Who\'s Who In The DCU

I’m going to begin this column like it’s everyone’s first time. Welcome to Who’s Who in the DCU, part of the weekly lineup on The Nexus, the net’s newest comic site. My name is Mathan Erhardt and joining me is Ben Morse. B, do you want to fill them in on our previous history? (It was a dark and stormy night in Vegas…that’s all I’m willing to say. –B)

So basically it’s like Hypertime; all that previous stuff did happen, but what’s going on now is what’s really important.

Now this column is dedicated to the DCU. If you have any questions about the DCU, like how many times has Superman died (once –B), what issue did Kyle Rayner propose to Jade (I don’t know…but at least I’m honest about it. –B) or who our favorite Legionnaire is (Star Boy. –B), we will get you the answers. The DCU can be a scary place to navigate, so consider us your bodyguards.

Now at this point in the column I usually link some other good reads. However since I’m actually writing this column hours after the last one posted I’m like a week too early to know that’s good to read. B, can you point our readers in the right direction? (Will do, M; I just posted my column and we have a great interview up with Garth Ennis by Will. Honestly, everything on this site is good, read it all…seriously, I’m kind of a big deal, I could have you gone like that. –B)

(The reason why I’m writing this column so early is because I’m on vacation in Iowa [which is where you go for a vacation when you live in Las Vegas, it’s some type of crazy Bizarro rule.] But I couldn’t have The Nexus launch without a flagship column, so I buckled down and created.) (In other words, M is still like the only real member of 411Comics left because we haven’t formally inducted him here yet. –B)

I’m going to start the column off with a question about Batman. Everyone loves Batman, right? You can’t go wrong with Batman. Nexus’ own Kyle Litke, want to start things off?

Who knows Batman’s secret identity?

Ok, lets get the big guns out of the way. Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter all know who Batman really is.

Now on to his confidantes. Nightwing, Robin, Azrael, Catwoman, Batgirl, and Oracle all know. Alfred, Leslie Tomkins and Sasha Bordeaux know as well.

Want some other good guys? Man-Bat, Green Arrow, the original Outsiders, The Teen Titans (Raven, Cyborg, Starfire, Wonder Girl, Speedy), Wildcat, Plastic Man, and Zatanna all know that B.W. is Batman. (I’ll go with Elongated Man probably having figured it out at some point if he wasn’t outright told as well. –B)

Some notable dead folks know Bats is Bruce as well. Zatara, Harold (Bats turncoat handyman) and Tsune Tomo (guy who trained Bruce) all know and all are dead.

Geez those are a lot of good guys. Now onto the bad guys.

Hush, Bane, David Cain, Ra’s al Ghul, The Riddler and Nyssa all know and have used that info to their advantage.

Deathwing, Lady Shiva, and Hugo Strange know where Bruce spends his nights.

It is implied that both Deathstroke and The Joker know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same. But I don’t think that it’s been stated implicitly anywhere.

B, did I miss any? (I’m not 100% sure, but I think it’s probably reasonable to assume Starfire knows…she showed up looking for Dick at stately Wayne Manor in one issue of New Titans. –B)

Man that was tough. Litke, wanna go again?

Who knows Superman’s secret identity?

Man, you really want to spill all the beans don’t you? You are like the press: keep hounding and hounding (He is the press M, we all are…-B). You never let up! Give these heroes some rest will you? No? Ok.

The big guns come first. Aquaman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash, Batman and Martian Manhunter all know that Superman was raised in Smallville.

As for the Super crew; The Eradicator, Steel, Superboy, Supergirl and Strange Visitor all know about Clark Kent and Superman.

Other random heroes; Nightwing, Oracle, Green Arrow, and Plastic Man know the Kent connection.

Mystical heroes Spectre (the Hal Jordan variety) Phantom Stranger, Black Racer, and Dr. Occult know how to find Superman if they really need him.

Not too many ordinary folks know Supes is Clark. Lois Lane, Lana Lang and Lori Lemaris all know about his double life. And of course his parents Jon and Martha Kent know as well.

Foes who do know that Clark wears a costume under his suit; Cyborg Superman, Bizarro, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Manchester Black, Parasite, and Conduit all know, but the last three are dead.

Some bad guys who in all likelihood know about the Kents raising Superman are Brainiac, The Joker, Dominus, and Mr. Z.

So the guy who sticks to the shadows and wears a mask has more people knowing his identity than a guy who dresses in bright colors and sports nothing on his face? Ah the wacky DCU. B, do you think that’s right, and more importantly, did I miss anyone? (It sure seems silly, but it’s one of those things that are so canon you really can’t mess with them. Again pulling the Titans connection, I’m going to wager Troia knew before she passed away at the hands of one of the big jerk’s robots. I’ll again re-state that if he wasn’t told, Elongated Man probably figured it out. –B)

Column regular Shiv’kala asks;

For Green Lantern: which villains do you want to see return? Sinestro is a given, but how about digging a little deeper? Malvolio, Myrwhydden, the Demolition Team (minus Rosie, due to her part in Enginehead), Hector Hammond, etc.

Green Lantern doesn’t have menacing foes like Batman, or cool rogues like The Flash. He doesn’t even really have iconic foes like Superman. I guess Green Lantern is right beneath Superman and above Aquaman and Wonder Woman in terms of enemies.

