Who’s Who In The DCU 12.25.03

Happy Holidays all. Wow you guys had some pretty interesting ways of getting rid of good ol’ Kal El.

Oh my god. I just spent the last twenty minutes mentally cursing up a storm, because I thought I had lost the column. It was all done except for this intro. I was heated. Fortunately I paid attention during “Wargames” and “Hackers” (where I first met and fell in love with Angelina Jolie) enough to retrieve the document.

It appears the Jim and Daron are trying to steal our shtick! B, can we sue them? (And risk Daron realizing during the potential lawsuit that he does all the work around here whilst I reap the benefits? Are you mad, M? –B)

Well can we at least have a tag match in the squared circle? (It would be cruel, what with me being a former high school wrestling star, you being a black belt in every known form of martial arts while Daron can’t see an inch in front of him with that goofy Darth Vader helmet he insists on wearing and Jim just yelling “Hulk Smash!” a lot and then looking confused…but if it makes you happy. –B)

I will finally get paid on New Year’s Eve (Wait…you don’t mean by us, do you? DARON! –B), which means I will finally make my triumphant return to comics. I have gone three weeks without a new comic.

Well I think the readers are tired of us yapping, let’s go to the column.

Freight Train was the first to correctly get the lyric so he gets the first question answered.

Before Crisis, there was a Superman from Earth 1 and another from Earth 2. I know the Earth 2 version was older, but other than that were there any physical differences between them? Did they have the same powers and weaknesses, or were they basically carbon copies? Finally, did the Earth 2 version ever have his own book at a time when the Earth 1 version was around?

I don’t think that the two had competing titles, but Earth 2 heroes were known to have adventures in anthology titles while their Earth 1 counterparts held down monthly book. The Earth Two Superman had very few differences from the Superman that we are used to. His parents were John and Mary Kent. He worked for the Daily Star, and that editor there was George Taylor, not Perry White.

He had the same powers and weaknesses as Earth One Superman. They were a pretty even match. This it the guy who started it all. Mr. Action Comis #1! And he is still out there, in Hypertime, as we say in the Kingdom #2. I for one am glad that he was given his props. B, how do you feel about the Golden Age Superman? (Gotta love that spitcurl. The title Kal-L, the Golden Age Superman, as opposed to Kal-El, frequented most was Superman Family, one of those aforementioned anthology titles. He also appeared sometimes in Justice Society and All-Star Squadron tales in All-Star Comics, Adventure Comics, and the All-Stars’ own self-titled book. He was on hand for several JLA/JSA team-ups in Justice League of America as well. And the Superman of Earth-1 was a bit more powerful than the original; same powers, just amped up a bit because Silver Age writers made it so, except for a period during the 70s when Denny O’Neil brought the Man of Steel’s power levels a bit more down to Earth. –B)

Starmatt, do you have a burning Earth 2 question lingering from a previous column?

Bruce Wayne, police commissioner? What was that about, how did he become the police commissioner? When did he join the police?

On this wacky Earth Bruce Wayne married Selina Kyle. How outrageous is that? Of course she had retired from her criminal ways. But she got blackmailed into putting the suit on again to commit crime. During this caper she was killed. Bruce, the most guilt-laden guy ever, blamed himself for her death. But more specifically the Batman costume was to blame. So he retired Batman.

Yet he still had that insatiable thirst for justice. So what’s a fella to do? He joined the police force. His first case as a detective was the case of Bill Jensen (the guy who eventually killed him.) That case propelled Bruce to the role of Police Commissioner.

Sergeant Michael Fermin do you have an Earth 2 related question?

I was reading the Thanksgiving Issue of JSA, and Batman refers to Earth-2. I thought Crisis took care of this or i.e. there now another Earth-2?

Ah the Earth Two you speak of is in a different dimension. It’s not the one that was destroyed during Crisis. We found it courtesy of two guys, perhaps you’ve heard of them? Grant Morrison and Frank Quietly. You should pick up Earth 2 it is a great read. I left mine (along with numerous other comics) at my best friend’s house in Baltimore.

Mark Murphy do you have any questions related to the above question?

I know very little about the Crime Syndicate, when did they debut, what are the origins of each character and do they exist in current DCU continuity?

Ah the Crime Syndicate. Well the Silver Age Crime Syndicate are no more. But they did make a DC Direct apperance this year. Originally they were

Ultraman- who got a new power every time he was exposed to kryptonite.
Superwoman- a rogue Amazon, who had super strength and an lasso that could reshape itself into whatever she willed it to.
Power Ring- who got his mystical ring from a mad Buddhist monk named Volthoom.
Johnny Quick- an arrogant speedster.
Owlman- a dude with a highly advanced mind that allowed him to momentarily dominate the wills of others.
They first appeared in the Justice League of America #29. They all died during the Crisis.

