Crisis-Relevant Text:

Grant Morrison's Animal Man #8-26

"Do you remember the Crisis?"
"Just red skies and natural disasters. The superheroes averted some big catastrophe. That's all I know."

-Psycho-Pirate II and James Highwater, Animal Man #24, June '90

Crisis Annotations

Grant Morrison's acclaimed run on Animal Man tackled a huge number of important issues relating to the unique publishing environment of comics, including retroactive continuity, "comic-book limbo", deconstructive versus reconstructive comics, comic book "relevance", etc. He also addressed the Crisis, an event he continues to write about to this day. In this commentary, I'm largely going to ignore his non-Crisis material (as it would increase the size of this page by a factor of ten not to!), but I'll try to at least mention when those other issues come up.

Overall Commentary: (I'm going to assume here that you are familiar with the comics in question, or at least have read my annos below.) Morrison has a great deal of empathy for fictional characters, and indeed seems willing to embrace the Red King's paradox and give the dreamer and the dream equal value and "reality". Thus, the death of trillions in the Crisis, including many well-beloved heroes, was at the very least a minor trauma to him. Throughout Animal Man he resists killing emotionally-invested figures, to the point of bringing back Animal Man's family from the dead. Indeed, he returns a wide assortment of characters from Limbo or the afterlife for appearances, ranging from B'wana Beast to the Inferior Five. His "Second Crisis" in issues #23-24 serves as a fine coda to Crisis itself, and presents a fitting fate for the beleaguered Psycho-Pirate. Unfortunately, the "authorial reversal" of the deaths of Ellen and the kids also arguably removed from continuity these events, and subsequent authors have treated it that way. Psycho-Pirate is still around as of Underworld Unleashed, Highwater has never appeared again, and the Pirate's memories of the Infinite Earths are ignored or glossed over.

Issues #1-7, September '88-January '89
These issues, though written by Morrison, did not address the Crisis in any notable way. #5 is about the nature of creator-creation relationships. #6 gave us one of our biggest post-Crisis paradoxes, as Katar Hol, Hawkman II, shows Animal Man how to defuse a Thanagarian bomb during the events of the Invasion crossover. It was revealed shortly thereafter that Hawkman didn't come to Earth until after the Invasion. #7 makes mention of a villain called the Veil, who will pop up in a minor role later.

Issue #8, February '89: "Mirror Moves"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
8.1: Six shots of a computer screen, displaying the words "I cannot believe that God plays dice with the Cosmos." In the last two panels, an unseen typist adds "Albert Einstein", the correct attribution. We later find that the computer is Morrison's, and he is the typist. (Note: My Bartlett's Familiar gives the quote as "I shall never believe that God plays dice with the world," but the difference may simply result from translation.) Einstein said this when confronted with the fundamental uncertainty required by quantum mechanics. Another Einstein quote which seems apt is "The Lord God is subtle, but malicious he is not." I'm personally convinced Morrison had this second quote in his mind during much of his run on Animal Man, though he never actually uses it. Note also the cat in panel 1.
8.7: The first appearance of the second Mirror Master, relevant here in that the first Mirror Master died in Crisis #10. This new fellow dies several years later during Underworld Unleashed.
8.13-14: These pages have mirror writing on them, and I feel obliged to provide "translation".

8.13.3: AM: "...after him..."
8.13.4: AM: "Uh! ...Ohh..." MM: "That's something I forgot to mention about this place!"
8.13.5: MM: "It can get a wee bit confusing sometimes." AM: "Damn!"
8.14.1: MM: "What's up, pal? Wee bit too much of the bevvy?"
8.14.2: MM: "Here. Let me give you a hand." AM: "...Unnh!..."
8.14.3: MM: "'Unnh,' is it now? Well, I'll say this for you. You're a man of few words."
8.14.4: SFX: "FAKK!" MM: "I like that."

8.23: Morrison introduces us to James Highwater, an important figure in the Crisis-themes of Animal Man. He's a Native American, a physicist, and suffers from the delusion that he spontaneously came into existence with a full set of memories. This is, of course, true. The last thought caption reads, "Or could it be true after all... That Einstein was wrong?"
8.24: This page has the same layout as page 1, but this time the typist adds the words "He doesn't. I do."

Issue #9, March '89: "Home Improvements"
Morrison, Grummett, Hazlewood
9.8: The James Highwater subplot continues. He visits his apartment, and thinks, "I feel that I'm seeing it for the first time and yet I recognize everything." There's a copy of Through The Looking-Glass on the floor. (The art incorrectly depicts it as Alice In Wonderland.) A piece of paper bookmarks the words "...You're only one of the things in his dream." The paper says, "Ask The Psycho Pirate". The quote from Looking-Glass is spoken by Tweedledee in reference to the Red King. Alice is dreaming of the King, but the King is also dreaming about Alice. "And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be? ...You'd be nowhere! Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream!" (Tweedledum adds, "If that there King was to wake... you'd go out - bang! - just like a candle!")
9.24 The next major story arc is introduced, with the line "The gods are coming."

Secret Origins #39, April '89: "The Myth Of The Creation"
Morrison, Grummett, Hazlewood
This story in Secret Origins was written by Morrison, and must be regarded as integral to his run on Animal Man. It is unique in that the origin given is clearly presented as being contradictory with the current continuity. In essence, we see the pre-Crisis origin of a post-Crisis character. We are introduced to the "skinny yellow aliens", who I will refer to as the Agents. Their first appearance was in one of Animal Man's early, pre-Crisis adventures where they were ciphers, stereotyped aliens bent on the conquest of Earth. We find out here that their motives were quite different. (This is a retcon, of course.) They muse on how the current Animal Man does not match their records. The "Traveller" mentioned is their spaceship/strata-craft, which is being dug up in Africa. They discover that "While we slept there seems to have been a catastrophic and unforeseen assault on the continuum." This assault is the Crisis. The subplot of how the recent "gene-bomb" of the Invasion has affected Animal Man's powers is continued, and the Agents review his pre-Crisis origin. It is made clear that they come from a different reality, possibly a "non-comic book" one, as they regard the so-called "physical laws" of the DC Universe with amusement and amazement. These Agents are literally agents of God, or, in this case, Morrison. They decide to investigate the "assault on the continuum", and restore Animal Man's powers.

Issue #10, April '89: "Fox On The Run"
Morrison, Truog, McKenna
10.1: Part of Animal Man's pre-Crisis origin is recapped, for those who didn't pick up Secret Origins.
10.9-13: These pages deal with Highwater's visit to Arkham Asylum to see the Psycho-Pirate. He is briefly accosted by the Mad Hatter (one of several supervillains with a Lewis Carroll theme), who babbles about how they are all fictional characters. He then gets to meet the Pirate, whose dialogue is worth quoting extensively:

ldieworldswillliveworldswilldieworldswillliveworldswill... One and Two and Ess and Ex and Three and Four and Prime and... What do you want? Did the Wolfman give you my name? ...How can I sleep? If I go to sleep they might decide to remove me from the continuity and then I'll never wake up.

The "Wolfman" reference is mildly complex. It refers to Marv Wolfman, author of Crisis, but, as is indirectly mentioned on the next page, "Morrison" means "Son of the Fox". Thus, no, the Wolfman didn't send him, but the Foxman did.
10.11: Note the intersecting circles, a common Crisis image.
The Pirate's cell contains another mysterious scrap of paper, this one apparently a page from a comic book. The first side is Morrison's discussion of one of his childhood memories involving an "imaginary" intelligent fox named Foxy. Foxy is a symbol of comics in general, and how sometimes one "grows out" of them. The second side is another page from Animal Man's origin. The page layout neatly makes the Pirate part of the in-story comics page, thus blurring the line between the comic and the comic-within-the-comic. This sequence ends with Highwater decided to visit Animal Man.
10.22: Animal Man is disintegrated by the gaze of the mysterious beasts, who are sub-agents of the Agents themselves. They are collecting Animal Man for the purpose of "fixing" him and the stratum/universe.

Issue #11, May '89: "Out Of Africa"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
11.1: An Agent rebuilds Animal Man, re-implanting his powers.
11.2: We see a new version of Animal Man's origin, but it's just gibberish.
11.3: An Agent attempts to rebind the stratum and eliminate all contradiction before it all unravels.
11.6: The rebuilt Animal Man materializes. He and the superhero Vixen have appeared in Africa, near the buried Traveller.
11.18: Animal Man's wife has a brief pre-Crisis memory glitch. She vanishes.
11.21: The contradictions, and the assault on the Traveller, cause the Agents' equipment to fry and explode. An entire universe is in jeopardy.

Issue #12, June '89: "Secret Origins"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
12.9: Animal Man and Vixen discover a strange whiteness in the sky over the damaged Traveller. A new Crisis may be beginning.
12.11: Within the Traveller, Animal Man encounters images of Vixen, his wife disappearing, and his pre-Crisis self.
12.13: The shaman says, "Join us, man who cannot die. The dead of many worlds, we who were but never were, join us and..." The dead are those lost to the Crisis. They're inviting Hamed Ali to join them in becoming non-continuity.
12.14: The Agent correctly says that the incidental character killed by their sub-agent was... an incidental character "of no consequence".
12.18: "The great light you see is a manifestation of the vast absence that lies behind what you call 'reality.'" The light is represented as fields of white. The light is a symbol of white paper, the medium in which the creation of comics takes place. The Agent tells Animal Man of his true origin, and the origin of the powers of B'wana Beast, Vixen, and Tabu.
12.19: Extensive discussion of the Crisis. The Agent describes how the "pockets of contradiction", such as the inconsistencies in Animal Man's origin, are threatening the entire universe. He orders Animal Man to use his rebuilt memories to rewrite the cosmos, thus eliminating the contradiction.
12.21: Once again, a page from Animal Man's origin. This time, it makes sense and is consistent with the current continuity.
12.22-23: An Agent explicitly states their purpose and being: "We are agents of the power that brings your world into being." He then erases the villain Hamed Ali, in a reversal of how comics are created. The Agent then warns Animal Man, "Remember: Terrible times are coming."

Issue #13, July '89: "Hour Of The Beast"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
No notable Crisis elements.

Issue #14, August '89: "Spooks"
Morrison, Grummett, Montano
14.6-7: Another vignette done from Morrison's point of view, and include the overlapping circles Crisis motif, and a return to the Red King paradox. At the end of page 7, he "wakes up" Highwater, whose belief in memories-as-fiction is beginning to have pragmatic effects, as (on page 8) he can't remember how he got to San Francisco.
14.18: We return to Highwater, who is tracking down Animal Man. He alludes again to Looking-Glass.

Issues #15 & 16
No notable Crisis elements.

Issue #17, November '89: "Consequences"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
17.8: We find Highwater driving on the highway. He is musing, "I know why there is suffering," (i.e., to entertain comics readers) when his arms suddenly become rough pencil sketches. He recovers instantly.
17.15-16: We learn a few more details of Animal Man's post-Crisis origin.
17.24: Highwater finally makes it to see Animal Man. His lower torso is now a pencil sketch.

Issue #18, July '89: "At Play in the Fields of the Lord"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
18.2: The title, shown as text on a computer monitor. It's deliberately reminiscent of issue #8. At Play in the Fields of the Lord is the name of a novel by Peter Matthieessen about man's inhumanity to man. It's also been made into a movie. (Brief review of the book here. Thanks to Dave Puskas for this and the Babylonian quote below.)
18.4 and following: James Highwater is upgraded from subplot to main plot. He says that he feels like some force was trying to stop him from meeting Animal Man. I'm afraid I don't know who that would be; obviously Morrison wants them to meet. He attempts to show Animal Man the comic book page from the Psycho-Pirate's cell, but it has changed into a map leading them to a mesa in Arizona. They agree that they are being led to some momentous event or answer. On the mesa, they find peyote buttons, left for them like the notes Highwater has been following. In the ensuing mystical experience (or drug-induced hallucination, your choice) Crisis imagery abounds. Animal Man is visited by Foxy, this time a messenger from Morrison, who explains Animal Man's powers to him.
18.17-18: An explicit discussion of the Crisis that was and the Crisis that will come. The first cave painting has the interlocking circles of the infinite Earths, red clouds, and lightning bolts, symbol of Flash characters who played an important role in both the Crisis and the introduction of the infinite Earths back in the 1960s. The two stick figures who appear to be wearing Mercury-style hats may also be Flash-figures. The second cave painting shows worlds and people coming out of the head of one man.
18.19-20: The symbolism here is a little heavy for me to decipher, but it is clear parallels are being drawn between events in Native American myth, the atomic bomb, and the Crisis.

