Thursday, June 28, 2012

DCU Heroes Secret Files & Origins #1- Atom Profile Page (February, 1999)

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I bought most of the SF&O books as they came out as a matter of course. Since Zero Hour, I'd made a deep investment in the Post-Crisis history of the DC Universe. It isn't like I didn't care about continuity before, but DC made a real effort to solidify it in a quantifiable way that turned on the history buff inside of me. A major part of that were the Timelines that ran in most volumes, breaking down who was where by a fluidly subjective but still relevant chronology. Let us examine...
After a quick battle, Walker Gabriel (Chronos) strands serial killer Hayden Glass in the age of dinosaurs.

48,000 B.C.:
Chronos aids fellow time traveler Rip Hunter in finding his way back to his home era.

Chronos meets Jason Sangue (Blood) in Florence, Italy. During an altercation in that same era, Chronos gains his time-travel powers.

Captain Fear rescues the drowning Chronos from the waters off the Florida Keys.

Chronos is present for a "resurrection" of Ra's al Ghul in the African desert.

A time-stranded Chronos is taken in by the Clark family of Smallville, Kansas; while there, he meets a band of time-traveling gypsies.

Chronos gets caught between Allied and Axis forces on an island filled with dinosaurs.

Chronos competes with Thomas Wayne for a young socialite named Martha.

Chronos aids in the capture of Hayden Glass, a shape-changing serial killer whose trademark is JLA-themed murders.

22nd Century:
Chronos and his nemesis Vyronis narrowly avoid capture by the lion men of the wastelands.

27th Century:
Chronos steals John (Flash) Fox's time gauntlets.

853rd Century:
Chronos travels to the future, only to meet himself
Now you may be asking yourself why I spent all that time listing time traveled by the Atom foe Chronos. The answer is, I didn't list a single appearance by the nefarious David Langhorn Clinton. They're all about this guy...

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Walker Gabriel becomes the new Chronos and travels through time, discovering Chronopolis
This guy starred in twelve issues of his own comic, which was cancelled the same month DCU Heroes Secret Files & Origins #1 was released. In his entire existence, Walker Gabriel appeared in less than twenty comic books, but received twelve bullet points for his adventures. Meanwhile, the Ray Palmer Atom was one of the few (relatively) iconic DC heroes whose continuity was untouched by Crisis on Infinite Earths and only lightly scuffed by Zero Hour. Almost fifty years of unbroken continuity, and let's face it, Ray also spent an awful lot of his solo series deep in the past, thanks to Professor Hyatt's Time pool. Let's see Ray's timeline...
35 Years Ago:
Ray Palmer is born in Ivy Town.

9 Years Ago:
Discovering a fragment of a white dwarf star, Ray Palmer becomes the Atom. He later joins the JLA.

The Atom and Hawkmam form a lasting friendship, often working together to fight crime.

5 Years Ago:
Atom marooned in Amazon jungle, where he joins a society of miniaturized natives.

3 Years Ago:
His Amazon village destroyed by the CIA, the Atom returns to America.

Suicide Squad re-forms under Amanda Waller-- members will later include Nightshade and the Atom.

Ray Palmer fakes his own death to uncover government operatives trying to kill him. He gives his size-reducing belt and "Atom" identity to Adam Cray.

Adam Cray killed by assassins; Ray Palmer resumes role of Atom.

The Atom temporarily returns to the JLA, helping the team defeat Dr. Destiny and free the Martian Manhunter from the Bloodgem.

2 Years Ago:
Zero Hour-- Ray Palmer de-aged to teenager, joins newly re-formed Teen Titans.

1 Year Ago:
The Atom helps Superman put down an uprising in the bottle city of Kandor

Time Pool technology accidentally reduces Atom and Impulse to infancy. Waverider of the Linear Men saves the duo.

The Atom and Teen Titans help Superman battle the Millennium Giants.

Ray Palmer's normal age and powers are restored. He returns to Ivy University.
Ray Palmer has appeared in over a thousand comic books, with better than seventy-five bearing his name in the title, and he got two more bullet points than the Walker Gabriel Chronos. Little things like his Golden Age predecessor, his entire supporting cast/rogues gallery (including the original Chronos) and his marriage/divorce don't rate mention, but I'm so glad to know when that crossover that re-integrated Supermans Red & Blue took place. The Atom's history as presented here is as a footnote in other titles, most published Post-Crisis. Years ago, I tried to create a cross-referenced database of all these timelines, but the folly was staring me right in the face. A DC Comics so enamored with an insignificant moment in their history as the 1998 Chronos series could and would inevitably drop another hard reboot that rendered virtually everything I just typed entirely moot. That deep investment I talked about earlier? Gone. Never to return. But hey, here are some nice pin-ups; The Atom's written by Matt Brady with art by Georges Jeanty and Jason Martin, while Chronos's was written by John Francis Moore with art by Paul Guinan & Steve Leialoha.

