Superman in Crisis

SiC 28 — Shaped by Trauma (08:22:1985)

Reviewing the one Superman comic book published on August 22, 1985: World’s Finest Comics 321! And responding to your feedback!

8 replies on “SiC 28 — Shaped by Trauma (08:22:1985)”

I was glad to listen to this episode, and I understand and appreciate your comments on trauma and how it shapes people’s lives. I think suffering, in some form, is the universal lot of humanity, only varying in the form it takes.
Even though Chronos said that his time machine would allow someone to change history (against well-established DC time-travel “rules”), I have to wonder whether that was actually true, and how he would know that. Certainly, neither Superman nor Batman actually changed history in any way, so I have to wonder what would have happened it they had tried. Would something prevent them from changing things, or would the fact that they each believed they could, but didn’t, mean that the “no change to history” rule remained intact? Also, if history could be changed, how would Chronos know? If it were changed to a “new” history, that would become actual, factual history, not just in the history books, but in everyone’s mind and memory, presumably including Chronos, so how would anyone know anything had changed? These are the conundrums (conundra? My Latin isn’t that strong) of time travel, I imagine.

Hi Jon.

I really shocked at how much I enjoyed World’s Finest #321. It had a mysterious and dangerous feel to the events that occured. The creators that produced the book were considered to be Journeyman type talents, but they still delivered in a big way. Chronos recounting his meeting with Dr. Fox was so engaging to me . So much was unsaid but it made me want to know more. They mention the daughter and Dr. Fox disappearing without an explanation. I loved it !

The story had a few glitches that I thought made it stumble a bit, the first one was that the underworld knows Batman’s Origin. That was a mistake, because anyone could guess who it is with a little research. That plot point was thankfully wiped away with the Crisis reset, I hope.
The other scene that made me shake my head was Superman crying when the Enola gay dropped the bomb. I understand the loss of life was at the center of his emotional display but the alternative would have been lives loss for the allies and possibly everyone in America and England talking German while exterminating Jews.

Chronos inventing a time bomb that can change history works for me. He was an expert and if the DC editors decided the change was reasonable, then it just becomes a new possibility that gets incorporated into stories from that point on. It’s not something that would be used in many stories anyway. Maybe the Marvel universe application works better in that you don’t change history, you just create an alternate one.
The ending where Chronos escapes to look for Dr. Fox is just so amazing . I want to know more. Who does Fox become ? Who does his daughter become ?

A few non story related comments:

You said that you recorded all the podcasts in the summer of 2021. Did you mean 2022, or are you the ultimate prep time podcaster?

Am I the only non-teacher listening to your show?

So sorry for your losses , Jon. I always say that everyone has a horror story , if you’re lucky you only have one.

Be well , my friend.

Oh not at all George, I am a non-teacher as well. I’m the non-nest of teachers, showed by my exemplitude grammatisms.

Oh, one more thing- I heard the same thing about Curt Swan trying improve his artwork and layouts. I think I read that he asked Joe Kubert for storytelling tips. He wasn’t the only one, Herb Trimpe also tried to Change his style to look more like the Image guys. It was jarring to see his work on FF Unlimited and it was falsely claimed that Marvel ” forced” him to draw that way. He said in an interview that he liked the energy of the Image guys and wanted to capture it.

Hi Jon! Really great episode, especially from you being open to sharing your feelings. It takes strength to let yourself be vulnerable in an open format like a podcast, so good on you. And whenever I see you in real life, big hug coming your way. You’ve been warned.

As for WF #321, it’s weird seeing this opportunity for Batman to reset his life, when Crisis is just a couple of months away from doing that very thing. Not specifically to Batman, but to a certain character relevant to this podcast, ya know? What do you think of the timing of this story? Coincidence? Foreshadowing? (Thus the Crisis footnote!)

Ok, see you next time for the Final Four! (Issues of CoiE, that is.)

Hi, Jon. Sorry that I’ve been absent for the past few comments sections (I know that you missed me terribly). Partially my absence was because I was at Gen Con, the big gaming convention. Partially it was because like so many others, I was getting ready for the beginning of the school year. This podcast must have one of the highest percentages of listeners who are in education. I’m a librarian, not a teacher, and I work at the university level, rather than primary or secondary school, but the start of the school year affects us too!

I could tell by your voice that this episode was going to be emotional for you, even before you got into the details. Like you and so many other people, I’ve experienced my share of grief, so I know how at times certain stories, songs, or even random sounds can bring the memories back to you. I appreciate you being so open about your own pain, and I just want to let you know that the obvious difficulty you had with this episode did not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

The notion of getting to change our own histories is one of those ideas that so many authors seem to go to, so it’s not surprising that it was used in this issue of World’s Finest. It’s such a tempting possibility, made all the more tantalizing by the fact that it’s not a situation that any of us will ever really find ourselves facing. It’s not really surprising, in the end, that Batman didn’t end up saving his parents. History is what it is, for better or worse, and in the end Batman, like all of us, has to accept that.

Finally, good on you for using the word “antepenultimate!” One of the best words in the language, which we should all use whenever the opportunity presents itself!

Hello again, Jon!

I thought World’s Finest #321 was decent, but was still hoping for more from a Chronos story. I feel like I first discovered him in the pages of Blue Beetle, a title I really liked at the time. I think that even if you didn’t know this was the antepenultimate issue of WF (I agree with you that it’s a cool word), you would have the sense that it was just marking time.

The going back in time aspect and your commentary on it made me think of the way Kurt Busiek had Samaritan, a pseudo-Superman, rescue the Challenger shuttle for a cool bit of alternative history in Astro City and also how Brian K. Vaughan had Mitchell Hundred save the south tower of the World Trade Center in Ex Machina, which helped him become mayor.

I’m sorry to hear last summer was such a terrible one for you. As I mentioned on Twitter, part of what makes this show great is how much of yourself you put into it. It’s hard to talk about mental health issues and I have tremendous respect for you for doing just that. I struggled mightily with depression for most of the 90s and know how hard it can be to just manage daily life. I appreciate you, Jon, and am glad you are doing what you’re doing.

Thanks for the recommendation of From Crisis to Crisis. I had already listened to the first episode and plan to keep doing so as I reread.

Okay, Crisis #9 next time – looking forward to it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *