Tag Archives: Flash

Dream Come True (Part 1)

midsummersnightmareGreetings, Legions of the Unspoken! It is I, your loyal Symbifan, back with the first installment of my newest article just in time for my birthday! And what better way to celebrate than to share my passion with you, the readers, for the timeless DC classic Justice League: A Midsummer’s Nightmare?! No better way! So, without further ado….

rco009_1467648953Our tale begins with recent Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, taking a break from writing/drawing a new page for his assigned comic book project. He seems to be having some difficulty deciding exactly which direction he wants to take with his story. And I mean, who can blame him with a lame character name like….Green Lantern?! Wait! Whaaaaaat?! (Sorry, Family Guy moment!) Anyway, he becomes discouraged and decides to go out for a cup of coffee. While his editor is blowing up his answering machine in his apartment, he meets up with a friendly neighbor lady and talks about his slump. They both enter the coffee shop, purchase their drinks, and say their goodbyes as she leaves for work. It’s a pretty typical day until she shoots off into the air and shapeshifts into a bird to join the hundreds of other flying people milling about their average work days! (Insert Twilight Zone music here!)

We then cut scene to The Daily Planet where reporter Clark Kent, sporting a stylish ponytail (What do ya want? It was the 90’s!), is currently enduring a lecture his from publisher, Perry White, about his work on a recent article about superpowered people (AKA “metahumans” to you Marvel mutant nuts). As Perry gets frustrated and storms off, Clark admits to a co-worker that he actually requests these types of stories, but when he attempts to write them, they seem less “real” to him.

RCO012_w_1467648953_kindlephoto-11141688At that moment, another co-worker enters with a gift for Perry, a paperweight. This is when Clark panics as the rock strikes a stunning resemblance to kryptonite! He quickly excuses himself and bolts though the office. As he make his escape, he hears several names spoken in other conversations that seem familiar to him. The readers know them to be the secret identities of some of DC’s other costumed adventurers. As he ponders what this means, we once again cut scene, this time to Wayne Manor.

RCO014_1467648953_kindlephoto-16583370This scene begins with Bruce Wayne reading the local newspaper and looking rather distressed. His assistant, Lucius Fox, senses his boss’s distress and exclaims that this must be due to the front page story about a bad business deal Wayne Enterprises was recently involved in. Wayne shows little interest in this and shows Lucius the back story about a recent horrific murder in the fair city of Gotham. (Big surprise, right?!) Bruce then orders his assistant to cut a check to make sure the survivor of the crime (A boy named Jason Todd! Cool huh?! I mean, huge fan of the Red Hood right here! There was this one time…..oh yeah, the article! Sorry! So embarrassing…..) want for nothing for the rest of his days. Lucius then remarks that Wayne can’t save everyone that has been a victim of a violent crime. To which Bruce replies in what I’m guessing is his dark and terrifying “Batman voice,” “Yes Lucius. I can.”

We are next transported to a scene of great danger and panic. A red-garbed figure streaks through an inferno at speeds so great that lightning follows him! As he runs, he thinks about how he is too late but doesn’t remember what for. He also thinks that there should be others with him. Who? He thinks he spies another in the flashing energy. He reaches out. This is when Wally West wakes up for school. Late again for class. What a slowpoke, he thinks.

RCO019_1467648953_kindlephoto-17448482I bet you “wonder” who’s next! (See what I did there? I just gave you a clue. Okay. Bad joke. Um….moving on.) We now find ourselves at the Themyscira School for Girls. The students are in the process of playing tug-of-war with a large rope, overseen by Headmistress Diana Prince. As the game begins, one girl pulls so hard that literally all of the other students are thrown as if the weighed no more collectively than a feather! Yes. They have a metahuman in their midst.

RCO022_w_1467648953 (1)_kindlephoto-33518579The girl, obviously frightened at the large mutated arm that has just replaced her average one, panics and smashes it through a tree! Diana, without thinking, flips through the air and blocks all of the girls from the onslaught of splinters with her bracelets! She then lassos the girl with the rope and forces her to calm down. Afterward, both headmistress and student both recover from the incident, utterly confused.

