyce did you try to read?

    Comment by Mike Barrett — January 24, 2009 @ 6:01 pm

  26. I think this might end up being my favorite ‘story’ from Final Crisis. I just like the cosmic scale of everything coupled with the fact that its both a ‘see badman, fight badman, win’ Superman story and massive metatextual comment on both the state of the comics industry and the narrative of the hero in general (which from Beowulf onwards has seen very little change). I really wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did.

    Comment by hamildan — January 24, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  27. Recommended for Joyce: start with Dubliners, in which Joyce begins as Henry James and ends (with “The Dead”) as proto-Joyce, then Portrait, then Ulysses. And since we have no compunction against annotations, I’d recommend finding a “Notes to Portait” or the like, then with Ulysses. Hey, I used to read that book once a year, getting a different take on it each time. One year, it was all about the jokes.

    Comment by ddt — January 25, 2009 @ 12:09 am

  28. The only thing I don’t like about this story is that it’s going to end up collected in a paperback and there won’t be a hardcover version. Somebody needs to get on DC about that.

    Comment by Fearing — January 25, 2009 @ 12:11 am

  29. The monitors refer to the DC universes as germ worlds. The obvious connotation is that the worlds are tiny and contaminated, but “germ” also refers to an initial stage or source, or a part of an organism which can develop into a new organism (like wheat germ). After all, the monitors were created in response to the multiverse (both in the comics and in real life).

    Comment by Dave Menendez — January 25, 2009 @ 12:26 am

  30. Is Mandrakk Dan Didio?

    Comment by DIOS die autentisen — January 25, 2009 @ 7:07 pm

  31. […] pretty confident too, arms folded; look, if you just want anno’s go and read Douglas and David – they both do a consistently excellent job, and I always look forward to reading them. We’re […]

    Pingback by FC:SB(!)3D#2 « Mindless Ones — January 26, 2009 @ 9:43 pm

  32. “Maybe Monitors are editors/publishers? Dependent on stories to (make a) live(ing), but disdaining them as germs? In theory, an EiC could fall into to Dax Novu/Mandrakk mode of turning a company around before getting greedy & no longer caring about the fans/stories/writers.”

    I agree with HitTheTargets that the vampiric nature of the Monitors is an indictment of the editorial mishandling of Final Crisis (Countdown and Death of the New Gods being the most obvious attempts to cash in on the event, which necessitated revisions in FC itself).

    The job of the Monitors as overseers and guardians is directly analogous to that of the DC editors and the Monitors’ vampiric exploitation of their charges is a thinly veiled critique of editorial attitudes, just as Mary Marvel’s possession by Desaad is Morrison’s damning explanation of her editorially mandated descent throughout Countdown.

    As for Dan Didio as Mandrakk, Daniel means “judged by God” while “Dan di Dio” perhaps would mean “judge of God” or “justice of God” — mighty suggestive of a celestial origin like Dax Novu’s. But who knows what DiDio’s nicknames are around the DC offices?

    In any case, such an allegory would not be new for Crises, as Infinite Crisis pretty strongly suggested that Superboy Prime represents the whiny, complaining fanboy (who himself lives on Earth Prime!) still stuck with the Golden Age Superman in his consciousness and disappointed by the dark direction of the DCU. And if Superboy Prime was the readers, then Alex Luthor represented the DC editors who spend too much time catering to us, trying to fix what we ask them to, but just screw everything up in the end.

    In particular, Alex’s instigation of the events in Villains United, OMAC Project, Day of Vengeance, and Rann-Thanagar War to create the conditions necessary for his ultimate scheme was exactly correlative to the macro-editorial process in the DC offices to set up the event of Infinite Crisis itself, through those very miniseries. Alex also demonstrated the micro-editorial process of picking and choosing the bits of worlds he liked and pasting them together, just like a copy editor or film editor.

    Johns was quite in sync with Morrison’s affinity for metafiction (most recently seen in All Star Superman #10?) and in Beyond we are seeing Morrison’s metatextual commentary on his experience of writing Final Crisis. Despite all the nefarious efforts of DC editorial — who notoriously thwarted Morrison’s opening gambit of a dead Orion appearing for the first time in FC #1 — the Superman meme is stronger than its monitors and will continue to withstand generation after generation of venal and vampiric editorial practices.

    I think we can excuse Beyond #2’s late arrival in exchange for the most up-to-date depiction of the state of the DC Nation.

    Comment by Nobody — January 27, 2009 @ 9:56 pm

  33. Note that in the Authority, Bleedships were powered by Universes. Thus, here the heart of a Monitor is a Universe, tying into my previous comment on Each Monitors tie to their respective universe.

    Ogama Monior-31 (of the Millerverse) turns a Superman into a vampire, the same as he did in his Dark Knight Returns.

    Comment by Jim Harbor — February 9, 2013 @ 5:09 am

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