Who's Who In The DCU 7.28.04

Welcome back to your favorite Wednesday destination. Let’s take a second to commend B, Tim and Jamie for the remarkable job they did covering comicdom’s largest event. Their updates were stellar and full of information. B, is there any one moment from the Con that sticks out in your memory? (Quite a few, M…which is why I’ve devoted my column this week to sharing as many of them as possible. And I would be remiss if I didn’t add that several times when we were out drinking, Tim, Jamie and myself mused on how cool it was but how much cooler it could have been if you were there, no lie. Also, Tim once thought you would be waiting for us back in our hotel room.–B)

There is lots of stuff to link.

Part One of Ben and Tim’s adventure.

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

An exclusive interview with Geoff Johns.

DOL is fresh and new.

Hayhurst is full of movie knowledge.

Mike Z has figures on lock.

Joe R has more on movies.

Music and Black should have some good reads.

There is also a Marvel/DC tournament going on over at the message boards. The round that I linked will be over by the time you read this, but I encourage everyone to go over there and vote for the next round.

I suppose I should get to talking about last week’s books.

Hawkman #30 This book is so cool. Sook’s art works to create such a cool vibe. And the story is pretty interesting too.

Fraction #4 I’m genuinely irked that this book is coming to an end. I absolutely loved the book. It’s just not fair.

Justice League Elite #1 Pretty good. It could have been better. I like the direction that it’s going in. Read my review. (A big ditto from me. A somewhat confusing start with boatloads of potential. –B)

DC Comics Presents: Green Lantern By far the best of these Schwartz tribute books thus far. The Azzarello story is amazing. Plus we get to see Breyfogle’s Batman again. Buy this book.

Human Target #12 Comics don’t get much better than this title. This book consistently raises comic books to an art form. Everyone should be reading this book.

Adventures of Superman #630 Hilarious issue. But not the funniest book of the week.

Plastic Man #8 As consistent as Human Target, but funnier. The Time Trapper makes an appearance. Review is forthcoming.

Flash #212 Nice spotlight issue. Great cover. Interesting story. Can’t wait to see how things end up. (I’m blown away by how Geoff is taking these guys who were essentially one note write-offs with cold/fire/mirror guns and delve into them psychologically to make them so much more. I can’t wait until the next one. –B)

Outsiders #14 Great looking book. Slow issue, but not too bad. Some real development happens this ish. Review forthcoming. (Not much more to add, solid issue, this book keeps improving. –B)

Seaguy #3Huh? I’m clearly going to have to read this entire series again.

Gotham Knights #55 Major letdown. Huge build up for no payoff. Clearly Hush (the character) equals less than satisfying stories. Review forthcoming.

Phew! That was a lot of reading.

So we begin this column with a question that I decided to begin with, because yet again no one correctly placed the lyric at the end of the last column. Shame on y’all.

Jerry is there something that you are need cleared up?

I Saw Jon Stewart as GL with the Justice League in the Teen Titans’ A Kid’s Game TPB. What happened to the Kyle Rayner GL?

Well Kyle Rayner is still around. Y’see after Kyle’s assistant was a victim of a hate crime, Kyle grew kind of disgusted with humanity. So he went off to explore the universe (Green Lantern #158). His girlfriend Jade came along in the beginning, but she decided to return to Earth shortly thereafter. When Kyle went to space John Stewart took over for his duties with the JLA.

So Kyle did the whole space GL thing for a while. He came back to Earth to team up with Green Arrow, during an unpleasant storyline. Then he went back to space to stop Amon Sur, the son of Abin Sur who was the predecessor of Kyle’s predecessor, Hal Jordan.

Amon was a intergalactic criminal, who liked killing Green Lanterns. Kyle had to go undercover to stop him. But Kyle eventually did stop him, with a little help from some former Green Lanterns. And then Lianna, a Guardian, inexplicably stabbed Kyle.

But Kyle is fine and dandy and back on Earth. Once back he discovered Jade was cheating on him and the JLA didn’t need him anymore. So Kyle was kind of bummed. Then Fatality, another foe with a mad on for Green Lanterns, attacked him. Kyle beat her, and found out that his old nemesis Major Force is plotting to kill Kyle.

