Who’s Who In The DCU 5.19.04


Before we begin with the regular column I’m sure that there is a question that’s on everyone’s mind. Alan DeHaan do you want to speak for everyone?

After reading JSA #61, I suddenly have to wonder. The Spectre is rattling off various names who have reached the ‘Touch of Vengeance’, and one stuck out above the others: Ben Morse.

So the question comes…was there a Ben Morse who appeared in some past DC comic who the Spectre got a hold of, or was this a shout out
to 411Comics?

B, I think you should take this one.

(Indeed. JSA #61 was the debut of Ben Morse, or “Zombie Ben Morse,” as a big shot DC comic book character. Geoff Johns, the greatest writer of modern times and one of the coolest guys on the planet, put in a bunch of names of fans and people who worked for web sites as The Spectre’s “victims.” So no, Ben Morse has not appeared in any past DC Comics, his run in with The Spectre remains untold…however, you the fans can demand to hear the full story of Ben Morse and his confrontation with the Spirit of Vengeance! Flood the DC offices with letters! Until then, you’ll just have to content yourself with multiple copies of JSA #61…I can neither confirm or deny that Zombie Ben will be a major villain in the Rebirth mini-series in the fall, but I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him in the future. –B)

So there you have it our very own B is a comic superstar.

Since we are talking about famous 411Comics folks you have to mention DOL.

Mike Z gives you the down low on Hush.

Hayhurst has loads of movie trivia for you.

But suppose you have TV questions that need answering. Never fear, Coogan is here. Send him loads of questions about comic cartoons.

Last Weeks Comics

The Monolith #4 Good read. Buy the book.

Fallen Angel #11 Man do I love this book. You should be reading this.

JSA #61 Oh, you better already have this issue in hand.

Nightwing #93 I am loving this title like never before. Buy this book.

Green Arrow #38 Good issue. Try it out.

Batman #627 The story gets better with some very interesting portrayals.

Action Comics #815 Enjoyable. Buy it for Gog. (I dunno, M…should we really be encouraging people to do favors for a psychotic time-traveling murderer hellbent on killing Superman? Just my opinion, man…-B)

Aquaman #18 Aquaman uses his powers to show you why he’s cool. Review forthcoming.

Touch #2 Man, this is one of my favorite books. You really need to give this book a shot. Review forthcoming.

Teen Titans #11 Read the review.

Bite Club #2 Read the review.

H-E-R-O #16 Review next week. Man, this was one of the best reads of the week. Page 16 is way creepy.

Now on to our regularly scheduled column.

Remember Annuals? They came out every year (hence the name) and they rocked. Well consider this column like an annual. Since I was off today I decided to make this column extra long. I hope you enjoy it. Let’s jump right in.

The first person to correctly place the lyric that closed the last column was none other than 411Comics own Kevin Mahoney. Kevin take it away.

My question is this: is Jack Ryder REALLY taking Superman’s old spot in the Daily Planet due to the latest round of reboots, and if so will it mean more Creeper action?

Yes the rumors are true; Jack Ryder is taking over Clark Kent’s desk at the Daily Planet. Ryder has a very popular TV show, and Perry thinks that TV ratings may translate into more sales for the Daily Planet. It is a purely business move. No need for hard feelings.

Of course since Jack Ryder is the alter ego of the perennially cool costumed The Creeper, I’d imagine that he of the red mane will be popping up on the pages of Action Comics in the very near future. And it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise considering that The Creeper played a role in “Metropolis” a mini series penned by Chuck Austen, the current scribe on Action Comics. B, what do you think about Action Comics? (I’m talking more about it in my column, returning this Sunday, I hope, but I’ve really been pleasantly surprised by Austen’s work so far on Action. I shall say no more lest I lose readers. –B)

Clint you look like you’re having trouble wrapping your head around a concept.

Impulse is Barry Allen’s grandson? Crisis came out in 1985, Bart is the son of a son born post-Crisis, yet Beast Boy, who was a teenager in the 1960s, is still a teenager?

I don’t know if Bart Allen is a good example for this. I mean how old is he, three or four years old? But you are right time flows differently in any entertainment medium. Harrison Ford and Ben Affleck were Jack Ryan in the movies and James Bond has been fighting the good fight for how long?

