Thursday, October 26, 2017

Star Trek: The Next Generation "The Warrior's Drink"

"I must bear my dishonor alone," the boy said.

"That is not true," the old man replied.

***

The old man, actually, was not an old man at the time.  He was in his prime, a virile bear of a man serving aboard the starship Intrepid under the command of Captain Deighan.  Sergey Rozhenko and Deighan did not see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, and most of the time it didn't matter, but when their ship answered a distress call from the Klingon outpost at Khitomer, Sergey finally found the courage to put his foot down.  "Deighan, my friend," he'd said, "if you do not do this, I will be forced to renounce you.  You understand, this will be difficult for me, as you will still be my captain.  But I will make it work."

But he was an old man at heart, following traditional ways even if the world around him, the whole galaxy, was crying out for something new.  He had never wanted to serve in Starfleet.  He had wanted his bearlike frame to stay on Gault, where his family had been farmers for three generations, once they'd finally joined, seemingly, the rest of humanity in space.  None of them had spent any real time with aliens, either, in all that time.  Farmers lead solitary lives, after all. 

He joined Starfleet all the same.  Something new announced itself into his life almost immediately, when he was asked to participate in an officer exchange program.  A Klingon named Moztar was his counterpart.  Moztar was old, a warrior well past his prime, said to be curious of things that had eluded him, experiences he had once found distasteful.  Such as spending any time among humans and not actively wanting to kill them.  Sergey had realized, "I have met Bolians.  I have even had Vulcan instructors.  But Klingons?  Never in my wildest dreams...!"  Sometimes, when he'd read the stories about them, as a boy on Gault, he'd wondered if Klingons weren't somehow like his Russian ancestors, ruthless and cunning, always engaged in some intrigue, always on the brink of war, too proud to ever admit weakness, too eager to drag everyone down with them...And suddenly he was being asked to brief this Moztar fellow, who stunk of some...powerful alcohol he couldn't even begin to identity.  And his ancestors had known strong drink, too!  "Try to remember," he'd said, uselessly, "humans won't be familiar with...anything you know."  Moztar had nodded, and Sergey had spent a great deal of time trying to decide what exactly he'd meant to convey with the gesture.

The time spent aboard a Klingon ship?  The T'kuvma had smelled almost as bad as Moztar, which would be Sergey's lasting impression of it.  He was too overwhelmed by the whole experience to remember anything else.  If anyone so much as stepped toward him, he shrank back.  He had been totally useless, and doubtless set back the program decades.  He never found out what Moztar had accomplished.  He never told his son about it.  He never talked about it at all, but it was the foundation of all that Sergey was to become.

Years later, Deighan feigned outrage, but then replied, "I don't have much choice in the matter, now do I?  Keep those engines running smoothly, Rozhenko.  We may need to beat a hasty retreat yet."

They found virtually nothing left alive at the outpost, except a frightened Klingon youth, who looked as if the world had ended, which of course for all intents and purposes it had.  He'd lost his parents that day, after all, and his honor.  His first words, and indeed his only words for weeks afterward, were about how his people would never accept him again, and that had broken Sergey's heart.  He resolved on the spot to remedy the situation, as much as possible.  He resigned his commission and he and his wife began to raise the boy as their own.

On Gault, the old ways died hard.  The boy was rejected, and so was Sergey, something he'd never anticipated.  These were people he'd grown up with, who knew him as well as he knew them, as well as their families three generations back had known each other.  And they turned their back on him.  The boy was the enemy to them.  They had all heard the stories of Klingons who raided worlds like theirs.  Gault had never been threatened, but colonists live with the fear whether they experience it or not.  This is why stories are told, to keep alive old wounds.  Or so these people seemed to think.  Sergey grew disgusted. 