The good news is that I do believe that Kyle and John are due to battle in the current issue of Green Lantern, which hits the stands today. The bad news is that after the current issue, there are only two left before the book goes on hiatus. B, now that Kyle’s reign is coming to an end what was your favorite moment of the Kyle era? (Having read very issues of the GL book and being a pro wrestling fan, I’ll say right after Zero Hour when he was trapped out in space and put the Scorpion Deathlock on some alien. That said, I’m sure there were approximately a hundred and eighty something cooler moments than that. –B)

Shiv’kala, do you have a question about something else green?

Could you explain the changes Brainiac went through, last I read of him in the late 90’s was Doomsday Wars #1 where he somehow was involved in making Doomsday smart. Then I stopped reading comics and have now been reading TPBs and back issues to catch up. So how did the Vril Dox Braniac become Braniac 2.5 (as seen in Superman: Y2K)?

Ok so once up a time there was this dude named Vril Dox. He was a genius on a planet full of geniuses, Colu. (He had a son named Vril Dox II, you may know him from L.E.G.I.O.N. fame.) Vril had some mean bosses, the infamous computer tyrants of Colu. They weren’t too happy with the guy because he was going to try to overthrow them, so they vaporized him.

But he didn’t die. His consciousness drifted across the cosmos and ended up in the mind of Milton Fine, a mentalist who actually had mental powers. So Dox used the powers and ran afoul with Superman. They battled a couple times.

Brainiac then hooked up with Lex Luthor, who provided him with an implant that increased the mental powers. Lex even cloned a new body for Brainiac. Brainiac fought against the entire DCU (during the Panic in the Sky crossover in the Super-titles.)

He returned to tussle with his son, Vril Dox II. Brainiac took a trip to New Genesis, but not even that place could hold him. He escaped and made people believe that Superman was dead again. He was stopped. Then the came back and took over every mind in Metropolis. He was stopped again.

Brainiac did turn up in the Doomsday Wars, but then he was destroyed. Or so everyone thought. What actually happened was that Brainiac’s consciousness was transferred into Doomsday’s body. They(?) got into it with Superman and Brainiac left Doomsday’s body. From there he got the upgrade to 2.5 with a robotic body.

But when Brainiac 2.5 tried to upgrade his body, he was actually invaded by Brainiac 13. So 2.5 took refuge in Lena Luthor’s body, y’know Lex’s daughter. Brainiac 13 caused all sorts of trouble. He made Metropolis the city of the tomorrow. Brainiac even popped up at then end of Our World’s At War trying to take Imperiex’s power. But as usual Superman, with the help of some allies, thwarted the efforts. I do believe the last time he was spotted was Action Comics #782. I’m sure he’ll be back at some time in the future. B, how do you like your Brainiac; green skinned or metallic? (Braniac 13 actually turned up again in Superman #200 where his storyline was resolved…for now. And green-skinned. –B)

Shiv’kala, wanna go again?

Here’s a question that appeared on Geoff John’s board…looking at the preview art for IC #3, it looks like Deathstroke took out the JLA single-handed. Possible? Will he have help from Dr. Light? Or did Meltzer overdo it on his portrayal of Deathstroke?

Could he take out the JLA? I doubt it; but could he take out the heroes gathered at the end of Identity Crisis #2? Most likely. It’d be difficult to take them all out at the same time unless he was prepared for them, but I’ll show you how I’d do it if I were Deathstroke.

Zee- All she can really do is cast a spell that she has to actually speak. Slade could take her out anyway he likes.

Black Canary- She is a trained martial artist and has that Canary Cry, but again I don’t think that Slade would work up a sweat.

Green Arrow- See Justice League Elite #1.

Hawkman – I’d love to see these two tough it out. Both are warriors, and I bet both secretly respect each other. Carter can fly which is an advantage, but I think Slade is more acrobatic and quicker. Plus Carter is more heroic, while Slade is a killer. I’m still giving Slade this one.

Flash- While a shotgun blast to the knee worked for Bart, Wally would be a bit trickier. However I do believe that Slade has bested Wally before, back when he was Kid Flash.

Kyle – Kyle can’t fight. The ring won’t protect him from death. If Kyle gets close to Slade it’s over. Plus I’m betting that Slade has read B’s remarks about sonics being Kyle’s weakness.

