Who’s Who In The DCU 11.26.03

By the time that you read this I was to have been en route to Las Vegas, but my roommate and I decided to leave Baltimore on Thursday, a day we are dubbing Thanksleaving (on a related note if anyone knows a good comic shop in Vegas, please drop me a line). (On a related note…Thanksleaving? And I share a column with this guy? –Ben)

Since I had the extra couple of days I decided to knock the column out. This week looks like a killer week for comics. And those Kingdom Come figures that came out last week had me cursing the fact that I had to budget. But such is life.

Ben, anything on your mind that you didn’t mention in your own column, or your News and Views. Eh it’s Thanksgiving, I’ll even accept scraps and leftovers. (Plug my column? Don’t mind if I do…-Ben)

411Music’s own Aaron Cameron (he writes the riveting Friday’s Bootleg column and is finishing up an excellent ten part epic on Tupac, with yours truly as a special guest star) was the first to correctly get the closing lyric, so he starts things off.

What would have happened in 1988 if readers had voted to let Jason Todd live? I mean would Tim Drake even exist today…?

Well I’m guessing that if Jason had lived, he probably still wouldn’t have been Robin. I’m betting Bats would have forced him into retirement. Now realistically I think that Jason would have some permanent damage (ala Oracle) but I think that he also would have been eager to get back into the game. Of course Bruce wouldn’t have let him, and would swear off having a sidekick. So Jason probably would have struck out on his own. Now with Jason on his own things could have gone down two paths. One is that Jason gets in over his head and dies anyway.

The other is that he and Bruce butt heads, and Jason turns heel (am I using that correctly? Yep) Now with Jason a rogue Batman might have met his match (mind you this is a pre Tower of Babel Batman.) Jason would have made an excellent anti-Batman. They match wits, but Bruce always allows Jason to get away because he truly believes that Jason will see the light.

Meanwhile a “Tim Drake” type kid enters the fray. He deduces identities, and calls Bats on it. He makes the same Batman needs Robin argument. Bats says he isn’t going to have another sidekick. Then Bruce and Jason have a big confrontation, something like Bane and Bats had. Bruce shows some weakness, and Jason is about to put the finishing touches on him. But along swoops the new Robin. Jason is all distracted and enraged. The new Robin comes and saves Bats hash, Jason escapes and swears revenge. Batman realizes that now he has to take Robin under his wing if only to protect him from Jason. Of course these events play out over years, we probably see the new Robin debut in the mid to late nineties. In the meantime Batman wouldn’t have gotten as dark as he ended up being since he wasn’t dealing with Jason’s death, but he still would have been more serious. Any thought Ben? (Not much beyond…damn, that would have been a cool story. Well done Mathan. An idea like this is why I wouldn’t have been opposed to Jason Todd being Hush or at least coming back during the storyline. –Ben)

I know Mike Z (who could finally be stumped) has a question for me.

When did Sensor (LSH) change from a snake with robotic arms to a humanoid with a snakelike lower body?

Well when Ra’s al Ghul became president of the 31st Century he continued his usual plot of making the world a better place. So he got these hypertaxis (beings that were intended to safeguard mankind on its evolutionary journey.) One of those wacky taxis blasted the serpentine Sensor with its energy and poof, Sensor became the more humanoid, yet still serpentine being she is today. But she’s none too happy about it her current condition and is lashing out at her teammates and becoming more withdrawn. Kind of like Ben if you don’t pass the yams in a timely fashion. (There is nothing I hate more than yams…asides from one thing. Anyhow, Mathan missed the bit where it wasn’t a Hypertaxi that transformed Sensor, it injured her and then M’Onel needed to bring Ra’s al Ghul out of police custody to heal her, which led to her transformation…I’m pretty sure. –Ben)

Mike Z, got another Legion question?

What happened to Gates (also LSH)?

Well when Ra’s al Ghul became president of the 31st century he needed someway to get around now that the stargates were all messed up. So what’s a guy to do? Kidnap the Legion’s own transporter, Gates. (Not to mention the rest of Gates’ race, the Vyrrgans. –Ben) But when Ra’s was discovered Gates was freed. He is currently exploring the second galaxy from the Legion Lost mini series. Along for that ride are M’Onel, Chameleon, Kinetix the hypertaxi, and RJ Brande.

The persistent Nick Thibault has a question about the Legion.

I was a huge fan of the “new” Legion title from the early 90s (the grim-future-no-uniforms version)and I was extremely disappointed when DC reverted back to the teenage Legion. Do you have any idea what
motivated that decision? Were sales really that bad?

Personally I still think that that series is one of the best comics ever. I have fond memories of those issues. And it was one of the first titles that I hunted down issues that I missed, because I needed the complete story. I loved the Legion series of the 90’s.

