Who’s Who In The DCU 7.24.03

Let me just begin by mentioning that Chris Tric is the first person to not only correctly name the song that the song lyric at the end of the last column came from, but also to acknowledge that there was indeed a song lyric at the end of the column. Gee, it only took three months to notice. I also want to thank Chris Teel for connecting me to Ebay, where a copy of Who’s Who #16 was on auction. I won. When y’all are reading this I should be reading that issue. I also want to give a sarcastic thank you to Chris Teel for connecting me to Ebay, where I spend sleepless nights hoping to find that one man whose trash is my gold. Thanks to my obsessive Ebay searching I wasn’t able to answer your questions, but I will next week. On with the show shall we?

No we shan’t. I did read “Crisis Times Five” in the JLA and I did know that that was where Wildcat’s nine lives was first mentioned. I just didn’t have the issue on me. I swore that Johns had mentioned it in JSA too. 95% of my comic collection is in Arizona. I actually only have issues going back a year and a half in the titles that I read with me (with the exception of 100 Bullets where I have the whole run.) I also have a few random mini series and one shots. I do have nearly every issue of Who’s Who at my disposal. I will strive to keep up the standard of excellence that you demand.

Mike begins the column by asking

Is The Golden Age Elseworlds series part of mainstream DCU or not? I thought I read somewhere that although it was an Elseworld, it was now considered part of the DCU.

The Golden Age has never been in continunity. When it first appeared it had the Elseworlds logo on the front. The TPB is also an Elsewords. While I agree that it is a great story that could be in continunity, I also understand why DC would want to keep it out. I mean Hitler’s brain, and all that carnage at the end. It’s kind of gritty. It’s author, James Robinson, made allusions to the events of The Golden Age in Starman, leading many to believe that it actually happened, but it didn’t.

Jeff wants to know

Now that the dust has settled on the Stan Lee projects what do you consider the pros and cons of that series to be? ( I always felt it was seriously lacking in the good villain department, AKA the James Bond Rule-the movie is only as good as it’s villain).

They were aight. They were what they were; on shots showing what Stan Lee would do with DC character names. Stan has some good marks on his resume (Spiderman, Fantastic Four) and some bad (Ravage 2099.) His work for DC ranks in the middle. It’s really not as bad as many people say it is, once you realize its limitations. I mean the man only had one issue to build up a character, and tell a finite story, no cliffhanger. No next issue. How would you feel about Fallen Angel, Teen Titans, or the Outsiders after reading just the first issue? Stan didn’t have the benefit of being able to plot a story arc at his own pace. He barely had time to develop the hero much less the villain. Yeah they weren’t the best of tales, but they had some pretty big names attached. Just imagine if Stan Lee had the chance to actually develop the characters instead of churning out a new batch month after month.

Mike Cupach, you have a question for me?

I have a short question. I picked up the Crisis trade paperback a couple weeks back, and I wondered were Hal Jordan was during it?

You’re right. Hal is supposed to be the greatest Green Lantern, so where was he during the Crisis? Well he may have been the Green Lantern, but he was still a man. And sometimes men need women, and do crazy things to get them. They buy stupid things, pretend to be things that they aren’t, and some men even give up being super heroes. Hal did that last thing. I remember it vividly Green Lantern #181 (one of the first comics I begged my mother to buy for me.) Hal was on the cover in uniform, in front of the Guardians, throwing his ring to the ground saying, “I quit.” In front of the Guardians! This kid was slayed. Well he quit the corps for Carol Ferris, his lady. Sector 2814 needed a new Green Lantern and the Guardians chose a guy named John Stewart, perhaps you’ve heard of him. Hal wasn’t Green Lantern when the Crisis happened, and in an amazing display of continuity Hal didn’t appear in Crisis. But John was Green Lantern so the was all over the place.

Brian Fowler asks

In 1986, Frank Miller wrote The Dark Night Returns, a story detailing an older Batman returning to work to save his city one (almost) last time. In 1988, Jim Starlin wrote Batman: A Death In the Family, dealing primarily with the Joker murdering Jason Todd, with the infamous telephone poll. However, in 1986’s DKR, the memorial to Jason Todd is already in the batcave, and Bruce is asked if he remembers what happened to Jason… What gives?

