By Jekylhyde14 0 Comments
As I promised in the forums, here is the blog space for my Superman reading marathon.
However! I've decided to do it in videos:
As I promised in the forums, here is the blog space for my Superman reading marathon.
However! I've decided to do it in videos:
We are about a year and a half into DC's Rebirth, and it's safe to say that Superman has been through some major changes along the way. In particular, the Superman Reborn story published a few months back made some major changes by combining the Post-Crisis version of Superman and the New 52 version into one person. Inevitably, that left some questions about what this new Superman's history looks like and which stories now make up that history. In an attempt to try and answer these questions, I did a deep dive into Superman Reborn and the clarifying story arc, "The New World," that followed it. "The New World" (Action Comics #977-8) doesn't give concrete answers to every question you may have, but does provide many answers and visual cues that have helped lead me to a number of conclusions. Without an official timeline or write-up by DC, some of these things are guesses or assumptions, but I will do my best to provide sufficient evidence to back up my conclusions. Here they are broken up into segments:
"The New World" is littered with references to Geoff Johns and Gary Frank's pre-New 52 Superman origin story. Let's start with Krypton which looks similar in both "The New World" and Secret Origin. Superman's Kryptonian parents, Jor El and Lara, also appear to have been altered to closer resemble their Secret Origin counter-parts. Lara has wavy blonde hair in both stories and Jor El is rocking a beard.
Clark's childhood in Smallville is also consistent between the two stories. In both, it seems that Lex Luthor grew up in Smallville where he discovered Kryptonite, Clark saved Lana by flying through a tornado, and Pete Ross broke his arm.
Finally, Clark's debut as Superman is the same in both Secret Origin and "The New World." It's his first day at The Daily Planet and he's forced to save Lois by catching her and a falling Lex Corp helicopter.
Obviously, these similarities aren't a coincidence. They're there to let you know that Secret Origin is back and is canon again. This makes sense in a lot of ways. Secret Origin was the last official origin story of Post-Crisis Superman before Flashpoint and the New 52. Also, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank are the creative team behind Doomsday Clock where Superman will play a pivotal role. I wouldn't be surprised if Doomsday Clock also explores similar themes as Secret Origin did. The only question that I'm left with here is: Did all of Secret Origin make it into this version of Superman's history? Secret Origin also included Clark Kent in action as Superboy in Smallville as well as his friendship with the Legion of Superheroes. There was no indication of these elements in "The New World."
This is hardly a shocker since the whole philosophy behind Superman in DC's Rebirth has been to bring back and reinstate Post-Crisis Superman, but that was fully backed up both in "Superman Reborn" and "The New World." Let me start with this image from "The New World" that summarizes all the villains that Superman has fought during his career.
Most of these villains are either Post-Crisis versions of classic Superman rogues or are possibly there to reference specific Post-Crisis stories. We have the likes of Silver Banshee from John Byrne's run, Mongul of Warworld fame, Conduit from "The Death of Clark Kent," Imperiex from "Our Worlds at War," and Manchester Black who was most notably involved in "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and The American Way?" Also, I can't help but notice that Metallo looks exactly the way he did in Secret Origin.
It's not only the Post-Crisis villains that make a return in "The New World," though. It's also the life and times of Post-Crisis Superman that is making a comeback. Check out this image from "The New World" of changes that Superman goes through during his career.
In this image we see an unshaven Superman with a re-breather belt from the time Superman exiled himself into space, we see Superman in Kryptonian garb from that time the Eradicator controlled his mind, we have Superman in his gladiatorial Warworld tunic, and we can clearly make out blue lightning Superman (you can all breathe easy, blue lightning Superman is canon again). The only one I can't identify is Superman in that red and blue spacesuit. If anyone knows what story that is from then please give me a shout in the comments. Regardless, these Superman fashion statements all come from notable Post-Crisis story arcs. This image combined with the picture of the villains is supposed to summarize Superman's Post-Crisis history and let you know that it's all relevant again.
"The New World" goes on to directly reference specific Post-Crisis Superman stories such as: Clark's proposal to Lois in Superman (Vol. 2) #50, Clark revealing his identity to Lois in Action Comics #662, The Death and Return of Superman, and Superman: The Wedding Album. There are two things to notice about the Post-Crisis stories that were referenced or hinted at in "The New World." First, stories that revolve around or furthered Lois and Clark's relationship were directly referenced which shows that you're supposed to see them as being particularly important. Second, a majority of the stories mentioned were ones that Dan Jurgens either wrote or was part of the Superman creative team for. This is really not surprising since Dan Jurgens also wrote half of "Superman Reborn" and all of "The New World." That might make it safe to say that all Dan Jurgens material is canon.
The first reference that "The New World" really makes to a piece of New 52 mythology is that Ma and Pa Kent are dead. That was a major difference between the New 52's Superman and Post-Crisis' Superman who had his Ma and Pa as a support system. That part of the New 52 was kept, at least. That being said, the how and when it happened was not indicated, so it's unclear whether it still went down the way it did in Grant Morrison's Action Comics or if it happened a different way. One thing that is different is that "The New World" has Ma and Pa buried together while they had separate tombstones in the New 52.
Outside of that, "The New World" makes a few other references to material from the New 52. The villain Blanque pops up in that image of the Superman rogues gallery. The events of the Lois and Clark mini-series are also directly referenced as part of Superman's history minus the existence of a second Superman. Again, that's Dan Jurgens material so it obviously still has to be canon. The only other references to New 52 Superman stories in "The New World" are these two images.
The image on the left is of the Oracle who most notably popped up at the end of the H'El on Earth crossover. The picture on the right shows Superman battling Ulysses from Geoff Johns and John Romita's Men of Tomorrow story. That probably indicates that both of these stories are still canon (more or less). Basically, "The New World" leaves a period of time after Jon's birth open for the New 52 stories to take place, but H'El on Earth and Men of Tomorrow are the only ones specifically referenced.
Strangely enough, it's the ancillary Superman Family titles that do more to preserve parts of the New 52 than the main Superman titles do. The Phantom Zone criminal, Xa-Du, from Grant Morrison's run on Action Comics recently appeared in a Supergirl story. Morrison's version of the Kryptonite Man was also featured in Superwoman. Superwoman also continues the stories of Lana Lang and John Henry Irons following Greg Pak's run on Action Comics. Superman's solar flare ability would've had to have been canon at one point for both Superwoman and the New Super-Man to have their powers. The New 52 remains alive and kicking in the Superman Family if not in the main event.
Finally, I think you can safely assume that Superman's New 52 history with the Justice League is still canon minus the romance with Wonder Woman. Justice League was DC's flagship book during the New 52 and their storytelling still has a lot wrapped up in that series. It's not a stretch, therefore, to say that his adventures in that book happened even if we're ignoring the fact that he was smooching Diana at the time. The New 52's Justice League is still the canon Justice League.
There were four possible, legitimate origin stories that the post Superman Reborn Superman could have had. Secret Origin was the one chosen which means that the other three are out. John Byrne's Man of Steel, Mark Waid's Superman: Birthright, and a vast majority of Grant Morrison's Action Comics all have to be thrown out for Secret Origin to work. They all contain elements that would create inconsistencies with how Secret Origin and "The New World" lay out Superman's childhood in Smallville and debut in Metropolis. There can be only one origin story and it seems like Secret Origin is it.
Honestly, I'm pretty bummed out that Morrison's Action Comics is seemingly being written out of continuity. It's probably my favorite run on an in-continuity Superman title ever, and it's a rather beautiful piece of work. Its interpretation of Superman's origins don't fit into this framework. However, I do hold out some hope that not all of it is lost. Mr. Mxyzptlk's character profile in Action Comics #975 suggested that Mxy's history from Morrison's run might still be relevant. With that and the fact that some of his run's villains have appeared in other Superman Family titles gives me hope that Morrison's Action Comics won't be forgotten in the Rebirth era.
Big retconns like this always leave a number of loose ends, and Superman Reborn is no different. For instance, which version of the Justice League fought Doomsday during the Death of Superman? In the original version of the story, it's a line-up made up of heroes from the 1990's Justice League International. However, in the current history of the Justice League, that version of the team never existed. Does that mean it was Batman, Wonder Woman, and co. that fought Doomsday? Anyway, there will be a lot of questions like that one and little adjustments to make if this history is going to work as a solid timeline. These things tend to become more clear in time, and not every question has to be answered for it all to work. It's still just a work in progress.
Anyway, those are my major takeaways concerning the new Superman history. With that, I wanted to end by making a rough, unofficial timeline for Post Superman Reborn Superman. I think it looks a little something like this:
Superman: Secret Origin
Ma and Pa Kent die
Superman executes the Pocket Universe Phantom Zone criminals (Superman Vol. 2 #22)
Superman Exiles himself into space (Superman Vol. 2 # 28)
Superman on Warworld (Superman Vol. 2 #32)
The Eradicator controls Superman's mind
Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite (Superman Vol. 2 #49)
Clark proposes to Lois (Superman Vol. 2 #50)
Superman reveals his secret identity to Lois (Action Comics #662)
The Death and Return of Superman
The Death of Clark Kent (Superman Vol. 2 #100)
Lois makes her final decision to marry Clark (Superman Vol. 2 #118)
Superman: The Wedding Album
Blue lightning Superman (Superman Vol. 2 #123)
What's so Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way? (Action Comics #775)
Our Worlds At War
The birth of Jonathan Samuel Kent
Superman: Lois & Clark mini-series
H'El on Earth
The Men of Tomorrow
The Rebirth stories
That's my rough, unofficial, incomplete timeline for Superman's new history.
Edit (11/7/17): I changed my timeline to reflect that Ma and Pa Kent died without meeting Lois or Jon as this was pointed out to me in the comments.
Edit (11/12/17): I added Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite and Doomed to my timeline thanks to the comment section.
Edit (11/14/17): Added the Phantom Zone criminal execution because it leads to Superman's decision to exile himself into space. Also, I fixed an earlier mistake I made. The Eradicator controlled Superman's mind after he returned to Earth from exile and before he proposed to Lois. This did not happen in Superman Vol. 2 #57 as I originally thought.
That's it for this post. Be sure to let me know what you think about my suggested timeline and everything else I just wrote. Leave any comments or questions underneath. Thanks!
Finally! It's here! The long-awaited Aquaman introduction post. Yeah, it took me awhile to gather the interest to finish this one, but that's not because Aquaman isn't a great character. He is and I hope to try and help prove that by the end of this post. However, I'd be lying if I said he was one of my favorites. Still, he's a Justice League founder and one of the Big Seven, so he deserves our respect. I will try to get through this blog with as few fish and water puns as humanly possible. Also, if you're interested, check out my introductions to Cyborg and Wonder Woman. And now, Aquaman:
Created By: Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris
First Appearance: More Fun Comics #73 (November 1941)
Portrayed By: Jason Momoa
Like every other Leaguer, Aquaman's origin has changed here and there over the years. These days, though, you can count on the basics being consistent. Arthur Curry is the son of human lighthouse keeper, Tom Curry, and the Atlantean queen, Atlanna. Initially being brought up as human, Arthur had no knowledge of his Atlantean heritage. As he got older, though, he found himself drawn to the sea and eventually discovered that he had strange abilities. He would train these gifts over the years, and learned to master them. In some origins, he had the "help" of his father.
Inevitably, Arthur learned of his Atlantean origins and of the fact that he was in line to succeed his mother on the throne of Atlantis. Burdened by his newfound royal responsibilities and his dual identity as both human and Atlantean, Arthur decided to rise as a champion for both his peoples. Assuming the superhero identity of Aquaman to help gain the trust of the surface world, Arthur began his mission to battle evil and keep both of his homes safe.
Personality and Motivations:
We'll start with his motivations. The fact that he's half-human and half-Atlantean royalty often puts Aquaman in some awkward situations. Let's face it, the surface world doesn't really treat it's oceans and seas with an awful lot of respect. Our underwater neighbors have to put up with our pollution and our dangerous nuclear submarines encroaching on their territory. This often makes Aquaman a mouthpiece for environmental responsibility. Over the years, he's become a champion for keeping the seas clean, for nuclear disarmament, and even for responsible fishing practices in hopes of maintaining the ecosystem of our oceans. He is also highly motivated to keep the peace between Atlantis and the surface world. Being two very foreign peoples who often have legitimate gripes and conflicting interests, Atlantis often finds itself on the brink of war with the surface world. This makes Aquaman work overtime to cool hostilities, avert misunderstandings, and stop his human and Atlantean brothers from tearing each other apart. He battles to protect Atantis from surface threats, the surface from the evil creatures of the sea, and the world to keep everyone safe. At the end of the day, though, he is the King of Atlantis. His main responsibilities are to Atlantis and its people. He accepts that burden and never lets anyone else forget who they have to answer to if they disrespect his oceans.
What does this all do to his personality? Well, he's a warrior king. He's a leader who fights his own battles and leads the charge. He's royalty. Because of all this, Aquaman usually comes off as stern, fierce, and arrogant. He kind of has to be because of his station. The stress and strain also makes him prone to some serious outbursts of anger. If you push Aquaman too far or even just catch him on a bad day, he's liable to whoop you. That being said, Arthur enjoys the adventure of his lifestyle and is known to lighten up and even crack jokes around his closest friends. He's a badass but he knows how to take it easy.
Powers and Abilities:
Okay, let's start off with the elephant in the room: He talks to fish.
Okay, fine, technically porpoises are mammals, but I've got my eye on you...
Seriously, though, the official story these days is that he doesn't talk to fish so much as he telepathically commands them. With this ability, he can get all forms of sea life from whales to squid to seahorses to even the microorganisms swimming in the ocean to do his bidding. The versatility of sea life and their unique qualities makes this power rather handy (even if it's generally not respected). Think about it, though. The man can call on an army of sharks and killer whales. Tell me that's not cool.