Meanwhile, in the boardroom of the Red Tide Tuna Company, (Anyone else think this company is in desperate need of a name change?!) the members of the board discuss their Vice President of Environmental Concerns, Arthur Curry. There’s a catty back and forth about how Arthur was only appointed his job and title to save the company from an inevitable lawsuit. It seems Arthur had lost a hand while working for the company.

RCO025_1467648953_kindlephoto-37120101While this juvenile exchange is taking place, Arthur’s chair is of course empty. He is still within his office. He knows how they feel about him. What a joke he is to them. While deep in thought, he looks out his office window and sees the large groups of environmental protesters. He thinks about how he, in actuality, belongs with them.

We now set our sights upon the red planet of the Milky Way Galaxy. That’s right, Mars. But it seems as if this barren and uninhabited wasteland is anything but as a Martian child is pictured running down the red dunes toward her mother. The child exclaims that she was told today in a learning ceremony that there may just be life on other planets. She then asks if such a thing could be possible and if her father believed this.

RCO027_1467648953_kindlephoto-37213557That’s when her father scoops her up in his arms with a smile and replies that he only believed in what he could see or touch but that it mattered little to him as long as these “aliens” never interfered with his happy life. (All I can say is, Martians need to invent a little something called….clothes! I mean, the red strap over the chest hardly hides anything! Have some shame, people!)

RCO028_1467648953_kindlephoto-71064149Meanwhile, we see a purple-haired, yet pixelated (You read that right. Pixelated! As if having purple hair isn’t enough!) man strolls right past what seems to be military guards in a presumably secret compound. He walks between the guards without notice and, in fact, right through the door as if he were a ghostly apparition! He descends the stairs beyond where a male in a helmet resembling a skull and tattered clothing sits. He is strapped to a high-tech chair in heavy restraints. The purple-haired man speaks with a smile to the prisoner about how the appearance of metahumans coming into their power is on the rise. He then asks what the strange captive has to say about this. The trapped man cries out in pain as if in reply.

RCO032_1467648953_kindlephoto-71150222We then rejoin reporter Clark Kent as he is finding cover during a metahuman battle in the center of Metropolis to record his thoughts into a handheld tape recorder. The carnage is truly epic as the two superpowered gangs tear up the city, putting countless civilians into harm’s way. While the battle reaches its height, a stray energy blast from one of the attackers hits the large golden globe above the Daily Planet building! As the landmark explodes into shrapnel, Clark has a flashback of another time. Of another life. He leaps into action, saving several civilians. The rubble narrowly misses them. An onlooker, seeking to save the hero, starts lifting a piece of the building’s wreckage. He finds no one because Clark has taken to the skies!

We then reenter the home of Bruce Wayne. As Bruce watches the news with obvious disgust, his parents enter the room! (Okay, DC! Now you’ve gone too far! That’s right, folks! The parents of Bruce Wayne are alive and well! Has the world gone utterly mad?! Has it?!! I’m sorry, but my mind is officially blown! Excuse me a moment while I take my meds…..)

RCO040_1467648953_kindlephoto-89388935(Okay. I’m back and feeling like my old Symbifan self. Continuing on….) His parents, completely unaware of Bruce’s shock, blather on and on about how he should give up his charity, travel the world, and basically enjoy his fortune. It’s then that his mother unknowingly snags her pearl necklace on the statue of a bat-like creature within the study. As she lifts her head, the necklace snaps and pearls fall everywhere. That’s when Bruce Wayne remembers and starts to wake up. He immediately starts looking for the secret entrance into the Bat Cave behind an old father clock. He finds nothing! He then turns and sees the awe-inspiring form of the Man of Steel hovering there in full costume! He tells Wayne to wake up. That he believes in him.

RCO042_1467648953_kindlephoto-89460374But before Bruce can say much in reply, a group of metahuman looters scale the gate to Wayne Manor, looking for an easy score! They picked the wrong mansion! Superman rushes out and easily dispatches of these young upstarts until one meta, in invisible form, tries to sneak up the Last Son of Krypton.

