Who’s Who In The DCU 10.15.03

Well kids it’s that time of the week again. It’s time for all of your questions about the DCU to be answered. And joining me on this quest is the Ganthet to my Kyle, Ben Morse. (I’m Kyle. We share the whole destined to be an aimless starving artist who eventually head off into deep space with green women thing. You can be John Stewart. Or Kilowog. –Ben)

Now before I begin I have to admit to being completely addicted to Simpsons: Hit and Run. I have spent entirely too much time playing that game. But since it’s a video game, I at least get some sense of accomplishment for my wasted hours. Right now I’ve got to start this column, because the faster it’s done the faster I can get back to my Gamecube.

Surprise, surprise Mike Z once again named the lyric at the bottom of the column.

Was Hawkworld an updating of the Silver Age Hawkman/girl’s origin? For some reason I didn’t think the Hawks got revamped during the ’60s.

Yes the Hawks did get the Sliver Age make over. Katar Hol and Shayera Thal, two police officers from Thanagar came to Earth to apprehend Byth, a criminal. Well they settled in Midway City and went undercover as Carter and Shiera Hall (but it was on Earth 1, not to be confused with Carter and Shiera Hall from Earth 2, better known as the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl.) So the did get they makeover, but didn’t quite get new identities. Sort of.

Anyway when the big Crisis happened, redundant characters like the Golden Age versions of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were erased from existence. Distinct characters like Flashes, Green Lanterns, and Atoms were kept in play. The Hawks were the grey area. They were almost redundant, yet still distinct. And that is how they got into the mess that they became, and are just getting out of. Hawkworld was like Hawkman Year One.

JohnBritton, I know you have a deep question for me.

Everybody seems to have an opinion from a young age which hero they’d like to be, or which powers they’d like to have. But even without any powers, some of our heroes lead pretty interesting other lives. What secret identity would you most like to be? Which one would you least like to be?

While I love the Flash, Wally just got a secret ID, and the price he paid for it was pretty huge. Bruce Wayne almost sounds interesting, until you realize you have to have that traumatic experience. I like to fancy myself a writer so Clark Kent piques my interest, but journalism is so high school.

Kyle Rayner is also published and hasn’t had too much drama in his personal life. His girl is a former model; he looks to be living the dream. But as of late he’s abandoned that life so who knows what shape it will be should he ever return to Earth. Bart Allen sounds like fun, because I actually enjoyed my teen years.

Another close call is Rory Regan. He has his own business, and most importantly he get to wear what he wants to work. But he does have a pretty traumatic past. I feel like Carter Hall the way my love goes unrequited.

I guess the secret ID I’m going for would be J’onn J’onzz. He’s a Martian shape shifter! He can be whoever he wants to be. Sure most of his id’s got “outed” by the DEO, but he can set up new ones. I think it would be cool to be able to create a brand new identity whenever you feel like it. Ben, you want to offer you two cents? (Hmm…good one…maybe Dick Grayson, the whole charming acrobat thing, but of course again with the tragedy. Roy Harper has a pretty cool gig too, bad ass ex-government agent…but the heroin thing of course. I think I’d go with Oliver Queen, cool as hell rich dude who can be a smartass and get all the ladies. But minus the tragedy, definitely Dick. –Ben)

JohnBritton, want to go for two?

I recently saw Black Canary let a bad guy die when she could have saved him. It was a little surprising, since I thought the “No Killing No Excuses” code was pretty widely recognized. What other heroes aren’t afraid to either kill or not save from death?

I remember reading on the Green Arrow message board about the similarities and differences between the Arrow and Bat families. Well the Arrow crew can be pretty vicious. I’m pretty sure Ollie was trying to kill Drakon at the end of GA #29. Arsenal has a bit of a mean streak in him too. In fact the only member of the Arrow fam that looks to have complete sanctity of life is Connor. I can really see him taking a life, or not saving a crook in danger. But I could be wrong.

The Bat fam is almost the opposite, they are all about saving and not killing. Sure they occasionally slip up (Batman and the KGBeast, Nightwing and the Joker), but for the most part they have untarnished halos. Except for the Huntress. She is brutal. Do not mess with her. She hangs with the Question for goodness sakes. That guy refused to save someone back when Ditko was doing the book decades ago.

As for elsewhere in the DCU, Jack Knight killed twice, but doesn’t have the taste for it. Barry Allen killed and was put on trial for it. Clearly Black Adam and Atom Smasher have no problem taking a life. Starfire is a trained warrior, so I bet she has some blood under her fingernails. The same goes for the Hawks. Gee that’s all I can think of, Ben am I forgetting anyone? (Guy Gardner does what it takes to get the job done. Captain Atom probably wouldn’t relish the kill, but would do what he was told. Deathstroke The Terminator, if he’s considered a hero. Manitou Raven came from a different time. The Spectre, when he was the spirit of vengeance. And Wonder Woman, if she absolutely must. –Ben)

Tom Walsh, do you have a question about events in the past?

Did they ever explain why Wally didn’t just use Barry’s time traveling treadmill to save Barry or Iris?