Atom – I have no idea how to stop this guy. Ray is super small. But I don’t think that really fight savvy. Despite the time when he was a miniature swashbuckler (sword and all) Ray is now portrayed as a genius. I doubt Ray, as his character is now could handle himself in a brawl. But I have no idea how to beat the guy. He’s the most powerful hero in the DCU, or at least the least vulnerable.

Now I’m imagining that Deathstroke is going to endanger innocents, which is a key factor in taking on a team of heroes. If a building were to blow up, or a bus to catch fire, I’m sure Kyle and Wally would rush to help them, thus evening the odds a bit out for Slade, plus opening up both of the third generation heroes to attack. If you attack Black Canary, you’ve got Ollie on defense, which make him easy pickins.

So that would leave Hawkman, Atom, Zantanna and Black Canary. I’d imagine that a little hand to hand would get rid of Black Canary and Zee in seconds. That leaves Hawkman and Atom. Carter wouldn’t take kindly to a shotgun blast to the chest, and Atom would want to help his ol’ buddy survive, leaving Deathstroke to whisk Dr. Light off to safety. (I also wouldn’t rule out Slade taking Zee hostage.) If Light can contribute it would be great, but considering the mind hoodoo they but on him I doubt he could screw in a bulb. B, what’s your take on Deathstroke taking on this rag tag bunch of Leaguers? (I dig your outline M, I’ll just back it up with this: Deathstroke used to take out the original New Teen Titans single-handedly on a regular basis. With ease. That’s Robin, Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg & Changeling; not a lineup to laughed at. I’m not saying those guys were better or worse than the group he’ll have to contend with in IC #3…I’m just sayin’. –B)

Cheeze, do you have a thought provoking question?

I’m a sucker for crossovers with characters from other companies (not necessarily Marvel either) some are good, some are wasted opportunities for greatness, most are normally Batman. What’s your best and worst and which one would you like to see? Here’s a starting point for you, best probably for me is a Batman/Captain America team up set during the Golden Age which I got in a graphic novel/reprint a couple of years ago, or the Batman/Dracula series (red rain, etc). Worst is a toss up between the Batman/Judge Dredd series or (how’s this for obscure) I can remember a little 16 page insert in the whole of the DC range over twenty years ago which teamed up Superman with the Masters of the Universe range in order to introduce the He-man thing to the public. It was dire. Dream team up would probably be something like Zenith from 2000 AD a few years back (a series funnily enough heavily into alternative realities and such) popped into DC continuity.

Cross company crossovers, you say. Well I can remember as a kid really enjoying the Superman/He-Man crossover. But I was a very stupid kid. (Dude, I have that! It was awesome! –B)

I’m really not much for cross company crossovers. They don’t really “matter” for the most part, they’re out of continuity. I don’t really spend money on them.

Of course JLA/Avengers was a huge deal. I enjoyed it as did every fanboy on the globe. I also remember digging the first Batman/Predator. The Batman/Spawn books were ok, one was better than the other, but I can’t remember which one. But I do recall liking one and disliking the other. So whichever one I didn’t like that was the worst crossover. I haven’t gotten the Hellboy/Batman/Starman book, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. And if Jack Knight’s involved it’s gotta be good.

As for what crossovers I’d like to see, I’m going to have to think, which never results in anything positive. But that sounds like fun.

I’m not going to limit myself to cross company; I’ll also go cross-universe.

Authority/Avengers: A rematch if you will.

Authority/JLA: Because it would either be really cool or really short.

Harry Potter/Books of Magic: Can these two bespectacled wizards team up to save magic, or at least make it cool again?

Scene of the Crime/Gotham Central: This one isn’t too much of a stretch, but darn it I’ve been waiting for a sequel to Scene of the Crime for years now.

Common Grounds/DCU: Common Grounds opening up a location in the DCU? How cool would that be?

Impossible Man/Mr. Mxyzptlk: My best friend swears that he has this comic book, but hasn’t seen it since. I know Byrne alluded that the two were one and the same, but this book would be sweet. (They fought each other in Superman/Silver Surfer, written by George Perez. –B)

Common Grounds/Vertigo: That would rock or be very creepy. But it would probably rock.

100 Bullets/DCU: This would be a cool Elseworlds. I’m imagining a teen aged Bruce Wayne getting a visit from Agent Graves, with a briefcase full of proof that (fill in the blank) killed his parents. It’d be an interesting take. And you could do it for all of the revenge inspired heroes. Imagine if Nightwing or Robin got a briefcase with Batman’s picture in the briefcase.