In the Dark Knight Returns Frank Miller needed a reason for Bruce to retire Batman. Costume doesn’t fit anymore. That’s not it. Isn’t as effective a crime stopper when he patrols Gotham at four to take advantage of the early bird specials? Nope, not quite. Stops because Jason Todd gets killed. Yes, that’s it. Miller dreamed up the notion that this is the only thing that would make Batman hang up the cowl. Jason Todd died so that Batman had a reason to retire, so that Batman could come out of retirement. Now when Jason Todd actually died it was a different story. Let me tell you a thing or two about Jason Todd. The pre Crisis Jason Todd was a Dick Grayson clone. But the post Crisis Todd was a hood (he tried to boot the tires from the Batmobile!) He butted heads with Batman, and may have killed a man (Batman #424.) He wasn’t a likeable character. The powers that be knew this, so they devised a plan. Jason Todd would be placed in a life or death situation and his fate would be decided by public opinion via a phone poll. We know how that turned out.

Basically to answer your question DKR was an imaginary story (even more so than other comic books) that had no affect on continuity. The monument may have inspired the one in continuity, but that is all. End of story.

I couldn’t do a column without JohnBritton could I?

What were the greatest deaths in the history of DC? I guess this has two categories: death and “death”. Barry Allen in the former, Superman in the latter. I’d like to know the top few in each, and what issues they appeared in. How about the worst? I remember thinking the death of the second Dr. Mid-nite in Eclipso was pretty shameful for what could have been a good character. Just about any time somebody learned Batman’s secret identity, you knew they were headed for the dirt nap. But when was it done well?

Robin had a good death in Batman #428. Someone important to Starman mythos dies in Starman #72. It was very touching. David Knight died in Starman #0. Batgirl technically died in “The Killing Joke.” Supergirl bit it in Crisis #7, and Barry Allen followed her lead in Crisis #8. Kilowog died in Green Lantern #50. Those were all pretty good deaths. Now for three that don’t matter anymore, but I felt they were well done. Legion of Superheroes #3 Blok’s death, whoa did that blow me away. Legion of Superheroes #19 the Moon gets blown to bits. Legion of Superheroes #38, the Earth gets blown to bits. These were the best off of the top of my head. I’ll do some more research and well return to this question at a later date.

(Ummm…are you sure about the Batgirl thing in Killing Joke? As far as I know that story is considered to be incontinuity, and therefore she wouldn’t be dead…just paralyzed. Also I don’t remember it saying anywhere in the story that she died. But if she was supposed to have died in that story, when else did Joker shoot her and paralyze her? I can’t seem to find my copy to verify this but can you explain it for all of us…thanks Mathan – Daron………The Slightly Confused Overlord)

JohnBritton you get another since I didn’t answer that one completely

I would think growing up as a kid superhero would be an awful lot like being a child star. As we know, many of them grow up well, but many grow up disaffected or totally messed up. Who are the child-star-gone-bad’s of the DCU? Dan the Dyna-mite had a rough go of it, if you accept Golden Age as in-continuity (I do), but were there others? And who among the current crop is the most likely to turn bad? My money’s on Spoiler. I think Batman kicked her out because he thinks she’s going to turn.

Well looking at Teen Titans #1 John’s is clearly hinting that Wonder Girl is heading toward the dark side. But I’m pretty sure that the stint will be short one. How does a good hero go bad? Both Hawk and Hal Jordan had devastating losses that drove them over the edge. Brainwave (Jr) and Obsidian had evil in their bloodline. And Terra just go corrupted.

Now in terms of the younger set in the DCU I’d say the most susceptible to turning bad are Tempest, Arsenal, Superby, Wonder Girl, Impulse, and Spoiler.

Tempest has a wife and kid. If he lost them I think that he’d be drive to the edge and over it. Arsenal is already a vigilante, a smack addict, and a father. If something were to happen to Lian he takes justice too far or turns to drugs to ease the pain. His hero buddies intervene. Bam, Roy’s a bad guy. Spoiler’s pop is a bad guy so she has genetics against here. Impulse can be kind of naïve so he could be duped into going bad. I think that Superboy and Wonder Girl could crack from the pressure of having to live with the high standard set by their respective mentors.

Also anyone not appearing regularly in a book has a 50/50 shot of going bad because a writer wants to shock readers. I think that Robin and Green Arrow will never turn. Connor has his head on too straight. Robin has the one two punch of Nightwing and Batman as role models to provide an excellent support system. Plus the rest of the Bat family are all great shoulders to lean on. But as usual this is just my opinion.

Guys, that’s going to do it for me I’m tired. Sorry if I didn’t get to your answers. Hallsey sorry about the last of the profiles, but I have good news. Next week is devoted to hero profiles. So if you want to know about a character, send me an email or post on the board. But I’ve already gotten requests for Supergirl, Starman (all of em) and the cast of Formerly Known as Justice League. So hurry and add yours to the list. Here is my question for the week; what was the first comic book you purchased and why?
“I just made love with your sweet memory.”

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