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18 November 2017

Seven Soldiers of Victory!

Solving the time trap of Dr. Doome. From All-Star Squadron #29 (1984); art by Jerry Ordway and Rick Magyar.

Never let it be said I shy away from a challenge. I wanted to cover the Golden Age group, but I also had a pre-existing write-up of Grant Morrison's 2005 epic. Weaving those strands took weeks! And then I always want to bring you good bits of art to make these long reads more entertaining :) ...

"The Seven Soldiers of Victory were a group of super-heroes assembled in 1941 by writer editor Whit Ellsworth, in the pages of a new quarterly series titled Leading Comics. The formula for the series was the same as that of National's All-Star Comics, which began the year before. Each issue's story featured a group of heroes who divided into solo missions, then regrouped at the end. The editorial strategy was meant to cross-pollinate the characters from other comics, in this case: Action, Adventure, Detective, More Fun and Star Spangled Comics. " … READ MORE »

16 October 2017

Iron Munro!

Iron Munro tries out a more super-heroic costume. From Young All-Stars #12 (1988); art by Howard Simpson and Malcolm Jones III.

I forgot about this one! I acutally completed this profile some time ago but got majorly sidetracked when I started digging in to the Golden Age roots of Superman — which are fascinating, and completely essential to understanding the genesis of Iron Munro.

The character embodies Roy Thomas' own exploration into these roots. The All-Star seed was planted in 1976 when he and Tony DeZuniga adapted Philip Wylie's Gladiator (1930) for Marvel Preview #9. Having just read the book, I think that anyone who says Jerry Siegel might have been influenced by Gladiator is just being diplomatic. There's no question that Superman is based on the character in Gladiator (and others, including Doc Savage), and anyone who reads it will understand my assertion. Go ahead: the novel is in the public domain, so you can start reading today!

I was prepared to break down the similarities until I discovered that it had already been done, and better, by Will Murray in Alter Ego #37 (June 2004). Murray's "Gladiator of Iron, Man of Steel" dives deep into the matter.

This profile is part of my plan to cover all the Young All-Stars in more detail...

"In 1894, scientist Abednego Danner injected his pregnant wife with special experimental serums. As a result, their son Hugo was born with super-human strength. Though he lived with his parents throughout his teen years, Hugo left at age eighteen to attend college and see the world. In the years that followed, Hugo's special powers led him through a number of adventures, but his unique stature among mortal men forever brought him grief." … READ MORE »

23 July 2017

Big Barda leads the forces of Apokolips against Grail. From Justice League #50 (2016); art by Jason Fabok.

The New Gods of the New 52!

So normally when I write profiles, I take the time to weave together the strings of continuity. But as the New 52 is concerned, I always feel like that would be futile. Maybe not. I could try, but it doesn't seem as possible or interesting as when I wrote about Jack Kirby's original New Gods continuity. It's sad and ironic that the New 52 was launched to give DC a fresh start, but then its editors couldn't be bothered to keep a reign on its universe. In a matter of years it was already a terrible mess.

Let's let the new Mister Miracle series roll out and see what transpires, eh?

What you'll find in this New Gods write-up is more a chronicle of appearances and story arcs. It is fun to see how they've been reinterpreted and what parts of Kirby's legacy have been saved or modified. As usual, Geoff Johns tried hardest to honor DC history, in the recent "Darkseid War."

So in anticipation of the Jack Kirby 100th birthday specials, and a new Mister Miracle series, get up to speed on the New Gods of the New 52...

» SEE ALSO: Mister Miracle and Big Barda (New 52)

237 June 2017

Diana wins the competition to return Trevor to America. From Wonder Woman #1 (1942); art by Harry G. Peter.

We've Got Your Wonder Woman!

Here are some easy links for you to Wonder Woman-related information. Aaron Severson recently helped me flesh out some of the pre-Crisis and Golden Age stuff

Note to moviegoers who aren't familiar with the comic book legends: The biggiest difference between the two is that before now, Wonder Woman has never been associated with the First World War, just the Second. Not sure what their plan is there. My guess? When Steve's plane exploded, he was thrust forward in time and they'll meet again.

Now read!

29 April 2017

Damage!

The Atom family tree! © 2017 Mike Kooiman.

Continuing on my mission to complete all JSA member profiles! (And eventually, hopefully, all Golden Age DC characters.) Grant Emerson, aka Damage, is the only biological child of the Golden Age Atom. The character was a 1990s creation that starred in his own series, then became a member of the Titans, and eventually the Justice Society. His story was cut short with his death during Blackest Night, and he has not been reintroduced in New 52 continuity.

"His story begins in World War II, in the laboratory of the Nazi scientist Klaus Schimmel. Schimmel was a biogeneticist for the Third Reich who created Baron Blitzkrieg, partly in response to the burst of super-heroes coming out of the United States. After the war Schimmel was taken in by the American secret service (the O.S.S.), and given the name Egrin Wahrman." … READ MORE »

» SEE ALSO:

9 April 2017

Stargirl + Star-Spangled Kid + Merry

The Starman/Star-Spangled Kid family tree! © 2017 Mike Kooiman.

I started working on the SSK profile a long time ago and quickly realized how many strands came off from this hero! Stargirl, who was original called Star-Spangled Kid II, clearly needed her own profile. And his sister Merry was spun off into her own as well. The Star-Spangled Kid is also tied into the Starman family tree, as you can see above!

"Sylvester Pemberton was born in 1926 to an "ultra-rich" New York banking family. The American Pembertons originated from the historic journey of the Mayflower." … READ MORE »

» SEE ALSO:

19 March 2017

The SW6 Legionnaires!

Legionnaires triptych from the Cosmic Teams trading card set (1993). Art by Chris Sprouse.

Yay, it's the all-new, all-young-again Legionnaires! It sure was exciting while it lasted. When it launched, the excitement was largely due to the art of Chris Sprouse. The SW6 Legionnaires were chronal duplicates of the original Legion. They were made by the Time Trapper and unearthed during the Legion v.4 series.

Legionnaires was created to stem the loss of readership caused by the main series' experimental kind of storytelling. Their time was short-lived but the characters became the templates for the post-Zero Hour Legion, which is why today lots of people — creators included — mistake the two for one another. (In fact, Legionnaires continued its numbering even after the reboot).

"It was 2995 and the alien Dominators had virtually taken over Earthgov, and now landing fleets led by Pinnacle Command to "pacify" Earth. They had discovered the Time Trapper's duplicate Legionnaires but kept them in stasis. The copies might never have been unearthed but for a cataclysmic event — the destruction of Earth's moon." … READ MORE »

13 March 2017

Legion-Spotting in the New 52

The Justice League United teams with the Legion. From Justice League United #9 (2015); art by Neil Edwards and Jay Leisten.

Following the cancellation of Legion of Super-Heroes v.7 (Oct. 2013) and Legion: Lost v.2 (Mar. 2013), the Legion were largely removed from the stage of the mainstream DC Universe. But they have appeared. These appearances have seemed random, and most involve alternate realities. Let's review these appearances one at a time with some thoughts and then chronology listings for the issues!

First is the overlooked but significant arc called "The Infinitus Saga," from Justice League United #6–10. In late 2014, writer Tom King used the Legion in a crossover tale. Coming after the end of Legion v.7, one would expect a membership that included the new Academy members. But King's Legion is exactly the roster that launched with the New 52. Further, the "Lost Legionnaires" are also still in the 21st century. Taken on its own, one might make these conclusions from this story:

  • The Legion's New 52 series have been retroactively eliminated by this event (which would leave a much cleaner slate for their "Rebirth")
  • After its end, Legion members may include any Legionnaires from across any Legion timeline (more fun and something I've been hoping for)
  • The New 52 Supergirl has a future with the Legion.

Sequence of Events

Issue (Date)

Justice League United: The Infinitus Saga

The Justice League returns to Earth with Ultra, a powerful young alien. Mon-El arrives from the 31st century declaring, "that child must be destroyed... or the Legion of Super-Heroes will die!" Note: This issue uses the Legion convention of entries from the "Encyclopedia Galactica."

Justice League United #5 (Dec. 2014)

Part 1: Mon-El attacks the League, coming for Ultra. Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, and Phantom Girl arrive afterwards and try a more diplomatic approach, proposes 24 hours to try to solve the problem. In the future, Infinitus (the former Infinity Man) emerged in the Polaris system and consumed the planets Thanagar and Psion. Shadow Lass is critically wounded and Mon-El is still in love with her. Brainiac found Infinitus' energy signature recorded in the archives, matching Ultra's. Byth of Thanagar has resurrected Hawkman (Katar Hol) and wants possession of Ultra. Byth unleashes his other agents, the Cadre, in Canada. Note: The Legion in this story arc are from a point in time just prior to the launch of the New 52 (Legion v.7 and Legion: Lost v.2). The "Lost" team has already come to the 21st century, and the Academy students have not yet joined.

Justice League United Annual #1 (Dec. 2014)

Part 2: Black Mass steals Ultra away from the League, bringing him to Byth. Brainiac 5 sends his friends, the Legion Lost, to reinforce the League in space.

Justice League United #6 (Jan. 2015)

Part 3: Martian Manhunter battles Byth for telepathic control of Ultra. Saturn Girl gives spare flight rings to protect Leaguers in the vacuum of space. Time anomalies begin to occur and other Legionnaires appear (Cosmic Boy, Blok, Polar Boy, Sun Boy, and Star Boy).

Justice League United #7 (Feb. 2015)

Part 4: In the 31st century, Dream Girl (leader in Brainy's absence) reviews the Legion's history, showing scenes of battling Universo and the Fatal Five. Infinity Wraiths have reached Earth. At the Time Institute, Legionnaires begin to "swap out" for those from the Earth-247 and SW6 timelines: Andromeda, Magno, Dragonmage, Computo, Kid Quantum, Ferro, Kinetix, Monstress, XS (those who are unique to those timelines). Dr. Krzztell sends them back to 21st century as well. Supergirl crashes into Byth's ship and a rift opens, space collapses and Infinitus emerges.

Justice League United #8 (Mar. 2015)

Part 5: Brainy proposes a bomb using Zeta technology to collapse Infinitus. Byth had infiltrated the Ultra project to guide it, hoping Ultra could be a messiah. All rally to detain Byth just as Ultra realizes his potential, and takes the form of Infinitus. J'onn shuts down Ultra's mind just as Brainy launches his bomb. Without Infinitus to absorb the payload, a black hole is opened.

Justice League United #9 (Apr. 2015)

Part 6: To stop the black hole from consuming Thanagar, Brainy moves the planet with Zeta bursts, aided by an amplification spell by the White Witch. The planet comes to rest in Rann's orbit but they are no danger to one another. Brainy says, "There is no telling what the changes we made by coming back in time will do to the landscape of the 31st century. All I know is that we did what had to be done." He meets Supergirl (New 52, for the first time) and he wonders if it will change what will happen between the two of them. He plans to return leadership to Dream Girl when they return. Dawnstar says goodbye to Equinox, who is an inspiration to aboriginal women. The Legion takes Ultra back to the future. The Legion that departs is an amalgam of New 52 and SW6. The Legion Lost return as well. Note: If the "Lost" Legionnaires returned to the 31st century at this point, that New 52 series and all Legion v.7 stories would be eliminated from continuity.

Justice League United #10 (May 2015)

Dawnstar and Wildfire in the Justice League. From The New 52: Future's End #40 (2015); art by Patrick Zircher.

King also wrote Dawnstar and Wildfire into his Future's End tie-ins. This story is set five years in the future and suggests that these Legionnaires stayed in the 21st century and joined the Justice League. The two of them then appeared in a few issues of the main title, The New 52: Future's End (#40-42).

Future's End

5 years from now: Equinox receives a mental distress call from the Martian Manhunter on Mars. He is the warden of the Gulag: a metahuman prison built there by Terrifitech, the Queen Foundation, and S.H.A.D.E. She finds help at the League's Fortress of Justice in New Mexico. Members Cyborg, Vostok, Flash, Dawnstar, and Stormguard agree to help her. They find Grodd in control of J'onn and Captain Atom leading the breakout. Note: Future's End was set in a possible future, five years hence. The Justice League appears throughout New 52: Future's End, but without Legionnaires.

Justice League United: Future's End #1 (Nov. 2014)

Past JLA member Wildfire answers J'onn's call for help. J'onn seizes a momentary lapse in Captain Atom's concentration and takes over his mind; all are reimprisoned. Dawnstar is reunited with Wildfire. Note: This story appeared in advance of the Legion's appearance in Justice League United. Dawnstar and Wildfire did not appear in any other Future's End stories.

Justice League: Future's End #1 (Nov. 2014)

The Justice League (with Dawnstar and Wildfire) are the front line defense when Brainiac arrives on Earth; he's come to "collect" a city. The Atom discovers that Brainiac holds memories of many different timelines.

The New 52: Futures End #40-42 (Apr. 2015)

The Legion of Death/Doom, an alternate version. From Justice League 3001 #9 (2016); art by Scott Kolins.

Another alternate timeline was created by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis in Justice League 3000. Fans were miffed in 2014 to see a title such as this hit the market because the year 3000 should rightfully be the Legion's home. The Justice League had usurped them. One must not take 3000 so seriously. It was no-holds-barred fun (despite taking actual jabs at the Legion), and the art by Howard Porter was eye-popping. But it's clearly not based in the mainstream DCU timeline, or any other Legion timeline. Read why...

Justice League 3000

Early in the 31st century, across the galaxy life has collapsed into a more primitive state following a crisis. For ten years they have been ruled by The Five (including the Convert). Geneticist Ariel Masters worked on Cadmusworld, ceding it to her successors the Wonder Twins, Teri and Terry Magnus (the Five's leader). They use Masters' cloning process to recreate the Justice League—Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash and Green Lantern. Note: The timeline of Justice League 3000/30001 is an extension of the post-Crisis Justice League and nothing definitive was ever stated in regards to this Earth's designation in the multiverse.

Justice League 3000 #1 (Feb. 2014)

Five member Locus sends the League to prison planet Takron-Galtos. First appearance of Five member Coeval.

Justice League 3000 #2 (Mar. 2014)

The League discover that Takron-Galtos was once called Earth. Note: This revelation fairly well removes any possibility that the timeline of Justice League 3000 has any relation to the Legion's.

Justice League 3000 #3 (Apr. 2014)

Five member Kali attacks and recruits the League's newest clone, Firestorm.

Justice League 3000 #5 (Mar. 2014)

Terry kills his sister, Teri.

Justice League 3000 #7 (Aug. 2014)

Ariel Masters resurrects Teri Magnus as the Flash.

Justice League 3000 #8 (Sept. 2014)

The Justice League settles its headquarters on Camelot Nine. The JLA coax the Five there and take out the Convert, Kali, and Locus. Coeval retreats and Terry Magnus is apprehended by Ariel.

