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Mythology Gag / Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!

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One of the author's favorite habits is to insert pieces of DC's (and in some cases, My Hero Academia's) most obscure and famous lore throughout the story if you know where to look.

In General

  • The title is a play on the classic line, "It's a bird! No, it's a plane! It's Superman!"
  • The first three chapters are titled "Izuku Midoriya: Birthright", a reference to Superman: Birthright, Superman's definitive backstory in the Post-Crisis era until Superman: Secret Origin was written. The comic is known for featuring the extensive fear and racism the people of Metropolis displayed upon finding out that Superman was an alien. Izuku's fear of this same Fantastic Racism is a defining theme in this story. The scene where an overly excited young Izuku jumps into the ceiling and damages it is also reminiscent of a panel in the same comic, where a four-year-old Clark is implied to have left a crater in the ceiling while jumping up and down.
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  • A Xenophobic Earth due to numerous alien invasions and a distinct lack of purely positive showing of an alien hero like Superman (or in this story's case, in spite of the presence of heroes like Martian Manhunter and Starfire) is a general reference to The Nail, whose entire plot revolves around Superman not becoming a hero while the rest of the DC world continues to operate.
  • The tags on the Archive of Our Own edition say that the story takes place on Earth-2014.00. The My Hero Academia series was first published in 2014.
  • The story also introduces the larger multiverse, including:
    • Earth 2014.01, similar to Earth-0, but darker, reflecting the Earth One Series.
    • Earth 2014.02 AKA Earth-2, taking cues from the Earth 2 series.
    • Earth 2014.03, the Evil Counterpart Earth, much like it's canon counterpart.
    • Earth 2014.04 or "Earth-Shi", where Kal-L's ship landed in Imperial Japan, allowing it to indoctrinate him in its ideology and taking over the world in the process. This is evocative of the Earth-X story where Kal-L becomes Overman, the ultimate enforcer of the Reich, as well as Superman: Red Son, where he does the same for the Soviet Union as Superman.
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    • Earth 2014.06, A world based on the idea behind Just Imagine... Stan Lee Creating the DC Universe, in this case based on Makoto Raiku.
    • Earth 2014.11, a world where everyone is Gender Flipped.
    • Earth 2014.12, where Endeavor has been succeeded and fights as a member of Justice Society Unlimited, much like the setting of Batman Beyond.
    • Earth 2014.14 is the main My Hero Academia story.
    • Earth 2014.18 is a world populated by Charlton Comics characters, though given a more Watchmen-like spin.
    • Earth 2014.19, which remains locked in the Sengoku Period, is similar to Earth-18, a world time-locked in the Wild West.
    • Earth 2014.22 is the counterpart to Kingdom Come.
    • Earth 2014.27 is a counterpart to Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl, but with Melissa Shield acting in place of Barbara Gordon.
    • Earth 2014.28 is a world where Kal-El was raised on Apokolips, which is the premise of Superman: The Dark Side.
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    • Earth 2014.29 is a Bizarro Universe, home to the Bizarro versions of the characters.
    • Earth 2014.30 is a universe where a Gender Flipped version of Kal-El landed in Soviet Russia and eventually became head of the USSR, just like in Superman: Red Son
    • Earth 2014.43 is a world where Dracula had come to Musutafu and turned the local heroes and citizens into vampires, with Koichi Haimawari being forced to become a vampire to stop him but afterwards succumbing to his hunger. This world is based off of the one presented in the Batman Vampire trilogy.
    • Earth 2014.46 is a world where an evil version of the Planetary organization distributes the wonders of the world to the masses at a snail's pace that they either stole or ripped from the dying hands of their former owners. This world is based on the one presented in Planetary/JLA: Terra Occulta.

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    Chapter 1 - Izuku Midoriya: Birthright Part 1 

