Well we have finally made it to the year 2004. I hope that everyone had a Happy New Year. I guess I should do some reflecting on 2003.
Not too much happened for me comics related. I got Karen Berger’s phone number. I met George Perez and Martin Nodell, the creator of Green Lantern. I even got Nodell’s autograph. I also started writing this column last year. So I guess 2003 was kind eventful. B, what were your comic related highlights this past year? (I started this comics web site. I hired youâ€¦oh, highlights. Um, Peter David told me a column was good. â€“B)
I just want to take some time to voice in on the rumors circulating about the Superman relaunch. Allegedly the three Superman titles will all take place in their own continuity. I want to say for the record that I really like this idea. When I initially heard about the relaunch, I knew that I was only going to read the Azzarello/Lee book. But now after this rumor got out, I’m actually considering picking up all of the books. I really like this concept. B, you want to chime in on the debate? (I actually talk about it in my very own column this week, M, along with like 35 other titlesâ€¦it’s a doozy, check it out. â€“B)
Y’know B, I’ve been thinking that since we are like the Batman and Nightwing to Daron and Jim’s Captain America and Nomad, maybe I should be making more appearances in your column, the way Jim pops up in Daron’s? (I don’t think I could subject you to the madness of my column on a â€œweeklyâ€ basis, Teen Wonder. â€“B)
My New Year’s Resolution for this column is to include more issue numbers, but only if you guys promise to hunt them down. Deal?
Mike Z has officially retired. He remained unstumped until the end. Of course he gets the first question of the column answered (and since he asked me dozens of questions he will still be making appearances in this column for weeks to come.)
He asked me to divulge the background on the character known as Raven.
Ok for Raven we have got to go back in time a bit farther than usual. All the way back to the 1960’s, when a young woman was lost adrift the turbulence. She ended up in a satanic cult. But it’s not easy summoning up the dark lord, and they accidentally got a wrong number. Instead of Satan they got Trigon, and other dimensional demon. He altered his form, and to be honest he didn’t look half bad. He has been described as a redheaded Adonis. (Mostly by you, to be fair. â€“B)
Anyway, he put the moves on this woman, and after the two hooked up he reveled his true self, that of a typical demon, horns and all. Of course the woman was less than happy. I guess insane and suicidal would be more accurate descriptions of her mind state. But before she could actually kill herself she was wisked to another dimension, called Azarath. This peaceful place mellowed her out, and nine months later she had a daughter. The natives called the woman Arella and she named the baby Raven.
Raven was shunned by the people of Azarath, but taken in by Azar, a goddess. The goddess taught Raven the secret of inner peace and how to use the powers that she was born with. But as usually happens, with great powers comes great responsibility. Raven had to remain emotionless. If she ever lost control of her emotions especially anger or passion Trigon would take over her body.
Trigon would tempt Raven throughout her life, but she remained in control. When she learned of his plan to attack Earth she left Azarath, to inform Earth’s heroes of the impending doom. This would lead to the recreation of the Teen Titans. She has battled her pops many times. Sometimes she won; sometimes she lost, and then won. Eventually his power over her overwhelmed her bringing her in conflict with her fellow Titans. She messed up some lives and possessed others. In that final confrontation she lost her physical form, and is now only soul. She was recently spotted in the Teen Titans. You can read all about her in â€œThe Terror of Trigonâ€ trade as well as in the New Teen Titans series. She also had very good story in Legends of the DC Universe #18. B, did I get everything? (To flesh out the details a bit, she’s officially battled her old man twice. At the beginning of the first series of New Teen Titans, the good guys won, but Arella got stuck in another dimension guarding Trigon. At the beginning of the second volume, Trigon came back for more and took over Raven, making her evil, destroying Azareth and nearly Earth in the process. The Titans, Arella & Lilith eventually defeated four-eyes, but not without Raven seemingly sacrificing herself in the process. When she came back, it was under the control of Brother Blood, but the Titans eventually saved her, and for the first time ever, she was able to explore her emotions without worrying about unleashing Trigon, who seemed to die with her. But the souls of the once nice folks from Azareth turned nasty and possessed Jericho, turning him evil, leading Deathstroke to â€œkillâ€ him, which we recently learned didn’t take, then the souls hopped into Raven, destroying her body. Ok, it gets more complexâ€¦Raven took over the body of some other chick, still under the influence of the â€œevil souls of Azarethâ€ and fought her old buds the Titans a few times. In the end, the Titans beat Dark Raven and her body was destroyed again; in the process, it was discovered that it wasn’t the souls of Azareth possessing her, but the remnants of Trigon, who, again, seemed to be destroyed. For awhile, Raven was just a soul, but a good one, with no bodyâ€¦now she’s reappeared, new body again, and seemingly tied to Brother Blood again, but a new one. Also, she’s absorbed the consciousness of Jericho into her soul self after he came back through his father, Deathstroke, and tried to kill the newest group of Titans. Phew. â€“B)
JohnBritton, is there a mystery that you would like me to shed some light on?
