JLA/Avengers is Canon

The Epic Crossover Event

JLA/Avengers, written by Kurt Busiek, is described on its Amazon page as “perhaps the most eagerly anticipated and memorable crossover of all time, as the Justice League of America unites with The Avengers. Superman, Batman, and the other members of the JLA join forces with Captain America, Iron Man, and the many other Avengers to fight a threat so immense it threatens two entire dimensions.” This was the ultimate Marvel/DC event, featuring hundreds of character cameos as well as headlining bouts like Superman vs Thor!

But are the events that played out in this adventure considered canon?

What is canon?

In regards to fictional universes, canon refers to everything that is judged to be included in the history, setting, circumstances, and overall makeup of the property. When the property is written by a single creator, then that person is responsible for acknowledging what is or is not canon. When it comes to much larger properties, the publisher sets the guideline that keeps contributing authors writing stories in the universe that “fit” in the continuity of what is expected for characters and events.

When ranking the validity of different types of evidence, I’d consider the following in order:

  1. Direct Comic Page Reference
  2. In-house Published Sourcebooks
  3. Off-hand Author/Publisher Comments
  4. All Third-Party Sources

Now, let’s get to the evidence…

The DC Evidence

This one is pretty easy since the author of JLA/Avengers also wrote a JLA arc that included overt references to the events of the crossover in its story. Kurt Busiek wrote it. DC published it on its comic pages. JLA/Avengers is clearly canon in DC.


The events of JLA/Avengers is referred to in JLA #107.

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© DC Comics

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In JLA #111, also written by Kur Busiek, Owlman explains that the Crime Syndicate reboot is a result of the events of the JLA/Avengers crossover.

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In addition to this, DC used the Cosmic Egg that appeared at the end of JLA/Avengers. In Trinity #7, John Stewart refers to the Avengers as “Others.”

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Marvel Evidence

Marvel repeatedly acknowledged the canonicity of the events that took place in JLA/Avengers in their 2008, 2011, and 2012 sourcebooks. These were all titled the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, published by Marvel themselves.


The Terminus entry states, “In a distant cosmos, he arrived on another Earth and began to rampage across its USA attracting and battling a league of justice-seeking superheroes. Though Terminus easily resisted even their mightiest warrior, their detective correctly deduced the importance of Terminus’ power lance. Combining their minds via their telepath, the heroes assaulted Terminus on several levels, then dumped him into thinking they were trying to steal his lance. As Terminus unleashed a potent blast of power through the lance, one of the heroes channeled the energy back at Terminus, blasting a hole in his helmet and incapacitating him. A being of high power from that universe then dispatched Terminus back to the Earth-616 reality.”

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© Marvel Comics

© Marvel Comics – © DC Comics

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In Monica’s entry, it mentions “the will-powered energies” of an “emerald gladiator.” That’s a reference to a GL (Kyle Raynor) who she fought in JLA/Avengers.

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The Galactus entry reads that he was “assaulted by yet another extra-dimensional powerhouse, who sought the origins of the universe, but he recovered via the actions of the Avengers and a league of heroes from another reality.”

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Avengers’ entry says that they “teamed with the league of heroes from a divergent cosmos to save both their universes from a cosmic scholar turned semi-omnipotent destroyer.”

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© Marvel Comics – © DC Comics

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The Grandmaster’s entry recounts nearly the entire plot of JLA/Avengers.

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© Marvel Comics

© Marvel Comics – © DC Comics

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The Verdict

The events in JLA/Avengers is canon because it is acknowledged in publications from both Marvel and DC since its release.

Picard is Still Trapped in the Nexus

This is a theory I have held for a while:  Captain Jean-Luc Picard is still trapped in the Nexus from Star Trek: Generations and everything we’ve seen afterward has been a part of his ideal reality.

Background on the Nexus can be found on the always amazing Memory Alpha site.

My Argument

In Star Trek: Generations, Picard was taken by the Nexus before a shockwave destroyed the planet and everyone else on it.  It was said that the Nexus allows whoever is in it will live out their fantasies.  This was initially projected as a family life for Jean-Luc, but that’s not who he is.  He has to save the day.

Instead, he teams up with the iconic Jim Kirk and prevents the disaster from happening in a “redo” type of adventure.  How many of us would want a redo on our biggest failures, especially the one that took all of our closest friends’ lives?