Personally I think that Beast Boy is in his early twenties. But then again Beast Boy is sort of a guy out of time now that the Doom Patrol is making their first appearance in the DCU right now in JLA. Perhaps we should address the topic of age in the DCU at a future date using two different examples, because at this point I’m confused. B, you want to explain how Bart is Barry’s grandson? (I think we would need a whole column and then some to even begin explaining the concept of aging in comics. However, with Bart we have a nice out: he was born in the future. He could have lived however many years he wanted before coming to our time and it wouldn’t matter a bit how old he is in comparison to Beast Boy. For the record, since Changeling was about sixteen in the New Teen Titans, I’d put Beast Boy’s age at around nineteen…he hasn’t hit that magical point in DC aging where characters stop getting older quite yet. –B)

Shiv’kala, want to make an appearance?

Any thoughts on the Legion cancellation?

Wha? When? How? Why? Let me take a deep breath.

Ok. I’m kind of sad, but on the other hand I can’t wait to see what comes next. Clearly the Legion will come back. They are a major franchise in the DCU. I see this as the same type of cancellation that Green Lantern is about to face; both books are ending but everyone knows that they will be back.

I wonder how it will return. I doubt that it will start over with a clean slate, but I wouldn’t have a problem if they did. The franchise could benefit from a clean slate. I think the problem with the Legion has always been that is has a tether to the 20th (or 21st) century. First it was Superboy, and then it was Valor. For a second it could have been L.E.G.I.O.N. Maybe if they tried to have the Legion stand on it’s own, it wouldn’t have to be revamped when something happens in the present.

That said it will probably just return with a new #1, new creative team, and new direction. I guess that means when it’s gone I’ll have one less book to pick up, and when it returns I’ll have a one more #1 to read. B, what do you think about the Legion fiasco? (My thoughts were expressed in this week’s Roundtable…what, you haven’t read it yet?! And you call yourselves fans…maybe…-B)

Shiv’kala, got a follow up?

Which is worse when you hear a comic is cancelled: Having been a reader of the comic or being someone who wanted to try the comic, but never actually picked it up?

To me the worst part is if you were a reader of the title. Not only have you invested time and money in the book, but chances are you have an emotional attachment to the characters as well. What about the unresolved storylines? Sure you did your part to support the book but now you have a huge hole in your monthly reading schedule.

Now if you never read the book you may feel guilty for not supporting it, but you can’t really miss it. Plus you can pick up all the issue that you never bothered to buy when they were new. I think that living with guilt is easier than living with loss, Guilt can be absolved, and loss is eternal. Hm, how could I illustrate this point? I’ve got it: Green Lanterns.

I’d bet that Kyle Rayner feels guilty because his girlfriend got stuffed in the fridge, but he seems to have moved on. Hal Jordan on the other hand lost Coast City, and that loss drove him insane. In my mind (loss > guilt). However there is one scenario that isn’t covered in this; Mercy killing.

The previous Aquaman and The Titans titles both sucked. Yet I continued to buy them. Thankfully someone at DC decided to axe both of these titles or else I would have moaning about them to this day.

JohnBritton, I know you have a question.

What are the top three greatest JLA/JSA team ups of all time? There have been one a year (basically) since who knows when. What are the best?

Well honestly I really like the most recent three crossovers. “Crisis Times Five” in JLA #28-31 was way cool (and interesting fact; they are the only issues of JLA that I own.) An attack by beings from the 5th dimension (and I ain’t talking about the musical group.) The revelation about the Magic Thunderbolt. Triumph turning against the team. And most shocking of all the return of Qwsp! “Virtue &Vice” was a great story with some great art. Johnny Sorrow and Despero against the JLA and the JSA. Doesn’t that just sound grand? Plus members of both teams are possessed by the seven deadly sins. Even JSA #54 was a fun read.

I know, I know you wanted a more “old school” answer, but I can only be honest with you those are my faves. Perhaps someone who has actually been in the JSA can give you something more up you alley. Zom-B, what are your favorite team ups? (I swear we answered this question a few columns ago…anyhow, besides the modern ones you mentioned, of the ones I’ve read, the one with the first appearance of The Crime Syndicate was excellent, as was the one introducing the Red Tornado and the one in which Black Canary’s “husband” dies. I’ve heard good things about the ones involving the Seven Soldiers of Victory, the Freedom Fighters and the New Gods, but have never been able to track those down. –B)

Julian Smith, do you have a related question?

Who was “Qwisp”?