Justice League 3000 #10 (Nov. 2014)

Lancelot helps the League hold the members of the Five in stasis. Terry creates a new Injustice Society: clones of Bane, Lois Lane, Mirror Master, Sinestro, and Zeus. Beneath Galtos, workers excavate a chamber holding Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, from the 21st century.

Justice League 3000 #11 (Jan. 2015)

The Flash finds the palace of Ice, who is immortal.

Justice League 3000 #13 (Mar. 2015)

On Wodin 12, Leaguers investigate the killing of a group of young metahumans who attempted to interfere with the Starro Consciousness, in violation of a treaty. Note: The youths are clearly analogues for the Legionnaires Sun Boy, Duo Damsel, Element Lad, Wildfire, Dawnstar, Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy, and Projectra.

Justice League 3001 #1 (Aug. 2015)

Lady Styx takes over the Commonwealth. On her base world of Naltor, Captain Imra Ardeen comes to brief her. Note: In pre-New 52 continuity, Lady Styx was a space conqueror that appeared in 52 #31 (Dec. 2006). Two courtiers strongly resemble Legionnaires Wildfire and Timber Wolf. Styx's boots resemble those worn by the White Witch in her first appearance, Adventure Comics #350 (Nov. 1966).

Justice League 3001 #8 (Mar. 2016)

Styx transforms Terry Magnus into the new host for Eclipso. He leads royal guard, the Legion of Death. Scion, a Shazam inheritor, serves Styx as bodyguard. Note: This Legion is clearly analogous to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Only two members are ever named, Imra Ardeen (Saturn Girl), and Salu (Shrinking Violet). Obvious counterparts include those for Wildfire, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Timber Wolf, Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Blok/Sun Boy, Mon-El, and a hooded member.

Justice League 3001 #9 (Apr. 2016)

Salu of the Legion spies on the Justice League on Paradise Island.

Justice League 3001 #10 (May 2016)

Eclipso leads the "Legion of Doom" against the League. The Flash realizes Eclipso is her brother and for a moment he comes to his senses, wanting freedom.

Justice League 3001 #11 (June 2016)

Styx reveals she is the Magnus twins' mother. She also has power over time; she sends Teri and Batgirl to the 21st century.

Justice League 3001 #12 (July 2015)

Legionnaires discuss the reality of their situation on Telos. From Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (2015); art by Gus Storms and Mark Farmer.

"Convergence" was meant to celebrate the continued existence of characters and timelines from across DC's histories. Instead, it's inconsistent execution led only to confusion as to its purpose. Heroes were pitted against one another by Telos, minion of Brainiac, who had been collecting cities from dying timelines. The victors would go on with the hope of having their city reinstalled in "real" space. The SW6 Legionnaires appeared as adversaries in Convergence: Blue Beetle. The members of this group included SW6 and some from the post-Zero Hour Legion. More than likely, writer Scott Lobdell didn't take the time to learn the difference.

Convergence

In Hub City from the former Earth-4 (home of Charlton comics heroes), the Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, and the Question confer about what to do with Telos' ultimatum to fight to the death. Cosmic Boy of the SW6 Legion approaches them diplomatically. This grouping of Legionnaires contains SW6 and Earth-247 Legionnaires together, without any explanation. They come from the salvaged cities of Earth, which were taken into space after Earth's destruction. In the end they allied with one another and the Blue Beetle created an illusion to make Telos believe the Legionnaires had triumphed.

Convergence: Blue Beetle #2 (July 2015)

On the patchwork world of Telos, without their powers, the Legionnaires use their flight rings to help the people of Metropolis. They include Superboy, Colossal Boy (trapped at 12 feet tall), Sun Boy, Ultra Boy, Lightning Lass, Shadow Lass, and Invisible Kid (Wildfire was dissipated). Lightning Lass asks Superboy if she should call him Superman at this point. Brainiac 5 and Computo have ascertained that they are not on Earth. Timber Wolf left prior to this for a "walkabout," was still with Ayla. As she talks with Superboy they nearly share a kiss when lightning jumps from her lips and they realize the dome has come down. Before they can form a plan, the Atomic Knights appear in their city, ready for battle. Element Lad is Legion leader, but not there. Notes: This occurs sometime after the LSV saga. The Atomic Knights first appeared in Strange Adventures #117 (June 1960).

Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (June 2015)

The Atomic Knights propose the Legion surrender, to save violence. That fails and they fire on Sun Boy. Wildfire returns, saving a Knight from killing Invisible Kid from but they threaten releasing their Morticoccus virus. Superboy negotiates a truce and Brainiac 5 proposes combining their technologies to track down their jailer. Superboy kisses Lightning Lass before the Legionnaires depart for the Knights' Durvale with supplies.

Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #2 (July 2015)

Heroes released from their cities on Telos are sent on a mission to prevent the original collapse of the Multiverse (in Crisis on Infinite Earths). They succeed and result restores and stabilizes their homes as the New 52 Multiverse. Though their homes are restored, they are "updated" (per the Multiversity Guidebook). Brainiac claims, "Each world has evolved, but they all still exist."

