Thursday, November 13, 2008

Linked Elixirs of the SuperGods: Who is the Black Glove?

The good people over at the comic book news site Comic Book Resources have posted a new story debating the identity of The Black Glove - the mega-villain behind Grant's entire run on the Batman series.

I know I haven't stepped into Batman yet here on the blog, but I will! In the meantime, take a look over at their wonderful theories and exciting supplemental images (some of which I'd never seen) before the final issue of the "Batman R.I.P." arc ships this month and we all find out the true identity of The Black Glove.

After all, part of the fun behind Grant's run on the book starring the World's Greatest Detective is unraveling the mystery ourselves as we read.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Part of the excitement I felt when reading All-Star Superman came from connecting the continuity dots between it and DC One Million, Grant's traditional superhero crossover event from 1999 that had present-day heroes facing off against a threat from the impossibly distant 853rd Century. I hadn't heard Grant straight up say that the two were connected until I read Part One of Zack Smith's Q&A with the writer over on Newsarama.

When discussing the origins of All-Star Superman, Grant said, “Some of it has its roots in the DC One Million project from 1999. So much so, that some readers have come to consider this a prequel to DC One Million, which is fine if it shifts a few more copies! I’ve tried to give my own DC books an overarching continuity intended to make them all read as a more coherent body of work when I’m done.”

First I'd like to say I get a little sad when I hear Grant even mention the day when he will be “done.” Like when your folks first talk about their life insurance policies in front of you or something.

Nextly, His quote about giving his books an overarching continuity intended to make them all read as a more coherent body of work is EXACTLY what I'm trying to shed some light on with this blog, so that's a validating high-five for me. Thanky, Grant.

Anyways, this post is about those very connections between All-Star Superman and DC One Million. I've found several, so here they go, in no particular order. Follow me here.


In DC One Million, Kal Kent is the Superman fighting crime and nastiness across the cosmos in the 853rd Century. He's hanging in the present day for a while while present-day Superman kicks it in the future. I've talked about him before, but basically, he's part of something called the Superman Dynasty – a bloodline of Superman descendants.

In All-Star Superman, Kal first shows up in issue #2 as a visitor in All-Star Superman's Time Telescope, a device All-Star Superman uses to enlist the aid of his successors to “help prevent threats before they even occur.”

Later, in issue #6, Kal shows up as part of a time-traveling team of Supermen.

Also on the team is the “Unknown Superman.”

And for the record, Unknown Superman also cameoed in issue #2 as a visitor in All-Star Superman's Time Telescope...

And the third member of the time-traveling team is a Superman from a plane of reality called the 5th Dimensional (home to Mr. Mxyzptlk, and a place Grant actually deals with a lot in his writing, which I'll get into later).

Anyways, they all get together to fight something called the Chronovore. In DC One Million #1, Kal also mentions this adventure. For more info, see my previous post.


Again, I mentioned this here, but here's a quick recap:

As Kal Ken and Present Day Superman discuss the differences in their powers in DC One Million #1, Kal explains off-hand that the Superman Dynasty gained another level of powers when a royal from the 5th Dimension married a Superman Dynasty member and introduced those abilities into their bloodline.

The marriage ceremony actually makes a cameo in Superman: Man of Tomorrow #1,000,000, a tie-in to the DC One Million crossover that featured an oral history of the Superman Dynasty.

In All-Star Superman #6, this whole story is also recounted by the above mentioned Superman from the 5th Dimension.


Introduced in DC One Million #1, Solaris is essentially an evil, artificial, sentient, tyrant machine sun. According to Superman Dynasty lore, he's been Superman's greatest enemy for forever and a day. And in the DC One Million arc, Solaris is in cahoots with an 853rd Century Vandal Savage (an immortal baddie who's been a thorn in the side of heroes throughout history) and when it's not busy creating itself in the past (that's not a fair statement to make without further explanation, but I swear, it's coming in another post), Solaris plans on taking over the universe in its free time.

In All-Star Superman, Solaris appears on my favorite cover of the series - issue #12 (that's him in the link behind the super-powered Luthor). But he appears nowhere inside the actual issue. Through dialogue inside, though, you find out Solaris had teamed with All-Star Lex Luthor to destroy Superman, but Solaris double-crossed Lex, opting instead to just turn the sun blue and high tail it outta there. Even still, that's clearly him on the cover.


In DC One Million, the heroes of the future come to the present to invite these legendary heroes back to the future for a massive celebration. The celebration is the return of someone called Superman Prime. Here's a pic of him coming back in issue #4.

He's been in the sun for millenia and now he's finally coming out. Legend has it, he's “the first Superman.” Automatically, everyone (readers and the characters in the story) assumes the present day DCU Superman is Superman Prime. But...

In All-Star Superman #1, Supes is poisoned when he gets WAAAAY too close to the sun on a rescue mission. All through the series, in an ironic twist of fate, All-Star Superman is dying because he got too much of the very thing that gives him power (a yellow sun). In Issue #12, All-Star Superman is literally glowing from within as the solar energy inside him worms its way out.