Ultraman- Lieutenant Clark Kent, who got his powers while going out into space for the government. He is married to Superwoman
Owlman- Thomas Wayne Jr. He’s kind of like the opposite of Batman. He strike terror in the hearts of good people. He is having an affair with Superwoman.
Superwoman- Lois Lane. She is pretty powerful, and sadistic. She is sleeping with both Owlman and Ultraman.
Power Ring- He’s pretty much the same as before.
Johnny Quick- Ditto (Except he’s on major drugs. –B)
They first appeared in JLA: Earth 2. Again, everyone read Earth 2. If reading about the love triangle between Owlman, Ultraman, and Superwoman doesn’t make you interested I don’t know what will. Wait, maybe hearing that Lex Luthor is the good guy on that Earth will make you read the book? Did that do it? B, what’s my counterpart on Earth 2 like? (He’s really cool. He can talk to fish and he wears a groovy orange shirt. –B)

Jacob Starinski makes his grand debut to the column.

Whatever happened to the Reverse Flash?

Poor Reverse Flash. He died when Barry Allen snapped his neck at Barry’s own wedding. It kind of put a halt on the ceremonies, plus the murder trial that followed really put a damper on Barry’s life. Imagine if your own nephew and protégé testified against you? Then through the miracle of time travel he popped up a couple of years ago. It was during the whole Return of Barry Allen storyline. And it makes sense really. How could Barry return and not face down his ultimate enemy. Reverse Flash’s legacy is carried on by Zoom, the opposite number of the current Flash (who should be making the Trade rounds any day now), and Inertia, the opposite number of Impulse.

Charles Hargrove, I know you have a related question.

Who is Rival?

Rival is Edward Clariss duplicated the accident that made Jay Garrick the fastest man alive. During their first encounter Clariss got trapped in the Speed Force. Johnny Sorrow got him out, and Rival joined the Injustice Society. He and Jay battled again, and again Rival got trapped in the Speed Force.

In an attempt to keep Jay Garrick out of their plans against Wally West, the Rogues returned a bodiless Rival to this plane. After posing as Joan Garrick’s doctor, he took possession of Max Mercury’s body. He was last seen as a member of the Injustice Society in JSA All Stars #1. Poor Max Mercury.

Shivkala is there something on your mind?

What is the full story on Buzz, I really have only read the first Supergirl TPB, so I know he’s not such a nice guy, but can you elaborate on him?

Ah Buzz, one of my favorite characters. Once upon a time, in ancient Rome Buzz was known as Marcus Gaius. He was a happily married dude, and he loved his dear wife Valeria with all his heart. He would have done anything for her. So when the insane emperor Caligula raped her Marcus sold his soul to Beelzebub to handle the rapist.

But as usually happens when you deal with a devil, things did quite work out for Marcus. Valeria killed him because she though that he had witnessed the rape, and did nothing to stop it. Marcus went to Hell, and became the demon Buzz. Later he came to Earth in the human guise of Buzz Aldrin, not the astronaut. He hooked up with Linda, killed her and the rest is history.

I gave you the gist of the story, but it is way deeper. I urge everyone to pick up Supergirl #58. It is a captivating read, trust me you won’t be disappointed. You will most assuredly get your moneys worth. B, what are your thoughts on Buzz? (Sorry to say I never read Supergirl, but I do remember Buzz showing up in the pages of Peter David’s other book, Young Justice, fondly remembered and mourned by me as longtime readers of this column know, wherein he befriended Secret’s step-brother and helped to transform him into the villainous Harm. –B)

Tom Stockel do you have a question that could be difficult, potentially?

I have a potentially difficult question for you here; some years back, before Denny O’Neil began writing his Doc Savage mini series and regular series, there were ads showing a very different ‘Savage. These ads were an overhead of a detective’s office, with a man with a gun in a chair with his feet on the desk, with black hair drawn into a pony tail, and the tag line was something like “a new Doc Savage” or the like. Do you have any idea about the story behind what I presume was an aborted series?

I can almost recall the house ads. I scoured the net. The only Doc Savage comics I found were the ones you mentioned. But I also found that Doc Savage fans hated that series. They found that he was out of character, and that Denny had taken too many liberties with the characters. In my mind that ad was for that series. When I get back to my collection (which should be any week now) I will find the ad and do some more research. But again based on what I found the ad was for the much maligned book. It was clearly a “new” Doc that was bad medicine. The reviews were “Savage.” That series wasn’t what the “Doc” had ordered. Um, I’m all out of corny puns.

Montal, do you have a question for us?

Err, who was the “mastermind” villain behind the Revenge Squad in Superman? The issues I have never showed his face?

The man behind the Superman Revenge Squad was the one, the only Morgan Edge. He wanted to destroy Superman, discredit Lex, and take his place in the Metropolis crime pantheon. How many days ‘til that Supes revamp B? (Too many. Viewers of Smallville of course know Morgan Edge as the gangster type who was played by Rutger Hauer for, like, an episode, and then by some other dude. In comics, he was a ruthless, sexist television station owner brought down by a sexual harassment lawsuit from Clark Kent’s friend Cat Grant, currently President Lex Luthor’s press secretary. Edge may have also been involved in Intergang, I can’t recall. –B)

Mike Z, is probably doing the “holiday thing” so I won’t declare him stumped, yet.

What can you tell me about John Jones, The Manhunter from Mars? The original ’50s stories, that is. It sounds like a neat concept

In those classic Silver Age stories, Martian Manhunter would remain invisible while he solved the crimes. Because it was the ‘50’s after all, and who wouldn’t be afraid if a hulking 6’7” green skinned Martian, even if he is decreasing the crime rate. So Martian Manhunter would use his powers while invisible, solve the crime, and John Jones (his human guise) would take all the credit. It was such a good concept that B and I stole it for this column. He actually does all the work, and I take all the credit. Ain’t that right B? (Replace “this column” with “411comics” then see the stuff I said earlier re: myself and Daron and you’re on to something. –Ben)

Doburcham, do you have a lingering question from a long forgotten series?

Whatever happened to the French Star Sapphire II that was a member of the Secret Society of Super-Villains?

Well it turned out that the Star Sapphire from the Secret Society of Super Villains was none other than…Remoni Notra. C’mon, you know her. From the planet Padina? Remember, the Zamarons picked her to be their queen, but she turned them down. As a parting gift she was given not only one of the five power gems, but also the knowledge of the existence of the four others. Ringing any bells?

How about when she came to Earth and joined the SSOSV to find Carol Ferris’ gem? Did you forget that she masqueraded as French real estate agent Camille, and as Debbie Darnell? You know Debbie Darnell, Captain Comet’s girlfriend. And that my friends is the always-entertaining Silver Age of comics.

GiantDevilFish, anything on your mind?

What year did DC comics buy the rights to Captain Marvel? In other words when did the big red cheese enter the DC universe?

Ok, according to occasional questioner and full time 411Comics writer John Babos

In 1973, DC licensed the Captain Marvel property from Fawcett Publications and launched With One Mighty Word… Shazam!. Shortly after, DC would purchase the Fawcett properties outright.

So I guess 1973 was the first time Captain Marvel appeared in the DCU or DCM (DC Multiverse) as it was known then. (And he was relaunched as a major player following Crisis during 1987’s Legends, where he was one of the main characters. He’s starred in several failed ongoing series since, most notably Jerry Ordway’s The Power of Shazam, and is currently a member of the JSA. –B)

GiantDevilFish, want to go for two?

DC bought the rights to the old Charlton Comics universe right? Back in the 60’s Charleston published monster comics based on Gorgo, Konga, and Reptilicus. Since they leased those trademarked characters from the movie studios, can DC use any of the monsters and creatures that were created by Charlton to fight Gorgo and friends today?

I return to John Babos

In 1983, Charlton Comics’ large stable of properties was purchased by DC as well. This heroes, including Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, and others resided on Earth 4 (so named during the Crisis maxi-series).

Now I’m pretty sure that DC can’t just use those characters that you spoke of because Charlton licensed them from the movie studio. But DC could acquire the license and then use the characters. And I do know quite a bit about law, I’ve seen every episode of “Night Court.” B, where do you get your knowledge of the law? (That wacky judge on The Simpsons. “Boys will be boys…” heeheehee, amen to that… -B)

Well that is going to do it for me for this week. I’m looking into the crystal ball and in the future I see, Mr. Bones, The Huntress, The Creeper, Eclipso, Great Team Ups, and David vs Goliath? I wish everyone a safe Holiday. But a question for you to ponder: what comic character would you invite to your house for the holidays, and why?

Have a safe and joyous holiday season, gang; from myself, M & the rest of the 411comics crew. –B)

“I say the right thing, but act the wrong. I like it right here, but I cannot stay.”

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