Who’s Who In The DCU 9.24.03

I’m back. I hope you enjoyed my fill in column by you readers (see, and you thought I was just asking you questions at the end of the column for no reason at all.) I had a blast at the con, but I didn’t really accomplish all that I had set out to do so you won’t be seeing my name in a DC comic anytime soon. But at least I got Martin Nodell’s autograph, a load of cheap comics, the first wave of Kingdom Come figures, and some more cheap comics. But you had to live without me for a whole week, so I bet you want me to get on with the show.

Not quite you should check this out, Last Guardian is a true artist. Now on with the column.

Bulldog was the first person with a question to correctly identify the lyric that closed the column on 9/10/03 so he gets his question answered first.

i have a question, in the graphic novel son of the demon, where batman aligns himself with ras a ghaul, I don’t know if i spelled that right… batman gets talia pregnant but she tells him she lost the baby during a battle with their enemy at the time. My question is, did DC ever elaborate on the child? I know they give a brief history of him in The Kingdom, but I have never seen him anywhere else. If you could share some information, it would be greatly appreciated.

Once upon a time, before Elseworlds and Hypertime there was a graphic novel published entitled “Son of the Demon.” It was a Batman book. In it we saw Batman team up with Ra’s al Ghul and Talia against Quayn, the man who killed Talia’s mother. Well of course Quayn wanted to bring all sorts of mayhem and death to the world, so those three teamed up to stop him. Since there had always been an attraction between Talia and Bruce, things blossomed. To show how he cared for her he presented her with a valuable necklace. Yadda, yadda, yadda, she became pregnant. Bruce was overjoyed, but became too protective of Talia, to the point that he was distracted during battle. In one such battle, Talia was wounded. She told him that she lost the baby, and we all know how well Bruce deals with the loss of a family member. Fast forward, Batman and Ra’s stop Quayn. But Bats leaves Talia because he is hurting. But wait, on the last page an infant is at an orphanage with the necklace that Bruce gave Talia. You don’t think…? Lots of people assumed that it was indeed a Batbaby. DC eventually ruled that this story took place out of continuity. The kid was never heard from again. Yet a child of Talia and Bruce parentage turned up in Kingdom Come. But as it stands right now the baby never happened. Sorry.

Oh yeah Ben, Jason Wasikowski and Bill Fitzmaurice wanted me to point out that Ibn al’xufasch (the kid in question) was named by Ra’s not Bruce. Thanks for having my back guys.

Moran was the first person to correctly identify the lyric that closed my 9/17/03 column, so his question gets answered next.

When the new series of The Flash started it was implied or mentioned
That Jay Garrick was dead (or believed dead). Then in issue #73 he shows up again. What happened to Jay that made everyone think he was dead and how did he come back?

After the Crisis the members of the JSA were banished to limbo. They were caught in an eternal battle trying to stave off Rangarok (see “Last Days of the Justice Society.”) Everyone in the DCU swore that they were dead. Alan Scott’s widow turned up in Green Lantern, and Jay’s popped up in The Flash. Jack Knight even got a tattoo of his father’s initials, in memory of Ted Knight. But then a miracle happened; something good came out of that whole Armageddon 2001 debacle. In a story too convoluted to go into here (A demon named Abraxis threatens the reality the DCU exists in. Waverider sends a motley…very motely…crew of heroes to stop his demon hordes at various points along the timeline. The heroes are losing, so Waverider & The Spectre bring the JSA back from limbo, and they’re able to defeat Abraxis in his home dimension by empowering and inspiring a race of people with super-human potential whom he has enslaved. As a nice reward, Waverider makes it so Abraxis would take the JSA’s spot in the eternal battle that needed to be fought to prevent Ragnarok. That wasn’t so hard, Mathan, you sap. –Ben)(and that is saying a lot consider this column deals with multiverses and different colored kryptonite) some demons took the place of the JSAers, who were then free to return to the real world (as shown in “Armageddon Inferno.”) And that is how the Justice Society was believed to be dead, but came back.

Doburcham has a very important question;

I’m confused! At the end of the “Graduation Day” story, Donna Troy was given the traditional hero “burial”. WHAT HAPPENED TO LILITH’S BODY!??! The only reference to the character dying was a single panel on the second or third page. Good grief! The character has been around since the 1960’s and been a part of EVERY incarnation of the Titans!

