Also, the theoretical new image would be a new compostion, it would just be individual bodies, or even just body parts, that are based on existing references by other creators, with the major caveat that there is more than one example for each reference so it's basically more like "following an established trend" than "copying someone's original creation".
Well, an homage is usually marked by a signature along the lines of "artist X after artist Y". I wasn't thinking about recreating something particularly memorable, just looking for reference images (just of a pose/perspective/layout) that looks like what I want, then finding more examples that just happen to look very similar, and it cannot be determined which version came "first".
What you're describing is more an "homage" than plagiarism, really. I'm assuming you would be using different characters. It's basically like all the comic covers that homage the death of Supergirl cover from Crisis on Infinite Earths...but with different characters. It's not plagiarism, it's a reference. But if several artists have a memorable layout and are all using it, chances are it actually is referencing something memorably original.
Would that still qualify as plagiarism? After all, it could be argued that what I've recreated isn't that original to begin with since several other people have supposedly had the same general idependently from each other.
In Ask Vector Prime, it was mentioned that in the Beast Wars 2 universe, Convoys all have Energon Matrices and that when Optimus Primal from the Japanese Beast Wars stream was transported to the Beast Wars 2 stream, his history was subtly altered that he too possessed an Energon Matrix. What does this mean? That Beast Wars 2 is actually not canon to the Japanese Beast Wars?