Who’s Who In The DCU 12.17.03

Hey! How is everyone doing out there in Internet land? Everything in my life has almost reached a status quo. I figure by the New Year I should be firmly set in my new ways. Vegas is big on glamour and glitz. Not so much on comic book stores though. I’ve found some interesting candidates, but I’m still searching for “the one.” B, anything new happening in your life, besides the Poetry column over at 411Black? (Well, nothing bigger than 411Black, obviously. Oh, well, I did finish the first semester of my senior year at college…or hopefully will have by the time you read this…but all I can think about day and night is 411Black. Some other junk going on in my personal life, but I won’t spill it here, maybe I’ll hit up my black log on 411Black, which you all should really check out. –Ben)

B, you want to explain why we are just referring to each other by the first letters of our first names? (No problem, M. With the success of Superman/Batman, we’ve decided to blatantly rip off their format…I mean…we’re the World’s Finest Team when it comes to 411, so it only makes sense for us to refer to each other by first letters. Also, it reduces our chances of getting arthritis. –B)

Well now that we’ve spilled our guts out let’s proceed with this weeks journey into the DCU.

Matt Justus was the first one to correctly get the lyric and ask a question; to he gets to go first.

What ever happened to Vicky Vale?

Vicki Vale was a product of a bygone era. She was doing the whole “Bruce Wayne is Batman and here is the proof” thing. That was her gimmick. I guess writers decided that she was no fun to play with anymore. So while she was a photojournalist, she has now moved to the more lucrative field of television. That is how she was written out of the comics. B, do you miss Miss Vale? (Before my time, pops, except for the movie version, of course. I would be curious to learn how such a seemingly random supporting character got to be immortalized on the big screen…Bats certainly had a pretty frequent rotation of damsels back in the day, so why her? Maybe it bears looking into, M. –B)

Matt do you have a follow up?

What other significant love interests has Batman had, and what were their fates?

Well back in the day Bruce was engaged to Julie Madison. But she broke it off. Silver St. Cloud and Bruce were an item, but she found out Bruce was Batman, and broke it off and left Gotham. Catwoman and Bruce had a fling, but he felt he couldn’t trust her, and he broke it off. He was also involved with Vesper Fairchild. What happened to her? Oh that’s right, she was murdered and Bruce was framed for it. B, can you think of anyone I’m missing? (Shondra Kinsolving was Bruce’s physical therapist during his post-Knightfall rehab and also a brief love interest. I think she was written out of the picture because she had dark secrets in her past or something. Bruce’s bodyguard before the whole murder frameup, Sasha Bordeaux, was interested in him, but she’s with Checkmate now and he has no clue. And of course there is always Talia, Bruce’s “beloved” and daughter of one his greatest enemies, Ra’s al Ghul. –B)

Deacon, do you have something on your mind?

I’ve heard you mention the Golden Age mini-series a couple times, which I own and absolutely love as well. However, I’ve always wondered about the back story and importance of some of the marginal characters that take center stage in that back such as The Manhunter, Mr. America and Dan the Dyna-Mite.

Paul Kirk was a big game hunter (as opposed to B who just picks off squirrels with a bb gun) (Skunks, actually. They’re an epidemic here in Connecticut, while squirrels are so cute and friendly. –B) As anyone who travels in those circles will eventually do, Paul found about the robotic predecessors to the Green Lantern Corps, the Manhunters. For some reason he designed a costume to look like theirs. When a cop buddy mentioned that criminals were far more deadly than any animal Paul Kirk had hunted, even the sloth, Paul thought, “maybe I should hunt criminals.” And when the Buzzard killed that same cop buddy, Paul put on the costume and made sure the Buzzard was brought to justice.

Paul then became a secret agent for the government during WWII. He was so put off by his work that he went back to Africa to go hunting again. After a mishap with an elephant (don’t ask) he was left almost dead. Fortunately he was found by the Council, your typical secret organization, and placed in suspended animation. Y’know, your run of the mill everyday Joe Average scenario. Did I mention this was in 1946?

Well as secret organizations will do, the Council tampered with Kirk’s DNA so that his injuries would heal pretty rapidly, he was revived decades after he had been put under, trained by a martial arts master, and an army of foot soldiers were cloned from his cells. Like I said, typical Joe Average stuff.

