Who's Who In The DCU

Is it that time again? It’s time for a new column already? Golly. Man, I’ve really lost track of time. Plus I’m sleepy. Um, Daron how about you introduce yourself to those who may not know you.

Not know me? Is that even possible??? Well just in case”¦I’m Ben’s partner in this little experiment we like to call The Nexus. You can usually find me hanging out with Jim over the Marvel version of this very column, The Marvel Handbook. – The Overlord

(Gotta stall, gotta stall, gotta stall.) Links!

What You Could Be Reading

Here are some other things for you to read before you continue on.

Joe and Hayhurst can also answer your questions, while Joe has some Superman news.

While it’s fun and Games.

Sports rocks. Y’know the Huey Lewis and the News album. The Sports section is pretty cool too.

Music is about as consistent as it comes.

Check out how the tourney went down, and how the next one will start up.

And of course the exploits of DOL continue to amaze and entertain.

Daron, anything you think they should read (make it long because I’ve got to finish the column.)

Well seeing as how you already covered my usual link, so let’s see what else we have. If you haven’t already, you should check out our newest writer and his Manga Column as well as his first Manga Review. – The Overlord

Uh, let’s see. Last weeks comics should fill up some space.

Last Weeks Reads

Fallen Angel #14 Easily the best book of the week, and it’s a perfect jumping on point. Plus it’s even got a great revelation at the end of the issue. Man, comics don’t get much better than this.

Astro City Special: Astro City never disappoints. In fact I like Astro City so much that I may read JLA when Busiek takes over. Seriously.

Hawkman #31 I am enjoying the new direction this book is taking. I’m sad that Carte’s new lady friend didn’t last (and yes I did think she would). Sook is doing some great work.

Adventures of Superman #631 Wow. That a pretty powerful last page. This could actually mean something. Rucka is making Supes interesting. Kudos.

JSA Strange Adventures #1 The story that Johnny Thunder is writing makes the issue feel disjointed. I honestly had to put the book down a couple times and start over again to get all the way through. I’m sure things will get better.

DC Comics Presents The Atom Ah the irony of seeing Jean Loring again. I thought both stories were very cute and fun.

Doctor Spectrum #1 This book would have rocked, if it wasn’t a rehash from Supreme Power. Isn’t there a happy medium between Doom Patrol #1 and Doctor Spectrum #1? But isn’t a better question; where can I sign up to write a Nighthawk mini?

Manhunter #1 Um, why isn’t anyone decrying the death in this issue like they complain about the death of other characters? I think it’s a pretty bad example of a double standard. The book’s interesting.

Human Target #13 Man, is this book heavy. Read my review.

Touch #5 This is a book that had a neat concept. Sadly it’s the second to last issue. My review’s forthcoming.

Fraction #5 This book had some great characters and lots of great subplots. Sadly it’s the second to last issue. My review’s forthcoming.

Plastic Man #9 This is a really fun book. Everyone should read this book as a balance to all the darkness overtaking the comic industry. My review’s forthcoming.

Supreme Power #12 Very good issue. Four tales told simultaneously. Man, it was fun to read, but not a fun read. And Nighthawk is finally getting some panel time. It’s on.

H-E-R-O #19 This is a great storyline, with beautiful art and a cool premise. You know what that means; it’s canceled.

Ex Machina #3 I am digging this book. What a cool concept and Harris’ art is always perfect. Oops I hope that doesn’t mean it gets canceled.

Now on to the questions and answers.

Most of the time, I can predict when someone’s going to get the lyric at the end of the column. Sometimes I’m amazed that no one gets it, but I’m usually pretty dead on. However I was really surprised when someone placed the lyric at the end of last week’s column. That lyric was the equivalent of a carnival game; no one was supposed to get it. I mean the CD is out of print!

The person responsible for knocking my socks off (sorry for the fumes) is none other than Parallax2814.

When Supes went through the whole electric Superman phase what powers did he gain and which did he lose?

Well when Clark became an energy being his powers were drastically changed. In the traditional sense he “lost” all of his powers except his speed and flight. No more of heat vision, super breath, invulnerability, super strength or super hearing.

