Welcome back, gang, for another stab at Grant Morrison's Multiversity. We had a thread about this title once before, but it petered out. Which was fine, until the second issue came out, which just begs for closer examination. So let's begin again. 

I'm no expert on Morrison, or his themes/hobby horses (I'll leave that to Feargal). But I am pretty familiar with comics history, so at the very least let me point out the trail markers as Morrison does shout-outs forward, backward and sideways. In other words: annotation, not analysis.(You guys can do the analysis!)

Step one is necessarily the Map of the Multiversity DC released. It's not only a blueprint of the DCU, but also a roadmap of sorts for Multiversity. Here 'tis (click for larger image):

Note, for example, that at dead center of the multiverse is the "House of Heroes," which will be referenced in the first issue.

More significantly, while there are 52 worlds, there is an Earth-0 (Us?), so the count will be from 0-51 -- meaning there's no Earth-52. Further, there are seven worlds denoted by question marks, presumably referring to the missing numbers 14, 24, 25, 27, 28, 46 and 49. Earth-30 has a hammer and sickle on it, Earth-10 has a red X on it, Earth-29 is square (Bizarro World?), Earth-26 has cartoon eyes and there oddities like Earth-19 where it's hard to tell what is meant.

But I'm getting ahead of myself ...

THE MULTIVERSITY #1

Cover

We see President Superman, Calvin Ellis of Earth-23, where there's an all-black Justice League, first seen in Final Crisis #7 (2009). We see Captain Carrot of Earth-C (which I imagine will get an official number before this is over), first seen in an insert in New Teen Titans #16 (1982). We also see a Mary Marvel, earth origin unknown, and a red-skinned Green Lantern with horns (Abin Sur of Earth-20). 

Page 1

The camera opens on a city with people running around like bugs, zooming in closer and closer to a woman knocking on a door, closer still to lice in her hair. The omniscient narrator intones about life taking root wherever it can. Morrison often announces his themes with the opening panels, Iike with Anthro in Final Crisis #1, and I don't believe this to be an exception. 

Page 2

A young black male is typing in commentary on the Cosmic Cosmos Forum about a new comic book from DC titled Ultra Comics, which is rumored to be haunted. I don't know if it's significant, but there was a comic book published by Fawcett that ran 14 issues from 1951-53 titled This Magazine Is Haunted.

The man is addressing a stuffed monkey as Mr. Stubbs. Mr. Stubbs was a circus chimpanzee in the 1880 children's book Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus, which was adapted into the Disney movie Toby Tyler in 1960.

The young man is listening to music (presumably) on earphones; music will play a big role in this series, so that might be important.

Page 3

The captions in Ultra Comics appear to be warning not just the young black man but also us readers to not read any further. Morrison has often broken the fourth wall, and appears to be doing so here. Mr. Stubbs comes alive (in a pirate outfit) and urges the young black man to change into his alter ego, Nix Uotan, the last of the Monitors, as seen in Morrison's Final Crisis.

Page 4

Nix Uotan refers to his super alter ego as Superjudge. That's a new reference, unless you count the obscure album by the obscure band Monster Magnet.

Page 5

The comic book has evidently summoned Nix Uotan to Earth-7, which he travels to in a ship named Ultima Thule. "Ultima Thule" was used in ancient times as a generic reference to someplace far away, generally impossible to get to. By Medieval times "Ultima Thule" was used to denote far Northern lands about which little was known, and at various times was a reference for various far-Northern areas, such as Scandinavia, the Shetlands, even an island in the Baltic Sea. The Thule Society, formed in 1918 in Germany, believed that Thule/Hyperborea was a perfect place in antiquity, possibly Atlantis, far in advance of us technologically, and the birthplace of the Aryan race. (As you can imagine, these Aryan-lovers were tight with the Nazis.) In modern times, Thule is a place in Greenland. Whether Morrison is referencing any of this, or even Conan's Hyperborea, or Aquaman's Atlantis, or Lori Lemaris' Atlantis, or even Arion's Atlantis, isn't clear.

