Who's Who In The DCU 3.19.03: The Flash, Firestorm, Zero Hour

What’s up? My name is Mathan Erhardt. I am here as a sort of shepherd for the DC universe. My job is to help you understand the DCU. I am taking all questions. You want to know who is the fastest speedster in the DCU? I got you. You need to know exactly how many people know that Batman is Bruce Wayne? No problem. Just email me your questions, or post them on the message board and your answers will be forthcoming.

Let’s get it started.

The first question comes from the DC Comics message board:

How does the Flash perceive time

When the Flash moves at super speeds time still flows, it just seem slower to him. I mean this is a guy who plucks bullets out of thin air. When tapped into the “Speed Force” everything around him slows down, or if he were going fast enough, becomes stationary. As a result he can experience minutes between seconds. Now I know that you are thinking “Who is this Mathan guy? I have never heard of him. He doesn’t know what his is talking about.” But wait I have proof. In Flash #91 Wally blames himself for being too slow and tries to double his speed by using Johnny Quick’s speed formula. As a result Wally becomes too fast and is actually trapped between seconds. Fire is nothing but light to him, because he is moving to fast for the heat to register. Max Mercury comes to his aid, but that is the perfect example of how Wally perceives time.

The next question is actually from my friend Jason.

I hear that Firestorm is getting a new title. Based on what I know about the character (admittedly not a lot) shouldn’t he be unstoppable? I mean he can like change bullets into flowers. What are his limitations?

Firestorm is the superhero identity if Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein. It goes like this whenever either of these guys feels like it they can become Firestorm. So if Stein is driving in his car and Raymond wants to be Firestorm to go flying, they both disappear and in the place of Raymond is now Firestorm. They both “share” consciousness of the Firestorm body. Now on to his powers, ok this comes straight from the original Who’s Who. And I quote “Firestorm’s principal power is the ability to perceive and rearrange the atomic and molecular structure of matter.” Wow is he powerful. Plus he can alter the density of things, and make himself intangible. He can fire nuclear energy, and absorb explosions and radiation. He is limited to using his rearranging powers on inorganic matter. For instance he couldn’t change an ugly blind date into a supermodel. If he does use his powers on organic matter, he gets some kind of energy feedback that causes some pain. Another of his limitations is that Raymond doesn’t know that much about science. He can’t fully live up to his potential, because of his lack of experience.

For a while Stein was Firestorm solo, and was Earth’s fire elemental. But now we are back with good old traditional Firestorm.

Here is another question from the DC message boards.

What was the point of Zero Hour?

Zero Hour was an attempt to fix a few things. First and foremost it attempted to fix the Legion of Superheroes.

The Legion has a troubling history. The Legion of Superheroes takes place in the 30th century of the DCU. When it was originally founded these teenagers used Clark Kent’s Superboy as a role model. Eventually through the magic of time travel both Superboy and Supergirl became members, and shared many exploits with the team. However after 1986’s Man of Steel mini series, which showed that Clark had never adopted the guise of Superboy, the Legion lacked and had huge holes in their almost thirty year continuity. After all the Legion shared a title with Superboy in the beginning. How could DC keep those stories with having a Superboy? They couldn’t, so they created a “pocket universe” with one hero, Superboy. Now while the Legion existed in the current DCU, whenever they traveled back in time they took a detour to the “pocket universe.” A Legion villain, the Time Trapper, created this “pocket universe” so that the Legion would form, and thwart another Legion villain, Mordu, from coming to prominence. Are you still with me? Well a Legionnaire by the name of Mon-el killed the Time Trapper, and undid the Legion’s reality for a moment. When everything came back the Legion was inspired my Valor, a daxamite (an alien like Superman, except with a weakness of lead not kryptonite). They had characters like Superboy and Supergirl without having Superboy and Supergirl. Everything seemed pretty cool in a convoluted sort of way. But this was nothing more than a bandage on gunshot wound. With a confusing 30 odd year history the Legion was rebooted in a more reader friendly format.

Secondly Zero Hour attempted to fix Hal Jordan/Parallax and Hank Hall/Monarch. Monarch used to be the super hero Hawk. But DC made him go rogue, only he wasn’t a major threat. Zero Hour beefed up Monarch into Extant, giving him more powers and a better costume. Hal Jordan used to be Green Lantern, but he too went rogue and destroyed the Green Lantern Corps. But he still wasn’t seen as a major villain in the DCU. How could DC turn all of his allies against him? By making him a villain hell bent on restarting the universe in his image.

Lastly Zero Hour attempted to fix sales by giving every title in the DCU a zero issue. It was an origin issue that provided a perfect jumping on point for new readers.

Zero Hour messed up lots of things. It virtually destroyed Hawkman. It killed three original members of the JSA. But it also gave us Starman, which is my personal favorite book of all time, so all is forgiven.

Well I eagerly await your queries. So open the floodgates.

Please submit questions to Mathan both via e-mail and on the 411comics forum

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