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Infinite Crisis Speculation, Post #2

You know what today is, of course -- Infinite Crisis Speculation Friday!

When we last visited the question, the topic on my mind was the appearance of the Psycho-Pirate in JSA Classified #2. As you may recall, the Psycho-Pirate was one of the pivotal characters in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths. The discovery that he's behind what's currently happening to Power Girl led me to believe that he might be behind the upcoming Infinite Crisis.

Well, DC Comics has just upped the ante.


Villains United is one of four miniseries leading into the Infinite Crisis. In this series, Lex Luthor has put together a secret society of super villains to fight the heroes, but his group is in turn being fought by the Secret Six, a group of villains that has chosen not to join. They were recruited by the mysterious Mockingbird, a character whose identity has yet to be revealed.

Issue #5 of the miniseries was released just yesterday. And in the issue, two characters appear who haven't appeared for a while -- Lady Quark and Pariah.

If you're a DC Comics reader, your jaw may have just dropped. If you're not a DC Comics reader, let me explain.

Lady Quark was the sole survivor of Earth-6, in which America lost the Revolution. Earth-6 only appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths, so we didn't learn much about it. Apparently, it was ruled by a royal family who had superpowers. Lady Quark's first appearance was issue #4, as was the sole appearance of her Earth.

After the Crisis, Lady Quark remained a part of the DC universe. (Hmmm...didn't I say something about how unstable this would make the universe?) For a while, she was part of L.E.G.I.O.N., a contemporary outer space police force, but the last time we saw her, she had been killed and her role taken over by an alien parasite. She hasn't been seen in about ten years.

She just showed up on one page of Villains United #5, being pursued by Sinestro, the classic Green Lantern villain. Sinestro refers to her powers as being those of chaos and disorder, and as he seems to capture her, Lady Quark makes it clear that she knows that the Secret Society wants her for some reason.

As for Pariah...

The Crisis on Infinite Earths was Pariah's fault.

That got your attention, didn't it?

Pariah was a scientist filled with hubris, from some other alternate Earth we had never heard about. He was beloved by his people for all the inventions he had created for them, and for all the knowledge he had accumulated. But he always wanted more knowledge, like Faust of legend. He performed dangerous experiments to view the creation of the Universe, and because of those experiments, he inadvertently alerted the Anti-Monitor to the presence of the Multiverse. Which, of course, led to the Anti-Monitor destroying the Multiverse, universe by universe. For Pariah's crime, some mystical force required him to witness the death of each universe as the Anti-Monitor's wall of antimatter destroyed each one. Pariah would appear suddenly into whatever universe was currently under attack, and would vanish just before that universe's final destruction, to be whisked away into the next universe to be destroyed.

After the Crisis, Pariah became a wanderer, eager to find out what the new, single universe held. He's popped up now and again, but not often, and he hasn't been seen in about five years.

Well, Lex Luthor sent the Fearsome Five after him. And they've dragged Pariah, in full costume, into the Society's lair. Luthor says to him, "I'm told you only show up when there's very serious trouble. That you can sense a world's future destruction like a dog senses an earthquake. Now, why don't you tell me why you're on Earth at this time?"

Pariah's response: "You think you're this planet's apex predator. But there's another. And you won't survive his coming."

This is chilling. Why?

Because Pariah's appearance in a universe meant only one thing: that the Anti-Monitor had come to destroy that world.

Think about what that means. The last time we saw Pariah, he wasn't being summoned from universe to universe, because there was only one universe left, and there was no one threatening its total existence. But if Pariah's back in costume, and possibly unable to control his appearances and disappearances...if Lady Quark has suddenly appeared again, someone whose powers are rooted in chaos...

My new conclusion: Whoever is threatening the structure of the DC universe is not the Psycho-Pirate, although he's being used by that someone in the same way the Anti-Monitor used him, twenty years ago. The Psycho-Pirate might very well be Mockingbird, as that would fit my previous hypothesis, but someone else is pulling his strings. Who might that be? Well, there was a hint in the recent Adam Strange miniseries, about a cosmic entity who feeds off of universes...