Convergence #8 (July 2015)

Batman takes no notice of Jane Doe, aka Saturn Girl. From Batman #9 (2016); art by Mikel Janin.

And recently there have been some clues about the Legion's formal "rebirth," beginning with Saturn Girl's appearance in DC Universe: Rebirth and more recently in Batman #9.

There is a large event in the making, allegedly penned by Geoff Johns. Other titles have also begun to set the stage. In Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, we discovered that the Emerald Empress has also been in the 21st century for a while, looking for Saturn Girl. On their website, DC Comics says, "The "Empress" [is] one of the most feared villains of the 31st Century, occasional leader of the Fatal Five and mortal enemy of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Not much is known about the Eye itself, other than the power it grants those who bond with it. However, signs seem to indicate that it's some sort of parasite; that it may actually be the puppeteer rather than the puppet. Sarya's first defeat was actually a surrender. She had to beg Sensor Girl of the Legion to separate her from the Eye, which would not allow her to die."

Sure sounds like status quo for the Legion, to me. There are murmurs that the story will continue in Supergirl.

Rebirth

Saturn Girl is a patient at Arkham Asylum. She says, "I've seen the future." They have her Legion flight ring. She wants to speak with Superman and is questioned by Metropolis police. Notes: Writer of this issue, Geoff Johns, said, " Saturn Girl is the heart and soul of the Legion of Super-Heroes. When everybody's saying, 'Legion doesn't work anymore. There's too much xenophobia. You can't change people.' Saturn Girl says, 'Yes, you can. Then suddenly, you realize she can read people's minds. She knows everyone's deepest darkest secrets. If she has faith, then at the base level, human beings and aliens and everybody can reach that goal, can reach achievement and have that goodness inside them. I believe her. I'm with her. And that's why Saturn Girl is so important to the Legion. She's at the epicenter of truth for the entire universe for me."

DC Universe: Rebirth (July 2016)

While collecting operatives for his own Suicide Squad from Arkham Asylum, Batman passes a Saturn Girl (named "Doe"), who draws a Legion symbol on her cell wall. Notes: Writer Tom King said, "There is this huge spine running up the back of the DC Universe, and 'Batman' ties directly into it and it is plotted out to 2019 and even beyond that. Saturn Girl ... plays a role in the story going forward."

Batman v.2 #9 (Dec. 2016)

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad

Several years ago: Amanda Waller forms her first Suicide Squad with Rustam as Task Force X field commander. He leads Dr. Polaris, Johnny Sorrow, Lobo, Cyclotron, and the Emerald Empress, who seeks intel about Saturn Girl. Lobo kills Cyclotron destroying the whole island, knocking the Squad out, and they're reimprisoned.

Justice League #9 (Mar. 2017)

Maxwell Lord frees the original Suicide Squad from Belle Reve penitentiary, for revenge against Amanda Waller.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1 (Feb. 2017)

The Emerald Empress comments, she "feels like time is missing. I must find the Legionnaire."

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #2 (Mar. 2017)

The Empress' Emerald Eye of Ekron is described as a weapon of immense mystic energy, and has elements of Green Lantern technology.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #3 (Apr. 2017)

The Empress advises Superman to let Max get what he wants, if he wants a better future. The Eye refuses to fire on Green Lantern Jessica Cruz. G.L. Simon Baz damages the eye, forcing the Empress to retreat, continuing her search for Saturn Girl. Note: An editorial note says this plot thread will continue in the pages of Supergirl.

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #4 (May 2017)

9 March 2017

Recently, in Earth 2: Society

The new team. From Earth 2: Society #22 (2017); art by Vicente Cifuentes.

Well it's been forever since I updated any kind of chronology.

I'm prompted to do an update by the end of Earth 2: Society. At least writer Dan Abnett was able to bring the heroes of Earth-2 to a happy ending. After the horrible decision to destroy the first (New 52) Earth-2, the survivors had taken root on Telos, the patchwork world created by Brainiac and revealed in Convergence. This world lacked any natural resources and society fell to warring. In the end, Wonder Woman's daughter, Fury, used an Amazon relic called the Pandora Casket to recreate Earth-2.

I expected this world to be erased, or replaced by the classic JSA, whose return is now being teased. Maybe they two will have yearly team-ups!

Catch up on Earth-2's (second) tragic end, and triumphant rebirth...

» SEE ALSO: Read the full Earth-2 chronology

Sequence of Events

Issue (Date)

Dan Abnett begins as Writer

After 48 days exploring and mapping, Kendra comes upon a canyon and a cave cut therein. She discovers the new Amazonia, led by Fury, who were assumed perished. In Neotropolis, Green Lantern meets with World Army Cabinet: Sato, Steel, Sandman, Superman, and Khalid to discuss problems around the world. There's an anti-wonder movement growing. Lantern jets off after word of a beast, a bio-weapon. Ark Home is at war with Erebus. In New Gotham Nimbus Solutions offers power resources at a premium.

