Who’s Who In The DCU 7.21.04

Before we start B, why don’t you tell everyone what your plans are for the week? (Well, M, as readers of myself and Tim Stevens know, the two of us are heading out to San Diego today to attend the International Comic Con. We’re taking different flights in hopes of avoiding a Beatles-esque mob scene when we exit our respective planes. I’m very excited and also very nervous as this will be my first opportunity to be in an environment like this and hopefully meet some of my favorite creators. Tim & I will be doing our best to provide 411 with the kind of updates you’re used to having to click on other sites for while adding our own unique flava, playa. –B)

Since you’re attending the con, you had better get some great creator quotes to lead off next week’s column. And I mean creator quotes about me. (That shouldn’t be hard…also, I’ll be back before next Wednesday, so we dodge the bullet of a Daron fill-in column. –B)

I better get links out of the way.

DOL goes golfing.

Hayhurst has a column just like this, only about movies.

Reid could perhaps be my new favorite writer, but only because I’ve just begun reading his stuff.

Mike Z has returned!

B, is there anything that you’d care to link? (Big news on the B front as my column, The Watchtower, has relocated to Wednesdays, making the middle of the week not only a highlight for comic fans everywhere because new stuff comes out, but because you get to read me twice, here and there. I’d also like to bid welcome to our new Marvel News guy, 411 jack of all trades Iain Burnside and direct you to the aforementioned Mistah Stevens for more info on our trek and the latest DC gossip. –B)

And now on to Last Week’s Comics!

100 Bullets #51: This was the first comic I read, as soon as I got home. I love this book. Read my review.

Identity Crisis #2 The second book I read this week. I’m of two minds about it. On one hand it explains the drastic shift in the portrayal of a character, but on the other hand what happened was so brutal it’s not too realistic that there was no mention of it earlier. Retcons, for everything they “fix” they cause others to make little sense. But it was a good issue. (Great issue, though not without flaws, and I talk more about it in my column this week. –B)

Legion #35: Interesting. It was cool to see Jurgens art again. But the book felt like a lot was going on. (I know what you mean. It was good but not overwhelming. –B)

Fallen Angel #13 Man, this book is so complex. Every character is a different shade of grey. It was a pretty creepy issue too, but good as well.

Green Arrow #40 I don’t hate Winick’s writing. I do feel that Ollie was a jerk, but I can’t say that it wasn’t in character. The cover is way cool. (Ditto on the cover. Tough issue to read, but that usually means it’s good. –B)

Teen Titans #13 It’s cool to see how the Titans really begins to need each other. And it was cool for Bart to show a bit on Impulse with the tattoo. I also dig the continuing Superboy/Lex subplot. (My review should be forthcoming. –B)

Action Comics #817 It’s nice to see Weapons Master and the title lives up to its name. I really dug that nutty doctor. That said, this still isn’t my favorite Super book.

H-E-R-O #18 This is the issue that the storyline has been building to. Action packed and fast paced. I like this book and wish more folks read it.

JSA #63 I forgot that Sand had a thing for Kendra. That was like forever ago. Ordway rocks as always. Johns really knows what he wants to do with this book, and it’s fun going along for the ride. (Great issue in a seemingly never-ending string of them, ‘nuff said. –B)

Aquaman #20 Sub Diego? Aren’t you headed in that direction? (I do plan on showing off my Adonis physique ocean-side. Maybe I’ll wear an orange shirt for you, M. –B)

Nightwing #95 What? You wrap up the storyline like that? Boo. And she can’t even complain about War Games because doesn’t she have a hand in that thing? Boo.

Superman/Batman What? No Harbinger resurrection? This book has been cool, but you cannot kill a relic of Crisis the way he did last issue. And I’m getting tired of Superman’s optimism vs Batman’s pessimism. I get it already. They are opposites. (I still predict Harbinger is back before all is said and done. –B)

Mystery In Space Diggle better do something quick because this didn’t sell me on the concept of Adam Strange.

Touch #4 Man, will I be sorry to see this book go. My review will be forthcoming.

Challengers of the Unknown #2 I haven’t finished it yet. I’m sorry, this was a pretty big week for me.

Hurray! Someone actually placed the lyric that ended the last column. Unfortunately it was 411Music’s own Aaron Cameron. Now awhile-back Aaron sent me twenty questions and one of them was a question that I hadn’t answered the first time he emailed me, a while before that. As a result I’ve decided to dedicate this column to questions that I actually had to research.

