Who’s Who In The DCU Plus 7.10.04


I know what you’re thinking; “what is this doing here?” Well remember when my computer crashed? I actually missed a column. As much as it hurts me say, I may be a tad obsessive compulsive; I really dig having a weekly average for this column. So that means that I have to play catch up. You, the reader, clearly come out the winner.

Nothing new to really link.

No new comics have been released yet.

Yup, not too much new is going on. B, anything new with you since the last column? (I did cunningly trick you into giving up your little “election” over on the forum, but hey, it’s all water under the bridge, chum. –B)

Gee, since the last column just went up I don’t really have a question to start with. But I can find one.

Superfan JohnZ3 asks

Whatever happened to Suicide Squad? How did the series end, why was it cancelled?

Well I don’t really know which Squad book you’re talking about. It’s had two books. But I’m assuming that you mean the most recent one. Suicide Squad #12 ended the series with a bang. The Squad battled a new and improved Jihad. Of course since “suicide” plays so prominently in the tile, some folks died. Most notably Havana (who was also Amanda Waller’s daughter) Modem, and Rustam from the Jihad. It also turned out that Sgt Frank Rock, who led the new Squad, wasn’t the real Sgt Rock (as we found out in the most recent Superman Secret Files, it was Nemesis masquerading as Sgt Rock.) Bulldozer also wasn’t the real deal. (Actually, M, in the Superman Secret Files, Nemesis was masquerading as Sarge Steel; the identity of the faux Rock remains unknown. –B)

As for why it was canceled I’d bet poor sales. I only picked up the first three or four issues of the book. I thought, “Giffen, the JLA (Antarctica), and the Suicide Squad might make a cool mix.” I was wrong. I didn’t enjoy the book. I guess it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I can’t remember anything good being said about it; and some titles that have great things said about them get cancelled. B, what was your thought about the Suicide Squad? Could that concept be saved? (It’s a great concept, but as the latest series showed, in the wrong hands, even if those hands are talented, it doesn’t always work. You need a writer who really likes to dig deep into the psychological workings of the characters’ mind and examine what makes somebody “good” or “bad,” because, in the end, the best Suicide Squad stories were always about why villains were villains. John Ostrander, writer of the original series, isn’t doing anything as far as I know. –B)

Jerry do you have a related question?

I saw an ad for Justice League Elite in the DC website, saying it’s the team for missions to dirty for the regular League. Isn’t that what the Suicide Squad is for? Or is this their version of Stormwatch: Team Achilles?

Personally I think the Justice League Elite is more like the JL version of 21 Jump Street. Y’see the Elite is more proactive; they plan on attacking before things get out of hand. They are like a Pre JLA. Some times they may hear about a potential threat and end it before it becomes a threat. Some times they may just go undercover. But then the question becomes; how far can you go deep undercover before there is no turning back? I believe that is one of the plots of the series.

Now the whole “proactive” measure is a bit redundant considering that is why Arsenal put the Outsiders together. As for the other two teams you mentioned the Suicide Squad was a government unit that did covert missions. Not really taking out villains, but more threats to the nation. Stormwatch: Team Achilles was a military outfit that was created to deal with super-menaces. For the most part they didn’t have any powers. There are subtle differences between the various teams.

I hope the Elite does well. I loved their first appearance. I thought they had great potential. Since I wasn’t into the Superbooks, I missed out on the saga of Manchester Black, but I don’t intend to miss out on Justice League Elite. B, I know you’ve posted on the MB’s but do you wish to elaborate here? (People can visit the forums, linked earlier, to see my thoughts on the JLA and JLElite, but as far as the purpose, you nailed it pretty well, M. The JL Elite I believe will have the same basic mission statement as the Outsiders, but the difference will be in their M.O.: whereas the Outsiders just go in and bash heads, the Elite is going to be all sneaky and infiltrative. –B)

Hurlbut, do you have a team question for me?

Is the Secret Six still around? They had a new bunch after Crisis, but are they still alive?

The Secret Six, as you mentioned had two incarnations; the first was comprised of Carlo di Rienzi, Mike Tempest, Kim “Crimson” Dawn, King Savage, Lili de Neuve and August Durant. They worked for The Agency. Their liaison with The Agency was Mockingbird. Not only was he their liaison, but he was also a member of the team. That’s right; no one knew who Mockingbird was. What’s worse is that Mockingbird held something over every member’s head. He had dirt on them, and if they didn’t go along with the plan, it would be released. But they did their missions and everything was kosher and they were let off the hook.