I think that it’s major problem was that it alienated some old Legion fans, and wasn’t really an easy book to just pick up and get into. It was too dark and grim for those old school Legion readers, but relied too much the readers knowledge of Legion history. Since DC was making every comic more accessible via Zero Hour, the decided to relaunch the Legion with the more optimistic look of the early years. I boycotted that launch. (I’ll speak for the other side. I first got into the Legion with the launch and loved it; the overall fun feel coupled with some really epic stories with truly high-stakes and high concept stuff on racism and other social issues. Just recently, I got into the old Levitz/Giffen Legion and it had the same feel. I’ve read some issues from the early 90’s run, and it was ok, but it lacked the escapist feel of the Legion, which to me is what made the other two incarnations, and the current one, great. To me, the trick with Legion is to balance a sense of fun with a scope of importance; the early 90’s had plenty of the second, but none of the first, to the point of being kinda depressing. –Ben)

Nick, do you have a follow up?

Also, is the current Legion title any good? Did they start with all new continuity?

Kind of. Legionaries #0 and Legion of Super Heroes #0 were actually the reboot issues. Then when those titles ended, came Legion Lost, Legion Worlds, and the current title. I started reading Legion Worlds and the current book and didn’t get lost.

I do enjoy the current book. It is kind of jarring to get used to new looks and code names, but it is an entertaining read. Its action packed. If you have the chance pick up the Legion Secret Files 3003. Then pick up Legion #25 & 26. Now is the perfect time to pick the book up.

Gee I wish someone would as about a cool plot from the 90’s. Brand Newmanium?

I just got L.E.G.I.O.N. #1-49 for $14 on ebay! One thing that’s really bugging me though: Why did the Durlan disappear and then reappear waaaay in the future? I never understood that and it really pisses me off! Ditto for Phase’s disappearance (and her loss of memory). Were these things explained in Legion of Superheroes or in subsequent issues of L.E.G.I.O.N.?

Ok, the story was revealed in Legion of Super Heroes Annual #1 and L.E.G.I.O.N. #23.
Mordu was destined to take over the 30th century. Glorith wanted to prevent that from happening. So she was instrumental in putting the prices necessary to prevent his rise to power together. This included one displaced Durlan. Fortunately Glorith had the power of time displacement. So she plucked the Durlan from the 20th century and placed him in the 30th century where he eventually became RJ Brande, the guy who basically created the Legion. And of course the Legion bested Mordu on numerous occasions.

But as you know, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Meaning, if someone made the trip from the 20th century to the 30th century, then someone also had to make a trip from the 30th century to the 20th century.

Enter Ultra Boy who had been a thorn in Glorith’s side for a while. She really wanted to hit him where it hurt. So why not make Phantom Girl take that return trip, and make it look like she died in an explosion? Well that is what Glorith did. Jo was in pain, because he lost his wife. But she actually became Phase, a member of L.E.G.I.O.N. Of course this was all pre Zero Hour. What really sucked was how the use of the Durlan made it possible for the Legion to exist without relying on a Superboy that never existed. It was a real clever twist.

As for the current explanation. Apparition is half Carggite and half Bgtzlian. That means that she can become intangible and split into three different bodies. Well when she first manifested her triplication powers her deadbeat gambler dad sold two of her selves to the Luck Lords to pay a debt. Well one of her selves got sent to the past and became Phase. Apparition died but her soul survived. When the Legion visited the 20th century Deadman helped her become alive again. But she was unable to dematerialize. Then she met Phase and the two became one, who while unable to become two again could now become intangible again. Ben, did that make any sense? (Yeah, I hoped you wouldn’t know the post-Zero Hour bit so I could chide you for it, but you vexed me yet again. –Ben)

Mike Z do you have another question?

They’re bringing back Superboy in The Legion, how do you think this’ll happen?

You want to chime in on this one JohnBritton?

What’s up with Superboy in the Legion again? I don’t read the book, and I see Superboy in Teen Titans every month, so what’s going on with those covers? I tried to read Legion #25, or whatever the recent special was, but it left me confused and not particularly interested in getting un-confused.

Well the story is currently unfolding, and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone. Everyone should pick it up. It involves Darkseid, a young Clark Kent, and obviously time travel. So far I like the story. It is one of the few comics that I didn’t have to review that I’ve read in the past three weeks (I’m really backed up in terms of reading.)

DC has left it up to the fans to decide if Superboy joins the Legion or stays with the Teen Titans. But don’t look for the Kid to be disappearing from the Titans anytime soon. Johns appears to have some grand plans for the character. And his arrival in the future has left the door open any Titan tale to be told. Where do you think Kon El should end up Ben? (Kon is one of my favorite characters in all of comics and with the end of his regular series still a fresh memory, I certainly don’t mind seeing him twice a month. What I like more is that by having him in both titles, we’re getting to read two different Kons; in Titans, he’s really Conner, a work in progress who is maturing greatly as a character; in Legion, we get to see more of the old Kon El, a kid having a good time in the ultimate no-parents fantasy setting. I think he should stay in both titles for as long as the writers of the respective books can find ways to use him; and seeing him in the pre-Crisis Superboy costume in Legion is a kick. –Ben)

411Comics’ own Kevin Litke is in the house, do you have a question?