Now in order in ensure Kirk’s loyalty, the council asked him to kill an Interpol agent (not the band, the government agency.) Of course Kirk refused and was marked for death. But in a twist Kirk himself market the agency for death, kind of like an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” type thing. He became a new Manhunter, with a snazzy new costume.

Paul and some other people (most notably Batman) invaded the headquarters for the Council. Some dude with a psionic helmet named Dr. Myrkos gave Manhunter a fatal dose of radiation. But using his last bit of life Manhunter used the psionic helmet to destroy the headquarters. Alas poor Paul Kirk died in the blast as well. The end.

Or is it? One clone appeared in the late lamented Power Company title. So who knows how many other clones there are out there? Why I bet they could have an entire Clone Sage. Doesn’t that sound like a good story idea B?

Tex Thompson mad some serious bank on Texas’ oil fields. Then as most independently wealth people to, he traveled the country solving crimes. He and his buddy Bob Daley even landed a sweet gig fighting organized crime with a Special Prosecutor.

But Tex quit to get involved in the war effort. The ship he was on didn’t have a cool bartender like Issac on the Love Boat, and to make matters worse it did have a saboteur that blew the boat up. While Tex was though to be dead he actually survived. When he recuperated he vowed to battle the covert agents who wanted to destroy America from within, and adopted the Mr. America role.

FDR peeped his success and asked Tex to go undercover overseas, as the Americommando. Tex did and proved to be a successful spy.

Daniel Dunbar was working on an experiment with his instructor Thomas N Thomas, the son of very imaginative parents. While conducting the experiment the two came in contact with each other, in a purely non-sexual, innocent way, and felt stronger. Thomas realized that they had each absorbed some of the chemical they were working with. By touching each other, in a firmly masculine way like a high five or something of that nature, they both became charged with super powers. Naturally they decided to be super heroes, TNT and Dan the Dyna-mite. Later to avoid the appearance of impropriety they wore rings that when pressed together gave them their powers, because there is nothing that screams heterosexuality more than two guys who wear rings to signify their special “bond.”

While working a case TNT was killed and Dan was injured. Though he thought his days of heroing were over he realized that if he wore both rings he could still become energized. He hooked up with the Young All Stars. He was last seen in Young Justice with Old Justice.

Deacon, got a follow up?

Who was your favorite character from mini-series that got some well-deserved exposure?

All of the characters got great treatment. I enjoyed seeing Ted Knight get some depth. Alan Scott had an excellent portrayal. Of course Johnny Quick played a huge role. Bob Daley was obviously the must human, but I really felt his character. Everyone hates to the neglected. I knew basically every other character, but Bob Daley was the guy who seemed really profound to me. B, who was your favorite? (I actually just picked this story up in trade after years of thumbing through it; well worth the wait. I really like Johnny Quick, he’s just such a real and likeable character; you get why all the other characters go to him for advice. But I also really enjoy Hourman’s story and Al Pratt’s little sub-plot. And of course the big Green Lantern moment is fantastic. –B)

JohnBritton do you have a question that could cause me to ponder?

Given that Scott McDaniel doesn’t want to go back to Nightwing, where he was perfectly matched, what book do you think his skills are most suited for?

Well as you probably know he is re-teaming with Chuck Dixon and returning to Bludhaven. They are working on the new Richard Dragon series. Personally I think I’d like to see him visit St. Roch and take over the chores on Hawkman. Hawkman was a vacancy and I’m sure the results would be amazing. B, your thoughts? (I think McDaniel looks to be perfectly suited for Dragon. As for Hawkman, I’d love to see Ethan Van Sciver tackle him on a regular basis, that would be sick, but supposedly he has trouble keeping a regular schedule. –B)

Deacon, do you have a question that you sent me months ago that I’m just now answering?

How many golden age DC characters are still alive and what are they currently doing?

Well that is a toughie. I’ll be blunt; I don’t know every Golden Age hero. But the All Star Squadron seems like a good place to start, because anybody who was anybody in the 1940’s was a member of the All Star Squardon.