Earth-7 is adjacent to the House of Heroes on the map, immediately to the left.

When Superjudge and Mr. Stubbs arrive on Earth-7, it is in ruins. Dead super-people litter the ruins, although I can't distinguish any of them. The words "We Need Your Help" appear in the air.

Page 6

The words in the air are apparently a message from an ethereal, vaporized Invisible Woman analog. A fiery face appears to be a transformed Human Torch analog. A stretched-out Mr. Fantastic analog dominates the foreground, while some of the ruins are sentient and moving, apparently all that's left of this planet's version of The Thing. 

Page 7

Superjudge describes Earth-7 as "so badly out of tune, the laws of physics have been disabled." Another reference to music.

We also meet The Thunderer, the Thor analog of this world, likely based on Australian Aborigine myths or folklore, given his dialect. At his feet are various dead super-people that are avatars of both Marvel and DC characters, including Captain America, Superman, Vision, Blue Devil and Wonder Woman. (There are more, but I can't distinguish them, although one of them is possibly Cyclops.)

Page 9

The chief bad guy appears, announcing he and his kind as The Gentry, who want to remove all hope. Weirdly, he reminds me of the sidekick in Berni Wrightson's Captain Sternn. It's essentially an eyeball with bat wings. That's actually a fairly common image, but I don't know where it comes from.

We see The Thunderer from behind this time, so the figures in the background are clearer. Still can't tell if that's supposed to be a faux-Cyclops or not.

Page 14

Thunderer mentions "the Rainbow or Worlds," possibly a reference to the Multiversity Map. (He also loses his "Thor" powers -- and his front teeth -- as he reverts to Don Blake an ordinary Aborigine.

Page 15

Thunderer says "the Pitiless Ones" are from "behind the invisible rainbow" and are "opposite of everything natural." One must assume again that he is referring to the Multiversity Map, and that The Gentry are from beyond its borders. 

Nix Uotan references "The Orrery" and the "House of Heroes" from the Map.

Page 16

We meet the other Gentry: Dame Merciless, Hellmachine, Lord Broken, Demogorgunn and Intellectron. These names are not familiar to me. The latter two are portmanteaus of Demiurge/Gorgon and intellect/electron. There is a demogorgon in mythology, but it's not a significant figure.

Page 17

The "anti-death equation" is described as something that won't let you die and/or extends the moment of death indefinitely, as opposed to the anti-life equation -- central to Final Crisis -- which removes free will.

Page 18-19

We visit Earth-23 and President Superman. On Earth-23 Brainiac is apparently Superman's computer/major domo. 

Page 20

The President's assistant is Courtney. I am unfamiliar with any significant Courtneys in DC history that look like this twentysomething brunette. Courtney Whitmore is a blonde teenager.)

Page 21

We meet Earth-23's Justice League, whose headquarters resembles the pre-Crisis Justice League's satellite. Members include Steel, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Zatanna, Black Lightning, Batman, Green Lantern, Red Tornado, Vixen and a man in a leather jacket with a half-helmet of gold -- likely Mr. Terrific, but possibly Dr. Fate or Guardian. All are black except possibly Batman, who is probably black, but if he is, he's very light-skinned. 

Superman has destroyed a robot of unknown origin and unknown materials that degrades upon contact with real-world physics -- obviously, something from The Gentry's neck of the woods. Wonder Woman suggest they look for its origins "in higher planes and rare geometries, or in the harmony of spheres where endless worlds and voices sing in rhapsody sublime." 

This might be a good time to mention that all of this talk of music, musical spheres and harmony has resonance with the ancient theory of "the music of the spheres" as well as the original separation of Earth-One and Earth-Two by vibrations.

For Music of the Spheres I can't do better than Wikipedia:

"Musica universalis (lit. universal music, or music of the spheres) or Harmony of the Spheres is an ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies—the SunMoon, and planets—as a form of musica (the Medieval Latinterm for music). This "music" is not usually thought to be literally audible, but a harmonic and/or mathematical and/or religious concept. The idea continued to appeal to thinkers about music until the end of the Renaissance, influencing scholars of many kinds, including humanists.