As an Atlantean, Aquaman can also breath underwater, swim at tremendous speeds, has enhanced strength, and limited invulnerability. He's not nearly as strong or as invulnerable as either Superman or Wonder Woman. However, his body is built to withstand the intense pressure of the deep sea environments and needs to be able to propel him through strong crosscurrents, so he's certainly no pushover. As an Atlantean warrior, Arthur is trained in both armed and unarmed combat. His weapon of choice these days is his royal trident which he wields with mastery. If you do end up fighting him, you'd better hope the fight isn't underwater where his combat skills are arguably unmatched.
Aquaman's Atlantean physiology gives him one, serious Achilles' heel: Dehydration. The rule used to be that he couldn't go an hour without being submerged in water. These days, he can definitely go longer (and doesn't wear the bubble helmet- thank God), but he still needs regular contact with water to survive. If he dries out completely then the king is dead. This weakness has been exploited by his enemies more than a few times. Most notably, Ra's Al Ghul gave Aquaman a water phobia using Scarecrow's fear toxin during the "Tower of Babel" storyline. This almost led to Aquaman unwittingly committing suicide. Outside of that big weakness, Aquaman's invulnerability is extremely limited. He can be harmed or killed by a weapon propelled with great enough force or wielded by a strong opponent.
Key Supporting Characters:
Mera is the love of Aquaman's life. Originally, she was the exiled queen of a watery alternate dimension. Later, she was retconned as an Atlantean outcast. In just about every timeline, she meets Arthur, they fall in love, and she becomes his queen. Mera can breath underwater, swim at tremendous speeds, and has the added ability of being able to control water. She can make it move and form into any shape she wants. She cannot talk to fish, however. Mera is a worthy queen. She is fierce in her defense of both her husband and her realm. She can also be a bit cold, harsh, and unforgiving if you get on her bad side. To her friends, though, she is both loving and loyal. She and Arthur have gone through a lot over the years and, sometimes, their relationship is strained by tragedy and Aquaman's responsibilities to Atlantis and the Justice League. However, they always come back to each other in the end.
I didn't want to talk about Vulko. I wanted to talk about Aquaman's pet squid, Topo. However, it looks like Willem Dafoe will be playing Vulko in the Justice League movie, so I can't always get what I want. Nuidis Vulko is Arthur's royal adviser and his most ardent defender at Atlantean court. The original version of Vulko was a befuddled, pompous bureaucrat. The New 52's version was more of a desperate schemer. He's unflinchingly loyal to Arthur and is willing to do whatever it takes to keep Aquaman on Atlantis' throne. I'm guessing that the movies will stick close to the New 52's version as that option gives Vulko some more interesting plot points. I'm listing him as a supporting character, but his methods are so questionable that I could have easily listed him a a villain. Vulko is not afraid to bloody his hands for the king that he believes in. More on that in a bit.
Any list of Aquaman's supporting characters would be incomplete without his perennial sidekick, Aqualad. Garth was a young Atlantean who was cast out of Atlantis due to their superstitious beliefs about his purple eyes. The meaning behind his purple eyes has changed over the years. Originally, it meant that he was doomed to be unable to adapt to life in Atlantis. Garth would prove this to be accurate by developing a phobia to fish (yes, you read that right). Later, his eyes were associated with a pacifist sect of the Atlantean community. Later still, it signified ones ability to wield magic (that's the coolest one). Regardless, Aquaman took the boy in and trained him to be his partner in the fight for justice. Aqualad would go on to grow into his own hero and help found the Teen Titans. He would also accept his destiny as a magic user and became the badass water warlock, Tempest. At this point, it's unclear if or to what extent we'll see Garth in the movies. So far, the DCEU has been averse to using sidekicks (hey there, Jimmy Olsen). However, he should at least make a cameo. The kid's got history.
Honorable Mentions: Topo (dammit!), Dolphin, and Tula (Aquagirl)
Black Manta is, hands down, Aquaman's worst enemy. Kidnapped by pirates as a child and forced to work on their ship (yup...), young David came to develop a grudge against the sea and against Aquaman for failing to notice his plight and save him during a chance encounter. Using this anger and his own scientific prowess, David became Black Manta by building a suit that would allow him to survive the ocean's depths. He also built a helmet which shot lasers from its eyes. Time and again he'd use his suit and his genius in attempts to conquer and crush Atlantis and its king. Aquaman was always there to stop him and foil his schemes, but their rivalry took a decidedly ugly turn after Manta did one of the worst things to Aquaman that a villain has ever done to a DC hero. ...More on that later. Aquaman and Black Manta hate each other with a vengeance so it's amazing that one hasn't killed the other by now.
Ocean Master is Aquaman's younger, half-brother Orm. Orm is usually portrayed as being jealous of the fact that his brother was allowed to ascend to the throne, and angry at his mother for having the half-human king in the first place. As a result, Ocean Master often schemes to depose Aquaman and take the throne for himself. He's had a number of different abilities over the years. Sometimes he can control water. Sometimes he's wielding a trident that can summon storms and shoot lightning. His relationship with his brother has changed over the years, as well. Sometimes it's outright hatred. Sometimes it's love and familial devotion mixed with envy. Regardless, Ocean Master doesn't share his brother's trust for the surface world, and sometimes exploits Atlantean anger toward the dry land to gain power and influence. After all, Orm is full Atlantean. He believes this makes him the right king to protect Atlantis from the surface. I'd strongly expect to see Ocean Master appear in the Aquaman solo film. The Game of Thrones-esque plot points he bring to the table would be too much to resist.
Filling this third spot was tough. Aquaman has a lot of lame villains and a lot of others who were just one-offs. However, I think The Trench fit the bill as something you may see in future films. The Trench are an evolutionary off-shoot of the Atlanteans. After Atlantis sank, The Trench were forced to adapt to survive in the harsh conditions of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. As such, their bodies can survive the great pressure of the deep, deep sea and their eyes can see in almost total darkness. Plus, they also have razor sharp teeth, can spit a paralyzing chemical, and, yes, they're carnivores. Basically, they're a deep-sea nightmare mixed with zombies. The Trench seem to follow the commands of whoever wields their king's trident which is a relief if the trident is in responsible hands. Under a more nefarious influence, The Trench can act as a terrifying invasion force of death and destruction. Considering how frightening they are, I would bet on seeing them in the Aquaman solo film or its potential sequel.
1) Aquaman (2011) Vol.1- The Trench- This is the beginning to Geoff Johns' New 52 run of Aquaman. It'll acquaint you with the basics of Aquaman's world, origin, and, well, with The Trench. It's how DC decided to reintroduce Aquaman to a wider audience, so it should probably be your first stop.
2) Aquaman (1994) #1,2,0- This kicks off Peter David's critically acclaimed mid-90's run on Aquaman. David went all-in on making Aquaman a badass. He had Arthur grow out his hair, beard, ditch the orange and green trunks, and even replace his hand with a hook. How did he lose that hand? Read the story to find out. The film version obviously took Aquaman's look from Peter David's run, and this material did a lot to make more people interested in Aquaman. Personally, it's my favorite Aquaman era.
3) Adventure Comics #451-452- Remember when I said that Black Manta did something unforgivable to Aquaman? This is the story where that happens. It starts with Aquaman's son being kidnapped by his pet squid, Topo, and ends with the Aquaman/Manta rivalry becoming a blood feud. This story is not for the faint of heart. It contains some problematic elements, but it's seminal. Just be warned.
Top Moments as a Justice Leaguer:
3) Justice League of America (Vol.1) Annual #2- Deciding that a team made up of part-time members wasn't good enough anymore, Aquaman invokes his right as a founding member to disband the Satellite Era Justice League and create... Justice League Detroit...? Yeah, this is the beginning of the Justice League's Detroit Era which is not looked on particularly well by critics. That being said, this is a strong moment for Aquaman in the league, and this story did give the Justice League its first non-white members (yes, it really took that long). So... good on you Aquaman.
2) JLA Vol. 11-12: Obsidian Age- This story sees Aquaman and the Justice League working in the past and present to free Atlantis from a dark timeline created by the witch Gamemnae. Aquaman has a big moment in the finale to help rid his home of a dark and shameful past.
1) Aquaman (2011) Vol.3- Throne of Atlantis- This is the best Aquaman-centric Justice League story and a must read before you see the films. Throne of Atlantis sees Ocean Master raise the armies of Atlantis to war against the Justice League and the surface world with Aquaman in the middle. This one contains some key plot points for Ocean Master and Vulko. It's also Aquaman's greatest triumph as a member of the Justice League.
Other Live Action Versions:
Aquaman, like so many other heroes, was featured on Smallville. He first appeared in Season 5, Episode 4 entitled "Aqua." He went on to make a number of other guest appearances as part of Smallville's own version of The Justice League. The CW also completed a failed 2006 pilot of an Aquaman show that was in the mold of Smallville. It centered on a young Arthur Curry played by Justin Hartley (who would play Green Arrow in Smallville) discovering his powers and his Atlantean heritage. I've seen the pilot and the best part about it is that Ving Rhames plays Arthur's Atlantean mentor which means you get to hear Marsellus Wallace, himself, talking about Atlantis and mermaids. That, alone, makes it worth the watch, but... it's probably good that the CW didn't pick up the show.
There you have it. My Aquaman post is finally done. I know that I've made fun of poor Arthur a bit, but, with the right stories and creators, Aquaman is a great hero. He can be used to help spread environmental messages. The mystical setting of Atlantis also leaves the door open for some great fantasy plots. Also, remember, much of our ocean depths are unexplored which can make Aquaman's world a fertile breeding ground for the right imaginations. Aquaman's a great hero and a fantastic character. I hope we'll all get to see that on display in the Justice League movie. Anyway, stay tuned for my next Getting to Know the Justice League post. It'll be a fun one... and that's a Flash Fact.
I needed a break from writing about Wonder Woman, and I guess I'm not spiritually ready to do my Aquaman post yet. Instead, I decided to do this. I want to break down my ten favorite runs of my favorite superhero team: The Justice League. There was a lot to choose from in their 56 year run, but I trust I picked ten runs that are at least worth a peruse. Without further ado, here are my ten favorite Justice League runs:
10) Dan Jurgens' First Run- Justice League Spectacular, Justice League of America (Justice League Vol. 1, 1987) #61-77
This is a selfishly nostalgic pick, but I'm going with it. The Justice League Spectacular written by Dan Jurgens was my introduction to the Justice League. I read with interest and curiosity as Superman lead a team of heroes I'd never heard of before to take on The Royal Flush Gang. From there I became well-acquainted with the likes of Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Ice, Fire, Maxima, and, of course, Guy Gardner. Jurgens' run was also closely tied to the Superman books during the Death of Superman, so I got to see this rag-tag team stand with Supes in his darkest hour. In the aftermath of Superman's demise, Jurgens got to create a new line-up where he brought in brand new '90's heroes: The Ray, Black Condor, and Agent Liberty. This ensured that the Justice League continued its time honored tradition of using the team to try and promote the new heroes of the age. Jurgens run was also an attempt to turn the book back into a straight up superhero book, and turn it away from the humor and satire of the Giffen/DeMatteis years. You would have to say that he succeeded. Not the most spectacular (heh, heh) pick on my list, but it's still an enjoyable read... and it is only my number 10.
9) Brad Meltzer's Run- Justice League of America (Vol. 2, 2006) #0-12
This pick might get me some heat. Brad Meltzer's Identity Crisis is a bit controversial, and his run on the Justice League gets critiqued for doing things like spending way too much time on Red Tornado. Regardless, there was a lot that Brad Meltzer did well. The man has a talent for characterization and making superheroes seem believably human. His run did some great character work for the likes of Black Canary, Vixen, Red Arrow (Roy Harper), and, yes, Red Tornado. Black Canary finally got to take a leadership role in the team, Vixen was definitely better served in this tenure with the League than in her first go with Justice League Detroit, the Red Arrow/Hawkgirl pairing was a fun twist for both characters, and The Red Tornado's search for humanity is a time-honored sci-fi story troupe. The Lightning Saga is a classic Justice League/Justice Society team-up with the Legion of Superheroes thrown in for good measure. Even if you can't be sold on Meltzer, Ed Benes' does some pretty artwork, right? Honestly, Meltzer's run is the highlight of this volume of the Justice League of America. It was all down hill from there until The New 52.
8) Joe Kelly's JLA/Elite Run- JLA #61-76, 78-90, 100, Justice League Elite #1-12
Joe Kelly's not for everyone, but I don't think his Justice League run gets the credit it deserves. He successfully carried the torch passed on to him by Grant Morrison and Mark Waid by delivering Justice League stories that were large in scale and fun. Okay, sometimes he got carried away and went over the top, but that's still fun. Obsidian Age, in particular, exemplifies what he brought to the table. The story altered Atlantean history and split the group between the past and present to save Aquaman's home. Kelly also played with the idea of a Batman and Wonder Woman relationship that had been popularized by the Justice League cartoon of the time. He gave the Amazonian Princess and the Dark Knight Detective some epic romance scenes. Moving into the Justice League Elite phase of his run, Kelly juxtaposed the classic superhero morality of The Justice League with the darker, morally ambiguous ideals of new characters like Sister Superior, Manitou Raven, and Major Disaster. This worked as decent commentary on the trend of mature-themed hero books of the time like The Authority. Kelly's not always my cup of tea, to be honest, but he churned out a solid, fun JLA run. After him, the JLA volume never felt relevant again.
