Final Crisis #2: Ticket To Bludhaven

  • Writer: Grant Morrison
  • Artist: J.G. Jones
  • Colorist: Alex Sinclair
  • Letterer: Rob Leigh
  • Cover Artist: J.G. Jones
  • Editor: Eddie Berganza

Page 1: None of the characters waiting outside a Japanese nightclub appear to be anybody significant though the man second from the left wears a jacket which shows the cover of The Killing Joke, and also has a bag with the Robin logo. Three people to the left of him is another man wearing a shirt with POW, ZAP and other words written in a style reminiscent of the 1960’s Batman TV show. There’s a girl to the left of him in a Wonder Woman costume and next to her is a girl in a vaguely Mary Marvel costume. Behind her is someone in a Stromtrooper outfit with stylised wings on the bag and horns on the helmet; there’s also a Darwin Fish on the back as well.

Pages 2-3 Panel 1: The voice over is that of Rising Sun, one of Japan’s few heroes in the DCU. The panel, evidently a news clip, shows from left to right Boss Bosozuko, Rising Sun himself, Junior Waveman, Hammersuit Zero-X, the flying Ultimon, a tentacled monster that, given Rising Sun’s narration is probably Fushikuraje, Cosmo Racer and Goraiko whom Morrison created for the Ultramarine Corps some years ago. These IDs come mostly via Douglas Wolk’s excellent Final Crisis annotations blog.

Pages 2-3 Panel 2: This is Rising Sun who looks a little older these days and is complaining about today’s generation of heroes; the high collar of his costume recalls that of the Legionnaire, Karate Kid. Note that this and the rest of the panels on these pages form a rising sun motif.

Pages 2-3 Panel 4: These are the members of Super Young Team, the heroes Rising Sun is complaining about. From left to right are Shiny Happy Aquazon, Well-Spoken Sonic Lightning Flash, Shy Crazy Lolita Canary (the small winged figure), Most Excellent Super Bat and Big Atomic Lantern Boy.

Pages 2-3 Panel 7: The large figure seen from the back will be introduced in a moment. The girl in the bottom right wears a Flash symbol T-shirt.

Page 4 – Panel 1: As the man reaches the bar, Most Excellent Super Bat has a Wayne’s World moment as he recognises Sonny Sumo, who, like many of the main characters running throughout FINAL CRISIS, was created by Jack Kirby.

Page 4 – Panels 3-4: Megayakuza, a character whose name obviously references the Yakuza crime organisation challenges Sonny Sumo . . .

Page 6 – Panel 1: . . . and quickly learns a fatal lesson.

Page 6 – Panel 3: The symbol on the gents’ toilet shows a stylised man wearing a cape; nice touch!

Page 7 – Panel 1: The man climbing out of the car is Shilo Norman, also known as Mr Miracle, protege of the New God, Scott Free. Having had various roles throughout the DCU, Norman appears here as he did in the SEVEN SOLDIERS: MISTER MIRACLE series.

Page 8 – Panels 1 to 3: Healed by Motherboxxx

Page 8 – Panels 1-3: As Norman meets Sonny Sumo, the sound of Ping, Ping, Ping can be heard – this is Norman’s Motherboxxx (formerly called a Mother Box). It is this device, common to many of the New Gods, that heals the burns Megayakuza caused on Sumo.

Page 8 – Panel 4: Sumo recognises the sound of the Motherboxxx and Norman references “a cosmic war” which was mentioned in the previous issue.

Page 8 – Panel 5: As the members of Super Young Team crowd into the toilets, a Green Lantern logo can be seen on the back of Big Atomic Lantern Boy’s costume.

Page 9 – Panel 1: This is Nix Uotan, once the Monitor of the Earth-51 universe (which was destroyed . . . twice . . . in COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS) and who was exiled at the end of the previous issue to New Earth for allowing the destruction to happen. Twice. Here he is shown reading through a dictionary, presumably to find a magic word that will restore his Monitor status; the search recalls a similar process Black Adam went through in the BLACK ADAM mini-series.

