Who’s Who In The DCU 4.14.04

Once again we meet anew on our journey through the DCU. I’m M, the resident know-it-all and with me as always is B. He’s like the power ring to my Power Ring. (Party on, M. –B)

As always I shall link first.

Hayhurst answers some questions from yours truly.

MM has a column filled with comic references, so he most definitely gets a link.

411Black has some interesting reads.

Mike Z details other ways to spend your extra cash.

DOL and #1 answer some questions.

B, now it’s your turn to link. As always, I refuse to acknowledge that there is life on planet 411 outside of comics. My twin brother from another mother Tim Stevens is always a hoot on DC News & Views and the Roundtable is a real barn burner this week. –B)

I will not deny you my thoughts on last week’s comics any longer.

Plastic Man #5: Review forthcoming

The Monolith #3: Read the review.

Hard Times #3: Review forthcoming.

Swamp Thing #2: Interesting. The surprise guest star made it worthwhile.

Death and the Maidens #8: I am really loving this book. Sadly it ends next month. Contender for book of the week.

Now one thing that I’ve loved is that Birthright and Supreme Power come out in the same week. It’s like reading two versions of the same story…particularly this week.

Birthright #9: I hate what this book represents and means, but I’m really enjoying the story. I like this issue a lot.

Supreme Power #9: The slow burn heats up. I will be happy when Hyperion secedes the spotlight though.

Ricky Grenier correctly labeled the lyric at the close of last week’s column so he gets the first question answered.

What happened to the android Hourman?

Ah the android Hourman. I loved that book. It is still a favorite. There is where you can see superstar Rags Morales return to the forefront. I don’t mention this book enough like I do Chronos and Chase, because this one almost had a decent run. It ended too soon but was allowed to blossom.

Now as to where he is, he took off to battle Amazo in the time stream. He didn’t feel like he was fitting in the present so it wasn’t too hard to say “good byes.” I do hope that someone else decides to play with that Hourman because he was lots of fun. But since Geoff Johns has allowed Rick Tyler to reclaim the title and Rex Tyler to take his place in the JSA, it looks like the Android Hourman is shelved for the time being. Like I said I loved the guy. B, did you like the Android Hourman? (I did. When I entered my second comics renaissance as a college student, I didn’t know who any of the Hourmen are, but in becoming a JSA fan, I’ve come to like all three, each for their own reasons. From what little I’ve read of the Hourman series with the android, it was extremely entertaining. I disagree with those who think its best the android be kept off limits ala the Jack Knight Starman so as not to tarnish the work done by Tom Peyer; the android was written well by Grant Morrison and the James Robinson/David Goyer/Geoff Johns trio as well, there are plenty of stories left to tell with him. I also don’t buy the argument that having more than one Hourman would be a problem; we’re talking three characters here who couldn’t be more different. All three Hourmen could be on the JSA at the same time and you’d hear no complaints from me. –B)

Ricky do you have another question on your mind?

Was the Harbinger in Crisis an established character in the DCU at the time, or was she a new character?

Well yes and no. Y’see Monitor and Lyla (the Harbinger) made several appearances before the Crisis. In an unprecedented move the Monitor was introduced almost three years before Crisis #1, in The New Teen Titans #21. Lyla, his aide was introduced in New Teen Titans Annual #2.

The story was that the Monitor was supplying weapons to the villains of the DCM (that’s DC Multiverse for those of you unfamiliar in the Pre Crisis DC.) He would then observe the heroes triumph over their foes. Sometime he would just observe. He showed up on Earth 1, Earth 2, during WWII, the Wild West and even in the 30th Century.

Fans didn’t really know what to think of the Monitor. Was he a good guy or a bad guy? Of course once the Crisis began everyone found out his motivation. And Lyla became Harbinger. So basically she did exist previous to the Crisis comic book, but she only existed to set up the Crisis comic book. She was last seen on Themyscira recording the history of the Amazons.

Someone asked a Crisis related question that was erased from existence by the Crisis on the 411 Message Boards. I don’t know who asked but it read like this;

Who do you miss most from Crisis?

