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Tag: DC

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Flash

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about all the heroes who have held the title of the Fastest Man Alive… The Flash!

(via GIPHY)


Who is The Flash?

After being struck by lightning in a lab accident, police scientist Barry Allen discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds and travel through time. Donning a friction-resistant red-and-yellow suit, Barry protects his home of Central City from the villainous Rogues and traverses time and space as The Flash.

Later, Barry’s nephew Wally West gains super-speed as well and becomes his sidekick Kid Flash, before graduating to becoming the Flash himself.

A Flash Fact about DC Comics history

DC Comics are divided into publishing eras, determined by a point where they set the issue number (and sometimes, continuity) of a series back to #1. These periods are referred to as:

  • ‘Pre-Crisis’ – everything published before 1986
  • ‘Post-Crisis’ – everything published from 1986-2011
  • The New 52 – 2011-2016
  • DC Rebirth – 2016-2021
  • Infinite Frontier – 2021 to present.

This is important to know because the events that define these publishing eras usually have something to do with The Flash; Barry Allen famously dies during the ‘Crisis’, and after being resurrected, he creates the timeline that came to define ‘The New 52’.

If you’d like to know more about DC Comic’s increasingly complicated internal chronology, I recommend checking out DC greatest events : stories that shook the multiverse.

Pre-Crisis

Barry is actually the second Flash: the first was scientist Jay Garrick, who resides on the parallel world of Earth-2. During one of his adventures, Barry travels to Earth-2 and teams up with Jay; this story ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ established the existence of the DC Multiverse, and subsequently the template for all other stories involving multiverses in other media. Barry and Jay would regularly partner up again along with their respective teams, the Justice League and the Justice Society.

Showcase presents The Flash. Volume 2 / Broome, John (includes ‘Flash of Two Worlds’)

The Justice League of America : the Silver Age. Volume three / Fox, Gardner F.

Showcase presents Justice League of America. Volume three / Fox, Gardner

Showcase presents Justice League of America. Volume four / Fox, Gardner


Post-Crisis

Post-Crisis refers to the point after the story Crisis on Infinite Earths, when the DC Multiverse collapses into one Earth with one shared history. Now the Flash became a succession story: Jay Garrick retires as the Flash after WWII, Barry is inspired by Jay, and after Barry’s death, Wally West takes up the mantle of the Flash.

Mark Waid run

Writer Mark Waid first established the idea that the Flashes get their powers from the ‘Speed Force’, an extradimensional energy that governs all motion across time and space, and can be manipulated to grant super-speed and other powers to its wielders, called ‘speedsters’.

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book one / Waid, Mark

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book four / Waid, Mark

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book five / Waid, Mark

The Flash : emergency stop / Morrison, Grant

The Flash : the human race / Morrison, Grant

(The Flash : emergency stop and The Flash : the human race are also collected together as The Flash / Morrison, Grant)

Geoff Johns run

Under Geoff Johns’ pen, Wally West fights new and old Rogues, starts a family, and learns the cost of being a hero with a public identity from Zoom, a villain who alters the flow of time to move at superhuman speed.

The Flash By Geoff Johns : Book One / Johns, Geoff

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book two / Johns, Geoff

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book three / Johns, Geoff

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book five / Johns, Geoff


Flashpoint

During Final Crisis, Barry Allen is brought back to life and becomes the Flash again. Barry then attempts to rewrite history to prevent his mother’s death, inadvertently creating the ‘Flashpoint’ timeline, a world where Flash, Superman and other heroes never existed.

Absolute final crisis / Morrison, Grant

The Flash : rebirth / Johns, Geoff (also on Libby)

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book six / Johns, Geoff

The Flash : the road to Flashpoint / Johns, Geoff

Flashpoint / Johns, Geoff


The New 52

Barry erases the Flashpoint timeline, but ends up creating The New 52, a simplified timeline which DC Comics used as a springboard to reboot their comics’ shared continuity. As a result of history being rewritten, Barry becomes the one and only Flash.

The Flash. Volume 1, Move forward / Manapul, Francis
(also on Libby)

The Flash. Volume 2, Rogues revolution / Manapul, Francis

The Flash. Volume 4, Reverse / Manapul, Francis

The Flash. Volume 5, History lessons / Buccellato, Brian

The Flash. Volume 6, Out of time / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 7, Savage world / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 8, Zoom / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 9, Full stop / Jensen, Van


DC Rebirth

During DC Rebirth, the timeline is once again altered, restoring characters and events that had been erased from the timeline by the New 52. These include Wally West, Zoom, and the Reverse-Flash, a stalker fan from the 25th century who wants to emulate his hero, Barry Allen.

