Episode 75: Armageddon 2001 Part 2

Welcome to the seventy-fifth episode of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast! This podcast has a simple premise; examine just about every Superman comic published between Man of Steel #1 in 1986 to Adventures of Superman #649 in 2006 in an informative and hopefully entertaining format.

Part index. Part commentary. Part history lesson. All podcast.

It is episode 75 and surprisingly (though some might say disappointingly) no one dies in an epic battle with Doomsday. Instead, Mike and Jeff finish up their Armageddon 2001 talk by looking at Adventures of Superman Annual #3 (where Superman leaves Earth after a terrible tragedy and ends up hooking up with Maxima) and Armageddon 2001 #2 (where Monarch’s identity is revealed and a big ol’ fight breaks out). Between those two comics the boys give you an overview of the other ARMAGEDDON 2001 annuals in addition to delving into why the big reveal of Monarch’s identity was such a letdown despite the series being so good.

Again, no scans this week as it would just ruin the books.  Sorry.

Next week: E-mails!  Lots and lots of e-mails.

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  1. Ah, Maxima… I second your “if I were a drawing” sentiments. I liked the evolution of Maxima as a character over the coming years, particularly what Jurgens did with her in the JLA. He laid the groundwork for greater depth and nobility in her, which several other writers ran with, particularly the EXTREME JUSTICE team. It bothered me to no end when the Superman office took her back following EJ’s disbandment and promptly reverted her to the rash, angry, impulsive character she was shown to be in her first few appearances.

    As I recall, “Butt-Ugly” made an appearance in actual continuity in a three-part STEEL storyline that guest-starred Maxima. I can’t remember the exact issue numbers but I feel like it was somewhere around 12-15.

    Okay… Hawk as Monarch. I’m very proud of this because I actually guessed the secret prior to the actual reveal, much to the chagrin of the college-aged guys at my local shop. I was about 11 at the time, had no access to the internet, and the only advance press I ever saw were Comic Shop News and Direct Currents. I never had my ear to any rumor mill at that time, so I somehow managed to avoid the whole “Monarch is Captain Atom” leak.

    However… I looked at the solicits for the ongoing titles that summer and noticed something interesting. “Hawk & Dove” was being canceled less than two months before the release of Armageddon’s conclusion. Hawk shot to the top of my suspect list, and I even remember thinking that the H&D Annual might have been a red herring, as it was the only Annual to even acknowledge the existence of Monarch. I didn’t read it, but I wagered it was one of those things that might make more sense in hindsight.

    I go into the comic shop that week and am greeted by the usual guy behind the counter. He says he’ll have to go in the back to get my copy of A2001 and with a “silly kid, you’ll NEVER get this right” he asks, “So who do you think Monarch is?” With hindsight, I realize there was an edge of disappointment with the reveal and I now wonder if he DID know about the leak and was expressing his displeasure with DC’s solution, much as you guys did in the podcast.

    Without hesitation I say, “Hawk.” His jaw hits the floor. He pulls the JLE Annual off the rack flips to the last two pages that show the cliffhanger to be Cpt. Atom’s future about to be read and says, “Yeah? But what about this? Don’t you think this sets Atom up as Monarch? Still think you’re right?” I tell him I’m sticking with Hawk. He shakes his head and says “you’re right.”

    Trying to trip me up, he reminds me that DC’s press teased that one hero would be come a villain and one would die. “So who dies?” he test me. Almost as a guess, I say, “Dove?” reasoning that if the title was canceled and Hawk was evil, Dove was likely toast. I can’t remember what his exact response was, but I feel it was something along the lines of telling me to go buy a lottery ticket.

    The really pathetic thing is that DC didn’t really use Monarch after that. The Alien Agenda miniseries had no impact elsewhere. It seemed to be there just as a placeholder to get Captain Atom outside the mainstream DCU until they figured out what to do with him. (Bizarrely, the story’s conclusion promised a new Captain Atom series that never materialize, and it was another year and a half before he turned up in JLA.) Monarch’s next appearance was a two-part Showcase story that turned him into Extant and lead up to Zero Hour. Even there, he played second fiddle. So much for the guy who was hyped to be a “major DC villain!”

    I have to admit, I did like the Extreme Justice incarnation of Monarch, who emerged post-Zero Hour, but like everything else EJ-related, it was forgotten rather quickly.

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