I'm now wondering if we're going to see the return of the Anti-Monitor, come to finish off what he started and failed at twenty years ago.

Remember, you read it here first.

For more information, here are links to the Wikipedia entries on:
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Infinite Crisis
Villains United
Lady Quark
Pariah
Adam Strange

And here are links to two unofficial chronologies of the appearances of
Lady Quark and
Pariah

Comments

BTW, I don't know if you saw the latest issue of the OMAC project. But being an OMAC is a nanovirus and there are over 1.3 MILLION people infected and now activated across the DC Universe.

So its not just the threat without, its the threat within. There are super robots in the street, all the villians have united and have intimate knowledge about the heroes lives, the DC Trinity (Supes, WW and Bats) are fractured, there is a full scale war in space, magic is going nuts! Basically they've decided that everything that could go wrong would go wrong...at the SAME TIME!

Dear God in Heaven! WOW!
Theory:

Infinite Crisis might well be the story I've been hoping they'd tell for years.

Crisis on Infinite Earths through the eyes of the post-Crisis universe.

(Anonymous)

Jayme Blaschke

Wasn't Pariah in costume for Zero Hour?

Lady Quark is a surprise. Her death in L.E.G.I.O.N. was never really explored (that's what happens when you run through a number of different writers in short order).

But still, if this is a rehash of the Monitor/Anti-Monitor from the original Crisis, eh. It makes sense, but I get the feeling of "been there, done that." LSH has been particularly bad in recent years of retelling classic storylines, but not telling them very well.

Anti-Monitor strikes me at the only DCU villain worthy of this grand buildup, but if it's not him, then who? First up is Krona, who was happily destroying entire universes in JLA/Avengers, and is the current DCU's version of Pariah, as his hubris created the original multiverse in the first place (unless continuity has escaped me). He's not a particularly sexy villain, tho, and I'm not sure what's happened with him since the big Marvel crossover. Next up is Parallax. "But the Parallax issue has been settled," you say. Well, yeah. But we've heard that before. And he had a hand in Zero Hour, a Crisis retread. Ditto for Monarch/Extant. But I don't feel any of these are "big" enough for this event. The Promethean Giants? Too obscure. An Amalgam baddie? Too much red tape. Baddies from Our Worlds At War, One Million, or the evil goon from Day of Judgement? All have the necessary world-destroying credentials... but they're all lame.

Re: Jayme Blaschke

Krona reverted into a Cosmic Egg at the end of JLA/Avengers. Said egg was off-handedly featured in the recent Busiek run on JLA, so JLA/Avengers is canon. I've certainly expected that it would play a hand in the upcoming Crisis.

What I might expect is actually a bit of "all of the above". Why not? Bring in Extant, Monarch, Parallax -- all fighting it out as the "Big Bad". But then the Anti-Monitor steps in and zaps *all* of them. Kind of like the "reveal" in Zero Hour where we saw that Parallax was pulling the strings all along (not Extant, whom we were led to believe was the one doing it).

My fondest wish is that the "new" Anti-Monitor just do one thing right -- kill Supergirl. God, I hate that skinny Britney Spearsesque wench. Die fake Kara with the stupid belly-shirt outfit, die die die.

Re: Jayme Blaschke

I couldn't agree with you more about the new Supergirl.
Talk about being forced down our throats.
Infinite Crisis subtitle...

Screwing all the heroes in the DC Universe without benefit of lube!!! Ow!

My big questions: What characters die and what characters get a "push"?
Couple of points:

1) In the unified DCU following CoIE, what was Lady Quark's backstory? What replaced her "I'm from Earth-6" origin?

2) Much more importantly...how the hell did Luthor know to go looking for Pariah, and why? What does he know that hasn't been revealed? And what might he remember from twenty years ago?