Right about now you’re thinking “Mathan, don’t you research every column?” The short answer is “yes.” But some forms of research are easier than others. For example, if you asked me what issue had Hal Jordan giving up his ring for Carol Ferris, I’d just pick my own brain and come up with Green Lantern #181. That comic is stuck in my memory from when I was kid. That cover is priceless.

Now if you were to ask me about the origin of Peek A Boo, I could look that up, because I have the last few years of the Flash in my possession. It takes longer, but it’s right at my fingertips.

But if you asked me about the history of the O’Dare family, I’d have to do some searching on the net. I have every issue of Starman so I know it all, but I’d need to do some fact checking for specific issues and whatnot.

However if you ask me about specific stories in comics I’ve never read, I’m going to be in a world of trouble.

So while every column gets the same heart and soul from me, not every column gets the same research time spent on it.

Hence when Aaron asked

Looker, the most obnoxious heroine ever & parody of the ’80s “me” era lost her looks n’ powers during the “Millennium” crossover. Yet, I seem to remember some Outsiders relaunch where she got everything back. Was I dreaming? (Which was odd, cuz I usually dreamt of Starfire)

And again when he asked

Hey, are you EVER going to answer Aaron’s question about how Lia
“Looker” Briggs got her powers back after she lost them in the awful,
awful “Manhunters” saga?

I knew I had some research to do.

Now I was aware that Looker lost her powers. I even have Outsiders Alpha/Omega, but I hadn’t read them in years. So I knew that she had lost her powers and that she had them back. But he wanted to know how that happened.

So I scoured the net. Now contrary to popular belief, Looker isn’t a popular character. (I’m covering my ears. –B) So that should have made my search easy, right? Wrong! What I quickly learned was that no one cared how she got her powers back.

But eventually I did find a site about the Outsiders that gave me what I was looking for.

Apparently when Roderick, the vampire from Outsiders Alpha/Omega, caused a civil war it helped trigger the return of Lia’s powers. That plus his psychic abilities helped bring them back too.

And now that is how Looker came back. But the real question is; where is she now? B, give me one former Outsider that you want to see on in the current book more that Looker. (Piece of cake: Katana, if only for the fact that she and Grace would kill each other within three issues and Roy would have sex with the survivor. –B)

Kevin Thackaberry made me vomit with fear with this question;

I have a possibly fairly obscure question for you – I live in Australia and when I was a kid (think mid-80’s) there used to be an Aussie company called Federal Comics (I think) that reprinted DC comics in big ol’ black and white collections with four or five stories from various periods and featuring various characters (I think I had one with Captain Marvel, Flash and Superman/Batman stories in it, for instance).

There were a couple of Batman stories in particular that stick in my mind and I was wondering whether you’d have any idea of which issues they were originally from.

The first was a story featuring a villain named Brimstone (whom I’ve never heard of since), I believe the story was that he was an enemy of Batman on Earth-2 and a respectable businessman on Earth-1. The Earth-2 dude went to jail for a while, and when he came out Batman had died. So anyway he gets all annoyed that he can’t get his revenge on Bats, then somehow takes over the mind of his Earth-1 counterpart and turns him evil, story progresses from there to him attacking Batman, losing, getting sent back where he belongs. At the time I must’ve read this story 20 times over but I still just didn’t get it because I had no idea what Earth-2 was (despite the helpfully provided double page spread with the two Earths and their respective heroes), and I was somewhat surprised to find out that Batman was dead!

The other story featured Ra’s Al Ghul poisoning (or trying to) the Gotham water supply so that people would be killed by exposure to sunlight. There was a scene on a farm with people disintegrating at sunrise, which was pretty graphic for the time, I thought. Batman and Robin (I think) end up confronting Ra’s on a space station and the whole thing ends with one of those “nobody could have survived that” type explosions. The art style in this one was much more modern and it was totally different to any other comic book I’d read up to that point – creative panel structure, fairly realistic art, and a somewhat darker tone than the Batman I was used to. Wouldn’t be surprised if this one were post-Crisis.

Anyway, I’d be interested in tracking these down and rereading them now so if you can give me any clue as to where they might be from based on this information then it would be much appreciated! And of course I can start on the other dimly remembered stories of my youth…

Ok, now I want you to appreciate the degree of difficulty involved in this one. He wants me to find out what the original issues of Australian reprint comics were based solely on story descriptions.

