Follow TV Tropes


Call Back / Comic Books

Go To

  • Batman: Alfred made disparaging comments about Tim's ability to fold clothes the day he became Robin in Robin Vol 1 (1991). When Dick comes to Gotham to take over for Bruce as Batman during Knightfall (1993) he finds Tim's inability to do any household chores amusing and forces Tim to learn how to properly fold things since he's the adult in charge as Tim's father, Bruce and Alfred are all out of Gotham.
  • Advertisement:
  • In the third Blacksad album "Red Soul", Blacksad is sufficiently annoyed when he has to attend a Natalia Wilford Look-A-Like contest when doing bodyguard duty for a rich client. This should only make sense if you've read the first one, and know about his history with the real woman.
  • DC Comics Bombshells: Diana discusses constellations with Steve Trevor when she helps him escape from Themyscira. After the Battle of London, she and Steve comfort Supergirl after Stargirl's sacrifice, by saying that there will be a new constellation in her honour.
  • In Death of the Family, Joker tells Damian how he can't really get people to laugh without giving them a pharmaceutical push first. In fact, Batman was apparently the only person he could get to actually laugh. In case you're wondering, Joker is referring to The Killing Joke, or its ending. In addition, the Joker commits many crimes similar to the ones he committed in his first appearances back in the 40s.
  • Advertisement:
  • The first scene of Green Lantern: Rebirth (which tells the story of Hal Jordan's resurrection and his taking up the Lantern mantle once more) is a call-back to Hal's origin story in the very first issue of the series. It starts with an Oan spaceship crashlanding outside of an Air Force base in the desert with an injured Green Lantern in the cockpit. But this time, the injured Green Lantern is Kyle Rayner.
  • Invincible:
    • We have Mark discovering his powers by throwing the trash bag with a little too much power. Many issues later, we cut to London, England, where a passerby comes by an odd trashbag labeled "Burger Mart"...
    • Another call back, when William finds out that Mark is Invincible and that he can fly, he asks for what every man wishes he could do. Later on, William finds out who Atom Eve is, and asks for the same thing. The call back? Mark and Eve's response. "This is so gay."
    • Advertisement:
    • The words Nolan ask of Mark in the 12th issue of the comics become the most significant phrase in the series as it is echoed in the very final 144th issue, in its final pages: "What will you have after five-hundred years?!" as Nolan once asked in his attempt to make Mark go along with his earth conquering plan, reasoning that everything Mark had at that point would be meaningless in his long living life; then many earth and universal changing events later, by the end of the series Mark remembers those words, 500 years later Mark became a great man, who managed to change Nolan's heart, changing the whole viltrumite race into a peaceful one, keeping his own heart in the right place, living happily with Eve and their daughter Terra for 500 years and beyond as the emperor a prosperous world.
  • During Dwayne MacDuffie's run on Justice League of America, Animal Man finally accepts that he's being mucked about by a villian who can control stories when he suddenly realises he's eating chicken. A subtle nod to the end of Grant Morrison's run on Animal Man, when Morrison's Author Avatar used the example of Buddy suddenly not being vegetarian to illustrate the power the writers had over him.
  • At one point in Kick-Ass, Dave's friends decide to invent a new curse, and come up with 'tunk' to refer to a cock and balls; specifically, they intend it to be the male equivalent of 'cunt'. They resolve to drop it into as many conversations as they can. In the last issue of Volume 1, John Genovese is shot in the crotch, and exclaims "He just shot me in the fucking tunk!".
  • Issue #13 of Marvel's Laff-A-Lympics has Dick Dastardly and Muttley paying a visit to the Rottens' training camp.
    Dread Baron: What have you been up to since [they last met], Dick?
    Dastardly: I spent some time chasing a pigeon...
  • Luther Arkwright: Plenty in the sequel Heart of Empire. One of the most prominent is when Victoria wakes up naked on parallel 00.69.05, walks out in public, and garbs herself in a Union Jack flag. Both the event and the poses calls back to when her father Luther did the same in the royalist camp in The Adventures of Luther Arkwright.
  • The Multiversity:
    • Grant Morrison's map of the Multiverse includes Wonderworld, a dimension that was featured in his JLA run. News articles have also mentioned that some of his characters from Animal Man would appear on one Earth.
    • He revisits some concepts he introduced in Final Crisis, such as President Superman and Earth-23, and Overman and Earth-10, and some he introduced in Action Comics, like the mention of Superdoomsday, and Optiman's allies Red Racer and Flashlight.
    • Earth-10's Batman is called Leatherwing, which was also the name of a pirate version of Batman (who according to The Multiversity Guidebook #1 is the Batman of Earth-31).
    • The variant cover to Society of Super-Heroes: Conquerors of the Counter-World #1 featured the Batman-esque version of John Constantine called Hellblazer. Morrison created this version in an issue of Doom Patrol, in a dreamworld that had more superheroic versions of the Vertigo-related characters. This world was seen again in the third The Books of Magic annual.
    • Sasha Norman, a.k.a. Sister Miracle of Earth-16 in The Just #1, was first seen in Seven Soldiers while Shilo Norman was forced to endure alternate lives in the Omega Sanction.
    • Countdown to Final Crisis gets a mention during The Multiversity Guidebook #1, specifically Superboy-Prime destroying Earth-15.

      Morrison references it again in Mastermen #1. In Overman's dream of Lord Broken, the bodies at his feet are those of the Justice League Axis, the version of Earth-10's Justice League that Monarch recruited in Countdown to Adventure.
    • Mastermen #1:
      • Overman's wife mentions that his cousin, Overgirl, was just a clone created from his stem cells, and if he wanted he could have her replaced. It's said that the original Overman in Animal Man had his stem cells harvested by the government to create other heroes, his world's Justice League.
      • Overgirl's death "on a distant world" is another Final Crisis reference, and the scene of Overman holding her corpse is a reference to Supergirl's death in Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • The Multiversity #2:
      • The corrupted Nix Uotan threatens to unleash his final attack after completing a rubik's cube in seventeen moves (something that's supposed to be impossible), much like how he regained his powers back in Final Crisis.
      • The Zatanna of Earth-13 is named Annataz, which was the name of the Earth-3 Zatanna seen in Countdown to Final Crisis.
      • Red Racer and an army of alternate Flashes all use the "infinite mass punch" that Wally West used in Grant Morrison's very first story arc of JLA. He even comments that it came from "one of [his] favorite JLA stories."
      • The Empty Hand mentions that the Gentry is still feeding off the carcass of Multiverse-2, which seems to be the pre-Flashpoint Multiverse created after Infinite Crisis. This seems to highlight the discrepancies between the Multiverse as it is seen here, compared to how it was in Final Crisis.
    • Nix Uotan is seen with a monkey sidekick, possibly the typewriting monkey from Morrison's Animal Man and/or the monkey that helped Nix restore his Monitor powers in Final Crisis.
  • My Little Pony (Generation 4):
  • In the second issue of the New 52 reboot of the main Green Lantern magazine, Sinestro creates a Green Lantern Ring for Hal Jordan, who immediately attacks him with the ring. However, as the ring is a construct of Sinestro's, it doesn't harm him as he is in control of it. Later, at the end of the fourth issue, Sinestro creates additional rings for the imprisioned Korugarans, who attempt to attack him due to their misconception of his Sinestro Corps. The fifth issue begins with the reveal that, like before, Sinestro is not harmed by the rings' attacks.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • In issue 16 of the comics, in the story "Five Green Vandals", Bubbles dredges up Buttercup's crush on Gangreen Gang leader Ace in the TV episode "Buttercrush". Buttercup is naturally repulsed by it.
    • Issue #30's "Monkey See, Monkey Dough": Mojo wants to hire Bubbles to clean a device (which she doesn't know is a destruction device), and she instantly brings up how she and her sisters helped Mojo nearly take over Townsville in the movie.
