Who’s Who In The DCU 9.17.03

Well if you are reading this then apparently something came up in my life. I put this column together as a ”just in case” type thing.

(What actually happened is that I have to polish up a short film script and ready it for production, I also want to work on a comic script, so that I may be able to pitch to some of the editors at this weekend’s Con. And I’m also still kind of bummed at Johnny Cash’s passing.) – Mathan 9/15/03

(Hey gang. Since Mathan was kinda out of commission this week, this will be a special column. The first part is reader feedback, and then in part two, I’m going to answer a fairly long DC-related JLA/Avengers question from last week’s The Marvel Handbook. Enjoy! –Ben)

Welcome to my first Reader’s Feedback Column. Y’see I knew that I would eventually need to take a break from writing a weekly column (and another weekly column, plus comic reviews and whatever else I happen to be writing at the time.) So devised a way for me to get a break and you still get to see your name in the column for the week. Oh, for the record I am composing this on 9/6/03.

Well for my answer in 4/4/03’s column about who would win in a battle between Captain Marvel and Superman I got quite a few responses.

First was from Cliff Rold

Actually, DC did this story well in the late seventies. Along with the giant edition Muhammad Ali vs. Superman and Superman vs. Spider Man, they did a giant edition Superman vs. Shazam. It was very well done, and Captain Marvel won if I remember. I have the book, but it can be hard to find. On the inside cover (front and back) is a detailed retelling of the DC-Fawcett lawsuit and how DC came to acquire Captain Marvel and also why he was re-titled Shazam. Great stuff.

Mkick had this to say;

Actually they have locked horns in the DCU somewhat recently… in superman 102 in 1995 they fought each other. Superman saw Marvel as the cyborg… and Marvel saw Supes as Black Adam. So they fought for a while until Clarks dad saw Marvel as Marvel and told him… turns out an evil presence was seeing over the whole thing… blah blah… etc etc…

Tom Walsh had this to say in response to my comment on Silver Surfer beating the tar out of Kyle Rayner from 5/10/03’s column.

You may already be aware of it but the Silver Surfer has already fought
A Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner). It was in the DC/Marvel crossover from a few years back (the one where characters from each universe fought to
Determine which universe survives). Surfer won and, yes, it was a quick fight. They went at each other like jousting knights and it was good night for Kyle after that.

My question about the greatest single issue of all time 5/29/03 yielded some good responses.

Jeff says

“the issue of the original Flash run where Flash/Reverse Flash battle to the end with Reverse Flash being “murdered” a second before he can kill Fiona.”

Sean says;

Favorite issue: gotta be Amazing Spider-Man #248, Kid who collected spider-man. The story I always remember as embodying the true character of Spider-Man/Peter Parker.

Andy Richardson feels very strongly about his pick (I tend to agree with him as it was the first comic that I ever read.)

This is an easy one. If you have never read Justice League of America #200 (original series) you are missing single issue perfection. First begin with the wraparound cover by George Perez featuring about 15 heroes in battle. Seriously, does anyone do these types of pencils better? The story is awesome too. First it begins by a quick retelling of the Origin of the JLA and the Appelex meteors. This is pre-Crisis, so there is no messy continuity. It reintroduces Martian Manhunter who has been gone so long Firestorm has never even heard of him. The original heroes have all been mind controlled so they fight against the more modern membrers. MM v. Firestorm, Aquaman v. Red Tornado w/ and assist from the Phantom Stranger, Flash V. Elongated Man, Superman destroys Hawkman, Batman v. Black Canary and GA (who isn’t a member at this time), GL v. Atom, and WW v. Zatanna. Add several guest stars, including Adam Strange and Snapper Carr, and some real drama in between the fights. For example, Superman lauches hawkman in the cosmos and EM has to strech past his limits to save him. Of course in the end, Justice prevails and all of the heroes come together to fight off the aliens. I think I can still quote from the book “They have no battle cry, nor do they need one. They are the greatest heroes the world has ever seen. They are The Justice League of America” This line is over a spash page of all 20+ heroes charging out to fight the aliens. It’s freeking inspiring. God, I must have read that book 500 times as a kid. when I got in college, I bought 10 copies and gave them to every comic fan I knew.
Great stuff thanks for giving me the opportunity to write about this.

Tim B makes a pretty strong case for his pick.