    Chapter 2 - Izuku Midoriya: Birthright Part 2 
  • Izuku mentions that All Might once dealt with Lord Death Man, an obscure opponent of both Batman and Mr. Unknown in the comics.
  • The female police officer that sits with Izuku while his parents are interrogated is named Tamako Nokogiri. When broken down, her name literally means "Precious Child" and a type of Japanese Saw, a reference to Margaretnote  "Maggie" Sawyer, a Metropolis cop who frequently works with Superman. She's also mentioned to be muscular and blonde, much like Maggie.
  • The male police officer interrogating Izuku's parents is named "Shitsugen", which can translate to a marsh or a swamp. This is a reference to Dan "Terrible" Turpin, a rough cop who is often seen alongside Maggie Sawyer. His other nickname, "Brooklyn", is Dutch for swamp. He's known for being prone to violence and his generally old-fashioned way of police work due to years working the rougher streets of Metropolis, making him something of a Foil to his more progressive partner. This is reflected in Nokogiri's and Shitsugen's treatment of the Midoriyas. While Nokogiri tells Izuku that it was all an accident and that he shouldn't worry, Shitsugen rails at the Midoriyas for letting this happen and threatens to press charges that could get Izuku thrown in a maximum security prison for Villains.
  • The police officers reference Izuku's medical records after the incident with Bakugou, saying that they found no traces of the Nth Metal responsible for activating the Metagene in his blood. This is a reference to the Dark Nights: Metal, which explains that the term Metagene is derived from "Metal + Gene" and the fact that trace amounts of Nth metal can trigger the Metagene responsible for superpowers. It also gave many people superpowers after the event's conclusion, since Barbatos' arrival exposed everyone to the metal.

    Chapter 3 - Izuku Midoriya: Birthright Part 3 
  • Oa, home of the Green Lantern Corp, is mentioned as Izuku is busy squeeing while speaking to All Might.
  • Rather than the "guy sucking in his gut at the pool" analogy, All Might compares his condition to the Shazam Family's powers in this story.
  • Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, is currently stated to reside in his Green Palace, where he shoots down anything that remotely resembles an alien spacecraft that enters his crosshairs to defend the Earth after the Lantern War. This extremist portrayal of him was taken from Kingdom Come.
  • The Atomic Skull, a fairly well-known and powerful foe of Superman, is mentioned by Izuku as someone who could have left All Might with his debilitating injuries.

    S.T.A.R. Labs Interlude - And We Just Fixed the Security 

    Chapter 4 - The Übermenschen Part 1 
  • All Might's laptop is made by Wayne-Powers.
  • While watching the video All Might acquired for him, Izuku is able to pick out "Maad" and "Director Bones" in the broken audio. The first is a reference to Ishido Maad, a member of the All-Purpose Enforcement Squad (A.P.E.S.) who frequently hounded Young Justice along with his partner, Donald Fite, colloquially known as Fite 'n Maad. The second name is a reference to Director Bones, a reformed supervillain who leads the Department of Extranormal Operations (D.E.O.), serving as both a covert ally to various superhero teams as well as an antagonistic force depending on the continuity (particularly in Supergirl (Rebirth)).
  • All Might compares his beat up car to the Batmobile.
  • All Might speaks fondly of the time that he teamed up with the Doom Patrol to stop a terrorist attack by the Brotherhood of Evil that threatened to destroy London.
  • All Might exclaims, "Great Caesar's Ghost!", the catchphrase of Clark Kent's editor, Perry White, upon learning about Izuku's seven kinds of Super-Vision.
  • Firestorm says that the robots in Mt. Fuji wouldn't hold a candle to the android Red Tornado or any of the Robotmen. This is also an indirect reference to Cyborg, who became the third Robotman in Kingdom Come.
  • The word "shway", a common slang word in the United States, particularly Gotham City, gets dropped when the Villain talks about the modern teenagers' taste in music with disgust.

    Chapter 5 - The Übermenschen Part 2 
  • Izuku and All Might mention the Justice Society of America while speaking about the Ultra-Humanite.
  • The Ultra-Humanite sarcastically asks if Izuku thought he was Kite Man when they first meet.
  • Wonder Woman and Batman get name-dropped while Izuku is busy talking about Hero Rankings and Endeavor.
  • The narration name drops Wonder Woman and the Martian Manhunter again along with Starman and the Hawkpeople.
  • When Izuku learns how to fly, Firestorm cheers, "You better believe you can fly!", referencing the Tagline of Superman: The Movie, "You will believe a man can fly."
  • While panicking and worrying that he's going to develop more powers than he'll know how to control, Izuku wonders if he's going to start shooting bones out of his fists when he's 18 or turn into electricity when he's 20. The first statement is a reference to Doomsday, a living weapon crafted from Kryptonian DNA to kill Superman. One of Doomsday's powers is shooting bones out of his fists. The second is a reference to the Superman Blue/Red comics, in which Superman transformed into a being of pure electricity.

    Hope Carried 1,000 Years 
  • Lightning Lad mentions Midnighter attempting to assassinate Adolf Hitler during Earth's First World War, which was done during Garth Ennis' run in the character's solo series.
  • Brainiac 5 also mentions the Legion of Super-Villains, Libra, and the Cult of Evil while analyzing the evidence at hand and interrogating the assassin who came back in time to kill Izuku before he became Superman.