The Flash. Vol. 2, Speed of darkness / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 3, Rogues reloaded / Williamson, Joshua

Batman/The Flash : the button : deluxe edition / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 4, Running scared / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 5, Negative / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 6, Cold day in hell / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 7, Perfect storm / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash [8] : Flash war / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Volume 9, Reckoning of the forces / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 10, Force Quest / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash : year one / Williamson, Joshua

Heroes in crisis : the price and other stories / Williamson, Joshua

Flash forward / Lobdell, Scott

The Flash. Vol. 11, The greatest trick of all / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 12, Death and the speed force / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 13, Rogues’ reign / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 14, The Flash age / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 15, Finish line / Williamson, Joshua

Dark nights : death metal : the darkest knight (includes ‘Speed Metal’, a team-up with every Flash in history).


Infinite Frontier

After Barry becomes lost in the once more infinite Multiverse, Wally West takes on the mantle of the Flash once more, fighting crime while balancing life as a husband and father.

Infinite frontier / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 16, Wally West returns / Shinick, Kevin

War for Earth-3 / Thompson, Robbie

The Flash. Vol. 17, Eclipsed / Adams, Jeremy

The Flash. Vol. 18, The search for Barry Allen / Adams, Jeremy

The Flash. Volume 19, The one-minute war / Adams, Jeremy

Aquaman & The Flash : Voidsong / Kelly, Collin


Based on the TV series

The (pardon the phrasing) long-running CW series of The Flash has also inspired a few comics of its own.

The Flash : season zero / Kreisberg, Andrew

Crisis on infinite Earths : Paragons rising : the deluxe edition / Wolfman, Marv

Earth-Prime


The Rogues

The Flash’s villains are collectively known as The Rogues, a team of science-powered criminals content to menace The Fastest Man Alive. Lead by ‘The Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero’ Captain Cold, the Rogues have included the pyromaniac Heat Wave, the deceptive Mirror Master, the mischievous Trickster, the blowhard Weather Wizard, the ethereal Golden Glider, and the telepathic criminal ape Gorilla Grodd.

Rogue-centric stories

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book five / Johns, Geoff (includes the ‘Rogue War’ arc)

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book six / Johns, Geoff (includes Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge miniseries)

Forever Evil [1] : Rogues rebellion / Buccellato, Brian

The Flash. Vol. 3, Rogues reloaded / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 13, Rogues’ reign / Williamson, Joshua

Rogues / Williamson, Joshua


Flash Across the Multiverse

The Flash. Volume 9, Reckoning of the forces / Williamson, Joshua – This volume features Barry meeting the Flashes of the Multiverse, including the cowboy Johnny Thunder of Earth-18, the robot Mercury-Flash of Earth-44, and the unnaturally swift turtle Fastback from the Zoo Crew of Earth-26.

Teen Titans : Earth one. Volume one and Volume two
Wally West hunts down the Teen Titans, here reimagined as teens given superpowers through a covert government experiment.

Earth 2. Volume 1, The gathering / Robinson, James Dale – A reboot of the original Earth-2, now home to a younger Jay Garrick protecting the world from an invasion by Darkseid.

Crime Syndicate / Schmidt, Andy – The Flash from the criminal world of Earth-3 is named Johnny Quick, a member of the nefarious Crime Syndicate.

Multiversity : teen justice / Cohen, Ivan – The matriarchal society of Earth-11 is home to Kid Quick, a genderfluid speedster for the sidekick team Teen Justice.

Justice League infinity / DeMatteis, J. M – A comic continuation of the TV show Justice League Unlimited, where most fans first encountered Wally West.

DC, the new frontier / Cooke, Darwyn – A young Barry Allen helps found the Justice League in the 1950s to battle the monstrous living island ‘The Centre’.

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark – In a future where heroes have rejected humanity, Wally West has fused with the Speed Force and become a human blur.

The Jurassic League / Gedeon, Juan – On the prehistoric Earth-27, the local Flash is a velociraptor (natch).

The Multiversity / Morrison, Grant – The multiversal team Justice League Incarnate includes Red Racer, a comic book fanboy with superspeed from Earth-36, a world protected by the Justice 9.

Justice League incarnate / Williamson, Joshua – After Red Racer’s disappearance, Avery Ho (the Flash of China from New Super-Man) takes over as Justice League Incarnate’s resident speedster.

Injustice : Gods among us : Volume 1 – When Superman takes over the world after a personal tragedy, Barry Allen reluctantly joins the Man of Steel’s Regime.

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Superman

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about the strange visitor from the planet Krypton, the Man of Steel himself, Superman!