I would have to go with Watchmen #4.
One of the most brilliant stories ever told in the comic format, and a
fantastic issue – finding a wonderfully mysterious and poetic way of
describing the viewpoint of someone who experiences all life

Hey Ben, what’s your favorite issue of all time?

If I thought harder, it would probably be some issue of New Teen Titans, but my quick & dirty answer for years has been X-Force #19, where Cannonball stands up to Professor X and the team strikes out on their own. I wrote about it in Watchtower once. –Ben

Robb W. Farmer responded to my 6/5/03 question about who was DC’s most mistreated character.

Until recently I would have said either Hawkman or Power Girl, but Geoff Johns seems to be bringing those characters around nicely. Now I think its a tie between Hank “Hawk/Monarch/Extant” Hall and Captain Atom, two characters who were ruined by the same stupid editing decision. Hawk was a good character ruined for no real reason other than DC wanted to surprise people with who Monarch turned out to be in Armageddon 2001. When it was obvious to anyone that Captain Atom was supposed to be Monarch, the last minute decision changed it to Hank. The complete idiocy of a college jock brick as a technologically advanced menace cannot be understated. Monhawk fought Captain Atom and an explosion sent them hurtling through time to find themselves in The Armageddon Agenda, one of the worst mini-series in memory that was to lead to a new Captain Atom series to deal with an alien invasion. Guess they’re still working on it 12 years later. Captain Atom went on to Extreme Justice, where he fought with Monarch again, then found out he wasn’t really Nathaniel Atom, but a quantum clone and the real Adam was the real Monarch. (My head is starting to hurt). However, the Hank Hall Monarch, who wasn’t supposed to be Monarch, was still controlling the Team Titans to lead to Zero Hour, then changed his name to Extant. Extant was supposedly the unity of order and chaos, which would have explained his power up, but wasn’t really true. He stole Waverider’s time powers and was supposed to be the main villain of Zero Hour, but then took an immediate back seat to Parallax (I guess they had something in common as heroes stupidly turned evil), and wasn’t even worth the time to chase at the end of the series. Since then, Extant lost a fight to Impulse (yeesh), fought the JSA to a standstill, before being placed on a jet about to crash, which killed him and left a skeleton, even though he was supposed to be made of energy now. Geoff Johns was kind enough to try to make sense of why Hank went nuts, but to this point he’s still gone and evil, if not still dead. Captain Atom went from Extreme Justice to the L.A.W, another bad series, and since then, the guy who had a long running series, led all superheroes in Invasion, has years of military experience, led the JLE, Extreme Justice, and the LAW is hardly ever seen and not used even in JLA because he’s not a “team player.”

I know Ben has an opinion on this.

Jesse Quick. She got her characterization annihilated in Titans, a title she wasn’t even needed for, then had to lose her powers to regain any sort of credibility. I’m sure other have endured worse, but she’s fresh in my mind. Actually, now that I think about it, Donna Troy wins this hands down. –Ben

In the 6/20/03 column I asked you your favorite Green Lantern was, and Jason E responded;

And in regards to our favorite Green Lantern? I liked Hal, he had what I felt was a strong mini role in the Reign/Return of Superman, despite it only built up to his end of Green Lantern. I felt in his last hours of being a GL and decimating the Corps and his Parallax/Zero Hour run were what really made me enjoy his character. But as for all time favorites, I came along when Raynor jumped in the saddle. He’s my favorite because he’s been a character I could follow from the start and like myself he’s an artist. It’s nice to see the ring used in a more creative way then just a big boxing glove.

Ben isn’t your favorite Green Lantern G’nort? No, the fin-headed dude who didn’t save Krypton. –Ben

On 7/6/03 I asked who you thought would win in a battle between Superman and Captain Marvel. Jason Osborne wrote;

In response to Captain Marvel vs. Superman, Superman would win, though i wish it could be Captain Marvel. Supermanis Earths champion, and there seems to be no limit to his power. Captain Marvel is kick ass, and I believe he could have been bigger than Superman. Captain Marvel, with the power of Shazam, has the speed of mercury, the strength of hercules, and some other kick ass stuff. In the end though, Superman would win the battle, simply because Captain Marvel is a pre-teen child.

The Albrecht might have a different view.