RCO047_1467648953_kindlephoto-89534572Before Superman can react however, a Batarang cracks the hoodlum in his see-through skull! The Batman has officially returned! (Time for a “World’s Finest” team-up, y’all!) The two speak seriously on the state of this nightmare of a world. It is decided that if they’re going to triumph this time, there going to need help.

End part one.

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Be Careful What You Wish For-The Return of Barry Allen!

 

Hello Legions!

Matthew Price and your pal Dean Compton here had a nice chat about the time “Barry Allen” returned during the excellent Mark Waid/Greg LaRoque Flash run!  It’s a fantastic story and we had a great time discussing it!  Hope you have just as much fun listening!

 

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Overcoming Programming-Tomorrow Woman (ROBOT MONTH)

 

Hello, Legions of the Unspoken!

Dean Compton back with you, and I am ending a delightful June as we here at The Unspoken Decade celebrate ROBOT MONTH!  Robots pretty much permeate every single aspect of genre culture that we love, and it only seemed right that at some point we celebrated our bolted-up buddies with a tribute!  You saw the Death’s Head entry, and we had planned for a Transformers Generation 2 podcast, but scheduling issues prevented it, so we’ll end the month right here with Tomorrow Woman from JLA #5!

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That’s not Avengelyne there on the cover; it’s Artemis.  She was Wonder Woman for a little while.  The 90’s were complicated.

There isn’t much else that can be said in regard to the amazing Grant Morrison/Howard Porter/John Dell run on JLA.  The books revitalized interest in the team, which had waned for a lot of reasons.  Some of it was due to the big guns not being in the lineup.  Some of it was due to spinoff books that folks were watering down the concept or betraying the concept of the Justice League in its entirety. (Extreme Justice is notoriously hated for that reason.)  Some folks had been turned off by the humor from the Giffen/Maguire/DeMatteis days and never returned to the book(s). Whatever the reasons were, the Justice League’s presence among superhero fans had reached its nadir.

Enter Grant Morrison.

Morrison had spun a lot of great tales by this point, from his acclaimed Animal Man to The Invisibles to Skrull Kill Krew.  His Doom Patrol featured characters such as Danny The Street and Flex Mentallo.  His imagination was seemingly on another level than many of his peers in the comic book industry, let alone folks who didn’t create larger than life tales for a living.  So when it was discovered that not only would he be at the helm of the JLA relaunch, but that he would also be using the so-called “Big 7” (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Flash, & Green Lantern), it meant that one of the complaints that surfaced repeatedly in regard to much of the early 90’s Justice League stuff (the aforementioned lack of big guns) would be dealt with, and with Morrison’s known reverence for the history of these icons, the series would become known for all out action with a respect for all the magnificent history that makes up the DC Universe.

The standalone issue really shines as an example of all that this run would come to be known for.  If you want someone to get the JLA, you could just hand them this issue and they’d understand the greatness instantly.  Speaking of getting the JLA, that’s precisely why old super-genius JLA enemies Professor Ivo and Dr. T.O. Morrow have decided to join forces, and even as the comic opens, they seem to believe that they have already won.

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I’ve always been a sucker for those “roll call” things in DC Comics.

Villains busting out champagne before a scheme even starts is always a sure sign that they have cooked up a doozy.  You just know this one’s gonna work for these two, whom I have always enjoyed.

Now, to get back to the fact that some of the previous 90’s incarnations of the Justice League were just not up to par in the eyes of some, we see the funeral of one of them.  Metamorpho, who actually dies in JLA #1, is a member of the previous league.  While a few may not have enjoyed his presence in the Legaue in the early 90’s, I always thought he was a really cool character who played a good everyman.  Alas, here he is dead, and only Superman seems to care.

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But I mean, if only one guy is gonna come to your funeral, we all hope that guy is Superman, right?

Superman can’t tarry for too ling at Metamorpho’s funeral, though, because a mysterious electromagnetic creature known as “IF” is dealing out some mega punishment and the JLA is going to have a meeting about it.  Superman uses Batman’s JLA teleporter, and we see some gruff Batman.  You know the stuff by heart if you have watched the Justice League cartoon or read, I dunno, six Batman comics since 1986.