What's an All-Star Superman to do? What else? He flies directly into the sun - which Solaris had turned blue, remember - to turn it BACK into a yellow sun. He's fixing the battery that gave him his powers and Earth its life.

Literally inside the sun, it's easy to see the connection between him and Superman Prime.

But that's not all! Superman

Prime also showed up in All-Star Superman #6. At the end of the issue, it turns out that regular ol' All-Star Superman (the one who appeared in issues #1-5) has been disguised all along as the “Unknown Superman.” All-Star Supes was in the past, after all, and couldn't let his younger self see his older self, so he hid out in plain view as another visiting member of the Superman Dynasty.



Anyways, after Pa Kent passes, that time-traveling pack of Supermen I mentioned above (who were in on All-Star Superman being disguised the whole time) approach the grieving All-Star Supes to console him. Meanwhile, a portal opens and out pops the Superman Prime seen in DC One Million #4!

And there's a funny, little, clue-filled exchange when All-Star Superman asks Superman Prime which of All-Star Superman's descendants Prime is. You see, the other Supermen in the Sueperman team told All-Star that all the Superman Dynasty stemmed from him. So, sure, he'd think a golden Superman would also be his distant relative. BUT! We know better. And so when Prime laughs a quick “Ha,” in response, WE know it's because Prime and All-Star Superman are actually one and the same and only Prime knows this.

But, so, what's Prime doing there and what's he got in his hands? Well, that's part of our next item...


When the day is saved in DC One Million #4, the present day Green Lantern known as Kyle Rayner explains what he witnessed in the future. And that was this: After Superman Prime emerged from the sun and dispatched Solaris, a place called “New Krypton” was created as a welcome-home present to Superman Prime from the God-like Hourman of the 853rd Century (who later went on to star in his own book, which is really really amazing and not collected at ALL). Hourman did this by taking a chunk of time and “playing with it like Silly Putty” to bring Krypton back into existence for the returning hero.

So then jump back over to the scene where Superman Prime approaches All-Star Superman in All-Star Superman #6. Remember the thing in Prime's hand? Well, he's there to present All-Star Superman with “an indestructible rose from New Krypton” so that All-Star can place it on Pa Kent's grave! Here, he says it better:

So this rose is from New Krypton, making New Krypton canon in both works.

And lastly, the one I'm most excited about:

P.R.O.J.E.C.T. 2

Throughout All-Star Superman, Supes knows he'd dying from the solar poisoning so he's trying to map his DNA in order to give it to the smarty pants doctors at Cadmus, a super-science operation run by a man named Leo Quitum (I have a LOT to say about Leo soon...), so that they can “make” a new Superman. This plot is left in the background for most of the series, but literally becomes the wall all readers are faced with at the end of issue #12. With Superman now in the sun and no one knowing when he may come back – if ever- Leo knows he needs to start working on making a new Supes. And in a defiant, semi-spooky, optimistic stance, he proudly looks over his shoulder at a door marked with a massive 2 in the place of an “S” in Superman's classic insignia. What's behind that door? Obviously it's the next Superman.

Back over in DC One Million, in Superman: Man of Tomorrow #1,000,000, early on in the oral history of the Superman Dynasty, the name of the first Superman to show up after Superman Prime disappears is exquisitely revealed: “Superman Secondus.”

And so there you have it. Leo goes on to MAKE Superman Secondus and even more than that, births the Superman Dynasty.

I'm assuming I'll find more of these connections, but as of now, these are the only ones I've found. But you gotta admit, they build a rather strong bridge between DC One Million and All-Star. Maybe even stronger than Grant lets on.

Also of note:

Since DC One Million, the name “Superman Prime” has been used for this character. He's a REALLY interesting character, and if I didn't connect all this All-Star stuff, I'd have thought it was HE who was in the sun in DC One Million.

Also, in recent months, DC has introduced a GROWN version of the shrunken Bottle City of Kandor - a long-lost metropolis that was kidnapped from Superman's birth planet, Krypton, before it exploded – and they are calling this full-size city “New Krypton." Again, had I not known about the All-Star Superman connections, I'd think DC was trying to tie these recent events to DC One Million in some way.

But this all raises the following 2 geeky questions:

1.If we just learned that the 853rd Century seen in DC One Million is actually the future universe of the All-Star Superman series, then how did the 853rd Centurians find their way into the regular DC Universe and is that a story we may eventually get from Grant?

2. If we just learned that the 853rd Century seen in DC One Million is actually the future universe of the All-Star Superman series, then that TOTALLY means DC One Million was a crossover between the regular DCU and the ALL-Star Superman Universe!

