Sunday Reviews

A very quiet week, this week – but it’s quality, not quantity.


Dr Manhattan finally reveals when and how he’s been hanging around the DCU, first appearing way back in 1938 at the original first appearance of the Golden Age Superman. The rest of the issue, he talks both about the DCU timeline changes and, at the same time, discusses the fortunes of the actor Carver Colman who plays Nathaniel Dusk – clips from the Dusk films and Colman’s murder have been littered throughout the previous issues and this one makes it clear why. Manhattan, focusing on Superman and the changes to his origin story, realises that “outside forces” are changing things; these outside forces are (in-story) the Anti-Monitor and Extant, but there’s also plenty of meta-commentary about them being the Editors at DC. He labels the main DCU the “metaverse” and, out of curiosity, meddles with it by moving Alan Scott’s lantern out of his reach way back during the train crash that allowed him to become the first Green Lantern. This wipes out the JSA and, in turn, creates the New 52 DCU (while simultaneously ignoring FLASHPOINT and the Pandora character who was originally credited/blamed with creating it). And, as the issue ends, he realises he’s on a crash course with Superman.

Despite all the delays this series has had, despite the likelihood that it’s impact on the main DCU will be lessened by the time it finishes due to Geoff Johns no longer having the influence he had back when Rebirth was kicked off, this is a bloody good story and an excellent single issue. Both Johns and artist Gary Frank absolutely nail this one, and while I look forward to its ending, with Brian Michael Bendis and Tom King being Dan Didio’s golden boys these days, I really doubt there’ll be the massive impact at the end of DOOMSDAY CLOCK that was promised. I hope I’m wrong.

And talking of hope, it gets several mentions in this story and, with the recent ending of HEROES IN CRISIS and what that story does to Wally West who, in DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH was the beacon of hope, I can’t help but think poor old Geoff Johns’ story isn’t going to make much difference in the DCU.


McGregor and Shaw continue their journey through what might be hell, with McGregor revealing a secret from his teenage years which ends with an expression of hopelessness and nihilism . . . and a possible help to Shaw.

Another excellent issue with Ennis continually subverting what you expect to happen. Two more issues to go!

Comixology Sale

I’ve never been a big fan of this whole Black Friday thing – I’m sorry to my American readers, but it’s another example of the UK hanging on to the coat-tails of our friends across the pond and making otherwise sensible people rush to stores at ungodly hours in order to pick up things that they may not actually want just because the price has been reduced.

That said, Comixology have a Black Friday sale where a whole bunch of graphic novels have been massively reduced. So I put on my Hat of Hypocrisy to drown out my own conscience and bought . . .

Batman/The Flash: The Button – with Doomsday Clock #1 landing this week, I thought it was the perfect time to pick up (and read – man, it’s a fast read) this almost prequel where Reverse Flash meets his end (again) and it became as clear as possible that Dr Manhattan was meddling with the DCU.

Harley’s Little Black Book – I’ve been picking up the trades of Harley’s main series and if this is anywhere near as much fun, I’ll look forward to reading it.

Trinity of Sin – damn you, spur of the moment! For reasons that escape me, I actually bought the Pandora series that promised (and failed) to explain why she was so important to the creation of the New 52, but didn’t bother with this series that only lasted for six issues.

Watchmen Noir – and bringing it full circle, I picked up another version of Watchmen, this one the black and white version which, having read the first half dozen or so pages, looks absolutely gorgeous.

Each of the above was a mere £2.99; there’s plenty of other stuff in there that I might be tempted to as well.

You know, if I were one of those people who liked to pick up things that they may not actually want just because the price has been reduced . . .

Dark Nights Metal Chant

Everyone enjoying the craziness that is Dark Nights Metal? Snyder did promise us a fun, over the top ride and he seems to be delivering with, among other things, issue #2’s reveal of Darkseid as a baby:

(And is Darkseid making the devil’s horns sign beloved of the late, great Ronnie James Dio or am I just seeing what I want to?)

It’s jumping around and barking mad – and I’m really enjoying it. I may get around to annotating it further down the line, although it’s a little too embedded in the Batman books for me to get every single reference, but I did want to do my public duty and offer up one thing.

On page 20, the Court of Owls and the Strigydae trap Batman in order to raise the big bad guy, Barbatos, complete with a summoning ritual:

The font that’s used has been in DC’s comics for several years – among other places, it’s turned up in Blue Beetle as the language of the scarab; it was used in Pandora: Trinity of Sin when Pandora (remember her?) cast a spell; and even as far back as Final Crisis: Requiem when it was used as the Martian language.

Here, though, it’s the same phrase repeated three times, then the first three words repeated twice:


That’s all it says, folks. I’ll admit the question mark after BATS is a guess, but it’s not the same as the exclamation mark at the end of TONGUES.

You can thank me later.

Rebirth – Page by Page

I’ve stayed away from the internet for the last few days, studiously avoiding comic news sites in order to avoid spoilers for Rebirth. Now that I have it, here’s my page by page thoughts as I read it – needless to say, this will include spoilers so if you haven’t read it in the last couple of days, you might want to run away now.


So I read the first page and then noticed the line telling me to read Justice League #50 with the end of the Darkseid War first. Did that – some bad guys win, some good guys lose and lots of seeds are planted for future stories.

Now, to Rebirth itself . . .

Page 1 – the watch recalls Jon Osterman/Dr Manhattan in Watchmen, but I wonder if it’s one of the Hourman characters narrating?

Page 2 – the talk of uncaring parents and an uncle, a legacy and power surely means this is Wally West, Kid Flash/Flash narrating.

