Who’s Who In The DCU 12.10.03

I hope that everyone wasn’t too disappointed with our offering last week, but moving and getting adjusted took more than I had anticipated. Ben, I hear you were messing around in Hypertime. Did you bump into Benathan over in the Amalgam Universe? (Oh yes, he’s still battling the forces of Daron Morrison, Dark Starlord, the most shameless self promoter in all the 411 multiverse. –Ben)

Well, on that note I guess we should start things.

Of course Mike Z is nice with lyrics so he goes first.

How did that Zod thing get resolved in the Superman comics earlier this year? Was it a clone of Superman?

Years ago the Soviets had an orbiting space platform. Aboard were a couple of cosmonauts (emphasis on couple.) It turned out the female half was pregnant. But before her water broke some meteors ht the station, and of course the resulting radiation affected everyone. The survivors of the meteors managed to crash on Earth. Well our lucky couple survive both. But unfortunately the third time was the charm for the woman, as she died during childbirth. The Soviet Government of course took the kid.

The boy was observed and it was discovered that sunlight actually made him weak. Already sickly the doctors looked of a way to restore his health. It turns out red sunlight makes him stronger. He trains to be Russia’s champion. But when Supes debuts he knows that they are destined to be enemies. Some of the higher ups disagree, so he kills them. Why wouldn’t they be enemies? Russia, the United States. Sunlight weakens, sunlight strengthens. They are like total opposites.

Well he gets tossed in prison for the killing. Fortunately in prison he finds a friend. His friend is a dark entity that also hates Superman. The darkness’ name? Zod. And so our Russian adopts the name as well. Wait a minute. Zod? Ben? Three letter names? Ben are you from a pocket universe set up by the Time Trapper from an alternate future in an effort to affect a future that no longer exists? (We’ve got like two more years of buildup before I can tell you anymore than you already know, M. But just to clarify a bit, it was never confirmed for sure what exactly the “Zod” shadow that visited the soon-to-be christened Zod in his Russian prison. Some speculate that it was some sort of sprit of the original Zod, whom Supes killed, another just think new Zod was nutty and hallucinating. We may never know. –Ben)

Our next question comes from Aaron Cameron (you may know him from 411Music. If you don’t, you should check out his work.)

How did Changeling/Beast Boy get cured of his “I can’t turn into fuzzy animals anymore” disease? (New Titans, 97ish and on)

Ok, Garfield (Beast Boy, Changeling) Logan’s adopted pop; Steve Dayton is also the occasional villain Mento. Mento wears a helmet that channels his powers, but also tends to corrupt. Exposure to the helmet caused Gar to change into darker creatures as witnessed in New Titans #102. Then Raven, evil at the time, planted a Trigon Seed in Changeling. Somehow when the seed was removed it also removed whatever had been tainting Gar. And that is how Beast Boy became cute and cuddly again. Did I ever tell you about the time Ben got a Trigon Seed stuck in his teeth? Hilarious! How did you get that out Ben? (Mostly by ignoring your really really bad jokes so I can save my energy for the at least remotely coherent ones. On a sidenote, that was during the period of New Titans that even Marv Wolfman admitted was a mistake, well after he had burned himself out and was just staying on to get paid and try and fix things somehow. Unfortunately, things never really got fixed…but we’re getting Games by Wolfman/Perez next year, so I forgive you, Marv! –Ben)

Troy Robinson, do you have a question about a specific character?

Golden Eagle. In the last issue of so of teen titans it said he was killed by Wildabeast. When did this occur and what series of the titans was that in?