In Star Trek: First Contact, the movie immediately after that, he deals with his unresolved issues with the Borg while playing an integral part in Earth’s history in the galaxy.

Star Trek: Insurrection finds him on a planet that stabilizes and prolongs the aging process, which helps him deal with his thoughts on mortality and companionship, two issues that would rightly affect an unmarried man in his fifties/sixties.

Star Trek: Nemesis is actually one of the better examples.  It literally puts Jean-Luc face-to-face with a younger version (clone) of himself, forcing him to again come to terms with his past and his life choices.

I’m Not Alone

While doing my research for this post, I found a great article on Reddit by WilliamtheV that helps articulate this theory further.  Check it out, because as he wrote: “The Nexus gave Picard what he wanted. A world where his actions have consequences, but he still got to live out his dream life.

Are We Doomed to Live Out Our Horrific Fantasy Futures?

Is it just me or are there a ton more articles about our imminent demise lately?

It could be an organized campaign to keep us clicking on these and related links, but I can’t help but I think that there may be something to it.

Earth ‘entering new extinction phase’ – US study (Regarding the unfolding Sixth Mass Extinction.)

Big Five mass extinction events (In case you were wondering what the first five were all about.)

Okay, so we’re done.  It’s been a hell of a ride, but what happens on our way out?  Unlike the dinosaurs, we’re not expected to die off right away.  What does our slow death as a species look like?

The History Channel made a documentary called Life After People (followed by a series with the same title).  The original documentary is embedded below, but the timeline of the collapse of our bridges, buildings and achievements is pretty clear.  Between one and three hundred years, most of our steel and concrete icons are gone.  After 1000 years without consistent and organized upkeep, there would be very little evidence that we existed.

That’s the thing about this.  The structural decay and neglect described in the documentary would happen even if mankind wasn’t totally wiped out.  The rapid loss of 85% of our population due to hunger and mass murder would destabilize governments and throw us into anarchy.  I doubt that people would be concerned with maintaining bridges and buildings while they are foraging for food and picking each other’s bones clean.

0-300 Years After Our Fall

A REVOLUTION/MAD MAX/THE WALKING DEAD/DIVERGENT/HUNGER GAMES style world will happen pretty quickly.  Nations will break up into territories.  Roving bands of survivors will scrape along, dying off one by one.  Psychopaths and their cults have a grand old time hoarding resources and killing everyone they come across.  But our buildings are still there.  People tell stories of our culture and our history.

Chicago in DIVERGENT looks to be in pretty good shape, maybe under 100 years without upkeep.

Chicago in DIVERGENT looks to be in pretty good shape, maybe under 100 years without upkeep.

10,000+ Years After Our Fall

As terrible as it would be, think of life as it is shown in GAME OF THRONES as our best case scenario.

Ignore the magic and dragons and White Walkers for a minute and follow me on this.  (Those could all be remnants of whatever scientific advances in genetics and self-replicating nanotechnology we make between now and our fall anyway.)

All structures and physical markers of the past are gone and a new “ancient” history is being recorded.  Whichever bands of humans survive create fiefdoms and monetary systems.  War is everywhere, which is a sure sign that we’re not done killing ourselves yet.

Most importantly, the GAME OF THRONES world features a global climate that is in a constant state of change.  As a point of reference, this environment that we live in currently is different in air composition and seasonal makeup than the environment the dinosaurs thrived in 100 million years ago.  Perhaps whatever environmental shifts that nearly wipe us out in the Sixth Mass Extinction are still in the process of changing 10,000 years from now.

We live on.  I’m just glad that I won’t live long enough to witness any of it.  Good luck.

Light Speed for Writers without a Science Background

In my post Questions to Ask When World-Building, I wrote:

If you are writing science fiction, what physical settings or laws are different or exaggerated?  Is there space travel?  If so, how does it work?  Warp speed in Star Trek gets you to a distant planet at a different speed than a Star Wars hyperdrive.  These decisions make the difference between going from “one end of the galaxy to the other,” as Han Solo once bragged, and the entire Voyager series, in which the plot was centered on a near-hopeless trip across the galaxy back to Earth.