His only solace was the vigor with which his son maintained his Klingon ways.  All Sergey could do was stay out of his way, sometimes, and that was exactly what he did.  He loved that boy, and was determined that he would have someone who accepted him, unconditionally.  Well, Sergey and his wife, and their human son, Nikolai.  When they finally left Gault for Earth, to resettle in Minsk, the place his son would come to call home, a city looming with history, an outlet, an escape for a boy needing an escape, Sergey again thought of his experiences aboard the T'kuvma, and wondered what he'd missed.  Life with the boy was a constant challenge, of course, but nothing had ever been more rewarding, nothing that spoke so intimately of purpose

Years later still, he confessed himself amused, listening to his son speak in his trademark brief utterances, of prune juice as "the warrior's drink."  Sergey had tried for a long time to get his son to drink the stuff, when he was a boy, and of course the youth had wanted nothing to do with it.  It's always the discoveries we make ourselves that...Well, Sergey was an old man now, and felt like it, but hearing that joy in his son's voice, it made him feel young again. 

And proud.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I've Got a Bad Feeling About This

Dooku knelt before Yoda, for the final time, and he wondered where things had gone wrong.  It had long been difficult for him to view his old mentor with anything but reverence, and perhaps that was it.  Something in the back of his head had always wondered how a Jedi could attain such status.  Didn't that approach...pride?

When Dooku was a boy, Yoda had already been ancient, by most standards.  According to his studies, Dooku learned that Wookiees had long lives, too.  There were other examples, doubtless.  Still, it had instilled that sense of reverence from the very beginning.  Yoda's small stature made it easy for new padawans to assume him to be one of them, and Dooku had made that same mistake.  He still smiled, privately, at the thought.

He had inherited the title of count from his birth parents, a role made meaningless the day he was accepted into the halls of the Jedi temple on Coruscant.  There were such temples elsewhere, but the younglings with the most potential were brought to Coruscant, and Yoda, and young Dooku had felt what he hoped was his last surge of pride the day he learned of his destiny.

Kneeling before Yoda now, knowing what he knew, he wondered if he had escaped pride after all.

For Dooku had a new master, now.  A man named Palpatine.  To the rest of the galaxy, a politician.  To Dooku?  Everything.  He had surmised quickly that Palpatine knew more about the Force than even Yoda, and that had been...too much.  Had there really been a choice?  The reverence Yoda instilled in him awakened something in Dooku, something that had gotten out of control.  Palpatine offered relief.

"I've got a bad feeling about this," he said to Yoda, now.  "I fear we may never meet again."

He had just accepted the assignment to shadow Palpatine, an assignment he'd campaigned for, an assignment he'd suggested.  No one, not even Yoda, knew why he'd requested it.  For all the Jedi Council knew, it was merely for Palpatine's role as Chancellor of the Republic.  Master Windu hadn't trusted him for even a minute.  But then, they'd never seen eye-to-eye.  If Dooku hadn't been Yoda's apprentice...

Of course, he would meet Yoda again, and they would fight, a reprise of all the sparing sessions they'd shared a long time ago, but with far greater stakes, the battered bodies of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in silent witness beside them.  "Much to learn have you," Yoda would tell him, and in that moment reveal that he had not taught Dooku everything he knew...

And that was it, too.  Dooku had known, had known, all along, that he never fully gained Yoda's trust.  And that was pride, again.  He tried to depict himself as so perfect a Jedi that he had to leave the Jedi Order to be one, a contradiction, the myth of the Sith, and yet...

He stood up again, and Yoda bowed, ever so slightly, toward him, the last sign of mutual respect they would ever share.  Was it, in fact, respect?  Or the farewell Yoda foresaw, the terrible future ahead of them?

Dooku foresaw a great many things, or at least he told himself he did.  Pride again, perhaps.  He foresaw Palpatine's victory, a resounding one, a definitive one.  He foresaw the galaxy brought to order, the kind of order the Jedi had never been able to accomplish.  He foresaw small minds trying to reject this order.  He foresaw the illusion of hope.  He foresaw its futility.  Men like Palpatine could not be denied, men with vision

He saw himself, in that moment, in front of Yoda, as the last of the Jedi.  And he bowed to Yoda in return, and he said nothing more, and that was that.  He walked away with a bad feeling about it, all the same...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

In Which Lemony Snicket's Story Is Completed

It was February, and five children, all of whom were more or less healthy, were sitting on the ground in a lazy circle.  It was quite dark, and the children had to squint to see one another's frowning faces.