What he gained was the ability to essentially move at the speed of light and teleport. He could still fly but it was more of an electromagnetic thing. He could fire energy blasts and become intangible. He could still interact (move) objects, but he had to create energy fields to do that. He could also absorb physical attacks and redirect them as energy beams. He had a sort of “electronic awareness” where he could sense electrical activity in his vicinity. Another of his electrical powers was the ability to disrupt electromagnetic impulses in the brain, which proved to make Green Lantern a bit less of a threat.

I’ve go to say, as I look back on Electric Supes, I dig his look. I think he should come back. Daron, are you for or against the return of the Electric Blue Superman?

I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any “Electric Blue Superman” or a Red one fore that matter. – The Overlord

Parallaxneo posted the following question at the 411Forums.

Has Batman ever killed anyone?

This isn’t the first time we’ve attempted to answer this question in this column.

Way back in the 5/15/03 column I answered the question of whether or not Superman or Batman has killed by saying;

The only case of Superman killing someone was in Superman #22. That was the only instance of Kal crossing the line that I know of.
Batman is another story. Bruce almost killed Joe Chill in “Batman: Year Two.” What stopped him you ask? The Reaper killed Chill first. Batman also left the KGBeast locked in the Gotham sewer, which is kind of like sentencing him to death. Most recently Bruce was willing to kill the Joker for all the pain and suffering he caused. So we can see that Bats is willing to cross the line. I’m sure that there are more incidents like this, but the only time I was a heavy Bat reader was for like five year, in the late eighties to the early nineties.

Man, what a crummy answer. There was some debate about an incident with Shiva and a ninja, but it boiled down to the fact that Bruce has never taken a life. KGBeast ended up alive. Joker is still breathing. Batman doesn’t even know who Joe Chill is.

Want further proof? Pick up Death and the Maidens miniseries. In issue #2 Ra’s al Ghul gives Batman a potion that will allow Bruce to speak with the dead, more specifically his deceased parent. The only catch, in order to meet them you have to meet every person that you’ve killed. Ra’s tells Bats “you have no dead to claim.” And who knows more about Batman than Ra’s al Ghul? So there you have it Batman has never killed. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Daron.

Sure it can, So there you have it Daron has never killed. What was so hard about that? – The Overlord

Jimmy James, do you have a question that involves killing and Batman?

In the Batman cartoon series, why did they never use Zsasz? I realize he isn’t the most multidimensional villain ever, but if Clock King, Man-Bat, and Firefly got episodes, then he’s deserving of one episode too, right?

Well, mostly because it was a cartoon. Y’see Mr. Zsasz is a great Bat foe. He’s got that cool distinct look of keeping a tally of every person he’s killed, by carving the tally on his body. He’s a pretty creepy bad guy. But killing doesn’t go over well in the cartoon genre.

Zsasz is a pretty gruesome and brutal killer. Part of the allure of Zsasz is that he carves in his own skin. But you don’t really see too much bloodshed on cartoons. I agree that he’s a very cool character, but the core of his character wasn’t appropriate for the genre. Daron, do you think Zsasz should have been a featured foe on the Batman cartoon?

I think I’d need to have at least the inkling of clue as to who you’re talking about before I can answer that. Seriously, who the hell is Zsasz? – The Overlord

The Nexus’ own Kyle Litke do you have a question?

Who do you feel are the top 5 Batman villains?

I really got to thinking about this question and I have to admit that I came up short. I’ll start with who doesn’t make the list.

Bane – Yeah they guy broke Batman, once, and only after biting a plan Ra’s al Ghul had years ago (Batman #400.) He’s pretty much a joke of a character now. Since he beat Batman, Batman had to beat him back and make it decisive thus negating his threat. Boo. I hope someone can redeem this guy.

The Riddler – Sure he’s supposed to be a mastermind now, but he’s still a joke. He’s bright but not really a threat. He’s like Baron Tyrano. At least he’s not wearing those green tights anymore.

Black Mask – He was a major threat, to Catwoman.

Hugo Strange – Has anyone seen this guy lately?

Croc – of baloney. Yet another joke. Does anyone remember when he tried to take over Gotham’s underworld, back when he had a mind? That’s the Croc that would be a threat. The current Croc seems to take his direction from that episode of the Batman cartoon “Almost Got Him.”

Penguin – He works with Batman half of the time. He’s not a threat.

Poison Ivy – She should be freed from the Batman gallery of losers. She has such potential as a villain in the DCU that keeping her in Gotham is pointless. She should have greater ambitions beyond Gotham.

Ventriloquist – Interesting concept, but he’s not really a threat, just a gangster with a gimmick.

Mr. Freeze – Why is this guy still in Gotham? He should be striking elsewhere in the DCU.

Clayface I or Ultimate Clayface – This guy could be cool, if he showed up more.

Mr. Zsasz – If he lived up to his potential he would rock! “The Last Arkham” is one of my favorite Batman stories of all time. But he’s not portrayed as intelligent anymore, which makes him less threatening.

So who does that leave?

The Scarecrow I really debated putting him on the list. He not really a physical threat, but he manufacturing of fear gets him a slot. The scene in Batman #629 where Bruce is scared out of his wits, was way scary. Batman frightened, that’s never good.

Hush Sure the guy is new to the crew, but he’s made quite the impact. He toyed with Bruce/Batman’s head, has a vendetta against Bruce and knows the two are one and the same. That three-way combination makes him a serious threat. Plus Batman hasn’t really beaten him yet. Anyone who can make Batman try to reason with them instead of fighting them is a force to be dealt with.

Joker I didn’t want to put this guy on the list. He’s such the cliché answer. But he did cripple Batgirl, kill Robin and James Gordon’s wife, and committed lots of other crimes. Plus Batman is kind of responsible for making Joker the Joker. He’s higher than Scarecrow for his acts, and higher than Hush because of Hus’s inexperience.

Two-Face Harvey Dent and Bruce used to fight the good fight together, which makes Harvey becoming Two-Face all the more tragic. Visually Two-Face is my favorite foe. The bisecting of the outfit is killer. Man this guy rocks! He looks sharp and he’s got a past with Bruce/Batman. He’s also got a half way decent gimmick. There’s a fifty/fifty chance if you’re on Two-Face’s bad side that you’ll walk away unscathed.

And finally;

Ra’s al Ghul This is guy who can match Bruce on every level; money, skill, intellect, resources, and drive. When Ra’s makes a move against the Bat, it’s usually to distract him from what Ra’s is really doing. The reason why he’s the biggest threat to Batman is because Batman is the only threat to Ra’s. Plus Ra’s and Batman see themselves as equals. That is why Batman allows himself to be tempted by Ra’s in Death and the Maidens. Ra’s al Ghul is no joke.

Honorable Mention

While he’s not really a villain, Batman is a threat to himself. His drive can cause him to distance himself from others (as witnessed in No Man’s Land and Bruce Wayne: Murderer.) His need for control got him ostracized from the JLA (in a plan masterminded by Ra’s.) He’s also been known to push himself too far (Knightfall.) If you want to see a good battle between Batman and Bruce Wayne pick up Batman: Ego, which is one of the best and definitive Batman tales out.

Daron, what are your thoughts on the Top Five Foes in the Bat-verse?

I don’t know if I can pick my top 5 Bat villains. I think they’re all pretty equal and important. Joker stands out as the most important, followed By Ra’s – The Overlord

Man, that was exhausting. Kyle do you have anther question?

How about the top 5 Superman villains?

Gee, thanks.

I’m going to skip straight to the final five, because Superman’s rogues are just really darn depressing.

Darkseid This guy barely made the list, but he’s a threat and he’s really out of everyone else’s league. Superman is the only one who will really give him a battle and Darkseid doesn’t really dig what Supes stands for. As a result he’s a bad guy.

Cyborg No, not the guy from Teen Titans, the Hank Henshaw variety. The guy has an axe to grind with Superman and he’s got Supes powers. Now if only he was actually written as a threat as opposed to someone who’s easy to take down, he could show the DCU his stuff.

Gog He’s about a new as Hush, but he’s done so much. Superman is weak as a kitten in Action Comics, the result of Gog. He’s got beef with Superman, and he’s got the support of the Quintessence. Gog is not one to be played with. He also thinks he’s on a mission from on high, which is always a scary thing.

Brainiac He has mental powers and tech from the future. He’s a match for Superman. He’s also a threat. Check out how he affected Superman via Cir-el. Brainiac is not one to be taken lightly.