Speaking of Superboy, I know he wasn’t really a clone of Superman. Who WAS he a clone of? I vaguely remember Jim Harper (Guardian) being part of it, but not the whole.

Superboy is the clone of Superman. It’s just that the scientist couldn’t completely figure out that wacky kryptonian DNA. So they filled in the blanks with some human DNA. For a time is was believed to be Paul Westfield’s DNA (he was the Director of Cadmus at the time.) But it was revealed in Teen Titans #1 that it may actually belong to Lex Luthor. But that’s not really rare, Ben has some Luthor in his family tree. Is Lex going to your house on Thursday? (We were “supposed” to eat in the White House this Thanksgiving, but crazy uncle Lex still doesn’t quite “get it”…he’s still in the sanitarium waiting for his day in court against the WB for “stealing his younger likeness”…-Ben)

Kevin, since you are a coworker you get another one right off the bat.

Okay, so Lex Luthor’s president. And you explained in a previous column about how he even had a shot at being president. But who exactly do the people, as a whole, think this is? Lex Luthor I, the guy who supposedly died in a plane crash, or his “son” post losing that red hair? And what body is Luthor currently in…his original restored, his cloned body healed from that clone disease, or a third body created especially for him?

Ok Lex got cancer from kryptonite, faked his death, cloned himself a brand new body, and pretended to be Lex II. But then there was a clone plague and Lex got sick. So he tried to destroy Metropolis, but got caught. While on trial he made a deal with Neron to get better, and got another clone to take the rap. So the American people think that they elected Lex Luthor the respectable businessman to the Oval Office. Lex is in the healthy cloned body of Lex II. Ben, you voted for Lex, right? Wait a minute! Ben…clones…Ben Reilly? Dear God, no! (In a clever attempt to divert attention away from both that awful joke and the one I made a paragraph ago, let me elaborate on the “public trusting Lex again” thing by saying he also regained a lot of public favor by helping to save Earth during The Final Night. –Ben)

JohnBritton, how about a political question?

What hero is most likely to become president? Factor in the likelihood that they would give up superheroing to kiss babies. My money’s on Tim Drake. Nothing stops that kid, and by the time he’s old enough, he’ll have all the Wayne dough, brains, charisma, leadership experience, and connections like you wouldn’t believe. I would have said Barbara Gordon, but she’ll be able to function as Oracle until she drops dead of old age, so I don’t think she’d give it up.

Yeah, ol’ Timmy boy is a safe bet, but I’m sure we could get someone in there sooner. Bruce Wayne could probably make a serious bid if he wanted to. Iron Munro is actually a senator so it isn’t too much of a leap to the White House. Jefferson Pierce is in the cabinet, which means he’s couple of heartbeats away from the button. I’d bet that Mr. Terrific would make a good candidate, although I don’t know how televised debates would work. Ben, I know you can think of someone I’m missing. (I think Tim Drake is a great choice that I never would have thought of. There’s the obvious Superman choice, but there’s another hero who was born to be a politician, who’s ruthless, great at kissing ass, and smarter than most give him credit that you’re overlooking: Booster Gold. –Ben)

JohnBritton, want to close things out?

What are the best issues of the series that were canceled before they had very much life? I remember liking Primal Force, and Extreme Justice certainly has it’s fans. There are bunches of these kinds of series that arrive with the best of intentions only to go the way of the dodo every year. If I could only pick up one issue, particularly from a reviled or forgotten series, which one would you recommend?

The best single issue would have to be Black Lightning #5. The story is so touching and the art so beautiful it is almost the perfect example of a comic book. In the issue Jefferson Pierce lays in his hospital bed recuperating from gunshot wounds. He ponders his failures and inadequacies as a hero. We see how Invasion and Superman’s death affected him. It is a poignant issue (and there is nary a Thunder to be seen, I’d like to see Judd explain that.) This isn’t just a good issue of a cancelled book; it’s a solid issue period. (For a book that got a lot of crap and was very unheralded before it was finally cancelled, Guy Gardner: Warrior had some excellent, fun issues, but also a really touching Christmas story, the exact number of which escapes me, where Guy gets to confront his ghosts of Christmas past in the midst of a party of Warrior’s. –Ben)

I hope that everyone has a happy holiday. Keep posting and emailing. And if you think that JohnBritton gets a lot of PT wait until you see the entire column I’m going to have to devote to Juan Francisco Gutierrez Santiago. Juan, it may take awhile but you queries will be answered. Your question of the week; what is your favorite holiday themed issue of any comic?

“Paparazzi with they cameras, snappin’ them.”

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