Who’s Who In The DCU 7.14.04

And we’re back! After producing two columns last week, here we are back in our regular slot. I hope everyone enjoyed the bonus column last week. I felt guilty about missing a column and figured that I owed it to you, the readers, to give you something special. B, even managed to take time out of his busy schedule to add his two cents to the column. B, were you surprised about having to do another column? (My life is never boring with you in it, M. –B)

B, did you check out Pat Brower in Wizard this month? Was reading it when I saw the familiar name. Speaking of Pat, DC is trying to break my wallet this week. There’s so much quality work coming out this week. Any idea what you’re going to read first? (I’ve now gone over Wizard three times and not seen Pat’s name…help me out here so I can give props to one of our most under appreciated assets here at 411Comics. And yes, it’s a huge week; I’ll be, of course, reading Identity Crisis first, which says something since JSA is rarely not my first read on weeks it comes out. –B)

Now it’s time for links

Hayhurst is Captain Movie Trivia.

Music full of great stuff.

Black has some interesting views.

DOL claims to offend.

B, it’s your turn to plug, so plug away. (My column is a bit late this week, but should be posted alongside this one, so in the words of the Beastie Boys: check it out. –B)

And now for my views on last week’s books.

Swamp Thing #5: I was bored with this book, but this issue brought me back. It’s pretty good.

Supreme Power #11 I dig this book. But how folks can criticize Azz on Superman and love Supreme Power (which is equally paced) is beyond me. I’m diggin’ the Nighthawk subplot. (You can read my review, which offers a slightly different take. –B)

Firestorm #3 John Babos doesn’t dig the series, but I’m hooked. I just wish the Firestorm boards weren’t so hostile, so I could converse with other fans.

DC Presents: Batman It’s a fun book. I enjoyed it. It’s like cotton candy though, not too filling.

Detective Comics #796 Pretty good stand alone issue. New Robin, Mr. Zsasz, nifty story. I enjoyed it.

Hard Time #6 Wizard gave it a huge plug, as I do every month. You should give this book a shot. Read my review.

The Monolith #6 Man, did I love the art this issue. It looks amazing. It’s also cool to see a pretty good characterization of Batman. Read my review.

Y The Last Man #24 This storyline is as good as “Safeword.” It’s a pretty good issue for you to jump onto the series with. Read my review.

B, I have one word for you; Kestrel. (You’re lucky I don’t answer with two less polite words. –B)

Since no one got either lyric from the last two columns (and I basically told you where to look in the bonus column) I get to pick whatever question I want to begin with.

Jerry Hizon, you get the honor of beginning the column. Take it away.

If Arkham is the place for the Criminally Insane and Blackgate is the one for “saner” ones, what about the Slab? What is the distinction between the two? Is Blackgate solely for Gotham criminals only?

Also, can a non-Gotham loony be placed in Arkham?

This is a deceivingly tough question, because it involves geography. Blackgate and Arkham Asylum are in Gotham and are primarily designated for Gotham criminals, because if you get locked up in Gotham you are going to either Blackgate (for just regular criminals) or Arkham (for the criminally insane.)

Now since Arkham is so well respected in the DCU as a place for the mentally unstable, some non Gotham criminals have ended up there; most notably Doctor Destiny. The good Doc is a JLA foe, yet he popped up in the Arkham Asylum hardcover, which I love. “And the dollhouse looks back at me,” chilling. I was way too young when I read that.

Blackgate is for the regular cons, that can’t claim insanity.

And now for the other prisons in the DCU.

Lockhaven is the prison in Nightwing and Richard Dragon, because that’s where Bludhaven’s criminals end up.

Iron Heights is in Keystone, thus the Flash Rogues end up there, as well as other Central/Keystone crooks.

Stryker’s Island is off Metropolis and where the foes of Kal El serve their terms. (But I believe this one got relocated to outer space orbit as a result of the Ending Battle crossover; it may have moved back after The Harvest over in Action Comics. –B)

Of course we can’t forget Belle Reve, its in Louisiana, and is usually associated with the Suicide Squad.

