Who’s Who In The DCU 4.28.04


Sorry about the Times Past column last week. I tried to be a good coworker and ended up with too little time to do the column. I’m back this week. But before I go any further column regular Shiv’kala noted that I just skimmed over the Firestorm part of the Elemental story. In an effort to correct my error I give you Shiv’kala.

You kind of glossed over Firestorm, which really established the four elementals, after making Firestorm the Fire Elemental and Naiad the water elemental.

The Green had chosen Martin Stein to become the fire elemental. To become an elemental, it requires an explosion of some kind and a sort of death/rebirth. So the Green manipulated things to make it so that the nuclear reactor Stein was working on would explode, thus making Stein the Fire Elemental.

Enter Ronnie Raymond, a teenager looking to impress a girl in his new school. See this was back in the late 70’s/ early 80’s and I guess protesting nuclear power plants was cool for high school students or something. Whatever. Ronnie tries to save Stein from the explosion, but gets caught and is fused to Stein to create Firestorm, though they could fission apart.

So basically, Ronnie’s very presence that day screwed with nature.

Later on, Stein would “die” due to a brain tumor and Ronnie melded with a Russian to create Firestorm, though this time, instead of being in charge, both Ronnie and the Russian were the “floating heads” and Firestorm seemed to have his own identity. They later learned that it was Martin Stein who provided the identity for Firestorm, as he was alive, but would pass out every time Ronnie and the Russian became Firestorm.

Then Ronnie met Rasputin (who claimed to be the real Rasputin from Russian history), who told Ronnie and his Russian counterpart that they were to be the next Fire Elemental.

So Ronnie, the Russian, and a Russian clone of Firestorm merged to become Firestorm permanently, and thus become the Fire Elemental, with total control of the flames, a body made of flames, powers drawn from the Earth, and the ability to manifest himself in flames at any point.

All of which drove Firestorm a little mad, as he realized the harm humans were doing to the Earth. Still clinging to his humanity though, he decided to use a forest fire to decide mankind’s fate. If it was due to man’s messing with nature, he would attack mankind. If it was a natural thing, he would side with mankind. It turned out to be natural and all was good.

Except for the fact that the recently “born” water elemental, Naiad, was formerly a Greenpeace advocate and her transformation left her angry at humanity. The fact that Red Tornado dropped by with a similar mindset proved troublesome for Firestorm, especially since RT used to be his teammate in the JLA.

A fight between Firestorm and the two pissed off elementals, left Firestorm very weak. In this state he found himself confronting Gaia, the personification of the Earth. She was troubled at Firestorm, telling him that this version was never meant to become the fire elemental. The fire elemental was supposed to be just Martin Stein, who at this point, was no longer part of the Firestorm equation, thus being the reason why Firestorm was so confused.

Firestorm awoke and teamed with Swamp Thing to end the “Elemental War”. RT and Naiad gave up their attack on humanity and all was good.

Except for a past mistake on Firestorm’s part. See he made one of the fundamental hero mistakes (ie, don’t throw things in the sun, they’ll just come back to haunt you, ie the Eradicator, since Superman is just as guilty of this as Firestorm) and tossed Brimstone’s techno-seed into the sun. Brimstone was a big being made by Darkseid powered by nuclear fusion. And Firestorm tossed him into the galaxy’s biggest source of nuclear fusion. Yeah, and surprisingly, this was back when he had Martin Stein helping him. Dumb move Stormy…

Anyway, Firestorm realizes the only way to stop him is to confront him head on. However, there’s a problem, an Elemental is unable to leave the planet’s atmosphere, so Stormy is stuck on Earth.

Enter Martin Stein, who has been told that it is he who was meant to be the Fire Elemental all along. He convinces Firestorm to release Ronnie and the Russian. They convince the Russian clone of Firestorm to help Martin become the elemental. It is decided that if Martin undergoes the transformation into an elemental out of Earth’s atmosphere, he won’t be tied to the planet. So Firestorm releases Ronnie and the Russian, and their clone causes a rocket ship Stein is in to explode, creating the “pure” Firestorm composed entirely of Martin, who goes on to defeat Brimstone. However, their battle in the sun causes a black hole to open up, which Firestorm enters and closes from the other side, trapping him millions of light years from home, which is just fine for Martin, who likes the peace and the ability to explore.

It remains to be seen what, if any, of this will be referenced in the new Firestorm series. I’m guessing not much, since a lot of people agree that the elemental mumbo-jumbo was when Firestorm’s title jumped the shark. Well, at least those who feel that it didn’t already jump after Martin was left out of the equation.