This was so hard. (It’s times like this that I simply close my eyes, smile, and whisper to myself “I believe in M.” –B)

First I tried to Google the Batman and Brimstone. That worked pretty well. I got that one quick. Earth 1 and Earth 2 crossing over didn’t happen that often. And is showed up in Brave & The Bold #200.

But Ra’s hatching a scheme against mankind, that never happens.

From that point I found a website about Australian reprints. They even had a search option. The problem, it wouldn’t search villains. And Batman had a couple dozen pages of results.

So at that point I tried to track down Ra’s appearances. Fortunately I’ve read quite a few of them; unfortunately this one didn’t sound familiar. So I basically looked up every appearance and tried to find out what happened in the issue.

Finally I found one for Batman Annual #8 where they mention an explosion in space. You have no idea how relieved I was.

So there you have it. Brave & The Bold #200 is the Batman/Brimstone story and Batman Annual #8 is the Ra’s al Ghul/Batman story.

So a along time ago John Babos asked;

Just thought I’d throw another curve ball your way.

As folks may have gleaned, I’m a big JSA/JLA cross-over fan. I love the old Earth 2 and Earth 1 adventures of the pre-Crisis DCU.

With that in mind, I know that 1961’s Flash #123 (“Flash of Two Worlds”) is the first meeting of the GA and SA Flash.

What comic books feature the first meeting of the:
1) GA and SA Batman
2) GA and SA Superman
3) GA and SA Wonder Woman
4) GA and SA Green Lantern

In addition, did these Earth 2 and Earth 1 namesakes meet regularly like the annual JSA/JLA meetings or the (I believe) frequent Flash meetings?

You would think that a momentous occasion like this would be the cause for a huge celebration, right? Wrong. These books aren’t really milestones. And I had to search for them, using every variation of Earth 1/One, Earth 2/Two, Golden Age and Silver Age to even get on track.

The first time Earth Two Batman met Earth One Batman was in JL of A #82, with one of those wacky JLA/JSA team ups.

The first time Golden Age Superman met Silver Age Superman was in JL of A #74, during a JLA/JSA team up.

When Alan Scott and Hal Jordan first met was in Green Lantern #40. It was kind of cool because it was the older hero appearing in the younger hero’s book, very similar to what happened on the pages of the Flash.

But try finding Earth 1 Wonder Woman and Earth 2 Wonder Woman meeting up. That was the least big deal of all. I couldn’t find one mention of it at all. There is even a chance that it never happened. However they both appeared in the same JL of A issue in the same story in Justice League of America #100. I can’t say for sure that they met, but they were in the same place at the same time. I had to find a site that listed every appearance of both Wondy’s and compare. They both appeared in Justice League of America #65, but not in the same story.

B, do you remember the time we met our Golden Age counterparts? (Yeah, they sure did drink us under the table, and then you puked in your GA version’s silver helmet…-B)

Freight Train asks;

How many times has Green Lantern visited the world inside his ring? What did he do while he was there? What did it look like?

Well in the Silver Age it happened a lot. Mostly it was the work of Myrwhydden. Myrwhydden was a magical bad guy who fought Abin Sur, Hal Jordan’s predecessor. Abin Sur beat him, but he was too dangerous to keep out in the open. So Abin Sur shrunk him down and kept him in his ring. In his barren wasteland of a ring.

But as everyone knows the ring works on will power. So when Abin died, Myrwhydden eventually gained freedom again. Hal and Myrwhydden fought on numerous occasions, usually involving Hal going inside his ring. Sometimes Hal shrunk down to see what the problem was (occasionally his ring would malfunction, inevitably being the actions of Myrwhydden.)

There was also another situation where a Dr. Blanding was so afraid of nuclear war that he shrunk himself and his family down to live in Hal’s ring. That happened in Green Lantern #26. Other times Hal went in there were in #41 and #164.

Julian Smith (who also got the lyric right) asked;

In JLA “Act of God” why did the GL ring stop working? That made no sense.

Now this is a tricky one. I’ve never read JLA: Act of God. It’s an Elseworlds where all the powerful heroes lose their powers. Yet non-powered heroes who use gadgets and skills are don’t diminish. So if heroes who use weapons are still viable they why doesn’t Kyle’s ring work?