You can’t change history. That is one of those firm set rules in the DCU. Another one is that Barry Allen is a saint; he sacrificed his life to save everyone. Everyone! Wally did actually try to alter things in the Flash #150, but to no avail. Barry instilled in Wally that time travel wasn’t for personal gain. Wally’s pretty much stuck by this, even when it came to his friend Hunter Z. Unfortunately Wally’s decision not to help Hunter lead to the birth of Zoom, and the loss of Wally and Linda’s unborn twins. Maybe Wally should rethink that policy

Dave Sippel, I know you have a question about my favorite comic book, right?

Since Starman was such a strong series, why (and when) did it end?

Starman ended because James Robinson had finished telling the story he wanted to tell, for the most part. He ever wanted Jack’s adventures to go on infinitely, he has a beginning and he knew how he wanted it to end. And while we rabid fans long for more, we are content with a sense of closure. The series ended in August 2001, with Starman #80.

Hey Freight Train, do you have a question about something green?

I have a question about Green Lantern. Wouldn’t GL be able to wipe out Superman pretty easily? I’m picturing him tapping Superman on the shoulder. He says, “‘Scuse me Supes.” Bzzzt. He’s encased in green kryptonite. He’s done.

Yeah, because it’s so easy to create kryptonite. Dude, I failed chemistry throughout high school and college. If I had a power ring I would be lucky if I could create water. I don’t know Kyle’s educational background, but I suppose he could create kryptonite if he tried hard enough and knew the chemical formula of this alien element. But Batman knows how to make it, so maybe the two could team up somehow and make it happen. For the record Batman is my “go to” answer, for every question. If I’m ever on Jeopardy, and I accidentally buzz in, not knowing the question, you better believe I’m going to say “Alex, who is Batman” with the utmost confidence. But again considering my academic record I doubt Jeopardy is in my future. Maybe I could get on 411 Squares. “I’ll take Ben Morse for the block!” (Actually, an alien using Hal Jordan’s ring did almost kill Superman by creating Kryptonite with his ring back in DC Comics Presents, the one with the first appearance of the New Teen Titans. It probably wouldn’t fly post-Crisis, but still…-Ben)

Mike Z, do you have a long question that might fill some space?

Have you noticed that most DC comics seem more earthbound than Marvel Comics? Sure there’s the Legion, and who can forget Space Cabbie and Adam Strange (though those two are pretty planet-bound anyway). But what does DC have that would compare to say, the Silver Surfer? or Dr. Strange? (Vertigo doesn’t count) Would you say that it’s more of a Kirby influence, given the seeming expansion of cosmic powered characters with his 4th world titles? Is it more of when the companies were founded; DC during the late thirties, bastion of the late-pulp period characters, and Marvel in the mid-sixties with the mind-expanding influences of the “flower power” generation. Even DC’s more stellar heroes, like Green Lantern, seem to be very Earth-bound, despite being in space as of late

The DCU is very spacey. It’s just that when Marvel had their space boon, DC set their space adventures in the future. The Legion of Superheroes is all about space. All those Legionnaires from all those different planets, what an interesting concept.

In the present we have the alien worlds of Rann, Oa, Thanagar, and Apokolips. And I think Martian Manhunter is from anther world. Oh yeah Mars.

The Omega Men had exploits across the universe. “Invasion” featured many of the worlds we had only seen in the 30th century attacking the Earth in the present. “Invasion” spawned The Blasters, and L.E.G.I.O.N., which explored the U in the DCU. Valor did some cruising in space. Hal Jordan spent some time in space sector 2814, and the Green Lantern Corp patrolled the whole universe. And so did the Darkstars for that matter.

I guess currently the DCU is pretty earthbound, that things tend to run in cycles, so who knows when space stories will make a comeback.

Jcoburn is there something on your mind?

In Dectective Comics #475, the story about Joker and the laughing fish, Batman refered to Joe Chill as the man who gunned down his parents. In the Superman/Batman series, Batman is following a lead which could possibly link Metallo to the death of his parents. So, it seems Batman doesn’t know the identity of the murderer. So, who’s Joe Chill and what does that have to do with his parents?

Dude, Detective #475 was like years ago. I happen to have a copy of Detective Comics #598 lying around, and that issue is 14 years old. Detective #475? Is that even a color comic? That thing is pre Crisis! But more importantly it’s before Zero Hour. Zero Hour altered history sot that Batman never saw the face of his parent’s killer. I gotta admit it gives Batman’s mission more meaning. Having Bruce confront his parents killer almost gives him closure, but now the essentially goes out every night and is subconsciously looking for their killer.

Jeff, do you have a question we should end the column with?

Is there a collection of issues or a tpb that showcases Gorilla Grodd that you would recommend? I enjoy his villainy but don’t seem to run across him often.

I’m not the biggest fan of the Groddster, but some of my favorite Grodd stories would be Supergirl #3-4, and The Flash #179, #191-194. I think that those are some pretty good modern appearances by the great ape. I’m a Chuck Dixon fan so I’m curious about his apperance in Birds of Prey #23-25. (Pick up Rogues, the second TPB collecting Geoff Johns’ run on The Flash; it has the great Grodd story from #179 plus tons of other killer stuff, including the best Captain Cold story ever. –Ben)

Well that is going to do it for me. I’m pretty tired. But before I go here are three books that you should have picked up last week were 100 Bullets #47, HERO #9, and Fallen Angel #4. The first two are perfect jumping on points, and the last one is just a great read.

Your question for the week; what is the best quote from a comic book?

“Leave all the others, baby, say I’m the only one. Cut out the uniforms and settle with this son.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,