Page 9 – Panel 3: Nix is working in a Big Belly Burger, the fast food chain of choice in the DCU.

Page 9 – Panel 5: Sketching other worlds

Page 9 – Panel 5: And when he’s not working, he drawing. Left to right on his pages are Overman and Overgirl (the names can be intimated by what’s written on the top of that second page) who appear to be alternate versions of Superman and Supergirl respectively. The pad he’s drawing on shows what might be Mandraak (see later issues) and the Earth-4 Captain Atom from MULTIVERSITY.

Page 10 – Panel 1: Dan Turpin seems to have escaped the possessed children from the previous issue: and is questioning, somewhat physically, the Batman villain, Mad Hatter. The TV in the background reports that the funeral for the Martian Manhunter is due to take place on Mars.

Page 10 – Panels 2-3: Despite having found the children in the previous issue, Turpin appears to be still looking for them.

Page 11 – Panel 1: The TV report mentions Reverend Good, who was briefly introduced last issue, exerting pressure on President Horne for the Bludhaven recovery program. Horne was President following Lex Luthor’s term in office but, according to UNCLE SAM AND THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS lost a subsequent election to Senator Knight, father of the current Phantom Lady. Knight, though, was actually a robotic impostor and was revealed as such, presumably allowing Horne to regain the Presidency.

Page 11 – Panel 3: Mad Hatter gives up Bludhaven as the location of the missing children.

Page 11 – Panel 4: Darkseid rising

Page 11 – Panel 4: While last issue seemed to imply that Turpin had absorbed the powers of Orion, the casual brutality in his questioning of Mad Hatter and this image – with the pronounced brow ridge and cracks formed by the broken mirror – seems to show Turpin has more of Orion’s father, Darkseid, in him than anything else.

Page 12 – Panel 1: The funeral, on Mars, of the Martian Manhunter which is also covered in REQUIEM. Left to right in the very back row are Skeets (hovering above), Mr Terrific, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Stargirl; in the middle are Booster Gold, Zatanna, Red Tornado; in the front are Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Vixen, Wonder Woman. In the coffin at their feet can be seen J’onn J’onnz’s body.

Page 12 – Panel 2: At the back, forming the bubble around the funeral, is Green Lantern John Stewart; left to right are Wildcat, Black Lightning, Dr Mid-Nite, Hourman, Superman, Green Lantern Alan Scott, Geo-Force. Kneeling with flowers is Black Canary and right at the front is Flash.

Page 12 – Panel 3: Right at the back is Hawkman; just in front is Hawkgirl, then Firestorm and Metamorpho. Coming down the line toward the front are Green Arrow, Power Girl, Batman and Red Arrow. Superman’s words that they will “pray for a resurrection” is a nod to the fact that a lot of superheroes who have died have later returned hale and hearty. Among the mourners, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Red Tornado, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Metamorpho, Green Arrow and Superman himself have all died only to return. The odds of seeing J’onn J’onnz again are, I think, pretty good.

Page 13 – Panel 1: This is Libra, self styled herald of a new god and the killer of J’onn J’onnz.

Page 13 – Panel 2: The Secret Society that Libra is attempting to put together. Working from Libra clockwise, those seated at or near the table are Lex Luthor; Clayface; Effigy (stood to one side) the Human Flame; Vandal Savage; Zoom; Ocean Master (stood at the end); Shadow Thief (spread across the wall behind Ocean Master); Weather Wizard; Deathstroke; Talia al Ghul; Dr Light; Mirror Master (stood behind Light); Dr Sivana; Gorilla Grodd; and Heat Wave (stood behind Grodd.)

Page 14 – Panel 1: Luthor and at least Sivana plan to work against Libra.

Page 14 – Panel 3: Libra reminds the Human Flame that he is simply working for someone else, the god that he worships.