"I wish we were ice skating," said Robin.

"I wish we were eating Mexican food," said Apu.

"I wish we were wearing boots," said Alastair.

"I wish we were playing percussion instruments," said Lillian.

Miranda sighed.  She was the youngest of the five children, but nevertheless she was often the leader of the group.  She tried not to be bossy about it, but it is difficult not to be bossy from time to time.  "We can't do any of those things," she said.  "We're not at a skating rink, and we don't have any skates.  We're not in Mexico, and there's not an enchilada in sight.  We're not wearing boots, and there's not a department store for miles around.  And we're not playing percussion instruments, because it wouldn't be wise to make so much noise.  After all, we're in a puzzling and possibly dangerous situation.  I know it's difficult to believe, but we may have to face the fact that we're on our own."

"But how can that be?" Robin asked.  "Just a few hours ago we were on a picnic with Madame Blatavsky, when all of a sudden we discovered she was really..."

"Hold it right there," Miranda said.  "You were about to say, 'when all of a sudden we discovered she was really an cantankerous and scheming guardian who was not at all what she appeared to be, no matter how poorly she had trimmed her eyebrows.'  This is to say, no matter if that's the truth or not, it has already been done.  Madame Blatavsky is not the problem, anymore than ice skates are the problem, or enchiladas, or boots, or percussion instruments.  No, our troubles began well after the picnic with Madame Bltavsky took an alarming turn.  We all agreed that sending her to fetch better food, regardless of whether or not it included enchiladas, was better for all of us, well before we determined her to be a cantankerous and scheming guardian who was not at all what she appeared to be, no matter how poorly she had trimmed her eyebrows."

Miranda knitted her own eyebrows in a concerned manner.  She alone, because she was the leader of the children, would have to determine where things had truly gone wrong.  It wasn't Madame Blatavsky's disappearance, which itself truly was alarming, as it has never taken more than seven-and-three-quarter hours in the history of misbegotten picnics to locate an alternate source of dining options, accounting both for the locating and for the returning to the original scene to collect anyone who might have been left behind, even if they were five children led by an exceptionally capable, if inconveniently youngest, girl such as Miranda.

It wasn't when they had decided to go in search of Madame Blatavsky, which Miranda had agreed to do once the first day had ended and she had convinced the others to sensibly wait until morning to begin, surviving on a poor diet in the meantime of the unsatisfying foodstuffs they had originally set out with for the picnic, quiche sandwiches whose only discernable ingredient was a suspicious paste inadequately made from shoots of parsley that looked like tiny patches of grass that had grown wildly in a park, which only served to remind everyone of the sad fate of the original picnic.

No, Miranda was convinced it was the bicycles they had all ridden at the start the series of...inconvenient events, the ones that had banana seats that were in fact in the shape of apricots, so uncomfortable to sit on while peddling that everyone had complained, even Madame Blatavsky, the whole way.  They had agreed to leave these bicycles behind, even though Miranda insisted they reconsider, that even bicycles with uncomfortable seats in the shape of apricots would be preferable to having no transportation at all.

"Our problems began when we decided to abandon our bicycles, the ones with seats the shape of apricots," she declared.

"I still wish we were ice skating," said Robin.

"I still wish we were eating Mexican food," said Apu.

"I still wish we had boots," said Alastair.

"I still wish we were playing percussion instruments," said Lillian.

Miranda sighed.

[Completing a story originally begun by Lemony Snicket for the purposes of a contest in the 2005 McSweeney's book Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and some other things that aren't as scary, maybe, depending on how you feel about Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, A Man Named Lars Farf, and one other story we couldn't finish, so maybe you could help us out]

Thursday, August 31, 2017

DC00

Who benefits?

That always seems to be the question, doesn't it?  The Batman has made a career of investigating the world's most outlandish criminals.  He understands them as few others ever could.  And yet...he exists in a world where the outlandish can't hope to compete with the impossible.  Yet the impossible seems to happen every day.  How does a mere man keep up with the developments of such a world?  Well, for starters, with a little help.  With allies.  The Batman has many allies.  And he keeps tabs on them all...