Second Third Secret History of the DC Universe

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Action Comics #7 (May, 2012)

The island of New Troy, "the heart of Metropolis," suddenly vanished from the Earth. Superman and Steel were on the case, as surrounding areas of the city physically fell apart from the absence. New Troy had been taken by Brainiac and bottled up on the evil alien computer's spaceship. The citizens trapped within fought off insect-like robots sent in by Brainiac, and pondered their fate. Lex Luthor surmised, "Teleportion technology, advanced cybernetics. The Hob's River Bridge has been severed by a wall of glass. They've abducted seven million people simultaneously... The words 'dwarf star lensing' were used. Our world's only known application of this phrase occurs in certain 'private' e-mails and files of Professor Raymond Palmer of Ivy University, Connecticut. Oh, this can't be possible-- We've been miniaturized..."

"Doomsday Decision" was by Grant Morrison, Rags Morales and Rick Bryant. You can read more about it here.

New 52's Day

Friday, June 15, 2012

2010-2011 The Justice League of America 100 Project charity art by Matt Wagner

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In late 2000, a consortium of comic publishers came up with the idea to create a financial safety net for comic creators, much in the same fashion that exists in almost any other trade from plumbing to pottery. By March of 2001, the federal government approved The Hero Initiative as a publicly supported not-for-profit corporation under section 501 (c) (3).

Since its inception, The Hero Initiative (Formerly known as A.C.T.O.R., A Commitment To Our Roots) has had the good fortune to grant over $400,000 to the comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today.

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays' creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It's a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.


Please enjoy this gallery of ALL 104 original Justice League of America #50 Hero Initiative covers!

Hardcover and softcover versions of a book collecting all the covers will be available in December, 2011. AND all the originals will be auctioned off according to the following schedule:

• December 3, 2011, Meltdown Comics, Los Angeles, CA: Display of all 104 covers and auction of first one-third
• Jan. 20-22, 2012, Tate's Comics, Lauderhill, FL (Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area): Display of remaining covers and auction of second one-third.
• Feb. 17-19, 2012: Orlando MegaCon, Orlando, FL: Display and auction of final one-third.

All covers will be sold via LIVE AUCTION on-site at the venues above. If you cannot attend but wish to bid, proxy bidding is available.
Contact Joe Davidson at:
Deadlines for each grouping are below, and each cover carries a minimum bid of $100.

Special thanks to Firestorm Fan for the notice!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Atomic acCount for September, 2012

Captain Atom is confirmed as canceled this month, which will likely extend to this feature, barring that new female Atom making a big splash. I think I'll take advantage by using this space for a bit of snark.
  • Oh look, it's New 52 Azrael. Boy, I'm sure glad DC added another Caucasian male super-assassin to the Bat Family. By the way, I REALLY hate this Zero Month2 cover motif. Capullo's old signature is more prominent than March's new one, and the old bylines are distract as well. Also, DC is basically devoting an entire month to homages of a painfully played out Marvel cover concept.
  • Shouldn't all titles with Dan Didio as writer just be titled "Doomed," since that's certainly the first word that pops into my head, regardless of the property?
  • So, Amethyst? Points for trying. How many decades since Christy Marx's last comic book credit? They even make a point of offering her screenwriting resume in the solicitation copy.
  • How pissed off must old school Wildstorm fans be that Team 7 consists of a majority of disparate DC supporting characters? Then again, I don't think the cover featured characters are necessarily the ones mentioned in the copy, so maybe Michael Cray, Marc Slayton and Jackson Dane are still part of version 1.0? Dinah Lance is surely an improvement over Christie Blaze, at least. I'll probably try this.
  • Does Shazam give anyone else the creeps? Horrible in design and execution from everything I've seen. It takes a lot to turn me off to Gary Frank, but here you go!
  • I was going to drop Aquaman after #0, despite the gorgeous art and because of the thin stories. This copy makes me think I'll pass and read the Wikipedia entry instead.
  • I think it's cool that there's a tribute to the fallen soldiers of New 52 Wave 1.
  • Crap. I may have to but Nightwing #0, if only to work out in my head how his days as Robin can possibly fit into the DCNu. Also, was he still a Titan?
  • Batwing isn't canceled yet? I guess I applaud DC's commitment to chocolate flavored variants of their vanilla heroes.
  • Or not. Yeah, I'm going with not. Well, now that the ignorant ass general public assumes that all Green Lanterns are gay homosexuals, I suppose the best option for educating them to the nuances of the corps is by introducing a gun-toting dark-skinned Muslim in a ski mask. Even FOX News can keep that straight.
  • You know what else hasn't been canceled yet? This.

Written by MATT KINDT
On sale SEPTEMBER 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Frankenstein meets his maker…literally!
• Learn how Frankenstein was recruited by S.H.A.D.E.
• What does the future hold for S.H.A.D.E.?
I'm pretty confident that this book will be joining the ranks of the dead.

Captain Atom
Written by J.T. KRUL
Art and cover by FREDDIE E. WILLIAMS II
On sale SEPTEMBER 19 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T • FINAL ISSUE

• Captain Nathaniel Adam volunteers for a dangerous experiment that will make him one of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe!
• How much can man lose before he is no longer human?
Zippy the Nuclear Pinhead. Never could get past that look.