Earth 2: Society #8 (Mar. 2016)

Amazonia's technology surpasses all others. Fury is training her women. She reveals that the people on her ship Aphrodite died, and the Amazons took their places. Wonders try to achieve peace between cities. Alan asks Lois to write a draft constitution for their planet, free elections, a united society. He fears he's even less human than Lois. Power Girl discovers more beasts. Red Arrow works with Batman and they're joined by Ted Grant. Val reports that there are no oil reserves in the planet. The planet's similarities to Earth are skin deep, no natural resources.

Earth 2: Society #9 (Apr. 2016)

Batman's team goes after Nimbus compound. Inside he meets Kyle Nimbus who argues his right to a free market. He reveals that Hourman is in his employ. Nimbus reveals he has powers too, goes immaterial. The Cabinet discusses energy problems. A news broadcast features Martha Kent, blaming her own son for the death of her husband. She now is against the wonders. Val joins the sentiment, ripping off his 'S' and declaring Nexus a wonder-free city. Khalid carries shards of the helmet of Fate. Hawkgirl records fears that Fury is planning to take over the world. She discovers Fury meeting with Marella.

Earth 2: Society #10 (May 2016)

Arrow and Grant burst in to find Batman has defeated Hourman at great injury. Bat tells Hourman he's been a pawn of Nimbus' synthetic Miraclo. Green Lantern visits city officials to try and broker peace, reveals there is no oil reserve. They respond by blaming wonders for Earth's fate. Fury reveals the Pandora Vessel, and artifact of ancient Themyscira. It stores their memories and essences of the lost. When Apokolips destroyed them, she placed the memory of the Amazons inside. Her ship had 7000 people, made it but the engine ruptured and all were dying of radiation. She opened the Vessel and the Amazonian souls inhabited them, a symbiosis. The lives now coexist. The Cabinet argues for deploying troops, disagree with Alan.

Earth 2: Society #11 (June 2016)

Worldwatch Command launches units to control conflict. Lois objects to Sato. Flash, Power Girl, and Huntress refuse to join Steel in the mission, preferring to seek non-lethal options. GL goes to Val at Nexus. For the time-being, Batman has synthesized a pure version of Miraclo and convinces Hourman to join them. Hawkgirl offers to be Amazonia's ambassador because it and Atlantis are suspect, at large. To stop war, Green Lantern abdicates his power, makes his ring the source of the planet's power. The Ultra-Humanite watches, ready to attack.

Earth 2: Society #12 (July 2016)

Ultra-Humanite has genetically engineered "Humanites" from children. Anya aka Scalpel is nine, doesn't remember her previous life. Eli aka Grief, was two. John Grayson is Firepattern; he thinks his parents are dead. Ultra wants to stop Fury, take her Vessel. Hawkgirl returns to Neotropolis with Fury. Sandman rails about rogue wonders like her and Batman's group. Fury tells the group her people have history of proven leadership and governance. She offers her technology to the rest of the world, tells about the Pandora Vessel.

Earth 2: Society #13 (Aug. 2016)

The wonders disagree about using the casket to recreate Earth. Khalid has visions of a world resurrected, lives redeemed. Fury and Batman talk, he claims he is no Batman. She says her name is Donna. Humanites attack the group (1st app. Turncoat). Val returns to help. Scalpel rips through Steel's middle. Firepattern encounters his father, Dick, and hesitates.

Earth 2: Society #14 (Sept. 2016)

Fury steps in to handle Firepattern, who flees in confusion. Batman's suit is wrecked. Huntress pursues John. Alan knows about Ultra, no one else does. Flash announces Steel will die. Ultra was behind the beasts too. He takes control of Alan's mind, directs him to reclaim the power ring, and turn against his friends, go after the casket. Sato seriously injured.

Earth 2: Society #15 ( 2016)

Firepattern fights his brethren. Dick reconstructs his suit, wonders if he is next to sacrifice himself. John has returned to him. Earlier John had denied Ultra, realizing the truth of his origins. He shoots fire from his hands. He was found by Huntress who'd tracked him. They're attacked by Grief. Dick says again he's not a good Batman, with his son returned, there's no need for him. When the group calls, John accompanies them to the meeting.

Earth 2: Society Annual #1 (Oct. 2016)

Alan runs through his friends, is stopped by Red Arrow, who manages to talk him down and fight the control, contain himself to block Ultra. Ultra appears and apparently kills Arrow, disintegrating him somehow. When the fight against him looks dire, Fury opens the Pandora Casket, which wipes out the world.

Earth 2: Society #16 (Nov. 2016)

The Final Fate of Earth 2

Part 1: The wonders find themselves inside a ghost world, attacked by an army of Sandmen (who look like the classic Sandman), bent on exterminating them. Nine wonders survive the event (and Green Lantern is later revealed as Ultra's captive).