I thank you Shiv’kala for correcting my oversight. Hm, perhaps I should just turn the column over to Shiv the next time I’m out past curfew. What do you think B? (I’ve got Shiv on speed dial. Your ass is grass and I’m about ready to smoke you. –B)

Sadly you missed my thoughts on comics last week, but I will give you my comments on last week’s comics.

Adventures of Superman #627: Interesting. I may be back next month.

Superman/Batman #9: Loeb may actually be able to pull this Kara Zor-el thing off.

Gotham Knights #52: A surprisingly good read, full of surprises.

Human Target #9: I can’t say I liked the ending of what I thought was a great arc.

Fraction #1: Peep the Review.

Outsiders #11: Peep the review

Hawkman #27: Review forthcoming.

Finally, Links.

DOL has returned!

Mike Z gives you Justice, his style.

Black is always good.

Music rocks.

Hayhurst answers your movie questions.

B, I know you are hankering for some linking. Get to it. (If you only read one column this wesek…that would be weird, but make it mine. -B)

Last Thursday I went to see Kill Bill Vol 2, and I have to say I had a change of heart. I now have a fuller understanding of what Mark Waid is trying to with “Birthright.” While I’m still sorry to see the cold sterile Krypton leave, I can now see what Waid wants to bring back. The eloquent speech on Superman has made me a believer. While I’m going to miss the Krypton that I grew up with, I look forward to a new age of wonderment.

Speaking of movies…

Hawkman: I’m going to have to say “Dead Again.” It’s a flick that deals with reincarnation. I bet Carter could really relate.

Superman: “To Kill A Mockingbird” is so schmaltzy. But my mom is from Iowa and it’s her favorite movie so I have to say in a Midwest earnestness it fits.

Batman: It’s a wonder that Batman doesn’t hate “The Mark of Zorro.” I think that he might like “The Untouchables” Elliot Ness and company cleaning up a corrupted city would probably appeal to Brucie. But I bet that he could really wrap his head around “Memento”

Aquaman: I want to say “The Swimmer,” but I guess it would more likely be “Waterworld.” Somehow I think Aquaman could relate that stench of failure. Oh and all that water too.

Wonder Woman: “Thelma and Louise?” “Set it Off?” Maybe “Kill Bill.” A female warrior out for justice? That sounds about right.

Robin: The only thing I know about “Varcity Blues” is when dude says “I don’t want your life.” And to me that sounds like a Tim to Bruce line.

Nightwing: I can’t say why, but I think that Dick Grayson’s favorite movie is “Say Anything.” I just get that vibe from him.

Flash: This guy has no attention span. He’s a trailer only type guy. The shorter the better.

Green Lantern: Kyle is an artist so I think that he would like “Pollack.” Hal would probably like “Top Gun.” John, I think would dig “Westside Story.”

Green Arrow: Connor, I bet would like the musing of “Waking Life.” While Ollie would enjoy something like “Hair” to remind him of the good old days.

Arsenal: I think he would enjoy “Snatch.” I can’t base this on anything but it seems like it would appeal to Roy.

Guy Gardner: I think that Guy would like Sly. “First Blood” probably had a pretty big impact on Guy as did “Rambo.” I would say “Rocky” but you know how Guy feels about fists. Bwah ha haaaa!

Martian Manhunter: I think that either “Fight Club” or “Brother From Another Planet” would suit J’onn’s fancy.

Lex Luthor: I think that he could probably relate to “A Beautiful Mind.” At least in terms of the genius struggling with mortals type thing.

Ryan Albrecht, do you have a question that you have been pondering?

I have been doing some thinking and I was wondering what you would think of Martian Manhunter’s chance of being the toughest person of the DC Universe. I believe that with his strength, flight, his ability for mind attacks, and his ability to turn invisible, plus shape shifting would make him the toughest to defeat. I know about his vulnerability to fire and was wondering your what your thoughts would be.

Martian Manhunter would indeed be a tough guy to beat (unless of course you’re Vision apparently Damn right. -B.) He’s been active longer than Superman, more defensive abilities than Superman. In my mind he only really has to beat Superman, and he can do that with a mental doohickey. I agree that Martian Manhunter is tough to beat, which also makes him tough to write. See the Message Boards for more on that. B, is J’onn tough to beat, if you aren’t an android? (Two words: Green Lantern. No, not that Rayner kid, not John Stewart, not high and mighty Hal Jordan or even Guy Gardner, but the original, Alan Scott. He’s powered by the Green Flame, and we all know how much J’onn loves fire. He’s been in the game as long as J’onn so no experience disadvantage. Finally, he’s got maybe the strongest willpower in the DCU and, as was demonstrated during “Stealing Thunder,” he’s not an easy guy to brain wallop. Need J’onn taken out? Send in Alan Scott. –B)

Ryan got something else on your mind?

