Who’s Who In The DCU 3.3.04

Geez, it is time for another column already? Holy Cow! I have to say that I’m kind of irked at how that one movie took home all those Oscars. Both B and I are not fans of the flick, so its name will not be mentioned in this column, however I will bash it every chance I get. You with me on that B? (I will join you both in the unmentioning of the name and in the bashing. I will note that the nameless movie did not receive a single nomination for acting merit. Know why? The acting was good in some places, awful in others, great nowhere. Mystic River and Lost In Translation were both examples of movies produced on low budgets that managed to be compelling on the merit of the acting and the direction. I’ll credit Peter Jackson for doing a tremendous job coordinating a plethora of factors, I’ll credit all the FX, sound, etc. guys for doing good work, but to me, the best movie of the f’n year is not the one that cost the most to make, it’s the one that got the most out of the least. Whatever, The Last Samurai is still my Best Movie of the Year pick. –B)

Good news guys! DOL has a new column up, in which he gets good news. Check it out over here. And dig those slippers. B, anything you want to plug or would you rather rant about the Oscars? (I’d need a third column…and a fourth. –B)

And now to the part that I love; my rundown on what comics I got last week.

Reign of the Zodiac #7: I’m sad this book got cancelled. It is a complex read, and thus so worth my money.

Hellblazer #193: You can read my review on that baby tomorrow. But I will say that I’m picking up Swamp Thing #1.

Losers #9: I’m really glad that I up this book on a whim. It is a thrilling read. And the art is great.

Green Lantern #174: I have to wonder is this is how Raab wanted to tell the story, or if he is writing under the duress of a time constraint. There have honestly been some great elements in this storyline, but in my opinion they weren’t fully utilized. I am looking forward to next issue.

Batman #624: This book is so filled with twists and turns that my neck is sore. It’s a really good read, by one of comicdom’s best teams.

Flash #207: Um, wow. That figure on the cover would make a killer tat. This book is one of my faves.

Caper #5: Winick is a good writer. He catches a lot of heat, but when he is “on” he can craft a compelling tale. This is one of his “on” moments.

B, what did you think of last week’s books? (Saying Flash was good is like saying Daron is evil or Tim Stevens has no idea how to balance a budget: it’s just accepted fact at this point. However, for my review of the disappointing Legion #30, click here

Speaking of last week B, allow me to answer your question. No, I have never saved a kid’s life. However once I stopped a kid from buying an issue of Gunfire, so I think that should count for something. (You know kids, M, now he’s going to go buy the whole run off eBay to satisfy his curiosity. Nice going. –B)

I do believe that that sounds means that it’s time to start the Q&A segment of the column.

Our first question comes from Luke J. He was the only one to get the lyric at the end of last week’s column right. And for the first time I have to say I’m ashamed of you guys. That one was from Sesame Street. How do you not get that? I’ve thrown some obscure Hip Hop lyrics in there, I’ve tossed some other songs that people got. But only one person getting a song from Sesame Street? Luke, take it away.

What the hell ever happened to Gunfire, anyway? I too have noticed thejokes at his expense in JSA: Stealing Thunder and Hitman One Million. Curious as to what ever became of the new laughingstock of the DCU. Heck, if there’s space, can you give us a rundown of the less-than-stars from Bloodlines? I mean, everyone knows Hitman, and more than a few should know Argus…but how about the rest of the also-rans?

Well in the last issue of his comic Gunfire had the JLI help him take his insane pop, Ragnarok, down for the count. Since then he has pretty much been a joke in the DCU, as B pointed out last week. As for the other heroes, let me give you a refresher course. (And those descriptions come straight from the folks at DC themselves.)

Anima, “Animus-summoning grunge rocker” – Had her own title and showed up in Wonder Woman #175.

Argus, “shadow-melding undercover agent” – Had a miniseries and was last seen in Flash #127.

Ballistic, “armed and dangerous vigilante” Appeared in the “Blood Pack” miniseries. (Also a member of the latest incarnation of the Forgotten Heroes, who showed up in Resurrection Man. –B)

Cardinal Sin, “disillusioned priest” – After Bloodlines I haven’t heard a peep.

