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