    Chapter 6 - The Übermenschen Part 3 
  • Izuku notices the crumbling state of Krypton's moon, Wegthor, and asks if it's supposed to be like that. Jor-El says that it isn't, but brushes it off as a story for another time, referencing the most infamous act of the villainous Jax-Ur.
  • Izuku's ancestor, Gam-El, is mentioned as the architect of the modern Kryptonopolis.
  • K.E.L.E.X reveals that the House of El originated in Twenx, a little referenced area of Krypton, resulting in Jor-El's, Lara's, and Izuku's East Asian features.
  • Lara Lor-Van's profession as the head priestess of the Temple of Rao rather than a scientist is a reference to the obscure Last Family of Krypton, in which Jor-El manages to save his entire family. While living on Earth, Lara begins a self-help movement, "Raology", while her husband continues his scientific research while stunting humanity's development to prevent a repeat of the events that led to Krypton's destruction.
  • When summarizing the events that led up to Izuku's arrival on Earth, Jor-El says "Doomed planet. Desperate scientist. Last hope. Kindly couple.", referencing the truncated origin story depicted in the opening pages of All-Star Superman.

    Chapter 7 - For All Seasons 
  • The text that Izuku is trying to read in Kryptonese is referencing the Vrangs, a warlike race of conquerors who attempted to invade and control Krypton thousands of years before the present day in the Pre-Crisis comics.
  • Momo and Izuku bond over their shared appreciation for Princess Shazam, a powerful Hero considered a peer of Wonder Woman. Princess Shazam is a reference to Mary Marvel, the sister of Shazam! back when he was referred to as Captain Marvel. It's also a reference to Queen Marvel, Mary's Alternate Self from Earth-22.
  • Izuku discovers a rare Beebo plush at the U.A. Culture Festival and tries to win one until he runs into Kendo Rappa. In Legends of Tomorrow, the Beebo plush is a very prominent and important toy that the team had to recover it from a group of vikings that was worshiping it as a God which very nearly changed the timeline, and later a giant version of it killed transdimensional demon and Season 3 Big Bad, Mallus.
    • The punching machine that Izuku and Rappa have a go at escalates from "destroyed a city" to "destroyed a country" to "destroyed a planet" to "ruptured the space-time continuum and rewrote history". The last one is a reference to Superboy-Prime's infamous "retcon punch" in Infinite Crisis, which brought Jason Todd back to life and rewrote the origins of several characters, including Donna Troy, Hawkman, the Metal Men, and Superman himself.
    • It's mentioned that the yakuza cell that Rappa belongs to is a part of the Hasigawa family, a yakuza group introduced in the Catwoman comics.
  • Hisashi tells his wife and son a funny anecdote about one of his foolish lab assistants, Ronnie Raymond, who got dunked in a lake and returned a bunch of lab equipment whose reservation had just been extended. Ronald "Ronnie" Raymond is the original host body for Firestorm in the Comics.
  • During Izuku's interactions with the Mi-Gos, there's an offhand mention of an earthbound immortal in the Congo. The Author confirms it's Gog.
  • The existence of Alexis Luthor is a Composite Character of the Alexis Luthor of Legion Of Superheroes and the Alexis Luthor of Earth-16, having the former's interest in Superman and the latter's cunning and dangerous nature. The colors of her purple and green business suit are a reference to her grandfather's classic outfit.
    • To prove she's not evil, Alexis declares she washes her hands like everybody else. When the Flash finds himself forced to impersonate Lex Luthor in an episode of Justice League, he refuses to do so, "cuz I'm EVIL!".
  • Alexis says that the last Luthor to indulge in villainy was her "Aunt Nasty". This is a reference to Nasthalthia "Nasty" Luthor, Lex's obscure niece who was an enemy of Supergirl in her Adventure Comics days. Nasty last appeared in All-Star Superman as a Brilliant, but Lazy teenager who went along with her uncle's schemes and once tried to marry her zombie boyfriend on a comet that would crash into Earth and wipe out humanity.
  • Izuku questions Alexis' reason for attending U.A. when there are equally prestigious schools in the United States like Gotham Academy and the Lex Luthor Institution of Accelerated Humanity. Gotham Academy is the setting of Gotham Academy as a prestigious high school with a storied past and connections to the paranormal. In Young Justice, Dick Grayson, Artemis Crock, and Barbara Gordon attend high school there in the first season.

    Chapter 8 - The Conqueror 
  • The day after he meets Alexis, Izuku helps himself to some of Green Arrow's blazing hot chili to warm himself up that winter morning.
  • Izuku mentions that All Might visited Kansas to help Ma Hunkel, the original Red Tornado and an honorary member of the Justice Society of America, and her granddaughter battle T.O. Morrow and stop his plot to level the American mid-south with a massive earthquake.
  • Present Mic brings up the VR game, Sentries of the Last Cosmos, while describing the zero-pointer robot of the U.A. Entrance Exam. This is a reference to the eponymous episode of Batman Beyond, during which Batman was forced to face off against three, highly-skilled gamers who were tricked into using their skill at the game to sabotage parts of Gotham.
  • Present Mic says that true Heroes need to embody Wisdom, Wonder, Mystery, and Entropy, referencing the aspects of the universe embodied by the Omega Titans in Justice League: No Justice.
  • Present Mic begins the exam's practical portion without a countdown, telling the applicants, "This ain't Houston, kids! Get a move on, already!"
  • Izuku is angry when he discovers that the zero-pointer robot terrorizing the U.A. Entrance Exam is a replica of Starro the Conqueror, a powerful alien starfish whose invasion of Earth was responsible for the creation of the Justice Society of America. This references the very first Justice League of America story.
    • He then proceeds to smash the pavement to lift up a massive rock to throw at it. Izuku misses, only managing to destroy the Starro robot's upper left arm. The robot (voiced by Present Mic), proceeds to gloat about Izuku's failure to destroy it, referencing the infamous lines spoken by Killer Croc in Batman: The Animated Series.
      Starro: It's gonna take more than a rock to beat me, even if it is a big rock.
    • Present Mic's impression of Starro is based on his depiction as a Bill Cipher-like Troll in Dark Nights: Metal.
    • When instructed to sic the Starro robot on the prospective students, Nedzu tells Present Mic to see if the students can keep their ideals or if they're just blowing smoke, referencing the opening lyrics of the TV cut of UVERworld's "ODD FUTURE", the first opening theme of My Hero Academia's third season (beware of spoilers for those who haven't caught up with the anime).
  • The full roster of the original Justice Society of America is said to have included the original Batman, Wonder Woman, the original Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Doctor Fate, and Martian Manhunter.
  • The questions on the written portion of the exam are chock-full of references.
    • The identities of the first three Robins, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake, are the mentioned in the first revealed question. Tim is referred to as an advocate for equal rights for Quirk users and Dick is referenced as the mastermind behind the Golden Age Clause of the Hero Registration Act, which allows for Heroes who were active before the establishment of the centralized Hero system to maintain their Secret Identities.
    • Hypertime, the interconnected web of various realities in the DC Multiverse, is mentioned in another question along with the 52 established universes of the New 52.
    • The Dragon King, an enemy of the All-Star Squadron, is mentioned in one of the questions.
    • Casey Brinke, a member of the Doom Patrol from Gerard Way's run, is mentioned as being instrumental in helping to make it possible for women to engage in Homosexual Reproduction.
    • The question about the Joker and his "One Bad Day" philosophy is a reference to the famous The Killing Joke and its nihilistic portrayal of the Joker's personality. In addition, the question alludes to multiple Jokers, referring to the presence of multiple Jokers in DC Rebirth as well as the abundance of Jokerz in Gotham City.

    Chapter 9 - Deku's Pal, Katsuki Bakugou (1) 
  • The title of the chapter is a reference to the "Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen" comic series, which revolved around Jimmy Olsen, who is Superman's closest friend in the 50s through the 70s. The chapter itself has chunks narrated from Katsuki's point of view as well as everyone's perceptions of him playing second-fiddle to Izuku.
  • Izuku mentions that Vlad King had Oracle's help in taking down Count Dracula.
  • Nedzu mentions that he teamed up with Detective Chimp in the past.
  • As part of Yamashiro's icebreaker, 1-A each write down their favorite Hero, oftentimes referencing DC characters from both ends of the prominence spectrum.
    • Kouda says his favorite Hero is Batman IV, aka Damian Wayne, the fourth Robin in the Rebirth continuity and Batman's only blood-related son. He's also a Vigilante in a world full of legalized Heroes.
    • Ojiro's favorite Hero is Animal Man, who has been in and out of prominence but had a notable spike in popularity under Grant Morrison.
    • Aoyama says his favorite Hero is Crimson Fox, all three of them. They're referring to an obscure European superhero who first appeared in Justice League Europe.
    • Sero writes that his favorite Hero is Ted Kord, the third Blue Beetle. This is unusual, since Ted Kord is traditionally the second Blue Beetle.
  • Bakugou turns out to own a blue cat. Named Dexter.
  • When Aizawa introduces Yamashiro/Katana, he describes her like Rick Flag did in Suicide Squad (2016):
    Aizawa: This is Katana; she's… got my back… I would advise… not getting killed by her… her sword traps… the souls… of its victims…
  • Itsuka is surprised when Izuku decides to take alien studies as his elective course. He replies that he isn't super interested in the course, but the only other option is journalism and he doesn't fancy himself a writer. The latter is an obvious jab at Clark Kent's day job.
    Itsuka: Alien studies? Didn't know you were interested in that stuff.
    Izuku: W-Well, it's not like I'm super interested in that stuff, or anything. It's just that, um, this and journalism were the only electives left, and I've never seen myself as much of a writer.
    Itsuka: I don't know, I think you could write something good if you tried.
  • The art of Izuku in his costume (as depicted on the main page and on his character sheet) is an obvious send off to the cover of Action Comics #1, the first comic book to feature Superman.
    • Izuku's costume is also a composite of his canon counterpart's first costume (the All Might-inspired hood, the colors, and the white detailing), Superman's costume as depicted in Superman (Rebirth) (the insignia and the belt in place of Underwear of Power), Conner Kent's costume (the striped boots), and Jon Kent's costume (the costume is separated into a zippered jacket and leggings).