Earth 2: Society #17 (Dec. 2016)

Part 2: John says he wants a name other than Firepattern. They smash through sketches of buildings and solid reality is revealed. Alerts herald "cohesion"; when achieved, they find themselves in the middle of a fully formed new world, in Metropolis. They're greeted by Sergeant Steel.

Earth 2: Society #18 (Jan. 2016)

Part 3: Flash steals clothes for all and Lois reads from the Daily Planet. The casket has recreated Earth from memories but was not guided by Fury. It manufactured something from the wonders' subconscious minds, idealized, the best parts from their imaginations. Val worries they need to find the person behind the Sandmen. Sergeant Steel says there are no other wonders. He has a lair with tech from his central control, shielded. They appeared as "extrinsics" on his monitors, from parallel dimension. He's part of the Americommando program, set up as a defense. After that they made the Sandman Sleeper Forces. They are led by Dodds and answer to the Ultra-Humanite, who wears Luthor-like armor. John senses them searching. He has "gotten there first."

Earth 2: Society #19 (Feb. 2016)

Part 4: The heroes are uncovered to mass hysteria as they fight the Sandmen. Batman's team prepare to attack central control. Ultra reveals that he has Green Lantern captive, in stasis.

Earth 2: Society #20 (Mar. 2016)

Part 5: As Batman pummels Ultra, his grip on GL weakens and Alan frees himself. Ultra lands a punch to Batman's back and declares him dead. Green Lantern arrives on the scene

Earth 2: Society #21 (Apr. 2016)

Part 6: Six months later the wonders have formed a team to protect their society. New meta-criminals have appeared like Scarecrow Gang and Captain Cold, Luthor. Lois has a job writing, without disguise. Helena has become Batman IV, a symbol, her inheritance. John is her Robin II; he calls her "aunt." Dick is their leader, Oracle.

Earth 2: Society #22 (May 2016)

24 February 2017

DC Super-Hero Legacy!

Many of DC's heroes ended their runs because of reduction in page counts, or canceled or reformatted titles.

This new infographic was inspired by the findings of my study of DC's Golden Age characters chronologies (see next article), and realized a few things about the reasons why certain characters have become the icons we know today:

  • Writer Gardner Fox was the creator of both the Justice Society and the Justice League. It stands to reason that the characters he was most familiar with would be furthest to the front of his mind when it came time for reinvention.
  • Likewise, Justice League editor Julius Schwartz, and writer John Broome had been active during the production of Golden Age titles, and engineered other key Silver Age revivals.
  • Original characters with unbroken publication records (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) or with a mostly-continuous presence in comics (Aquaman and Green Arrow) were the foundations of the early JLA (and the Super Friends). The team's founding roster was rounded out with reinventions of Golden Age anchors, the other two who'd held their own titles, the Flash and Green Lantern.
  • The remainder of the Justice Society members who were still active when All-Star Comics ceased publication (Hawkman, the Atom, and Black Canary) were also among the first to be reintroduced for the Silver Age.
  • Poor Doctor Mid-Nite was the sole Justice Society survivor left out of the Silver Age renaissance. 😢  JSA members who'd dropped off before 1951 were reintroduced piecemeal, as the concept of Earth-Two took hold and JLA/JSA team-ups gained popularity.
  • The chart also shows how DC rolled out its reintroduction of second tier Golden Age characters. Aside from the JSA members, it was mainly the Seven Soldiers of Victory who came back in the 1970s. In the 1980s, All-Star Squadron emptied much of the remaining vaults.

Because DC Comics has been in continuous publication, there are precious few Golden Age DC characters who haven't been reintroduced in some fashion. Add to that the Quality Comics and Fawcett Comics characters, and the legacies have been a goldmine for storytelling.

29 January 2017

DC Golden Age Hero Chronology!

Many of DC's heroes ended their runs because of reduction in page counts, or canceled or reformatted titles.

A long time ago I did this sort of graphing with Quality Comics titles and it revealed something unexpected. I was curious to see if there were any such trends at DC in the Golden Age of heroes. There are a few things, but nothing terribly surprising:

  • With June 1943 issues, page counts dropped from 68 to 60 in some books. The King, Tarantula, and Sargon were axed.
  • In August 1944 issues, pages went from 60 to 52. One super-hero from every anthology was dropped: Crimson Avenger, Mr. America, the Whip, Dr. Fate, Red Tornado, and Manhunter.
  • A few features — Johnny Quick, Aquaman, and Green Arrow — survived an editorial change in More Fun Comics and moved to Adventure Comics with #103 (April 1946).
  • Some JSA members (Flash, Hawkman, the Atom) survived the end of Flash Comics (#104, Feb. 1949) and continued a bit longer, along with Green Lantern, in the pages of All-Star Comics (through #57, Feb./Mar. 1951).
  • As is fairly well-known, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman remained in continuous publication. Aquaman and Green Arrow survived well into the Silver Age as well. All of these heroes become anchors of the Justice League when that team debuted in 1960 (along with two reinvigorated Golden Age properties, the Flash and Green Lantern).
  • It's interesting that some of the heroes from the Seven Soldiers of Victory (Vigilante, Shining Knight, Star-Spangled Kid, and Green Arrow) were generally around for longer, despite the team having lasted only 14 issues in Leading Comics (ending in mid-1945).