Golden Eagle (another victim of Crisis, albeit a minor one) met his end in New Titans #72, during the “Titans Hunt” storyline. He was strangled by the ‘Beest. If you ask me it was a mercy killing. Ben, how do you feel about the late Golden Eagle? (Never had many feelings about ol’ Charley Parker one way or the other, except that it was a shame he got offed just after getting a nifty new George Perez costume. Post-Crisis, without the Silver Age Hawkman connection, he was just kinda lost, and tying him into the Golden Age Hawkman would have just made him a third stringer behind current Doctor Fate Hector Hall and Northwind; Carter Hall didn’t need another surrogate son. Of course in the only two appearances I own where Charley appears, he stands around looking like a hippie in an old issue of JLoA and then whines about why nobody wants to restart Titans West at Donna Troy’s wedding in Tales of the Teen Titans #50. So, like you said, mercy killing. –Ben)

Shivkala, do you want to know about anyone in particular?

The Adversary. What’s his story? He seemed pretty lame, but since Superman was suffering from Kryptonite Posining at the time, Adversary did knock him around a bit, but gave up when he realized Superman was sick. Did we ever see him again and if so, was he less lame?

Adversary is a horrid, weak character. Based on what I was able to find he is nothing more than a guy who wanted to make a name for himself by picking a fight with Superman, and beating him. He popped up in a later issue to disrupt a Luthor press conference. Maybe a Superman reboot isn’t such a bad idea. Ben, can you find anything redeemable about Adversary? (I’ve honestly never heard of him. Was he from the Jurgens era Superman or the Loeb-et al era? –Ben)

Joshua Hoskins, is there something on your mind?

I just started getting back into comics, and I picked up Formerly Known as the Justice League as this is the JLA I remember. I did have one thing that confused me though, last I remember Booster Gold was in a giant metal suit that he had to keep on to keep his heart functioning (ala Iron Man), now apparently Blue Beetle has the heart condition with no mention of Booster’s problem. Has there been a strange continuity shift where they traded places????

Seriously I have looked everywhere I can think of and I can find no reference to his heart condition. Ben do you know anything about this? (Glad you asked. During the “Judgment Day” crossover in the Justice League books just pre-Zero Hour, not to be confused with the later “Day of Judgment,” Booster was confident that he remembered records from the future that said he successfully led an attack against uber-villain The Overmaster and saved the world. How it would be possible for records of this to exist in the future when Booster had yet to travel back yet, I have no earthly idea, but regardless, he was wrong, very wrong, and ended up getting nearly chopped in half by a dude named The Devastator, one of Overmaster’s flunkies. Booster actually would have died, no question, but Overmaster stopped all births and deaths on earth until he was ready to destroy the world to give people time to make peace. During this period, Beetle built life support tech into Booster’s armor, so after the Overmaster was defeated, Booster kept on ticking, but the catch was he couldn’t remove the armor. During the Extreme Justice series, Booster made a deal, pretty sure with Monarch, that healed him up and let him go back to his old school armor. As for Beetle’s heart condition, it was revealed that he has a natural one in Birds of Prey a little over a year ago. –Ben)

Tim B, you look puzzled.

I keep reading a quote that may be a joke (or not) about ‘deaths’ in comics. It goes “Nobody stays dead except Bucky and Uncle Ben.’

Now Uncle Ben, I understand, (being an avid Spidey fan), and I have vague knowledge of Bucky as sort of a Robin to Captain America, but what was so significant about his ‘death’? What gives?

Um, this is Who’s Who in the DCU. You want Jim, he’s down the hall. But since you’re here I’ll give it a shot. Wasn’t Bucky the first major character (hero) to fall in battle? And didn’t he jump on a bomb or something. I think he had one of those valiant deaths that bring him back from would completely undermine his sacrifice. But again what do I know? I’m the DCU guy. Was I close Ben? (Far as I know, Bucky was the first major good guy character to die, but more significantly, he’s managed to stay dead for almost fifty years now, a rare feat in comics. –Ben)

JohnBritton, the holidays are supposed to be spent with families. On that note do you have a question?

Which sidekicks are related to their mentors?