Well Quisp was a buddy of Aquaman’s back in the day. They were great pals; he would help Aquaman on adventures. But it turned out that Quisp was really Qwsp from the 5th dimension. So when all hell broke out in the aforementioned “Crisis Times Five” Qwsp got a gander at Aquaman’s new (at least back then) look, long hair, beard, hook for a hand, and decided that if Aquaman was darker and more serious that perhaps he should be too.

Julian Smith, want to go again?

Way back in the day of the Justice League of America, there was an incident that caused the JLofA to break up. Martians from Mars attacked Earth. J’Onn came to the JLofA ahead of time to warn them, there was a woman involved etc. These Martians came from Mars 2 or New Mars or something equally ridiculous. Needless to say, the aliens were defeated. This event led to JLofA Detroit. Has this been wiped from continuity? Where are these Martians now?

Yup that story never happened. In the current DCU J’onn was the only survivor from Mars. He also never left Earth for Mars II, which never existed. Therefore J’onn couldn’t have other Martians on Mars II who tried to take over the Earth. Furthermore J’onn never had a girlfriend, J’en, who proved pivotal in J’onn defeating his fellow Martians and saving Earth from an alien onslaught. I’m sorry, it never happened. If you don’t want to read more about it, I suggest you avoid Justice League of America #228-230. B, what are you going to do if someday someone tried to wipe you out of JSA continuity? (Count on my fanbase getting me back as the new Spectre. On a sidenote, JLA: Incarnations, which I feel is a criminally underrated mini, in its fourth issue, had the post-Crisis version of what happened, since it was the story that destroyed the JLA satellite and led to them team disbanding and the formation of JLDetroit. In the new version, it was an alien race called the Debris, who went from planet to planet using essentially a giant sleeping ray to conquer worlds whilst their populace slept. The JLA stopped them because J’onn was on the satellite and fought them while Zatanna, also on the satellite, zapped down to Earth and along with Aquaman, Elongated Man and reporter Tully Reed, escaped to Atlantis, which was unaffected by the ray; from there, Aquaman coordinated a plan to save the day. –B)

Mike Z, want a shot?

Was Hawkworld an updating of the Silver-Age hawk’s origins?

Hawkworld could have been a revamp of the Silver Age Hawks, ala “Man of Steel”, “Batman: Year One,” “Emerald Dawn,” and “Aquaman: Time and Tide.” It could have been if on the first page, in the first panel it was said three little words “Ten Years Ago.” But it didn’t.

Thus Hawkworld was set in the then present, which made it the first appearance of those Hawks. Well that screwed up the continuity of the Hawks that was only messed up further by Zero Hour, and only recently Geoff Johns, David Goyer, and James Robinson managed to straighten things out considerably. B, are you excited about the new creative team on Hawkman? (Not really, to be honest. I’m sure they’re perfectly capable of delivering good Hawk stories, but I really got attached to the Johns/Morales run, and this is a good excuse to take a title off my pull list and save some bucks. I was never so much a fan of the character as the creators. Best of luck to the new team though. –B)

Brian do you have a question that has been keeping you up at nights?

Was it ever revealed who killed Batman’s parents?

We don’t know who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. And I’m not saying that like a stoolie holding out for a bribe. No one in the DCU knows who killed the Waynes. Back in Superman/Batman #1 it was implied that John “Metallo” Corben had something to do with it, but that turned out to be a false lead. This is one of those tidbits that came out of Zero Hour.

Personally I like it. In my mind I think that Batman’s drive to go out every night to fight crime might be somewhat diminished if he actually caught his parents killer. Maybe he’d be like “Phew! I’m glad I finally brought my parents killer to justice. Now I can finally get a good night’s rest.”

Instead we have a Batman who pushes himself to the limit every night, because his parents were killed and because the killer is still out there. On some level Batman is still trying to find that guy every night. This is why he’s different from Nightwing and Robin, who both have a sense of closure. Batman has a sense of urgency. B, how do you like your Batman; sense of closure or longing for justice? (Longing for justice. You already summed it up perfectly, partner. –B)

411Comic’s own John Babos, do you have a question?

What are some of the more notable post-Zero Hour changes in the DCU?