10 October 2016

Cosmic Teams is featured under "Fan Sites" on the DC Fans page.

Cosmic Teams Featured on DC Fans!

Cosmic Teams is featured on DC Entertainment's all-new DC Fans section! I've known about this for a while, as they contacted me for permission, but it's SO FREAKING UNBELIEVABLE to actually see it. I'm proud of my site; it's been 20 years and a lot of work. I wouldn't do it if I didn't love it, and if that introverted little geek weren't still alive inside.

I've seen many kick-ass sites (understandably) fall by the wayside over 20 years, and others rise up as the ease of making a site has increased. This site is still 100% hand-coded, though I wish it weren't. It needs to be database driven. I'm a front-end designer by day but my skills don't extend that far without some study. Someday!

» SEE: DC Fans

 

8 October 2016

Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt seeks Superman's help. From Superman Family #204 (1981); art by Kurt Schaffenberger and Frank Chiaramonte.

Superman of Earth-Two!

For months, I've been collecting the "Mr. and Mrs. Superman" issues of Superman Family (1979–82). It irked me that I didn't have these issues so now I've finally strung together the narrative of these fun adventures. By E. Nelson Bridwell and Kurt Schaffenberger, the stories are the perfect combination of geeky history and Golden Age style. The profile was written with the invaluable help of Aaron Severson!

This leads me (ever again) to want to put together really definitive, detailed profiles of DC's other Golden Age heroes. Eventually. Before I die.

"While Clark and Lois Lane Kent settled into their new apartment, they were at no loss for adventure. Before long it was gangster-throws-Lois-from-a-buildling all over again and of course, she was saved by Superman. Women on the street noted the spectacle and gossiped about the new bride's intimate connection with the Man of Steel." … READ MORE »

8 September 2016

Superboy and Supergirl (in their first mission together) are forced to resign; their memories are wiped before returning to the 20th century. From Adventure Comics #350 (1966); art by Curt Swan and George Klein.

Superboy!

I'm back! Nothing can keep me from it.

Every so often I visit pages on my site and realize (a) they are horrible and embarrassing, and (b) I actually have all the information I need to make them good. So it was with my Superboy profile. Recently Aaron Severson wrote the Superman of Earth-One profile, so I already had a good base for the non-Legion history. Then I pulled everything out of the chronologies and voila! This is also engineering a Supergirl update, but that's not totally ready yet.

Catch up on what happened after the Crisis, and the Infinite Crisis! See how the restoration of the DC multiverse restored Superman's career as Superboy (despite the DC lawsuit), and brought the original Legion back to the DCU.

"Kal-El was born on the planet Krypton, the son of Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van, in Kryptonopolis, capitol of the planet Krypton. The El family was heir to a proud lineage dating back almost to the beginnings of Kryptonian civilization" … READ MORE »

6 August 2016

Suicide Squad!

Rick Flag • Bronze Tiger • Nightshade • Deadshot • Capt. Boomerang • Vixen • Oracle • Shade • Dr. Light

Heading out to see Suicide Squad movie? Brush up on their (pre-New 52) history! In reviewing this profile, it could use some more meat and pictures, but I did a fair job of keeping it up-to-date on their appearances. I absolutely love John Ostrander's Suicide Squad series and recommend all DC fans read it.

READ MORE »

11 March 2016

Animated Legion!

Legionnaires star in "New Kid in Town." From Superman: The Animated Series, season 3, episode 3 (1998).

I have significantly edited this article about the Legion's animated adventures, which includes their own series. Now is a good time to catch up, as the animated series can be purchased for streaming from Amazon Prime.

Thanks to Michael Grabois who pointed out a lot of details from the DC animated universe. There's no linear link between the Legion's appearances in the DC cartoons, but since they shared creators, certain things were repurposed each time they reappeared.

Browse the Sections

16 February 2016

A piece of original art I own by George Pérez. From Brave and the Bold #7 (2007).

Power Girl!

Forget Wonder Woman, Power Girl is the bombshell of DC Comics! I guess I probably avoided doing this profile properly because of all the post-Crisis craziness involved with this character. But since I've been focusing on covering Earth-Two histories more, I really wanted to have this one up.

Originally I had split this profile into pre- and post-Crisis but I realized the issue of her continuity was so fluid that the story needed to fit into one narrative. Her post-Crisis Atlantean origin never really stuck and was eventually discarded, so the whole shebang is found in this single profile. And tons of stunning art from the industry's best!

"Kara Zor-L was born on Krypton in the Earth-Two universe circa 1918. Her parents, Zor-L and Allura lived in the city of Kandor (which unlike the Earth-One universe, was not shrunk by Brainiac). Kara was born just after her cousin, Kal-L, and shortly after their births, Krypton exploded and both children were placed in rockets bound for Earth. Kal-L's rocket arrived much earlier than Kara's, which took 60 more years to reach Earth." … READ MORE »