The hooded woman seen in Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 has popped up in all of the DC Relaunch books so far as well, and now it’s safe to guess that she’ll continue to appear in the DC Relaunch titles. What does it mean? Who is she?
Ever since this mysterious, cloaked woman appeared in Justice League #1, we’ve been scouring the DC Comics archive for some clue or hint as to who she may be. Given that Geoff Johns, the writer of Flashpoint and Justice League, and one of the key creators at DC Comics, has been known to create stories that have some hooks or references to stories of the past, we thought surely there’s a clue somewhere.
And then we found it in one of the most unlikely places: Marvel Comics.
Last week as I was standing in my my local comic shop (the legendary Isotope in San Francisco), the conversation turned to this mysterious, cloaked woman. I expressed how perplexed I was over this figure and Isotope owner James Sime agreed with me, as we both shared that she looked vaguely familiar. Then the conversation took a natural turn to the greatness that is currently Thunderbolts over at Marvel. And then it clicked with both of us at the same time:
THE CRIMSON COWL
Originally the disguise Ultron took in his attack in the pages of Avengers in the late 1960s, The Crimson Cowl later returned in the late 1990s, as one of the main villains in the early days of the Thunderbolts by Kurt Busiek and Mark Bagley. Actually Justine Hammer, The Crimson Cowl took advantage of a power vacuum in the villains of the Marvel Universe to become the new leader of the Masters of Evil. She was most recently seen in the pages of New Avengers #35 as she teamed up with The Hood to take advantage of the super-heroes infighting during Civil War.
Before we reveal the connection between The Crimson Cowl and DC Comics, let’s compare the characters to see how closely their appearance is:
As you can see, the resemblance is quite uncanny. To the right you can see The Crimson Cowl as she appeared in Thunderbolts in the late 1990s, which explains the ’90s costume, but the hood/cowl? The red hue? Clearly the DC Comics artists in books such as the ones above: Green Arrow, Justice League International and Detective Comics are giving her an updated/modern look, but you can’t deny the similarity.
Now here’s where the crazy speculation begins. While many of us have guessed that the presence of this mysterious woman is DC’s “reset buton” to allow the “new 52″ universe to go back to the old DC Comics Universe, in case this crazy experiment doesn’t work. I haven’t subscribed to this theory as I think DC has passed the point of no return, they can’t go back to the old continuity. So, if that’s the case, what does this mysterious woman represent? My theory is this:
But how could that be? Let’s take a look at the hints:
- Fans have been clamoring for a crossover between DC Comics and Marvel Comics since the last time the 2 companies crossed over a little under 10 years ago with JLA/Avengers
- Key creators from both companies have expressed interest in crossing over, often discussing/joking about it on Twitter (i.e. Geoff Johns, Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction etc.)
- In the post-Paul Levitz world of DC Comics, it seems as if the new co-publishers, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee are reversing just about every “law” that existed at DC Comics, so it wouldn’t be insane for the ban on inter-company crossovers to be lifted from the DC Comics side of things. Meanwhile, if it means sales, you know Marvel Comics would approve it…
- Geoff Johns spent some of his formative years at Marvel Comics, including a run on Avengers, while Jim Lee got his start at Marvel Comics back in the late 1980s
- There has been an oddly large amount of goodwill amongst Marvel Comics staff towards DC Comics during the relaunch, which is quite different than their normal level of competitive ribbing that usually occurs.
- DC Comics has made a name for themselves by keeping us guessing this past year, so why stop now? Why not blow us all away with the project we’d never expect?
- Thunderbolts is currently one of the best books at Marvel right now (okay, maybe this isn’t related to my theory, but I just wanted to remind you) and it would be cool to see Thunderbolts at the center of a huge crossover event
Those are the behind the scenes/business reasons for this to happen, but you might be asking yourself, “How would it work within the story? Doesn’t The Crimson Cowl lack the amount of power that would require this sort of thing?”
Remember, this is the world of comics. If you go back to the pages of New Avengers #35, you see The Crimson Cowl was in cahoots with The Hood. The Hood, who later on got a hold of several of the Infinity Gems in the pages of Avengers this past year. Who knows what The Hood did with the Infinity Gems inbetween panels. Perhaps he powered The Crimson Cowl and sent her to another universe? Given that Brian Michael Bendis has been teasing something big from the Avengers next year, and also shares Geoff Johns’ affinity to tell stories that have ties to the past AND that we’ve already seen a hint of Ultron (the ORIGINAL Crimson Cowl) returning to battle the Avengers…all of a sudden this becomes quite plausible and maybe even believable.
So there you have it. The mysterious cloaked woman is The Crimson Cowl and the seeding of her in the DC Comics Relaunch titles is paving the way to a crossover between DC Comics and Marvel Comics in 2012. You heard it here first.