(via GIPHY)


Who is Superman?

Sent away in a rocket from the doomed planet Krypton as an infant, Kal-El landed on Earth and was raised by a kindly couple, who taught him the values of truth and justice. Gaining incredible superpowers under Earth’s yellow sun, he protects his adopted home as Superman, while working for the newspaper ‘The Daily Planet’ as the reporter Clark Kent.


Superman Classics

Before we get to the current run of Superman comics from the DC Rebirth era onward, here are some classic Superman stories to get you up to speed with the Man of Tomorrow.

Superman’s Early Years

The Superman chronicles. Volume two / Siegel, Jerry
Read the earliest adventures of Superman as written by his original creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Superman : secret origin / Johns, Geoff
One of the more recent takes on Superman’s origin, which takes its cues from the Christopher Reeve movies.

Superman : world against Superman / Morrison, Grant
The New 52 origin of Superman, which brings him back to his roots as a ‘champion of the oppressed’ still figuring out his powers.

Superman smashes the Klan : the graphic novel / Yang, Gene Luen
A comic adaptation of a 1946 radio play famous for exposing the then-revived Ku Klux Klan, where Superman is pitted against the xenophobic ‘Clan of the Fiery Cross’.

Classic Superman Adventures

Superman : red and blue
An anthology series where the artists are limited to Superman’s distinctive colour pallete.

Superman for all seasons / Loeb, Jeph
A coming-of-age story where Superman is torn between the big city life of Metropolis and his country home life in Smallville.

Superman adventures. Volume 1 / Dini, Paul
Based on the hit show Superman: The Animated Series, where Superman battles classic villains like Luthor and Brainiac and new foes like the electric ‘shock jock’ Livewire.

Superman : last son / Johns, Geoff
Superman finds a young boy in a ship like the one he crash-landed in as an infant, and adopts the boy as his own, not knowing he is the son of Kryptonian criminal General Zod.

Superman : Emperor Joker
Superman wakes up in Arkham Asylum to learn that the Joker has gained reality-altering powers and now rules the world.

Superman : ending battle
A mysterious villain has gathered all of Superman’s adversaries for an all-out assault on the Man of Steel.

Superman : up up and away / Busiek, Kurt
After a year-long absence due to the loss of his powers, Superman returns to Metropolis right as Lex Luthor unleashes his new master plan.

Superman : Brainiac / Johns, Geoff
One of Superman’s most famous villains, the city-collecting alien android Brainiac, returns to menace Superman once more.

Superman : the black ring. Volume one and two / Cornell, Paul
One of the definitive Lex Luthor stories. Superman’s nemesis sets out on a quest for ultimate power, battling other villains along the way.

Possible Endings

There have been many stories exploring how Superman may die or otherwise cease to be; here are some of the best.

The death of Superman / Jurgens, Dan (also on Libby)
The story that killed Superman (for a while, at least), as he goes down swinging against the unstoppable monster Doomsday.

Absolute All-Star Superman / Morrison, Grant (also on Libby)
Considered one of the best Superman stories ever. After being exposed to strange radiation, Superman discovers that he only has one year to live, and sets out to make sure the world is safe in his absence.

Superman : whatever happened to the man of tomorrow / Moore, Alan
Superman’s identity is exposed to the public, and the Man of Steel must protect his loved ones as his villains lay siege to the Fortress of Solitude.


DC Rebirth – Superman Reborn

The major change to Superman in this era is the birth of Jon Kent, the son of Lois Lane and Superman. During this period, Superman, Lois, and Jon move to a quiet farm in Hamilton County and try to live out a normal life in between alien invasions and reality alterations.

Superman : Lois and Clark / Jurgens, Dan

Superman. Vol. 1, Son of Superman / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 2, Trials of the super son / Tomasi, Peter

Superman reborn / Jurgens, Dan

Superman. Vol. 4, Black dawn / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 5, Hopes and fears / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 6, Imperius Lex / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 7, Bizarroverse / Tomasi, Peter


Action Comics

Action Comics is the comic magazine where Superman first appeared in 1938, and is still being published today as a secondary series to the main Superman title. During DC Rebirth, Action Comics reached its 1000th issue, establishing a new status quo for the Man of Steel.

Superman action comics. Vol. 1, Path of doom / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Volume 2. Welcome to the planet / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Vol. 3, Men of steel / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, The new world / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics : the Oz effect / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Volume 5, Booster shot / Jurgens, Dan


The Brian Michael Bendis run

After Action Comics‘ 1000th issue, long-time Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis jumped ship to DC Comics and began to write the Superman and Action Comics series simultaneously. Beginning with the miniseries The Man of Steel, Bendis used his run to revive the Legion of Superheroes, have Superman establish an “intergalactic UN” called the United Planets, and bring Clark and Lois into the world of international espionage with ‘Event Leviathan’.

