Who's Who In The DCU

Geez, is it time for another column? But it seems like I just finished the last one. Before we go one, I just want to go on the record at The Nexus by saying; in hand to hand combat The Flash would demolish Wolverine. Over here, there is a lively debate going on over that fight. I am in the losing minority. Phew, I’m glad I got that off my chest. Since I’m airing laundry; I’m so much of a Flash fan that I watched Daddy Daycare. B, is there anything that you want to get off your chest? (Wolverine vs FLASH?! Are you KIDDING me?! M, you have accused me of being a Marvel sympathizer in the past, but when it comes to the Fastest Man Alive, believe me brother, I bleed red and yellow! There is no way in hell Wolverine would even nick the Scarlet Speedster”¦arrrr, so angry! –B)

I guess it’s time for the part of the column that we call”¦

Link Time

has a wealth of movie trivia knowledge.

Joe will answer any musical question that you have.

DOL is written by some guy from InsidePulse.

Music, Games, Figures and Sports are full of great reads.

And lastly the Marvel vs DC Hero Tournament is really heating up. Everyone should at least go check it out. B, how come you’ve not entered that tourney? (Only so many hours in the day, M”¦I do plan on heading over sooner or later”¦the villain tourney was great and I’m sure this one will also be loads of fun. –B)

B, anything you want to link? (I’m particularly proud of my column this week as it features a very special co-writer who you and many others have requested for quite some time M”¦that’s right, my girlfriend, Megan, makes her Nexus return this week and we offer what I think is quite a decent write up of the new Teen Titans series’ first year plus; so definitely take a gander at The Watchtower. Also, I helped to kick off IP’s brand new TV section with a review of the pilot episode of Jack & Bobby, an advance copy of which was sent to me by one of the co-creators and co-writers, one Brad Meltzer, whom comic fans may know as that fella writing that Identity Crisis series. The whole section is money though, check it out. –B)

Well I suppose we should go on to”¦

Last Week’s Reads

Hard Time #8 I’m surprised that this book is still going strong. Everyone should give this book a chance. Review forthcoming.

Firestorm #5 Sadly Chriscross’s last issue. I’m diggin’ the story. I really like this book. I wish more people gave it a try.

Y: The Last Man #26 This comic is way good. It tells you everything you need to know about Hero and a bit that you wish you didn’t know. If you aren’t reading this book you’re really missing out.

Nice issue. I like the art and the story is interesting enough. This is a pretty cool mini so far.

Justice League Elite #3 Cool issue. Read my review. (The most under-hyped book on the market at the moment. Check this out folks. –B)

The Monolith Great issue. Read my review. Buy the book. This is some of the best writing I’ve seen in the DCU in awhile.

Kinetic #6 More awkward teen moments. Read my review. (Hey, M, did you know WWE superstar and comic store owner Rob Van Dam loves the DC Focus books almost as much as you? For real, it was in Wizard last month. –B)

Swamp Thing #7 Another great issue this week. Review is forthcoming, but you should pick this issue up. It’s got some amazing art and a very compelling story.

I also picked up the majority of Aztek’s issues. Believe me when I say that Tim Stevens has great taste. (And you haven’t even seen his girlfriend Janelle! –B)

Now quite a few people correctly placed the lyric from the end of the last column. Personally I was surprised, but then again it was a single.

Of course Parallax 2814 continued his streak so he gets to fire the first salvo.

Since the recent Teen Titans episodes with Terra have been excellent can you give me Terra’s back-story and her powers?

Y’know I usually go all out and answer the questions. But I know that B loves the Teen Titans, so I’m going to let him answer this one. I mean, I’d just be going through the motions, where as B will give this question the answer that it deserves. B, take it away.

Why thank you, M”¦I’m so amped to tell the tragic tale of Tara Markov, I’ll even bust out of parentheses to do so.

Terra made her debut in New Teen Titans #26. While most of the Titans team was busy helping Speedy break up a drug ring, Changeling was monitoring things at the Tower when he spotted a girl in a brown and orange costume and earth powers causing a ruckus at the Statue of Liberty. Gar went to investigate and the lass, who identified herself as Terra, hinted that she was being forced to play ball with some bad dudes against her will, but managed to elude the youngest Titan.

Changeling kept up his pursuit of the would be villainess and finally caught up to her in New Teen Titans #28. She explained that she was from the country of Markovia and that her and her parents had been kidnapped and brought to America; her parents were being held for ransom unless she used her powers over the earth to commit crimes for their captors. The rest of the Titans pitched in and they caught the kidnappers, only to learn that Terra’s parents were dead, killed when they were taken from Markovia. Terra found a shoulder to cry on in Changeling, but Raven sensed something amiss”¦

After hanging around for a bit, Terra was made a probationary Titans member in New Teen Titans #30. She had a temper and was quick to insult her teammates, but it was written off as youthful exuberance (Changeling was similar, after all); fans made comparisons between her and the X-Men’s Kitty Pryde, which Marv Wolfman revealed in later interviews was exactly what he and George Perez intended for them to do.

In New Teen Titans #34, after fighting off long-time Titans foe Deathstroke the Terminator single-handedly, something no other Titan had ever been able to do, Terra was made a full member of the team, something she’d been begging for. All was well and then”¦

“¦Terra was shown going back to her apartment where a shadowy stranger greeted her; Mr. Perez does an incredible job here, as the typically cute and bubbly Tara is transformed into a twisted image of childhood gone wrong. Her “guest” is the Terminator and Tara has been a plant from the start, the “kidnappers” hired by Deathstroke; her mission was to secure information on the Titans, get their secret identities, then help the Terminator take them down. But the twists were just beginning”¦

In New Teen Titans #37, the Titans had a team up with the Outsiders and, in particular, Geo-Force, a male version of Terra in both costume and powers. Geo-Force was revealed as Tara’s brother Brion, and though she expressed glee at once again seeing her brother, her thought balloons said otherwise. She lied to Brion that she had been kidnapped and thought their parents had been as well, but Brion “revealed” the truth to Tara that their parents had never been kidnapped and they had only recently been killed.

As the issues wore on, readers were privy to Tara’s thought balloons and conversations with the Terminator that showed a true hatred for the Titans. Tara was shown wearing trashy lingerie and having a romantic affair with Deathstroke. All the while she was playing the innocent young lady around the Titans, befriending them and even convincing Changeling she was in love with him.

Terra & Terminato’s plan came to a powerful climax in “The Judas Contract,” still seen by many as THE Titans storyline, which ran in New Teen Titans #42-44 and concluded in Annual #3. Terra turned on the Titans abruptly and violently, with Deathstroke taking them out in cold and calculated fashion in their civilian identities as Tara assaulted Raven. Deathstroke & Terra delivered the Titans to the H.I.V.E. and it was up to the newly renamed Nightwing and debuting Jericho (son of the Terminator) to save them. In the battle that ensued, Changeling refused to believe that Tara had really turned against them, even as she flung obscenities at her former and tried to kill them. In the end, Tara went quite mad (in a segment both chillingly written and illustrated), killing herself in the course of trying to destroy the Titans. The Titans buried Terra as a hero and did not reveal the true circumstances surrounding her death to anybody, including her brother, Geo-Force.

The repercussions were felt for some time to come. The Titans and Changeling in particular had lost their innocence and it would take awhile for them to learn to trust again. The Terminator stood trial and was found innocent and Changeling took it upon himself to administer justice personally. In one of the most underrated Titans issues of all time, New Teen Titans #55, Changeling finally caught up with Deathstroke in “Shades of Grey,” written by Wolfman and illustrated by Ron Randall. The Terminator refused to fight his angry young foe, as the Titans had only ever been a job for him and that job was over. Ultimately, Changeling couldn’t kill a foe who refused to resist and they ended up sitting down for breakfast of all things. Deathstroke told Changeling the whole truth about Tara, that she had been a complete sociopath, hating her parents, her brother, the Titans, even him. She would have killed anybody just to kill.

The original Terra saga was one of the most heart-wrenching stories in comics history. It was brutally emotional and pulled no punches. Characters you came to love did things that made you hate them. Wolfman would later say that he and Perez had it all planned from the moment Terra was introduced and went out of their way to make her cute, to make her “their Kitty Pryde,” just to make the eventual pay off sting all that much more”¦and sting it did.