The Justice League in all its glory reunites to battle the Crime Syndicate, comprised of evil counterparts to each of its members.

Orion of the New Gods questions his origins as he defines the last great era of the Fourth World.

Batman's greatest foe becomes Superman's worst nightmare: the Joker takes control of the whole world...

As if that's not bad enough, Lex Luthor is elected president of the United States!

Hal Jordan begins his work as the Spectre.  One of his first acts is resurrecting his best friend, Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow.

Imperiax declares war on Earth, and it's once again Superman who leads the way against the apocalypse.

The Joker prepares his final punchline when he discovers he has a terminal brain tumor.

Batman dreams of the future, and envisions a world in the grip of Lex Luthor and Brainiac.

In the real world, he finds his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, framed for murder.

Can it get worse?  He becomes hounded by the mysterious Hush.  Is Tommy Elliott somehow responsible for all his troubles this decade?

He dreams of a Superman raised in the Soviet Union.

The Batman's partner, Tim Drake, Robin, leads a team of new Teen Titans.

He dreams of the Justice League's encounters with a team called the Avengers, a kind of memory he doesn't remember having.

He begins working alongside Superman on a regular basis.

And again...who benefits?  He finds himself devastated by the consequences of Sue Dibney's murder.  Dibney was the wife of Ralph Dibney, the Elongated Man, Batman's only investigative rival.  Her death exploded the superhero community, revealing a time when the Justice League...Did it really happen?  Did they dare alter the Batman's memories?  How would that even be possible?  The most disciplined mind...He realizes for the first time, the world really is bigger than the Batman...

He never trusted Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern.  He seemed vindicated when Jordan went rogue and tried to remake the universe in his image.  Unlike the others, he never forgave him, even when Jordan sacrificed himself to save the planet, even when he assumed the awful mantle of the Spectre.  So what, then, when Jordan reclaims the power ring of Green Lantern?

And can he ever forgive himself for Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle's murder?

Seven heroes converge in an intricate tapestry against the Sheeda horde.  Batman is one of the few to comprehend what happens.

He remembers what it was like to accept his first partner, Dick Grayson, Robin, into his life.

Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman realize how far they've let things spiral out of control, but not before chaos truly erupts at the behest of Superboy-Prime, who has been driven mad observing a world he believes has corrupted the very idea of the superhero.

Superman discovers a terminal illness, and unleashes his full potential for what he believes to be his final days.

In the aftermath of crisis, a world without its biggest heroes struggles onward.  Ralph Dibney wrestles his demons.  John Henry Irons, Steel, realizes Lex Luthor has tricked John's niece into believing his lies.  Animal Man, Adam Strange, and Starfire make a heroic trek back from the edge of the galaxy.  Black Adam attempts to fill the power void.  Booster Gold loses it.  And Renee Montoya makes a curious new friend, a man who calls himself Charlie.  Who asks her the most important question she'll ever have: How will she ever live with herself again after the brutal murder of her partner, Crispus Allen?  It's a whirlwind, epic year, and where is Batman during all of it?  Convincing himself that he's freed himself of his crusade.

And yet...then he meets his son, Damian Wayne.  And everything changes.

At least his allies in the Justice League bring themselves back together.

Freddy Freeman attempts to prove he has what it takes to claim the mantle of Captain Marvel.

The Justice Society takes it upon itself to train the next generation of heroes.

The Amazons are tricked into declaring war on America.

Regardless of the Batman's feelings toward Hal Jordan, he must feel the urgency of Sinestro's renewed war against the Green Lantern Corps, this time leading an army of yellow ring bearers.

And lo!  There came a time when the New Gods died...

Hush?  Or is it Dr. Hurt?  Hurt didn't just torment the Batman, he destroyed the Dark Knight's mind...leaving him ripe for the terror of Darkseid's Omega Beam...

Superman's world comes crashing down in the wake of Brainiac's latest defeat.  There's a new world of Kryptonians suddenly just around the corner, and Jonathan Kent is dead.

But Barry Allen, the Flash, is finally back!