Brian Michael Bendis Superman reading order

The Man of Steel / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 1, The Unity Saga : Phantom Earth / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Volume 1, Invisible mafia / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 2, The Unity Saga : the House of El / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 2, Leviathan rising / Bendis, Brian Michael

Event Leviathan / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 3, Leviathan hunt / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 3, The truth revealed / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, Metropolis burning / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 4, Mythological / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 5, The House of Kent / Bendis, Brian Michael

Bendis run spin-offs

During the Bendis run on Superman, both Lois Lane and Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen got their own series. The Legion of Superheroes, a team that began as a spin-off to the Superman title in the 50s, return to welcome Jon Kent to their ranks. Bendis also wrapped up the ‘Event Leviathan’ storyline in the spy series Checkmate.

Lois Lane : enemy of the people / Rucka, Greg

Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen : who killed Jimmy Olsen / Fraction, Matt

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 1, Millennium / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 2, The trial of the Legion / Bendis, Brian Michael

Checkmate / Bendis, Brian Michael


Infinite Frontier – The Warworld Saga

During Infinite Frontier, Superman comes into contact with a lost refugee colony of Kryptonians fleeing from Warworld, an artificial planet powered by slave labour and ruled by the despotic alien Mongul. Despite his powers being on the wane, Superman gathers up a team of rebel heroes called The Authority to help him free Warworld’s prisoners.

Warworld Saga reading order

Superman : the one who fell / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman and the Authority / Morrison, Grant

Superman action comics. Volume one, Warworld rising / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman : Action Comics. Vol. 2, The arena / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman Action Comics. Volume three, Warworld revolution / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman : Kal-El returns / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy


Jon Kent, Son of Superman

Jon Kent is the son of Superman and Lois Lane, and occasionally fights alongside his dad as Superboy. He becomes fast friends with Damian Wayne, Batman’s son and the current Robin, regularly teaming up for adventures with him as the Super Sons.

Jon Kent, Superboy

Super Sons. Vol. 1, When I grow up.. / Tomasi, Peter

Super Sons. Vol. 2, Planet of the capes / Tomasi, Peter

Super Sons of tomorrow / Tomasi, Peter

Super sons. Vol. 3, Parent trap / Tomasi, Peter

Action detectives / Tomasi, Peter

Adventures of the Super Sons. Vol. 2, Little monsters / Tomasi, Peter

Challenge of the Super Sons / Tomasi, Peter

Jon Kent, Superman

After going missing on an adventure in space, Jon returns to Earth as a teenager, before travelling to the 31st century to join the Legion of Superheroes. In the ‘Son of Kal-El‘ series, Jon takes on the mantle of Superman while his father journeys off-planet to Warworld.

Superman. Vol. 1, The Unity Saga : Phantom Earth / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 2, The Unity Saga : the House of El / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 1, Millennium / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 2, The trial of the Legion / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman : the one who fell / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman, son of Kal-El. Vol. 1, The truth / Taylor, Tom

Superman, son of Kal-El. Vol. 2, The rising / Taylor, Tom


Kong Kenan, the Super-Man of China

DC Rebirth saw the introduction of another Superman, an arrogant student from China named Kong Kenan. Gifted with the powers of Superman by the Ministry of Self-Reliance, Kenan must learn to master his new Kryptonian abilities to become a suitable superhuman representative of his nation.

Kong Kenan appearances

New Super-Man. Vol. 1, Made in China / Yang, Gene Luen

New Super-Man. Vol. 3, Equilibrium

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, The new world / Jurgens, Dan

A very DC rebirth holiday


Superman Across the Multiverse

Many writers have explored how Superman could be reinterpreted or reimagined throughout the DC Comics Multiverse.

Final Crisis – Features the story “Superman Beyond”, in which Clark Kent must team up with an alliance of Supermen from parallel Earths to save all of reality.

The MultiversityPresident Superman of Earth-23, Superdemon of Earth-13, Captain Carrot of Earth-26 and more must answer a multiversal SOS to battle against interdimensional parasites called The Gentry.

Elseworlds : Superman. Volume one – An anthology of ‘Elseworlds’ stories that reimagine Superman in different eras, like the Middle Ages or the American Civil War.

DC, the new frontier / Cooke, Darwyn – On the brink of the Cold War, Superman and other heroes face off against a paranoid American government.