Well I guess the implied answer is because it’s alien tech. And whatever that Blacklight is affects the power ring. However almost all fans agree that Kyle’s ring should still function normal. It’s basically a JLA story and if everyone else loses their powers they Kyle should too. That’s the premise, and the writer didn’t want Kyle to be exempt. Maybe someone just had it in for Kyle. Speaking of having it in for Kyle, B, do you think his days on this mortal plane are numbered? (I really don’t. I think he’s a red herring. I think DC recognizes the character has a following, some stories left in him, and there is rooms for a Corps again. –B)

Doburcham what would you like me to look up?

Whatever happened to Kobra’s twin brother? I vaugely remember my own brother having a copy of the old KOBRA series where his brother was the hero of the book.

Kobra had a twin. His name was Jason Burr. And they had that “psychic twin” thing going on so when one got hurt the other one would feel it. So anyway, as usually happens Jason Burr decided to fight his evil bro.

But Kobra wasn’t a fool. He severed the psychic bond and killed Jason Burr. In happened in Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular. Five-Star Super-Hero Spectacular? B, doesn’t that sound like the best comic book ever? (Aside from any issue of Gunfire. –B)

Justin Knapp I know you want me to do some digging.

My uncle gave me a stack of his old comics he found and one was a Detective Comic #587. Its the usual story about the Bat busting heads and all but at the end it has an escaped criminal named Derek “Deke” Mitchell run into an place with barrels of toxic waste sitting around. The place gets struck by lighting and he emerges as some mutation. Who, exactly, did he become?

Good ol’ Deke Mitchell became the Corrosive Man. Never heard of him? Well that’s because he’s had very few appearances. He showed up in that storyline of Detective Comics and in a couple of issues of Shadow of the Bat #25 and #50.

Interesting fact, Corrosive Man is responsible for the burns that Mortimer Kadaver sports on his noggin. That handprint is from the one and only Corrosive Man. B, who is your favorite Bat foe who never gets any playing time? (That would have to be the Electrocutioner, who has absolutely nothing going for him but a decent costume and an awesome name. –B)

Luke J do you have an impossibly hard question?

In the scene, JLA: Earth 2, where Commissioner Thomas Wayne and the good cops drag Boss Gordon out of City Hall, a mysterious assailant wearing a hat and trench coat appears out of nowhere and tries to kill him, only to be taken out by Batman. The Commish seems to know who it is, but never tells us, the reader. Do you, DC Comics’ own Mr. Know-It-All, know the identity of this attacker?

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I’m not Mr. Know-It-All. I’m just Mr. Full of Info About the DCU.

But honestly I don’t know who that fellow is. I don’t think anyone is supposed to know. I’m pretty sure his familiarity to the Commissioner is just there to add depth to the universe, to give it the appearance that it existed before the story.

But if I had to venture a guess, I’d say it was Alfred Pennyworth II. Since in our universe Alfred was a confidante to Thomas’s son, would that mean in that universe Alfred’s son would try to kill Thomas Wayne? I don’t know, I’m just making things up. B, do you have any ideas as to the identity of this guy? (Your guess is as good as mine…in other words, I’m packing for the trip and it’s cop out answers from here on out. –B)

And now it’s time for me to answer Peter D’s Question

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

This is an easy one; Flodo Span. C’mon you guys remember him. He was part of that trio of Green Lanterns that hooked up with John Stewart, Katma Tui-Stewart, Arisia and Kilowog in Green Lantern Corps #217. He wasn’t the plant one, he wasn’t the dead one, he was the one who looked like putty around a ring.

Man, that guy was so cool. He never looked the same. He just rocked. Plus he was able to contain the MadGod Sector 3600. Now I don’t know of too many other Green Lanterns who could do that.

Sure it looks like he died in Green Lantern Corp #224. But that happened in the Central Power Battery and if Sinestro was able to escape death from within the Central Power Battery than surely Flodo Span could too.

I thing everyone should pick up Green Lantern Corp #217-219 so see some cool Flodo Span action, plus Sinestro at his worst. And the priceless quote of “P-Pango.” Read the issues, it’ll all make sense.

Well I’m calling it a column. Definitely check out the Message Boards, which are swimming with debate on comic characters. And be sure to stop by the thread devoted to this column because Shiv’kala gets lonely. Email or post your questions. And my question to you is; what comic have you heard great things about but haven’t picked up yet?

“Introducing the band you gotta see to believe, he got the mic in his hand, so keep the heat up your sleeves.”

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