Lost in time, Bruce Wayne's once and future successor, Dick Grayson, accepts the mantle of Batman, with Damian Wayne at his side as a volatile new Robin.

The dead rise, but then hope returns in the form long lost heroes returning.  But at what price?

And who benefits?

Adapted from DC YEAR BY YEAR: A VISUAL CHRONICLE, based on entries from
JLA: EARTH 2
ORION #1
SUPERMAN #160, 171
SUPERMAN: LEX 2000 #1
THE SPECTRE #1
GREEN ARROW #1
JOKER: LAST LAUGH #1
THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN #1
BATMAN: THE 10 CENT ADVENTURE
BATMAN #608, 655, 676
SUPERMAN: RED SON #1
TEEN TITANS #1
JLA/AVENGERS #1
SUPERMAN/BATMAN #1
IDENTITY CRISIS #1
GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH #1
COUNTDOWN TO FINAL CRISIS
SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY #0
ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER #1
INFINITE CRISIS #1
ALL STAR SUPERMAN #1
52 #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1
THE TRIALS OF SHAZAM! #1
JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #1
AMAZONS ATTACK! #1
GREEN LANTERN: SINESTRO CORPS SPECIAL #1
THE DEATH OF THE NEW GODS #1
FINAL CRISIS #1
ACTION COMICS #870
THE FLASH: REBIRTH #1
BATMAN AND ROBIN #1
BLACKEST NIGHT #1
BRIGHTEST DAY #1
(2000-2010)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

DC90

Waverider referred to it as an event horizon, a massive convergence of crises.  But it's a little difficult to explain without examples, so that's exactly what I'm going to give you...

The unthinkable happened for the first time when Lois Lane discovered that Clark Kent was Superman.  In some circles this was always the worst kept secret in the universe, but Superman had managed to keep his secret identity intact, even from a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who'd been obsessed with him for years, until he had become engaged to Lane and felt continuing the ruse was no longer morally justifiable.  It was a testament to Superman's character all the way around, just one of his many defining moments that decade.  If only it hadn't been followed by a bigger one so soon...

Before that could happen, I myself was drawn into these events in the near future, when the hero once known as Hawk became the villainous Monarch and sought to protect his identity, except he couldn't account for a man being sent into the past to stop him, a man who became Waverider.  A man named Matthew Ryder.  Me. 

The Greek gods went to war, sending Wonder Woman into a truly epic struggle.

Superman's next crisis involved Brainiac, against whom he assembled an army of allies.

John Stewart assumed stewardship of Oa's Mosaic, attempting to maintain peace among a legion of alien species.

Doomsday came for Superman, at last.  His epic battle against an unconquerable monster led to their mutual destruction, an unspeakable outcome for a world suddenly without its greatest protector.

Similarly, the brilliant, drug-enhanced Bane targeted Batman, breaking his back and taking control of Gotham City.

In both instances, these icons were replaced, for a time, by pretenders to the throne. 

Alien parasites came to Earth and transformed unsuspecting citizens into a new breed of superhero.

Driven mad by the utter destruction of Coast City, Hal Jordan declared war on the Green Lantern Corps so that he might obtain enough power to bring his beloved city back.

Bart Allen arrived from the future to create a new kind of Kid Flash, the single synapse Impulse, pushing the concept of speed, and the Speed Force itself, to new heights.

Jordan's mad quest converged with Monarch's, who elevated himself to the villain called Extant, threatening all of reality, until it collapsed around them with a cosmic rebirth.  In the aftermath, David Knight took up the Starman legacy, and redefined it, as well as the concept of the superhero.

Diana lost the role of Wonder Woman to Artemis but continued her fight for justice in Man's World.

Green Arrow died in a fiery explosion.

Neron struck literal deals with the devil across the villain landscape, significantly augmenting their threat level, notably revitalizing Lex Luthor so that he could plague Superman anew.

Heroes across two realities collided.

I witnessed a chilling vision of a future in which Superman walked away from his never-ending crusade.

In the present, he had the extraordinary development of working alongside Lex Luthor to combat the extinction of the sun, which only Hal Jordan's redemptive sacrifice ultimately prevented.