Then a couple of decades later The Agency told Durant and di Rienzi that they had to get a new group of six together, and train them. This time however each member of the new Secret Six were handicapped and Mockingbird had devices that aided them. Luke McKendrick was a former track star with messed up legs, Anthony Mantegna was deaf, Mitch Hoberman had really bad arthritis, La Donna Jameal was terribly scarred, Vic Sommers was blind, and Maria Verdugo was epileptic. They were the new Secret Six.

Well Durant and di Rienzi didn’t like being bossed around so they decided to have a reunion of the old Secret Six to try to extricate themselves. The Agency found out and blew up the plane they were on. Only di Rienzi got out alive. But he was killed after that. The new Six decided to break up right after that.

So technically they are still out there, but I don’t think that we’ll be seeing them anytime soon. If you want to relive the most recent exploits, pick up Action Comics Weekly #601 where the new saga began. Oh yeah we did find out who Mockingbird was, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. B, does the Secret Six concept sound cool or lame? (Very cool, you’ve piqued my interest, I want to know who Mockingbird was. –B)

Hurlbut, wanna go again?

The Sea Devils are still Sea Devilling out in limbo somewhere, aren’t they?

The Sea Devils were a product of the Silver Age. Dane Dorrance was trying to gain his father’s approval by going after a sunken treasure. Biff Bailey was also going after the treasure, but just to impress a girl. Siblings Judy and Nicky Walton were going after the treasure, because, well that’s what everyone was doing in the 60’s.

While going for the treasure they encountered sea monsters. This gave them the idea to join together and do it full time. They had a successful career and their exploits made them famous. Judy and Dane got married. They sort of retired, but they are always game for an adventure. They most recently appeared in the 90’s Aquaman title #23-25 and #28-31. B, is their any hope for the Sea Devils? (Given that they are Aquaman without powers? No, none. –B)

Buddha Man1 do you have an equally Silver Agey question?

Who are the “Forgotten Heroes” and what issues can I find some of their exploits? Thanks!

Great, the Forgotten Heroes. Well back in the Silver Age, the Immortal Man got a rag tag bunch of has-been heroes to fight his equally immortal enemy Vandal Savage. How did this happen? Well the past their prime heroes discovered all around the globe. They tried to report their discoveries but to no avail. The Immortal Man got them all together and explained the plot. The original team consisted of Animal Man, Cave Carson, Congo Bill and of course Congorilla, Dane Dorrance (sound familiar?), Dolphin, Rick Flag, and Immortal Man. They got a huge assist from Superman in foiling Vandal Savage.

They decided to stay together, because that’s what super groups do. They figured there were still threats that could fight. And they were right because the Enchantress has formed a group of villains who wanted to control the universe. They were so busy with their plans that they settled on the mundane group name, Forgotten Villains. This team consisted of Ultivac, Kraklow, The Faceless Hunter, Yggardis, Mr. Poseidon and Atom Master. Wait a minute, did I say mundane? I meant appropriate.

The two groups fought the heroes proved victorious. The Forgotten Heroes stayed together. When the Immortal Man went missing Cave stepped up. The group popped up in Resurrection Man #24-27 with some new members; Ray, Vigilante, Fetish, and Ballistic. They helped him fight Vandal Savage, and rescue the Immortal Man (but he died later.)

The last time anyone saw the Forgotten Heroes was in Superman Man of Steel #120. Cave is due to show up in the next JSA, so keep your eyes peeled. B, DC, has loads of heroes who are doing nothing which ones should be in the next incarnation of The Forgotten Heroes? (Hmm…off the top of my head, I’ll go for a team consisting of Red Star, Phantom Lady, Lionheart, Maya, Nightblade, Half-Life & Sasha Bordeaux. –B)

Hurlbut, wanna go for three?

The Challengers of the Unknown history confuses the heck out of me.

Yeah I know me too.

Oh wait; you wanted me to explain it to you? Well technically you didn’t really ask a question, you made a statement. But I feel like I’m on a roll right now so I’ll run with it.

Well four guys were on a plane that crashed. Ace Morgan, Professor Haley, Rocky Davis, and Red Ryan. They had all accomplished great feats in their field. They also happened to be the only survivors of the crash. Since they were living on “borrowed time” they did what everyone else would do. No, they didn’t get counseling, they dealt with their survivor’s guilt by taking any risk they could, becoming the Challengers of the Unknown.

They battled many menaces and even had a few other unofficial members. Most notable among them was June Robbins; she even hooked up with Prof. Red’s brother Tino Manarry even hooked up with the team. Gaylord Clayburn III, a rich guy (surprise!) tried to join, but couldn’t deal with the constant threats to his life.