Well, now I’ve started writing a science fiction series that takes place beyond our world and it’s my turn to make some decisions regarding space travel.  Will there be hyperspace?  Will they use wormholes?  Will they have some other folding of space/time?

Warp Speed

There was recently a flurry of excitement regarding the possibility of Warp Speed.  It lasted about one month before the same site renounced the EM Drive because it would “produce more energy than is put into it, violating the law of conservation of energy, which (simply put) says that energy cannot be destroyed or created” (Elizabeth Howell, Space.com).

Quantum Entanglement

I also played with space travel through Quantum Entanglement, which is the idea that linked particles remain linked once they are separated regardless of distance.  There are some great ideas in the areas of using Quantum Entanglement for communication, but not for travel.  Decoherence, the decay of unity between once-linked particles, happens even at the atomic level.

Light Speed

I discounted light speed immediately.  In order to go that fast, you would need an infinite amount of energy.  It is, by testimony of all articles and peer-reviewed science, impossible.  Every forum conversation turns sour when somebody mentions moving at light speed, so I had a sour taste right away.

Then I started thinking about Near Light Speed.  After some consideration, I decided that this was the way I was going to go.

Are We There Yet?

According to Time Dilation, Yes!  A person traveling at near light speed won’t notice a long wait time between their departure and destination.  They could be en route for hundreds or thousands of years, but their trip will feel like hours or seconds if they are moving at 99.99% of light speed.  This is great for your main character, who will be the same age no matter where he or she ends up.  They are free to move about the universe, but what about those they leave behind?  They’re already dead.

Every Goodbye is Forever

While your characters are accelerating to near light speed, the rest of the universe goes about their business at their own rate.  Time passes for everyone differently depending on a myriad of factors:  gravity, speed, etc.  This poses problems for cultural interconnectivity between different star systems, but I prefer that writing challenge to some mystical and unexplained system of travel.

Why Bother Explaining At All?

For some, research is silly.  One of my friends said, “Just use hyperspace and call it a day.”  I can’t do that.  I need to know (at least to a layman’s approximation) how things work.  The Star Wars type of hyperspace is too convenient for my characters.  I need limits in order to work well.  Not only that, but I think Star Wars when I hear “hyperspace,” just like I think Stargate or Babylon 5 when I hear “wormholes.”  I’d like to carve my own path and cynically go where no massive property has gone before.

Fact-Checking

One of my reasons for writing this post is to put my ideas out to the world for fact-checking.  There are many who know more about this topic than I do, so please comment below if you feel I have made any great errors in my understanding or if you feel I am on the right path.  I’ll repost with corrections, if need be.

An (Overly Simple) Explanation of the Difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy

I had a conversation with an author friend of mine about this yesterday.  There are differences between science fiction and fantasy, but few understand how to explain those differences.

Definitions

Dictionary.com defines Science Fiction as “a form of fiction that draws imaginatively on scientific knowledge and speculation in its plot, setting, theme, etc.”

Meanwhile, Wikipedia states that “Fantasy is a genre of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary plot element, theme, or setting.”

Both definitions are adequate enough.  However, the most important factor in distinguishing the difference between the two is also the simplest.

The (Overly Simple) Explanation

It is all in how the author explains the characters and the situations.

Don’t believe me?  Try this…

519a0-hulk-scatena-la-sua-rabbia-in-una-scena-del-film-l-incredibile-hulk-61199Hulk steps out onto a street and throws a car.  He can do this because his cells are juiced with gamma radiation.  He’s a science fiction character.

Thor_Lifts_BoulderThor steps out onto the same street and throws an equally heavy boulder.  He can do this because he is a powerful god of thunder.  As long as he is a god, he is a fantasy character.  If you start calling him an alien, he’ll slip into science fiction just as easily.

wondy_car_lift_by_georgel_mcawesomeWonder Woman follows the two of them out and throws a different car.  Depending on which origin you are reading, she is either a clay baby made by Hippolyta and blessed by Hera or the demigod child of Hippolyta and Zeus.  Either way, she’s a fantasy character doing the same work as the boys.

In Conclusion

There is no real difference, not in storytelling or in the abilities of the characters themselves.  The line between Fantasy and Science Fiction takes place in the author’s explanation of why his or her characters can do the things that are beyond our abilities.

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