As for the Most Notable Zero Hour changes both Hawkman getting messed up and the Wayne’s murder going unsolved are pretty big. The Legion was also re-launched from ground zero. Oh and Triumph “came back” to the DCU. I guess that was notable. B, did I miss anything? (Terra, Mirage and Deathwing from Team Titans were not actually from an alternate future, they were from our Earth and modified by The Time Trapper to think they were; Terra may or may not be the original. The Atom was de-aged for a bit, but it didn’t stick. And Waverider died…or did he? That always confuses me. And there was, of course, the JSA massacre, but that’s not really a “change.” –B)

John Babos doesn’t your previous question beg another question?

What are some of the more useless post-Zero Hour changes on top of the retconning of the identity of the Wayne parents’ murderer (i.e. it went from Joe Chill to anonymous)? Were there other ridiculous changes?

Least notable I had to look up. Apparently in the Post Zero Hour DCU Bruce Wayne did indeed adopt Dick Grayson. Dick Grayson also failed to prevent Two-Face from killing someone which filled Grayson with self-doubt.

Bruce Wayne and Talia never had a kid (which was never acknowledged anyway.) Catwoman was never a prostitute, never had a sister, and was never trained by Ted Grant (clearly some of these changes didn’t take.)

Wonder Woman doesn’t have any powers on Paradise Island. And Al Pratt’s wife Mary didn’t die until after she gave birth to Grant Emerson.

Those are some of the lesser-known and less cared about changes of Zero Hour.

JohnBritton have you another question?

Did Robin ever wear the gray jumpsuit during Mr. Jupiter’s tenure guiding the old Teen Titans?

(Zom-B answered this one awhile back on the Message Boards but I decided to dust if off and revisit it.)

Way back in Teen Titans #25 (1970) the Titans were involved were involved in a famous philanthropist getting killed. They got reamed out by the JLA. Then they were asked to take part in a program for teens sponsored by the government and lead by Mr. Loren Jupiter, a very rich dude. The only thing was they couldn’t wear their hero costumes and they couldn’t use their powers.

Kid Flash, Hawk & Dove, Wonder Girl, Lilith, and Speedy all joined up for the program. But Robin wasn’t too keen on it and decided to go his own way. He bowed out to go to college and fight the good fight alone. So no he never wore the Mr. Jupiter jumpsuit.

JohnBritton, another Titan question that needs answering?

Where is Gnarrk?

Poor Gnarrk he is a victim of the Crisis. Back in the day Gnarrk was just your average Cro-Magnon. But then Mr. Jupiter had an experiment in time travel that exploded that caused Mal to go back in time. When will people learn; time travel is just a magnet for trouble. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to save Doc Brown’s hide in the past and future.

Anyway Kid Flash went back to save him. But a Cro-Magnon accidentally died which affected the present. So they go back again to stop the guy from dying. But when the return to the present they have a present in the form of Gnarrk. Rather then send him back to his time, Mr. Jupiter decides that the Titans should train the caveman and help him acclimate to the modern era. It sounds like a hilarious SNL skit doesn’t it?

Anyway as luck would have it Gnarrk witnesses a mob pay off and runs afoul with them Yadda yadda yadda Gnarrk and Lilith start to catch feelings for each other. Basically the story ends with Gnarrk testifying against the mobsters. I can’t make this stuff up people. This is why some folks are so against Birthright and the alleged return of the Silver Age.

Anyway Lilith and Gnarrk got married, but then he died in a way so uninteresting that is was never portrayed or even mentioned. I’m guessing he caught a 20th century flu bug that is Cro-Magnon immune system couldn’t handle.

However in the current DCU, Gnarrk was still a Cro-Magnon but this time around he was a stargazer. A comet crashes in front of him. The crash imbedded a piece of crystal into his chest, not enough to kill him, just enough to kind of stick there. The crystal gave him some knowledge and increased his mind. Later he was too close to a volcano and the crystal encased him in ice to save him. It also imbued him with the power to cure disease and control forces of nature.

Way later The Teen Titans went to find him. He got unthawed and Lilith and Gnarrk had a love connection. Gnarrk went to S.T.A.R. Labs and they discovered that Gnarrk was dying. While the scientists wanted to dissect him (isn’t that always their first choice) the Titans would let them. He was placed on life support where he lingered and eventually died. Pretty boring stuff. So now he’s making fossil fuel like he should have in the first place. B, is there a lamer Titan than Gnarrk? (Golden Eagle. –B)

Nalydpsycho do you have a query about metals?

Is there a DC equivalent of Adamantium?