I would say Marvel would win in a close fight. Look at the powers he
possesses, plus he is Earth’s mightiest mortal. Also look at Kingdom
Come. He was wiping the floor with Superman. However, since the only way we would see this battle is in comic book form, Superman would win since he is a DC original and Marvel is from Fawcett. However, we all know that Marvel would win.

The unstoppable force the living Juggernaut wants to add his two cents.

As a huge fan of Captain Marvel I hate to say this but Superman wins hands down. Realistically Captain Marvle is supermans equal if not his superior when it comes down to abilities and young billy batson hasnt even hit his prime yet. Captain Marvel has gotten the better os supes from time to time but it has never been a knock down drag out fight. so lets measure the two up and see why superman wins.

enhanced senses
heat vison
extreme durability
super inteligence

extreme durability
super intelligence

ok for the most part superman and captain marvel are pretty even, supes has super senses, cap has the wisdom of solomon, supes has heat vision and cap has the power of zeus. both are fast both are strong and both are pretty damned near indestructible, cap has magic based abilities and supes has a weakness to magic, but superman has been around for a while and has dealt with and fought alot more then captain marvel has, so superman gets the nod. superman wins because of his experience. captain marvel is still just a teenager and has alot to learn about the whole super hero business, and superman most likely has a few tricks up his sleeves to use againts an opponent like cap. but…… experience is the only thing that keeps captain marvel from beating the orphaned little alien and using the yellow S shield as toilet paper, given a few more years and captaon marvel with the powers of the gods will most likely take supes place as the greatest hero on earth.

Hallsy feels this way

Supes would kick all kinds of ass since Captain Marvel is in actuality just a naive kid. You would have to be one supreme bad-ass to take down the Man of Steel.

JohnBritton, you always add insight

As to the Superman vs. Captain Marvel question: Didn’t we see Captain Marvel tan Superman’s hide in Kingdom Come? Captain Marvel was possessed and evil, and the lightning is magic, and Superman was older and weaker, though. I think that’s the only way it could happen. Superman’s pretty deadly if he wants to be. He can see you from a mile away and burn you to a crisp. Captain Marvel would have to be pretty smart (like Batman devious-smart) to beat Superman, and I don’t know if the wisdom of Solomon extends to the world of kicking ass.

Some guy named Ben Morse had this to say

During “Crisis Times Five” in JLA, Cap KO’ed Superman with one punch by catching him by surprise. He both said he got lucky and that he had an advantage because he was imbued with magic, making his punches more effective against Supes. I think in terms of pure power, if neither is holding back, Cap actually wins, due to the magic. But if you factor in smarts, Supes is much craftier, so I’d give the advantage to him overall.

In this same column I made some comments about Aquaman, Jim Kosmicki corrects me.

I just have to speak up about the “was Aquaman ever really popular?”

there is a history of comics that exists before 1988 or so.

Aquaman was not especially popular after his creation, but since Mort Weisinger had a hand in creating him (and Jonny Quick and Green Arrow), they survived longer than the earlier heroes did. Aquaman was a backup character for about 20 years (and many still argue that he should have remained so).

He was one of the earliest DC characters given a tryout in Showcase (he always gets forgotten when people begin listing Flash, Green Lantern, Atom, etc.). He was popular enough (at a time when the numbers to justify a title were pretty stringent) to be given his own title, which survived longer than Atom, Hawkman, Spectre, and several other more “respected” characters.

He was also lucky enough to be turned into an early cartoon as part of the Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure, which lasted for several years at the end of the 60s.

He was never given much respect by comics fans, until near the end of his original run, when Steve Skeates and Jim Aparo took over. This run was very well received, and was considered, at the time, to be on a par with Deadman and the classic O’Neill/Adams Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories. They’ve been forgotten because they were never collected, probably because the last issue ended in a VERY unresolved cliffhanger.

Even after this cancellation, Aquaman was never left in limbo for long, and after being revived in anthology titles like “Adventure” would have solid enough sales to be moved into his own title. Then, there’d be one of the regular purges of middle-to-low selling titles, and he’d get cancelled again.

By the way, I’ve never cared much for Aquaman (other than the few issues of the Skeates/Aparo run that I’ve seen). But it is important to do a little bit of research when answering a question like this.

My answer would be more along the lines of: “Aquaman’s never been a fan favorite, but he’s had enough of a following to be published and revived on a regular basis for 60 years now, so he certainly has some amount of popularity with the general public, if not the standard superhero audience.”

Well said, and I apologize for the oversight. I am actually going to call this a column. This week’s question: what is the most absurd comic related item you ever purchased (ie Superman toothpicks or a Batman extension cord.)

I will be back next week with a more traditional column and I’m sure that I will have some anecdotes from my adventures at a Comic Con. Sorry if you are disappointed, I just didn’t want to answer anyone’s questions half-assed. Or at least less than half-assed.

Just to keep tradition alive, I’ll still put Mathan’s quote at the end. Ben in the driver’s seat now. As promised, here’s the skinny on the six DC items out of the 12 items of power from JLA/Avengers #1. I can’t promise issue numbers or anything (maybe some), but I’ll do my best. Here goes…

The Bell, The Wheel & The Jar

The Green Bell of Uthool, the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath and the Red Jar of Calythos, to be exact. These are three mystic artifacts that the aliens known as the “timeless ones” used to imprison Abnegazar, Rath & Ghast, collectively known as the Demons Three, three demons (duh) who used to run roughshod over Earth before the dawn of man. If you assemble the items and perform some ceremony (that seems by all indications to involve ringing the bell while pouring whatever’s in the jar on the spinning wheel…sounds like a game of Mouse Trap), you free the Demons Three and pray that they’re grateful enough to give you a hand with whatever evil (has to be evil) scheme you’ve got in mind. The only two instances I know of where it was done were Justice League of America (the original series) #10, where Felix Faust did it, and JloA #147-148, where Mordru did it and the JLA, JSA & Legion all teamed to stop them. I’m sure it’s been done other times, post-Crisis.

The Medusa Mask

The Medusa Mask is an ancient artifact of mysterious origin that is able to allow the wearer to control the emotions of others. Unfortunately (for the wearer), it has a nasty side effect of causing insanity. It was discovered by the first Psycho-Pirate (last name, Halstead, don’t know his first name) and after his death passed onto the second Psycho-Pirate (Roger Hayden), whose biggest claims to fame are having been the sole surviving witness to Barry Allen’s death and (according to issues of Animal Man) still remembering how the DCU was pre-Crisis.

The Spear of Destiny

The spear purportedly used to stab Jesus Chris in the heart during the crucifixion, it contains incredible mystical power. During World War II, Hitler used the Spear’s power to create a barrier that prevented the All-Star Squadron and all other superhumans from entering Germany. The Spear is also one of the few items capable of destroying The Spectre. During the 90’s Spectre series, Superman was given the Spear to use against The Spectre when it seems he had lost it. But Supes ended up being possessd by Hitler’s ghost and The Spectre had to save the day. At the end of the story, Supes hurled the Spear into the sun so nobody else could access its power.

Green Lantern’s Power Battery

Forged from parts of a central energy source on the planet Oa, power batteries contain energy for Green Lanterns to recharge their rings with. Before Hal Jordan went nuts and became Parallax, GLs needed to recharge their rings every 24 hours or they were screwed. Kyle Rayner has made improvements on his ring so that he only needs to recharge it every so often, not every day. GL batteries have been shown to be able to do lots of neat party tricks, like turn invisible and follow their users around like faithful dogs. Recently, when Oa was reconstructed by Kyle Rayner as Ion, he created a new central battery and used it to create the new generation of Guardians.

The Orb of Ra

In ancient Egypt, a sorcerer named Ahmon-Ra (or something close) discovered this powerful mystical item that allowed him to transform into an elemental creature called The Metamorph. Alongside Vandal Savage, The Metamorph battled against the armies of Khufu and slaughtered many, including the family of Teth Adam. It was Teth, as Black Adam, who killed The Metamorph, disrupting his connection to the Orb. Centuries later, explorer Rex Mason discovered the Orb and became the superhero Metamorpho. It has been shown that even if he is seemingly killed, if the remaining essence of Metamorpho can access the Orb, he can reform himself a new body.

The Eternity Book

The book that Eternity of the Endless uses to record everything that has happened and will happen from the dawn of time to the end. Also the item I know the least about; I’m sure it’s wicked powerful.

“And she’s watching him with those eyes. And she’s loving him with that body, I just know it.”

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