The Flash/Archie: A universal paradox switched redheads Wally West with Archie Andrews. Can Archie cope with the Rogues, but more importantly can Wally cope with Veronica, the only person faster than he is?

Plastic Man/Y the Last Man: Now this would be a fun book, but I doubt it would be an all ages affair.

Fraction/Green Lantern/Iron Man: Could Ford, Pete, Trent and Mike take out G’nort if they had Tony Stark’s armor? (Yes. –B)

Daily Planet/National Enquirer: I honestly wouldn’t mind reading about my favorite hero’s dirty secret. “GA and Black Canary break up, exclusive photos of who’s in Dinah’s fishnets now.”

JLA/Glengarry Glen Ross: Superman: “I’m here from Siegel and Shuster. And I’m on a mission of mercy” “You know what it takes to be in the Justice League? It takes steel b@lls to be in the Justice League.”

Well I do believe that I’ve gone about as far out as I can go. B, do you have any cross company team ups you’d like to see? (Good lord, M…that was a truly inspired list. I just want to see a new X-Men/Teen Titans updated for the 21st century. I’ll focus on the first part of the question by saying JLA/Avengers was far and away the best, X-Men/Teen Titans was very disappointing, pretty much every one involving Batman except Batman/Hulk and Batman/Captain America sucked, and Punisher/Archie, though non-DC, had a certain charm to it. –B)

Kirk sent me an email that basically read like this (AOL deleted it for me, thanks.)

Suppose the JLA were gone, forever. Now assuming that you keep all of the teams (JSA, Outsiders, Teen Titans) together, who forms the new JLA?

Wow. That would be tough. If the JLA were gone, who would fill their roles.

Well you would need to fill every archetype. I’d imagine you’d need a flyer, some brute strength, a speedster, someone who has long-range offensive capabilities, someone who can shrink a magic user, and someone who can stretch. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? The Zoo Crew.

I mean there you have it. Captain Carrot easily fills the “Superman role” both in terms of stature and leadership. Alley-Kat Abra is your mystical warrior, kind of like Wonder Woman. Fastback absolutely fills the speedster quota. Yankee Poodle has your long-range offense down; filling the void left the GL. Pig-Iron is the brute strength of the team, making up for the lack of Martian Manhunter. Little Cheese’s pop was a scientist, giving the team a nudge in the brains department. And we round out the magnificent seven with Rubberduck, who takes the place of Batman, as a master of disguise.

So there you have it. That’s whom I would pick to form the new JLA. Oh, wait you meant in the DCU? Golly, I completely misinterpreted that. Well I’ll get you an answer next column. B, you want to take a stab at this question or wait until next week? (I’ll whet everybody’s appetite for your main course, M. I’ll assume we’re talking Big 7 JLA here, and it’s darn tough without using some Titans, but here goes…luckily, Captain Marvel isn’t in the JSA at the moment, so he takes Superman’s spot. I’m tempted to say Blue Beetle for Batman, but you can find plenty of guys who can fight and build gadgets, so I’m going to with Elongated Man for the detective skills and experience instead. Big Barda is a nice swap for Wonder Woman. Jesse Quick with her powers back would be a good speedster to replace The Flash. Plenty of GLs out there, so let’s use my favorite: Guy Gardner. Tempest would be an obvious fit for Aquaman and even an upgrade, plus, he’s not a Titan at the moment. J’onn is the hardest to replace as he is so versatile…I’m going to through Zatanna in there just because I think her powers can at least somewhat account for telepathy and shape-shifting. So my replacement JLA: Captain Marvel, Elongated Man, Big Barda, Jesse Quick, Guy Gardner, Tempest & Zatanna. –B)

M neglected a certain feature this week, so I’m stepping in.

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

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

My answer: The Fallen Angel. Why? Because in San Diego, Peter David asked me to plug Fallen Angel, and what better plug can you get than saying she should be the new GL?

In all seriousness, buy Fallen Angel, PAD is an amazing talent and he puts out great work. –B

Well as always, it’s been a blast. I really look forward to finding out what everyone thought about this column. Remember to post on the message boards and/or email me your questions/comments/corrections. My question to you for the week: what is your most memorable Comic Con story?

“Just three words my love; you meant everything.”