Plotted by ROB LIEFELD
Art and cover by JOE BENNETT and ART THIBERT
On sale SEPTEMBER 26 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
• Discover Hawkman’s connection to Thanagar and why he came to Earth!
Not an auspicious debut for Bennett as cover artist, but consider the alternative.

Art and cover by PHILIP TAN
On sale OCTOBER 24 • 192 pg, FC, $16.99 US
• Carter Hall is back as the savage Hawkman! Carter’s skill at deciphering lost languages has led him to a job with an archaeologist who specializes in alien ruins. And his latest discovery is Morphicius, whose deadly power spreads an alien plague through New York City.
• Collecting issues #1-8 of the DC COMICS – THE NEW 52 series

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Justice League: Cry for Justice #3 (November, 2009)

Ira Quimby was wrapping up a project for Prometheus, while the captive Gorilla City scientist Malavar looked on. Malavar was the reason Congorilla’s tribe had been massacred, though his immediate use was not clear. Prometheus took I.Q. aside to celebrate their success and retell his origins, including the new wrinkle where all of his lamer appearances were the work of an imposter while he recovered from his takedown by Batman in the last Morrison JLA arc. Prometheus had murdered his double brutally and was in the process of rebuilding his reputation through a fate worse than the deaths they so routinely were resurrected from. In the meantime though, Prometheus had killed a bunch of Global Guardians, specifically skinning Tasmanian Devil to create a fur rug. This impressed no one, including I.Q., who had just inadvertently drank an adult beverage laced with chemicals that regressed his mind to that of an infant.

Despite a ban against any Kryptonians on Earth, Supergirl was secretly on planet to search for her father’s killer… and justice! While a bit crybaby hypersensitive, the Maid of Might was still up for Captain Marvel as a side dish, with reciprocity.

While flying over the ocean in an old Blackhawk Squadron fighter plane, Starman and Congorilla were attacked by mechs. The pair won the battle, but lost the plane, and Bill had to swim the rest of the way to land.

Prometheus was captured in the Gotham City raid, so the Atom tortured him for information. Green Arrow began to protest, but was outvoted by Hal and Ray. “-- all I’ve done is give this psycho the mother of all headaches. The pain we feel can’t be fixed with aspirin.” Prometheus, in the third person, explained that his scheme was establishing him as the “Batman” of villains, feared by all as he led factions of the underworld. Ray and Hal were getting pissed with the emphasis on self-aggrandizing delusions and the poverty of hard facts, until the face of “Prometheus” started melting off. This was actually one of the many Clayfaces, and then a bomb implanted within him went off…

In Opal City, the Shade began putting together his own squad… for justice! A fortune was read that indicated a great deal of additional heroes would become entangled in Prometheus’ plot, including Wildcat, Miss Martian, Manhunter (Kate Spencer,) the Guardian, Batwoman, Shining Knight, Hourman, Liberty Belle, Robotman, and others.

The third chapter of Cry For Justice, “The Villain” was by James Robinson and Mauro Cascioli. Credit for consistency, the book looks very nice, and the script is fun, but everyone is taking their time getting anywhere. The team formation was also less than organic, as they each cried… for… justice! My only major complaint, corrected for this synopsis, was a lengthy flashback for the real Prometheus before the explosion. It might have worked as a floppy, but in a trade it was an irritating diversion.

Brave New World

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Atom (Ray Palmer) Mego-Style action figure & box by Black Knight Customs

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I've mentioned hereabouts in the past how I thought the Mighty Mite was one of the top tier super-heroes growing up, because he had his own cartoon and appeared on lots of swanky covers. What I didn't know was just how tiny the titan was in the popular consciousness, and how these early '80s moments were the last gasps of his Silver Age minor fame. He was forgotten in the '80s by the Super Powers Collection, in the '90s by Total Justice, and only finally got included amongst new century action figures because of the wildly liberal nature of lines like Justice League Unlimited.

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The 1970s were no more kind, which is why somebody had to make a custom Mego action figure for the Atom, since the Mego Corporation never bothered to. Here's he's paired with a custom Martian Manhunter, a character I would have thought less recognizable, but comparatively flush in action figures (with inclusion in every single toy line mentioned in the previous paragraph.) While the Alien Atlas feels a bit off in such simplistic packaging, given his rise to prominence in the flashier post-Crisis era, the Atom seems right at home kicking it old school. Where J'onn J'onzz is a coy toy with aloof standoffishness, Ray Palmer is positively begging to burst from his package for play. That dynamic costume with its blazing heroic colors do not hurt a bit. I wish I had one of these! Have to make due with the 1998 Hasbro JLA IV - The Atom Action Figure, I suppose.

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Ray also got the more interesting box art, which is obviously by the incomparable George PĂ©rez, but from a source I'm not immediately familiar with. The inks make me think it's of a more recent vintage, but I'm not especially confident in that assumption. You can compare the two customs in action poses here, or see them both join a geektastic meeting on the JLA Satellite here.

More Mego Customs