7) Denny O'Neil's First Run- Justice League of America Vol. 1 #66, 68-75, 77-83, 86, 115
Denny O'Neil was a pivotal creator in DC's transition from the Silver to the Bronze Age. His work on the Justice League reflects this. He added some much needed characterization to the team. Under O'Neil, Green Arrow became the outspoken, childish hot head with killer facial hair that we all know and love. Prior to this, every member of the League had the same righteous, congenial personality. O'Neil started a trend that would allow us to tell them apart. He brought Black Canary to the team to replace Wonder Woman, and kicked off the epic Green Arrow/Black Canary romance. O'Neil also gave birth to the Satellite League era by moving the teams headquarters to Earth's orbit in issue #77. I only stall O'Neil at number 7 because his Justice League villains never really became iconic and many of his plots were pretty vague. Regardless, Denny O'Neil's run is important to League history and moved them into the future in a way that would allow them to survive the changing tastes and moods of the comic book scene of the 1970's and '80's. He deserves his place on this list and in the history of great DC creators.
6) Mark Waid's JLA Run- JLA #18-21, 32-33, 43-58, 60
I'm a big fan of Mark Waid. He had a close working relationship with Grant Morrison starting with his editorial work on Morrison's Doom Patrol. This probably helped lead to him writing filler issues during Morrison's JLA run, and then to taking permanent writing duties after Morrison's departure. There couldn't have been a better choice to take Morrison's place. Waid begins his proper run with the acclaimed "Tower of Babel." In this story, Ra's Al Ghul steals Batman's plans to incapacitate the Justice League and sets them in motion against the team. This story is the natural conclusion to Batman's paranoid, loner behavior of the era, and had ramifications that were felt across the DC Universe for years to come. "Tower of Babel" alone would earn Mark Waid the number 6 spot, but his other stories weren't half bad either. Waid had the Justice League confront fairy tale legends and even their own alter egos throughout the course of his tenure. Even his filler issues are pretty decent showing his love and appreciation for classic Justice League stories. My only real gripe with Waid's JLA run is that it didn't last long enough. Wanting more made me track down the issues of Justice League Quarterly and Justice League Task Force he contributed to. All that and I haven't eve mentioned Kingdom Come. Whenever Waid touches these characters, it's worth reading.
5) Len Wein's First Run- Justice League of America (Vol.1) #100-114
For my tastes, Len Wein's run embodies the best of the Justice League's Satellite years. Wein had a way of reaching into the history of comics and bringing things back to be interesting and relevant again. He kicked off his run with the classic Justice League/ Justice Society team-up that answered the question of what happened to the Seven Soldiers of Victory after the Golden Age. This story is so epic in scale that it became the main inspiration for Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers revamp. Later, Wein brought back the heroes of Quality Comics to create Earth-X where the Nazis had won World War II. This proved that the Multiverse could be used to create alternate histories as well as alternate versions of the DC heroes. This story was also revamped by Morrison in Multiversity, and will become the main source material for The Ray's CW Seed animated series. Wein, like Meltzer, also had a soft spot for the Red Tornado. He added the android to the team and furthered his characterization through his quest for humanity. Wein's run doesn't get the attention or fanfare it truly deserves, but, if you haven't heard it before, let me be the first to tell you that it's truly wonderful. Check it out.
4) Geoff Johns' Run- Justice League (Vol.2, 2011) #0-50, Justice League of America (Vol. 3, 2013) #1-7, Forever Evil #1-7
I'm thinking I may get yelled at for how high up the list this run is, but I'm going to stand by it. Prior to The New 52, Justice League of America was floundering and struggled to seem important. Because of The New 52 and Geoff Johns, Justice League became the flagship book of the DC Universe. Every storyline of this run is epic in scale. It kicks off with an invasion from Apokolips, continues into a war between Atlantis and the dry land, screeches into the titanic Forever Evil where the entire team looks down for the count, then revives them to deal with a metahuman epidemic, and ends with a war between Darkseid and The Anti-Monitor. Each threat and battle feels so vital and so dire that you couldn't help but applaud Johns for understanding that that's what this team needed to make them the centerpiece. Every story plays like a blockbuster, and every cast member seems larger than life. It's like mainlining the original concept of The Justice League of America. It gave me the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship I always wanted, and the Cyborg/Shazam friendship I never knew I wanted. Yes, Geoff Johns is a bit overexposed, and, yes, he utilized a great deal of compressed story telling in his run. However, it's still one of the best, and if you think that this run won't be used as the main source material for the movies then you're crazy.
3) Gardner Fox's Original Run- The Brave and The Bold (Vol.1) #28-30, Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #1-65
Gardner Fox was a comic book genius and the co-creator of the Justice League of America. Reading his run , you may feel like his stories are outdated and that his plots are too formulaic. However, keep in mind that this run invented all the things that are great about the Justice League today. Gardner brought the following to The Justice League: The Multiverse, the annual Justice Society team-ups, the voting process for new members, and the wonderful rogues gallery. Starro, Amazo, Professor Ivo, Despero, Kanjar Ro, Amos Fortune, The Key, The Crime Syndicate of America, and many, many more became perpetual threats to The Justice League and Earth at large. No other Justice League writer has ever been able to successfully introduce so many new villains. That's what I really respect Gardner Fox for the most: His imagination. What his stories lacked in characterization and nuanced plot structure, he made up for in pure, unadulterated imagination. Aliens, time travel, alternate dimensions, magic, luck... Nothing was too unbelievable for Gardner to take on. Along with his partner in crime, Mike Sekowsky, Gardner created The Justice League and everything that makes them great. Every other creator on this list owes a lot to their run.
#2) Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' Justice League International- Justice League (Vol. 1, 1987)/Justice League International/Justice League of America #1-60, Annual #1-5, Justice League Europe #1-35 (and I know there's a lot more material that I'm not listing, but I'm tired so take pity)
This is the most atypical run on this list, but that's what makes it so great. Giffen and DeMatteis supposedly wanted to do a back to basics Big Seven run with their Justice League. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to use most of the Big Seven because creators wanted to keep control of their babies following Crisis on Infinite Earths. Only given Batman out of pity, Giffen and DeMatteis had to make due with the likes of Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner, Booster Gold, Rocket Red, Martian Manhunter, Ice, and Fire. Considering what they had to work with, the two writers did the only thing they could do: Treat the team like the farce that it was. Their run on Justice League became an intelligent and amusing satire on both the superhero genre and the world at large. The team dealt with problems like intergalactic home shopping schemes, cosmic interior decorators, and what happens when you build a casino on a living island. The characters were all so lovable and flawed that it was hard not to think of them like real people. The run became so popular that it spawned the spin-off Justice League Europe that was just as good as the original. I should also give credit to Kevin Maguire who lent his beautiful artwork to the early story arcs, and to Gerard Jones who co-wrote Justice League Europe with Giffen after DeMatteis decided his plate was too full as it stood. Justice League International is the most unique and the funniest Justice League run ever written. If you haven't read it yet, it's a must.
1) Grant Morrison's JLA- JLA #1-17, 22-26, 28-31, 34, 36-41, JLA One Million, JLA: Secret Files & Origins #1, JLA/WildC.A.T.s, Prometheus one-shot, DC One Million #1-4, JLA: Earth 2, JLA: Classified #1-3
Yes, I'm a Grant Morrison fanboy, but his run is definitively the best. It's everything that is great about The Justice League put on a grand scale and delivered to you wave after wave. It gives you The Multiverse ("JLA/WildC.A.T.s" and "JLA: Earth 2), a classic Justice League/Justice Society team-up ("Crisis Times Five"), a post-apocalyptic future ("Rock of Ages"), new members galore ("Woman of Tomorrow," Imaginary Stories," and "Camelot"), and even manages to make every person on Earth a superhero by it's finale ("World War III"). Morrison successfully revived the concept of The Big Seven. He managed to gracefully work around and with whatever else was happening in DC Continuity at the time including having to use blue lightning Superman. His work on JLA even connects with almost everything else he's done in the DC Universe: The Seven Soldiers of Victory, Final Crisis, All Star Superman, Multiversity, New 52's Action Comics, and his long run on Batman. You can't fault the choice in artists, either, with Howard Porter, Frank Quitely, and Ed McGuiness bringing all of this to life. Morrison's JLA epitomizes everything I love about The Justice League and left the door open for Mark Waid, Joe Kelly, and, to a degree, even Geoff Johns to follow suit. All three owe successful components of their runs to Grant Morrison. If you only ever read one Justice League run in your lifetime, this should be it.
Alright, that's my list. Feel free to leave a comment to agree with me, disagree with me, or share your own list. I love this team and I've spent so much of my life reading them and discussing them. It's what I love to do. Let's start a dialogue. There are no wrong answers. Until next time, I'll be monitoring my Justice League signal device. Later!
I just need to communicate a few things before I start. First, yes, I know I said that Aquaman would be next at the end of my Cyborg introduction piece, but I procrastinated hard on that and never quite finished it. Next thing I knew, it was time for Wonder Woman's 75th Anniversary and there was the big announcement that she would become an honorary ambassador to the UN. In light of all that, it felt right to put Aquaman to the side for now and concentrate on Wonder Woman. I know that it's Aquaman's 75th anniversary as well, but... Let's face it, Wonder Woman's more important both as a superhero and as a feminist icon. Ladies first, Aquaman. I'll get to his profile sometime after I finish my Wonder Woman celebration pieces... hopefully. Also, I wanted to mention a few slight alterations I made to my Cyborg piece. First, I rectified the fact that I never credited his creators in the profile. Shame on me since comic creators barely get enough credit as things stand. Second, I added a picture of Cyborg from the Justice League movie trailer so you can see him in all his live action glory. You can find my Cyborg introduction here: http://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/jekylhyde14/blog/getting-to-know-the-justice-league-cyborg/127692/
Now, on to Wonder Woman:
Created By: William Moulton Marston
First Appearance: All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941)
Portrayed By: Gal Gadot
Diana is the princess of the Amazons and the island of Themyscira. She is the beloved daughter of Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons. Throughout the years, the circumstances of Diana's birth have changed in the comics. Her Golden Age and Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths origins told, more or less, the same story: Queen Hippolyta molded a baby girl out of clay and then prayed to the Greek gods to give it life.
The Greek gods then blessed the child with the beauty of Aphrodite, the wisdom of Athena, the speed of Mercury, and the strength of Hercules giving Diana her special gifts. More recently, there have been updated accounts of her birth and parentage. Writer Brian Azzarello's run on Wonder Woman, starting with 2011's New 52, changed the story to make the god Zeus out as Wonder Woman's biological father. With Zeus as her father, Wonder Woman is technically a demigod which accounts for all of her super powers. Grant Morrison's Wonder Woman: Earth One made Hercules into Wonder Woman's father in a similar vein. If I were to hazard a guess based on the trailer, I would say that the movie is going to go with the formed from clay origin story. In the trailer, Wonder Woman says, "I have no father. I was brought to life by Zeus." Take that with a grain of salt, though, since the film isn't out yet. Regardless, in every origin story, Queen Hippolyta is her mother and her powers come from the Greek gods.
The island of Themyscira and the Amazonian society are hidden from the outside world of man by the Greek gods. All of the islands inhabitants are women and their society is shielded from the wars and struggles of man's world. The Amazons are also practically immortal and never age. Diana grows up on Themyscira as a happy child and the island's favorite daughter. This all changes when Captain (later Colonel) Steve Trevor of the US army crash lands his plane on Themyscira and is badly wounded. Diana finds herself drawn to Cpt. Trevor. She wants to save his life and seeing a man for the first time awakens her curiosity for the outside world. Defying her mother's orders, Diana competes in a tournament to decide which Amazon will be chosen to take Steve Trevor back to America. Diana wins the honor and becomes the champion and ambassador of the Amazons. Upon being exposed to America and the outside world, her extraordinary powers are revealed and Diana takes on the dual identities of Diana Prince and Wonder Woman.
Personality and Motivations:
The two most important goddesses to Amazonian culture are Aphrodite and Athena. As such, love and wisdom are cherished by the Amazons above all else and, by extension of that, peace is their ultimate goal. Being their champion and favorite daughter, Wonder Woman exemplifies this triumvirate of Amazonian ideals. Diana is usually patient, kind, loving, and wise. She has a great deal of empathy for others as is on display right off the bat with her concern for Steve Trevor. She tries everything she can to be there for her friends and feels terrible if she feels she's let them down even in the slightest. Diana also tends to yearn for fun and adventure which gives her a bit of a mischievous side. This led her to oppose her mother's wishes and travel to man's world in the first place. Wonder Woman never backs down from a challenge and has fun completing them.
She sounds too good to be true, right? Well, there's also another side to Diana which is a little less harmonious: Her warrior side. Like all Amazons, Diana is a trained warrior, and, like all soldiers, knows that war sometimes means doing things that are ugly but necessary. This side of Wonder Woman is perfectly exemplified in the "Sacrifice" story arc. When Maxwell Lord uses his mind control abilities to force Superman on a rampage, Diana is forced to make a difficult decision to protect Superman and the rest of the world. This side of Diana can be hard, calculating, and ruthless. She wants peace and love, but knows that there are sometimes bleak realities you have to accept to get them.
As for her mission statement, Wonder Woman is an ambassador of peace. Her ultimate goal is to help man's world turn away from war and aggression. Her actions as a superhero reflect those aims as she attempts to thwart the most violent and dangerous members of the outside world. Going hand in hand with peace, Diana also works towards equality. Gender equality, in particular, is important to Wonder Woman. She's often shown as being surprised and shocked at the toll man's world takes on a woman's natural strengths and beauty. Everything Wonder Woman does, she does for peace and equality.
Powers and Abilities:
As I mentioned in the origin above, Wonder Woman is blessed with the beauty of Aphrodite, the Wisdom of Athena, the speed of Mercury, and the strength of Hercules. What this amounts to in the way of super powers has always been super strength and super speed. As time has gone by, she's also gained the abilities of flight and near invulnerability. The flight seems to be an extension of Mercury's speed and the invulnerability an extension of her great strength. Basically, at this point she's evolved into a Superman level power set. In the Golden Age, the Amazons once had the ability to send each other telepathic messages with the aid of a mental radio, but that power is rarely seen in the Modern Age.