The DCU version of Adamantium really only exists in the future. I believe it’s called Inertron. It is supposed to be super dense and make things impenetrable. B do you have another suggestion for the Adamantium of the DCU? (The DCU’s own wondrous metal du jour back in the 80s was Promethium, first appearing in New Teen Titans. It wasn’t quite as tough as Adamantium, or Inetron, the latter of which only exists in the Legion’s future, but it was still pretty hard and had some sort of kooky energy generating properties. Cyborg had his armor redone in it and Deathstroke tried to steal some in his second appearance. –B)

John your brow is furrowed, what’s on your mind?

When did the comics stop telling the stories of the so-called originals (when was the original Superman’s last story in the regular comics) and shift to their newer counterparts?

Well I just happen to have my handy dandy Official Crisis On Infinite Earths Crossover Index at my side, which points out some pretty nifty milestones to note.

The Golden Age Batman and Catwoman were married in 1955.

Martian Manhunter first appeared in Detective Comics #225 (Nov 1955)

The Golden Age Superman and Lois Lane were married in 1953.

Captain Comet first appeared in Strange Adventures #9 (June 1951)

Superboy first appeared in More Fun Comics #101 (1945)

What exactly does all that mean? Well since Batman and Catwoman were married in 1955, Bruce Wayne wouldn’t be living the playboy lifestyle in the various Bat titles being published, yet he was. Martian Manhunter, a known Earth-One hero also appeared in 1955, making a strong case of 1955, right?

But clearly Superman wouldn’t be trying to hide is dual identity from Lois Lane in the Super titles of 1953, yet that was still going on. So we have another Earth-One sighting.

Captain Comet is another Earth-One hero and his appearance predates that by two years.

And what about Superboy? The Golden Age Superman was never Superboy, therefore any Superboy adventure must be take place on Earth-One, right?

Well the consensus is that after Martian Manhunter appeared all stories switched over to Earth-One. However Earth-One stories had been told previous to that, and Earth-One first appeared in More Fun Comics #101.

Justin do you have a question that needs answering?

Alright, I’m getting back into the comic book game. I decided it was time to quit totally about 5 years ago when it came down to me only buying Wizard and reading about comics… instead of reading comics themselves! But, with the price tags I’m seeing these days on comics, I’m not willing to jump back into monthly titles. Even Wizard is too pricey for me!

So I’ve decided trade paperbacks are the way to go! So, my question is this for you both— Which trade paperbacks do you recommend? I love seeing lots of characters together so I’m particularly interested in X-Men/JLA/JSA storylines, Marvel “events”, and DC “events”.

Books I own already are: “Death of”/”World Without”/”Return of” Superman books, Batman: Death in the Family & Dark Knight Returns, and Superman: Panic in the Sky. These I bought a long time ago. I also had Kingdom Come, but lost it a few years back. A few days ago I made my comeback by buying Watchmen and Squadron Supreme.

So what other trade paperbacks/graphic novels should I pick up? Thanks for any help you can give me!

Well let me first say that I think you should buy the monthly book, if people don’t buy monthlies there will be no trades because the books will be canceled.

Now that I’m done preaching, this is a tough question. I guess since you like loads of characters I would suggest you get The Outsiders first trade and the Teen Titans first trade. Since you like Batman I’d also suggest Bruce Wayne: Murderer and Hush. I liked both storylines.

If you want to go off the beaten path I would suggest some Vertigo for you. Try the first Human Target trade. Then Y The Last Man and 100 Bullets. Then try The Losers. All are excellent reads, I’m sure you would enjoy. B, do you have any trade ideas of our friend, be it in the DCU or Vertigo? (Pick up The Flash trades, Blood Will Run, Rogues and Crossfire, I guarantee you’ll be hooked. Some good classic TPBs for you to pick up are The Golden Age and JLA: Year One. If you’re looking to take a chance on something you might get interested enough to go buy the back issues of, I’d recommend New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract and The Terror of Trigon, The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga and Young Justice: Sins of Youth. The JLA, Superman and Wonder Woman all also have great TPB series. For “event” books, I’d recommend Legends, an excellent read and good intro to the post-Crisis DCU. –B)

Another column has come to an end. Be sure to visit the message boards and post your questions or comments there. You can also email me your questions and comments. Your question of the week; How do you feel about what happened in the current issue of Nightwing?

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