It was one of the greatest stories of all time and unfortunately the just couldn’t leave it alone.

Years later, during the mess that was “Titans Hunt,” Wolfman brought in a character that looked exactly like Terra as part as the Team Titans, who came from an apocalyptic future ruled by Donna Troy’s son. She was introduced in New Titans Annual #7 and then came back to the present, where she acted just like Terra did before it was revealed she was evil, hitting on poor Changeling included. It was heavily implied that she was the original, somehow having survived (though Wolfman has since said he never intended this, she was always meant to be a clone or something).

The Team Titans were done away with by Zero Hour, most of them revealed to have been sleeper agents of Monarch/Extant and ceasing to exist after he destroyed their timeline, but Terra and her teammate Mirage, as well as Deathwing, a former Team Titan turned villain, remained. Terra and Mirage joined the post-Zero Hour Titans, possibly the worst incarnation of the team ever. In New Titans Annual #11, The Time Trapper revealed that Mirage and Deathwing were people from the regular DC timeline that he/she (more on The Trapper later in this column) had implanted with false memories to use as sleeper agents against Extant. The Trapper was about to reveal Terra’s own history to her, but she ran, terrified that she could be the original, something she never believed. Later in that issue, Terra digs up “her” grave to find nothing.

The issue was next raised in a back up story in Titans Secret Files & Origins #1, when Terra traveled to Markovia to have Geo-Force test her and determine if she was really his sister or just somebody altered to look like her. Brion told her that she was not, filling her with glee, but the last panel showed that apparently she was in fact the original Terra and Geo-Force had lied to her.

Terra has made nothing but cameo appearances since then; Geoff Johns has said that sooner or later he would like to address her situation in the current Teen Titans series.

The return of Terra in any fashion was a horrible mistake, an opinion even Wolfman himself has since expressed. The original story was a true classic and should have been left alone.

In any fashion, I encourage you to not only pick up the classic Judas Contract TPB, but track down any New Teen Titans issues featuring Terra that I mentioned above. Back to you, M”¦

B, that is quite possibly the most remarkable thing I’ve ever read. And you gave it to the people for free. That’s beautiful. NEXT QUESTION!

Brother D also got the lyric. Is there a particular character that you some info on?

Anarky. Has he shown up in the DCU lately? The last time I saw him was during the ‘Sins of Youth’ storyline/crossover, and even then, it was all too brief. Did that predate his prematurely aborted monthly title? What are your thoughts on Anarky?

Technically, Anarky last showed up in Wonder Woman #175, but that whole storyline is filled with cameos, so I doubt it was a meaningful appearance. That was also a few years ago. Since Alan Grant, the creator of Anarky, has been kind of vocal I doubt that the character is going to see any limelight any time soon.

Interesting fact Grant created Anarky, with the idea that he would become the next Robin. To find out more check out Will Cooling’s great interview with Grant, over here

Anarky hasn’t been seen back in Gotham since Gotham recovered from the quake. And considering that Orpheus, Batgirl (both of whom were created after Anarky) Robin, Nightwing, The Spoiler and even Onyx are in “War Games” it doesn’t seem like Anarky has a place in the Bat-fam. I mean I dig Onyx as much as the next guy, but that was a character that was stuck in limbo. I guess Anarky has taken her place in comic character limbo.

Personally I love Anarky. The books that he’s appeared in have been some of my favorites (that may have to do with Norm Breyfogle’s phenomenal art.) I have most of his appearances in my collection. I really liked how this kid had one of the greatest minds in on earth. He saved reality; he acquired a Green Lantern ring and a Mother Box. The character is one of the best created in the past twenty years, and certainly one of the most original. What I’m most afraid of is that in the near future Anarky will be killed to show how impressive a villain is.

B, do you have any feelings for Anarky? (I too only caught him in the Sins of Youth crossover, but he seemed ripe with potential. There’s another character who seems perfect for a Teen Titans guest shot. –B)

Joshua Hoskins also placed the lyric, so what’s your query?