Let’s start with those that aren’t related. Kid Devil is not related to Blue Devil. Impulse/Kid Flash isn’t related to Jay Garrick or Max Mercury (But he is Barry Allen’s grandson and thus Wally West’s cousin. –Ben). Wing was the Crimson Avenger’s chaffeur. Tempest and Aquaman aren’t related (Not by blood, but Garth is Arthur’s adopted son. –Ben). TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite aren’t related. Wonder Girl and Wonder Woman are not related (But the original Wonder Girl, later Troia, was made from part of Wonder Woman’s essence, so they were kinda sisters…but that gets changed like every two minutes. –Ben). Robin and Batman aren’t related.

Now for those that are kind of related. The original Star Spangled Kid’s sidekick, Stripsey is the current Star Spangled Kid’s stepfather, although that is more of a link than relation. Sandy is Dian Belmont’s nephew, but she never married the Sandman. Jason Todd was Bruce Wayne’s ward. Troia and Wonder Woman were raised as sisters (Right, like I said…but less confusing…-Ben). Speedy was Green Arrow’s ward.

And now for those who are related. Bruce Wayne adopted Dick Grayson. Wally West’s aunt, Iris married Barry Allen. Impulse/Kid Flash is Barry’s grandson, and therefore Wally’s cousin (Dammit, I really should have read further down before I started commenting…or trusted Mathan in the least…nah…-Ben). Superboy is partially cloned from Superman. Horned Owl and his sidekick Fledermaus are father and son. Merry the Girl of a Thousand Gimmicks is the original Star Spangled Kid’s adopted sister. That’s all that I can think of. Oh yeah, Ben and I are not related. (That’s what he thinks…just wait until our 100th column for our secret origin. –Ben)

Shivkala, rumor has it you are interested in Lagoon Boy?

I realize that this question has been asked before (6.12.03 column), but Evil Mathan answered it and just said that he was an Erik Larsen creation. If I may ask Good Mathan, can you elaborate on his origin, powers, and what became of him?

Lagoon Boy is just your normal undersea dweller. He happens to have a fascination with the surface world. He doesn’t so much have an origin, as he’s part of an undersea race we haven’t met yet. Lagoon Boy can inflate is body like a puffer fish. If you want to read more about Lagoon Boy you should check out Young Justice: No Man’s Land, and Sins of Youth. He also served as a ring bearer at Tempest and Dolphin’s wedding. But I don’t know why anyone would want more Lagoon Boy, unless your initials are B.M. (Funny story, my full initials are actually B.J.M. and it made my first college e-mail bjmor…but enough about me and the reasons I should hate my parents. –Ben)

Buddha Man (who has the coolest avatar, ever) do you have a question for us?

What ever happened to Aqualad? I know that he was with the Teen Titans many moons ago, but what’s he been up to lately?

Alas Aqualad is no more. He’s now known as Tempest. Y’see Garth was pursuing Letifos, a mermaid (with a pinch of shark) because he thought she was Aquagirl (his dead ex.) Well Garth was captured by Letifos’ people and left to die.

But he didn’t die. He was actually transported to another dimension where he hooked up with Atlan (Aquaman’s, who happens to be a mage.) Atlan and Garth spent years honing Garth mystical abilities. Garth returned to our dimension a powerful wizard and renamed himself Tempest.

As if to further prove that he was no ones sidekick he hooked up with Aquaman’s ex, Dolphin (how many sidekicks can say that?) They eventually married and had a baby. He can sense magic, teleport and do the whole astral projection thing. Ben, you know any magic spells? (I can edit out all your typos with a steady hand and enough booze to keep the sadness of it all from sinking in. As for Tempest’s most recent activities, he was a charter member of the last group of Titans, the lame one, until he got hurt by drug-pushers from another dimension and his busybody wife Dolphin made him quit the team…although I probably would have quit that team and tried to join the Suicide Squad too. He was last seen hanging with Aquaman again and aiding him against The Thirst, trying to help him find his way back into Atlantis. Mathan, you should know all this, Aquaman being your favorite title and all. –Ben)

JohnBritton, I know you have a thought provoking question for the column.