Lex Luthor C’mon who did you think it would be? I think the reason Lex is number one is because he’s really a bad guy. Check out Superman #9 for what I think is the perfect characterization of Lex Luthor. The Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor is an equally chilling portrait of Lex’s cunning. Those two stories really capture Lex at his finest (?) in my eyes. There’s also the fact that Superman can’t attack Lex with his powers, Lex is just a man, so Superman could never actually hit him. Despite all of his powers Superman really can’t do too much to Lex, besides outthink him.

Daron, do you disagree with my list?

I’ll give you Darkseid, Brainiac, and Luthor, but I don’t think much of Cyborg or Gog. I’m thinking Doomsday should make the list (seeing as he killed the man), and I don’t know about the last it’s a toss up between about 10 different characters. – The Overlord

Shameless Poser, do you have a question about a guy that I failed to mention?

Got one question… where exactly is Doomsday nowadays?

Well Doomsday was in the possession of Darkseid as seen in Superman #175. In fact in Superman/Batman #10 an army of Doomsday clones attacked Themyscira in an effort to distract Superman.

But in Action Comics #814 it was revealed that Doomsday escaped from Apokolips and he’s looking for a rematch with Superman. He’s supposedly on Earth. You know what that means Daron; Road Trip!!!! You, me and Doomsday going across the country trying to discover America, and ourselves. You in?

I’m in, but I’m driving. You and Doomsday can “discover” each other in the back”¦I don’t want see any of that $h!t. – The Overlord

Jamie do you have a related question?

He’s alive AGAIN? But I thought he was teleported into the end of the universe and left there. How did he survive the end of all existence?

Oh well that’s easy. Y’see this guy named Prin Vnok retrieved him from the end of time. Y’know Prin Vnok, Coluan, assistant to Brainiac. Well it was all part of a plan to find a new body for Brainiac. Doomsday’s body with Brainiac’s mind was one mean foe. But Brainiac’s mind became dislodged and Supes had to contain Doomsday trapping him in JLA transporter. Then he set the transporter in a transporter loop so Doomsday would be stuck forever.

But when Imperiex posed a threat to the Earth Lex send some folks to the moon to get Doomsday to have him face Imperiex. But Imperiex vaporized Doomsday. Doomsday came back to life and fought Superman again (surprise). This time Superman stopped Doomsday, who was now sentient, by giving him a lesson on life and death. From there Doomsday went to Lex who dealt him to Darkseid.

Daron, how do you like your Doomsday; intelligent or mindless?

I like mine medium well, but I can never find a restaurant in town that prepares it right”¦ – The Overlord

Man, I’m tired of Superman and Batman dominating the column. Tim B, do you have a final Superman Batman question for the column?

What do you think about the inter-title continuity of the DC big guns? For all of the many titles of Batman, the internal continuity seems to be at least fairly tight. Compare it to Superman, where we don’t even know what his definitive origin is at the moment!!

I don’t really mind it too much. Let’s face it, Superman was the poster boy for inter-title continuity during the 1990’s. Triangle numbers anyone? Readers felt they were being forced to read every title and there was a drop in sales.

Then Supes had much looser continuity. I personally like how it is now. In the core Superman titles (Action, Adventures, and Superman) things are close but loose. Action and Adventures take place in the present, while Superman takes place in the future. The same characters are in each book, yet each book has it’s own distinct feel and flow.

Batman does have pretty good continuity, I’ll grant you that. But I think that has more to do with sales. Batman doesn’t really struggle in terms of sales, thus they can have a closer knit continuity. Superman on the other hand struggles, so writers have more freedom to try to make stories work. Plus Superman is a more difficult character to write for than Batman. Anyone can pose a threat to Batman or Gotham, but can anyone really pose a threat to Superman? The Super-writers are given more leeway to create.

It’s like the Olympics. Batman is like a simple routine, that anyone can do while Superman has a much higher degree of difficulty. Both are graded, but by two different standards. DC is rewarding the risk takers by loosening up the continuity.

Daron, what’s your take on the topic at hand?

To be honest, I’d like to see a bit more or a definitive continuity/origin for Supes, but it’s not up to me”¦but wouldn’t it be cool if it was? – The Overlord

Darkhawk posted the following question over at the old Forum.

Is Guy Gardner still around as Warrior or is he a GL again?