With the cancellation of Legion (which had become one of my favorite titles), I have a Legion of Super Heros related question. I remember an old issue of LoSH where the Time Trapper revealed himself to Cosmic Boy to be Cosmic Boy himself. So, my question is what was that all about? Is the Time Trapper Cosmic Boy? Actually, I’ll take all the info you can give me on the Trapper, I always thought he had great look for a villain, and a cool name to boot.

I only wish there was to way to convey my giggle of girlish giddiness upon receiving this question. I love everything about that question. I love Cosmic Boy. I love The Time Trapper. I love that era of the Legion. I too dig his purple cloak look.

I guess I’ll get to the Time Trapper first. Back in the pre-Crisis days the Time Trapper was a guy who existed at the end of time. He was basically like the eventual entropy that will destroy the universe. He got all caught up with the Legion of Super Heroes because he kept trying to extend his domain at the end of time, which basically meant destroying reality earlier and earlier. He did lots of things to keep the Legion at bay. He put up an “Iron Curtain of Time” so that the legion couldn’t go too far into the future. He was quite the manipulator.

Wow, this is about to get very detailed.

So then the Crisis happened, which wiped out the history of Superboy. But without Superboy the Legion wouldn’t have existed because he proved to be their inspiration. This was quite the conundrum. It was solved by The Time Trapper creating a pocket universe that basically only had our solar system and krypton’s solar system. So a young Kal-El was sent to Earth and became Superboy. That planet also had no other super heroes. Whenever the Legion went to the past (time travel could be manipulated by the Time Trapper) they visited the pocket universe. Eventually the Legion discovered that they weren’t traveling into the past but rather another dimension. He died in the amazing Legion of Super Heroes #38.

The Time Trapper tried to destroy the Legion by trapping them in the pocket universe, but Superboy sacrificed his life to save both his teammates and his planet. Some members of the Legion vowed revenge. They got it when a small group of the team set out to destroy the Time Trapper. They unleashed the Infinite Man who represented the idea that time was infinite as opposed to the Time Trapper who represented entropy. The fought and it looked like the Legion had disposed of the Time Trapper. Mon-el was severely hurt and Duo Damsel lost yet another body. But the Time Trapper was done. That happened in the great Legion of Super Heroes #50 (which also features one of my favorite Green Lanterns – Rond Vidar.)

Or was he? Nope. He was extremely weakened but still alive. He was hiding out, in Mon-el’s mind. Mon-el was still pretty bitter that at the trapper for killing his “brother” Superboy. He finally did kill the Time Trapper, but his death caused reality to blink out for a moment and dramatically altered the future/present.

Y’see without the Time Trapper, Mordu ruled the 30th century. When the Time Trapper died, everything that he had done was undone. He had manipulated events so that the Legion came to be. The Legion was the only thing that had stopped Mordu from seizing power in the 30th century. No Time Trapper, no Legion, nothing to stop Mordu. Eventually things were set right again, only in the fixed 30th century Glorith had played the Time Trappers role. This happened in Legion #4 & 5. (The fourth volume, to be clear. –B)

But the Time Trapper still existed. It was revealed that Rokk Krinn had found and read the entire Library of Time. He was imbued not only with knowledge but power. He used his power to try to prevent an impending “crisis in time.” It didn’t quite work. Parallax killed the Time Trapper and Zero Hour destroyed that version of the future.

Yet the Time Trapper still exists. He’s no longer Rokk Krinn, but he still remembers that incarnation of himself.

I don’t know if that made any sense. But trust me, if there were ever a canceled series that deserved reading its Legion of Super Heroes #50 (third series) to Legion of Super Heroes #61(fourth series)

But seriously, you loved the most recent Legion series? It was cool, but that last arc ruined the entire run for me. That last arc made me happy the book was canceled. B, you weren’t happy with that last arc either were you? (I was more disappointed than anything else. I’d heard such good things about Gail Simone and had enjoyed any book of hers I’d ever skimmed, so I was very psyched to read her on one of my favorite books. The result was just underwhelming”¦the arc was very mediocre with very little happening and sorely lacking in Simone’s vaunted humor. The entirety of the last Legion series under DnA ran hot and cold for me, sometimes great, sometimes convoluted; I’m looking forward to Waid & Kitson’s versions, I love the characters. –B)

Tim Stevens (who doesn’t mention me nearly enough in his column to account for his nearly weekly appearance in mine) (Um, he did this week, M. –B) asks

How about a little info on Orpheus since he’s a big player in War Games these days?