The Music of the Spheres incorporates the metaphysical principle that mathematical relationships express qualities or "tones" of energy which manifest in numbers, visual angles, shapes and sounds – all connected within a pattern of proportion. Pythagoras first identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form simple numerical ratios.[1] In a theory known as the Harmony of the Spheres, Pythagoras proposed that the Sun, Moon and planets all emit their own unique hum (orbital resonance) based on their orbital revolution,[2] and that the quality of life on Earth reflects the tenor of celestial sounds which are physically imperceptible to the human ear.[3] Subsequently, Plato described astronomy and music as "twinned" studies of sensual recognition: astronomy for the eyes, music for the ears, and both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions.[4]

Meanwhile, the original concept introduced in "Flash of Two Worlds" in Flash #123 (1961) was that each universe vibrated at a slightly different rate, so the Flashes could travel from one world to another by adapting their internal vibration to the universe they wanted to visit. 

Morrison appears to be tying the vibrational concept to a literal Music of the Spheres.

Page 22

On Earth-23, Lex Luthor was trying to access the multiverse with a "Transmatter Symphonic Array" -- which suddenly activates and whisks Superman to ... 

Page 24-25

... the House of Heroes, "outside of normal time and space -- between universes" at the center of the Multiverse (according to the Map). We learn this and a whole lot more exposition from Captain Carrot, who has also been pulled to the House by a Transmatter "Hutch' as have a host of other heroes, each pulled by a Transmatter machine of some kind, which materialized on their worlds after Thunderer sent out an SOS. Captain Carrot describes the fluid in which the worlds exist as "Bleedspace" that's rotating through the fifth dimension (where Mr. Mxyzptlk lives) around a fixed point of the multiversal Orrery of Worlds."

Addendum: Captain Carrot thinks he has met Superman, but he's thinking of the Superman from Earth-One, whom he met in Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew #1. CC says that all humans look alike to him -- a racial slur on our planet, but here, the reverse: Captain Carrot literally cannot tell the black Superman from the white one. They're all equal in his eyes.

He also refers to the House of Heroes as "a watchtower," which has JLA resonance.

It is also called Valla-Hal, Valhalla sideways.

Page 26-27

We meet more heroes snatched up by the SOS. We see (and will later be introduced to) Spore and Dino-Cop (Spawn and Savage Dragon) from Earth-41, Red Racer and Power Torch (Flash and Green Lantern) from Earth-36, Vixen and Bloodwynd (no Earth specified), a Hawkman of unknown origin, Aquawoman of Earth-11 (probably the world of gender swaps we've seen before), Lady Quark and Lord Volt (of Earth-6, first seen in Crisis on Infinite Earths #4, 1986, and subsequently killed, so these may not be the same ones), plus chibi versions of Wonder Woman and Steel.

Incidentally, the Image planet Earth-41 is exactly on the opposite side of the Map as President Superman's Earth-23, which is probably significant, as we'll see next issue.

Page 28-29

Superman's Brainiac belt buckle makes contacts with the computer which is ... Harbinger. Or "Harbinger Systems," with a big floating Lyla "Harbinger" Mychaels head. Of course, she's been dead for a long time, and even showed up as a Black Lantern in "Blackest Night." She refers to herself as having been sleeping, but ... oh, who knows? Can't have a Crisis without a Harbinger, I guess.

Harbinger says "Earth-4. Earth-5. Earth-10. Earth-16. Earth-20. Earth-33. The Multiverse needs you!"

However, the team that goes to rescue Nix Uotan are not from those planets, so I don't know what that means.

ADDENDUM: Since Earth-20 needs help in the next issue, maybe those are the six Earths we're going to see imperiled in issues #2-7.

Page 30-31

The rescue party will consist of Superman of Earth-23, Thunderer of Earth-7, Red Racer of Earth-36, Aquawoman of Earth-41 and Captain Carrot of Earth-C. (I wonder if Earth-C is Earth-26, the one with the cartoon eyes on the Map? Seems likely.)

We learn that the Ultima Thule is made of "frozen music." 