Injustice : Gods among us : Volume 1 – Based on the hit video game, Superman becomes an authoritarian ruler after suffering a tragedy, and the Justice League is split on whether to join him or resist.

Superman: Earth One (only on Libby) – A younger, more withdrawn Superman must decide if he should use his powers or not, right on the cusp of an alien invasion.

Earth 2. Volume 5, The Kryptonian / Taylor, Tom – On Earth-2, Clark was killed during an invasion by Darkseid, and was replaced by a new Kryptonian, the pacifist Val-Zod.

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark – In a possible future where superhumans run rampant with no regard for morality, Superman comes out of retirement to show them a better way.

Justice League : gods and monsters / Timm, Bruce – Based on the animated film, a Superman raised by Mexican immigrants leads a more pragmatic Justice League.

Justice League 3000. Volume 1, Yesterday lives / Giffen, Keith – In a possible future, the legacy of Superman lives on the year 3000, albeit by someone with their memories rewritten to believe they are Superman.

The Jurassic League / Gedeon, Juan – The prehistoric world of Earth-27 is protected by the benevolent brontosaurus Supersaur, who founds a Jurassic League of fellow super-powered dinosaurs.

Superman : red son / Millar, Mark – An alternate history that explores what would have happened if Superman landed in Soviet Russia instead of the USA.

Crime Syndicate / Schmidt, Andy – On Earth-3, where heroes and villains are switched, the criminal Ultraman leads a super-powered mob called the Crime Syndicate.

Superman : space age / Russell, Mark – A world where Superman becomes a public hero at the advent of the 1960s Space Race.

Superman ’78 / Venditti, Robert – A comic continuation of the Christopher Reeve Superman films from the 70s and 80s.

Dark Knights of Steel. Vol. 1 / Taylor, Tom – In a medieval world where DC Comics characters are knights and nobility, Superman is Prince Kal-El of the House of El.

Doomsday clock – A sequel to Watchmen, where Doctor Manhattan invades the DC Universe to confront Superman, while the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Introducing the Young Adult Kete!

You! Yes you, random internet stranger! Specifically you, not the prior person to read this, but you. Do you like making decisions? No? Of course you don’t, it requires brain power and that’s hard. Especially not with books, there’s just so many of them, at least more than 9. That’s more than you can count with your fingers! But of course you actually want to read books, why else would you be on a library’s blog? So what’s the solution?

Tada! Young Adult Kete, available at a library near you* (if you happen to live in Johnsonville)!

So what is a YA Kete (as the kool kids say it)? Well, it is a collection of three books, a mix of novels, graphic novels and very occasionally non-fiction, with a theme that ties it all together. This means that you can be lured in by the pretty pictures and fancy theme and get a unique reading experience catered to you by none other than I, the great J’shuall of Jackanapery! Just pick a theme and run with it, finding new books similar to the ones you love and maybe just something that you wouldn’t have read otherwise.

Now you may be asking “deific and mighty J’shuall, wherever can I get my hands on one of these Kete of YA?” Well my good fellow, it is quite simple. At any one time we have eight different Kete available in the Young Adult section of Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub. They are in black bags with these fancy little pamphlet/tag thingies that tell you what the theme is, what books are inside, and how to issue them. Speaking of, once you have grabbed the appropriate goody bag of your choosing, you issue it like you would any other book, the main difference being you have to issue it all at once and return it the same way.


So! I’ve got you sold, but you’re wondering just what type of themes do these collections have. So! Let us have a gander at the current eight Kete we have available! If one piques your interest, and you’re quick on the draw, you know the deal, head to Johnsonville library and snatch it up! Elsewise just look at the cool books I’ve selected.

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The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Swamp Thing

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character.
Just in time for the spooky season, this post is about DC Comic’s premier horror character. You may know him as the twisted, vegetative mockery of a man from the deep waters of the Louisiana bayou, or the plant elemental Avatar of the Green, he is…the Swamp Thing!

wes craven vhs GIF

(via GIPHY)

Note: DC Comics are divided by publishing eras, determined by a point where they set the issue number (and sometimes, continuity) of a series back to #1. ‘Pre-Crisis’ is everything published before 1985; ‘Post-Crisis’ is everything from 1986-2011, the New 52 from 2011-2016, DC Rebirth from 2016-2021, and Infinite Frontier from 2021 onwards.


Who is the Swamp Thing?

In the swamps of Louisiana, botanist Alec Holland is killed in an accident while working on a ‘bio-restorative formula’. Fusing with his formula and the vegetation of the swamp, Alec is resurrected as a shambling humanoid mass of plant matter. Together with his girlfriend, the mad scientist’s daughter Abigail Arcane, Alec protects the environment and fights supernatural threats as the Swamp Thing.