During their adventures the Challengers lost a couple of HQ’s and relocated a few times. However as usually happens the novelty wore off and they went their separate ways. Professor Haley and June hooked up, conducted some experiments and died. Rocky became a drunk, Ace got into mysticism and magic, and became a mercenary.

When Prof and June died, the others hooked up again. But their relationship was not the best. What’s more is that Prof and June didn’t really die, they just lost their physical forms. Their spirits were still in another dimension. And as oft occurred while on a mission Ace, Red, Prof. and June got stuck in a dimensional bubble and disappeared.

A few years later a new group took on the name Challengers of the Unknown. Marlon Corbett, Clay Brody, Kenn Kawa, and Brenda Ruskin also survived a plane crash. Not only that but they saw the souls those other not so lucky passengers leave their respective bodies. They had some missions, and were advised by Rocky from the original team. They even helped out Superman with that whole Millennium Giants mumbo jumbo.

But shortly after they arrived the original Challengers reappeared. Now the old time Challengers messed around with Hypetime and got stuck. Fortunately Superboy got them back to Earth, but not before two things happened. 1) Red got lost in Hypetime and 2) June Robbins got the whole Hypertime switcheroo pulled on her with June Walker (which was the characters name in her first appearance.) The Challengers have vowed to find Red.

But wait there’s more. Howard Chaykin has a new Challengers of the Unknown book out. It has absolutely nothing to do with the previous incarnations. I picked up the first issue and found it enjoyable.

If you want the more traditional Challengers incarnation pick up the first few issues of DC: The New Frontier; they’re chock full of Challengers goodness. B, did you know that the Challengers of the Unknown were the inspiration for the Fantastic Four? (I did not, but now that you mention it, it sure makes sense. I think they got mixed briefly during Amalgam as well. –B)

Hurlbut, I can’t quite place it but we seem to be missing one more team. Help me out.

Don’t you think it’s time to see the Green Team once again?

Ugh, the Green Team? See this is what happens when you let someone ask too many questions in the same column.

Well they were a group of Boy Millionaires. Commodore Murphy was the Boy Shipping Magnate, J.P. Houston, and Cecil Sunbeam, kid who headed up a movie studio.

I lie to you not.

They solved crimes. They first appeared in First Issue Special #2, then they next appeared in The Green Team #2. That’s right folks, there was never a Green Team #1. They died in the DC Implosion. However with Paris Hilton a household name there is surely a chance at a Green Team revival. B, do you think that DC should give the Green Team another shot; I mean I doubt it could be worse than the Doom Patrol? (It could be a new home for Gar Logan. –B)

Kirk, you have to give a good question after that one.

Are there any Titans who made the jump to the JLA?

I’m keeping my answers to the JLA, not Task Force or Extreme Justice as neither is really a credit on your super resume.

Ok, I did some digging and I’ve found that only Wally West has made it to the JLA. Kyle was a member of the Titans for a hot minute, and has gone on the JLA. Nightwing was a member during the whole Obsidian Age, but it didn’t last too long. That’s about it by my reckoning. B, did I miss anyone? (Sure did; the current Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, was a Titan before he was a Leaguer. Also, while he was de-aged as a result of Zero Hour, longtime Leaguer the Atom did time as a Teen Titan. Also, Jesse Quick filled in as an unofficial member while Wally was off during one of his hypertime vacations. –B)

Kirk, that was such a great question I’m going to allow a follow up.

Which current or former Titan should make the jump to the JLA?

I’ll be honest; I think that Cyborg is kind of squandered with The Teen Titans. He deserves a chance to break out of the minors and be a part of the JLA. Now considering the JLA and the Titans had to team up to put him down it, his chances at membership are pretty slim. But I would still like to see him there. I think he would be a great asset to the team.

I also believe that Tempest should be there. They don’t have Aquaman, and lets face it Tempest is much more powerful than Aquaman. Not to mention more stable (he has a wife and child, which means his insurance goes down.) Tempest has that magical boost that could get the JLA out of those mystical binds they sometimes find themselves in. Plus he’s not appearing anywhere at the moment, not in Aquaman, not in Teen Titans, no in Outsiders, not even in the upcoming War Games crossover. Geez the guy looks like a shoe in for the next Forgotten Heroes appearance.

I would like to see Starfire in the JLA. I bet she would add a volatile mix of rebellion and warrior to the equation. She went toe to toe with Diana, and I can’t see her following Batman’s lead. But Batman knows her weakness, Dick Grayson. I’m sure that just being around the JLA would give Kory some growth out of the “stranger in a strange world” mode she been stuck in for over 20 years. She would also add some ranged attack to the team, oh I’m sorry I’m thinking in terms of Heroclix again.