Could you lay out the history of the DEO head Mr. Bones? I remember he was in Helix as a bad guy, then Infinity Inc. as a good guy, and now he’s sort of both. How did he make that final leap? Was it ever explained?
Mr. Bones wasn’t always a â€œgoodâ€ guy. But again we have to go back to the 1960’s, when a certain Dr. Benjamin Amos Love was conducting experiments. Dr. Love was a gynecologist who really cared for his patients, as subjects in a perverse study. He injected six of his pregnant patients with an experimental drug. All of the women went into labor on the same night, and all of children were born as mutants. The kid who became Mr. Bones was born with transparent skin, and his skin produced a cyanide compound.
Since some of them looked pretty freaky he abducted the infants that night. He raised the kids, telling them that their real parents didn’t love them. Furthermore the only contact they had to the outside world was via the television or radio. This went on for twenty years. When Dr. Love died, the six, Arak, Baby Boom, Tao Jones, Penny Dreadful, Kritter, and Mr. Bones did what any mutants would do, they dressed up on costumes and formed a super team, Helix.
Unfortunately they didn’t have any real means of support so the used their powers to get some money, in a criminal way. Eventually they kidnapped Fury, a member of Infinity Inc. Of course the two teams battles, and Helix lost.
The two teams fought again, resulting in Mr. Bones losing his leg to Carcharo, an ally. Of course the good guys won. While the rest of Helix was sentenced to prison, Mr. Bones was released to the custody of Infinity Inc. He was made an unofficial member of the team. But through the machinations of the Injustice Unlimited, Skyman was killed by Mr. Bones touch. Mr. Bones cleared his name, but Infinity Inc disbanded.
How became the Director the DEO is still unrevealed at this point. Initially he spoke in rhyme and smoked constantly. But lately he’s stopped the rhyme shtick. He first appeared in Infinity Inc #16. He â€œkilledâ€ Skyman in #51. He popped up frequently in the series Chase and in various Secret Files and Origins. A memorable appearance was in Martian Manhunter #17.
Hallsy, do you have a character question?
Who is Prism?
Poor Prism. He is another one of those forgotten heroes. Once upon a time there was this guy named Linus Powell. He was a bright young kid who knew a lot about light. He was so smart in fact that he proved that one could travel faster than the speed of light. In a attempt to test his theory he built a fusion reactor, as a damper he used an odd black diamond. Being the master of light that he was Powell was prepared for Eclipso, with sunlight defenses. But Eclipso is a crafty guy so he got one of those Bloodline aliens to destroy the lab for him. As a result Powell was bitten by the alien and became Prism who was able to manipulate light, and was a silicon life form.
Prism teamed up with some other â€œNew Bloodsâ€ to defeat the alien, who as now eclipsed. Later Prism teamed up with even more heroes to rid the Earth of Eclipso. And he even turned up in the New Bloods miniseries. But I haven’t heard from that dude in a minute. He first appeared in Eclipso Annual #1. He also appeared in Eclipso #15-18, and in the New Bloods miniseries. B, doesn’t this guy sound like a â€œlightâ€ weight hero? (Well, yeahâ€¦unless Hallsy was talking about Prysm, the member of Dan Jurgens’ Teen Titans who manipulated light and stuffâ€¦but she was also pretty lame. â€“B)
Hallsy, you’ve been reading Eclipso right?
OK, I was reading more Eclipso. Read #1-12, #13 was missing, read #14 and found out that everyone freakin’ died! WTF happened?
What happened? Man it was a bloodbath. Go over to the DC boards and ask about Eclipso #13, and you will some pretty strong responses. I honestly think that this issue it right up there with Starman #38 and Zero Hour as the stories that featured multiple deaths, that fans really seem to hate.
For some reason Commander Steel, Dr. Midinght, Wildcat II, Major Victory, Manhunter III, Peacemaker, and the Creeper thought that they could attack Eclipso by infiltrating his nation stronghold. That’s right Eclipso controlled a whole nation! Well I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will say this; it’s bloody and eclipsed animals are involved. This is by far the most infamous issues of Eclipso. But couple other notable issues are #7 & 8. I really liked those two. B, did you read Eclipso? (I have both issues of The Darkness Within. It was a neat crossover and the revamped, powered up Eclipso was a cool idea. I wish he had been better utilized in JSA during â€œPrinces of Darkness,â€ taking some heroes over rather than just blasting people with his eye and such. â€“B)
Ok Hallsy, I’m going to answer one more question, make it a one-word answer.
How many issues were in the Eclipso series?
Charlene, is there something on your mind?
Could you please tell me what happened to the mute handyman Harold that stayed in the Batcave? I remember seeing that character during the time Azrael was briefly “Batman”
Azrael, do you have a similar question?
You mentioned Harold betraying the Bat. Any chance We could get a rundown in the next column, perhaps with his origin and maybe the whole story?
Alas poor Harold. Harold used to work for the Penguin. But after Batman saved him from a roadside beating he joined up with the Bat. He was the handyman in the Batcave for a spell. That poor guy was a hunchback and a mute, unable to communicate. After the earthquake, Harold went into Gotham looking for stuff to â€œfix.â€ He recently appeared in Batman, during â€œHush.â€ I can’t in good conscience tell you any more than that. He hooked up with Batman in Batman #458. B, I’m doing the right thing by not saying too much right? (Yeah, buy and read â€œHushâ€ on your own, kids, it’s good for you. â€“B)
Cris Ary is there something that confuses you?
I dropped out of the comic book scene for a while, and when I got back into collecting, Firestorm was changed into an elemental being and had lost all resemblance to Ronnie Raymond and Prof. Stein. I’ve read in past issues of your column that the elemental is traveling space and was seen in the Green Lantern “Ring of Fire” story arc. Yet, I thought I saw the Ronnie Raymond version in an issue of JLA less than a year ago. What exactly happened to my favorite Nuclear Man (or men in this case), and what’s become of him since his transformation? Plus, is there any chance of Firestorm getting his own series or coming back as a regular character of the JLA or other group series?
Well after the Prof became the elemental and went out to explore the universe, Ron found out that he had leukemia. While attempting to cure the disease with an experimental treatment, Ron once again got the powers of Firestorm. Unfortunately he was power incontinent. Fortunately Stein showed up on earth. Stein wanted to merge again, Ron didn’t. When Stein left Earth again, he cured Ron’s disease. So now Ron is going at Firestorm solo. Since he lacks Stein’s knowledge, he’s like a novice hero again. The new solo Firestorm first appeared in Extreme Justice #4, and he was also a member of the Power Company. Firestorm was supposed to be relaunched last year in a title written by Mike Carey, but that book was nixed. He will be getting his own book this year, written by Dan Jolley. B, are you a fan of the â€˜Storm? (Yeah, and I’m not thrilled it will supposedly be a new Firestorm in the new series. Ronnie has lots of fans and, as you just evidenced, the history of who is Firestorm is already complicated enough. â€“B)
John (that’s it, just John), what is your question about?
My question is about Firestorm. Can he manipulate biological matter? What I am asking is could he turn Superman into a giant marshmallow if he felt like it? If so, isn’t he essentially the most powerful being in the DC universe?
Fortunately, no Firestorm can’t affect organic matter. If he tries to use his powers on it, the result is an excruciating painful experience. He can only do the inorganic transmutation thing, but that’s still pretty powerful.
JohnBritton, have you a related question?
Is Firestorm’s hair on fire, is his head on fire, or is his brain on fire and he has a furnace for a head?
No his head is not on fire. It just looks that way. Like how Starfire’s hair seems really long, or how the Comet’s or Sam Guthrie’s lower halves disappear when they are flying. It’s just an affect. It doesn’t really burn him. But doesn’t it look cool? Um, B. â€œCastle?â€ (Oh M, you and your clever Superman/Batman referencesâ€¦um, yes, it does look coolâ€¦isn’t that why Ronnie made it that way? He could change it if he didn’t think so, so you gotta figure. â€“B)
I am going to close the column on that note. Since the holidays have passed and y’all really didn’t get me anything, I’m going to have to ask you for some questions. Keep them coming. Email me or post them on Message Board (and B, if you should happen to pick up a copy of the Elseworlds 80 Page Giant for me while on your trip, it would make a great Groundhog’s Day gift) (Yep, I’ll be in England next week, so it will be M andâ€¦Daron. Try to get along guys, and no funny business, Overlord, you’re just The Eradicator or Azrael, not a full-time replacement. â€“B)
Your question for the week; Which massacre hit you the hardest Eclipso #13 or Starman #38, and why?
In honor of the recently retired Mike Z,
â€œMy reign on the top was long like Ramadan.â€
Tags: Eclipso, Firestorm, Infinity Inc., Raven, Who's Who in the DCU