It’s that time again. Time for me to answer your questions about the world’s greatest comic book universe; the DCU. Let’s get on with the show.
But first, for the record, I have yet to stump Mike Z with my column closing lyric quote. He’s like the Batman to my Joker. But just like the Joker, I come back every week Tell me about itâ€¦-Ben.
Andy Campbell was the first person to tell me where I got the lyric from the end of the last column so he gets his question answered first.
Funny, because Mike C also has a question.
I have a question about Nightwing and the Joker. I was reading my TPB of Bruce Wayne: Murderer, and in one of the chapters, Nightwing says “…it was the same rage I had when I killed the Joker, I thought I had it under control…” Then a couple of chapters later, there is Joker sitting in the slab. What is Nightwing talking about killing Joker, and when did it happen?
Which is really funny because Mike C also had this question;
I have a question about Nightwing and the Joker. I was reading Bruce Wayne:Murderer the other day, and in one of the Nightwing issues he is quoted saying “it is the same rage I had when I killed the Joker, I thought I had it under control then…” only to have Joker show up a couple issues later shown sitting in the slab. Whatupwitdat?
This gets even funnier because before all of these questions Andy Campbell asked;
I had a Batman-related question. I’ve read some stuff lately that suggests that Nightwing killed the Joker. Did he actually kill him, or was it a fake death (as seems to happen often in comics)?
You guys clearly want that question answered. But let me draw this out a bit longer. Now before I get to my answer let me just say that I am not poking fun at you guys or saying that you are bothering me with your questions. I am just pointing out that I keep every email until I’ve answered the question. I may not answer your question this week or this month, but it will get answered.
Early on I decided to use moderation when putting the column together (that’s the reason I’ve been able to average a column a week for nearly six months.) I didn’t want to answer every question, and have no one ask any questions for the next week’s column leaving me with no column to send in. Right now I have quite a few questions saved up. Just remember I am not ignoring your question, just giving you incentive to come back each week. Now to your much delayed answers.
See what happened was that Nightwing thought that Robin was killed on account of Joker’s actions. This drove Nightwing over the edge. So he beats the Joker, and continues beating him until Robin shows up to prove that he’s not dead. Unfortunately the Joker has stopped breathing. But Robin and Nightwing use artificial respiration to bring him back. So it wasn’t cheesy like they waved a magic wand to bring him back, but he wasn’t dead too long either. I hope it was worth the wait. It all took place during the Joker’s Last Laugh crossover, F.Y.I. A lot of folks were pissed because DC had in fact promoted that The Joker would die and had saddled him with a fatal disease, which turned out to be a gag by a prison guard, at the beginning of the story. â€“Ben
Roy Richards want to know:
Hey whatever happened to Gnort the half man half dog Green Lantern. I remember the guardians gave him a real ring then poof he was gone?
G’nort was never the brightest member of the Corps. After his ring lost its power he ended up living in the alley behind Guy Gardner’s bar, Warrior’s. He doesn’t know why his ring doesn’t’ work and has frequent memory lapses. And you thought he couldn’t get anymore pitiful than he already was, didn’t you? But just when you thought you’d seen the last of himâ€¦G’Nort makes his “triumphant” return in November’s issue of Formerly Known As The Justice League. â€“Ben
Kenibatz, you got something on your mind?
I’ve missed the Superman storyline when after his reincarnation, he
Superman was given new powers. How and why did that happen? What happened to Superman Blue and Red when he was split apart? Why was Supes even given new powers and did any of his “energy powers” affect his life or current powers permanently, or was it a foiled marketing gimmick that was just thrown away and conveniently forgotten?
Even since the Final Night (when Supes lost his powers due to the lack of solar energy) his powers had been on the fritz. Eventually he became an energy being, that whole electric Blue Superman. Well along came the Cyborg and split him into two beings; Superman Blue who was caring and thoughtful and Superman Red who was more impulsive. He (they?) stayed like this until Supes made a selfless sacrifice during that whole Millennium Giants affair. As some sort of reward for his sacrifice he went back to being normal ol’ Supes. That is as clear as I can get it. Ben, wanna take a shot? Only to say that it was indeed a failed marketing gimmick thrown away and conveniently forgottenâ€¦and that his return to normalcy took place in the Superman Forever one shot â€“Ben
Scott Kelly, do you have a question?
I was just leafing through a recent issue of Batgirl and I was surprised to find Kitty Faulkner of S.T.A.R. labs in there. I remember her from the Will Payton Starman series, but I had no idea she was still in use. Has she appeared in any other titles since the Starman days? Is she still able to change into Rampage?
Yep she’s still running around in the DCU. She’s even got that cushy job at S.T.A.R. labs. Yep, she still has her powers and she’s learned to control them. Let’s recap; she can control her powers and is a respected scientist in the DCU. Bruce Banner must be rolling over in his grave. And you can be rest assured that as far as DC is concerned, S.T.A.R. only has three scientists on its payroll who show up ever, the others being Sarah Charles & Jenet Klyburn from the Titans. â€“Ben
Dan Martin wants know about a certain Charlton hero.
Would you please explain what happened to Captain Atom between the events of Armageddon and his appearance recently in the first issue of the fantastic FKATJL mini-series.
Well after Armageddon 2001 Captain Atom bounced around time with Monarch in Armageddon Alien Agenda. Then he showed up as a guest in several comics like Justice League and Guy Gardner. He and Wonder Woman were at odds over how to lead the pre-Zero Hour Justice League. Cap wanted a more pro-active approach, which led toâ€¦ He finally got a starring role in Extreme Justice. After that book got axed he reunited with the Charlton heroes in the L.A.W. miniseries. Now he’s hanging out with his former Justice League cohort in FKATJL and following President Lex’s orders in Superman/Batman.
Moran, you look puzzled. What’s on your mind?
What’s going on with the weaponers on Qward? Have there been any threats from the Anti-Matter universe recently? Thanks.
Those rascally Anti-Matter residents appeared in Superboy and the Ravers #18 & 19. Of course they are a major thorn in the side of any GL, even Kyle Rayner. They popped up in Green Lantern #130-132 giving their yellow power ring to Alex Nero, with disastrous results. It’s only a matter of time before they show up again. Although I did hear a rumor that they have two televison pilots looking to get picked up “Qward Eye for the Super Hero Guy” and “Thank Qward it’s Friday.” The Thunderes were also shown getting whupped by the Crime Syndicate in the first issue of JLA/Avengers â€“Ben
Mike Z, bring that heat.
Isn’t Rick Tyler (currently seen in JSA) supposed to be dead? Does the android Hourman have anything to do with it?
Nope, Rick’s not supposed to be dead. He was a tad under the weather, and even bitterly jealous of the android Hourman from the future. In that Hourman series, which was great, Rick played kind of a heavy and actually attacked the android. But that wacky android is of the forgiving lot and not only healed Rick, but bestowed him with the gifts he currently uses as a member of the JSA.
Renato Odar of Peru asks;
What character of Batman’s supporting cast you would kill? (Azrael is already dead…he’s lucky because I wanted his blood!!!)
Jason Todd? Damn too late. Sarah Gordon? Rats! How about a childhood friend that no one has ever heard of but is supposed to be a life long best friend? Nah, that’d never fly. Harold the hunchback? D’oh! If I were to kill someone it would have to be someone to strike at Batman’s heart. No one in costumes, they know the risks. None of the cops, that wouldn’t be shocking enough. I’d go for Leslie Thompkins. She’s way vulnerable. She’s known Bruce forever. And it would give him a chance to renew his vows to wiping out crime. How bout you Ben, who would you kill? Besides anybody who would ever use a joke involving the phrase “Qward Eye for the Super Hero Guy”? I’d have to say the new Batgirl. I just don’t care for her. She’s a little too good at everything.
Hallsy do you have a question for me?
What is Azrael up to now?
Uh, did you not read the question before yours? He’s dead. He died in Azrael #100. But his body was never found, which gives fans of this poor lost soul hope that he will return someday. Some people think he’s Hush. I’m still putting my money on Ben. “Thank Qward It’s Friday”â€¦good lordâ€¦oh I’m sorry Mathan, did you say something?
Mike Z, you back for more?
Is Wes Dodds dead? Was he before Kingdom Come came about?
Yep, good ol’ Wes is in the Great Beyond. When Dian passed (somewhere between their apperance in Starman and Wes showing up in JSA Secret Files #1) Wes’ flame was somewhat diminished. But he was still haunted by his dreams. He knew that the child who would be Dr. Fate was about to be born. Unfortunately the Dark Lord Mordru to his friends. â€“Ben also wanted to procure the Fate child. Wes and the Dark Lord met in the Himilayas. After the initial confrontation Wes jumped off a cliff to his death in order to prevent the Dark Lord from obtaining the Fate child’s impending whereabouts. It’s one of those grand noble deaths, along the lines of Ted Knight and Barry Allen. It happened in JSA Secret Files #1, which was released after Kingdom Come came out. But not before the future outlined in KC had a chance to come ABOUT. Kingdom Come did kick off with the death of Wesley Dodds, so it can never happen exactly like that, but still similarly perhaps. â€“Ben
JohnBritton, you look like you have a query for me.
The current Superboy never ages, right? Does that include emotionally? Does that bum him out? I realize it’s comic book land and no one ever ages anyway, but teenagers can be a wreck emotionally, and the only saving grace is that they’ll grow up someday. Is he going to be watching his girlfriends grow away from him, while he’s still interested in punching his buddies in the arm? Will he never have an adult relationship? I think that would bum me out.
What does it matter; he’s just a clone. It isn’t like he has a soul or anything (isn’t that what we learned from Quiver?) Superboy was down about it. He tried to play it off like it didn’t bother him, but it was killing him inside. Apparently he’s handling it ok. He won’t age physically but I’m sure that he will age emotionally. He won’t always be interested in kid stuff. And if he doesn’t who cares? Do 16 year olds really care about their girlfriend’s outgrowing them? Nope they have one thing on their mind; Geometry. That is like the hardest math class ever.
JohnBritton, I know you have a deep question for me, right?
It seems like most long-time comic book readers took a few years away from them at one time or another. I stopped playing with superhero dolls because everybody was playing with Star Wars dolls instead. I stopped reading comics for a few years because I was more interested in girls. I got sucked back in after college with the Death of Superman(which I didn’t like) and the first Tim Drake Robin TPB (which I still think was great) when I moved to an apartment above a cool comic store in the East Village. How about you? What are some of the other reasons people stop?
I’ve had some dry spells. There was a time, around 1994 or 95, when I was only reading Flash and Green Lantern. When I went to school I didn’t really have any money for comics so I would end up going to my comic book store back home, Fantasy Comics in Tucson Arizona, whenever I visited which was usually every six months. So every six months I would stock up on what I have missed the previous six months. This is how I fell out of favor with the Justice League of that era, and the Bat titles. But my mainstays have always been Flash and Green Lantern.
To be honest I don’t really regret not buying many books during that time. It is a true joy to collect back issues of Starman or the pre Zero Hour Legion. That is fun. There is nothing like the rush you get when you actually have that one issue that you have been missing. The one issue that every issue after it refers to. That is the thrill that drives a collector.
As for why people quit, I don’t know. It all boils down to responsibility I guess. Be it in the form of a new child or a new job, responsibility will take time and money away that was used for comics. Pretty soon months turn into a year, and you look at a comic book cover and realize that you have no idea what is going on. At that moment you make a decision. Are you curious enough to pick up the book and begin reading again? Or is your life robust enough that you no longer need the monthly adventures of grown men in silly costumes to prove entertainment? I used to watch ER all the time. But I found out that I could lead a healthy life without my weekly fix of a Chicago emergency room. Would I ever give up comics? I actually don’t think so. Comics have been with me in every incarnation of myself, from wizened kid to awkward teen-ager to slacker college student to childlike twenty something year old struggling writer with no clear cut career goal or real ambition for that matter. Nope I can’t see giving up comics. I stopped reading during high school when it wasn’t the “cool” thing to do, but then realized when I came to college that comics are in fact the cool thing to doâ€¦so what Mathan said. â€“Ben
JohnBritton, have a geography question?
Where is that graveyard with all the heroes in it?
It is actually in cemetery in New York. Valhalla is the place where super heroes and their mystery men predecessors are laid to rest. As for who is there, I’ll get that for you in a later column.
JohnBritton, got anything more hypothetical?
What do you think some heroes would name their kids? Clark Jr.? Thomas and Martha?
Parents tend to give their children names with meaning or significance, for the most part. That is why we have some real asinine names popping up, because when teen-agers get pregnant they tend to give their kids stupid names. This is why there are so many kids with celebrity names or made up names (for the record my name is actually in the bible, apparently I begat someone.) I’m guessing that the heroes would give their kids names with significance. For the most part these kids will share their name with someone who’s dead.
People who will name their kids after dead parent or parental figures;
Batman- Thomas or Martha
Flash- Barry or possibly Rudolph
Superman- Lara or Sam
Nightwing- John or Mary
Green Arrow (either one)- Moira or Robert
Hourman II- Rex
Other heroes to give their kids “dead” names
Any original Teen Titan â€“ Donna
The heroes who have the best chance of giving their kids “cool” names
I’m guessing that everyone else is up in the air for naming his or her kids. But of course it’s 6am and clarity of the mind isn’t really an attribute that I possess at the moment. As a point of reference, in Kingdom Come, Superman & Wonder Woman named their son Jonathan, The Flash’s kids were named Barry & Iris, Nightwing’s daughter was something Tamaranean and Batman’s kid was Ibnâ€¦which in Arabic means sonâ€¦this is the smartest guy in the DCU? â€“Ben
This week’s question for you; if you could live anywhere in the DCU (DCU distinct cities, real cities, other planets) where would you reside and why?
“Love, is a burning thing”
Tags: Azrael, Batgirl, Captain Atom, Cyborg Superman, Green Lantern (Guy Gardner), Hourman, JSA, Kingdom Come, Nightwing, Superboy, Superman, The Joker, Who's Who in the DCU