Issue #19, January '90: "A New Science Of Life"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
19.1: A view of Morrison's computer, similar to 8.1 and 8.24. The art in the background of panel 3 is presumably a page of original McKean artwork from Arkham Asylum, also written by Morrison. We also see a couple reference texts, a can of Campbell's soup (possible Warhol reference?), and a book by David Bohm, Unfolding Meaning. Bohm was a physicist and philosopher, and this book is a collection of discussions on thought and reality, and the nature of the implicate order as a new paradigm. (Hey, annotators are obliged to read books the author leaves lying around...)
19.4-5: " is the first secret. Everything is connected." These pages bring us more references to the fictionality of Animal Man and his world. The "wall of darkness as big as the world" is a phrase that will recur (changed) in issue #23; it's a negative image of the anti-matter wave of the Crisis. The White Wall decreates, so arguably the Black Wall creates. I think that's the right interpretation; the creation of comics seems to be under discussion here, but it's not entirely consistent with the whiteness from 12.18.
19.6-7: These pages are written as an illustrated entry from DC's Who's Who, and gives his new, post-Crisis origin. Note that this text has not actually appeared in any version of Who's Who itself.
19.8-10: "The second secret. ...They twist us and torture us. They kill us in our billions. For what? For entertainment." Animal Man is confronted with his pre-Crisis incarnation, which must surely rate as one of the most disconcerting encounters of all time for him. The pre-Crisis Animal Man gives his version of his origin, laments the loss of life in the Crisis and how he has been wiped out, and then "they" make him vanish. Animal Man asks who "they" are. Who is responsible for his life? Who is he entertaining?
19.11: "The third secret. ...I can see you!" Animal Man breaks the fourth wall and sees the reader. Note the similarity between this page and Highwater's face in 10.9.5.
19.13-14: Animal Man speculates about their fictionality, and the inherent discontinuities in his life that result from it.
19.15: Highwater tries to articulate what the relationship of their world - the DC Universe - to our world - "reality" - might be. In some ways, their world is a subset of ours, but in others, it is far larger. Are the possibilities greater in reality, or in fiction? Note: In Morrison's Arkham Asylum the Mad Hatter discusses these same theories briefly.
19.16: The whale has any number of resonances, not the least of which are the biblical Jonah, and Ultra Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes. In the last two panels, Animal Man intuits what the author is about to take from him.
19.17: We see Animal Man breaking another boundary: panel borders.
19.21.1: I get the impression Morrison is somewhat insecure about his writing. This is supported by the dialogue in issue #26. The quote in the last panel is from the poem "A Dream Within A Dream", or "Imitation", depending on how you count Poe's self-revisionary work.
19.24: Animal Man finds his family, who have been shot and killed.

Issue #20, February '90: "The Last Enemy"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
20.11: The Psycho-Pirate subplot advances, showing him raving in his cell.

"If you open not the gate that I may pass, I shall burst in and smash the lock... I shall destroy the threshold and break the doorposts... I shall make the dead to rise and they will outnumber the living..." They're coming! All of them! Coming back! They're all coming back!

This is a quote from Babylonian myth; Ishtar said it to the keepers of the gate to the Underworld. (Go here for more info.)

Issue #21, March '90: "Tooth And Claw"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
No Crisis elements beyond a brief mention of Animal Man's awareness of his fictionality.