Green Lantern foes are kind of lame. Well maybe that’s not right. They just hadn’t realized their full potential.

Let’s take Eclipso. He faced Green Lantern a few times, but was not cool at all. But when he took over the annuals in the 90’s he was no joke. Geoff Johns even made him cool in JSA. But the whole Bruce Gordon/Eclipso dynamic got old fast.

Major Disaster is one of the prime examples of how Underworld Unleashed worked well. The first appearance of the improved Major Disaster in Aquaman #14 was one of my favorite moments of the series. Now Major Disaster is a good guy with J.L. Elite.

Doctor Polaris became a major baddie over in The Ray. Johns also redeemed Goldface (perhaps the worst conceived villain ever) but he’s not really a bad guy anymore either.

The real question is can anyone save Javelin? How about The Demolition Team? Could the Shark or Baron Tyrano be made cool again?

I think that maybe Myrwhydden (the evil wizard that lived in Hal’s ring) could possibly withstand a revamp. Maybe GL could get stuck in a wacky bizarre type world of Myrwhydden’s creation. That would be good for one arc.

Hector Hammond should lose the “huge head” gimmick. He should return to his suave natural self, and keep his powers. His motivation for taking on GL would be pure pride, for being beaten all those times in the Silver Age.

Sonar could also be motivated by pride. But he should go back to being the ruler of his country. And I never liked his current incarnation.

The Black Hand shouldn’t be a costumed foe anymore, but rather a mastermind, who sends teams of up and coming villains against G.L.

Malvolio would be a good baddie for a space story, and perhaps as a way to explain away Hal’s actions during Emerald Twilight.

Evil Star would be cool too. His starlings are way creepy. I wouldn’t change too much about him. He’s actually pretty good the way he is.

Of course Sinestro needs to come back. You either need a rogue GL, or an anti GL; he’s both. But he needs to be backed by the Weaponers of Qward. Qward needs to be a major player.

Now if I was writing the G.L. re-launch with (I’m assuming) Hal Jordan, I wouldn’t have any Silver Age foes for the first year. The first year would be Hal getting used to the new DCU. Maybe toss in a few of Kyle’s equally lame or underused rogues, but for the most part put plant Hal firmly in the DCU.

Then as the cliffhanger for #12 have Sinestro show up. Man, I couldn’t wait for those 30 days to pass.

Or if you set the book in space have GL encounter the U in the DCU. But have him go to familiar places, not like Kyle’s recent jaunt in space. He doesn’t need to bump into old foes in space either, but mostly just cosmic foes.

Then as a cliffhanger in #12 have Sinestro show up. That’s right, I said it. I want Sinestro action! In space, Sinestro can show up with Mad God Sector 3600. That would rock. But the book needs Sinestro.

Lest you think this is not a normal column need I point out the appearance of a question by a certain Peter D?

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

In all honestly I think you have to go for John Stewart. Allow me to list three reasons why;

1) He’s High Profile.

Anyone who watches the Cartoon Network (which is everyone except for me apparently) knows that John Stewart is Green Lantern. Think about all the Johns Stewart merchandise floating around everywhere. All those kids who love Justice League would love to read about John Stewart’s solo adventures. DC could use that Green Lantern title as a sort of gateway book, if you will, to bring viewer of the cartoon universe to the DCU.

2) He’s an Untapped Character.

This is basically a guy who has played second fiddle to either Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner his entire career. He had the Mosaic title, but that came to an abrupt end before it had the chance to catch on.

John has many exploits that haven’t been chronicled. Don’t you want to find out more about John’s time with the powers of a Guardian of the Universe? How about that lost time between the end of Mosaic and Emerald Twilight? Maybe you’re curious to read more about John’s time as a Darkstar. The “Time’s Past” potential for this book would be tremendous.

3) He Doesn’t Really Have Any Stigma.

People claim that Hal Jordan is boring. Kyle seems like a crybaby and to be everyone’s whipping boy, plus he’s regarded as the reason for Hal’s fall from grace. And Guy, well Guy is a jerk. John doesn’t really have a stigma, thus no baggage.

So there you have it. Johns Stewart should be the lead of the new Green Lantern title.

B, do you have anything to say to my points? (Only that you’re wrong because it should either be Guy Gardner or if not him the Fallen Angel, because Peter David said so. Otherwise, your reasons make sense. –B)

(A quick “Secret Origins” bit from yours truly. A few weeks ago, a reader questioned how Nemesis of Suicide Squad fame could turn up in the latest Superman Secret Files when he was killed off in a late issue of the Catwoman series before the previous one; my response was “he’s a master of disguise, no explanation needed.” When I posed the same question to Geoff Johns, writer of aforementioned Secret Files story, his initial response was “nobody deserved to be killed off in that Catwoman series” which was amended to my answer after I gave it to him…so there you have it. –B)

Well that’s going to do it for another column. I’ve a plane to catch in mere hours, and I have yet to pack. So email me your questions, comments and possibly even corrections. My question to you (I’ll ask again since everyone was pretty shaken by last week’s column); what are your thoughts on Identity Crisis thus far?

“I was born in Little Rock, had a childhood sweetheart. We were always hand in hand.”