Back around 97 or so we had the big Marvel vs DC event. I thought that a few of the results were wrong.

Captain America vs Batman- I thought America was better but oh well

The main one that I didn’t like was Captain Marvel losing to Thor. Thor had the power of only one God but sill manages to beat Marvel, who has the powers of six Gods. That result has bugged me for a long time. What is your thought?

My heart wants to go with Captain Marvel. But what counts for more: one god, or a guy with powers from six gods? The only reason I’m giving Thor this one, is because Billy “I’m 15 Years Old” Baston is probably thinking about Stargirl, and bam. There goes Thor’s hammer. Seriously there is a reason 15 year olds can’t drive they are kids. As a result Thor wins. But if Billy were William, the 25-year-old CPA, then I would say Captain Marvel. As long as Billy’s a kid he’s going to get spanked by Thor. B, lemme guess Thor’s taking this one right? (You know me so well. I think it would be a tough one, but Thor’s got centuries of experience on Billy. Even if Billy has dudes with as much experience whispering in his ears, once he gets a chance to listen to them, he’s done. And since Captain Marvel has beaten Superman several times over…thanks for finally admitting I’m right, M. –B)

Jim Hickox do you have some questions that I would love?

1. Is the story Magog tells Superman about the Joker coming through Metropolis anywhere? Or was it fabricated for the sake of telling the Kingdom Come story?

2. In the above story, is it safe to assume the One Woman that the Joker killed was probably Lois?

I love Kingdom Come questions. Kingdom Come is when I first ventured outside my comfort zone in terms of comics. Firstly Kingdom Come was an Elseworlds. That means that it isn’t necessarily the truth. Most Elseworlds are set in completely different realities. Kingdom Come was set in the then current DCU’s future. As a result the Joker killing Lois didn’t happen. It was fabricated, but in that reality it did happen? Does that make any sense? B, you want to help me out? (I’ll just make it more complicated by saying that the events of the kinda lame Kingdom Come sequel The Kingdom established conclusively that the KC future can’t be the actual future of the DCU because the KC Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman came back and altered “our” past, diverging their future from the main DCU via Hypertime. So if the Joker does indeed kill Lois at some point in the future, it won’t necessarily mean we’re headed for Kingdom Come. –B)

Jim, keep the Kingdom questions coming.

Is there any relation between Magog and Gog who appears in The Kingdom? At the birth of Superman & WW’s child (In the Kingdom, not KC), Gog takes the child and says “I am Gog, so shall you be my Magog.” Their overall appearance is similar enough yet different enough to show two different characters, yet wonder about the similarities.

The relationship between Gog and Magog hasn’t been revealed yet, but since Gog is going to be showing up in the current DCU we may get some answers. Gog is the guy from Kingdom who killed Superman over and over. Gog inspired Magog sometime after the events of the New Year’s Evil special but before Kingdom Come, which never really happened. Got it?

Jim I know you can muster one more.

Who is that Green Lantern? Is it the JSA G.L.? Hal Jordan? But I thought he became Spectre. Please help.

The Green Lantern is none other than Alan Scott. And his DC Direct figure rocks, except for the stickers. But he still rocks.

Dr. Victor Von Doom P.H.D., do you have a question about a comic I hold dear to my heart?

I was a giant Starman freak back in the day and still love my collection. One problem is that it seems the last few issues I had lent to a friend were not returned and now I can’t remember what happened. I remember Jack helping get dear old dad the hook up but very little else and nothing of the final issue. What happened please?

I am ashamed to say that I too have forgotten how the series ended. My Starman collection is back “home” in Arizona with my mom. Along with my JLI, JLE, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Flash, Batman, TEC, Supergirl, Nightwing, Young Justice, Legion, L.E.G.I.O.N., Hourman, all my trades, hard covers and miscellaneous titles.

The last story involves the mystery of the Starman of ’51. Jack goes back in time to find out his identity. The last issue of Starman is so sweet. I looked it up on the net and everything came flooding back. I can’t tell you how it ends. If B wants to he can, but if I tell you right here and now, then some guy who hasn’t read the issue will get his experience spoiled. I can’t live with that conscience. How about this? I’ll email you a link to a synopsis of what happens. Deal? B, what comics are you away from that you are really missing? (I just shipped a whole bunch home over spring break and even though I haven’t looked at it all year and figured it was just taking up space, I’m getting nostalgic for my full run of the first volume of New Teen Titans. –B)

Over on the 411 Message Boards StarMatt posted some questions.

Was it Zero Hour when Hal became the Spectre? Or is that later? I missed Zero Hour so I’m not quite sure of Hal’s involvement; all I know is that it was major…

Hal went loony in Green Lantern #48 He then tried to restart the universe in Zero Hour. Man, the things that maniacal guys who have had their home towns destroyed by cyborg imposters of Superman looking to discredit Kal El’s name by teaming up with an old foe of the Kryptonian’s to make the Earth a mobile planet will do to try to set things right.

Hal sacrificed himself to restart the sun in Final Night. In Judgment Day he starred along side Emilio Estevez and Dennis Leary…oh wait that was Judgment Night. In Day of Judgment Hal Jordan became the Spectre.

StarrMatt, anymore emerald queries?

How did Kyle become a Lantern?

Kyle just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Ganthet, the sole surviving Guardian of the Universe at the end of Green Lantern #50 teleported to Earth, and showed up in the back alley of a club. Kyle was there Ganthet said, “You shall have to do.” Ganthet gave Kyle the last Green Lantern ring and disappeared. Thus Kyle became Green Lantern.

StarMatt I know that your verdant confusion has yet to be lifted.

I heard there’s no more Lantern Corps, how did that happen? And if that’s true how come there still seems to be a few of them?

The reason for the lack of a Corp is that Hal killed quite a few of them in Green Lantern #48-50. Kyle had the only ring. But then due to a time travel thing a rookie Hal Jordan came to our era, and gave Kyle another ring. That is the ring that John Stewart has now.

Ahhhhh, StarMatt have green question?

Who’s the black dude that shows up in the JLA wearing a ring?

Um, that guy is John Stewart. He is great Green Lantern who even became a Guardian once. He was put in charge of Oa when it was a world composed of stolen cities from across the universe. The guy gets no respect, but he’s one of the great ones. Plus not only has he shagged more alien women than Captain Kirk, but he’s a class act who actually settles down with them too. And he likes Babs!

StarMatt, B’s been taking it easy this column why don’t you toss him a question?

Where’s Guy Gardner?

Guy Gardner? Why don’t we ask the president of the Guy Gardner fan club Connecticut chapter? Take it away B. (StarMatt, you made my day! In one of the great indignities of our time, Guy was “killed” by an Imperiex probe jabbing him with a spear during Our Worlds At War. What’s that about? What a lame way for one of the DCU’s all-time tough guys, “one punch” or not, to go…it’s like getting beat up by M. Anyhow, Joe Kelly was kind enough to undue this travesty in a weird little story in Action Comics that had Guy’s regenerative powers keeping him alive but hideously mutating him and depositing him in some sort of pseudo-Hell outside of General Zod’s country, Polokistan. The rules worked that Guy had to get somebody to take his spot in order to get out. He used Kancer to lure Superman and Krypto there and made it seem as though he was trying to get Supes to take his place as “punishment” for forgetting about him, but in fact the Guyster was outsmarting Kancer, tricking him into taking the bullet for Supes and himself and helping Big Blue by eliminating the thing, Kancer, that knew his secret ID and could give it to Zod. Supes wasn’t too happy about the whole thing, but Guy basically told him to get bent. Afterwards, Guy expressed some begrudging admiration for the Man of Steel to a mystery man who was most likely Manchester Black, as he was the mystery guy du jour in the Superman titles at the time. Guy hasn’t been seen since, but he’s coming back later this year under the creative team that made him great, with his old yellow Sinestro ring intact, in the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Justice League mini. Rejoice! –B)

Peter Donatich you look like a troublemaker.

I just wanted to start a running debate for the column (the marvel one has the mutant one). Here goes: Who should be the lead character of the Green Lantern title?

Personally, I side against Kyle. Hal had a cooler job (test pilot),
fought better villains (Sinestro) and had the GLCorps (such a great
concept). He was bold, a little old fashioned, but what about Kyle?
Kyle bugs me because for one reason: he is too unoriginal. He is Peter
Parker with a power ring. He whines about his personal life, and does a number of things just to try and connect to a supposedly younger
audience (the new costumes, the girl friends, the coffee house-owner
Radu). Parker was a photographer; he is an artist. Hal wins by the
virtue of being his own character, not a pale imitation.

Here comes the part where I make everyone hate me: I still don’t want
Hal back though. It makes too little sense. Too much has happened (to
Hal, the fans, and the DCU) for his return to happen smoothly and make
sense. I actually would prefer for Kyle to step down and be replaced by one of the other lanterns: Jade, John Stewart, or even Guy Gardener
(dead?). I am not crazy for Hal; I just find Kyle to be a very poorly
conceived character. So my question is: out of the many GL characters who should take the lead role?

I have decided that I will take you challenge and every week I will try to argue why a different character should take over the lead of Green Lantern.

I don’t hate Kyle. But Kyle is as boring as Hal’s critics say Mr. Jordan is. At least Hal had Sinestro, and the Weaponers of Quard. A hero is only as good has his villains. Kyle has no rogues. The new Sonar? Lame! Fatality? She’s much more a John Stewart foe. Grayven? Corny. Nero? Great another crazy bad guy. What’s the fire dude’s name? Oh it doesn’t matter because he sucks, good call.

See the problem with Kyle is that DC dug a hole with the “Hal is gone so toss out his foes too” idea. Kyle had some interesting characters Effigy (do know his name) was cool, but he never realized his potential. The same for Nero. As opposed to Wally who inherited Barry’s foes, Kyle had to be “brand new” and really suffered for it.

Kyle is boring. The last time I really cared about the character was when he found his girl in the fridge. When Desaad tortured him in #91 was a pretty good read too. But I don’t care about him. I was rooting for Jade to cheat on him. I wanted Amon Sur to win. Oh Amon Sur, another shot at a nemesis ruined. Kyle is like that guy on the basketball team who keeps missing lay-ups. He needs to be on the bench.

I like Hal, if he comes back he should get it. But if he doesn’t, I’m going for John Stewart. From what I hear John’s not being utilized to his fullest in JLA. I was a huge fan of Mosaic (another book I’m missing right now) and I think that John deserves another shot, since Mosaic was cut short by The Powers That Be.

Now I’m sure that B will say some other GL should deserve a title, and I will respond next week and you will have your controversy. Are you happy now? B do you think that this manufactured controversy will take off, or should we stop trying to compete with our “616” (geez what kind of name for a reality is that) counterparts? Oh yeah who do you think should be the lead in Green Lantern? (Anything they can do we can do better, we can do anything…never mind. A few years ago I might have said Hal just because I was against the change for the sake of change thing, but Kyle has been around for a decade now. From a pure character perspective, I like both Hal and Kyle. I like John Stewart as well, but more as a supporting character than the lead in the GL series, and yes he is being way underutilized in JLA. Guy deserves his own non-GL book. So it’s down to Hal and Kyle for me…let me think about it and see what responses we get, I’ll get back to you next week. –B)

I know that I’ve already answered the question before, but with all this talk of Green Lanterns I thought I would address it again. Plus Shiv’kala brought it up on the Message Boards.

John Stewart as a Guardian.

Well y’know the way I glossed over the Firestorm elemental thing a couple of columns back? That’s sort of what DC did with the John Stewart as Guardian thing. Green Lantern Mosaic ended right before Emerald Twilight, so Gerald Jones didn’t get a chance to tell the tale he wanted to tell. John later showed up in Darkstars as a Darkstar. I really don’t think that the John/Guardian issue has ever been fully addressed.

It was revealed in Darkstars #21 that when Hal Jordan destroyed the power battery and killed the Guardians in Green Lantern #50 that John Stewart lost his Guardian powers. That sucks. But John still rocks!

And now for the triumphant return of the random question of the week. Metal Jesus take it away.

In the JLA/Titans Technis Imperative story line, the one where the JLA try to do their jobs and the Titans act like the punk bitches that they are,(you want to be a family team? Go ask Marvel for a job scum) the ending features the new recruitments for the Titans.
Well Arsenal, formerly Speedy the addict what an apt code-name, drops by on Supergirl and broaches the question about her sexual preferences. She answers by whispering into his ear, no speech bubble, and Arsenal responds with a shocked look and a comment about angels and dirty mouths.
So what do you think she said?

Hm, I’m betting that she said something very vulgar. Perhaps something that sounds kind of harmless like “Dirty Sanchez” but really means something completely different. I mean this is a girl who was performing blood rituals with Buzz, for goodness sakes. I’m sure she was much more Angelina Jolie than Mandy Moore, if you catch my drift. B, you want offer any thoughts on this? (Sorry, I’m busy tracking down Metal Jesus and cramming my full run of Titans down his throat. –B)

Well folks I’m going to call that a column. Send me you questions or comments or corrections. You can also use the always-entertaining Message Boards to do that stuff as well. Your question for the weeks is: What book is dangerously close to being dropped by you and why?

“Never grow tired of a routine that seldom changes.”