In the comics, folks get into some terrible pickles, but usually can find a way out, or get rescued somehow. But what if they can’t? What if there’s no other option, and they’re in deep trouble? Of the major heroes in the DCU, who’s the most likely to beg for mercy? Who’s the least likely? Who is most likely to sacrifice a loved one for a greater cause? Who is the least? Who is the most blackmailable? Like, who has a secret so big that they’d compromise their morals to keep it?

Wow, this is going to take some thought. Let’s start with blackmail. Anyone with a secret identity is going to be a victim of blackmail. So that means Nightwing, Robin, Batman, Superman, Superboy, Captain Marvel, Dr. Midnite, Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott. I guess Wally could be blackmailed now, but I think it would be more to keep Linda from finding out.

Kids can also make you a victim of blackmail. Tempest, Arsenal and Hawkgirl can be added to the list.

I’m betting you could blackmail Green Arrow, Catwoman, Oracle and Huntress. Now I’m not saying that blackmailing any of these characters would be successful but it would work. Who would compromise their morals? Wally because he’s in love, Captain Marvel because he doesn’t want people to know he’s a kid, and Superboy because now he has the added stress of being linked to Superman. And of course our three parents would do anything for their kids. (I’d say Batman is the guy who crumbles quickest if his ID gets figured out, Hush notwithstanding, he had a good case against The Riddler. But he’s lost too many family and friends; he puts up a tough front but he’s more worried about losing more loved ones than any other hero. He’ll sacrifice himself for his war, but nobody else. He gets put in a bad situation, he’s smarter than say, Superman, who might believe there’s a way out when there isn’t. –Ben)

Now to the begging. I bet Beast Boy would beg for his life. So would Kyle Rayner. I think Superboy would also crack. Wally might beg. Superman would beg if Lois were on the line. Dr. Fate would beg for his wife (don’t get that guy started). (As always, my favorite answer to all questions involving morally-bereft heroes: Booster Gold. Most of the JLI crew would fit here, really. –Ben)

Who wouldn’t beg? Hawkman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Starfire were all royalty at some point so I’m betting getting them to beg would be pretty difficult. Batman, Oliver Queen, and Huntress are all pretty stubborn, so again getting them to beg would be hard. Nightwing was trained by Batman so he might a tough nut to crack. Alan Scott might be too proud to beg, and the same goes for Mr. Terrific and Wildcat. Wonder Girl has been hanging out with Ares so her begging is looking like less likely to happen. (I don’t think any of the JSA old guard would crack like that; Wildcat and Alan Scott especially, but Jay Garrick as well. They’ve been at this too long to get weak in the knees. –Ben)

Who would sacrifice a loved one for a greater good? Superman and Wonder Woman would. Alan Scott would. Hawkman doesn’t really get attached to people that don’t reincarnate with him. Connor Hawke probably would. And Batman really doesn’t keep close ties to too many people so I’m betting he would. (I disagree; see my above answer. Alan Scott may have changed that tune after saving his son, Obsidian. Captain Atom and any other hero with a military background would sacrifice whoever for the “greater good.” –Ben)

I don’t think Ollie would sacrifice Dinah. Given the way you act when you bring up her name I don’t think Dr. Fate would give up his wife (even if he doesn’t know she’s alive). I doubt Arsenal and Tempest would give up their respective kids for a greater good. Jay Garrick might not give up his wife. And would Wally really put Linda through any more tragedy? Would Robin give up his pop? I gotta think not.

Well That is going to do it for this week. Be sure to stop by the message boards (where I frequently pop up), give your feedback and ask some questions. Or you can email me with the link below. Oh, your question for the week; What comic (or comic related thing) would you like to receive as a gift for the holidays?

“She blinds everybody with her super high-beams. She’s a squirrel-squashin’, deer-smackin’ drivin’ machine.”

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