That’s tough. I know he’s not a GL again, at least not yet. I guess that means that he’s still Warrior for the time being, but who knows that Geoff Johns has up his sleeve for the old Guyster come next year. We may just see him in that corny Green Lantern costume one day relatively soon. Daron, should Guy stay Warrior or return to his rightful place in the shadow of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern?

You know it’s odd that you ask. I was reading Identity Crisis the other day and noticed that Guy was at the funeral sporting his full on GL gear (haircut included). I could really care less about the character, but I thought this was a bit odd. – The Overlord

Gaz emailed the similarly themed query;

I was wondering if you could clear something up for me. In the awesome Identity Crisis #1, during Sue’s funeral, we see Guy Gardner in his old GL costume and with his traditional ‘moe’ haircut.

I’m a huge fan of Guy’s since the Giffen/Demattis JLI days, but lost track of him during the whole ‘he’s that last of an alien race’ stuff. Is he back to his GL glory, and if so how??

Nope he’s not back as GL, yet. But Brad Metzler and Geoff Johns are buddies and Rags Morales and Johns were collaborators as well, so perhaps they know something we don’t. Or perhaps it’s part of the mystery? Daron, what are your thoughts on the infamous Guy Gardner sighting in Identity Crisis #1?

That I’m apparently a bit late for the debate”¦see above. – The Overlord

Colin do you have a question about Guy Gardner?

I have a question about Guy Gardner. I just picked up the second volume of Green Lantern/Green Arrow, which has a cameo of Guy in the issue of John Stewart’s first appearance. In this issue, Guy is neither lewd, abrasive nor funny. He was taking a bunch of kids on a field trip? When did he become a scoundrel? What made him be such a jerk?

Well see Guy had a couple of accidents. He had an incident with an earthquake, where he was severely injured after trying to save a girl about to plunge to her death. Guy had to have some serious therapy to get back up to par.

When he was up to par Hal hooked Guy up with a ring and battery of his own. Unfortunately there was an accident and when Guy was recharging his ring the battery exploded sending Guy to the Phantom Zone.

While Guy was in the Phantom Zone, that class act Hal Jordan hooked up with Guy’s girlfriend Kari Limbo. Guy caught some pieces of the action, and wasn’t too pleased about it. Thus the seeds of his hatred for Hal were planted. Supes and Hal eventually realized that Guy was in the Phantom Zone and went to rescue him. Guy attacked Hal and was manipulated by some other prisoners in the Phantom Zone. Hal and Supes decided to retreat and try again later.

But Sinestro whisked Guy off to Qward. Sinestro also used Guy like a puppet against Hal. Hal did rescue Guy, but by that point Guy’s was suffering from severe brain damage. He was basically a vegetable. Kari returned to his side. After Hal quit the Green Lantern Corps he even stopped by to visit.

When Crisis hit, some of the Guardians decided to “help” Guy out of his coma. He came out, still a tad brain damaged, but functional. He resented being in a coma, and still didn’t trust Hal. Guy was kind of a renegade GL. As a result, after the Crisis was over he was allowed to keep his ring, but he had to undergo training. He didn’t dig that at all.

As a result of his experiences with the GLC with Hal Jordan, and bit of brain damage, he became bitter and a jerk.

Fortunately B is gone this week so you don’t have to hear him go on about how great Guy Gardner is. Daron, do you want to defend the guy?

And just to rub it in a bit more, I’d like to go on record as saying, “eh.” I could really care less about Guy. I’ve never really given him much thought at all to be honest”¦he pretty much bores me. So no, I won’t be rushing to his defense”¦that’s what Ben gets for missing a week I guess. His favorite character gets slammed (and by his partner no less) and he’s powerless to defend him”¦”I love power!” – The Overlord

Well I’m going to call this a column. It’s been a blast. Daron, it was good to have you back. Ask Jim if we’re ever going to do a crossover or debate column.

If we can figure out a way to do it, and do it well I’d be all for it. And thanks for having me”¦I’m sure it won’t be the last time, unless Ben decides he doesn’t want me playing with his toys anymore. – The Overlord

As usual email me your comments, questions and whatnot or post them on the message board. This weeks question for you is; What are your thoughts on the alleged “Ultimate” DCU in the works?

“7-Up I touched her palm, and she knew it was me.”