Issue #22, April '90: "Time In A Bottle"
Morrison, Cullins, Montano
22.5.5: Animal Man and Rip Hunter have a bit of retcon deja vu. They were members of the Forgotten Heroes together, but Hunter's history has been revised since then to invalidate this.
22.6-7: The Psycho-Pirate subplot begins to ramp up to full plot status. He berates the reader, and then a comic book manifests out of his head. It's Flash #123, the legendary first appearance of the multiple Earths idea. The physical artifact of the comic cannot be from any Earth but Earth-Prime, which was destroyed during the Crisis.
22.9-10: The characters in the background are other time-travel-capable beings, including Swamp Thing, the Lord of Time, T. O. Morrow, Flash I and Flash II, Mordru, and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
22.24: The left column is Highwater, the right, Psycho-Pirate. The Agents confront Highwater in his apartment and warn him that the end is coming. They appear surprised he does not recognize them (I'm uncertain why). Stacks of comics have materialized in the Psycho-Pirate's cell, as well as other lost-Earth artifacts, including an Ultraman "wanted" poster from Earth-3, and a photo that I presume is from Earth-X. Colors continue to streak from the Pirate's head. "They're all coming back."

Issue #23, May '90: "Crisis"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
23.Cover: The people on the left are hippie versions of Archie Comics characters.
23.1: The Psycho-Pirate, back in costume. The main panel includes two "wanted" posters from Earth-3 (in E3, Lincoln shot Booth), a copy of Watchmen, the copy of Flash #123 seen last issue, some Devo singles, a newspaper from a world in which Mondale won the '84 US presidential election, an unidentified copy of Green Lantern, and random art treasures.
23.2: We see the shadowy forms of Owlman of the Earth-3 Crime Syndicate, and a cat probably related to the Supercat Streaky. (Streaky himself was orange.) Streaky was the pet of the Supergirl of Earth-1. Of the three cells in the last panel, the first is probably occupied by Two-Face, the second by Tweedledum and Tweedledee (the quote is spoken by Alice to the Tweedles in Through The Looking-Glass), and the third by possibly Black Mask or Doctor Destiny.
23.4: The figures in color are Power Ring, Ultraman, and Johnny Quick II of the Crime Syndicate (leaving only Superwoman unaccounted for), and the Detective Chimp. Also present are the Bug-Eyed Bandit and Son of Vulcan, as well as a half-dozen characters I can't identify. The Syndicate died in Crisis #1, the Bandit in Crisis #12.
23.5: Ultraman remembers his death, and uses the phrase "wall of whiteness... miles high..." In the 5th panel, we see Kole over Ultraman's arm. She died in Crisis #12.
23.6-7: Highwater and the Agents arrive. Highwater is working on new theories in physics based in part on his awareness of his fictionality. The different Asylums seen on page 7 are how it has been depicted by different artists over the years. I do not recognize the Warhünd comic; it's presumably Morrison's creation. In the last panel one of the Agents makes reference to "Bedlam", which, before it became a word meaning chaos and insanity, was the popular name for St. Mary of Bethlehem Insane Asylum of London.
23.9: The Immortal Man was the founder of the Forgotten Heroes. Jason Blood is the human host of the Demon. It is not surprising Vandal Savage refused to attend; he and the Immortal Man are eons-old enemies.
23.11: Across the top we have an unknown Green Lantern, an unknown alien, the Icicle, Psimon, unknown (hazy visored figure), the Ten-Eyed Man, and Maaldor the Darklord. The Icicle, Psimon, and Maaldor died in Crisis #10, and Ten-Eyes in Crisis #12.
23.13: "The dead are gone. We who remain in the world must continue and make of our time here a heaven." Morrison is only bringing the dead back for a brief period of nostalgia; he seems to be saying here that they shouldn't be permitted to stay.
23.14: The characters in the top 3 panels are, I believe, brand new here. In panel 4 we see Sargon the Sorcerer and Aquagirl. He died in Swamp Thing #50, shortly after the Crisis. He came back later, and died again. Aquagirl died in Crisis #9-10. Her animated corpse appeared briefly in the 1996 Tempest miniseries.
23.15: I don't recognize the figure on the right in panel 2.
23.18: Panel 1, Shakespeare's Hamlet. Panel 2: The "Omegaman" figure looks familiar, but I'm not certain of his origin. Panel 4: Prince Ra-Man, who died in Crisis #12. Panel 6: Unknown alien figure.
23.19: The cat is now the correct color to be Streaky. On this page we begin to learn the history of Earth-17 and its strongest superhuman, Overman. Earth-17 is Morrison's creation (numbered by him outside of the canon), a parody of a grim independent comic.
23.21: The crowd now includes an Elongated Man of African descent, Beppo the Supermonkey, and the Red Mask from Animal Man #7.
23.22: Ultraman breaks through a panel border.
23.23: Yes, that's a Monty Python character in panel 1.