    The Daily Struggles of U.A. High School Janitor Hana Aoi, Age 32, Blood Type O, Three Sizes Moderately Satisfying, Part 1 
  • The robot rampaging in the U.A.'s kitchen is called "Robo-Octo-Ape". It's Mei's Baby #689, the same issue of Superman where it originally appeared.

    The Mysterious Mister Mxyzptlk! 
  • The story as a whole is a reimagining of Mxyzptlk's introductory episode in Superman: The Animated Series, down to the way he explains to Izuku the correct way to pronounce his name.
  • The eggs the Midoriyas usually buy come from "Chang Tzu Farms", referencing the egg-shaped Chinese supervillain who first appeared in 52.
  • Mxyzptlk brings up numerous other denizens of the Fifth Dimension, including Qwsp and Zook. He also laments how Qwsp didn't feel right about bothering "Fishboy" after the latter's Quirk manifested and Zook's buddy vanishing.

    Chapter 10 - Deku's Pal, Katsuki Bakugou (2) 
  • Tenya expected Izuku to have a cape as part of his costume and is surprised that he didn't, referencing the Badass Cape that has become synonymous with Superman.
  • Itsuka teases Izuku for his costume's cheesy All Might-styled hood, referencing the second version of his canon counterpart's costume.
  • Tooru's costume is rainbow-colored with a white star emblem in the center. Later it's confirmed that her mother is Kimiyo Hoshi, aka Doctor Light.
  • Itsuka asks what the "S" on Izuku's chase stands for, wondering if it means "Sensational" or "Spectacular" and is about to settle on "Super" before he cuts her off.
  • All Might hands out more Beebo plushies while making teams for the Heroes vs. Villain exercise.
  • Trying to get in character while playing the villain role, Tenya decides to channel Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash, using several of his lines from Season One of The Flash (2014).
  • Bakugou calls Itsuka "Karate Kid".

    Chapter 11 - Deku's Pal, Katsuki Bakugou (3): Katsuki Bakugou, Secret Origin 
  • The full title of the chapter references Superman: Secret Origin.
  • Bakugou is proud of his ability to learn the the Batusi faster than anyone else in his class.
  • While in the middle of his Near-Death Experience, Bakugou gets his soul pulled out of his body by Death of the Endless, who proceeds to make him sit down for a chat.
  • Death of the Endless remarks that Bakugou's priorities are weird for a little kid, reminding her of David Hyde, the Black Manta.
  • According to Death, Bakugou has an important role to play in preventing a great tragedy when someone opens the door to the Graveyard of Gods, referencing the events of Justice League: Drowned Earth.
  • When Bakugou learns that he isn't dead, he asks what the hell is going on and if he's in some kind of dream. Death remarks that it definitely isn't, since dreams are her brother's domain.

    Heroes out of Crisis 

    Chapter 12 - Deku's Pal, Katsuki Bakugou (4) 

    A World of Smiles 
  • The overall plot is an adaptation of the Justice Lords' origin story, replacing the death of Flash with All Might's and Lex Luthor with All For One. Nana even chooses to be called Lady Inanna, the female version of the "Lord" title.

    All Might Is 
  • The way Izuku is pummeled until he's bloody and unconscious before nearly having his spine broken over the Noumu's knee is a clear nod to the events of Knightfall.


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