Who’s Who In The DCU 3.17.04

It is column time yet again. Man, last week was crazy. Everything went wacky for a second. I’m sure that all of you were worried. Well I have the real deal. Apparently Mark Waid tried to retcon 411Mania a mere week after it’s first birthday. Sure he claimed to be doing it out of love for the site (just like Birthright is out of love for Superman) but Widro put a stop to that and put things as back as close to normal as he could. (Although little things are still off following 411 Hour: A Crisis In Mania. Widro became ten years younger…oh wait, no he just frosted his hair again…-B)

Of course we must link the furthering adventures of the Dark Overlord (Where, for some reason, the hair color of my character is blond rather than my real-life light brown or real-life dyed black…damn you, 411 Hour!! –B)

Mike Z and Leonard Hayhurst get links.

Black and Music get links.

And of course read everything here at Comics.

B, you want to link anything? Perhaps a column that holds blasphemy that I would have expected from Daron and Jim, but not from you. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, you may want to read this week’s edition of The Watchtower and see why I’m going to be forced to emasculate M in type in a moment. –B)

In response to B’s column I fired off the following email;

B,

C’mon. I write the DCU column for the site. You know you are not going to get off that easy.

I honestly believe that Hawkeye and Green Arrow would be in a “shoot out” forever. There is no way Cap’s patented “battle training” is going to come into play. They would want to prove who the best archer is, since that’s basically all they’ve got. (Doubtful, as both guys, when confronted by somebody who really pisses them off and who isn’t, like, Galactus or the Anti-Monitor, almost always throw down the arrows and start kicking and punching. At best, Ollie gets a couple good shots, as Hawkeye can also avoid the shots better as a result of aforementioned combat training, and Hawkeye says ‘f it’ then runs in and beats the crap out of him; more likely, they trade quips and try to out-arch one another, but charge one another when they realize they’re fairly evenly matched and they’re annoying the hell out of one another. –B)

I gotta belive that J’onn would be able to take out Vision. Even if he can’t read his mind, he could still hit him with some mental doohickey of some sort. (Here my bias comes into play, as I don’t know too much about Vision, and certainly not enough to point out where he has been susceptible to mental attacks) (I’m still unsure about this one. Jim, if you’re reading this, can The Vision be hurt by mental attacks? If he can, I give it J’onn, if he can’t, my call remains the same. –B)

Dude, c’mon. Aquaman has mental powers. Is Aquaman really going to stray too far from the water? No, he’s too smart. Is Wonder Man smart? No, (I read his solo book.) Plus Aquaman has mental abilities. (Aquaman doesn’t have a choice about straying far from the water; as I said in the column, I refuse to give him a battlefield where he will easily beat just about anybody. Aquaman’s telepathy is extremely limited; I’ve never ever seen him use it as an offensive weapon, only to command fish and talk to J’onn sometimes. –B)

Atom loses? Get out of here. Atom would win. He’s Ray Palmer! He took out Mister Mind, a space worm from Venus! So what if Yellow Jacket can get large. Ray can get so small that this is moot. And Atom is used to battling things on a smaller scale. You are selling Atom short. (Ok…I concede this one. Looking back, I do think Atom would beat YJ. –B)

Supes has gumption. I really think that Supes could take Thor. Seriously. (Not budging an inch on this one. Magic is the key; Captain Marvel, the Shazam one, always whoops Supes with the lingering traces of magic in him, Thor’s hammer would be way too much for him. –B)

Would Scarlet Witch beat Firestorm? Even one with Marty Stein? I think that Ol’ Marty would figure out something to work on the Witch. (He doesn’t have Marty, just as the current Firestorm doesn’t have him. –B)

Iron Man beats Green Lantern? Get out of here. By the time Tony figures out to use the sonic weapon, his tin can has been peeled by a green can opener. Kyle would take out Iron Man. He has fought the son of Darkseid! Who has Tony beaten? Jack Daniels? And that was a close one. (All Tony has to do is duck and move, he doesn’t even need to analyze, his computers will do that for him while he evades, beauty of the armor. Tony can keep Kyle occupied long enough until the armor assesses the energy; also, it has been shown that the emerald energy is not impossible to disperse with force blasts, and Shellhead has those to spare. –B)

There is now way Scarlet Witch beats Wally. No way. (Killed me too, but I stand by my original reasoning. –B)

I don’t know who would win between Wonder Woman and Thor. I want to say Wonder Woman but I don’t know if this is 21st century “not trying to be sexist” Mathan.

And for some strange reason I really do think that Batman can beat Thor. I have no proof, no evidence. No real explanation for my belief, but I think he could do it. (Not that Thor would get that far as I had Supes taking him down, and him going toe to toe with Wonder Woman) (You know why Batman can usually take out Superman? Because, as he said during Hush, he’s willing to fight dirty; so is Thor, and he’s waaaaay stronger than Bats. –B)

Great column (Well, at least we agree on something. –B), as it made me stay up way past my 4am bedtime to read and respond.