Chimera, “illusion-creating hero” – Ditto

Edge, “blade-hurling community hero” – More of the same. (He made a cameo in the Blood Pack mini-series. –B)

Geist, “ghostly night-hero” – Ah this guy also appeared in the “Blood Pack” miniseries. (And had probably the coolest costume of the New Bloods. By the way, Blood Pack was actually decent; if you see it in a quarter bin, snatch it up. –B)

Gunfire, “high-tech renegade” – Had his own book, is now the laughing stock of the entire DCU, even the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

Hitman, “the name sez it all!” – He was the most successful of the bunch, as he had a very popular book, and began the running gag that Gunfire was an absurd hero.

Hook, “hook-handed former soldier” – Starred in the movie of the same name and had a successful run off Broadway. Wait, wrong character. This guy went nowhere after his first appearance. MIA suits this “former soldier” well.

Jamm, “prodigious surfer-dude” – Do you think that this concept went anywhere? NEXT!

Joe Public, “strength-siphoning patriot” – This guy actually bumped into Azrael and Martian Manhunter after he first appeared. Sadly, he is still a loser.

Layla, “tough-as-nails space explorer” – Layla popped up during the whole Bloodlines crossover. She hooked up with .L.E.G.I.O.N.

Lionheart, “armored high-tech knight” – This dude showed up in Justice League books a few times (Specifically right before Zero Hour –B). But is nowhere to be found now.

Loose Cannon, “super-strong ex-cop” – He had a mini, showed up in Superboy and the Ravers. I will repeat: he is a cheap Hulk knock off. (He appeared in Superboy’s solo series too…and that is your Superboy solo series fact of the week, by Ben Morse. –B)

Mongrel, “darkforce-blasting rebel” – This one also showed up in the “Blood Pack” mini. (Appeared in the post-Zero Hour Hawkman series as well. I liked this one. –B)

Myriad, “personality-absorbing assassin” – Without a doubt, she was my favorite. I would love to write something with her. She showed up with in Hitman once. She rocks!!!!

Nightblade, “regenerating martial artist” – Yet another member of the “Blood Pack.” (I liked this guy. He could cut his own arm off and still laugh about it. –B)

Pax, “last of his race, space-shaman” – This guy was L.E.G.I.O.N.’s priest. But he had such a taste for vengeance. Since that book is gone, so is he.

Prism, “light-manipulating scientist” – This character showed up to battle Eclipso. He also hooked up with the “Blood Pack.”

Razorsharp, “sword-armed hacker” – Guess what group this one belonged to. That’s right the Secret Six, I mean the “Blood Pack.” She also had a miniseries with the Cybarats. (They showed up in Robin as well. The Cybarats have also suffered a few jokes in DC letter columns of yore, methinks. –B)

Sparx, “lightning-wielding hero” – She hooked up with Superboy…and the Ravers. She was also in love with that gay hero, Hero. (Arguably the most well-known New Blood besides Hitman thanks to her long run with the Ravers. She was also in Blood Pack. –B)

Terrorsmith, “monster-making villain (?)” – This guy popped up in “Blood Pack.” (No, actually he didn’t. The only members of the Pack not already listed were Loria, who was introduced in the series, and Jade, the current girlfriend/ex-girlfriend of Kyle Rayner –B)

Are you happy? You have completely shown why there aren’t annuals any more. I hope you’re proud of yourself sir. Personally I would love to see all there characters in Roulette’s. That is one hero massacre that I would certainly endorse. B, what should become of these characters? (I wouldn’t mind seeing some of the cooler ones pop up in Outsiders. A guy like Mongrel could be a neat counter to the other team members if Judd took him seriously. Or I could just live with the next DC “event” being a month long theme where every series contains a Gunfire joke. –B)

Proud pop Shiv’kala, you get to go next.

Can you shed some light on my favorite Flash co-star, Chunk? Messner-Loebs made him into a rather likable fellow, but Barons started him out as almost a jerk. Waid and Johns have both used him sparingly, so why is he not used more often?!

Chuck was a fave of mine as well. I really liked how we saw his character grow as the series progressed.