Wonder Woman also has a vast array of combat abilities and special gear. She's a trained Amazonian warrior and eventually becomes their greatest warrior. This makes her one of the best combatants in the DC Universe whether the combat is armed or not. These days, she's often seen wielding a sword. Of course, she also has her three most iconic pieces of equipment. First, there's her invisible, robot plane which, in some eras, responds to her telepathic commands. Next, there are her Amazonian bracelets. The Amazons all wear these bracelets to remind themselves of how they were once defeated by Hercules and enslaved by men. They make the most of this reminder, though, and use the bracelets as a defense against firearms in a game they lovingly describe as "Bullets and Bracelets."
Finally, there's her Golden Lasso of Truth. Blessed by the gods, the Golden Lasso forces anyone caught by it to tell the truth. It also forces the captive to obey the commands of whoever wields the Lasso. It's Wonder Woman's greatest and most often used weapon.
Honestly, she doesn't have many. These days, she's moved past any mortal weaknesses, and there's nothing like Kryptonite to take down Diana. In the Golden Age, there used to be this strange weakness where if an Amazon's bracelets were chained by a man then they would lose their strength. Wonder Woman was captured quite a few times this way. I think creator William Moulton Marston hoped that this would be symbolic of what happens when women are forced under the will and domination of man. These days, though, I think it's considered a little problematic, so it's not used much anymore and I doubt it will come up in the movie.
The Golden Lasso of Truth can also be considered a weakness for Wonder Woman. The Lasso compels whoever it holds, and Wonder Woman is no exception. There have been many stories where an enemy has gotten a hold of the Lasso and has used it to capture and compel Diana to do their bidding. Keep this in mind during the movie if Diana ever gets captured and interrogated by the Germans.
Finally, supernatural forces seem to be the most dangerous threat to Wonder Woman's survival. Her powers are, one way or another, reliant on the gods of ancient Greece. If her connection to those gods is interrupted or severed then she can be left powerless. This is exactly what happened in Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #179 when the Amazons and Themyscira withdrew from Earth. Diana lost her connection to the gods and she was forced to go on with her adventures without her super powers. It also seems that a great enough supernatural force can kill Diana outright. Both the mythical witch Circe and the demon Neron have almost claimed Wonder Woman's life with powerful blasts of magic (in War of the Gods #3 and Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #124 respectively). It's important to note that Wonder Woman is only near invulnerable so you could expect that any force great enough or any foe powerful enough could succeed in killing the Amazon princess. Luckily, forces that great are rare.
Key Supporting Characters:
Hippolyta is queen of the Amazons and Diana's mother. Hippolyta's character is usually colored by the time she was tricked by Hercules which led to the defeat and enslavement of the Amazons in man's world. With the help of her gods, Hippolyta was able to rally and free her people. She became a kind, fair, and loving ruler to the Amazons, but the event made her distrustful and, at times, resentful of the outside world. She is particularly overprotective of her daughter whom she loves above all else. She initially tries to protect Diana and keep her on Themyscira by forbidding her to join the tournament to decide who would take Cpt. Trevor home. Hippolyta often times makes questionable decisions and tough calls in the name of protecting her daughter and her people, but, in the end, can usually be counted on to do the right thing. One last fun note is, in the Post- Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity where The Justice Society of America inhabited the same world and timeline as the Justice League, Hippolyta was retconned as being the Wonder Woman of the Justice Society and the 1940's. In this identity, she makes a big sacrifice to save her daughter in the Our Worlds At War crossover.
Captain Steve Trevor of the US Army is the man who introduces Diana to man's world. He crashed his plane on Themyscira and ended up wounded. Because of this, he became the first man Diana ever saw and sparked her interest in the outside world. He was originally played as Wonder Woman's boyfriend and became her damsel in distress. Steve would rush off, get into trouble, and Diana would have to save him. He was basically Lois Lane to Wonder Woman's Superman. Despite this, Steve is capable, brave, and his love and affection for Wonder Woman is genuine. Since the New 52, he's been seen in the comics as a high ranking member of the spy group A.R.G.U.S. and sometimes acts as Amanda Waller's right hand man. In the film, though, I imagine you can expect to see the Golden Age interpretation of Trevor on full display.
Etta Candy is Wonder Woman's best friend in man's world. In the Golden Age, she was the outgoing, outspoken, candy addicted, and courageous leader of the Holiday College girls and Beeta Lamba Sorority. She's also been an air force officer and, in the New 52, Steve Trevor's A.R.G.U.S. secretary. At her best, Etta is Wonder Woman's most fearsome ally. She's always ready for a fight and tends to rally back up for Wonder Woman when the going gets tough. The film seems to be taking a nod from the New 52 by using Etta as Trevor's secretary. She also appeared a bit buttoned down and reserved in what little we've seen of her in the trailer, but, if I know Etta, she'll find a way to let her heroic side loose before the end of the movie.
Honorable Mentions: Donna Troy (Wonder Girl I), Cassie Sandsmark (Wonder Girl II), and the Amazon warrior Mala.
Baroness Paula Von Gunther
When I first started thinking about this blog post, I hadn't even considered mentioning Paula Von Gunther. After seeing the Wonder Woman trailer, that changed. Not only am I mentioning her, I'm leading with her. That's because I'm pretty sure that the woman in the trailer with the broken mask is the Baroness Paula Von Gunther herself. In the Golden Age, Paula was a Nazi spy leader who specialized in torture, humiliation, and brain-washing. She could make victims obey her by using a hypnotism technique that imprinted her image into their minds. She was behind a number of plots thwarted by Wonder Woman, but often eluded capture. Eventually, Wonder Woman discovered that Paula only did the bidding of the Nazis because they had her daughter. Diana rescued Paula's daughter and put her on the path to redemption. In Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #3, Paula helped rescue Wonder Woman from a burning factory, but her face was disfigured in the process. She wore a veil to cover her scarred features. That makes me believe that the woman in the trailer is Paula, and she's wearing the mask to cover her disfigured features. Paula Von Gunther pops up again and again in the Wonder Woman comics, so it makes sense that they'd use her in the movie.
In the Golden Age, he went by his Roman name Mars. In the Modern Age, he's best known by his Greek name Ares. In all ages, he is the god of war and destruction. Seeing as how the Amazons are dedicated to peace and love, this makes Ares their natural nemesis. In Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths continuity, the Amazons were even created by the gods to stem Ares' influence on man. The god of war often opposes Wonder Woman from behind the scenes. He uses his power and influence to create plots and situations to destroy Diana and her Amazon sisters. ...Sometimes. The New 52 portrayed him as a tired, old drunk who was weary of war and destruction. He played mentor to Wonder Woman and even passed his mantle onto her. No matter what role he plays or what name he uses, though, if Wonder Woman is around then the god of war isn't far behind.
Cheetah has had many different origins and identities over the years, so let's just concentrate on the most recent version. Antiquities expert Barbara Minerva stole an ancient San Tribe artifact called the God-Killer Knife from A.R.G.U.S. Minerva stabbed herself in the chest with the knife, and the act allowed her to channel the San Tribe's cheetah god. As the Cheetah, Minerva gains strength, speed, and deadly, poisonous claws. She bears a grudge against Wonder Woman over a perceived slight and is not afraid to go after Diana's loved ones to get to her. Cheetah is selfish, blood-thirsty, and deadly. She's also one of Wonder Woman's most iconic villains, so I wouldn't be surprised to see her hit the big screen someday.
Honorable Mentions: Dr. Psycho, Circe, and the First Born.
Recommended Reading: (Though, you could just check out the list of my ten favorite Wonder Woman stories: http://comicvine.gamespot.com/profile/jekylhyde14/blog/my-ten-favorite-wonder-woman-storiesruns/128860/)
1) Wonder Woman Archives Vol. 1- This compiles the earliest adventures of Wonder Woman written by her creator William Moulton Marston. In my ten favorite Wonder Woman stories list, I go on and on gushing over Marston's Wonder Woman, and I'll probably write about it even more in the near future. Therefore, I'll be brief. It's ahead of its time, progressively feminist, and wholly unique. It will also help familiarize you with Wonder Woman's origins and give you background on the Amazons. Finally, since both the early comics and the movie are set during wartime (though, different wars), the early comics are probably the best on-page representation of what the movie will be like. Hence why it's my top pick.
2) Wonder Woman (2011) Vol. 1: Blood- This contains the first six issues of the Brian Azzarello/ Cliff Chiang run on Wonder Woman. The critically acclaimed run is action packed and includes a wonderfully stylized version of the Greek Pantheon. It's a great story that will give you a look at a more modern representation of Diana.
3) "Stoned"- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #206-210- This story by Greg Rucka and Drew Johnson shows Wonder Woman at her fiercest. Forced into a duel to the death with Medusa, Wonder Woman has to go to great lengths to win. This story started the era of the warrior Wonder Woman and got me interested in her solo book again.
Top Moments as a Justice Leaguer:
3) "The Secret of Cheetah"- Justice League (2011) #13-14- The Justice League attempts to capture Cheetah and Superman ends up mortally wounded in the process. Wonder Woman is forced into action to try and save her new love while discovering the origins of Cheetah's powers. A good, modern Justice League story focused on Diana.
2) "The Twelve Labors"- Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #212-222- Now that her super powers are back, the Justice League want Wonder Woman to rejoin their ranks. However, she refuses to do so until she completes twelve labors to prove she still has what it takes. A different member of the league observes her in each task. Check it out to see Wonder Woman impress her team once more.
1) JLA: A League of One- Wonder Woman learns of a prophecy where the Justice League sacrifice their own lives to stop a powerful dragon. Deciding that she will not let her friends die, Diana takes it upon herself to subdue the League and stop the dragon on her own. This is definitely the story where Wonder Woman proves that she is one of the Justice League's most powerful and most noble members.
Other Live Action Versions:
Outside of the DCEU films, there really aren't as many live action versions of Wonder Woman as there should be. The first was the Wonder Woman TV show starring Lynda Carter that aired from 1975-1979. Though this show is considered outdated in many ways today, it remains a highly influential pop culture milestone. My mother talks about it and The Bionic Woman as early television series that helped empower women. The 70's TV series is currently going through something of a resurgence as DC is publishing a comic book based on it.
The only other live action version of Wonder Woman is the failed 2011 TV pilot starring Adrianne Palicki. I've seen it and... it's not the worst live action DC project I've ever had to sit through. It's not great, though. It centers around Wonder Woman juggling crime fighting, running a company, and managing her personal life. The antagonists aren't exactly threatening, the side plots aren't particularly engaging, and the special effects fall flat. The most interesting part about it is that Wonder Woman kills in the pilot. A taste of things to come? Anyway, you can track down the pilot online, but I'd only suggest doing that if you're a dedicated fan. Wonder Woman deserves better than that, and, hopefully, she'll get it with her upcoming film.
Alright, that's that. Wonder Woman is one of my favorite characters and my bae. She's a feminist icon and seems to have all the momentum in the world going into 2017. I hope I managed to do her justice. Join me next time for Aquaman... maybe... probably... Do I HAVE to???
To celebrate her 75th anniversary and her appointment as an honorary ambassador to the UN for the empowerment of women and girls, I've decided to do a series of Wonder Woman blog posts starting with this one. I'll be listing off my 10 favorite Wonder Woman stories and/or runs. Before I start, this list was anxiety inducing to make. Mostly, this is because I don't want to let Wonder Woman down considering what a powerful symbol she is. Also, I know there are a lot of Wonder Woman runs that really fell flat: Denny O'Neil's controversial de-powered Diana Prince of the '70's, Allan Heinberg's disappointing run in the mid-2000's, and the Pre-Flashpoint J. Michael Straczynski disaster. This is why, I'm sure the first half of my list will be open to a lot of criticism. Specifically, I'm guessing I'll take heat for the number of Superman crossover stories that will feature in this list. However, before you take out the pitchforks, please keep in mind everything I said above and the fact that, at heart, I am a big Superman fan. In the end, I endorse these stories as being worth the read, so I hope you enjoy. One final warning, definite spoilers ahead. Alright, let's get started:
10) Lifelines- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #105-108 by John Byrne
Much of John Byrne's run on Wonder Woman is not well-regarded, and... that's for pretty good reason. That being said, the best thing Byrne did for the Wonder Woman series was introduce the new Wonder Girl, Cassie Sandsmark, and her archaeologist mother, Helena. Lifelines acts as the debut for the two characters who would become essential to the fabric of the DC Universe for years to come. I would grow up with Cassie and her overprotective mom in the pages of Young Justice, and still follow her exploits in Teen Titans. Lifelines is also a pretty fun mystical adventure featuring Jack Kirby's Demon, The Phantom Stranger, and Morgaine Le Fey who are always welcome additions to a plot. All in all, this story shows that Byrne's run had promise even if it never really delivered what the fans wanted.
9) Trinity 98- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #140-141 by Eric Luke and Yanick Paquette
I read this story a long, long time ago, so bear with me. While trying to track down and defeat the forgotten Olympian, Oblivion, Wonder Woman gets trapped in a dream where everything is right with the world and she gets to live the life she wants. Apparently, what she wants is to be with Superman while Batman remains their closest friend. If memory serves, Bats sort of hangs out of frame silently seething with jealousy and Lois Lane also hovers like a specter of the truth. Eventually, Wonder Woman shakes herself out of the fantasy and is reminded why she must stay an independent woman to be a force against violence and evil. I think this story stuck with me because it's always memorable when DC's Trinity are in a story together, and because of the beautiful Adam Hughes covers. A good, lesser-known favorite.