We learn that Red Racer, like Barry Allen, is a comic book fan.

We learn that the adventures of the various heroes appear in other universes as comic books, just like Barry Allen reading about Jay Garrick back in "Flash of Two Worlds." 

We learn that Red Racer's civilian name is Ray (Palmer?) and Power-Torch's is Hank (Hall?). Their good-byes are very intimate, and one assumes they are gay. Their world's Superman was named Optiman, and he's dead.

The Justice League on Earth-36 is called Justice 9.

Marvel Comics on Earth-36 are called Major Comics.

Page 32

Morrison drives home the Music of the Spheres bit.

Red Racer: "-- vibrations! Of course -- the worlds of the Multiverse vibrate together! Separated only by their different pitches."

Thunderer (who has gotten his powers, and his front teeth, back): Fifty-two worlds occupying the same space. All ringing. It's all one big song."

Superman discovers the Ultima Thule is a trans-dimensional yacht powered by sound vibrations. "A musical engine for traveling between universes." He powers the ship by playing music, and selects destination by alter the pitch. 

Page 33

The crew sees a horrible monster in the Bleed between universes. Remember life taking root wherever it can, filling in every niche? I think that's what is happening here -- and possibly with The Gentry as well.

Page 34

We see Lord Havok (Dr. Doom) facing off against the Future Family (Fantastic Four) on Earth-8. He has the Omni-Gauntlets (Nega-Bands? Infinity Gauntlet?), the Genesis Egg (no idea) and the Lightning-Axe of Wundajin (hammer of Thor) which he claims will give him the Power Eternal (Power Cosmic?).

It should be noted that a Thor analog named Wandjina first appeared in Justice League of America #87 (1971) as part of the Champions of Angor, which included Bluejay (Yellowjacket), Silver Sorceress (Scarlet Witch), Captain Speed (Quicksilver), Bowman (Hawkeye) and Tin Man (Iron Man), all of whom are dead, at least they were.

Pages 35-39

We meet the Retaliators (Avengers) of Earth-8, which include Wundajin (Thor), Crusader (Captain America), Machinehead (Iron Man), David "Behemoth" Dibble (Bruce David "Hulk" Banner), Bug (Spider-Man) and characters that look suspiciously like Falcon, Captain Marvel, Black Widow and Hawkeye.

The Behemoth isn't just childlike like the Hulk, he's actually a giant, blue, super-strong baby in a diaper (like Baby Huey). 

Red Racer is the one who knows the names of their foes, from reading Major Comics (Marvel Comics) and seeing their movies. He also mentions the G-Men (X-Men) and Stuntmaster (probably the Daredevil analog, given that the Stuntmaster was a DD villain, but he rode a motorcycle, so he could be a Ghost Rider analog). 

Captain Carrot is governed by cartoon (Tex Avery) physics, which appears to be a super-power of sorts.

Pages 40-43

Lord Havok cracks open the Genesis Egg, apparently killing him (with the help of "Hawkeye") and the Future Family. He dies saying "I saw their faces," which I'm guessing is a reference to The Gentry.

Page 44

Nix Uotan is now calling himself "The Judge of Worlds" and has apparently been corrupted by The Gentry.

Once again the captions speak directly to the reader. If nothing else we should assume that the comic book we are reading is telling true events from elsewhere in the multiverse, and that it is, perhaps, haunted.

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DC told everybody the purpose of COIE was to simplify things by getting rid of the multiverse and having one Earth.  That's not an assumption, that's what people were told would.

DC is not saying the multiverse or the New 52 is going away after Convergence.  At all.  Just because people are jumping to conclusions doesn't mean I have to treat an assumption as a fact.

Ron M. said:

That's pretty much what it meant in Crisis on Infinite Earths so you can't blame anyone for assuming it's about to happen again.
 
John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

Here's the solicit for the last issue of Convergence:

CONVERGENCE #8

All the heroes of the DC Universe unite to face a crisis of infinite proportions – but when all is done, there can be only one reality. But will even that survive the battle?

The key word here is "reality".  CBR and other sites are jumping to a conclusion here, imo, by equating "reality" and "universe".  One reality does not necessarily mean the New 52 multiverse goes away.

Well I do tend to equate reality with universe, it never occurred to me that they'd mean something different. What is the difference between reality and universe? Reality is what is inside of a universe after all, no matter what that reality is it exists inside a universe. So if there is only one reality left to my way thinking there is only one universe left. If there is more than one universe there must by the definition I am using more than one reality.

That was what puzzled me. Why go through the trouble of laying out all these and then tell me there can be only one reality?



John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:
Here's the solicit for the last issue of Convergence:

CONVERGENCE #8

All the heroes of the DC Universe unite to face a crisis of infinite proportions – but when all is done, there can be only one reality. But will even that survive the battle?

The key word here is "reality".  CBR and other sites are jumping to a conclusion here, imo, by equating "reality" and "universe".  One reality does not necessarily mean the New 52 multiverse goes away.

A reality could either be a universe or a multiverse.  Merriam-Webster definition of multiverse:

a theoretical reality that includes a possibly infinite number of parallel universes
Again, I think the fact that DC doesn't say "universe" means it's possible the multiverse is sticking around.  Just my opinion.

Agreed.

Also, given the fact that they are playing "fast and loose" with continuity tells you right there that there will quite possibly me multiple universes.

John Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

A reality could either be a universe or a multiverse.  Merriam-Webster definition of multiverse:

a theoretical reality that includes a possibly infinite number of parallel universes
Again, I think the fact that DC doesn't say "universe" means it's possible the multiverse is sticking around.  Just my opinion.

They say everything still counts, the old universes are still around, but asking if they're there just to say goodbye forever does make it sound like they're changing things again. Parts of the old multiverse still exist, but this might be the end of them? Then how can we be sure the new 52 multiverse will still be around? They're being vague on purpose exactly so people will have conversations like this one.

  I think they are being vague to build suspense.  It's sort of working though in my case it's more curiosity.  

MULTIVERSITY: MASTERMEN #1

 

COVER

The legend on the left indicates this issue is about Earth-10.

Two characters are depicted arm-wrestling with a globe as the “table.”

One figure is Uncle Sam, a character created for Quality Comics by Will Eisner as the spirit of a slain Revolutionary War soldier.

Uncle Sam was among the many Quality Comics characters bought by DC in the 1950s. He first appeared at his new publisher in Justice League of America (first series) #107-108 as part of a group of insurgents battling Nazis on Earth-X, where the Axis won World War II.  With the help of the Justice League, Uncle Sam and his guerrillas defeated the Nazis.

Uncle Sam and other Quality characters moved to Earth-One (and their own title) in 1976. Post-Crisis, his origin was re-written so that he was the Spirit of the United States, created by the Founding Fathers through Masonic rituals and incarnating in various eras when the U.S. is in peril (The Spectre, third series, #37-38). He has made various appearances since with, more or less, this concept, although Father Time of S.H.A.D.E. said in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters that he was an unclassifiable being.

Uncle Sam’s opponent is a Nazi version of Superman named Overman, with the runic lightning-bolt symbol used by the Nazi SchutzStaffel (SS) appearing on the character’s chest instead of the Superman “S.”

“Overman” is the literal translation of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche’s Ubermensch, a concept introduced in his seminal work Also Sprach Zarathustra. The Overman (which can also be translated more loosely as Superman) focuses on the material world as an alternative to Christianity, and its focus on otherworldly rewards.  The Nazis adopted some aspects of the Overman concept for their philosophy as Germans being the Master Race.

The battle over a globe is likely a metaphorical representation of two sides battling for, presumably, world conquest on one side and world freedom on the other.

The tableau is contained in an ornate frame with the traditional German eagle symbol (also adopted by the Nazis) at the top.

It should be noted that the original Earth-X of the old multiverse is now Earth-10 in The New 52 multiverse. Clever, as “X” is “10” in Roman numerals.

