Crisis-Relevant Text:

Shattered Image

Crisis Annotations

August, September, October, December '96
Busiek, Kesel, Daniel, Conrad, Ryan, Irwin, Rizzo, Norton, Hope

Shattered Image was essentially a reversed mini-Crisis for the Image Universe, in which that creator-owned cosmos was in danger of splitting into six separate realities, one for each major trademark-owner. This particular mini-series gains additional oomph from the fact that it was real. Liefeld did indeed leave Image, causing his characters to vanish mid-series, and many other shake-ups are hinted at in the series as people appear and vanish. I'm going to do some sharply limited annotation here, mostly to point out things that might otherwise be missed. The main thing to note, however, is how utterly this series is intended to evoke Crisis and the reader-trauma surrounding it.

1.22-23: (Oh, look, the page numbers are only occasional...) First off, the artist's response when it was pointed out that there were only five earths on the two-page splash on the penultimate and ante-penultimate pages? "Oops." I gotta wonder how you mess that up.

2.Cover: The cover is a delightful homage to Kingdom Come, as noted in the après credits on the back. Top row: Unknown (red eyes), Tao (Tactically Augmented Organism), unknown (Sentinel II?), Kodiak, Deathblow, Badrock, Shadowhawk II (III?), Dragon. Next row: Barbaric, unknown, Grail, Star II, Union, US Male, Vanguard, unknown, Mighty Man II. Next row: Prophet, Dart, Mister Majestic, Angela, Shaft, Cyblade, Superpatriot. Front row: Spartan, Lynch, Ballistic, Grifter, Savant, Ripclaw.

2.1: The six realities are, from left to right, the Liefeldverse, Earth-Silvestri, Valentinocosm, Reality-Larsen, Dimension Lee, and the McFarlane Existence.

2.2-3: Waldo indeed. Savant is at the podium. Extreme background and airborne: Wally, Maul, Voodoo, Freefall, Bulldozer, Supreme. All-gray group, back-left: Hazard?, Widow, Rock, Beast-boy, and several unknowns. Continuing from that group to the right: Union, Impact, Mighty Man II, Grail, Star II, misc. members of Wetworks, including Mother One, Stryker, unknown, Black Anvil, unknown, unknown, Roman, Fuji, Fahrenheit, Winter, Weatherman, unknown (mummy), Kid Avenger, Vanguard, US Male, Liberty, Killcat, Justice, Superpatriot. Next row: Barbaric, Prophet, Riptide?, Kodiak, Deathblow, Troll?, Badrock. Next row: Warblade, Ricochet, Ladytron, Tao, Spartan, Mister Majestic, Zealot, Grifter, Sentinel II?, Shaft, Battlestone?, Diehard. Next row: Burnout, Rainmaker, Fairchild, Lynch, Grunge, Void, Ripclaw, Heatwave, Cyblade, Ballistic, Velocity, Glory, Vogue, Horridus, Dart, Shadowhawk II (III?), unknown.

2.5: Pitt was removed from the Image Universe by his creator, Keown, some time previous to this series. This, and the appearance of Strikeback, are quite eerie enough, thankyew.

2.6: Dimension Lee is now isolated.

2.23: Spawn's reasoning here is chilling and compelling. In the DC Universe, if the Crisis was undone, would the Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Hourman (of Earth-2) have died at the hands of Hal Jordan's (Earth-1) henchman?

2.25-26: Note the characters here: Lady Supreme, Kid Supreme, and Diehard.

3.4: Note that Barbaric has replace Badrock. The Liefeldverse has vanished entirely (due to Liefeld leaving Image), but no one notices.

3.5-6: Supreme has become Mister Majestic, Kid Supreme has become Mighty Man, and Diehard has become Backlash. The art has been "corrected" reasonably well.

3.19: I'm not quite sure why Superpatriot popped up out of nowhere. Presumably he's replacing a Liefeld character who had a better rationale.

4.7-8: The loss of the Liefeldverse is drawn forcibly to Savant's attention, but she still can't remember...

4.12: The first world is Marvel, with Heroes Reborn spinning off, and the Ultraverse being drawn in. The second is DC, patched and scarred with continuity changes. The third is apparently Dark Horse, the fourth, obviously, Valiant.

4.13: The asteroids are the various black-and-white independents. The man in black is Batman, from the Miller/McFarlane Spawn/Batman crossover.

4.14: The X-Men, Shi, and Spider-Man (who thinks he's talking to Badrock).

4.15: Ultiman and Knight Watchman are from Big Bang comics, published by Image but not Image Universe (sort of). That's Vampirella tempting Shadowhawk.

4.16: These are the ghosts of characters no longer published, and it shames me that I can't conclusively identify any of them. The "flag-draped champion" might be the Fighting American, or the Shield. The pilot could be Airboy or even Jetboy. The "sword-wielding heroine" is possibly Red Sonja.

4.19-20: Silvestri was only vaguely in Image for a period there, and this is an effective expression of both his doubts and those of his characters.

4.21-22: Entropy represents more than just a cosmic villain; she's a symbol of the dangers inherent in a creator-owned universe like Image's.

4.24: Shadowhawk here refers to the next all-Image crossover, Mars Attacks Image. And (rather stepping on their point) Ripclaw and Velocity return.

Crisis Annotations


Jonathan Woodward,

All original content is copyright Jonathan Woodward. Legal minutiae here.