When he first showed up Chester P Runk was kind of a bad guy. He was a scientist whose expirment went awry (when will we learn; science brings nothing but misfortune). As a result he bonded with his matter transporter. He had to transport dense matter (diamonds and gold) to prevent from being transported to that other dimension. Eventually Wally showed Chunk another way to solve the problem, buy getting rid of waste and becoming a disposal service.

He showed up toward the end of the Eclipso series. He was last seen in Flash #177 taking a bullet from Plunder. (Flash’s buddy Jerry McGee mentioned during “Blitz” that Chunk and his shapely girlfriend were engaged and that Chunk was recovering nicely. –B)

As to why he was faded out I can only give you my theory. Baron wanted to create a universe for Wally to play in. He created Speed Demon (one of the creepiest characters, ever), Tina McGee, Red and Blue Trinity and Chunk. Baron’s Flash was kind of bratty; he had an incredible sense of entitlement and no real sense of responsibility.

Messner-Loebs inherited that universe and expanded it and put his own spin on it. Speed Demon became Wally’s buddy. Red Trinity became allies. Wally’s mom moved in. Mason Trollbridge entered the picture, as did The Clipper. Chunk and Wally became best buds. Messner-Loebb’ Flash was an everyman, very human.

Waid came in and wanted to utilize the legacy inherent in the DCU. Thus Johnny Quick, Jay Garrick and Jesse Quick entered and everyone else exited, except for Linda. He wanted to return the “magic” to the Flash. Waid’s Flash was a hero from puberty on, and pretty good at it.

Johns entered and wanted to bring back the comics that he loved to read and remembered. Full of action and excitement. Full of Rogues. This guy is a super hero.

I have enjoyed every run on the book. I like watching how Wally has grown. One thing that you have to consider is that Flash relaunched after Watchmen had been released and still in the 80’s. You can see that Wally is characterized basically as a yuppie but as a real person per the Watchmen. He has come from being a “real person who happened to have powers” to being “a super hero who was also a real person.” Sadly Chunk got left by the wayside. But rest assured when I am writing the Flash, the McGees, The Trinities, Mason and Chunk will most assuredly be showing up in my run. B, you are going to give the Flash to write when you become an editor at DC, right? (If I became an editor at DC, my close personal drinking buddy Geoff Johns would continue writing Flash until his fingers fell off. –B)

Mike Z, do you have a question about an oft-neglected hero in the DCU pantheon?

So Blue Devil’s just a demon now, not a guy in a suit? Was that due to Underworld Unleashed, or Day of Judgment?

Both. But more on that later. Well remember that dude from Underworld Unleashed, Neron? He and Blue Devil were in negotiations. Yadda yadda yadda, Blue Devil ended up half demon. Because honestly what is more lighthearted and funny that the plight of a guy who is half demon? This is a tried and true concept. Look at all of the Hollywood blockbusters that this concept spawned; Half Devil in Blue Techno-costume, From Hell, On My Mother’s Side, and of course Gigli. But all of these movies were robbed of Oscars by a flick about a ring. What kind of nonsense is that B? (Stupid furry midgets…-B)

Matt, do you have a question that would allow me to mention my favorite title of all time?

Did the recent incarnation of the Mist really kill off Blue Devil?

Sadly the Mist did decimate the entire JLE, including Blue Devil, in Starman #38. Blue Devil was killed by the old Holy Water in the sprinkler system trick. Can you believe he fell for that one? That issue of Starman is one of the most infamous issues, because of the massacre of heroes. Fans though that Robinson was a hack for killing C rate heroes to make his villain look that brutal. Robinson replied that most of the deaths were pretty reversible.

In fact Faust took Blue Devil’s bones to Hell and made that half demon a full-blooded demon. That happened in the Days of Judgment miniseries. B, are you going to green light Mike Z’s Blue Devil series when you are a big wig at DC? (Who knows, but it’s one of the cooler things in our thread at the 411 Forum. –B)

Neil MacD, do you have a question about a member of the Batverse?

What is the deal with Ra’s al Ghul. The only things i know about him are from the old batman animated series. What do you think about Ken Wantanabe being cast as Ra’s

Ah Ra’s al Ghul. I love that guy. He is easily one of my favorite characters. Way back in the day (like around the Middle Ages) he was doctor and he was married. He had a dream that helped him create the first Lazarus Pit for a Sultan’s son. Well as usual the son comes out of the pit mad and kills the doctor’s wife. The Sultan, who is happy to have his son back refuses to believe what he just witnessed and blames the doctor. So husband and (dead) wife are reunited in a pit. The doc doesn’t take kindly to watching his wife’s corpse rot away, and when he finally escapes he vows revenge. He gets a group together and attacks the Sultan and wins. But he is mortally wounded. He goes to the pit and is reborn. After being reborn he decides to wipe the country out of existence. He then destroys a mask of the demon that Sultan prayed to. Thus Ra’s al Ghul was born.

Now he is just your run of the mill eco terrorist. He took down the JLA with Batman’s help in Tower of Babel (a story that I seem to mention every other week) he was also president of Earth in the 31st century for a few months, until the Legion stopped him.

I didn’t do his origin justice, and I urge you to pick up Birth of the Demon. It is written by Denny O’Neil who created Ra’s al Ghul, and painted by Norm Breyfogle who is my favorite modern Batman artist. That book is one of my prized possessions. Read it. B, what do you think about Ra’s?

I haven’t actually seen anything that Ken Wantanabe has done. But I did see him at the Oscars, and I think that he will certainly do a fine job in the role. And you know I can’t wait for the next Bat flick. A new Bat flick, with Ra’s al Ghul. My fanboy is on full throttle. B, are you excited about the next Bat flick (even though it will probably get robbed at the Oscars by a 12 hour directors cut of a move about the middle of the planet.) (Read my earlier Last Samurai comment and think about how stoked I am that Ken Watanabe is playing Ra’s. The man is a genius, maybe the best physical actor I have ever seen, and will bring magic to a classic character. Amazing casting all around on that flick so far, the best since X-Men. –B)

Brandon, is there a question that has been plaguing you for months?

What happened to the rest of the Young Justice team? Secret/Empresses/Little Lobo?

Slobo is the 853rd Century in the HQ of that Young Justice, trapped in a statue. Empress is probably raising her parents. The Secret and Arrowette showed up in Teen Titans #7. Apparently Wonder Girl will be attending classes with them. Ray is back in limbo, waiting for the JSA to call in all legacy heroes. Snapper Carr could possibly die in “Identity Crisis” later this year (personally I think that the reason why Superman/Batman #6 was late was because they had to redo that last page to foreshadow the coming crossover.). Hm, am I forgetting anyone? B, what do you think about “Identity Crisis?” (*sniff*…alas Young Justice, we hardly knew ye…-B)

And now for the random question of the week, courtesy of column regular JohnBritton.

Earth has about 72 hours left before it gets covered with tar. You have to leave. Everyone on Earth gets a one-way ticket off the planet. Where do you go?

Where would I live in the DCU? That is an interesting question. Colu seems nice until you realize that problem they have with Computer Tyrants. Krypton is out of the question. Daxam might be nice, but knowing how that story ends is kind of depressing.

I would say Oa in a pinch, but only if it were the Oa of Green Lantern Mosaic. Other than that it’s just a boring place, and Ganthet would probably con me into baby sitting. Carin might be nice, but L.E.G.I.O.N. always has so much drama. Apokolips couldn’t be too much worse than Baltimore.

But I would have to say that I would love to live on Braal. Cosmic Boy was always my favorite Legionnaire. I’ve been fascinated by magnets. Cos seemed so cool to me. So with very little hesitation I would say that the planet that will become Braal will be my destination. But Throneworld (from Starman) would be a close second. B, where are you going to be? (Is the never-ending intergalactic rave from Superboy & The Ravers still open? If not, I’d either pick Ultra Boy’s home planet of Rimbor, because I’m so bad ass, or New Genesis, because, well, it’s paradise, dude. –B)

That is going to do it for me. I’m beat. As usual send questions my way. Email or post them on the Message Boards (which are actually fun, I try to visit there often.) Your question of the week; What did you think about that whole JSA/Hawkman “Black Reign” story?

“When criminals in this world appear and break the laws that they should fear, and frighten all who see or hear, the cry goes up both far and near”

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