  • Rick and Morty (Oni):
  • Star Trek: Untold Voyages: When Krell threatens to attack the Enterprise in "Renewal", Kirk tells him that a new superweapon called the Omegatron, which has the capability of destroying Krell's ship and the other two battle cruisers under his command, was installed aboard the Enterprise during its refit. This is essentially the same as the corbomite bluff that he used successfully against Balok in "The Corbomite Maneuver" and ten Romulan birds-of-prey in "The Deadly Years". However, Krell does not believe him as he is of the opinion that the Federation is too weak and soft to use such a device, especially since it has never made use of the Romulan cloaking device that the Enterprise stole in "The Enterprise Incident". Nevertheless, the Enterprise manages to penetrate Krell's shields and disable his ship by channeling all of its phaser energy through the warp engines. Will Decker previously explained that the phaser systems had been redesigned in this fashion in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
  • Star Wars: Kanan:
    • In #8, it's explained that Rackham Sear has obtained a layout of the Jedi Temple from Bounty Hunter Cad Bane. It was given to Bane by Sidious in "Holocron Heist" the first episode of season 2 of The Clone Wars.
    • Ezra's quote "I think I'm in love" upon seeing Kanan's old ship reflects the final passage of A New Dawn ("Kanan Jarrus was in love") when Kanan sees The Ghost for the first time.
  • Supergirl:
  • Swamp Thing Vol. 2 #43, "Windfall": Sandy's good trip is a general Call Back to Abby's in Rite of Spring. The Call Backs within Milo's bad trip are more specific, referencing the Swamp Thing's origin story (Volume 1 Issue 1 and elsewhere), the Patchwork Man (Vol. 1 #3), the Conclave robots (Vol 1. # 6), General Sunderland (Vol. 2 #6-21), the Rosewood "Mother" vampire, the Monkey King, a werewolf (Vol. 1 #4), the Un-Man Cranius (Vol. 1 #10), an alien (Vol. 1 #9), and finally, as the driver who accidentally kills Milo, Arcane.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1 (2011) opens with Norman Osborn observing an OZ-contaminated spider whilst telling a scientist the myth of Arachne, which happened in the opening panels of Ultimate Spider-Man #1. There's a bit of Fridge Brilliance in that the dialogue is just slightly altered to clarify a different moment in time, and that the spider, rather than the original 00, is marked 42.
    • Ultimate Origins features many scenes already seen in otherwise unrelated comic books, all of them with a Meta Origin that links them toguether.
    • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Reed mentioned the Fantastic Four adventure in the Negative Zone, where they met the alien Nihil. The knowledge they got there was cruxial for Reed to develop the weapon that was key to victory.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • In Wonder Woman (2006) Etta makes a comment about Diana's new side job being a huge improvement to slinging tacos, despite Diana's inability to lie being a hurdle in the spy business, as a reference to her previous job at Taco Whiz in Wonder Woman (1987).
    • With Wonder Woman (Rebirth) bringing quite a few Pre-Flashpoint Wonder Woman elements back into continuity this was inevitable as Diana sorts out which of her memories are true and false in the Post-Convergence 'verse. When Diana shatters the mirror she's talking to after she discovers her memory's been tampered with, the various shards contain callbacks to famous moments from her history. Some moments being:
      • Fighting Post-Crisis Barbara Minerva Cheetah
      • The George Pérez blue-armored version of Ares
      • Beheading Medusa from Rucka's first run in the mid-2000s
      • The Gorilla Knights and Diana defending her mother from the Circle from Gail Simone's run
  • After the apparent death of Professor X, Cyclops throws in with his ex and a number of former teammates to keep mutants safe and teach them how to command their powers while maintaining tactical/philosophical opposition to the people running his old alma mater. The original concept of X-Factor (ca. 1985)? Or his post-Avengers vs. X-Men (ca. 2012) status quo?
  • Nintendo's German staff released a Yoshi's Story special that contained Anvilicious stories obviously aimed at children, including one where a black Yoshi was subjected to Fantastic Racism. Awesomely, he turned out to be the Yoshi from "Mario im Wunderland" (a ''The Wizard of Oz'' parody published in Club Nintendo five years earlier) who had complained about being green just like the bushes and been turned black by the wizard.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: