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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 182

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

Today we look at a neat Batman moment from Grant Morrison that was a bit of a precursor to his more recent Batman run.

Enjoy!

In JLA Classified #1, by Grant Morrison and Ed McGuinness, Morrison lays the ground work not just for his Seven Soldiers crossover but also for his run on Batman when the Justice League are captured into a different universe and the villainous Ne-Bu-Loh has struck a deal with Gorllia Grodd. Things are bad for the Ultra-Marines, and it is up to the Knight (the British Batman)’s partner, the Squire, to contact Batman for help…

He then shows up just as she is being shot down by a gorilla in a laser jet plane, and this allows Batman to now tell her his plan…

Great cliffhanger.

As to “the” moment, there are a lot of them, but I think the revelation of the “Sci-Fi Closet” is “the” moment for this scene.

44 Comments

As cool as this scene was, I think it’s always kinda dodgy when writers do stories where Batman has some ridiculously effective technology at hand. If he has a sci-fi closet with a boom-tube glove and an army of JLA robots, why hasn’t he used them before? Why doesn’t he use them always when fighting crime in Gotham?

Anyway, since we’re talking about this story, my theory is that the Qwewq is actually “the real world”/ “our universe”, i.e. the world seen in the final issues of Morrison’s Doom Patrol and Animal Man. It doesn’t have the same colour scheme as in those issues of DP and AM, but the way it’s depicted in the first pages of JLA Classified #2 makes it seem like it’s “our world”: there’s references to real-world events, plus Qwewq is said to lack superheroes, just like our world and the world Jane ends up in the final issue of DP does. So this would mean that the final issues of Morrison’s Animal Man and Doom Patrol take place in Qwewq. It would also mean…

(SPOILERS!)

…that in the future “our universe” turns into Neh-Buh-Loh, and that “our universe” finally dies by getting speared by the Frankenstein’s monster. Which seems kinda fitting to me.

Awesome! =D I still miss Bruce Wayne though =P

Speaking of JLA goodies, Brian, would you consider the re-assembling of JLA under Brad Meltzer’s run to the cool moments please? Issue Zero? Where Batman was confronted by Superman after the “one punch” over Guy Gardner. I think that one moment deserves a place on the list.

Thanks!

@Tuomas: I think your theory is correct and somewhat popularly understood by Morrison fans (not to diminish it as a theory though). Qwewq showed up in ASS as well, and there it’s revealed that the infant universe houses a pair of creators who draw a facsimile Superman (nonexistent in their world) on a pad, and, in Morrison’s original script, one of them says something like “We’re gonna make a million dollars,” obviously indicating that this is Shuster and Siegel and that Qwewq is a universe where Shuster and Siegel existed, i.e. a universe like ours.

The Dalek in the closet is such a wonderful tease. Now there’s a crossover I’d love to see Batman meets The Doctor ;)

Cass: I haven’t read any online discussion on this theory, but sure, I couldn’t have been the only one to come up with it. I think it puts kind of a neat twist to the idea of “worlds within worlds”. Normally, you’d think the DC universe is a micro universe that exists within our macro universe, but with Qwewq you have our universe exiting as a micro universe within the macro DC universe. This also means that our myths and dreams are reflections of stuff that happens on the macro level, just like it was shown in ASS. Besides ASS, DP, AM, SS and JLA, a similar idea can also be found in Flex Mentallo, maybe in some other Morrison comics too. I think he’s had this idea in his head for a long time, and he drops various references to it in all around. Connecting all the dots to get a more holistic view of “Morrisonverse” is certainly part of what makes his work so enjoyable, plus it makes rereading them to look for various clues and motifs more fun that with most other writers.

There’s a few inconsistencies I can think of in this theory though: if Qwewq is our world, who is Zatanna reaching out to in the final issue of her miniseries? And who is the bald Unknown Man talking to in Seven Soldiers #1?

Besides the Dalek, Batman’s Sci-Fi closet seems to hold Hawkman’s wings and the head of the Iron Giant (from the animated feature of the same name). But what’s that crescent-shaped thing above the Dalek?

I heart the Squire.

Just wanted to say.

“It’s like that, is it?”

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 2, 2009 at 5:53 am

– The crescent-shaped thing s the arm of another sci-fi robot, the one from Lost in Space.

— In the “Club of Heroes” arc, mention is made of a team-up between Batman, the Knight, and the Squire to battle the “Metalleks.” Apparently that’s the DDCU name for Daleks.

— Someone once explained to me what the ray-gun is from, but I forgot.

This was such a fun story. I always like it when Morrison trots out the Ultra-Marines. Knight and Squire are two of my favorite characters under his pen.

Also:

Besides ASS, DP, AM, SS and JLA, a similar idea can also be found in Flex Mentallo, maybe in some other Morrison comics too.

And his aborted Authority run, which essentially picked up right where this JLA: Classified arc left off, with the team landing in the real world (or some close proximation thereof).

What the hell?

This is EXACTLY what my reservations about the new Batman & Robin center around. Batman flying around in a bat-saucer, or whatever, really undercuts the character, in my opinion.

I actually like that someone acknowledged that Batman has a different set of toys for his Gotham work and his JLA work. Now, a valid reason might be nice, but at least someone admitted it.

By the way, for me the moment had to be the line, “Did my flying saucer arrive from the factory?”.

David Hackett

July 2, 2009 at 7:53 am

But Rusty, I think that’s what Morrison is trying to comment on. It is patently absurd that the “Street-Level” Batman and the “JLA” Batman are the same character, operating within the same universe, but they are. Most writers just try to ignore the problem, here Morrison jumps into the incongruency whole hog and makes for a fun and dynamic read.

This looks like a fun arc, minus the ‘No. I’m Goldfishman,’ line. Gonna go check it out, thanks for making me awares!

i would go with both the closet and the robot duplicates batman has of his fellow jl comrads proving batman has a plan for everything. not to mention love the answer when asked if he is really batman no i am fish man. lol

American Hawkman

July 2, 2009 at 8:30 am

The way I see it is that Batman’s sci-fi closet stuff is something he doesn’t use in Gotham because of the catastrophic effects that any of it would have if it ended up in the hands of some of the Gotham masterminds, like Hugo Strange, or, worse yet, some of the genuine psychos like the Joker. Yes, using it would make their threats less likely to result in it being captured, but the benefit does not outweigh the risk in Batman’s eyes.

Are you kidding? “No, I’m Goldfish Man” is one of the rare examples of Grantsy showing that he does, indeed, have a sense of humor. Well, there’s also his entire career on a different level, but still…

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 2, 2009 at 8:57 am

I dunno, Johnny B., I always figured stuff like Seaguy and Sebastian O. were meant to be funny along with having themes and crap like that.

This entry really didn’t seem strong on “moments” to me. It’s certainly not iconic, death-of-Gwen caliber. Future-teched-out Batman doesn’t appeal to me as much as street-level Batman, though I can deal with it for a few stories/moments. And the damn Super Friends theme is running through my head after reading that last page!

Didn’t they get rid of Pluto in Our Worlds at War?

No good moments here? Hah. Every panel is an awesome moment. The Sci-Fi closet, “Has my flying saucer arrived from the factory?”, rescuing Beryl, “No, I’m Goldfish Man. Can’t you tell?”– it’s all grand, over-the-top brilliance. This is what I wanted from Morrison’s Batman run– the confident uber-Bats from his JLA stories. They could lift this wholesale into the Brave & the Bold cartoon and it would work perfectly there.

I also love Batman complaining about the gyroscope– Batman & Robin #1 calls back to this when Damian fixes the gyro on the new Batmobile.

This entry really didn’t seem strong on “moments” to me. It’s certainly not iconic, death-of-Gwen caliber. Future-teched-out Batman doesn’t appeal to me as much as street-level Batman, though I can deal with it for a few stories/moments. And the damn Super Friends theme is running through my head after reading that last page!

Excellent point – this moment is not as iconic as the death of Gwen Stacy.

Well observed.

This entry is not ironic, death-of-Chubby caliber, either.

Da fug!

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 2, 2009 at 9:46 am

Eh. The death of Gwen Stacy is hardly as iconic as the resurrection of Jesus.

‘Are you kidding? “No, I’m Goldfish Man” is one of the rare examples of Grantsy showing that he does, indeed, have a sense of humor.’

Except the Goldfishman joke isn’t, y’know, funny. I thought the other gags worked well as long as the reader isn’t caught up in noirish Gotham-only Bats.

Yeah, I’ve never been a fan of “Batman as god”. If someone like that really existed, why would he bother doing anything physically? He’d just alter the events around him with the sheer force of his over-planning and sarcasm.

I’ve also just figured out why I just didn’t get a lot of Morrison’s writing more recently. I haven’t read all his stuff. There are waaaaaay too many in-jokes and self-references flying around for me to really understand what’s going on. I mean, that’s normal in comic books, but damn.

Except the Goldfishman joke isn’t, y’know, funny. I thought the other gags worked well as long as the reader isn’t caught up in noirish Gotham-only Bats.

Well, I laughed when I read it the first time, anyway. Then again, I’m easily entertained, just ask anybody.

I don’t think Batman built the robots. They were in a Justice League outpost, right? Probably built with the same tech used for the Superman robots at the Fortress of Solitude.

While it makes sense that Batman would want better toys for when he hangs with the League(superpower-envy) it doesn’t make sense that he wouldn’t use those toys back in Gotham, too. Even if he enjoys using his fists to much to rely on the sci-fi stuff you’d think he’d at least make them available to the side-kicks. You know, to avoid another Jason incident.

On the last page seen here, they ARE all Superman robots.

Next time we see them, they’ve been customized to represent different JLA members.

> Didn’t they get rid of Pluto in Our Worlds at War?

No, they get rid of Pluto in the International Astronomical Union 2006 summit.

Huh, I didn’t remember Ian Churchill’s art being this good the first few times I read this story. I especially liked the split-legged stuffed animal pose Squire has when she lands on the flying saucer, and a few of the huge-eyes bits. I suppose Churchill was never inducted into the Artists Who Work Well With Grant Morrison group, but this is some pretty on-point stuff.

Also, you can pretty easily extrapolate an explanation for not using the science fiction closet in Gotham from the “don’t tell the GCPD” bit. Batman’s limited in his approach to Gotham by what he can get away with and still have a working relationship with the badges, and bringing out the science fiction stuff has a risk of freaking out pretty much everybody. It’s useful to seem like an actual human being to your allies, lest they get all kinds of wrong ideas. At the same time, Batman would naturally want to have as many cards up his sleeves and tricks in his bag as possible, which calls for a stingier use of the gadgets.

Point is: I probably think too much about Batman. (Actually I was pretty quick coming up with this explanation, but it took me a while to figure out the right word choice so I guess I probably take too much time to write about Batman.)

@AERose: Having never worked with Grant Morrison, I believe Ian Churchill will have a hard time getting inducted into that group you mentioned. I mean, I suppose the judges could use their imaginations and hypothesize what it might be like if they did a book together, envision it to be a great success, and then nominate Churchill on the strengths of his excellent hypothetical work, but it just seems like a stretch.

It was McGuiness who drew the pages in this moment ;)

I hadn’t seen McGuinness’ work before this story, but I agree that it’s pretty great in it. He’s particularly good at doing character design: if you compare how the various members of Ultramarine Corps looked in their initial apperance in JLA, and how they look here, McGuinness simply draws them so much better. This is especially true of Goraiko. Also, McGuinness should get some credit for introducing Neh-Buh-Loh; I know his appearance is based on a simple idea, but nevertheless McGuinness makes him look very cool.

Omar Karindu, with the power of SUPER-hypocrisy!

July 3, 2009 at 5:16 am

McGuinness didn’t introduce Neh-Bu-Loh; that was Dick Dillin, way back in JLofA v.1 #100-102.

Well yeah, but that was his “Nebula Man” phase, and he looked quite different then. There’s the same basic idea of making him consist of space and stars, but Dillin didn’t put too much effort into executing that concept, plus I think Morrison’s idea of making him into the Huntsman of the Wild Hunt is way cooler than what he looked like originally.

“It was McGuiness who drew the pages in this moment”

Let it never be said that I know what I’m talking about.

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That 3-part arc was like Morrison never left JLA. That whole last issue is super special awesome. Gorrila Grodd monologuing about how he will take over the world and call it Gorillapolis, “Thers goes the dynasty!”, “Bring me your World’s Finest” with Superman flying towards Neh-bu-Loh, that guy with the DC Editor powers who returns John Stewart’s yellow weakness(“Copy, aaand Paste”). Heck even Superman’s little speech at the end is why JLA >>> The Authority.

“You apes were led astray by a cunning manipulator. A bunch of dumb slogans, a few bananas and you belong to anybody it seems. You ought to be ashamed of yourself…You were a disaster waiting to happen Warmaker. “Superheroes” who don’t mind killing to achieve their ends can be dangerous in the wrong hands. If it hadn’t been for the bravery of The Squire, who knows what might have happened? Don’t you realize death is no object to most of the enemies we deal with? Quite Frankly, as an alternative to SOME of the super-punishments we’ve had to devise over the years–execution’s a walk in the park. These “NO-Nonsense solutions of yours just don’t hold water in a complex world of jet-powered apes and time travel.”

Now I gotta dig out my issue to see if Quite Frankly is capitalized like that.

What a great story. Great writer. Great artist. Great characters. Great.

Grant Morrison and Ed McGuiness are nearly as good as Morrison-Quitely IMHO. McGuiness brings a bounce to the proceedings that Morrison really needs. I wish that they would work together more.

I’ve also just figured out why I just didn’t get a lot of Morrison’s writing more recently. I haven’t read all his stuff. There are waaaaaay too many in-jokes and self-references flying around for me to really understand what’s going on. I mean, that’s normal in comic books, but damn.

What Morrison seems to be attempting is insanely ambitious, which is setting up themes in one title and then paying them off YEARS LATER in another one. All-Star Superman was great on its own, but it was also back matter to his One Million Cross-Over in that it gave the origin of Superman-Prime. This JLA: Classified arc sets up both Seven Soldiers and his Batman and Robin title. I mean, the reference to Cyril replacing the first Knight and the broken gyroscope hardly seem accidental in retrospect.

I just bought this 3 issue arc. Why is Grodd’s face covered in blood in issues 1 and 3 but for almost all of #2 it’s colored like water or spit? Was this a censorship thing or did the colorist and editor just make one very long mistake?

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@Tuomas

A deus ex machina in a comic book? Whatever will they think of next?!

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