Linked Elixirs of the SuperGods: All Star Superman post-mortem

If you're a fan of All-Star Superman and you've finished the series, you absolutely owe it to yourself to check out Zack Smith's Q&A series with Grant Morrison over at the mainstream comic news site Newsarama. It's a fun 10-part interview that covers pretty much every aspect of the series to varying degrees of depth. Right when I finished issue #12 of the book, I was hoping someone would have one of these discussions online. And here it is:

From why he chose the characters he did to who was set to provide art initially on the series to the spiritual meanings behind it all, Grant lays a lot on the table. In some places I'd have liked a follow-up question here or there, but that's not to say this interview is anything less that fantastically satisfying and a surprisingly fast read. Great work, Zack!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Chronovore

In case you're not fully familiar with the DC One Million event, basically a Justice League super-team from the future (the 853rd Century, to be exact) comes back in time and invites the present-day JLA to a ceremony in the future where the "Prime Superman" will be returning from a self-imposed exile within the sun. Some stuff goes bad, which I'm sure I'll explain further in another post, and yadda yadda yadda.

Now, while all the future heroes are in the present, some of them spend time kicking it with their present-day counterparts. At one point, in DC One Million #1, the Superman from the 853rd Century tells present-day Superman that he just recently fought something called the Chronovore with a team of Supermen from throughout time.

Eagle-eyed readers would have caught that very Super-team fighting the Chronovore in All-Star Superman #6!

It's also worth noting is that a few panels previous to this one, the Superman from the 5th Dimension (uh, the gentleman with the Mxyzptlk hat) talks about the extra senses gained by the Superman Dynasty after Superman Purple married a 5th Dimension royal.

That same explanation of the new senses was explained a few panels away from the scan from DC One Million #1!

Okay, I'll make this last one short.

I went through some of the DC One Million tie-ins and found something interesting in Chronos #1,000,000 written by John Francis Moore with art by J.H. Williams. In the issue, the new Chronos steals time travel gauntlets from John Fox, the Flash of the 853rd Century. Chronos then runs off to a chronally-challenged bar in 11,021 A.D. where (holy poop!) the Chronovore is attacking Japan! Because the Chronovore's chronal attack is funking with time, the bar is the perfect place - and time - for Chronos to hide out from the time-shifting Fox.

I found some interesting things here. First, the Chronovore seen here is a massive bug and not that sick ball of blood bubbles and weirdness that Frank Quitely drew in All-Star Superman #6.

Next, the Chronovore made his first appearance, as far as I can tell, in this issue written by Moore. So was the Chronovore an idea from Grant that was given to Moore? Or did Grant re-imagine the creature for use in All-Star #6 some eight and a half years after Chronos #1,000,000?

Lastly, between the bug look and the fact that Moore's text describes the Chronovore as "eating time," it hit me that the Chronovore has a very clear connection to Mr. Mind's transformation into a reality-eating monster in 52 #51.

Grant was a writer on that very successful (in terms of both creativity and sales) series alongside the talented Geoff Johns, Mark Waid and Greg Rucka. That's all I got right now on the Chronovore.


A couple pages later in Chronos #1,000,000, at that time-lost bar Chronos is at, you see that Ambush Bug is there as the bartender. And the Legion of Super-Heroes' Brainiac is there eye-balling a Time Sphere that just pulled up as if it were a cherry '68 Mustang. Heh.


Well, then.

Welcome to the blog. Very basically, I'm a comic book fan.

Just recently, I started noticing what I'm going to refer to as a secret map that writer Grant Morrison has been threading throughout his comic book work. This is the Grant Morrison who has written JLA, Doom Patrol, Animal Man, the “DC One Million” event, Batman, and tons more books. In some places, this web extends beyond even one publishing company. More importantly, it connects ALL of Grant's work, and it's fun as hell to follow when you start realizing what you're looking for.

Now, I'm not prepared to give you the goggles to suddenly see this map. I'm just gonna point stuff out as I see it along with my random thoughts on all things Grant. But, I don't pretend to always understand every line of text Grant writes. He's obviously a very intelligent man in many many fields and subjects, so this isn't a blog where I'll sit and postulate theories on what he trys to “say.” It's just fun connect-the-dots stuff I want to share with you. More along the lines of celebratory continuity porn than any real critical analysis of his work. Also, I'll obviously have to talk about important plot details, so watch out for SPOILERS in case you haven't read all the books I reference.

Before, when I wrote, “Just recently, I started noticing what I'm gonna refer to as a secret map,” I specifically mean I noticed it while reading the brilliant All-Star Superman series Grant created alongside artist Frank Quitely. For years now, Watchmen has been my favorite comic book, but, as an entire work, All-Star Superman has approached that Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons classic as my No. 2 favorite because of its energy, its creativity, its simultaneous nostalgia for the Silver Age and invention of new graphic language for the Modern Age, the art, the ideas, the coloring and so much more. All-Star may, over the course of this blog, become my favorite book. I just hope you learn to enjoy it, as well as Grant's work, more as this process rolls along, too.

Oh, and the title of this blog - it's from All-Star Superman #12 (Jeez, look at that cover). Page 9. Top panel.

As Kal-El talks to his dead father, his pops says everything great about Krypton will live on in his son. I just thought it was appropriate for me to snag one of the most inspirational lines in the superhero book that has most excited me in the last few years for the title of a blog celebrating said book's author.

Now that that's done, slap a grin on your beautiful face and let's go...