Let’s start with those who are alive. That should be easy right? Plastic Man is currently appearing in his own book (which is great, you should pick it up.) Green Lantern, Flash, and Wildcat appear monthly in JSA. The Tarantula pops up occasional in Nightwing. Iron Munro, Dr Occult, Vigilante, Uncle Sam, Shining Knight and the Human Bomb all appeared in the “Princes of Darkness” storyline in JSA. Liberty Belle popped in the Thanksgiving issue of JSA, she’s doing the mom thing. Speaking of Liberty Belle, Captain Triumph showed up in an issue of the stinky Titans, he’s kind of losing his mind. Phantom Lady is still alive, and actually looks her age, she’s teaching. Like I said Dyna-Mite was a member of Old Justice in Young Justice. Guardian was a supporting cast member of Superboy’s book. Tsunami and Neptune Perkins both appeared in the 90’s Aquaman title. And I’m sure the Ray is still out there somewhere. Quicksilver/Max Mercury is still out there possessed by Rival.

Who’s dead? Amazing Man, Crimson Avenger, Dr. Fate, Hawk Girl, both Manhunters, Mister Terrific, Red Bee, Robotman, Spectre, Zatara, TNT, and Black Canary. Atom, Dr. Midnight, and Hourman were killed during Zero Hour. Commander Steel is dead. Johnny Quick died over in Impulse. Johnny Thunder was laid to rest over in JSA. Sandman gave in life in JSA Secret Files #1. Sandy died during the “Princes of Darkness” storyline. Starman went out like a hero in the pages of Starman. A Mr. Bones/Solomon Grundy tag team killed star Spangled Kid. Black Condor is dead but occasional appears as a phantom. Firebrand was killed by the Dragon King. Mister America is dead. Wing died. Tiger became the villain Avatar and was killed.

Who am I unsure about? Flying Fox, Airwave, Doll Man, Jester, Judomaster, Midnight, the Whip, and the Tigress.

So there you have it. I hope I answered your question. Let me know if there was someone I didn’t mention.

Mark Allgaier, do you have a question about a comic celebrity?

IS the writer Judd Winick the same Judd Winick that was on the real world? I know he was an artist of some kind.

Yes Judd is Judd. He is an artist, check out his work in Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files and Origins #1. But right now he’s doing the writer thing. B, who was your favorite cast member of the Real World? (Obviously that guy from Boston on the Seattle one who hooked up with the crew girl. True life story: for a brief period, four of my friends and I worked at a summer camp and one of the things we did for the kids was at their dances each week was dress up and lip-synch/dance to N’Sync or Backstreet Boys songs. Some other counselors got together and bought us tickets to an N’Sync concert at the end of the summer and when parking got backed up afterwards, just for kicks, we got out in front of our car and put on a little show; drew a crowd of about sixty people who actually asked us for autographs afterwards…well, except for the fathers picking up their thirteen year old daughters and wondering why five nineteen year old guys were at a boy band concert while mentally polishing their rifles. Long story short, we got the wild notion that we were good enough to make it big and decided to try out for MTV’s Say What Karaoke. Due to mad complications, only two of us made it to Times Square, and by the time we got there, the line was so long that we didn’t get to audition, but a talent scout for MTV liked our ‘look’ and took down our times. For awhile, I was on his mailing list every time he needed audience members for something like a Real World Reunion or a Rock The Vote thing, but I always had a test or something. The highlight came when he got me a part as an extra in Mariah Carey’s ‘Glitter’ and I was busy…after which I never heard from him again. But there you have it: the secret origin of Ben Morse, pop star…still think I should have been on Undressed…-B)

JohnBritton, I want to flex my imagination. Give me a question!

If you were Lex Luthor, how would you beat Superman?

Personally I thing the key to defeating Superman is his loved ones. They are what grounds him, and makes him human. You just have to exploit that. He can experience regret and guilt. Exploit that. I can kind of tell you how I would do it if I were Lex, but it’s easier if I just tell the story of how I would get rid of Superman.

It’s Hush, a yearlong story in Superman. First and foremost Lex needs to find out Superman is Clark Kent. So either Lex tortures one of the people who does know that Clark is Superman or he gets one of the kids from a DEO orphanage with telepathy to dig it out. Anyway once Lex knows Supes is Clark is goes like this.

One New Year’s Eve Superman saves a guy from committing suicide. He instills the guy with hope, and reminds him “nothing is ever as bad as it seems.” The issue ends on a happy note. Things are like typical Superman stuff for like four issues. But on final page of the fifth issue, Clark gets home to see a crying Lois holding the phone, saying Ma and Pa Kent died in a car accident. Next issue we learn that Pa Kent apparently had a heart attack while he and Ma were driving to have a picnic on their anniversary. They drove into on coming traffic, got into an accident and died instantly. A mourning Clark buries his parents. Connor gets shipped off to Keystone to live with every kid hero’s foster family the Garricks. Superman perseveres and carries on the good fight.

Then at the end of the eighth issue Clark and Lois are enjoying lunch at the Daily Planet, when Jimmy bursts in to say someone just assassinated President Luthor!

Issue number nine beings with Superman arriving on the scene of the shooting only to find Pete Ross dead and Lana in critical condition. Superman then finds out that the report of the Luthor’s assassination was wrong as many early reports are. Actually Pete was the one hit, as was Lana. But they got Deadshot in custody. Deadshot says he has nothing to do with it, he was paid to kill Luthor, and he doesn’t miss. He says that the guy who hired him said that there would be another shooter, just in case. Supes loses his cool and breaks Deadshot’s hand. The cops look at Superman with fear in their eyes. Supes is caught off guard by their looks. At this point Batman is on the case. He begins to investigate behind the scenes because it looks like someone is taking out people close to Superman. And it turns out that the caliber bullets used in the shooting don’t match Deadshot. So the shooter is still out there.

Issue number ten has Supes becoming more reflective, and almost being distracted during a JLA mission. His teammates worry about him. Superman feels the only one he can open up to is Batman, yet Batman isn’t there. His teammates respond that Batman is working a case, as usual. When Supes gets back he finds out that Lana has died.

Issue eleven has Clark crying to Lois. Clark says he’s going to Smallville to say good-bye. Lois asks is he wants her to come. Clark says he needs to do this alone. He goes to Smallville recounts happy childhood memories and is caught up in bittersweet memories. Clark makes his peace and begins to go home. But then Batman contacts Clark and tells him to get back to Metropolis at once, because these aren’t all coincidences. Batman tells Clark that he has already informed whoever is in the area to protect Lois, but Clark needs to get there asap. Clark speeds to Metropolis and bursts into his apartment only to find some dude standing over Lois’s dead body.

Issue twelve begins with Clark beating the man to a pulp. Clark stops just short of killing him, and the guy asks if Superman remember him. Clark jogs his memory and comes up with nothing. The guy says “remember you told me ‘nothing is ever as bad as it seems?” The dude then recounts how his life actually got worse after Superman saved his life. Until he met up with a mysterious benefactor who explained that Superman was responsible for the guys problems, and gave him the means for revenge. He explains how he induced Pa Kent’s heart attack, how he set up Deadshot, while killing Pete. Then he says what he did to Lois, and how she begged for death. Well that sends Clark over the edge, and before the guy can implicate Luthor, and he kills dude instantly with some heat vision. Unfortunately police officers, neighbors, and other heroes are all there to witness it. Clark realizes what he’s done, and cuts his losses and leaves earth.

Yeah I know I killed a lot of people (not to mention any hope I had of ever writing for DC) but that is the only way I can see getting rid of Superman. You have to strip him of everything that makes him human. After that he has no reason to be Superman. Plus I came up with it at work tonight, in like 15 minutes.

I actually have another idea that isn’t as brutal, but I don’t want to take up too much space. B, what are your comments on my idea? And I know you have an idea of your own as to defeating the Man of Steel, don’t you? (Man, I’m still too wiped from reminiscing about my teen idol career that wasn’t. Your idea was good, M. –B)

Well that is going to do it for us this week. I hope you enjoyed the show. Relax I still have all your questions and they will be answered. Feel free to send me more. And be sure to stop by the message board to see what’s going on over there. And if you haven’t already, check out 411Black. Your question for the week; Oh yeah you think you are so smart, how would you finish off Superman?

“As your body grows bigger, your mind must flower. It’s great to learn, cuz knowledge is power.”

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