Superman teleports up to the JLA satelite just in time to create an awkward moment for Flash (Wally West) and Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern).

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Martian Manhunter is a telepath; he already knows you’re goofing off, Flash.

For all the talk of Grant Morrison’s JLA about how he got the concept by placing DC’s high-powered pantheon into high-stakes cosmic superhero action adventure, I think where he really nailed the JLA was with his characterization of the League was in little moments like this, where the characters personalities come to the forefront.  It can be hard to balance the Gods of the JLA, but Morrison deftly does so here and all throughout his run.

Howard Porter (pencils), John Dell (inks), and Pat Garrahy (colors) all deserve a lot of credit for making this work as well.  The art is epic and powerful, and most importantly, it’s just the type of visuals a story like this needs.  I have raved about Morrison’s work on the title, but this title doesn’t grow its legend without them too.

This incarnation of the JLA has decided to possibly expand from seven to twelve, despite these guys having only just gotten together.  The nominees run the breadth of the DC Universe…

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You’d think a guy as old as Max Mercury would know how to act like a veteran.

Of course, if you’re like anyone else, one member of that cadre of recruits stands out as not really belonging there, and I am not talking about Guy Gardner.  Hitman’s book was brutal and decidedly anti-superhero at times.  (Check out our own Darry Weight breaking it down for you at that link!) He belonged nowhere near one of the flagship superhero books DC put out, but Morrison not only makes it work, but he arguably makes it into one of the most memorable moments of the run.

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Yeah, it was the money thing.

After that bit of humorous irreverence, we finally get a candidate that the JLA takes seriously and wants pretty badly.  Her name is…Tomorrow Woman!

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If the JLA doesn’t want her, Tomorrow Woman certainly has a future as one of those lady bodybuilders on ESPN2.

Tomorrow Woman quickly aces the initiation procedures for the JLA, and that’s a good thing because the League has been having severe issues with a thing called “IF.”  This “IF” shows up randomly and seems to be a computer that is only programmed to destroy.  The JLA has its hands full as it attempts to deal with the consequences.

Of course, this Tomorrow Woman is “just” an android that Professor Ivo and T.O. Morrow have constructed in another one of their seemingly never-ending attempts to destroy the JLA.  They have been JLA foes since the 1960’s, and this is easily their best scheme yet.  This android is so real that it isn’t just fooling the JLA; it’s fooling itself.

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These guys certainly have problems, but what concerns me the most is how much they drink.  Is there a special AA for super-villains?  If so, can these two join?

Tomorrow Woman is about as cool with that as a mutant in the Marvel Universe is with Genosha, but these two are too busy arguing about which of them did the best work on this super-powered automaton.  As far as where I come down on their argument, I like Red Tornado more than I like Amazo.  Please argue vehemently about that in the comments the way Berner Sanders and Hillary Clinton supporters have been arguing on my Facebook page.  On second though, don’t.  Please fucking don’t.

Batman figures out the deal behind “IF” (which I read in Jerry Seinfeld’s voice) and relays the information to Flash, who takes it to the JLA.  “IF” is wreaking havoc on our favorite pantheon of superheroes, and Flash gets there just in time to save Martian Manhunter from certain doom.

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Batman is just bragging right there.  What are you compensating for, Bruce?

The JLA finds themselves on the precipice of the moment that Ivo and Morrow have been preparing for.  The only thing that will shut down “IF” is an EMP blast that Tomorrow Woman has been programmed to use to take out the JLA.  But then…something happens.

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The only other people this satisfied over a failure were the Hostess executives that got a six figure bonus for shutting the company down.

I can’t put into words just how inspiring this moment of JLA #5 is.  Morrison manages to make you care more for an android that you only see in one issue of the series than some characters that you see for years and years.  Tomorrow Woman was the robot who was programmed so well that she fooled herself into becoming human.  That makes me hopeful for all of us.  If a robot can overcome its programming then maybe, just maybe, we humans can overcome ours.

Next month we’ll have Chase, Martian Manhunter, and more!  Stick around for the summer, Legions of the Unspoken!