8) For a Thousand Years- Action Comics Vol. 1 #761 by Joe Kelly and German Garcia
Yeah, yeah, I know this story takes place in a Superman book, but just listen to the premise: Wonder Woman and Superman get trapped in Valhalla fighting demons for... a thousand years. You have to admit that sounds pretty epic, and it is. Not convinced yet? Check it out:
It's a DC Comics/heavy metal mash-up fantasy. Throughout the story, Superman misses Lois while slowly growing closer and closer to Wonder Woman. It starts to look like he's about to give up hope of leaving Valhalla and accept a new love in the form of Diana. Near the end of the book... you kind of want him to. The friendship between Wondy and Supes is built up so well, you really want them to end up together. The Man of Steel has a will of steel, and he goes home to Lois in the end, though. Still, this is one of my favorite team-ups between Superman and Wonder Woman with some great character development and a pretty brutal plot.
7) Power Couple- Superman/Wonder Woman #1-7 by Charles Soule, Tony Daniel, and various other artists
Oh man, yeah, another Wonder Woman and Superman team-up story. I can see the comments in my mind's eye now: "You don't like Wonder Woman unless she's defined by a man." That's not it, I swear, and if you don't like the bottom half of this list then I promise that I'll redeem myself in the top half. I am, obviously, a fan of the Superman and Wonder Woman pairing. Why wouldn't I be? If you were to ask me who my two favorite superhero characters of all time are, I'd say: Superman and Wonder Woman. Power Couple is probably the definitive story for their relationship. In fact, DC kind of blow their load in this story by giving you almost everything you want to see from the couple right off the bat: Wonder Woman facing down Doomsday, Superman squaring off against the sun god Apolllo, and the tag-team dream match of Superman and Wonder Woman against Zod and Faora.
Basically, those things are what fanboy dreams are made of. Also, the story really shows off Wonder Woman's strengths as a hero since she has to bail out her Super boyfriend more than once throughout the arc. She wore the pants in the relationship even though DC refused to give her pants. Power Couple stands out as the highlight of DC putting the two characters together, and I enjoyed the ride. ...I can't wait for the debate about this relationship to consume the comments section... Sigh.
6) The Twelve Labors- Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #212-222 by various writers and artists
Following the ill-conceived run where Denny O'Neil took Wonder Woman's powers away and made her a spy, Wonder Woman regained her abilities and had no memory of the previous months she spent as Diana Prince. She came to discover that she was no longer a member of the Justice League and that the famous group's headquarters wasn't even in the same location. No worries, The Justice League was ready to welcome her back with open arms, but, fearing she could be a danger to her teammates, Wonder Woman refused to join unless she completed Twelve Labors to prove she could still do the job. Each story of The Twelve Labors was done by different creative teams that made up a veritable who's who of 1970's DC talent: Len Wein, Curt Swan, Cary Bates, Ross Andru, Martin Pasko, etc. The different labors also varied from Wonder Woman beating down a super-chauvinist to proving Walt Disney conspiracy theories.
Throughout her trials, Wonder Woman was observed by different members of The Justice League of America. Each of her comrades had to fight the urge to help her, trusting that she would come through like the hero they know she is. Did she pull it off and rejoin the league? Of course she did and she would remain a team member until the ill-conceived Justice League Detroit (which is a story for another time). Twelve Labors is a solid, retro story that restores Wonder Woman to all her glory.
5) The George Perez Run- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #1-62 by George Perez and various artists
Finally, we're out of the bottom five and into the cream of the crop. We'll start with Geroge Perez's Wonder Woman revamp following Crisis on Infinite Earths. This run is known for making the most of the Greek mythology aspects built into Wonder Woman's origin. Perez puts the gods and monsters of ancient Greece on full display and makes them integral to Wonder Woman's life and adventures. The mythical witch Circe becomes an important nemesis for Wonder Woman throughout this run, and Perez also gives us the most iconic version of DC's Ares. Something that Perez is not given enough credit for, though, is restoring some of the more feminist aspects of Wonder Woman. He starts by making the Amazons reincarnated women who were killed by acts of male violence.
From there, Perez makes sure to show that the bond of sisterhood is the greatest strength The Amazons possess. He pits the Amazonian principles of peace, wisdom, and love against Ares' acts of war. Perez makes Wonder Woman a voice of pacifism to advocate for these beliefs. The run also gives us some great supporting characters likes Julia Kapatelis, Pythia, and Ed Indelicato. Perez steered Wonder Woman through the minefield of early modern age crossovers while creating a new Greek epic. His take on Wonder Woman became so iconic that every successful run on Wonder Woman since then has had to include the same devotion to Greek mythology. His run only gets knocked down to number five because it ended with the messy crossover War of the Gods (which I'll cover at another time). You could tell that Wonder Woman was a labor of love for George Perez and it's important to note how badly the series suffered after he left.
4) Wonder Woman: Earth One by Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette
Those of you that know me will not be surprised to see that my spirit animal, Grant Morrison, made the list, but maybe you'll be surprised that he isn't first. With Earth One, Morrison attempted to restore all of the challenging feminist elements that made William Moulton Marston's Wonder Woman so ahead of its time. In particular, Morrison wanted to focus on Wonder Woman's traditionally feminine aspects and make them look powerful rather than make her look powerful by giving her traditionally masculine traits. He focused more on her abilities as a healer and diplomat rather than her skill in battle. He also brought back the aspects of Amazonian culture that made them a superior society with sci-fi technological advances. Finally, he attempted to reintroduce the saucier aspects of Wonder Woman like Amazonian lesbianism and the themes of bondage.
This only stalls at number four because it teases a final battle that never materializes and because Morrison doesn't go much further than restore the aspects of the character that Marston cherished. In the end, though, Morrison delivers a boundary pushing story that shakes up the genre and challenges modern adaptions of the character. He brings the true feminist power of Wonder Woman back home and he does so by showing that an act of submission to the truth can be just as powerful, if not more so, than resisting a lie. William Moulton Marston would have been proud.
3) Greg Rucka's First Run- Wonder Woman Vol. 2 #195-226 by Greg Rucka and various artists
There's a reason why DC turned to Greg Rucka to re-imagine Wonder Woman for Rebirth. It's because Rucka was the writer that made Wonder Woman relevant again in the early to mid 2000's. Following the end of George Perez's run in 1991, Wonder Woman was stuck pinging between underwhelming and disastrous runs. Rucka changed the game in 2003 by making her the true badass of the DC Universe. This all starts with the "Stoned" story arc where Wonder Woman is forced to do battle with Medusa. Wonder Woman blinds herself as protection against Medusa's stone glare and then proceeds to win the battle by chopping off the gorgon's head. Later, in "Counting Coup," a still blind Wondy uses Medusa's head as a weapon to turn Briareos into stone.
This all comes to a head in "Sacrifice" where Max Lord has Superman under mind control and is pushing him to hallucinate and go on a rampage. Knowing that Lord won't stop and that Superman won't do what needs to be done, Wonder Woman snaps Lord's neck. This becomes a seminal moment moving into the crossover Infinite Crisis and proves that Wonder Woman has more of a warrior's resolve than her male counter-parts. I remember reading a Wizard Magazine article of the biggest badasses in comics back then. Because of Rucka, Wonder Woman made the list next to the likes of Wolverine. Rucka started the era of warrior Wonder Woman and got me reading her once again. That gives him the number three spot.
2) The Brian Azzarello/Cliff Chiang Run- Wonder Woman Vol. 4 #0-35 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang
The New 52 may have been divisive, but it's hard to argue that Wonder Woman wasn't stronger for it. Azzarello and Chiang took the Greek pantheon and stylized them to make them feel fresh and hip. Eris became the spoiled, party-girl Strife. Hades had candles on his head and wax running down his face to represent life melting away. Ares became a worn out old drunk with blood on his hands. The Gods began to truly symbolize the abstractions they stood for. It was like Azzarello and Chiang took Perez's Wonder Woman and mixed it together with Neil Gaiman's Sandman to create something new and wonderful. The run played with the warrior Wonder Woman concept popularized by Rucka, but gave her a side that was decidedly merciful. In issue #0, Ares tries to teach Diana a lesson in being a warrior by sending her out to kill a minotaur. The young Diana spares the monster only to have the beast sacrifice itself for her later on in the series in what was a strangely emotional moment.
In this way, Azzarello paid homage to both the warrior Wonder Woman and the Wonder Woman that preferred to redeem her enemies. The storyline was driven by a war for Zeus' throne and a lost Olympian deity hell bent on revenge. In the end, all Wonder Woman is trying to do is protect a mother and her child. The series quickly became my second favorite run on Wonder Woman, and stands as some of the best material The New 52 has to offer.
1) William Moulton Marston's Wonder Woman- All Star Comics #8, Sensation Comics #1-57, Wonder Woman Vol. 1 #1-18 by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter. Reprinted in Wonder Woman Archives Vol.1-7.
Yes, I believe that the original Wonder Woman run is the best Wonder Woman run. Let's start with the fact that Marston's Wonder Woman is a feminist work that's waaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead of its time. Wonder Woman turned genre gender roles on their heads by making a woman the hero and boyfriend, Steve Trevor, the damsel in distress. Marston's amazons were a superior, advanced civilization dedicated to peace and love and pitied the outside world for its wars and struggles. Marston certainly believed that the world would be better off if it was run by women as evidenced by Wonder Woman #7 that predicts a series of women presidents that solve all the world's problems. All of Marston's women were capable, strong, and dynamic including Etta Candy, the plus-sized sidekick that often stole the show. If you get the chance to read Marston's Wonder Woman, you'll be blown away by the fact that this material came out in the early 40's and has a view of women with elements that would still be seen as progressive to this day.
Cards on the table, I also really love how weirdly kinky it is. Marston's Wonder Woman is rife with bondage play. Wonder Woman is constantly getting tied up or is tying up her adversaries. Ropes, chains, paddles, and whips are common props in Wondy's Golden Age adventures. Suggestions of lesbianism were there as well. In Wonder Woman #3, the amazons are shown to play a game where amazons dressed as deer are chased down and captured by the remaining women. Etta Candy's sorority hazes new recruits with another bondage game. Eventually, you start to realize that this bondage play is all a part of Marston's feminist vision. Wonder Woman #4 is when this becomes clear. In issue #4, you get treated to two redemption processes where an evil man is convinced to submit to a good woman. The first is the king of the wicked mole men and the second is a corrupt businessman.
In Marston's Wonder Woman, the act of submitting to a benevolent and loving master is a heroic and redemptive act. The best example of this is when Wonder Woman redeems her arch-nemesis Baroness Paula Von Gunther. Once, an evil Nazi spy with a penchant for torture, brain-washing, and humiliation, Paula is redeemed when she submits to the loving will of Aphrodite and the Amazons. After that, she becomes one of Wonder Woman's greatest friends and allies. That's yet another way Wonder Woman stood apart from her Golden Age contemporaries. While most heroes would either jail or kill their adversaries, Wonder Woman preferred to redeem hers with wisdom, patience, and love. Marton's Wonder Woman is unique, decades ahead of its time, and remains to be topped by another Wonder Woman story in my eyes. Diana's creator set her on the path to becoming the feminist icon she is today.
Yeah, yeah, I'm really late with my Aquaman entry, but... it's coming. In the meantime, a little movie called Suicide Squad comes out this week, so I thought I'd do a little piece on that. I'm going to give you, hopefully short, introductions on each major character and give you my opinion on how likely they are to survive the film. I haven't seen it yet so my predictions are entirely based on what I know of the characters from the comics and from what little I've seen out of the trailers. Also, I'll be writing about the comic characters that the film characters are based on, but I wouldn't be surprised if the movie gave them different alter egos, origins, and/or powers. This may take a bit, so strap in.
Let's start with the team itself and what it is. The first iteration of The Suicide Squad, also known as Task Force X, popped up in 1959 in The Brave and The Bold #25 and was created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru. It was a military team with no superpowers who took on monsters, dinosaurs, and other crazy sci-fi threats they loved so much in the Silver Age. This version of the team had a short run and then went away, forgotten. The more well-known version of the team, and the one the movie is based on, came about in 1987 with Legends #3 and was created by John Ostrander, Len Wein, and (my dear friend) John Byrne. This version of The Suicide Squad was made up of super-villains looking for redemption, reduced sentences, or just kicks. The government would send them on high risk, black ops missions that carried low survival rates (hence the name Suicide Squad). The villains would be kept in check by bombs implanted in either their heads or necks, so they could be killed by remote if they stepped out of line. If this sounds really cool, it's because it is. The concept allowed DC to clear out some of the more outdated super-villains in their universe in a meaningful way. It also allowed the spotlight to fall on some lesser known characters, and gave them room to grow. John Ostrander's run on the book, Suicide Squad (1987) #1-66, is some of the best stuff published by DC in the late '80's/early '90's. The group has remained a fan favorite ever since, so it's really not surprising that they're getting a movie treatment.
The Characters (From Least Likely to Most Likely to Survive):
Created By: Gerry Conway, Joe Cavalieri, and Rafael Kayanan
First Appearance: Fury of the Firestorm #28 (1984)
Portrayed By: Adam Beach
Christopher Weiss, aka Slipknot, was a mercenary/assassin who specialized in using ropes tied into nooses to either capture or eliminate his targets. He first ran afoul of Firestorm after he was hired by the 2000 Committee crime organization to capture Firehawk. He was defeated, imprisoned, and recruited by Task Force X. He didn't die during his run with The Suicide Squad, but he did notably lose his left hand in Suicide Squad #9. Poor, old Slipknot was given a bomb bracelet to keep him in line, and Captain Boomerang lied to him and told him that it was a bluff. He shouldn't have listened...
Chances of Survival: 0%. Let's face it, the only reason Slipknot is in the movie is because he's expendable. He will die and he will likely be the first to die maybe even as a demonstration that the neck bombs do work. The real question isn't will he survive, but: Will he survive the first half hour of the movie?