I really don’t think that any other member of the Titans would be ready to handle the pressure of being the JLA. For the most part they are you too young or too inexperienced. In some cases, like Beast Boy, they don’t really offer much to the mix. But those are the three that I think could hang with the big guns, and deserve a shot at the majors. B, you love the Titans, we both have every issue of the last dreadful series. Do you agree with my picks, and more importantly to you have anything to add? (Damn, M, you swiped all my picks. If Troia were still around, she could be an interesting alternative to kind of keep Diana in line. –B)

JohnBritton posted this

No one ever seems to talk about Primal Force. I liked it, although I think I was mostly excited to see Red Tornado back in action and mysterious to boot. What ever happened to it, other than cancellation? It was around before I was online (perhaps even before there was an “online”), so I have no idea what the general consensus was.

I myself actually only have a few issues of the comic. I enjoyed what I read of it. I think that it may have been a tad “out there” for the time. It was launched after Zero Hour along with Fate, Starman and Manhunter. None were truly traditional super hero books, thus they never really caught on. Fate reeked of blasphemy, and Manhunter isn’t DC’s hottest property. Starman had a unique voice and a champion in the form of Archie Goodwin, who had faith enough in James Robinson’s vision to make sure Starman lasted long enough to get critical acclaim enough to keep it afloat.

Primal Force was an interesting concept. It was about this dude named Maltis (who you may know better as Dr. Mist.) He’s been around forever and part of the Leymen. The Leymen were a group of ten guys whose duty was to protect the Earth. They had been doing it for two thousand years and decided to retire. So Maltis performed the ritual that got him a new bunch of Leymen. See he would ask the Earth to select them. But this time instead of asking of normal folks he asked Earth to pick out some heroes to be the Leymen.

The Earth made it’s choices and Maltis got five heroes; Claw, Golem, Jack O’Lantern, Red Tornado and Meridian. This was the first time a woman, Meridian had been selected and the first time that all ten who had been chosen didn’t accept the call. Here’s a brief rundown of who did accept the call.

Claw is related the DC character by the same name. John Chan hooked up with the purple Claw while studying Chinese history. He encountered the purple claw, which sliced off his hand and attached to his arm. The claw makes whoever possesses it more violent, and less able to control their anger or rage. So John can be savage at times.

Golem was apparently the same Golem that showed up Ragman. He’s not too different than the Monolith. He’s a molded statue that is given life through mystical means. He’s kind of like Pinocchio in the fact that he just wanted to be human, and has a good heart.

Red Tornado was in shambles when two kids found him the Grand Canyon. They messed with him and he became reactivated. He joined the Leymen but was damaged and sometimes collapsed. During the series he once again merged with the Tornado Tyrant that he separated from all those years ago in the JL of A. This time he managed to stay on the side of good.

Meridian Mychaels has the power to teleport, but only along ley lines. She’s also a pretty good hand-to-hand combatant. Her power manifested itself when a mugger was attacking her, and she wished herself to safety. Maltis didn’t want her as part of the team, because he was old fashioned, or as we say now sexist. But she did join eventually.

Liam McHugh is related to the original Jack O’Lantern. They are cousins. But when the original Jack died, Liam inadvertently inherited the weapon (the magic lantern) and the title. He was a rookie hero when he hooked up with the Leymen, but he learned much while with them, including how to manifest the power internally.

Two other heroes who initially rejected the call to join the Leymen but eventually joined were;

William Twotrees is half Apache and half white. His grandfather always told Will that thunderstorms were bad news, and that a storm had taken his father away. Will thought it was just a tale, until one day an approaching storm called out to him. He was struck by lightning and transported to the clouds. While up there he becomes living lightning, but can’t get down. The Red Tornado gets him out of the clouds and Will discovers that he’s a Leyman, how to change between forms, and that he’s Johnny Thunder’s son.

Black Condor also joined the team, but the book was canceled before his story could really develop.

And that about does it for Primal Force. Honestly I’m probably going to collect this series next. Like I said I enjoyed the issue I had. Hopefully the next time I do a Retro Review it will be Primal Force. B, what is one book that was canceled too soon that you think readers should pick up? (As far as team books, Superboy & The Ravers was harmless fun with great early Paul Pelletier art; give it a try. –B)

Guys, that is going to do it for me. I’m beat. I will say that the movie “Love Liza” has come on twice while I was doing this column, and each time those last seven minutes hit me, hard.

As usual post your comments, question, and possibly corrections over on the Message Boards or email them to me. Your (second) question for the week; which DC heroes should make up the roster of the next Forgotten Heroes line up?

“I may act, like a bombardier. But don’t be fooled, my aim is off.”