M

Let’s move on to last week’s comics. As usual I’ll do my best to keep it three words or less.

Nightwing #91 Disappointing, but better.

Fallen Angel #9 A great book.

JSA #59 Holy Cow, amazing.

Green Arrow #36 Ugh, demons. (For another side of it, read my review -B)

HERO #14 Actually quite good.

100 Bullets #49 Best book out.

I also just finished reading the Chronos series from a few years back. I really enjoyed it. If you happen to have a few extra dollars you should pick up an issue or two. It only ran 12 issues, so you could get the whole thing pretty cheap. It’s a fun read.

Ok. So let me tell you how I put the column together. I write every question down on a sheet of paper. When it gets answered I cross it off. This week I decided that there were enough questions about creators to fill a column. What I didn’t realize was that they were all asked by JohnBritton. So JohnBritton consider this your wedding present. B, what did you get him? (His own robotic Mathan to answer all his DCU queries; I believe he put it on the stand next to his bed and his life loves being woken up at 4 AM listening to you explain the overview of Gunfire’s solo series. –B)


JohnBritton asked (awhile ago),

Now that JLA has started its “every writer has one great JLA story” era, the great writers of today will get a crack at the biggest sandbox at DC. Everybody’s curious what they’ll do with it, but I’m thinking about what JLA writers have done with their shots in the past. Who are the writers who were responsible for the prior eras of the JLA, and what did they do with it?

Brave & The Bold #28 – Gardner Fox. Ok it starts with some wacky “Silver Age” stories. They battle evil users of magic, robot duplicates, androids that steal powers, and alien menaces. It is your typical comic book, with Sci Fi leanings, as was the style in the 60’s.

Justice League of America #66 – Denny O’Neil. When Denny O’Neil takes over, he makes Green Arrow more of a leftist, they also deal with “real world threats” like Generalissimo Demmy Gog (ouch.) They also create the satellite that you hear so much about nowadays. Denny also gets a little darker by having the Joker use Snapper to infiltrate their original HQ. But they still deal with mystical and super powered threats as well.

Justice League of American #87 – Mike Friedrich. Mike’s run wasn’t too long. He introduced Starbreaker, the cosmic vampire, and the lost continent of Mu. I don’t really know what characterized this run.

Justice League of America #100 – Len Wein. Len give special attention to Red Tornado (who B apparently hates, even though he claims to “love Young Justice.”) (What? I love Reddy AND Young Justice. I still don’t think he could beat Iron Man, but I love him more than any other comic book android…except maybe Hourman. –B) He also has four JLA/JSA crossovers in his run. Even one where the JLA accidentally kills some JSA members, but did they get hated by comic fans the way Dan Jurgens did? Nope. Adam Strange and Snapper Carr make appearances during his run. I guess this run would be characterized by large adventures, what we would call “wide screen action.”

Justice League of America #125 – Gerry Conway (whose work can now be seen on Law & Order: Criminal Intent) gave us Zantana’s origin, and Mr. Terrific’s death, and also a “hellish disco.” Since he had such a long tenure he was able to use subplot to build up storylines. He also gave us the JLA Detroit, and that means Vibe, people. That dude had one garish costume. He had a change to revamp the League and tell less cosmic stories. He basically ran the gamut. (He was also the writer of Justice League of America #200, one of, if not the, best JLA stories of all time. Kurt Busiek and others also did some fill-in work in and around his run. –B)

Justice League #1 – Keith Giffen & J.M DeMatteis This relaunched League starts out with some humor, but with an actual plot. Max Lord has created a plan to make the League huge, and get them backed by the United Nations. This league deals with international issues. The villains are occasionally leaders of other countries. This book turns more humorous. Finally with “Breakdowns” the team dismantles. Sort of.

Justice League America #61 – Dan Jurgens. Dan goes back to the traditional “hero vs villain” and downplays the humor of the book. He also creates the subplot of Bloodwynd’s identity. He also gave us the great tale of “Destiny’s Hand” where a darker version of the JLA rule.

Justice League America #78 – Dan Vado. Dan gives the Overmaster and also gives Bloodwynd a little depth. He also gives us the lamented Amazing Man II and Ice’s new attitude. At this point in time Justice League Europe, Justice League Task Force and Justice League Quarterly are all running at the same time, numerous JL members have solo books so crossovers are at an all time high.

Justice League America #0/93 – Gerard Jones. Gerard Jones brings Max in as a major player to the team. Another book, Extreme Justice further clogs the shelf. The JLA, lead by Wonder Woman does some space stuff. They gain a gaggle of new members. There is some plot development but with all of the League books things get kind of convoluted. (Gerard Jones, who is certainly capable of good writing, was the lowpoint for me re: JLA. –B)

JLA #1 – Grant Morrison. Grant wanted to use the “Big Seven” and give them a reason to be around, which meant dealing with menaces that only the JLA could handle. He viewed them as modern day gods and they had a pantheon that eventually expanded to 14 members. He really used the “blockbuster epic” mode of telling stories on a grand scale. He also used subtle clues to hint at future events and stories. He gave us Prometheus.

JLA #43 – Mark Waid. Waid follows in Morrison’s footsteps by using the larger than life menaces and fantastic ideas. He also delves into the personal lives of the leagues and what makes them tick. He also features the infamous “Tower of Babel” story where Batman, inadvertently, takes down the JLA.

JLA #62 – Joe Kelly. Joe gives us Plastic Man’s son, yay. He also gives us the “Obsidian Age.” Things basically go downhill after that. He tries to make sweeping epics, but you can tell he’s trying. It seems forced. But it can’t be easy inheriting the book from Waid and Morrison. (I actually enjoyed Kelly’s run quite a bit. He took chances and I applaud that, made for some interesting moments. A few too many political stories? Probably, but he had something to say, and the story introducing Plastic Man’s son was actually quite good. –B)

JLA #94 – Various. Apparently every creator has a JLA story in them. B, you down to team up on an arc? Oh wait, you hate the JLA. (This is going to get real old real fast…you better hope I don’t start exploiting the fact that I’m editing this after you wrote it and can change anything to make you seem like a complete fool. –B)


JohnBritton do you have another creator question?

What big-time creators have never worked in the DCU? What books would they be the best on?

This is a tough question. I don’t know who is “Big Time”, nor do I know their complete resumes. But will make an attempt.

By looking at the latest issue of Wizard I’ll run down the Hot Writers.

Brian Michael Bendis – I don’t think this guy has done any DC work. Since he does the whole “ultimate” thing I guess he could probably do the kids on “Teen Titans” justice. Especially if he used the same story telling that he does on Ultimate Spiderman. For that matter I bet he would do a decent job on Robin. (He also writes a great Daredevil, and for this and other reasons, I think he’d do a great Green Arrow run. –B)

J. Michael Straczynski – I know he has worked for DC in the past. His debut was in an issue of Teen Titan Spotlight. But he hasn’t done much recently. I would put him on Nightwing. He does a good job with Spidey so I bet he could do a killer Dick Grayson. He could also probably do decent Aquaman consider how he deals with the torn Mark Milton in Supreme Power every month. (Good call on Aquaman. Given his Supreme Power work, I could also see him doing a cool more mature take on Suicide Squad. –B)

Mark Millar – Yeah I know he used to write for DC, over in Superman Adventures. But again he’s exiled in the Marvel U. I would give him Lobo. Perhaps he could make that character interesting. (Lobo is one-dimensional enough to be right down Millar’s alley. I’m not going to say any more…about Mark Millar. –B)

Stan Lee – Well this guy hasn’t worked in the DCU proper. I would probably put him on the new Firestorm book. He’s a pretty good writer when he gets in on the ground floor. By that same token I would have put him on Green Lantern when Kyle first took over. I would also give him an arc on JLA, just to see what he would do with it.

Now in terms of artists things get trickier. Most of the times artists will have gigs at DC and then go to Marvel and explode. Peep Image founders Liefeld, McFarlane, and Larsen.

Again we go to Wizard.

Mark Silvestri – I don’t know if he’s done DC before, but it hasn’t been extensive or recent. I would probably put him on Batman, Wonder Woman or Superman. Those icons go well with high profile artists. (Silvestri on Batman would own. Yeah, I said it would own, word. –B)

David Finch – Since he does Ultimate X-Men, I would put him on another team book. I’m thinking Outsiders. But I’m not too familiar with his work. (Great underrated artist. He’d be a very good fit on Outsiders. –B)

Andy Kubert – Did some DC stuff early in his career. I recall a Doc Savage series. But I would put him on Wonder Woman or Superman. This guys art looks great, and I imagine that his Wondy or Supes would be beautiful. (Put him on Green Arrow with Bendis, or throw him Hawkman, or even JLA. Great artist. –B)

Mark Bagley – This guy has done DC stuff, as recently as the Power Company one shots. I would team him on Robin with his Ultimate cohort Bendis. How do you break up that team? (Bagley would be too perfect for JSA…and I don’t mean that in a he’s better than JSA way…never mind, just get Bagley on JSA. –B)

Adam Kubert – Again like his bro (and pop) he’s worked with DC in the past. I think that I would put him on either Aquaman or Hawkman. I think that his Hawkman would be cool, but I don’t know he gets dark enough to match the occasional tone of the book. Aquaman is probably a better bet. Or maybe Legion. Yup Legion is where I’m going with Adam.

Salvador Larocca – He’s worked with Waid on the Flash. I believe his run ended with #100. Anyway I would put him on JSA. Not that the art needs to be changed, but that is where I would put him. (JLA by Salva: a dream come true. –B)

Gary Frank – He was the original artist on Peter David’s Supergirl. But if he were to come back I would put him on Birds of Prey, another cast of characters he’s familiar with. (I’d put him on a Superman book, just because. –B)

John Romita Jr. – This artist would have to be on Hawkman. I remember his Punisher work from the ninties. He draws violence well. His Hawkman would rock. (Ditto. –B)

As for those Image cats.

Larsen I would put him on Lobo. Without a doubt.

McFarlane – Would go on Nightwing. We know his Spiderman poses, now imagine his Nightwing poses, Dick is an actual acrobat. (I’d have to agree. –B)

Liefeld – Wasn’t Shaft his hero? Well then Green Arrow it is. Or perhaps Outsiders. Either book would probably suit Liefeld well. (He loves Teen Titans, but he’s not so good with the drawing youngsters and not making them look adult. He drew a truly bad-ass Aquaman in a Superman X-Mas story, I’d put him on the book of the guy who can’t beat Wonder Man. –B)

B, did I miss anyone? (After all your little snide remarks, you expect me to help you out now? Forget about it. –B)

How about where you think the aforementioned creators should end up. (I did as I went along, nitwit. –B)


JohnBritton, another creator question?

What five writers have had the greatest effect on comic books? I feel like I’ve seen a million stories about how Eisner changed this and Kirby changed that, but now that writers seem to largely drive the medium, what writers advanced the form the most radically?

I know that everyone who reads the column thinks that I know a lot. But I really don’t. I certainly don’t know enough to give a definitive answer to this question. In order to fully grasp the changes to a medium you have to experience the before and after. For the most part I am living in a “post whatshisname” world. Not only that but I haven’t sampled every great writer’s work. That said I will attempt to compile a list of five greats, in no particular order.

1. Jerry Siegel – This is the co creator of Superman, the character that changed the medium. He has to be on the list.

2. Stan Lee – People may debate over his getting full credit for creating heroes, but I’m not talking about creating I’m talking about stories. Lee had some great tales and established Marvel’s initial continuity. He made heroes more human.

3. Alan Moore – This guy made heroes completely human. Whether you are reading Swamp Thing, Marvelman, or The Watchmen, he brought something new to the table. And he’s still doing it.

4. Gardner Fox – He wrote two Flashes. He was a major player in the Silver Age and Golden Age. Not too many writers can claim to have touched two different comic generations.

5. Chris Claremont – His work or X-Men is legendary. He gave some great character development and told epic tales. He perfected the team book. And he’s still in demand.

B, do you have some other names that should be up here? (Hmm…I think my top five would be: 1. Stan Lee/Jack Kirby, 2. Gardner Fox, 3. Denny O’Neil, 4. Alan Moore, 5. Kurt Busiek; to me, that embodies the progression of comics through history. The Lee/Kirby team probably saved comics from going out of style altogether in the 60s, Fox did the same for the DCU, O’Neil was the first to bring real-life political issues and other previously taboo topics in, Moore made the medium far more intelligent, and Busiek started the trend of looking at heroes as larger than life through human eyes and was a driving force after the 90s crash and burn in making comics fun again. –B)


JohnBritton, I know you can pull out another creator question.

If you had the chance to thank one comic book creator for one issue, who would it be?

Hmm, another toughie.

Well if we are going for overall comic I would have to say Justice League of America #200. (Dude, I already mentioned that issue earlier this column. You don’t have an original bone in your body. –B) I would thank Gerry Conway for inspiring me to read comics and use my imagination.

If we are talking about recent comics I would say New Frontier #1 or 2. Not only has it reminded me why I love comics, but it’s reminded James Robinson why he loves comic and inspired he to give the medium a go again. So thank you Darwyn Cooke.

Now if you want to go strictly on art I would say thank you to Eddy Newell, for creating one of the most beautiful looking comics I have ever seen. The art in that issue is amazing. The story is great as well.

In terms of strictly story I would say thank you to James Robinson for Starman #4. That is probably my favorite issue of a great series. And Jack reminds me of myself the way he avoids the fight. The art is great as well.

Anyone you want to thank B? (Not sure what issue it would be, but I’d probably thank Fabian Nicieza; I would never have kept reading comics past elementary school if his New Warriors story didn’t strike a chord with me and convince me comics weren’t just for kids. –B)


Well once again we come to the end of another column. Next column will be a better and grand extravaganza. As usual send me your questions or post them on the message boards. Your question of the week; What book are you worried will get canceled?

“Mayonnaise colored Benz, I push miracle whips.”

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