Then, of course, he finally married Lois Lane.

Batman tackled one of his greatest cases ever, seeking the identity of the Holiday Killer.

Superman and Batman led a spectacular revival of the Justice League.

And then Superman became radically altered, transforming into an energy being complete with a bold new look.

The Godwave made its way through the galaxy, wreaking havoc on everyone's powers.

Iris Allen wrote her late husband Barry Allen's life story.  This is significant, as he had been known as the Flash.

A cataclysmic earthquake hit Gotham.

The heroes of the 853rd century united with the modern day to battle the Tyrant Sun.

The Justice Society made a triumphant return.

Hal Jordan completed his redemption by becoming the new host of the Spectre.

Waverider saw all of this, and I suppose I ought to believe him.  His future is mine, his past mine.  He has seen wonders.  What effect does this have on a man?  I suppose I'll find out...

Adapted from DC YEAR BY YEAR: A VISUAL CHRONICLE, based on entries from
ACTION COMICS #662
ARMAGEDDON 2001 #1
WAR OF THE GODS #1
SUPERMAN #66, 75, 123
GREEN LANTERN: MOSAIC #1
BATMAN #492, 500
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #500
BLOODBATH #1
GREEN LANTERN #48
THE FLASH #92
ZERO HOUR #4
STARMAN #0
WONDER WOMAN #93
GREEN ARROW #101
UNDERWORLD UNLEASHED #1
DC VERSUS MARVEL #1
KINGDOM COME #1
THE FINAL NIGHT #1
SUPERMAN: THE WEDDING ALBUM
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN #1
JLA #1
GENESIS #1
THE LIFE STORY OF THE FLASH
BATMAN: SHADOW OF THE BAT #73
DC ONE MILLION #1
JSA #1
DAY OF JUDGMENT #1

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

DC80

The Psycho-Pirate knows.

Here's the thing, as anyone who understands Green Lantern and the myriad color spectrum around him knows, emotions control everything.  He who controls emotions, controls...everything.  Except for himself.  That's always been Psycho-Pirate's biggest failing; here is a villain who isn't defeated so much as defeats himself.  That is, as I'm sure you'll agree, that most villains suffer from extreme overconfidence that eventually collapses in on itself, but the Psycho-Pirate is different.  He channels emotions thanks to the Medusa Mask.  Anyone foolish enough to look directly at him immediately falls to the power of the mask, and his mastery of emotion.  Just not his own.  This is called irony.  Being aware so keenly of the power of emotion, he becomes overwhelmed by it, the totality of it.  It makes him somewhat cosmically aware.  He comprehends things on a scale few others can imagine, but he becomes paralyzed by this knowledge.  He doesn't know how to overcome this. 

He certainly doesn't know what to do about the multiverse.  Because while others may be aware that it exists, only Psycho-Pirate knows how they interact.  Or rather, how they once collapsed.  During a crisis...

All of time creeps into this vision, naturally.  The Psycho-Pirate knows that Superman, when he was a boy, once worked alongside the Legion of Super-Heroes, in the 30th Century, but that this alliance came to a permanent end that sent them in disparate directions, perhaps to the detriment of them both, if they ever understood what the Psycho-Pirate could see...

The Psycho-Pirate saw the story of Batman unfold, from the very beginning to recruiting allies in Robin and Batgirl.

The daughter of the Batman from Earth-2, the Huntress, stepped across the multiverse.

Mongul arrived and pitted Superman against Martian Manhunter.

A team of new Teen Titans gathered, and Deathstroke the Terminator took on a contract against them.

Primus took charge of the Omega Men and launched a crusade in the Vegan system.

Superman and Batman waged separate battle against the amazing Spider-Man and a rampaging Hulk, respectively.

On Earth-2, the Justice Society expanded into the All-Star Squadron.

Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew emerged in the multiverse.

The Legion battled the greatest darkness that ever lived in the final campaign of Apokolips.

There occurred a crisis on Earth-Prime.

The Teen Titans clashed with the X-Men.

King Arthur returned in the far future.

Ambush Bug cracked reality in his massive debut.

Jason Todd debuted as the new Robin.  His origin was much the same as Dick Grayson's.  Or was it?

Lobo became the most infamous last of a kind.

A ronin in the distant past may have been conjured by a madman in the future.

The Batman of Earth-1 met the Batman of Earth-2.

The trial of the Flash became inevitable after he murdered his arch-nemesis, the Reverse-Flash.

Swamp Thing learned that he wasn't actually Alec Holland, but rather an earth avatar merely convinced that it was Holland.

Deathstroke and Terra took out the Judas Contract on the Teen Titans.

The legacy of Superman was examined at various points in the future.

The Justice Society on Earth-2 disbands.

And at last...the Crisis.  The Psycho-Pirate watches in horror as the Anti-Monitor declares war on the multiverse, becoming an unwitting pawn.  Eventually, the multiverse collapses...and all of reality resets, with only the Psycho-Pirate knowing that any of it ever happened...Most tragic of all is the sacrifice of Barry Allen, the Flash, after having finally cleared his name of murder, too...

And what of the Superboy of Earth-Prime?  What indeed?

Booster Gold arrived from the future in order to become a superhero of the modern day.

An aging Batman confronted the twilight of his career, having descended into nightmare.

A comedian was murdered.

Whatever happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

The Psycho-Pirate witnessed Superman born anew.

Darkseid launched a campaign against Earth in the present.

The Justice Society retired into a never-ending battle.

The Psycho-Pirate saw Batman's origin recounted once more, and then Wonder Woman's.

The Question emerged once more.

The Justice League found a sense of humor.

Jason Todd's origin changed.

The son of Batman was conceived.

No one could stop the Manhunters.

The Joker took his madness too far, arbitrarily paralyzing Batgirl.

Buddy Baker, Animal Man, began a journey toward the meta.

A man in a Guy Fawkes mask battled the forces of anarchy in the near-future.

Darkseid sought the Anti-Life Equation.

The Psycho-Pirate sees fans vote for the death of Jason Todd.

A cosmic invasion occurred.

Dream woke up.

The Doom Patrol crawled from the wreckage.\

The Huntress reincarnated on Earth-1.

Batman explored a serious house on a serious earth.

The Legion reached maturity.

Tim Drake became the third Robin.

The Psycho-Pirate observes the origin of Green Lantern.  And he wonders...

Adapted from DC COMICS YEAR BY YEAR: A VISUAL CHRONICLE, based on entries from
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #259, 290
THE UNTOLD LEGEND OF THE BATMAN #1
WONDER WOMAN #271
DC COMICS PRESENTS #27, 52, 87
THE NEW TEEN TITANS #1, 2, 16, 42
GREEN LANTERN #141
MARVEL TREASURY EDITION #28
DC SPECIAL SERIES #27
ALL-STAR SQUADRON #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #207
MARVEL AND DC PRESENT: THE UNCANNY X-MEN AND THE NEW TEEN TITANS #1
CAMELOT 3000 #1
BATMAN #357, 404, 408, 426, 442
THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD #200
OMEGA MEN #3
RONIN #1
THE FLASH #324
THE SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING #21
SUPERMAN #400, 423
AMERICA VS. THE JUSTICE SOCIETY #1
CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS #1
BOOSTER GOLD #1
BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT #1
WATCHMEN #1
MAN OF STEEL #1
LEGENDS #1
LAST DAYS OF THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #1
WONDER WOMAN #1
THE QUESTION #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
BATMAN: SON OF THE DEMON #1
MILLENNIUM #1
BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE
ANIMAL MAN #1
V FOR VENDETTA #1
COSMIC ODYSSEY #1
INVASION! #1
THE SANDMAN #1
DOOM PATROL #19
THE HUNTRESS #1
BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1
GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD DAWN #1
(1980-89)

Monday, August 28, 2017

DC70

"DARKSEID IS"

And lo, there came a time when the Teen Titans went their separate ways.  Crushed in their idealism by the Justice League, the young heroes disbanded in the wake of their failure to prevent the assassination of peace activist Arthur Swenson.  Convinced that they were doing more harm than good, Robin, Wonder Girl, Speedy, Kid Flash, and Hawk & Dove gave up their costumes, but found a new benefactor in Mr. Jupiter, and someone their own age, Mal Duncan, who still believed in them. 