Page 14 – Panel 4: That’s not going to end well

Page 14 – Panel 5: It seems unlikely that the Human Flame is going to come out of his deal with Libra in a good way.

Page 15 – Panel 1: From left to right are the Flash, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman. Suspended in front of the screen Batman is looking is the corpse of Orion who died in the previous issue.

Page 15 – Panel 2: Batman mentions J’onn J’onnz impersonating Blockbuster; this happened in SALVATION RUN.

Page 15 – Panel 3: Green Lantern Hal Jordan joins the group along with Alpha Lantern Kraken. The Guardians of The Universe, the Lanterns’ bosses, assigned the Alpha Lanterns to investigate Orion’s death.

Page 16 – Panel 1: Despite Kraken’s assumption that Earth technology cannot identify the cause of Orion’s death, Batman steps up with his findings.

Page 17 – Panel 1: As Batman had told Kraken, GL John Stewart is re-investigating the scene of Orion’s death, along with his fellow GL shown here, Opto309v. Opto mentions having heard something but failing to find any cause.

Page 17 – Panel 2: Again, Opto hears a sound. Stewart, meanwhile, is excavating something with an unidentified energy trace which has been buried for fifty years.

Page 17 – Panel 3: Stewart finds a “theotoxic” material – lethal to gods, in other words – just as Opto flies off to investigate the sound he keeps hearing.

Page 17 – Panel 5: The material is Radion which is something that the New Gods are susceptible to.

Page 18 – Panel 1: Stewart is nailed by power ring energy constructs to the crate behind him.

Page 18 – Panel 2: Opto finds the source of the sound he keeps hearing – a cymbal banging monkey figure made to look like a Guardian of the Universe, again a power ring construct.

Page 18 – Panels 3 and 4: Lantern betrayed

Page 18 – Panel 3: Stewart recognises his attacker, a fellow Green Lantern who appears to be mimicking Hal Jordan’s costume (thanks to Stuart Kinsella for pointing that out.)

Page 18 – Panel 4: Possibly just an art snafu, but Stewart’s ring is not visible on his finger here.

Page 19 – Panels 1-3: GL Hal Jordan is arrested by the Alpha Lanterns. In Panel 3 , left to right, are Alpha Lanterns Boodikka, Green Man, Kraken, Green Lantern Opto309v, and Alpha Lantern Chaselon.

Page 19 – Panel 5: Kraken’s cry of “No Lantern escapes the Alpha Lanterns!” references the similar cry of the Manhunters: “No man escapes the Manhunters!” Before instigating the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians of the Universe used Manhunter androids to instill order. See the MILLENNIUM event for more info.

Page 20 – Page 1: Batman never being “Jordan’s biggest supporter” references the feelings Batman had for GL Jordan following Emerald Twilight where Jordan went mad and killed many of the other Green Lanterns and destroyed the Guardians of the Universe. His crimes were compounded following the events of ZERO HOUR, though he attempted to make amends during FINAL NIGHT. Eventually, after GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH, Batman slowly came round to trusting him once more.

Page 21 – Panel 1: The “She” in “She’s eating my mind” is Granny Goodness who has subsumed Kraken’s mind and is now using her body. Despite the art snafu on Page 18 Panel 4, the power ring imprint on Kraken’s hand is from John Stewart’s ring.

Page 21 – Panel 4: Batman works out that it was John Stewart who struck Kraken’s hand leaving the imprint. Kraken states that because Stewart is in a critical state Wonder Woman can’t leave him but Dr Mid-Nite can. It struck me that it should be the other way around: the doctor should stay with the patient and the warrior should come to Batman’s aid. Steve Kinsella, however, rightly points out that Stewart is being treated with the Purple Ray, an Amazonian healing device that, presumably, Wonder Woman is more adept with.

Page 22 – Panel 2: Kraken summons a Boom Tube to transport Batman to Granny which strengthens my thoughts that it was Kraken trying to contact Batman in Panel 1 on Page 21.