Created by: Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru
First Appearance: The Brave and The Bold #25 (1959)
Portrayed By: Joel Kinnaman
Col. Rick Flag, Jr. was a member of both the Silver Age and Modern Age versions of The Suicide Squad. He's a military man from a military family, and usually served as the team's field leader. He was also one of the few truly heroic figures on the team which made him a counter-point for the madness and villainy around him. Flag lost quite a bit in service to his country. His girlfriend and fellow team member Karin Grace died on a mission in Suicide Squad #9 (yeah, Slipknot's hand wasn't the only casualty). Flag, himself, also "died" heroically in Suicide Squad #26 (don't worry, he got better).
Chances of Survival: 10%. I hate to say it because I like Joel Kinnaman (The Killing- what up!), but I don't think Flag stands much of a chance. This movie will want to make a statement so it can produce sequels, and Flag's heroic death in the comics may be too iconic a scene to pass up. In the end, I expect his own goodness to be the death of him and may be what helps inspire the rest of the team to carry on and finish the mission.
Created By: Bob Haney and Howard Purcell
First Appearance: Strange Adventures #187 (1966)
Portrayed By: Cara Delevingne
Sweet, innocent, free-lance artist June Moone went to a party with her boyfriend Alan Dale at the... wait for it... Terror Castle. The party was set upon by supernatural forces and June stumbled upon a... we'll call it a magic statue that gave her the ability to turn into a witch known as The Enchantress. That was her comic book origin, anyway. In the trailers it looks like June will be some sort of archaeologist...? Eventually, The Enchantress persona began taking over and started to turn decidedly evil. June agreed to join Task Force X willingly as Amanda Waller promised to help June learn how to control The Enchantress. This turned out to be a bad bargain on both ends because NO ONE CONTROLS THE ENCHANTRESS.
Chances of Survival: 25%. I really, really don't want June Moone to die. She's a great character with a lot of room for exploration. I have a feeling it's coming, though. We don't see much of Enchantress in the trailers, and there is precedent for it in the comics... sort of. Enchantress quite memorably loses control in Suicide Squad #6 and endangers a mission in the Soviet Union. Flag has to force Deadshot to take her down before the situation gets worse.
Deadshot doesn't end up killing her (he's not so bad for a mass murderer), but I can easily see a similar scene playing out differently from the comics and ending with June dead. From one of the trailers, it looks like June is romantically linked with Rick Flag. Maybe his death leads to her losing it and eventually losing her life? Again, I don't want her to die, but I feel like it's going to happen.
Created By: Jai Nitz, Phil Hester, and Ande Parks
First Appearance: El Diablo #1 (2008)
Portrayed By: Jay Hernandez
There are three versions of the El Diablo character, but the film version seems based on Chato Santana. Chato was a high ranking member of the LA based gang Los Reyes. After being betrayed by one of his subordinates and left paralyzed during a raided weapons deal, Chato ended up in a hospital alongside the original El Diablo, Lazarus Lane. After hearing Chato's story, Lazarus decides to choose him as his successor and turns the young man into Hell's assassin. As El Diablo, Chato had a pistol and lariat powered by hellfire and a supernatural horse. Though, in the movie, it seems like they're just giving him the ability to control fire. El Diablo wasn't a member of Task Force X before he was announced as a character in the film, so I'm anxious to see what the team holds for him.
Chances of Survival: ...30%...? My first impression when I heard El Diablo was going to be on the team was that he must be expendable like Slipknot. He's a minor character and he was never part of the team before, so they must be bringing him on to kill him, right? Yet, the trailers make it seem like he has some good character building moments, and it appears like he survives quite a bit of it. Maybe this is all just to make his eventual death more meaningful, or maybe they're planning on giving him a solid push with this movie. He's still more likely to die but count him as possibly the dark horse survivor of this movie.
Created By: Gerry Conway and Gene Colan
First Appearance: Batman #357 (1983)
Portrayed By: Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Waylon Jones was born a freak with scaly skin, sharp teeth, and supernatural strength. This made life tough for the young man and, as a result, he grew into violence and a life of crime. He eventually ended up in Gotham where he briefly made a play to be the kingpin of crime, but he was thwarted by the Batman and ended up the city's resident monster. At heart, he's a tragic figure, but he's also a vicious thug with cannibalistic tendencies. Don't mess with Croc. Like El Diablo, Croc was never a member of The Suicide Squad before he was announced for the movie. However, the comic team usually rolls with another man-eating monster in the form of King Shark, so I expect Croc is just taking his place.
Chances of Survival: 50%. I could see it going either way for Killer Croc. On one hand, he's a relatively well-known character having been featured in Batman: The Animated Series and The Batman Arkham video game franchise. That notoriety might be enough to keep him around. On the other hand, Croc is not the most charismatic villain and hasn't provided too much character development to work with in the past. Basically, don't be surprised if he lives or if he dies.
Created By: Mike W. Barr and Jim Aparo
First Appearance: The Brave and The Bold #200 (1983)
Portrayed By: Karen Fukuhara
Tatsu Yamashiro was a skilled martial artist with a loving husband, Maseo, and two children. Takeo, Maseo's brother and a high ranking Yakuza member, was jealous of his brother and wanted Tatsu as his own. Takeo challenged Maseo to a duel and murdered him. Tatsu, in defense of her children, disarmed Takeo of his katana known as "Soultaker" and escaped with her kids. Eventually, she took up the identity of Katana driven by revenge for her husband and by the dark impulse that emanated from her mystical sword to kill evil-doers and trap their souls within the blade. Despite her homicidal tendencies, Katana usually finds herself on the side of angels having been a member of both The Outsiders and the Justice League of America. Like El Diablo and Killer Croc, she is a newcomer to The Suicide Squad.
Chances of Survival: 75%. I want to say that Katana is completely safe. She's one of the few heroic figures on the team, and the trailers make it seem like she goes the distance. I have this nagging doubt, though. Maybe it's because she has no prior history with the team or maybe it's because she's being played by a Hollywood newcomer, but I'm a little worried for Katana. Maybe it's nothing. Don't do it, David Ayer.... DON'T DO IT. If Katana dies, I riot.
Created By: John Broome and Carmine Infantino
First Appearance: Flash #117 (1960)
Portrayed By: Jai Courtney
George "Digger" Harkness was an Australian outlaw who became an expert with the boomerang. He found his way to Central City and became one of the Flash's most consistent Rogues though he was always bested by the speedster. During one of his stints in jail, Boomerang was offered a pardon if he agreed to join Task Force X. Harkness became a member of the team, but, after a while, it became clear that his only real mission was looking out for himself. As a result of his opportunistic and, often, dickish behavior, Captain Boomerang became a fan favorite as a member of The Suicide Squad. As I mentioned before, he lied to Slipknot about his explosive bracelet, he tried to move in on Punch's wife Jewelee, and he let Mindboggler get killed because she'd embarrassed him in front of the team.
All of that is just the tip of the iceberg. Captain Boomerang is a character you will love to hate.
Chances of Survival: 90%. Captain Boomerang's selfish and opportunistic behavior made him one of The Suicide Squad's longest surviving if most ineffective members in the comic. I would be shocked if the movie played it any different. Captain Boomerang should survive and he should do so at the expense of others. There's an off-chance he could be killed for shock value, but... nah. He'll most likely live.
Created By: Bob Kane, David Vern Reed, and Lew Schwartz
First Appearance: Batman #59 (1950)
Portrayed By: Will Smith
In the early stories, Floyd Lawton was a bored, little rich boy who was skilled with a gun. He decided to start his own criminal empire which led him to tangle with and be defeated by the Batman. Later, he became an assassin for hire with a reputation for never missing a shot and started to use colts strapped to his wrists. It turns out that he does all this because he has a psychological death wish. Ironically, this death wish makes him so bold and deadly that he never ends up dying even on the many, many Suicide Squad missions he's willingly signed up for (even when he doesn't need a pardon). The one redeeming quality Lawton has is his love for his daughter whom he supports from afar to keep her safe. Deadshot is the true badass of The Suicide Squad and its most deadly member. There used to be an online list of every death in Ostrander's Suicide Squad and the most common cause of death on that list was: "Shot by Deadshot."
Chances of Survival: 95%. As I said, the whole gimmick with Deadshot is that he wants to die, but can't. He's one of the most popular members of the team, and he's being played by the biggest star attached to the movie. The only reason I could see for them killing off Deadshot would be if Will Smith asked for too much money to do a sequel. Yet... his career probably needs this movie as much as it needs him. Deadshot will almost definitely remain among the living.
Created By: John Ostrander, Len Wein, and John Byrne
First Appearance: Legends #1
Portrayed By: Viola Davis
In Pre-Flashpoint continuity, Amanda Waller was a mother with a murdered husband, a family to support, and a hunger for power. In Post-Flashpoint continuity she was a former soldier trying to stay effective in a world of superheroes. In both continuities she's ruthless, manipulative, and almost always gets her way. Waller is the driving force behind the modern version of The Suicide Squad. The idea of using super-villains for black ops is her baby and she defends it without hesitation against all comers. She has her finger on the button of those bombs she straps to or injects inside her operatives. Amanda is not well liked but she doesn't care.
Chances of Survival: 99%. The thing about "The Wall" is that she lets others do her dirty work for her. She rarely puts herself in harms way, and that keeps her alive. As the founder of the team, they really need her around if they plan on sequels. There's always the slight chance that Deadshot will haul off and shoot her in the face like he's always wanted to. I wouldn't count on it, though...
Created By: Paul Dini and Bruce Timm
First Appearance (In Continuity): Batman: Harley Quinn #1 (1999)
Portrayed By: Margot Robbie
Dr. Harleen Quinzel was a young, idealistic psychiatrist employed at Arkham Asylum. Eventually, she was allowed to work with Arkham's star patient... KILLER MOTH! Just kidding... it was The Joker... we all know it was The Joker. The Joker allowed Quinzel to believe she was getting through to him all the while he was seducing her and picking apart her own sanity. Bit by bit, Harleen began to break until she lost her mind completely, fell in love with The Joker, and broke him out of Arkham Asylum to join him in his life of crime and mayhem. She took on the guise of Harley Quinn and took part in many of The Joker's schemes and battles with The Batman. After being ditched by her "puddin'," Harley accepted Amanda Waller's offer to join The Suicide Squad where she's become a constant presence. Harley is unique on this list as she first debuted in Batman: The Animated Series. She became so popular in the cartoon that the editors from DC moved her into the comics. Since then, she's developed into one of DC's most popular characters and stars in her own solo title.
Chances of Survival: 100%. Harley Quinn is, hands down, the most popular character on the team. She's so popular, in fact, that I'm shocked they didn't name the movie: Harley Quinn and The Suicide Squad. The fan uproar over killing her, alone, would make it not worth it. Alive and on the team, she makes DC and WB money. Dead and gone, they get nothing. Harley will not die.
Created By: Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane
First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940)
Portrayed By: Jared Leto
The Grim Jester, The Harlequin of Hate, The Clown Prince of Crime...Batman's greatest nemesis, and, perhaps, the greatest super-villain of all time. He needs no introduction... So... I guess I'll stop here.
Chances of Survival: 100%... with an asterisk. We're not sure how big a role The Joker has in this movie. Maybe he's the villain. Maybe he only shows up in flashbacks. Maybe they'll claim he's already dead at the start of this film. Maybe they'll claim he died at the end. However, no matter what, he won't really be dead. They would never really kill off The Joker in a film that doesn't have "Batman" in the title. Especially if Jared Leto's Joker is as good as it's been hyped to be. They'll want to bring him back for...oh...I don't know... a Batman solo film co-written by Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns...? So, even if they say he's dead, he won't really be dead.
Other Live-Action Versions
At this point, the Suicide Squad has been well market tested with TV audiences. The team has appeared in both Smallville and Arrow. The Squad appears in Season 10 of Smallville. While in Arrow, they appear as Task Force X in Season 2 and even manage to pull off a sneaky Harley Quinn cameo. There's enough live-action Squad material to keep you satisfied either before or after you see the movie.
Well, that's it for this entry. A big thank you if you made it all the way to the end. Like I said, I hope to finish my Aquaman entry sometime soon, but... I do this for free in my spare time so it'll be done when it's done. I hope you go see The Suicide Squad film and I hope you enjoy it. Hell, I hope I enjoy it. If it works out, maybe they'll do a sequel where they could use characters like Bronze Tiger, Nightshade, Dr. Light... okay, well, maybe not him... Anyway, The Suicide Squad has a rich history with a lot of great characters. I'm hoping things go well and they get the chance to explore it further. That's it. Catch you later!
Well, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice happened, and the question I was asked most often by friends who hadn't tossed away their youth on a dying art form was: Who was that guy?
You know, the dude who was missing major chunks of his body in the third promo video Wonder Woman watched after The Flash and Aquaman's respective teasers. That, dear readers, was Cyborg. Since so many viewers had trouble identifying him, I decided to do this little article introducing him, his supporting characters, his villains, and what you MIGHT be able to expect from Cyborg in future installments of DCEU films. I liked the idea so much, in fact, that I plan on doing a whole series introducing members of my favorite superhero team of all time (...The Justice League... if that wasn't already obvious).