Classic Swamp Thing

First appearing in 1971 in House of Secrets #92, Swamp Thing was popular enough to immediately spin off into his own title. Under the pen of Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, he fought mad scientists, federal agents, and Lovecraftian horrors.

Swamp Thing : the Bronze Age. Vol. 1 / Wein, Len

Swamp Thing : the Bronze Age. Vol. 2

Swamp Thing : the bronze age. Volume 3 / Pasko, Martin


Saga of the Swamp Thing

The most famous run on Swamp Thing is by Watchmen writer Alan Moore, who introduced the idea that Swamp Thing was not some accident of science, but in fact a plant elemental who embodies and protects ‘The Green’, the collective consciousness of all plant life on Earth, answerable to the Parliament of Trees.

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book one / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book two / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book three / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book four / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book five / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book six / Moore, Alan


New 52 – Swamp Thing reborn

In the New 52 series, Alec has returned to human form, but chooses to become the Swamp Thing again to fight The Rot, a force responsible for the natural decay of all life that had run amok. After preventing Earth from becoming a ‘Rotworld’, Alec begins to expand his suite of plant abilities to fight off a challenger to his position as Avatar of the Green, and confronts a new elemental Parliament based around artificial intelligence.

Swamp Thing. Volume 1, Raise them bones / Snyder, Scott

Swamp Thing. Volume 2, Family tree / Snyder, Scott

Swamp Thing. Volume 3, Rotworld : The Green Kingdom / Snyder, Scott

Swamp Thing. Volume 4, Seeder / Soule, Charles

Swamp Thing. Volume 5, The killing field / Soule, Charles

Swamp Thing. Volume 6, The Sureen / Soule, Charles

Swamp Thing. Volume 7, Season’s end / Soule, Charles


DC Rebirth

Swamp Thing didn’t have a series during DC Rebirth, but he appears in several miniseries, Halloween-themed specials, and a YA graphic novel called Twin Branches, which reimagines Alec Holland as a shy, scientifically-minded teenager with an outgoing twin brother, Walker.

Swamp Thing : the dead don’t sleep / Wein, Len

Swamp Thing : roots of terror : the deluxe edition / King, Tom

A very DC Halloween

Swamp Thing : tales from the bayou / Seeley, Tim

Swamp Thing : twin branches / Stiefvater, Maggie


Infinite Frontier

During Infinite Frontier, a new Swamp Thing appears in the form of Levi Kamei, an Indian man who becomes a plant elemental after returning home to India and learning his secret family history.

Future state : Suicide Squad / Thompson, Robbie

The Swamp Thing [1] : becoming / V, Ram

The Swamp Thing [2] : conduit / V, Ram

The Swamp Thing [3] : the parliament of gears / V, Ram

Swamp Thing : green hell / Lemire, Jeff


Teams

Swamp Thing is a regular member of the Justice League Dark, a team that takes on the supernatural threats too big for the Justice League alone to handle. Here, Swamp Thing has to contend with the Parliament of Flowers, a rival faction to the Parliament of Trees.

Justice League dark. Vol. 1, The last age of magic / Tynion, James

Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark : the witching hour / Tynion, James

Justice League Dark. Vol. 3, The witching war / Tynion, James

Justice League Dark. Volume 4, A costly trick of magic / V, Ram

Justice League Dark : the great wickedness / V, Ram

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Shazam and Black Adam

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about the two champions of the lightning, Shazam and Black Adam!

Black Adam GIF - Black Adam GIFs

(via GIPHY and Tenor)

Note: DC Comics are divided by publishing eras which are determined by a point where they set the issue number (and sometimes, the whole continuity) of a series back to #1. ‘Pre-Crisis’ is everything published before 1985; ‘Post-Crisis’ is everything from 1986-2011, the New 52 from 2011-2016, DC Rebirth from 2016-2021, and Infinite Frontier from 2021 onwards.


Who is SHAZAM?

Orphan teen Billy Batson descends into the subway one night and discovers a secret portal to the Rock of Eternity, a place of magic power where an ancient wizard resides. Seeing that Billy is courageous and pure of heart, the wizard grants Billy the power to transform into a superhero by saying his name “SHAZAM!”, giving him the attributes of six mythic figures:

  • The Wisdom of Solomon (a wise king from Jerusalem, mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and the Old Testament)
  • The Strength of Hercules (the legendarily strong Greek hero who completed the Twelve Labours)
  • The Stamina of Atlas (the Greek Titan punished to hold up the sky)
  • The Power of Zeus (the Greek god of thunder and king of the Olympians)
  • The Courage of Achilles (the hero of the Trojan War and protagonist of Homer’s Iliad)
  • The Speed of Mercury (fleet-footed herald of the Roman gods)

With these powers combined, Billy fights the good fight as the World’s Mightiest Mortal, Captain Marvel, later known as Shazam.