Page 3 – the “lightning rod” is Linda, Wally’s wife – does she exist in the New 52? Is that why he can’t find her? There’s also a call back to the Lightning Saga storyline that brought Wally back years ago.

Page 4 – Batman’s talking about the revelation in Justice League #50 where the Mobius Chair told him that there were three Jokers.

Page 6 – and Wally’s back!

Page 7 – despite Wally’s hopes, Batman doesn’t remember him.

Page 8 – the letter he mentions was given to Batman by Flash after the events of Flashpoint which started the New 52.

Page 9 – if Batman can’t help, Wally turns to others.

Page 10 – a quick recap of Wally’s secret origin.

Page 11 – and from the origin, to the Titans, to Crisis on Infinite Earths and Barry’s death.

Page 12 – and then following Crisis, Wally met Linda and there were a bunch of speedsters before everything went wrong.

Page 13 – Flashpoint and the New 52 universe that grew out of it, all watched by a mysterious other who stole ten years from the universe. The big, black hand calls to mind the giant hand cradling the universe that was a recurring motif in the Green Lantern books years ago.

Page 14 – Wally reveals it wasn’t the Flashpoint that buggered everything up, but rather “someone else did” – that sounds a bit rich as Geoff Johns was the one who wrote Flashpoint . . . unless he’s blaming himself!

Page 15 – is this Jay Garrick, the original Flash? Max Mercury?

Page 16 – nope, with a mention of a “genie” and the man’s name being “Johnny”, this is obviously Johnny Thunder, and the genie is the Thunderbolt.

Page 17 – Johnny shouts “Cei-U”, the magic words that used to summon the Thunderbolt.

Pages 18 & 19 – the woman waiting for Superman is a member of the Legion of Superheroes (the Legion flight ring’s a giveaway) so it’s probably Saturn Girl.

Pages 20 to 24 – Ryan Choi was the Atom following Infinite Crisis before being callously killed just before the New 52, but here he is back as a student of Ray Palmer who is stuck in the microverse and wants Ryan to come and find him.

Pages 25 & 26 – Ted Kord and Jaime Reyes, both Blue Beetles, working together to try and understand the scarab that’s attached to Jaime’s back, a scarab that, according to Dr Fate, isn’t alien (as it was shown to be post-Infinite Crisis) but actually magical.

Page 27 – Damian Wayne as Robin at the top; Jessica Cruz as Green Lantern in the middle (she refers to Simon Baz as the Lantern who “carries a gun”); and the short-lived Aqualad from Brightest Day in the lower panels; and right down the bottom is Pandora.

Page 28 – Pandora, who ushered in the New 52 with great fanfare only to be case aside very soon after, is killed by an unseen foe.

Page 29 – this is Grail with the newly reborn/reformed Darkseid following the events of Justice League #50.

Pages 30 & 31 – Superman’s died? Again? This must be part of the last Superman storyline which I haven’t been following. It’s curious to see Captain Atom looking like he did pre-New 52 – last time I saw him he was all blue and on the moon.

Page 32 – Green Arrow and Black Canary were long time lovers pre-New 52 and Wally bemoans the loss of that here.

Page 33 – this is the pre-New 52 Superman and Lois Lane along with their son Jonathan who entered the New 52 universe post-Convergence. Is this meant to help new readers or not?!

Page 34 – no idea who this Mr Oz is or the things he’s hinting at.

Pages 35 & 36 – Aquaman proposes to Mera; in his current series, though, Mera had adopted a version of his outfit so it’s strange to see her back in the green one-piece.

Page 37 – and here’s Linda Park, Wally’s pre-New 52 wife.

Pages 38 to 41 – and despite Wally banking on Linda knowing him and being able to pull him from the Speed Force, she doesn’t know who he is.

Page 43 – is that Huntress with someone else in Gotham? And Constantine wants Swamp Thing to help him against “the capes”?

Page 44 – friends and enemies of Kid Flash: Captain Boomerang; Cyborg; Nightwing.

Page 45 – this is the New 52 Wally West, not a character I’m familiar with but he’s obviously a speedster.

Page 47 – Wally finds Barry Allen doing what he does best – saving people.

Pages 48 & 49 – Wally appearing to Barry and starting to disappear is reminiscent of Barry’s appearances in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Page 51 – yay! Barry remembers him!

Pages 52 to 54 – and a tearful reunion!

Page 56 – Wally tells Barry about Flashpoint and how there was someone else who caused the New 52.

Page 59 – Batman digs at something in the wall of the Batcave.

Page 60 – holy crap! If you don’t know the significance of the smiley face with the bloodstain, you’re probably about five years old. Shit – this means my mate was right when he mailed me the other day – it looks like the Watchmen are being brought into the DCU proper. And the last caption – “We’re being watched.”

Page 64 – okay, we’re on Mars, with a nine-panel grid and a watch that’s being remade by an unseen force . . .

Page 65 – and now it’s complete and the captions are quoting the last conversation between Ozymandias and Dr Manhattan from Watchmen where Manhattan tells him that “Nothing ever ends.”

Page 66 – and the final page is a clock with a yellow face, roman numerals from 9 to 12, the hands showing a quarter to twelve, and the bloodstain interestingly in the top right and spreading down to the centre, rather than the usual top left and down.

And that’s it, Rebirth is done – does this mean Dr Manhattan is the big bad guy who stole time from the heroes to weaken them? Is he being set up as the villain that’s manipulated time and the universe? He’s the only powered individual in the Watchmen universe.

And now that this is clear, looking back at it the killing of Pandora very closely mirrors the killing of Rorschach:

Manhattan Murders