Green Arrow challenges Green Lantern to prove he cares as much about humans as he does aliens.  Together, they hit the road and explore America. 

Media mogul Morgan Edge is discovered to be under the employ of a dark god.

Superman's worst nightmare, the existence of Kryptonite, finally ends, but then he begins losing his powers, too.

Escape artist Thaddeus Brown finally meets the one trap he can't break free from: death itself.  His mysterious pupil Scott Free, however, takes up the Mister Miracle identity in tribute.

"DARKSEID IS"

Batman is captured by the League of Assassins and locked in a prison cell.  He finds his cellmate Talia beguiling, and in many ways the perfect match he never expected to find.  Then he meets the master of the League, Ra's al Ghul, who reveals that Talia is his daughter, and the whole reason the League was sent after Batman was to trick him into falling in love with her. 

A man named Damian and a woman named Linda are arguing, casting recriminations against each other, and all their secrets are exposed.  Linda accuses Damian of having murdered her previous lover.  Before he can object, a Swamp Thing appears and murders Damian.  Linda can't know that this Swamp Thing is her reanimated lover.

Green Arrow's quest to redeem Green Lantern's humanity hits a snag when he discovers his sidekick Speedy has become a junkie, and he had no idea.

Mister Miracle reunites with the love of his life, Big Barda, as they confront the vengeance of Apokolips, the world Scott Free escaped years ago.

John Stewart is mad at the world but feels totally impotent to affect real change.  Then he's awarded the power ring of Green Lantern.

"DARKSEID IS"

The Seven Soldiers of Victory reunite from across time to battle their greatest foe.

Jason Blood becomes the Demon
and if you look for rhyme or reason
you'll just end up feeling sick
for 'tis a king's most wicked trick.

Wonder Woman ends a personal crusade to prove herself in the world of man on its own terms and resumes her Amazonian crusade by returning to Paradise City and performing twelve labors.

Billy Batson once more utters the word "Shazam!" and becomes Captain Marvel, having been denied the transformation for years by the evil Doctor Sivana.

Klarion the Witch Boy
is in the employ
of a mischievous spirit
to test the Demon's wit.

The Sandman enters your dreams in a bright costume.

The Spectre exacts grim wrath on criminals.

Libre briefly has the powers of a god and transcends his enemies in the Justice League, but can't balance the scales of his own nature.

"DARKSEID IS"

Stalker exchanges his soul in order to become a warrior, but realizes he lost his humanity in the process.

Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein converge into the Firestorm matrix.

The Reverse-Flash murders Iris Allen, the Flash's wife.

Green Lantern discovers Guy Gardner being held prisoner by Sinestro in the Phantom Zone.  Like John Stewart, Guy had been considered an alternate for Hal Jordan's power ring.  In rescuing him, Hal found that Sinestro had broken Guy, leaving him with brain damage and in a coma. 

"DARKSEID IS"

It's a decade fraught with trauma, all of it orchestrated by the dark god of Apokolips, himself battling a never-ending war in the Fourth World against his counterparts on New Genesis.  In his mad quest for the Anti-Life Equation, Darkseid has the heroes of Earth question everything they had long assumed about themselves.  Eventually the whole affair ends in implosion, and perhaps a rebirth...

Adapted from DC COMICS YEAR BY YEAR: A VISUAL CHRONICLE, based on entries from
TEEN TITANS #25, 26
GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW #76, 85, 86, 87
SUPERMAN'S PAL, JIMMY OLSEN #134
SUPERMAN #233
MISTER MIRACLE #1, 4
DETECTIVE COMICS #411
BATMAN #232
HOUSE OF SECRETS #92
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #100, 111
THE DEMON #1, 7
WONDER WOMAN #203, 204
SHAZAM! #1
SANDMAN #1
ADVENTURE COMICS #431
STALKER #1
FIRESTORM, THE NUCLEAR MAN #1
THE FLASH #275
GREEN LANTERN #123
(1970-79)