I agree, Lilith’s death didn’t get a lot of attention. But you have to understand while she was a major player in the Titan’s universe, her role in the overall DCU wasn’t that big. I consider myself fairly knowledgeable about the DCU, and she barely pops up on my radar. But Donna Troy was a major player in the DCU. She was a powerhouse; she could go toe to toe with most of the powerful characters. She also had a mentor in Wonder Woman. She was a Darkstar with John Stewart, and was involved with Kyle Rayner. Donna Troy had several adventures outside of the Titans.

It may have also had to do with time budgeting. I mean, all of the world’s heroes can’t just put everything on hold and attend two separate funerals within a week. I’m guessing that the Lilith funeral was probably a Titan’s affair. Seriously, if you could only attend one funeral whose would it be? I’m betting Donna’s had the better spread. (And they do mention briefly at the end that Lilith had a smaller, less-attended funeral…and she’s in the Titans’ hall of dead heroes, as shown in issue #3 of the new book. –Ben)

Freight Train (how could I not answer a question by someone named Freight Train) asks

I vaguely recall seeing a TPB one time where Batman was talking about how he had a plan to kill each of the JLA members if they turned evil. Am I making this up or was this a real storyline somewhere?

Not exactly what happened, but you didn’t imagine it either. Pick up the JLA trade “Tower of Babel.” That is where it all went down. And while you are picking up yours, get me one too; I gave mine to an ex.

H.A.L.L.S.Y. asks

Hmmm…Mathan are there any Elseworlds that you would consider essential?

Well here is a list of ten Elseworlds that I heartedly recommend.

The Golden Age- A story so good it should be continuity. This is how the Golden Age should have ended.
JSA: The Liberty Files- Tony Harris drawing the JSA as spies in the 40’s. Why don’t you have this in your hands right now?
Batman: Holy Terror- Batman of the cloth? There is no separation of church and state in this world.
Superman: Red Son- This book was worth the hype and wait. Kal lands behind the Iron Curtain.
Batman: Gotham by Gaslight- This was the first Elseworlds, and arguable one of the best as Batman matches wits with Jack the Ripper.
JLA: The Nail- How much difference could one nail make in history? You find out here as the Jonathan and Martha Kent get a flat. (My personal favorite off of Mathan’s list, and that includes Kingdom Come, which I loved as well. –Ben)
Flash: Flashpoint- A Flash-centric Elseworlds, how could I not recommend it?
JSA: The Unholy Three- A sequel to the Liberty Files with Tony again at the helm, but this time there is a strangely familiar looking kryptonian named Kent in the picture.
Kingdom Come- Perhaps the Elsewords that has had the most impact on the DCU. This is a must read.

There are others that are good as well, but to me these represent the best that Elseworlds has to offer.

(A tough to track down but awesome Elseworlds is the two-part “Super-Seven” that ran in Superboy Annual #1 & Adventures of Superman Annual #6, written by Karl Kesel in the year that all DC Annuals were Elseworlds. A really amazing, really moving tale of a future in which aliens successfully conquer the Earth by brutal means and all super-heroes are killed or driven off except for Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash (Wally West), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Superboy, and one other mystery guest. Seriously, every other page featured either a shock, a twist, or just really amazing character work and dialogue that showed these heroes to be just that. Track this story down if you can, incredible stuff. –Ben)

Which current DC relationships have a chance of “going Garrick”, the relationship gold standard in the DCU for longevity and strength? I wouldn’t include the Hawkfolk, because even though they’re eternal, they’re just too darn volatile towards each other.

Hm, I can’t think of too many relationships off the top of my head. But here are the ones that spring to mind.
Clark and Lois- They can’t get a divorce and she will never be killed so by default these two will be together for the long haul. Or at least until the next reboot.
Dick and Babs- This is like that couple that everyone knew was destined to be together, and you were so happy when it finally happened. I think these two have a chance at staying together for a while. But then again when was the last time anyone related to Gotham had a lasting relationship?
Tempest and Dolphin- They have a kid together. But does anyone really care about them? They could easily be broken up, because they are both C-listers. Does anyone know what the divorce rate in Atlantis is? These two have a 50/50 chance at staying together.
Ollie and Dinah- She did break things off with Dr. Mid-Nite to be with him. But will she stay with him when she finds out that he slept with Black Lightning’s niece (gee that last line sounds like something out of a soap opera.) These two are like that couple that is always getting back together and breaking up. They might not be Garrick, but perhaps Dodds and Belmont.
Wally and Linda- Since I’m guessing that Wally is going to keep his powers a secret from her and that could drive a wedge between the two. Wally’s been through a lot, but divorce could be around the corner. Even though Jay is his role model, I don’t think he’ll be following in Jay’s footsteps. (I disagree. I think the love between Wally & Linda has been the center of the book and the character for a long time now; it works and I think it will remain so. –Ben)
Kyle and Jade- By the time you read this I bet they’re broken up. I hope so, because I like Jade and would hate for her to end up like Donna and Alex (Kyle’s two most recent exs.) (Shouldn’t you be rooting for them to stay together then? –Ben)
Batman and Catwoman- By the time you read this I bet they’re through.
Ralph and Sue- These two have been together forever, and I can’t see them breaking up anytime soon. They will reach Garrickhood. (They’re practically there. –Ben)
Jack and Sadie- These two are going to be together to the end. He traveled to the end of the universe for her, how could they not stay together? Another one for Garrickdom.

Any relationships I’m missing? Post on the message board and I’ll give you my thoughts.

Good ol’ faithful Mike Z (who has yet to be stumped) asks;

Northwind (from Infinity, Inc.) showed up on the last page of JSA #51, could you give your readers some information on him?

Ah poor Northwind. There was this place called Feithera that was shrouded by mist in Greenland, where a race of bird people lived. They didn’t really interact with humans, but they did come in contact with the Golden Age Hawkman and they gave him a free pass to visit whenever he liked. So during one of his visits he brought along Dr. Fred Cantrell to study the people. Cantrell fell in love with Osoro and somehow they conceived a child. When Norda was born Hawkman and Hawkgirl were named his godparents. They were great godparents, much to the chagrin of Hector Hall, their son, who felt neglected. Since Northwind was of mixed parentage he felt like an outsider in Feithera, so he tried his luck in the human world. He joined Infinity Inc, but it didn’t take. After Feithera was destroyed during the Crisis, he went back and tried to rebuild the civilization. He was most recently seen in Hawkman #19, looking very Kingdom Come-esque and hanging out with Black Adam’s crew of heroes. It’s a great issue; you should really pick it up.

JohnBritton wants to know

I would say that Superman is Clark Kent’s disguise, and that Bruce Wayne is Batman’s disguise. Agree? What about some other heroes? Who is in danger of losing him/herself in the mask the way Batman does?

That is a tough one. I see your point about Batman. There is a clear line of distinction between Batman and Bruce Wayne, almost like they were two different personalities. But I would argue that Clark is Superman’s disguise. He’s obviously superhuman, and Clark Kent is his attempt to get in touch with the common man. Now at some point he was more Clark than Supes, but I think that now Supes is dominant and Clark is secondary.

Many of writers don’t utilize distinct personalities for the superhero identity and secret identity Look at Kyle and Green Lantern. Is there any discernible difference between the two characters? Or Ollie and Green Arrow. Some writers do put an emphasis on differences. Hawkman is much more ferocious than Carter. Supergirl and Linda also had differences.

As for those who could lose themselves in the mask, there are several possibilities. Anyone in the Batman crew could at any time lose it. Even Robin. Even though he is aware of the difference it doesn’t mean that he won’t fall prey to it. The same goes for Nightwing. Dr. Fate could easily become too reliant on the Helm of Nabu, but that may be more of an empowerment issue. Along the same lines is Hourman II. Speaking of the JSA, when was the last time Mr. Terrific took his mask off? While there may not be too much difference between Kyle and Green Lantern, he has been spending a lot of time as Green Lantern.

(Let us not forget the new secret identity situation Wally West finds himself in. Too soon to say, but I’m going to say that Flash clearly remains the mask and Wally the man. This is a Wally who’s had experience living his whole life as just Wally, he won’t give that up so easy).

I am going to call this a column. Remember, if I didn’t answer your question this week I will get to it in the future.

This week’s question for you is: Which team in the DCU would you choose to be a part of and why?

“I will turn your face to alabaster, when you find your servant is your master.”

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