Just a few things before we begin. First, this will probably be the most challenging of The Justice League member articles that I will write. Cyborg is a younger hero than most of his fellow leaguers as he debuted in 1980 as opposed to, say, 1938. He also, shamefully, didn't get his own solo comic series until literally last year. Most of his life and identity has been played out and fleshed out in team books (first the Teen Titans and then in the Justice League). As a result, I really had to do my homework for this post, and if, at times, it seems like I'm reaching it's because I am. Also, DC Comics has a habit of restarting it's collective universe from scratch over and over again in order to keep things fresh and new. This has proven to be good for business but it's pretty damn confusing. Luckily, in Cyborg's case, I only really need to discuss two different DC timelines which I will refer to as Pre-Flashpoint (1980-2011) and Post-Flashpoint (2011-present). There are those of you who will point out that Crisis on Infinite Earths happened in the middle of my Pre-Flashpoint timeline and that DC is currently going through another universe reboot called Rebirth, but neither are relevant to anything I'm about to write (so shut up about it). Anyway, without further ado, here's Cyborg:
Created By: Marv Wolfman and George Perez
First Appearance: DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980)
Portrayed By: Ray Fisher
This is Victor Stone:
In the Post-Flashpoint universe, he was a promising, young high school football player whose father was a top research scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs. Due to his work experimenting with alien technology, Silas Stone rarely had time for his son, and almost always missed his football games :,(. One, fateful day, Vic marched into his father's laboratory to confront him over jeopardizing his chances to land a football scholarship. His father happened to be studying a Mother Box which is an alien super computer used by The New Gods and, the god of evil, Darkseid. Immediately following the father-son confrontation, the Mother Box exploded killing many scientists and decimating poor Victor Stone's body. Silas, however, refused to let his son die. Working quickly with his fellow scientists, Silas rebuilt the damaged parts of Victor's body using alien technology, and powered his son's new robotic parts using Mother Box energy. This, essentially, turned Vic Stone into a... cyborg.
His Pre-Flashpoint origin is more or less the same except for a few details. First, in the Pre-Flashpoint universe, he was a collegiate track star who was training to make the Olympics and only dabbled in football. Also, he lost his limbs after being attacked by an alien that his father accidentally transported to Earth during an experiment. The same alien also killed his mother in the attack. Finally, the original origin story didn't involve a Mother Box in any capacity, but everything else is more or less the same.
Personality and Motivations:
As with any superhero, you have to eventually ask the question: Why does he risk his life time and time again fighting super-villains and braving catastrophes? Cyborg seems to be motivated by two things: anger and loneliness. Let's start with the anger. After waking up and realizing that much of his body was now machine, Victor had a lot of hard truths to swallow. The first of which was that he could no longer play sports. He was now capable of things that no human athlete could hope to compete with, so people would never allow him to compete. For a young man who dreamed of being a professional athlete all his life, this really pissed Victor off.
Mix that in with the fact that he was no longer completely human, that he just lost his mother (in the Pre-Flashpoint universe), and that it was all thanks to his father's scientific curiosity, and you can see why Cyborg has a lot to be upset about. Most of his anger was directed toward his father which caused a long standing rift between the two for quite some time. Yet, most of us don't haul off and beat the garbage out of our dads, so Vic settled for taking his rage out on super-villains and alien invaders. Regardless, anger became a defining character trait for Cyborg in the Pre-Flashpoint DC Universe (yes, an angry, young black man... great job, 1980's DC...), but his character has mellowed out quite a bit in the Post-Flashpoint universe substituting despair for the rage he once possessed.
His second motivation is probably the cause for this despair: His loneliness. Becoming a Cyborg made him a walking freak. People would avoid him on the streets and even his girlfriend refused to take his calls. This must be especially hard for an athlete who is used to working with others to achieve a collective goal. That's what made Cyborg a great team player for both the Teen Titans Pre-Flashpoint and the Justice League Post-Flashpoint. He found somewhere to belong with other extraordinary freaks like him and something worthy to do with them: Saving the world. That's more than enough to keep him fighting.
Powers and Abilities:
The fact that he's mostly machine gives Cyborg a varied and adaptable power set that just keeps expanding as real-world technology advances. In the '80's he had to plug himself in to communicate with computers, but now he has Wi-Fi, baby! Seriously, though, he's a walking computer that can create and run his own programs as well as interface with other computers and the Internet. His metal parts give him your basic power set of super-strength, super-speed, and near invulnerability. These parts are also interchangeable and allow him to be fitted with things like jet-packs, rocket launchers, laser cannons, machine guns, and so much more. However, he does have a favorite weapon:
He really loves that white sound blaster.... so I'd be shocked if we didn't see it in one of the movies. Since he was powered by Mother Box energy, he can also access Boom Tubes which are, basically, teleportation portals that can transport him and his friends across great distances in an instant. Basically, Cyborg is only limited by the power of technology both real and imagined....Which is a cute way of saying there are no limits.
Though I did say that Cyborg was near invulnerable, neither his human parts nor his machine parts completely are. His metal body can be broken by a strong enough force, and his human parts are still especially squishy. He can be killed. His robotic body is also vulnerable to EMP pulses that can shut him down, and the fact that he's a walking computer makes him a target for computer viruses and malware (imagine what infinite pop-up windows could do to your brain). Finally, his human emotions can often act against him. In the Pre-Flashpoint universe, his rage would often make him leap into trouble before thinking things through. In the Post-Flashpoint universe, the fear of losing what remains of his humanity sometimes holds him back. Just like the rest of us, he's a slave to the feels...
Key Supporting Characters:
Cyborg's father, as should be obvious by now, is a key figure in his son's story. Silas spends a good deal of time and resources trying to mend fences with his estranged son and make up for the mistakes of his past by supporting Cyborg's super-heroic endeavors. He invents and builds much of the technology that makes up Victor's arsenal, and finds ways to incorporate alien tech into his son's repertoire. In the Pre-Flashpoint universe, he even has Titans Tower created for Cyborg and his friends. Despite all this, there's usually a rift between Silas and Victor stemming from the life and humanity Cyborg lost because of his father. Of course, because of his father, Victor is now a superhero who gets to hang out with the likes of Starfire, Raven, and Wonder Woman on a regular basis instead of having a, maybe, five to six year career that ends with a torn ACL and spending a lifetime chasing Roger Goodell for health benefits, and some of us would kill to live the life he just kind of lucked into... but, whatever, be mad at your father... fine. Anyway, we've already seen Silas in the same Batman V Superman clip that introduced Cyborg, and, if recent Justice League film rumors are true, we'll be seeing a whole lot more of him.
Cyborg has had his fair share of love interests over the years, but Dr. Sarah Charles is the one who seems to stick around. In the Pre-Flashpoint universe, she was S.T.A.R. Labs' physical therapist. In the Post-Flashpoint universe, she's a S.T.A.R. scientist. In both, she is brave, determined, and doesn't cut Victor any slack. If Cyborg's proposed 2020 solo film has a love interest, my money is on Sarah Charles being it.
You know how I said there would be points where I was reaching? Well, we've reached the first! Billy Batson is a pre-teen orphan who can turn into a full-grown superhero by saying the word: "SHAZAM." Being the two youngest members of the Post-Flashpoint Justice League, Shazam and Cyborg strike up a friendship which is quickly becoming one of the best bromances in DC Universe history. I won't say too much more about the artist formerly known as Captain Marvel since I'm likely going to do an entire article dedicated to him. Since Shazam has a solo film scheduled to come out in 2019, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that we could see their friendship play out on the big screen.
Earlier, I said that Cyborg was vulnerable to computer viruses and malware. Grid is one of the worst case scenarios of this. Grid was an information gathering program that Cyborg created himself. Unfortunately, Grid worked too well... The program eventually gained sentience and decided it didn't need Victor anymore. In the 2013-14 crossover event Forever Evil, Grid took control of Cyborg's robot body and separated Victor from it, nearly killing him. In my opinion, this makes Grid as close to an arch-nemesis as Cyborg has ever had.
These goons are the first threat that Cyborg had to dispatch in his solo series. The Technosapiens are a techno-virus from another dimension that infect people, control their minds, and turn them into grotesque monsters. Think cyborg-zombies. They hunt Cyborg and his father for technology, and I could easily see them being the threat in Cyborg's solo movie.
Now for another big reach. The famed mercenary and assassin, Deathstroke, is probably more well-known for his feuds with Dick Grayson and Green Arrow. However, Deathstroke was the main nemesis of the Teen Titans back when Cyborg was a key member. The man who uses 90% of his brain blamed the Titans for his son's death and vowed to take revenge. Considering that Deathstroke is a popular, well-known villain and that he was recently removed from The Arrow TV series to likely make way for a film appearance, it's possible Warner Brothers could tap him as the main villain in Cyborg's solo film. Though, admittedly, I think you're more likely to see him in The Suicide Squad.
1) Justice League (2011) #1-6- This storyline gives you Cyborg's Post-Flashpoint origin story as well as the first adventure of the Post-Flashpoint Justice League. If you want a sneak peak into what the plot of the Justice League film will probably be like, this is the story to check out.
2) Cyborg #1-6- Herein lies the beginning of Cyborg's solo series and the Technosapiens saga. This is a good example of a modern portrayal of Cyborg and shows you how he can operate without a team to back him up.
3) Tales of the Teen Titans #57- This story has Cyborg trying to look normal and quit the superhero game with new, plastic body parts. Instead, he has to go up against The Fearsome Five all alone with no super powers. Vic shows you what he's made of in this one, and it has the introduction of his love interest Sarah Charles.
Top Moments as a Justice Leaguer:
3) Justice League of America (2006) #41- This was Cyborg's Pre-Flashpoint induction into the Justice League. He finally joined the team along with fellow former Teen Titans: Donna Troy, Starfire, and Dick Grayson (filling in for the presumed-dead Batman). This story happened shortly before Flashpoint rebooted the DC Universe, so he wasn't a member of this version of the team for long. However, it's a milestone simply because it's the first time Cyborg became one of the world's greatest superheroes.
2) Throne of Atlantis- It's kind of a Justice League tradition that a new member is given an adventure where he or she rescues the rest of the team to prove his or her worth to the fans. Arguably, this is that moment for Cyborg. During the war between Atlantis and the dry land, Cyborg has to choose between saving his friends and giving up part of his humanity. He doesn't hesitate when the time comes.
1) Forever Evil- And if Throne of Atlantis wasn't that moment, Forever Evil definitely is. After nearly being killed by Grid, Cyborg recovers to be the lone Justice Leaguer against a world of unrestrained super-villains and the Crime Syndicate of America. Vic is more than up to the challenge as he rallies help to free his teammates and save the world. This adventure also contains a retelling of the origin of the Metal Men that is surprisingly emotional. This is definitely the highlight of Cyborg's Justice League career to date.
Other Live Action Versions:
If reading isn't your thing (and at this point, that would puzzle me since this hasn't been a short post), there is one other live-action version of Cyborg to date aside from his brief appearance in Dawn of Justice. Cyborg appeared in the young Superman TV series Smallville played by Lee Thompson Young. The character debuted in Season 5, Episode 15 which was appropriately titled "Cyborg." He was also a member of Smallville's version of the Justice League that first appeared in Season 6, Episode 11. He made a couple of random appearances after that, but remained a fan favorite. If you're not into Smallville then you'll just have to wait until the Justice League movie next year. Cyborg is being played by Ray Fisher who, apparently, went to college with my brother's girlfriend (and that practically makes me a Titan as far as I'm concerned). I'm hoping Fisher does Cyborg "justice" ;).
Alright, that's it. There's your introduction to Cyborg and the people around him. Special thanks to the DC Wiki and the Smallville Wiki for their images and info. In my next installment of Getting to Know the Justice League, I will introduce (God help me) Aquaman. Look for that within the next week. I plan on being more active with my page here, so I'll see you soon... Thanks for reading!
I just read The Multiversity Guidebook and I’m geeking out HARD. All of the Earths that comprise the New 52’s DC Multiverse have been revealed minus the seven mystery Earths which, I imagine, will be revealed in time. I wanted to lay out what the revealed worlds are, what I think they are, and where you can find their source material if you’re so inclined. Some of the worlds I expected because they’d been revealed before in earlier comics, preview materials, and interviews. Some were just a pleasant surprise. There will be MAJOR SPOILERS below so if you haven’t read the Guidebook yet and you want to then don’t look beyond this paragraph. Let’s get down to it:
Earth 0- Mainstream DC Universe. ‘Nuff said…
Earth 1- Home of the Earth One OGN’s: Straczynski’s Superman, Johns’ Batman, Lemire’s Teen Titans, and, soon, Morrison’s Wonder Woman.
Earth 2- From the comic book series Earth 2. Home of Alan Scott, Jay Garrick, etc.
Earth 3- Home of the Crime Syndicate of America, the evil version of the Justice League. Their world was last seen in Forever Evil.
Earth 4- As seen in The Multiversity: Pax Americana. Home of the heroes from Charlton Comics: Captain Atom, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) Nightshade, Peacemaker, Tiger, and The Question. Pax Americana was brilliant and Watchmen-esque without being a rip-off. On a personal note, I’m glad they decided to go with a Charlton earth and not make Watchmen part of the multiverse. Before Watchmen was insulting enough…
Earth 5- As seen in The Multiversity: Thunderworld Adventures. Home to a Marvel Family that more closely resembles the Fawcett Comics’ version of the characters than their Earth-0 counterparts.
Earth 6- Stan Lee’s Just Imagine Universe. Back in 2001-02, DC let Stan Lee reimagine their greatest characters. This was the result.
Earth 7- As seen in The Multiversity #1. My theory is that this is a parody of the Ultimate Marvel universe. The Guidebook says that this world is where “the history of Earth-8 was recreated with subtle differences.” If we accept Earth-8 is a parody of the Marvel Universe then it stands to reason that Earth-7 is the Ultimate Universe. It makes even more sense if you consider that Earth-7 was basically destroyed by The Gentry in The Multiverse #1 and Marvel’s Ultimate Universe is basically dead these days.
Earth 8- As Seen in The Multiversity #1. It’s a parody of the Marvel Universe. Bug is Spider-Man, the G-Men are the X-Men, Machinehead is Iron Man, etc, etc. It’s good to see Wundajin make the cut here. He was a fun character in Giffen and DeMatteis’ Justice League International.
Earth 9- The Tangent Universe. In 1997-98, Dan Jurgens re-imagined some of DC’s premier characters, and a series of one-shots were developed from his ideas under the imprint Tangent Comics. This is their world.
Earth 10- AKA Earth-X. It will soon be seen in The Multiversity: Mastermen. This is the world where the Nazis won World War II, and the heroes of Quality Comics fight as renegades for freedom. This is a revamped version of Earth-X from the original multiverse appearing in Justice League of America (Vol.1) #107-108. We’ve already seen this world’s Overman in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond.