The Slab is basically where the rest of the DCU’s criminals go after convicted. It played a huge role in the second arc of the current Outsiders. It also popped up in the current Green Lantern storyline. Milo Norman, the former Mister Miracle II is in charge of the Slab. (And following the Last Laugh crossover, The Slab is located at the North Pole because Dr. Polaris is attached to it. Of course the Outsiders broke everybody out of there anyhow. –B)

In the most recent issue of Outsiders they showed how Alcatraz has become a prison for super offenders. And that concludes our tour of the DCU penitentiary system. B, did I miss any DCU prisons? (Just Takron-Galtros, the prison planet of the Legion’s future also referred to by Big Barda several time in her JLA run. –B)

Ryan Connor, a regular over at the DOL Message Boards (who apparently doesn’t remember me from our weekly “talks” after The Shield) asks;

After reading superman secret files I was wondering when and how Gog came into real continuity(there that hated word)? I do not follow superman all that much. I just started getting the lee/azzarello arc, but I am a huge fan of kingdom come and the kingdom.

How is anyone in continuity? Because a writer suggested it and an editor said “ok.”

Oh you want a more detailed explanation? Ok, but you asked for it.

It should be noted that Gog for all intents and purposes began in continuity. His first appearance was in the New Year’s Evil “fifth week” event (which I retro reviewed months ago.) Mr. Mxyzptlk, Prometheus, and the Rogues (as well as others) all had one-shots as well. They all are in continuity, thus Gog must be as well.

Plus when you factor in that the future, where Gog presumably comes from, is fluid it’s pretty reasonable that all of his appearances have been in continuity. I mean Superman has met both the pre-Zero Hour and the post-Zero Hour Legion of Super Heroes, so obviously the future isn’t set in stone (which is why I don’t really have a huge problem with the Legion reboot, since in my mind every issue of the Legion has happened, but that’s just my wacky theory on the future.)

However a wrinkle is tossed in that Kingdom Come was an Elseworlds, meaning that it didn’t happen. Since William, the guy who became Gog, is a product of the Kingdom Come reality, the logic would be that Kingdom Come is reality, at some point.

Well that leads us to Hypertime, a concept dreamed up Mark Waid and Grant Morrison. Y’see with Hypertime everything that DC has published actually happened, just in different dimensions. Every Elsewords story, every Golden Age story, and pre Crisis story actually happened.

Now I know you’re thinking, “Mathan, that sounds an awful lot like a multiverse, and I thought those died during the Crisis.” You are correct in both cases. It does sound like a multiverse, and they all died during the Crisis. The real difference is that Hypertime is a lot harder for anyone in our DCU to access. Lots of folks have come to our reality from Hypertime, but very few have actually ventured into Hypertime from our reality; Superboy being the most notable exception.

Now the next time that we see Gog is in the Kingdom event, coincidently the same story that introduced the concept of Hypertime. So Gog traversed Hypertime and ended up in our reality to plague the Man of Steel.

You could also choose to believe that Kingdom Come was at one point the future of the DCU. Now as I said the future isn’t set in stone. So Gog came back to pick on Supes, and has stayed in the present. Maybe his future won’t happen at all, but that doesn’t negate his existence.

Take the Marvel U for example. Is Bishop’s future a reality anymore? How about Cable’s? There are lots of X characters whose futures contradict others yet they all co exist in the present. This is basically the same thing.

Another example is the pre Zero Hour Legion of Super Heroes. We know that they existed because of the role they played in the present. They had prominent roles in the origins of both Booster Gold and Matrix/Supergirl. Yet they no longer exist in the future. Now take the soon to be canceled Post Zero Hour Legion. They played a role in Final Night and spend a period of time in the present, yet they soon they won’t exist. Not to mention that Superboy is a member.

So just because a certain future doesn’t no longer exists doesn’t mean that it never did. Which is to say just because Kingdom Come no longer seems to be a reality, doesn’t mean that Gog didn’t come from that timeline. And when you factor in Hypertime, anything is possible.