Issue #24, June '90: "Purification Day"
Morrison, Truog, Hazlewood
24.Cover: The comics coming out of the Pirate's head include Flash v1#123, JLA v1#21, and early appearances of Bizarro, the Doom Patrol, Brother Power, the Legion of Super-Pets, an Alan Scott - Hal Jordan team-up, the Inferior Five, and much more.
24.1: The line between expository captions and having the author be part of the story gets thoroughly blurred here.
24.2-3: Much debate between the characters over the nature of existence, panel borders, dreams, and the faces of gods. The man in the checked coat in panel 4 might be an alternate Johnny Thunder I.
24.5: Ultraman proves again that being a hero was always his destiny.
24.6: The Pirate tries to keep Ultraman from being "entertaining".
24.7: Can't get a consistent color on that cat... We see a number of silly comics in panel 5, and then Bizarro arrives to save the day! Though Bizarro has made several appearances since this issue, at the time his only post-Crisis appearance was one issue of The Man Of Steel, Byrne's reboot of Superman, in which he died.
24.8: The comic Power Ring is reading in panel two appears to be one of his clashes with his Earth-1 equivalent, Green Lantern II. In panel 3, Highwater is reading an issue of the Superboy TV tie-in comic from the early 90s, and Sunshine Superman is reading a (fictional) comic about his compatriot, Magic Lantern. The character in the middle is Angel from Angel Love, an odd socially-relevant DC comic from the late 80s. At the bottom of the page, Animal Man decides he can defeat Overman by stepping outside the panels.
24.9: You go, Bizarro! That'll show him...
24.10: It takes serious guts to go up against a psycho Superman. The alien in the last panel might be Krona.
24.11: We find out the fate of Earth-Prime (the world that was supposedly our own), and learn what the average civilian remembers about the Crisis. "...things will be like they used to be. Total chaos! Isn't it fabulous!"
24.12: The battling Animal Man and Overman pass through the Tweedles' cell, where they are reading Through The Looking-Glass.
24.13: The Veil, a Morrison-created villain mentioned in Animal Man #7, returns. We know he put out his own eyes, apparently because he learned to "pierce the veil" and see into our world. (Note: This character is possibly inspired by the film X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes.) He and Animal Man drag Overman out of the panel.
24.14: "We are the creation of sick minds. Yes, I've seen. And there's something worse. The creators... they're not real either..." ...I think I'll let that quote speak for itself.
24.15: Overman, despite his protestations of "realism", is forced into a shrinking panel and vanishes.
24.16: "Our lives are replayed every time someone reads us. We can never die. We outlive our creators. We outlive our gods!" Highwater's speech here has always been my opinion on continuity changes.
24.17: Power Ring mourns the lack of "fun" in the new world they've entered, and he and Ultraman vanish, perhaps to go home to an Earth they ruled, and died trying to save. Highwater decides to take up the Medusa Mask, to be the one who won't forget, keeper of the Infinite Earths.
24.18: The Agents try desperately to figure out the will of their creator. Animal Man, pragmatically, simply shuts off the doomsday bomb. See the final pages of Animal Man #6.
24.19-20: Bartlett's does not contain the Agent's quote. In panel 2, "The Continuum is purged at last of all inconsistencies. A foretaste of Purification Day, when we shall celebrate the Aeonic Union. Hmm. This butterfly is an Earth-14 species." The presence of the butterfly directly contradicts his assertion of their being no inconsistencies. (Any DC Comics reader could have told him as much, anyway.) I don't know what Purification Day will be, but I look forward to it. This is the only mention, ever, of Earth-14. Animal Man feels the absence of his other-Earth counterparts, and the Psycho-Pirate wistfully fades away. His last words of "Smile for me." are the catchphrase of his emotion-altering powers. The Agent concludes by quoting Shakespeare's Tempest.
24.21: We learn Highwater's fate. The Dustin Hoffman/Rain Man confusion is another mixing of levels. The bird referred to in the last panel is Highwater's totem, the eagle.
24.23-24: Morrison summons Animal Man for the last adventure.