Well Gavin King is a hometown guy. Growing up in Gotham he aspired to be a dancer and singer (I blame MTV for such lofty goals.) He achieved his dreams and did a world tour with a group of other entertainers. It was there that he learned a grim reality; there were places worse than Gotham.

He saw some pretty bad things including but not limited to; famine, prejudice, poverty and all that hype for those dreadful Lord of the Ring movies. He tried to help those could on some occasions. He almost lost his life doing so.

Fortunately for him there was a super secret organization that tried to fix some of these wrongs. They liked his spunk and brought him aboard, giving him the standard special training and neat-o high tech suit. King thought “hey I’m Black and Gotham doesn’t have any Black heroes, I’ll fight the good fight in Gotham.” And thus Orpheus came to Gotham and became a hero. He mostly focused on the area of Gotham called The Hill. He’s recently been teamed up with Onyx as a partner/protector.

The Last Guardian do you have a question from long ago?

Where did Blue Jay (formerly of JLWhatever) get his powers. I know he was from an alternate world somehow but not sure where he ‘learned’ or ‘gained’ the ability to shrink and grow wings. Explosion? Injection? Fizzy Soft Drink?

Sadly Jay didn’t really get an origin. Here is what we do know. Blue Jay, Silver Sorceress, Jack B Quick and Wandjina came to Earth from Angor, a plant that had almost been destroyed by nuclear war. They did the whole super hero fight thing then went back to their planet. This happened in Justice League of America #87.

But they returned in Justice League #2 trying to save our planet from their planets fate by getting rid of our nuclear weapons. There was a fight and Wadjina died. Silver Sorceress and Blue Jay came back when the Extremists came from their planet to wreak havoc on ours. They even joined up with the Justice League Europe, in JLE #20.

She died in JLE #36 and he quit the team at that point. I don’t think he’s been seen since. Since he’s basically modeled after the Avenger Yellow Jacket (just like Wandjina, Silver Sorceress and Jack B Quick are modeled after Thor, Scarlet Witch and Quicksliver respectively) I’m betting that his origin is pretty much the same. But given the fact that he’s not really a major character I doubt that he’ll get the origin story treatment. Wait a minute! B, you don’t suppose that he’s behind Identity Crisis, do you? (Is he Snapper Carr? No? Then no. –B)

Speaking of the Justifiers how about a related question from Shiv’kala?

I thought it’d be interesting to list the DC Heroes and Villains that are homage’s/parodies/or just plain copies of Marvel heroes and Villains.

From the 10/29/03 column

DC’s versions of Marvel characters are generally limited to tongue in cheek satire of or one shot appearances. General Glory from the JLI is an obvious Captain America clone. Mr. Nebula and the Scarlet Skier are jabs at Galactus and Silver Surfer

The Hybrid, a villainous counterpart to the Teen Titans, could easily be confused with the X-Men.

But I suppose that the DC version of Marvel characters that made the most impact would be the DC version of the Fantastic Four. They appeared in Adventures of Superman #466. It’s the same origin, four people exposed to radiation that affects their bodies in strange ways. But the results are a tad more tragic, most of them die or can never resume normal loves. Oh yeah the DC version of Reed Richards is a guy named Hank Henshaw. But you probably know him better as the Superman nemesis the Cyborg. Did I miss any of the homages Ben? .
To which B added

(The Justifiers, a group patterned on the Avengers who appeared early in the original Justice League of America series, then played a more prominent role in the Giffen/DeMatteis J.L.I. Wandjina, who died in J.L.I., was Thor; Silver Sorceress, who also died in Justice League Europe, and Blue Jay, were based on Scarlet Witch and Wasp/Ant-Man respectively. There were also versions of Captain America, Quicksilver & Hawkeye, I believe. The group’s enemies, the Extremists, were based on Marvel villains; the most prominent, Dreamslayer, was based on Dormammu; Gorgon was based on Dr. Octopus and Tracer was Sabretooth”¦think there were others too. -Ben)

Shiv you mentioned Sledge, a Guy Gardner villain who could pass for the Juggernaut. I wouldn’t add Blue Beetle, because 1) he was a Charlton hero and 2) he also had a predecessor. Again there are probably more obscure homages but I’m too ignorant about the lesser-known corners of the Marvel U (and the DCU quite frankly) to know about them.