Now if you mentioned the recent Superman Secret Files and Origins, the Gog profile mentions a kid who has similar circumstances to that which William encountered. This can be interpreted in two ways. One is that the kid will become Magog, who idolized Gog and hates Superman. The other is that the kid is actually William himself, kind of like how Matthew Ryder and Waverider are two different versions of the same person (divergent timelines) or how Monarch created Hawk (the future affecting the present) or Walter West subbing for Wally West (Hypertime.)

Either way it bears some looking into. And I don’t mind Gog in continuity, Superman needs a threat and I dig the axe to grind beef. So why is Gog in continuity? Because a writer suggested it and an editor said “ok.” Gog is current appearing in Action Comics, and that is his first appearance in a regular monthly, so you haven’t missed too much, other than a back up story when Kal went to Kandor.

Ryan, wanna ask another?

The great DOL has just turned me on to getting some old flash trades. i got return of barry allen and born to run. In born to run it shows kid flash being able to vibrate through stuff pretty easily by the end of the trade, but in return he couldn’t hardly do it at all. so what happened between kid flash and flash that made him not be able to do it?

So Wally got his powers as a kid. He grew up with his powers. But what happened was that right around the time that Wally went to college he found out that he had a disease, and not a social one either. This disease would slowly kill him every time he used his superpower. So every time he used his speed, he would be killing himself.

Now, just as your typical college kid with super speed would do Wally retired. I mean wouldn’t you? There were lots of other heroes to pick up the slack, and did the world really need a Kid Flash? The game wasn’t going to miss him.

But then the Crisis happened. Wally decided to come out of retirement to help look for Barry…and to save tons of universes. Wally got hit with some energy from the Anti Monitor, but he didn’t die. At the end of Crisis Wally got the typical good news/bad news scenario from the lab results. The good new was that his disease was in remission, but the bad news was that his speed was dramatically reduced. In fact his top speed was right around the speed of sound.

Thus began the current Flash title. Over the course of the title Wally has lost his speed, lost control of his speed, and regained his speed, and even regained his top speed. He has the ability to loan and steal momentum. He even has a decent rapport with the speed force. But the one trick that he has yet to regain is the mastery over his molecules enough to vibrate through something without it exploding. B, pick a Flash trade for fans to pick up, and what was your favorite moment during the Crisis? (Rogues and any of the three big “deaths”, Supergirl, The Flash, or the Golden Age Superman. –B)

Rennie, do you have a question related to the bonus column?

In the Black Reign storyline, the new Nemesis Died. What ever happened to the Blonde haired Nemesis that used to be in the back up stories in Batman?

Tom Tresser and his brother Craig wanted to be just like their dad’s friend Ben Marshall a government agent. Pop died and they decided to give it a go. Craig performed amazingly and became a field agent. Tom, did ok, and ended up in designing equipment.

Craig had to go undercover into a organized crime organization, The Council. He got brainwashed and killed Ben Marshall. Then Craig was taken out by his agency. Since Tom was related to Craig, a turncoat, the agency disassociated itself from Tom.

Tom got a crazy scheme together to avenge Marhall’s death and fight for justice. He was a serious thorn in the side of the Council and eventually took them down, with an assist from Batman.

Tom then accept an offer to join the government group the Suicide Squad. His knack for espionage and disguise made him an incredible asset. When the team fell apart he went out on his own. In fact in Catwoman #62, he died.

But then he got better. At the end of the last Suicide Squad #12 it was revealed that Sgt Rock was a phony. In fact he dropped a mask. A mask that looked similar in origin to the mask that Nemesis donned in the recent Superman Secret Files and Origins (I’m looking at you B!) So Nemesis is alive and well. And I’d imagine that we’ll be seeing him before too long in the DCU. B, explain to the folks why Nemesis might have looked dead, but really wasn’t. (The only answer I can really offer is that he’s a master of disguise and they’re notorious for faking their own deaths. I’ll also add that given his history in the Squad your “Nemesis was the fake Rock” theory is plausible, but you’re going to need harder evidence than just two masks being drawn similarly, there’s not too many ways to draw flesh masks. –B)

Richard Mimms do you have an equally related to the bonus column question?

