Cracking The DC Code by Mandi Odoerfer and Breki Tomasson

Firstly Mandi Odoerfer of CSICON noticed that alien language text used in a number of DC New 52 comics… were the same alien language.

DC may have revealed the name of the mysterious hooded woman, but it appears they still have a few more mysteries up their sleeve. Early on in two of this week’s books – Hawk and Dove and Swamp Thing – we see the appearance of a strange alien language.

hawk and dove language

Taken alone, it seems like it could be a coincidence – two letterers working with the same “weird language” font. However, if you dig back a little deeper…

From Savage Hawkman #1

From Superman #1

superman language

From Superman #4

justice league international language 1

From Justice League International #4

justice league international language 2

From Justice League International #4

justice league international 3

From Justice League International #4

… it appears this is more than just a coincidence. DC seems to be hinting at something, but what could it be? Are they planting seeds for their next big event? Plotting the introduction of a new character or the re-introduction of someone we haven’t seen in the DCnU? Only time will reveal the true meaning behind this language. In the meantime, I’m going to have some fun seeing if I can spot it in any more titles.

We have the language, now how about a translation? It looks like it’s a simple letter replacement – but what letters? Over to Breki Tomasson from CSICON who writes, seeing a very easy way in to start translating a stack of letters;

Here’s something from Green Lantern Corps #3:

Green Lantern Corps #3Green Lantern Corps #3

Alien AlphabetSo, apparently the rings can speak Alien, and the alien language has as many letters per word as English does. Methinks we’re dealing with a substitution crypto, giving us the symbols for fourteen different letters: A, C, D, E, I, L, M, N, O, R, S, T, V, Y; more than half of the English alphabet!

On your left, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, is a quick sketch I made of what we know so far. Sorry about the quality, but I wanted to get this out early. Maybe I’ll make a better one at a later date.

Still, knowing this, we can go back to Mandi and look at what she showed us!

First up, Hawk And Dove #5. “We’re all going to be flying without nets. ?OM TRO ?ENNTO LOR NON”. Not very illuminating, and I suspect it’s a Romantic language. Spanish, Italian. Maybe Portugese. Anybody?

Next up, Swamp Thing #5. “?S?EA? IN OLD ?ORT??ESE?”. I’m not sure about that first character, it might not be an r. Still; “in old” may indicate we’re dealing with an English substitution. In that case, the last word may be “Portugese”, giving us a whole lot of new letters. Let’s assume it’s true, that gives us new letters for G and U.

Let’s look at The Savage Hawkman #1. Here, a monster screams “RRAAR?A!”. Based on context, I’m guessing the missing letter is a ‘G’, but I’m not confident enough to add it to the list of known letters. It sure matches my theory of “Portugese” above, since it’s the same symbol as I assume is used for G there.

Moving on, Superman #1: “GI??ERIS?”. Using the G I extrapolated above, this one stumped me for a while before leaving me laughing at the screen. The fire creature is literally screaming “GIBBERISH!”. We now know the B and the H!

Superman #4 was tricky, but only because there were so many identical letters that we haven’t seen before. “A?? I??? ?? AL?L ?????L”. I’m not convinced this one actually means anything, too many of the letters are different from the ones we know.

Justice League International #4 gives us, first of all, “THE ALARM! THERE IS AN INTRUDER!”. Fantastic. Next up, he shouts “?UNY GREEN LANTERN!”, making me assume that first letter is a P. Second sentence in the same frame: “? ?ILL DE?EAT YOU ?ITH EAE?”. A little strange here, but I think he’s saying “I will defeat you with” … something. [Rich adds – a typo for “ease”]This means that we’ve suddenly seen a new character for the letter ‘I’, making me assume that the straight line is a capital I and the squiggle above is the lower case I. Anyway, W and F are new letters from here. The last bit from Justice League International #4 is: “THE TANSLATORS IN MY SHIP … now enables me to understand your language”. Yes, ‘tanslators’. Looks like they messed up there.

So there you have it. Not as big a mystery as I thought.

DCnU Alphabet

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.