DC's certainly building up to the return of the Anti-Monitor (who would almost assuredly adopt a new moniker in these "more sophisticated" times). Almost all the leftover pieces from CoIE are now accounted for -- except for Harbinger being dead, but that'll probably be reversed any day now. And now they're acknowledging that Infinite Crisis is indeed a sequel.

But is it a direct sequel, or just in spirit?

I like the idea that so much stuff is happening all at once, as popfiend said. Puts the "infinite" in Infinite Crisis to have so many crises at once.

What I'm not sold on, and what I'm not exactly keen on, is that there's someone or something pulling all the strings. That the same someone, say, stirring up the Rann/Thanagar War is the same one behind Mockingbird. To me, that's just a teensy bit contrived.

Now, I can totally buy the idea that, as these infinite crises are being handled, that there's someone or something waiting in the wings ready to take advantage of the chaos. That perhaps the first few issues of IC will resolve the different crises to one extent or another, while the latter half ups the ante to CoIE-proportions.

Would the Anti-Monitor's involvement at any level make sense? I suppose, but like you say, it's got a "been there, done that" feeling, and there's no obvious candidate really big enough to take his place.

One more thing: DC's really good about throwing out broad statements and red herrings to cover their tracks and try to preserve the surprise. Which is good. But if I recall, someone made the statement at one of the Cons recently that Hypertime "no longer existed," or words to that affect.

But yet, if we're assembling the leftovers from CoIE, we've already seen that the Earth-2 Superman is alive and well...along with, presumably, the Earth-Prime Superboy and the Earth-3 Alexander Luthor, who was himself the key to defeating the Anti-Monitor twenty years ago.

Something to chew on in light of those solicits mentioning a "time-lost hero," hmm...?

(Anonymous)

Jayme Lynn Blaschke

Unless, of course, "time-lost hero" means they're planning to shove TRIUMPH down our throats again. :-(

On the other hand, it could mean Jonah Hex is going to save the day!
1) The only backstory we've seen about Lady Quark is that she came from an "Earth-like planet" that was destroyed in some sort of cataclysm.

2) What Luthor knows, and why, is indeed a fascinating question.

Dan DiDio did in fact comment at Comicon that hypertime is no longer considered canon.

As for all these crises taking place at once...I have to assume, for the sake of good storytelling, that there is some sort of connection somewhere. If it just turns out that all four miniseries happened at once by pure coincidence, that will annoy a lot of readers.

In your last few comments, are you suggesting they plan to bring back the Golden Age Superman? That would be...intriguing.
If Superman were scaled back to Golden Age attitude (hardly Boy Scout!) I think that would make for some very interesting reading.
Well, the only way they could bring back the GA Superman -- and theoretically, Alex Luthor and/or the Earth-Prime Superboy -- was if The Kingdom and, as a result, Hypertime, were in fact canon at some point.

DC has insisted Hypertime's not canon...but that could be a red herring.

Not that I think the "time-lost hero" in question is definitely one of those three. However, given their importance to the end of CoIE, and the repositioning on the board of Pariah, Lady Quark, and the Psycho-Pirate, and the assertion that this is a sequel...well, I won't be surprised if the GA Superman does pop up at some point.
My recollection is that at the end of CoIE, Harbinger was not dead, but had lost her powers. The implication was that she was going to dedicate herself to recording everything that had happened.
While she survived CoIE, Harbinger appeared and was killed in the second arc of Superman/Batman, a couple of years ago. The arc that introduced the new Supergirl, as it happens. The new Supergirl who seems destined to play an important yet unclear role in the new IC.

So I figure Harbinger will be important this time around, as well. Resurrected, if not conspicuous for her absence.
Ah, OK... I missed that one. Thanks for the clarification!
Yup, jaw on floor. (clang) I'm beginning to regret not having picked up Villains United, but it didn't look like it was going to be that interesting. There does seem to be a disconnect between Luthor's question to Pariah and his supposed new status as an innocent wanderer, though.
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