Earth 11- The world of women. The heroes of this world are the opposite gender of their counterparts in Earth-0. It was first seen in Superman/Batman (Vol.1) #23-24, and this world’s Aquawoman is part of the “war party” in The Multiverse #1.
Earth 12- The Batman Beyond Universe. This includes Superman Beyond and Justice League Beyond.
Earth 13- The home of a magic-centric Justice League. The only source material I know of for this world is issue #53 of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol which includes the appearance of a John Constantine sporting superhero tights and in a team of magic wielding heroes. Also, it’s worth noting that in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1, Ultraman is tossing around a version of the Demon just as the Ultima Thule is soaring through Earth-13.
Earth 14- Home to the Justice League of Assassins as first seen in Superman Vol. 4 #15. This world was originally unrevealed in Multiversity, and is the first to be revealed by a creator other than Grant Morrison.
Earth 15- The “Perfect Universe” destroyed by Superboy-Prime in Countdown #26-24. I don’t remember much about this place other than the fact that it seemed like a Utopia. It might be worth revisiting those issues since it looks like this place will be important.
Earth 16- As seen in The Multiversity: The Just. It’s the world of bored superheroes and their spoiled children. I enjoyed this earth because it seemed like what would have happened if Morrison’s JLA had played out to its natural conclusion. Most of the characters in the story were from the 1990’s or the Pre-Flashpoint DCU. I could see that timeline ending up here.
Earth 17- Home of the Atomic Knights who first appeared in Strange Adventures #117. I like that Morrison’s expanding this post-nuclear apocalypse world. He seems to enjoy the concept considering the Atomic Knights and their giant dogs played a big part in Final Crisis.
Earth 18- Home of the Justice Riders. This was a Wild West Justice League from a 1997 Elseworlds one-shot by Chuck Dixon and J.H. Williams III.
Earth 19- The world of Gotham by Gaslight, the famous 1991 one-shot by Brian Augustyn and Mike Mignola.
Earth 20- As seen in The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors from the Counter-World. Its home to the pulp inspired superheroes: Doc Fate, The Mighty Atom, Abin Sur, Immortal Man, and the Blackhawks. It was tragic how the heroes of this world had to sacrifice their principles to save the day.
Earth 21- DC: The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke.
Earth 22- Kingdom Come and the Kingdom as created by Mark Waid and Alex Ross.
Earth 23- Home to President Superman and the African American analogues to the heroes of Earth-0. This world was first seen in Final Crisis #7, was the focus of Action Comics (Vol.2) #9, and appeared briefly in The Multiversity #1. President Superman is a major character in this series.
Earth 26- Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew.
Earth 29- Bizarro World. I want to know if this is the same Bizarro World as the one seen in Morrison’s All Star Superman. It would be cool if it was, and it would sort of make sense since the All Star Superman Bizarro World was from a place called the “Underverse” and Earth-29 is shown at the very bottom of the Map of the Multiverse.
Earth 30- Superman: Red Son by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, and Killian Plunkett.
Earth 31- Batman: Leatherwing from Detective Comics (Vol.1) Annual #7 by Chuck Dixon and Enrique Alcatena. Pirate Batman!
Earth 32- Batman: In Darkest Knight by Mike W. Barr and Jerry Bingham. Green Lantern Batman!
Earth 33- AKA Earth-Prime. Our world. It will be the focus of The Multiversity: Ultra Comics. In the Pre-Crisis multiverse, Earth-Prime had a superhero called Ultraa who first appeared and then left our world in Justice League of America (Vol.1) #153. Apparently Ultra Comics will be the new version of that hero and our world’s only protector.
Earth 34- A parody of Kurt Busiek’s Astro City. To my great shame, I haven’t read much Astro City but Savior is a clear analogue to Samaritan.
Earth 35- A parody of Alan Moore’s work on Supreme and Rob Liefeld’s Awesome universe. Supremo is obviously supposed to be Supreme and the archer behind him looks a lot like Youngblood’s Shaft. This is great because Alan Moore’s Supreme was brilliant…
Earth 36- An analogue for Big Bang Comics.
Earth 37- This world seems to be a mash-up of Batman: Thrillkiller and Twilight which were both written by Howard Chaykin. In essence, this is Earth-Chaykin.
Earth 38- John Byrne’s Superman & Batman: Generations.
Earth 39- A T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents parody. The T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents were a group of superhero spies created by Wally Wood in 1965. They were ahead of their time in characterization.
Earth 40- As seen in The Multiversity: The Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors from the Counter-World. It’s the home of the pulp villain opposites of Earth-20. As Earth-20’s dark reflection, it was fitting that the Society of Super-Criminals brought out the dark sides’ of the Society of Super-Heroes.
Earth 41- A mash-up of the original Image universe and DC Comics. Spore is Spawn, Dino-Cop is Savage Dragon, the Nimord Squad are the Youngbloods, etc. etc.
Earth 42- The home of the chibi Justice League as first seen in Superman/Batman #51. These tiny heroes have a big and potentially nasty role to play in The Multiversity.
Earth 43- First seen in Batman and Dracula: Red Rain by Doug Moench and Kelley Jones. Batman and the rest of the Justice League are vampires on this earth. It’s interesting to note that Zillo Valla was revealed to be the monitor of this earth in Final Crisis #7, and she refueled the Ultima Thule by draining Overman’s blood in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1.
Earth 44- Home to The Metal League which is an obvious mash-up of The Justice League and The Metal Men. They caused a bit of trouble in the beginning of Final Crisis #7.
Earth 45- The birthplace of Superdoomsday who played a big part in Morrison’s run on Action comics before being defeated by my boy Supes in Action Comics (Vol. 2) #18.
Earth 47- Home to the Love Syndicate of Dreamworld who were first seen in Animal Man (Vol.1) #23 when Psycho-Pirate was attempting to bring multiversal characters back into the Post-Crisis DCU. I’m also glad to see that Prez Rickard is the Commander-in-Chief here. This fits with how we left Prez in Neil Gaiman’s Sandman #54. Dream offered Prez passage to alternate Americas where he could serve. It looks like he found one.
Earth 48- Home of Lady Quark who first appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 and who was seen in The Multiversity #1. This world also contains the Forerunners who played a role in DC’s Countdown event. It will be interesting to see how this world’s ties to The New Gods and Darkseid pan out.
Earth 50- Home of the Justice Lords from the Justice League animated series. They first appeared in the episode “A Better World.” The episode and the team are more or less a parody of the Squadron Supreme series by Mark Gruenwald which featured a team like the Justice League becoming tyrants in an attempt to create a utopia.
Earth 51- Home to Jack Kirby’s Kamandi and The New Gods. Basically, this is Earth-Kirby featuring the greatest characters the legendary artist ever created for DC Comics. According to Final Crisis, this was the world that was entrusted to Nix Uotan before it was destroyed and he was exiled to Earth.
Speaking of Nix Uotan, did anyone else spot a Rubik’s Cube on the ground of Earth-42 in The Multiversity Guidebook? Uotan solved a cube just like that one in Final Crisis. It could be a warning that Nix has been a bit busy since The Gentry corrupted his soul.
Anyway, that’s my breakdown of the revealed Earths of DC’s Multiverse. My mind is blown. There are so many connections and possible connections in these realities that I only just grazed the surface. For instance, have you noticed that all the Marvel-related Earths are numbered in a row: Earths 6, 7, and 8. I'm also pretty sure that Earths 12 and 50 are reflections of each other like 20 and 40. Both 12 and 50 have their roots in the DCAU. Earth-12 is the DCAU gone right with a functioning Justice League while Earth-50 is the DCAU with super dictators. Also, keep in mind that Earths 14, 24, 25, 27,28,46, and 49 have yet to be revealed. If something was left out then it could turn out to be one of those worlds. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on the subject or about anything I missed.
Edit (11/16/17): Added information for Earth 14 and corrected the information for Earth 36.
It is a melancholy object for those who peruse these message boards to read of long-suffering Superman fans yearning for a human protagonist that they can relate to. Being forced to read the fantastic exploits of a nigh-invincible character soaring through the cosmos in tights has pushed them to repeat their desperate plea again and again: “What about Clark Kent?” These abused fans simply wish DC to acknowledge that the core of Superman’s character originates in the heartland of Kansas and not in the far-reaches of space. They know that Clark’s purest aim lies in fitting in with the human multitude that surrounds him and not in surpassing them to reach for something better. To my great shame, I once counted myself as their philosophical adversary. I used to clamor for an all-powerful Superman who was much bigger than the confines of his mundane alter-ego. No more, my friends, as I come again before you a changed man willing to spread the virtues of one Clark Kent. In that regard, I offer up this modest proposal for making Superman a more relatable character in the decades to come.
First, we must address the criticism that Superman is over-powered. Let’s face it, the amount of things that the man can do is ridiculous. No one alive is that powerful and you can’t realistically kill the man. How can you possibly enjoy a story about a man who can’t die? My solution is to just get rid of his powers altogether. Why not? Most readers like the character for who he is on the inside anyway. Since his personality obviously carries the book then there’s no need for unrealistic superpowers. They just get in the way of character development. Moving from there, we can also do away with that garish costume and cape he’s always wearing. I mean, who dresses like that outside of the mentally ill and perverted fetishists? Getting him out of that costume and into a normal mix of business attire and casual wear will further ground him to reality and make him a man that dresses like the rest of us. That brings me to his war on crime: What’s the point? We all know what happens to real vigilantes and the poor fools who think that they can be real-life superheroes. They all get hurt or locked up. It’ll be much safer and more realistic if our Kent fights for truth and justice during his everyday activities rather than stick his neck out fighting mobsters and alien invaders. Finally, with his powers, costume, and war on crime out of the way, is there any reason for us to call him Superman? I think not, fellow fanboys. Therefore, I suggest we keep the title of Superman around merely for nostalgic purposes and rename the title: Superman-The Adventures of Clark Kent.
Now that we’ve taken care of fixing the man himself, let us turn our attention to tweaking his background and day-to-day life. The first thing we really have to do is get rid of all that Krypton and space business. Only crack-pots and children believe in aliens and other planets supporting life. We won’t even mention it. Instead we’ll make Jonathan and Martha Kent his natural parents. That way he’ll be an honest to goodness human and AN AMERICAN and not some illegal space immigrant like he was before. We’ll also keep his parents alive and well into Clark’s adulthood to make sure he doesn’t stray from the path of Midwestern values. In fact his values are central to the misadventures Clark has in the big city of Metropolis. My proposed series is about how Clark moves to the city to become a reporter while still keeping his honest, Christian values in tact amid all the bustle and sin. Will he ever reach his career goal of becoming an editor or the personal milestone of marrying the girl of his dreams, Lois Lane? Stay tuned reader and you might just learn the answers.
A Phone by Any Other Name…:
Clark is in the market for a smart phone to aid him in keeping up to date with the latest news, but he can’t decide between an iPhone and a Samsung. Jimmy informs him that Apple uses the Samsung processors in all their phones, anyway. Yet, Clark wonders if this invalidates the status of having an iPhone. Readers will be shocked by Clark’s final decision!
Annoyed by the rude behavior of certain passengers on the Metropolis metro system, Kent posts a stern status about being raised to learn manners on his Facebook timeline. He becomes disheartened at the fact that Lois neither “likes” nor reposts his words…
It Takes Two:
Made uneasy by the romantic advances he’s receiving from single mother Cat Grant and wishing she would get back together with her ex for their son’s sake, Kent contacts his minister back in Smallville for help. Will their cunning ruse involving a dinner party and a jammed elevator work to bring this family back together?
Black Out or Black Listed?:
Clark is frustrated at being overlooked at The Daily Planet next to the charismatic reporting skills of newcomer Chip Dawson. He searches for evidence that Dawson is falsifying stories. Instead he finds pictures on the Internet of Chip getting sloppy at a bar the night before a big International Conference. Clark struggles with the moral quandary of whether or not it’s right for him to capitalize off these photos and forward them to Perry White.
Occupy Common Sense:
Jimmy is planning on attending an Occupy Metropolis protest and asks Clark if he’d like to go with him. Instead, Clark lectures Jimmy on the values of centrism and of not rocking the boat. Only good, old-fashioned moderate politics ever fixes anything and no one has ever gotten anything by whining. Will Jimmy listen to Clark’s good sense or will he be lured into temptation by punk girls in cut-off shorts and acoustic jam sessions? Only time will tell…
Waiting for Luthor…:
After spending an exhaustive amount of time picking the perfect cable package that fits both his budget AND his interest in the Hallmark network, Clark embarks on the perilous task of arranging an installation appointment with the cable company. Unfortunately, Kent is set up with the most notoriously lazy cable man of all time: Lex Luthor! Will he hook the cable up in time or will Clark have to do the unthinkable and miss a day of work?
Christmas for the Kents:
After her father gets stationed in South Korea, Clark invites Lois to spend Christmas with his family in Smallville. The vivacious, thrill-seeker is initially hesitant, but Clark hopes the most exciting Kent tradition will get her to change her mind: Making a tree ornament based on your favorite scene from It’s a Wonderful Life.
As you can see, my Clark Kent is a much more human and relatable figure than the current iteration we are subjected to. I can’t take all the credit, of course. I simply took the man who was so well crafted under the likes of John Byrne and Dan Jurgens in the 1980’s and 90’s and got rid of all the superfluous junk. This character finally gets to the root of what the fans want to read: A normal man living his life. Until the writers and editors of Superman realize that it’s Clark Kent and not Superman that makes this book special, the readers will continue to suffer the unrealistic and needlessly exciting plots churned out month after month. I urge DC to turn away from their current mistake and start printing stories that the common man needs. Goodbye Superman! Long live Clark Kent!
……………. ;) ………….
Use your keyboard!
Log in to comment