Issue #25, July '90: "Monkey Puzzles"
Morrison, Truog, Farmer
25.Cover: The text in the typewriter is Morrison's script for this issue. The monkey, of course, is the famous one who, given an infinite amount of time, will eventually write out the complete Shakespeare, completely at random.
25.1: The text is from the end of The Tempest, both Shakespeare's last play and the last one presented in many collections of his complete works, even those not ordered chronologically (e.g., The Complete Pelican Shakespeare).
25.2 and following: Most of the graves are for extinct animals.
25.6: Comic Book Limbo, where old characters go to fade away. If you haven't seen a character in several years, if no one seems to care about them anymore, that's because they're here.
25.5-7: Merryman, Awkwardman, Blimp, Dumb Bunny, and White Feather. The Inferior Five, a humorous superteam from Earth-12. Dumb Bunny made it out of limbo briefly in the Angel And The Ape miniseries.
25.9: The car in panel 1 is the Jokermobile. In the 60s and early 70s it was apparently a law; superhumans had to have customized transportation of some sort.
25.10: Captain Carrot of Earth-C in panel 1, Ace the Bathound in panel 2. Ace made it out in modified form; he was a normal pet belonging to Batman's handyman. I'm afraid I don't know enough Latin to decipher the last panel; I think it has something to do with Man creating the Inferno.
25.11: "Doiby Dickles" was the sidekick to Green Lantern I; he appeared in a JSA miniseries a few years back. In panel 2 we have Ultra, the Multi-Alien, who has made some minor appearances of late. Panel 3, Red Tornado I. No recent appearances save Kingdom Come, which had everyone in it. The Space Canine Patrol is now a popular kids' show in the 30th Century of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
25.12: Morrison has a great deal of empathy for fictional characters. Panel 6: Quicksilver, now known as Max Mercury, is a major character in Impulse and Flash. The Gay Ghost popped up in Kingdom Come. Jemm and Hercules have not been seen recently.
25.13: "Atlas" is a reference to Atlas Comics, a precursor to Marvel, and "Warren" Comics produced various horror titles. (Thanks to Frank D'Urso for this info.)
25.14: Jason had a short-lived feature in Showcase or Adventure in which he had adventures while searching the US for his sister. (Thanks to Rick Jones for IDing him.) The Red Bee was recently in The Golden Age, which was also a panoply of minor, lost characters.
25.16: Mister Freeze is one of Limbo's success stories. "What happened to that nice Freeze fellow who used to live next door?" "Oh, he made a cameo in a Robin miniseries, and then they decided to put him in Batman's new cartoon." "I hear he's going to be played by Schwarzenegger in the next Batmovie." "Sheesh. Lucky stiff." "Frozen stiff." [laughter] "So, who's up for canasta?"
25.18: Nightmaster, a non-DC-Universe swords-&-sorcery character.
25.22-23: Glasgow, I believe.
25.24: And if this doesn't weird you out a little, I don't know what will...

Issue #26, August '90: "Deus Ex Machina"
Morrison, Truog, Farmer
In this issue, Morrison meets Animal Man, discusses the "real-world" motives for all the chaos and hurt in Animal Man's life ("All the suffering and the death and the pain in your world is entertainment for us."), and, in the end, apologizes for it by bringing back his family. (As a side note, Grant Morrison, the character, later appeared in Suicide Squad, where he still had the "powers" he shows here.)
26.5: The art over Animal Man's shoulder in panel 2 is from Arkham Asylum again.
26.6-7: That's issue #19, and the back cover is accurate (or we could be seeing the back of issues 13 or 14 there...), as are the interior details.
26.7: We learn the fate of the cat seen in issue 8, page 1. The expression on Animal Man's face in the last panel is nice.
26.8: The panel from Doom Patrol is not real, but is evocative of the series.
26.10: All of these characters are original.
26.11: Note Cheshire Cat in panel 5.
26.13: The table here is the same one Highwater was sleeping at in issue #14.
26.15: The Shark is a Green Lantern villain; Slaughterhouse is original.

Crisis Annotations


Jonathan Woodward,

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