Billy would also grant his powers to others, including his foster sister Mary Bromfield, who became Mary Marvel, and his friend Freddy Freeman, who became Captain Marvel Jr.

Dc Comics GIF by Shazam! Fury of the Gods

(via GIPHY)

Wait, Captain Marvel? You mean Carol Danvers?

Not quite. See, when he was first created in 1940 by Fawcett Comics, Billy Batson’s superhero identity was Captain Marvel, and Shazam was just the name of the wizard who gave him his powers and whose name he spoke to transform. When the trademark lapsed and Marvel Comics created their own Captain Marvel, DC Comics (who had bought the rights to Fawcett’s characters) couldn’t publish any comics titled ‘Captain Marvel’, though they could still refer to him by that name in the comics. For a while, any comic starring Captain Marvel was titled as Shazam or some variation, but this changed in the New 52 era, where Billy Batson’s alias became known as Shazam from then on.


Pre-Crisis – Captain Marvel

We have a couple of collections of classic Shazam stories from the period where he was Captain Marvel, which introduces all the classic elements of his mythos, including Mary Marvel, Captain Marvel Jr, their talking tiger companion Tawky Tawny, and their enemies, the criminal scientist Dr. Sivana and the nefarious alien caterpillar Mr. Mind.

Shazam! : the greatest stories ever told

Shazam! : power of hope / Dini, Paul

Shazam! : the golden age of the world’s mightiest mortal / Kidd, Chip


Post-Crisis – The Legend of Shazam!

Starting in the Legends miniseries, Captain Marvel joined the Justice League, and later on, the Justice Society. In Formerly Known as the Justice League, Mary Marvel joins Maxwell Lord’s ‘Super Buddies’, a low-rent version of the Justice League made up of D-list heroes operating out of a mall. Since the Marvel Family are literally children turning into adult superheroes, the running joke throughout much of this time is their relative innocence and naivete in relation to their more experienced and jaded team-mates.

In The Trials of Shazam!, Billy is made to take the Wizard’s place at the Rock of Eternity. He appoints Freddy Freeman to take on the mantle of Captain Marvel, but first, Freddy has to gain a power from each individual hero or god that makes up the SHAZAM acronym by himself.

Legends : 30th anniversary edition / Ostrander, John

Superman/Shazam! : first thunder / Winick, Judd

Formerly known as the Justice League / Giffen, Keith

The trials of Shazam! : the complete series / Winick, Judd

In the 2000s, Captain Marvel appeared in a pair of young reader-aimed miniseries, authored by Jeff Smith (Bone) and Mike Kunkel (Herobear and the Kid).

Shazam! : the monster society of evil / Smith, Jeff

Billy Batson and the magic of Shazam! : family affair / Kunkel, Mike


New 52 and DC Rebirth – Captain Marvel no more

As of 2012, during DC’s New 52 reboot, Billy’s hero persona is now called Shazam (to avoid confusion with Marvel Comics’ Carol Danvers, who had been reintroduced as Captain Marvel earlier that year). Here, Billy is retooled as a cynical foster kid who the Wizard takes a chance on to grow a conscience. Through his adventures as the hero Shazam, Billy learns to embrace his foster family, and decides share his powers with them, making a new Shazam Family. Shazam then joins the Justice League, fighting alongside them in the Darkseid War, and has an adventure with his siblings in the Seven Magic Lands, of which Billy and his foster siblings are tasked with being the protectors.

Shazam! : origins / Johns, Geoff

Justice League. Volume 6, Injustice League / Johns, Geoff

Justice League. Volume 7, Darkseid war part 1 / Johns, Geoff

Justice League : Darkseid war : power of the gods

Justice League. Volume 8, Darkseid war / Johns, Geoff

Shazam! and the seven magic lands / Johns, Geoff


Infinite Frontier

In the Infinite Frontier era, Billy finds himself unable to share his power with his siblings and must venture to the underworld to restore the Rock of Eternity. He also joins the Teen Titans Academy, a school for young superheroes.

Shazam! : to hell and back / Sheridan, Tim

Teen Titans Academy. Vol. 1, X marks the spot / Sheridan, Tim

 


Captain Marvel/Shazam in the Multiverse

Before being integrated into the DC Universe proper, Captain Marvel lived on a parallel earth called Earth-S (which is now Earth-5 in the current Multiverse). Earth-5 and its version of Dr. Sivana play a pivotal role in the parallel world-spanning Multiversity, as the criminal scientist tries to take over the Rock of Eternity which sits at the centre of the Multiverse. In the successor series Convergence, where characters from different universes are forced to fight each other to save their respective worlds, the Marvel Family of Earth-S are pitted against a steam-punk version of Batman and his rogues gallery.