 

PAGE ONE

Hitler is shown on the toilet reading a Superman comic book. The cover is one that never appeared in our world, of Superman punching Hitler (a scene that did appear on the cover of Captain America Comics #1). The closest equivalent is Superman #17, which depicts Superman astride a globe, holding by the scruff of their necks Hitler in one hand and Hirohito in the other. Also, a famous story in a 1940 Look magazine featured the two-page comic strip “What If Superman Ended the War?” that included Hitler, but not the scene on the cover of Hitler’s Superman comic book. So that comic book isn’t one that exists on our world.

 

PAGE TWO

An aide refers to Hitler as “Leader.” Hitler was often referred to as “Der Fuehrer,” which translates to (among other things) “The Leader.” It soon become evident that all the speakers in this book are speaking German unless otherwise indicated, and it is simply being translated without comment. I will reverse-translate where appropriate or interesting.

The aide mentions Col. von Hammer, who could be a very old Hans von Hammer, the star of DC’s World War I series “Enemy Ace.” The von Hammer depicted in those stories would not have been very happy with Hitler’s philosophy, but would very likely have felt bound by honor to fight for his country – as was the case in WWI, where he did not care for the Kaiser or his ambitions but fought anyway. But it's more likely a relative or descendant, as we shall see.

Hitler is depicted as being constipated, and refers to himself as “writhing in agony.” Hitler suffered from many chronic ailments, among them constipation, stomach cramps, diarrhea and uncontrollable flatulence.

 

PAGE THREE

Hitler refers to the comic book as “waste paper.” Famously, the official newspaper (and propaganda organ) of the SS lambasted the Superman story in Look magazine. Also, Bundists (American Nazi sympathizers) threatened Timely Comics for its anti-Nazi stories. The Nazis, as this reference indicates, were no fans of American comic books.

The last panel is a scene-setter for a place called Peenemunde, which is a port city on an island in the Baltic Sea near the coast of Germany. Peenemunde translates literally to “Peene Mouth,” as the city is located at the mouth of the Peene River, where it debouches into the Baltic Sea. During World War II, Peenemunde was home to Germany’s most advanced rocket research, and developed the Vergeltungswaffe (Retribution Weapon) 2, known colloquially as the V-2 rocket. The scientists at Peenemunde, which included the famous Werner von Braun, were referred to as “Peenemunders.”

Various voices are raised saying “Hail Hitler!”, which is the literal translation of the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler.”

 

PAGE FOUR

Werner von Braun appears as a rocket engineer at Peenemunde, as he was in real life.

 

PAGE SIX

The rocket found in the Sudetenland (obviously the one that landed in Kansas in our world) is indestructible. Just as in our world, things from Krypton are indestructible on Earth.

 

PAGE EIGHT

The baby from Krypton is shown to be indestructible. This is in line with the Silver Age Superman, whose powers were 100 percent from the moment he was under a yellow sun, as opposed to the Golden Age and post-Crisis versions of the character, where his powers developed gradually as he absorbed yellow-sun radiation.

The baby says “Aay-ell” twice, perhaps trying to say his name, Kal-El.

 

PAGE NINE

Hitler leaps to the conclusion that the baby is a time-traveler, and christens him the “Man of Tomorrow.” That is one of Superman’s nicknames.

We see a copy of The American Crusader comics from Major Comics, corresponding to Captain America Comics and Timely (later Marvel) Comics. Major Comics is the Marvel Comics substitute on a number of worlds in this series.

Hitler refers to the child as being the “Man of Iron.” One of Superman’s nicknames is the Man of Steel. It seems right that Hitler would gravitate to iron, though, as that metal signifies strength in a number of cultures, and strength was a big deal in German culture even before the Nazis, who raised it to the highest virtue.  The Germans’ highest medal for generations, for example, was the Iron Cross, while Otto von Bismarck’s famous speech about German unification in 1862 was titled “Blood and Iron.” Our own culture boasts Iron Man the superhero and Iron Man triathlons, as well as the “iron fist in a velvet glove”

 

PAGES 10-11

A grown Overman is depicted leading victorious Nazi forces through Washington D.C., signifying Nazi victory in World War II.