Ok, quickie here. Can you please tell me all that I need to know about Resurrection Man? I believe he died during Crisis, but was wondering if he ever made an appearance in modern continuity.

No problem. Only you have Resurrection Man confused with Immortal Man. The guy who would eventually become Immortal Man encountered the same meteor that gave Vandal Savage immortality. Only this caveman didn’t live forever. Instead he died, but was reborn and destined to face Vandal Savage in every life. In some of he most recent incarnations he lead to the formation of the Forgotten Heroes. He’s had the power to fire bolt from his hands. He was thought to have died during the Crisis. But he came back.

I believe that his first post Crisis appearance was in Flash #48. There he was in the body of a young girl. But he had that stone that the Immortal Man always had. After that storyline, where Wally got his powers back, the Immortal Man disappeared.

Now we enter Mitch Shelley. Mitch Shelley has this power not only not to stay dead, but to come back to life with a new superpower. He sounds kind of immortal doesn’t he? Plus he has problems with his memory, which would work well with the theory that he’s really the Immortal Man. And Mitch appears in the comic book called Resurrection Man. To quote my Magic 8-Ballâ„¢ “all signs point to ‘yes’.”

Even the Forgotten Heroes thought that Mitch was indeed the Immortal Man. In fact when the Forgotten Heroes and Mitch went up against Vandal Savage together it felt like old times. Except that Vandal Savage was actually holding the Immortal Man prisoner, as shown in Resurrection Man #26. In Resurrection Man #27 the Immortal Man sacrificed his life (finally, this time) to save the world from a reality-warping creature. And that’s the story on the Immortal Man. B, did you ever pick up Resurrection Man? (No, but I loved him in DC One Million. –B)

Ed Lipinski, wanna go for the hat trick of questions related to the bonus column?

My question is when did Black Condor come to Opal? It seemed like it just happened off-page. Can you clear that up for me?

Y’know what sucks? While researching the answer for this question I found that one of the better Starman fan sites is no longer up. What a bummer.

Anyway, Black Condor first appeared in Opal in Starman #47. This is when Jack went to space and the Shade started doing bad things.

Opal fit Black Condor well. He was a moody mysterious hero, and Opal is a character of a town. So he just migrated there. I don’t recall it really being explained. I do know that James Robinson had plans to use Hawkman at some point. But Hawkman was undergoing a terrible transformation that would wreak havoc on his continuity. As a result James couldn’t use Hawkman. So I’d imagine that he substituted another hero for the major role that Hawkman was going to play and Black Condor for Hawkman’s role while Jack was away.

Another cool little tidbit, superstar Rags Morales was the artist on Black Condor. Rags went on to great acclaim on Hawkman and his work can currently be seen in Identitly Crisis #2, on sale today.

I’ve really dropped the ball on this so I announce the return of;

Peter D’s question!

Who should be the lead character of the Green Lantern title?

This week’s answer: Mogo. I mean really Green Lanterns don’t get much bigger than this guy. For once you can have a Green Lantern story with global implications. When a foe attacks Mogo, the fate of an entire world hangs in the balance. There is a certain gravity of any situation that Mogo is involved in. Who doesn’t love wide screen action like that?

If Mogo, the planet Green Lantern is the focus of the book, think about the stories that could be told. We’re talking about a supporting cast of millions. Now every hero pretends to hold the fate of billions in their hands, but in Mogo’s case this is true. Is he going to be wracked with guilt if someone dies on his watch, or is it all in a days work for him? I want to know the answer to that question, and that’s why Mogo should be the lead in the Green Lantern title.

Well folks we come to the end of another column. Please, send me your questions/comments/corrections. And also be sure to visit the Message Boards, and post you questions/comments/corrections there as well. Your question for the week; what are your thoughts on the upcoming “War Games” crossover in the Bat-titles?

“You sold platinum ‘round the world, I sold wood in the ‘hood”

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