The Multiversity / Morrison, Grant

Convergence : infinite earths. Book two

Captain Marvel/Shazam is a favourite of artist Alex Ross, appearing in his and Paul Dini’s Justice League and the Justice maxi-series (alongside the rest of the Marvel Family, Black Adam, and Dr Sivana). Billy Batson also plays a significant part in Ross’ Kingdom Come, a possible future where the Justice League have retired and new superhumans without a sense of right and wrong have taken their place.

Justice. Volume 1 / Krueger, Jim

Justice League, the world’s greatest super-heroes / Dini, Paul

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark


Who is Black Adam?

In ancient times, Teth-Adam of Khandaq was granted divine powers by the wizard Shazam, giving him the attributes of six Egyptian gods:

  • The Stamina of Shu (the god of air who holds up the sky)
  • The Swiftness of Horus (the falcon-headed god of the sky)
  • The Strength of Amon (king of the Egyptian gods)
  • The Wisdom of Zehuti (another name for Thoth, the ibis-headed god of writing and wisdom)
  • The Power of Aten (the embodiment of the sun)
  • The Courage of Mehen (a snake-god who coils around the sun to create night)

After the death of his wife and sons, Teth-Adam sought vengeance and abused his powers, leading the Wizard to imprison him in a tomb forever. Awakened in the modern day, Teth-Adam comes into conflict with the current champion of Shazam, Billy Batson, and continues to carry out his eye-for-an-eye style of justice as Black Adam!


Post-Crisis

While he has been around since the earliest days of Shazam, Black Adam only started to gain prominence in the DCU in the mid-2000s as a morally ambivalent anti-hero. After a stint in the Justice Society, he defects, takes over the nation of Khandaq, and joins the Secret Society of Super-Villains. One of his biggest storylines is in the year-long weekly miniseries 52, where Adam creates his own ‘Black Marvel Family’ and declares war on the world.

Black Adam/JSA : black reign / Johns, Geoff

Secret Six. Volume 1, Villains united / Simone, Gail

52. Volume one

52. Volume two

52. Volume three

52. Volume four

The Black Adam-centric parts of 52 have been collected in their own volume, Black Adam : rise and fall of an empire.

Black Adam : the dark age / Tomasi, Peter

Justice Society of America : Black Adam and Isis / Johns, Geoff


New 52 

In the rebooted Shazam! series, Teth-Adam is a slave in ancient Khandaq who was given the power of Shazam, which he used to seek vengeance on all those who would enslave others. Returning in the modern day, he joins Lex Luthor’s freedom fighters during the invasion from Earth-3 in Forever Evil, striking up a friendship with Sinestro in the process.

Shazam! : origins / Johns, Geoff

Forever Evil / Johns, Geoff

Sinestro. Volume 3, Rising / Bunn, Cullen


DC Rebirth

Black Adam continues to pop up in the DCU during the Rebirth era; as a member of a council of immortals in Dark Nights, pursuing Billy and his family through the Seven Magic Lands, and having a major role in Doomsday Clock, when during a worldwide superhuman arms race, he opens Khandaq’s borders to any supervillain in need of sanctuary.

Dark nights : metal / Snyder, Scott

Shazam! and the seven magic lands / Johns, Geoff

Doomsday clock : the complete collection / Johns, Geoff


Infinite Frontier

During Infinite Frontier, Black Adam continues to gain prominence (which might have something to do with his recent movie), as his more heroic qualities begin to shine through. He joins the Justice League, actively tries to redeem himself, and appoints his descendant, Malik Adam White, as a successor.

Future state : Suicide Squad (contains the Future State: Black Adam miniseries)

Infinite frontier / Williamson, Joshua

Justice League : endless winter / Lanning, Andy

Black Adam. Vol. 1, Theogony / Priest, Christopher J.

Knight terrors : terror Titans (contains the Knight Terrors: Black Adam miniseries)

Black Adam : the Justice Society files / Scott, Cavan (a tie-in to the Black Adam film)

Black Adam in the Justice League

Justice League. Vol. 1, Prisms / Bendis, Brian Michael

Justice League. Volume 2, United order / Bendis, Brian Michael

Justice League. Vol. 3, Leagues of chaos / Bendis, Brian Michael

Dark crisis on infinite Earths / Williamson, Joshua