 

PAGE 12

Nazi troops burn American comic books, one depicting, ironically, Superman. The Nazis were notorious book-burners, so it’s unsurprising. But the time is 1956, only a few years after mass comic-book bonfires in America by Americans!

Uncle Sam is seen, battered and defeated like the country he represents.

 

PAGE 14

Uncle Sam swipes a Superman comic book from the bonfire. Although the story doesn’t say so, it is likely Uncle Sam uses comic books to contact other dimensions, as they have been used in other Multiversity books.

 

PAGE 16

Overman is dreaming of the death of Overgirl, in a pose reminiscent of the same scene of Superman holding Supergirl on the cover of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7. Other Nazi-themed Justice Leaguers are shown dead or defeated at his feet. Lord Broken, one of The Gentry, is in the background.

A panel informs us that it is now 60 years later (2016).

 

PAGE 17

Superman awakens with his wife, “Lena.” That could be Lena Luthor (or Thorul), but it’s more likely Lana Lang. Superman’s civilian name is Karl, not Clark.

He says he has the dream every night. Obviously, Lord Broken has achieved some influence here.

Lena tells him he must be “strong,” a very Nazi-like thing to say.

 

PAGE 18-19

We see Nazi versions of the Justice League, called here The New Reichsmen, including versions of Batman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. This represents the founding members of the Justice League in 1960, with the curious exception of a Green Lantern analog.

Of special interest are the Flash analog, who is female here, and the Wonder Woman analog, who is decked out in Bavarian gear – she obviously is connected to the Norse/Teutonic gods instead of the Greek gods. (I would think she would be connected to the Roman gods, since Italy was a member of the Axis, and they are the Greco-Roman gods after all. But I didn’t write or draw the book.)

We also see what looks to be Nazi-world versions of Jimmy Olsen and Alfred Pennyworth.

A memoir begins, obviously being written years after the events we are seeing. It refers to the Fall of Metropolis and the Twilight of the New Reichsmen. The latter is an obvious reference to Ragnarok, loosely translated to “Twilight of the Gods,” which in Norse mythology is the death of the gods.

 

PAGE 20

It is revealed that the writer of the memoir is the Jimmy Olsen analog, Overman’s best friend here as he is Superman’s best friend on our world.

Olsen describes Superman and the New Reichsmen in heroic terms that would fit the Justice League. But as we discover, he betrays Overman and the Reichsmen. Why is never made clear.

Olsen makes mention of Overman’s “seemingly ageless consort.” That’s not Brunnhilde as you’d expect, but Lena, who does not age due to a serum from a planet “now dust” (p. 36). Undoubtedly this is a Silver Age Superman reference that I don’t remember.

 

PAGE 21

It is mentioned that English is a banned language.

We see Uncle Sam’s gigantic face in the clouds.

 

PAGE 22

The Human Bomb of this world appears.

The female Flash is referred to as “Lightning.” That makes sense, as lightning – Blitz – was a favored word of the Nazis, as in Blitzkrieg (lighting war).

 

PAGE 23

Blitz also has a stylized SS lightning-bolt insignia.

 

PAGE 24

The New Reichsmen HQ is a satellite, much like the Justice League has had a satellite at various times. It is called “The Eagle’s Nest” (die Kehlsteinhaus) the same name as the house built by Martin Bormann for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday above Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps.

 

PAGE 25

We finally see a Nazi Green Lantern, as well as a Nazi Red Tornado. Note that Nazi Martian Manhunter has used his shapeshifting powers to appear with white skin – a necessity in a world run by Nazis.

Overman implies he has remorse for “the shame of our past,” presumably war atrocities. He is not ashamed of the superhero-type battles they’ve had, which appear to correspond to Justice League battles, and mentions the Star Conqueror (Starro on our world), Konstrukt (Construct, with the Germanic spelling), the Luthor League (Injustice League?) and Kanjar Ro (Kanjar Ro).

 

PAGE 26

Batman’s name here is Leatherwing. The pirate world features a Captain Leatherwing. (I guess die Fledermausmann was too unwieldy.)