Rhuid do you have another DC/Marvel question for the bunch?

I was wondering if you could tell me if there have been any Marvel or DC characters that have gone over to the “other side”? To be more specific, has Marvel or DC bought or somehow acquired the rights to a comic character that was owned by the other company and used them in a comic?

That would be such an amazing coup, that I’m sure I would have heard about it. I don’t recall hearing a thing like that. But ownership of characters is disputed all the time. Tony Isabella has tried numerous times to buy Black Lightning from DC. In the aforementioned interview Alan Grant mentions his attempt to broach the subject of buying Anarky back.

Joe Simon has tried to get Captain America from Marvel and recently Carmine Infantino has filed suit against DC to get ownership of some characters. I can’t think of an occasion where the courts have sided against a company.

However the idea of characters crossing into other universes was almost entertained. During the blockbuster JLA/Avengers crossover Kurt Busiek wanted to have certain heroes stuck on alternate earths. For instance Batman would be stuck in the Marvel U while Spidey would explore the DCU. Then a year later there would have been another crossover where the characters were returned to their proper planets.

The idea was nixed because Marvel and DC didn’t like the idea of losing a yea’s worth of stories.

I think it would have been cool, but I’m sure most fans would say that. It would have been a fanboy’s dream, if fanboys were allowed to dream that big.

B, do you think that we’ll ever live to see a crossover like that? (Extremely doubtful, M, especially given the recent Bendis debacle. If it could happen though, I’d love to see Hal Jordan shipped to Marvel for a year and Captain America or Iron Man sent to DC. –B)

Ryan did I leave something out of a question that I answered?

I have a couple more questions about faith. 1st off you stated that she weighs a lot. Now I took that to mean that she is heavy. Where did this come from? I don’t recall anyone saying she seemed to weigh a lot. Did someone try to pick her up and make a comment about it? It has been awhile since I read obsidian age so I might not remember it. I think Nightwing asked her something to the jist of “why do I feel all calm when you’re around”, and then she states she has that effect on people. Is this also one of her powers? If o that sounds more like a telepathic ability than a telekinetic one. Oh well enough out of me.

I’ll admit to knowing nothing about Faith. I knew that she was an enigma, but that’s it. So as I occasionally do I looked her up on the net. I found very little info on her. I found that she’s supposed to be heavy, but it didn’t state a specific issue. (It was mentioned during the “Obsidian Age” story arc in JLA, I believe in issue #74. I’m not sure if it was literal or not since her code name when she was military was “the fat lady,” meaning she was the final solution. –B)

I also read that she puts people at ease, but that seemed kind of touchy feely for a power, so I didn’t include it. I suppose it’s one of her powers, but I can’t explain it. That’s one of the reasons that I hate mystery characters. A writer could have a great plan for them, but if that character doesn’t get explained everything is messed up.

Sometimes it’s very successful. Witness how Grant Morrison plants the seeds for Jakeem Thunder during his run on The Flash, or how Geoff Johns hinted Hunter Zolomon’s destiny in the DC First Flash one shot. That stuff works. Kelly and Faith, not so much.

So B, you read JLA care to help me out with this question of Faith? (As I mentioned last week, Joe Kelly explained a lot of what he had planned for Faith and why it went wrong at the San Diego Comic Con; check it out. –B)

I’m actually going to call it a column. It’s always a blast. Send me email, check out my profile and read the numerous WWITDCU columns that we’ve done. Visit the forum and post over there. I also want to reiterate the Marvel vs DC Hero Tourney, it’s a blast.

In future weeks you can look forward to the Power Girl/Supergirl connection, The Huntress, the Silver Age Blackhawks and even your question. Since next week features Identity Crisis #4, expect to have some more light shed on some of its characters. Have a great week, and be sure to buy comics tomorrow.

“New York, New York is where we live and we’re thorough. Never taking shorts ’cause Brooklyn’s the borough.”