Let’s see, I’m going to limit my answer to those characters that actually played a prominent role in the Crisis. Here is how I rank them in order from least missed to most missed.

Harbinger – She is chilling in the background of Wonder Woman. She can come back anytime. Plus she got some time to shine with the New Guardians. I don’t miss her too much.

Pariah – All this guy did was whine and cry. He always had his mouth open and looked scared. You would think that all the catastrophes he witnessed would have desensitized him to them. I mean I’ve been watching the latest Oz DVD, and I can honestly watching someone get shanked doesn’t unnerve me at all. But he did have a flowing cape. I miss him a bit.

Lady Quark – She played a major role in L.E.G.I.O.N. But then she got killed off! How do you kill of a character that had her start in Crisis? That’s crazy! I miss her a lot (and even have ideas of how to bring her back.)

But the character I missed the most is none other than…

Alexander Luthor – This guy had a red fro! He had a red afro! Can you get any cooler than that? Well he was also composed of both matter and anti-matter! All that and he dressed in solid gold! That guy was so ahead of his time (which apparently still hasn’t come about yet.) But the point is he hasn’t made any major appearances in the post Crisis DCU. Did he ever get a fade? Did he get cornrows? Did he ever rock a baldie? I need to know what sort of hairstyle Alexander Luthor is rocking right now! B, who do you miss the most from Crisis? (I’ll take a different tack and talk about characters whose existence was actually erased by Crisis. I personally think the post-Crisis Huntress is preferable to the pre-Crisis one, but I thought the Earth-2 Dick Grayson was a pretty neat idea. The concept of having a Dick who followed directly in Batman’s footsteps and remained Robin while not losing the Nightwing we know and love appeals to me; the team up potential would have been off the charts. I wish Earth-2 Robin could have somehow survived and become the wacky uncle of the Bat Family. –B)

Clint do you have a question that really needs a detailed answer?

In Firestorm, there was a short arc called “Elemental War” which involved Firestorm and Swamp Thing facing off against Red Tornado and Naiad (the new water elemental)

Are these four still elementals? Is this new Firestorm still going to be an elemental? Something happened with Red Tornado, but I’m not sure. Where is Naiad? Swamp Thing is coming back, is he still the Earth/Plant Elemental? Captain Atom was supposed to be called to the confrontation, is he an elemental? I’m not sure what the difference between “Avatar” and “Elemental” is; can you elaborate?

Ok, in order to understand Elementals you first have to get the Parliaments down. The Parliament of Flames is responsible for the Fire Elemental. The Parliament of Stones deals with the rocks, plates, and seismic and mineral stuff. The Parliament of Waves does the water thing. The Parliament of Vapors is responsible for matters of the air. And the Parliament of the Trees, I’m sure it the most well known of the Parliaments.

Now the Martin Stein Firestorm was the Fire Elemental of Earth. But then he left Earth. Thus a void needed to be filled. Thus Corona became the new Fire Elemental. Corona is probably better known as Kako, Aquaman’s baby’s mother, Koryak’s mom. When she first became Corona she fought with Naiad, the Water Elemental. But they became close friends. You can read all about it in Aquaman #8 (not the current crappy #8, the previous Peter David #8.)

Red Tornado used to be the Air Elemental, but that was when he was younger. To him it’s like Frat parties; the elemental agenda was cool when he was younger, but now he has a family and his priorities have changed a bit.

Swamp Thing was of course the Plant Elemental. He eventually became the Earth Elemental. He is still an Elemental, but without human consciousness (read the last three issues of Hellblazer and the current Swamp Thing series for more on that shift.) Now his daughter Tefe is an Elemental. The Stones also created a champion of their own Nelson Strong. But their relationship has been kind of rocky (get it? “Rocky” Because they are the Parliament of Stones and rocks and stones are kinda the same thing.)

Indeed Captain Atom is an Elemental. He’s the Quantum Elemental. Oh wait. He’s dead, never mind.

Now the confusion between the Avatars and Elementals is easy to clear up. Elementals are M&M’s and Avatars are Skittles. They are both candies; but different kinds of candies. Avatars are animal based. For instance awhile back, when Hawkman was almost beyond repair, there was the Hawk Avatar who messed things up further. Elementals are representatives of things that occur in nature, but aren’t really alive, like Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Quantum Mechanics. You get the idea.

All the Avatars exist in the Red, the Morphogenetic field that is the connection between all animal life, the way the Green links all plant life. So whereas Swamp Thing taps into the Green to use his plant powers, Animal Man links to the Red to use his powers. In fact any character that has animal based powers taps into the Red. B, do you have anything to add on Avatars Vs Elementals, Red Vs Green, I mean other than that the Avengers can beat them all combined? (“their relationship has been kind of rocky”…honestly, do you have even a glimmer of shame? –B)

Brian do you have a question for a column that is really lacking in the Batman department?

How does Batman see himself? Does he blame himself for his parents death?

Without a doubt Batman blames himself for his parents death. If you read the story “Gothic” from Legends of the Dark Knight you will see how a young Bruce Wayne feels directly responsible for their death. And man, that Mr. Whisper is a creepy fellow.

If you want a more recent example just pick up Batman #625. Brian Azzarello puts the latest (and greatest, in my opinion) spin on the events that leads up that fateful trip to the movies. Some folks didn’t dig the story, but I loved it. It had real depth.

Here are the basic indisputable facts. The Waynes took Bruce to see “The Mark of Zorro”, be it because of what happened at school or to make amends for a promise unfulfilled. They went to the movies for him. The rest is tragic history. Now wouldn’t you feel a bit guilty if you were in his shoes?

Brian, have another Bat question?

Does he consider himself cursed for having to be Batman ..and for possibly creating a maniac like the Joker?

Um yeah, Batman is most definitely cursed, and he knows it. He has to know it. Let’s just play 2 Degrees of Batman; it’s similar to 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon only usually with tragic results.

Jason Todd, partner of Batman – Beaten to a pulp by a crowbar (with an assist from the Joker.) Said pulp is then torn from existence by an explosion. Check out the trade for “A Death In the Family.”

Vesper Fairchild, Bruce Wayne’s ex – Murdered in a plot to destroy Bruce Wayne’s credibility. Peep the “Bruce Wayne: Murderer” Trade.

Barbara Gordon, FKA Batgirl associate of Batman – shot, paralyzed, and abused by the Joker (who Batman helped “create”) in an attempt to drive then Commissioner Jim Gordon insane. If you haven’t read “The Killing Joke” shame on you.

Sarah Essen-Gordon, Jim Gordon’s wife and fellow Police Officer – Shot in the head and killed by the Joker. This tragedy can be found in “No Man’s Land.”

Jim Gordon, former Commissioner friend of Batman – Jim was shot, but most importantly he lost his wife and had his daughter paralyzed by the Joker.

Harvey Dent, former District Attorney friend to both Bruce Wayne and Batman – Harvey had his face scarred by acid. He became the villain Two-Face. I really like Batman Annual #14 for it’s version of the origin.

And that is just off the top of my head. What’s that you say? You want more examples that aren’t necessarily in canon? Well then how about;

Kathy Kane, former Batwoman – Killed by the League of Assassins.

Selina Kyle, Catwoman, girlfriend of Bruce Wayne and Batman – Tortured and brainwashed by Dr. Moon, because the Joker wanted to get revenge on Batman.

Talia, mother of Batman’s unborn child – She suffered a miscarriage. Ok she didn’t really but Batman thought she did, and that is really the point. “The Son of the Demon” is where you can find this infamous tale.

So based on the evidence I’m saying that Batman is cursed and knows it. B, are you still going over to stately Wayne Manor this weekend for that shindig? (Did you know that 411’s resident DC New guru Tim Stevens refers to his home as “stately Stevens manor?” Strange…but true! –B)

And on that note folks I’m going to call it a column. As usual I thank you for your questions, and ask that you keep sending them my way. Also don’t forget to check out the Message Boards. They are a blast! As for my parting question for you; Which Superman Book are you most looking forward to and why?

“You ought to be proud that I’m getting good marks.”

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