Leatherwing refers to his "grandfather von Hammer," meaning the Col. von Hammer who found Overman's rocket ship in 1938 could have been his father.

Aquaman’s name is Underwaterman, Unterseemann in German, as German submarines were unterseeboots, or U-boats. Later, Leatherwing even refers to him as “U-Man.”

We learn that Atlantis fought on the Allied side, and would have been wiped out if Hitler didn’t come to believe that Atanteans were the root of the Aryan race.

Wonder Woman’s name is Brunnhilde, the name of a character in Teutonic mythology made famous in Richard Wagner’s “Die Ring des Nibelungen” tetralogy, confirming her connection to a different pantheon than on our world.

 

PAGE 27

Brunnhilde confirms that English is not only banned, but a “dead language.”

Blitz picks up a weapon from another universe and detects “weird vibrations.” This correlates to what we know, that the different dimensions vibrate at different speeds and that those connected to the Speed Force are especially sensitive to those vibrations.

 

PAGE 29

We see trophies, which include a Thanagarian hawk mask (did they simply kill Hawkman as an alien?), the Construct prison (I think), something I can’t identify and Kanjar Ro’s outfit.

Evidently, Martian Manhunter is just called “the Martian” on Earth-10 (die Marsmann).

Brunnhilde makes some typically Nazi remarks about strength and weakness.

 

PAGE 30

Uncle Sam’s revolutionaries are depicted on an island near the damaged Statue of Liberty. Ellis Island, maybe? Sam recites an ersatz version of the Emma Lazarus poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Once again, Morrison makes a poetry reference.

 

PAGE 31

We learn America is called Germanica on this world. Germanica is Latin for German.

The Doll Man and Doll Girl of this world appear to be Jehovah’s Witnesses. They won’t fight aggressively, but will defend. They believe that their world is in the Biblical end times, as Jehovah’s Witnesses tend to do. Uncle Sam then recites a line from Revelations.

 

PAGES 32-33

We discover that the source of the other-dimensional weaponry is the Sivana of Earth-10, Doktor Sivana (implying he is one of the group of Sivanas we have met before).

Sivana has given super-powers to some of those who have joined Uncle Sam, survivors of “the purges of the ‘50s and ‘60s.” They come from “out” groups that the Nazis would likely exterminate: Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Romani (gypsies), Negros. As Sivana says, the “usual suspects.”

The “Freedom Fighters” (which is what the Quality characters were called on post-Crisis Earth) include a muscular Phantom Lady, a genuinely black Black Condor, The Ray, Doll Man and Doll Girl. These are all variations of Quality Comics characters.

 

PAGES 34-35

It appears Jimmy Olsen’s name on this world is Jurgen.

It appears New York has been renamed New Bayreuth. Bayreuth is a city in Bavaria.

Overman makes explicit reference to Wagner’s “Ring cycle” – formally known as “Die Ring des Nibelungen,” which I referred to above.

 

PAGE 40

The Ring Cycle is being performed.

 

Page 42

Uncle Sam points and says “We want YOU! To pay for your crimes!” akin to the famous James Montgomery Flagg recruiting poster of 1917, with Uncle Sam pointing and saying “I want YOU! (for the U.S. Army)”

 

PAGE 44

The issue ends with the title, “Splendour Falls.” This is a reference to an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem from his longer work “The Princess,” with the speaker wondering about his legacy. That in turn references Overman, whose guilt over past atrocities and dissatisfaction with the Thousand-Year Reich is the subtext of the issue. (And, once again, Morrison makes a poetry reference.)

Have they ever connected Uncle Sam with Samuel Wilson?

The Blitz was what Big Bang Comics called their Flash.

Sivana's are playing a larger roll in this than I would have thought.

Interesting since he's rarely been used outside of the Marvels. The only time I remember seeing him in a group of villains from other DC titles was the Legends of the Superheroes specials in the 70s.

I seme to recall Morrison used Sivana a bit in Final Crisis - he was sort of  a double-act with Luthor.

Maybe they're in a Bald Mad Scientists support group!

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