Page 23 – Panel 1: In the ruins of Bludhaven, Turpin spots the Atomic Knights who showed up in this guise in THE BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN mini-series following INFINITE CRISIS.

Page 23 – Panel 5: Turpin is guided underground by the Reverend Good who seems to recognise him. I’m uncertain as to the significance, if any, of the Bismark sign behind Turpin’s head.

Page 24 – Panel 1: The tunnel Turpin and Good are about to enter is the entrance to Command D which was shown at the end of THE BATTLE FOR BLUDHAVEN. Pre-CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, Command D was the location in the future that gave the last boy on Earth, Kamandi, his name. At the end of COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS, the ravaged Earth-51 became the setting for a version of Kamandi’s story.

Page 24 – Panel 3: Good clearly states that he and others are the Gods of Apokolips and refers to a body being grown for Turpin’s son, Kalibak the Cruel. Kalibak was one of Darkseid’s sons, indicating that Turpin is indeed carrying the persona of Darkseid within him as hinted at on Page 11. Turpin’s line that “My son died…” may refer to a son he had that died or may be the thoughts of Darkseid referring to his son Orion who died.

Page 25 – Panel 1: The Evil Factory

Page 24 – Panel 4: The blond haired boy in the cage on the left is Kamandi.

Page 25 – Panel 1: Around the main operating table are Alpha Lantern Kraken, Mokkari and Simyan. The tiger creature they’re operating on was originally thought to be Mister Tawky Tawny, an ally of Captain Marvel, but he turns up alive and well in the next issue. In a chamber behind Simyan is the captured Batman.

Page 25 – Panel 2: Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet, and Clark (Superman) Kent.

Page 25 – Panel 3: Outside White’s office are Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. That Olsen refers to Lois as “Mrs Kent” is a little unusual considering their long friendship. Steve Kinsella makes an excellent point about the image on the screen in front of Jimmy: “it’s a Jim Lee picture, being the cover of SUPERMAN Vol 2, #204 – ‘For Tomorrow, Part 1’. The story features an alternate world created by Superman that was originally created to be a haven for humanity if some insurmountable…crisis…occurred. Could this be an oblique reference to the multi-versal nature of FC?” Nicely spotted, Steve!

Page 25 – Panel 5: And the reason for the formality of Olsen’s remark is made clear as it’s not Olsen but Clayface.

Page 26 – Panel 3: Lois gets fridged

Page 26 – Panels 2-3: On Page 13, Libra had seemed to take up Luthor’s challenge to hurt Superman. Here, knowingly or otherwise, it appears he has done so by blowing up the Daily Planet and seemingly killing Lois Lane.

Page 27 – Panel 1: Two Flashes, Wally West on the left and Jay Garrick on the right.

Page 27 – Panel 2: The Flashes end up outside the deserted strip club that Libra and his Society have used as a meeting hall.

Page 27 – Panel 3: Jay tells us that the strip club was once the Central City Community Center; this was the location that the second Flash, Barry Allen, was in when he first left Earth-1 and travelled to Earth-2 in the classic Flash Of Two Worlds story that introduced the whole Multiverse concept.

Page 27 – Panel 4: Wally states the Mobius chair is a fake; while Dr Light and Mirror Master found the original in the last issue, it appears Libra has kept that safe and sound.

Page 28 – Panel 2: For all it being “plastic and wire“, Wally seems convinced that it is acting as the scope of a higher-dimensional gun that sent the bullet that John Stewart found back through time.

Page 28 – Panel 3: Jay’s talk of vibrations refers to the Multiverse once more: characters, in particular the Flashes, could travel from one universe to another by altering their internal vibrations, tuning them in to the frequency of the universe next door.

Page 29: Hinted at for some time, the Silver Age Flash, Barry Allen, returns to the DCU. Trouble is he’s chased by the Black Racer – the harbinger of death for the New Gods – and a bullet/shell that appears to contain the Morticoccus virus, last seen as destroying the world of Earth-51 in COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS.