Who’s Who In The DCU 5.12.04

Howdy folks! Hope all is well in your world. Everything is pretty cool out here in Las Vegas. I certainly hope that everyone had a pleasant Mother’s Day. B, what did you do for Mother’s Day? (Actually, M, I’ll get sappy for a moment if I may. Last weekend, my lovely and incredibly talented mother, Gretchen Morse, opened her first watercolor gallery show in four years. For Mother’s Day a few days early, I had my Dad tell her that some of his friends wanted to see the show, then surprised her by driving the two hours from school and showing up, flowers and card in hand. I took her out to lunch and we had a lovely afternoon, then the angels descended from heaven and bestowed the crown of “Greatest Son Ever” upon me. In all seriousness, this column is dedicated to my mom…and M’s mom…I love you Mom! –B)

I see. I guess now is as good a time as any to link.

You gotta read 411Music and 411Black.

You should also read Hayhurst and Mike Z

You need to check out DOL

B, your loyal fans need their weekly dose of you. 411MANIA NEEDS MORE B! At the very least is there something that you could link? (I’d like to take a moment and apologize for the lack of B on Mania in recent weeks. I know I’m like heroin for many of you. I have had the quadruple threat of writing a final 20 page paper, helping do publicity for my best friend’s play after her person quit…by the way, congratulations on a great show, Liz, who will never read this!…starting a new relationship and, oh yes, being the greatest son EVER! I love you Mom! Anyhow, starting this weekend…or next weekend…rest assured, there will be more Vitamin B on 411mania. And none are worthy of my links. HOWEVER…all you B fans, be sure to check out JSA #61, coming out today…you will not be disappointed, he said cryptically. –B)

As for last week’s comics:

Hard Time #4 Read the review, but seriously BUY THIS BOOK. It is one of the most compelling books out. And if my word didn’t mean anything you wouldn’t be reading this column.

Plastic Man #6 Ditto, except substitute fun for compelling.

Y The Last Man #22 Man do I love this book. We get some interesting pieces of the puzzle this issue.

Firestorm #1 Very good read. Great character building. I really liked this book. Chris has a great review of it. Read it.

Birthright The worst part of this issue was there was no Supreme Power to compare it against. I hate what Birthright represents, but I am digging the book itself.

Swamp Thing #3 This story is building nicely. A refresher course on The Red. Plus Sargon is there.

DC 100 Page Super Spectacular Um, craptacular? Review forthcoming.

Well I guess it’s time to start the column.

Apparently folks have given up guessing the lyric on the at the end of the column (which is the only way to make sure that your question will be answered in the next column.) As a result I turn to Chase who sent me an email questioning why his questions weren’t answered.

Chase what’s your first question?

When I was a kid I really wanted a Doomsday action figure. I bought one in a two pack with a Hunter/Prey Superman, as they called him. It came with a comic showing Supes using all sorts of devices with his powers! Was that real or just something created to move toys? It was really wild.

(I was saving this question for a column I was putting together on questions that I actually had to do some real research on.) Well I did some research. It turns out that the action figure was based on Hunter/Prey prestige miniseries. This was the second time Superman and Doomsday met. It was a rematch, and this time it was personal. They fought; Superman cheated using a Mother Box (that’s tech from New Genesis) to give him the edge. He was like a baseball player setting a home run record while using andro. Sure Supes came out on top, but he was using a sentient computer! Who wouldn’t win using a sentient computer? What was my point again?

Oh, well from what I found out the comic was just a kiddie comic, written to appeal to kids. But I’m betting it was based on Hunter/Prey. I had it, and I seem to recall that Supes used his powers in conjunction with other things to beat Doomday. I think you should check that out. You can probably find it at your local bookstore, provided they carry trades. And if they don’t you should start a riot and burn that sucker down. B, suppose he doesn’t want to start a riot, what should he do to get his hands on that trade? (Buy the Death of Superman trade instead. Hunter/Prey wasn’t awful, but it can’t stack up to the original, which, for the biggest marketing stunt in history, was a damn powerful piece of storytelling that has stood the test of time. –B)

Chase, I know you have something else on your mind.

Hey. I’ve heard that Batman once defeated the entire Justice League himself. If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask why he was fighting them and how did he defeat them all? He’s really smart and I understand he prepares well, but he’d have to have one hell of a plan to beat them all!

(I was going to use this question for my monthly Batman column, or my column of the most frequently asked questions.) Batman didn’t actually beat the entire Justice League. Someone hacked into his computer and stole the plans that he had to “take care of” his teammates. Wonder Woman was placed in a hyper realistic Virtual Reality where she fought a competitor who was every bit the warrior that she was. Evenly matched they would fight until one died (I’m betting the first one to die is the one who was actually alive.)

Green Lantern was blinded. Being an artist, Kyle was pretty reliant on his eyes (but who isn’t.) Since his peepers were out of commission his constructs were pretty funky. Plus he couldn’t defend himself.

Flash was shot with a neuro bullet, which paralyzed him. How do you shoot a guy who can vibrate through a bullet? With a vibrating bullet, of course.

Plastic Man was destabilized molecularly, becoming just a puddle. (Actually, he was frozen and then smashed to bits by a hammer. –B)

Speaking of puddles Aquaman was doused with a fear toxin making him afraid…of water!

Martian Manhunter had nanites attached to his skin, that burst into flames.

And good ol’ Superman was exposed to synthetic Red Kryptonite, which made is skin transparent. The thing about transparent skin it that it’s unable to process solar radiation needed to make a Kryptonian, well, relevant.

And I suppose you are wondering where Batman was during all this, he was chasing after his parents. Someone had robbed their graves and was taking them on a trip across the globe. The same someone stole the files from the Bat computer and took out the JLA. Who was that someone? None other than the one and only Ra’s al Ghul. And that is why he’s my favorite villain in the DCU. How did the story end? What was Ra’s master plan? I’m not giving everything away. So if you haven’t burned down you local bookstore you may want to pick up the Tower of Babel trade ASAP. B, have we been asked more about Batman taking out the JLA or about Batman beating Superman? (Pretty sure this is the first time we’ve been asked the former. Ditto on the recommendation to pick up Tower of Babel, by far the highlight of Mark Waid’s far-too-short JLA run. –B)

Chase, you’re up again.

Superman and Batman supposedly fought many times. How did this happen? What I mean is, what exactly did Batman do in these various encounters? I’m sure he didn’t go toe-to-toe with Supes… did he?!

D’oh! (I was going to use this question in the same aforementioned column.) Back in The Dark Knight Returns a geezer Batman beat up a pretty old Superman. Superman came to Gotham looking for Bruce. Bruce met him in an alley. They fought for a minute. Then Green Arrow shot an arrow with some Kryptonite into the fray. Well that made Clark pretty weak. At that point Bruce kicked the snot out of Kal. It wasn’t pretty at all. So Batman beat Superman with an assist from Green Arrow.

In the recent “Hush” storyline over in Batman, the two had an “in continuity” fracas. Superman was being mind controlled. Superman and Batman fought in close quarters (a sewer) and Superman had a pretty severe electric shock. Did I mention that Batman was wearing a Kryptonite signet ring? Batman held is own and won the fight.

Superman and Batman also fought in the Elseworlds “Red Son.” In that story Batman lured Superman to a bunker underground. Then he turned on some red solar lamps. The red solar lamps made Superman just a normal guy. Score another for Batman.

B, those are all the fights that I can think of, any more coming to you? (I feel like there are more, but none are coming to me. –B)

Now unless your corner bookstore is a pile of smoldering rubble you should be able to find “The Dark Knight Returns,” “Hush” and “Red Son” in various collected editions on their shelves. B, which one should he pick up first? (I don’t own any of those trades, though I own Hush in comic form. I guess I have to say Dark Knight Returns just for historical significance. –B)

Chase, can you squeeze one more question out?

Do you think the new female Robin will last, or do you think Tim Drake will take back the costume?

Nathaniel A. Hensley do you have a similar question?

If Tim Drake is retiring as Robin, passing on the mantle, so to speak, what will become of him? He does have a fan following, so will he be Nightwing Version 2.0, a new gimmick, or what?

(I would have saved that question for my “Identity Crisis” themed column.) Now I have to state for the record that I don’t read Robin. However I’d imagine that Tim Drake will eventually return as Robin. Let’s see Teen Titans comic, check. Teen Titans cartoon, check. Yup all signs point to a male Robin being a mainstay in the DCU. It is only a matter of time for him to return to the costume that he made famous.

As for what happens I would bet that Tim has grown accustomed to the hero gig. Many writers have written stories about the addictive nature of the gig, the rush on the rooftops. I’m betting that the same has happened to Tim. Plus he started the hero thing right around puberty, so I’d guess that on some level he has a subconscious link between the costume and the opposite sex. Just as guys have a longing for women, I think that Tim probably has a longing for being a hero.

Now some of you will point out that Tim has said that he doesn’t plan on being a hero forever. To that I will say that I think he’s basing this on the Batman role model. He doesn’t want to grow up to be like Batman. However now that he’s broadened his horizons (Young Justice, Teen Titans) I think that Tim can now see that just because you are an adult hero doesn’t mean you have to be as driven as Batman.

So Batman has a new Robin, in the form of the Spoiler. How do we get rid of the Spoiler? She could get severely injured. Nah, that’s too “Dick Grayson.” She could get killed. Nope that’s too “Jason Todd.” But she could betray the Bat. Now that sounds interesting. The Bat fam is already leery of the Spoiler. Suppose this was a deep cover ruse to get into the tight knit vigilante crew. Like Donnie Brasco in reverse. Really, Spoiler has criminality in her blood.

Personally I think it would be a clever twist to have her turn against Batman. Then Tim can triumphantly reclaim his mantel as Robin. Plus after she’s Bat trained that would make her more of a nemesis for Robin, not to mention their past history. She would make an excellent foe for the Boy Wonder, and I can’t think of anyway to bring him back into the fray, other than the “Dick Grayson/Jason Todd” paradigms where Tim picks up the costume to avenge her. B, how do you think that Tim becomes Robin again? (First off, nice psychological deconstruction of Tim Drake. I think Spoiler/Robin IV is destined to become an Identity Crisis victim if for no other reason than it is one of those obvious choices that will actually have enough storytelling ramifications to still work. –B)

Bill Miller do you have a nice question that has been bothering you?

Hey Dude was reading your column at 411 and seemed you obviously knew your stuff on DC. JLA_AVengers is the first comic I’ve bought in like two plus years. Basically I was always more of a Marvel fan so my question what’s going on with Wonder Woman in the flashback panels of Avenger-JLA #3 when they are showing all the tragedies?

Ah I believe the tragedy that Wonder Woman is witnessing the death of her mother, which happened during Our Worlds At War in Wonder Woman #172. See in that wacky idyllic DCMarverse Hal Jordan was still Green Lantern, Barry Allen was still alive and everything was kosher. But then all the heroes got a glimpse of what their respective universes were supposed to be like, and what they saw was pretty grim. But things worked out in the end. So B, Iron Man really beats Green Lantern? Really? (I like Kyle Rayner, but I am hoping he gets offed by Sonar or somebody lamer during Identity Crisis just to shut you up. –B)

Someone mentioned “The Dark Knight Returns” earlier so let’s run with that shall we?

Paul Vandersypen take it away.

Is Frank Millar’s Dark Knight Returns (possibly the greatest comic book of all time) and its sequel part of the DCU continuity in the future of the characters, or they unlabelled Elseworlds?

They are indeed Elseworlds. The first one came out before Elseworlds was a concept so it was just viewed as graphic novel. And “The Dark Knight Strikes Back” is the sequel. It isn’t set in the current DCU’s future. All it does is supposes that Bruce Wayne retired Batman after a tragic loss (the death of then Robin, Jason Todd.). Then fast forward a few years to a point when Bruce decides that society needs Batman again, but a different kind of Batman. “The Dark Knight Returns” was a groundbreaking story. Its sequel was not as well received. Although the sequel is said to have read better in one sitting, I have yet to test that theory. B, what was your favorite moment in “The Dark Knight Returns” or its sequel? (I’ve only skimmed through both, but I thought the aforementioned Green Arrow guest appearance in the first was great. –B)

Jim do you have a question that is kind of related?

I was a reader of every Batman title & graphic novel from just before the death of Jason Todd until the defeat of “Jean-Paul Batman”. I just finished reading ‘Kingdom Come’, ‘Kingdom’, & ‘The Dark Knight Strikes Again’ (new Frank Miller) and I want to know was the tension (and sometimes what seemed to be hatred or contempt for each other) between Bruce & Dick in these books merely residual anger from Dick becoming Nightwing, Bruce choosing Jean-Paul as his replacement and not Dick, or what? Hell, in ‘Dark Knight’ Dick is a goddamn lunatic. Pretending to be The Joker, hacking up The Guardian and Carrie Kelley, breaking into the Batcave The only shame about “Lunatic Dick” was his quick death, but I guess Batman is what 80 now?

Yes there is tension between Bruce and Dick. Dick did feel slighted that Bruce didn’t pick him to take up the mantle of Batman after that unfortunate back breaking incident. I mean wouldn’t you? Suppose you had apprenticed under someone most of your life. Then you set up your own practice. And when your mentor falls ill, he picks some guy who just fell off the turnip truck to take over? You were like the son your mentor never had, but he picks this guy who appeared out of nowhere? That’s a slight and a half.

But they got over it. Then, early in the current Nightwing series, Dick got all peeved that Bruce wasn’t treating him like a grown up. Bruce was just watching over Dick, making sure that things were going ok. But Dick blew that out of proportion to make it seem like the Bat was checking up on him because he had no faith in his abilities. But again they reconciled.

The last major blowout that I know of is when Bruce Wayne was a fugitive. They actually came to blows. But that had more to do with Dick trying to help Bruce and Bruce trying to sever all ties with the Bat fam.

I do hope that Bruce and Dick have a nice little sit down after the current goings on in Nightwing. After all since it seems like half of Bludhaven knows who Nightwing is, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to figure out the relationship to Batman and connect the dots. Perhaps the former dynamic duo has some rocky roads ahead of them. B, I know you are a Nightwing fan, but do you think he could really fill Batman’s cowl? (He doesn’t need to, he’s already outgrown it. Dick and Bruce also had their first falling out back in the early eighties when Dick screwed up as Robin and Bruce fired him. Dick defied Bruce’s orders and kept on being Robin as leader of the new Teen Titans. Pretty sure this is all still in continuity, but who really knows. –B)

411Music’s own Aaron Cameron is always ready with a question at hand.

Every few years, it seems that DC continuity gets too muddled, too confusing, too conflicting or, the writers want to shake up a character or a title just for the six-month bump in sales it often creates. The downside, of course, is that storylines and characters that you’ve grown attached to over the years (or months) are often radically changed or just dropped altogether. Me, personally, I loved the Legion of Super Heroes-plus five years storyline that was eventually scrapped. How’s about you…? Which storyline or character was most wrongfully n’ painfully dropped due to some sort of relaunch type of thang? And you can’t pick my choice.

Damn Aaron, that certainly would have been my first choice, you know me well. I guess it is with a heavy heart that I admit to my fondness for the Byrne era Superman. I loved the “Man of Steel” which made Superman seem fresh to me. I also loved “The World of Krypon.” That miniseries rocked! For anyone who believes that clones are nothing but trouble, read that mini for some great evidence. John Byrne writing, Mike Mignola on art, it gets no better. And that “Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor” is the perfect origin for the character, and a great read.

I also enjoyed when Superman visited the pocket universe Earth, and had to kill the Phantom Zone criminals there. What’s more, I enjoyed some of the stories from after Bryne left. I like when Superman exiled himself to space and became a warrior on Warworld (gladiator Superman, with beard!) I really liked the stories involving the Eradicator, the relic not the being. And those classic Kryptonian Man issues with Kal’s Krptonian costume really slayed me. Sadly they are all gone, the result of Birthright. Damn you Mark Waid! Don’t you see what you are doing to me is no better than whay John Byrne did to you? B, what story do you love that is no longer in continuity? (Much as I love where JSA is now, Earth-2, with the JSA, All-Star Squadron and Infinity Inc. as their own heroes was neat. But of all stories no longer in continuity, I’ll have to go with The Great Darkness Saga from the pre-Zero Hour Legion as my favorite. There are little things about say, old Justice League of America stories that have had to be tweaked over the years, but nobody got the reboot shaft like the Legion, and Great Darkness was definitely the highlight, in my opinion. Of course, now I could also throw a lot of great Doom Patrol-related stories in the mix, from the classic New Teen Titans story about tracking down their killers to the JLA: Year One team up tale…silly Byrne…-B)

And now in order to keep the torch that Peter D lit alive I present to you:

Who should be the lead character of the Green Lantern title

Which Green Lantern to pick this week? Oooh, I know; Rond Vidar. He comes from that Legion that Aaron was talking about See years ago the future was different (huh?) There was this guy named Rond Vidar who was the Green Lantern for the sector 2814 (holey cow, I still remember that) in the 30th century. He didn’t get to do much as a Green Lantern, because they were outlawed on Earth. But when he did make his appreacne as Green Lantern it made a huge impression in my mind. He had the coolest GL uniform ever. It was all white, with some green streaks going down and a GL emblem over his left breast. It rocked.

So the book would have to involve Hypertime, but if Waid can redo Superman then I can use Hypertime to get a GL out of limbo. So Rond would end up in the present but not the same present that he had studied in history book one that was foreign to him. Since he wouldn’t feel at home on Earth (it’d be to primitive for him) he would spend most of his time out in space. Of course he would try to get back to his present, but when he finally got there he would realize that it was completely different. This he would just wander the universe bumping into DCU landmarks. He would even visit the seed worlds that will spawn Legionnaires in the future. And that is who would be the lead in my Green Lantern book.

Another column has come to a close. Keep those questions coming via email, posting on message boards or on tattoos located on the lower backs of cute females. Your question of the week; What did you think of the fury surrounding Firestorm and what are your thoughts on the first issue?

“Oh the postman always brings the mail, through rain or snow or sleet or hail.”

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