Who's Who In The DCU

Once again it’s time for your trip into the DCU. My copilot as always is B. So B, did anything big happen last week?

Well, as far as Nexus news, the biggest announcement I can make is that we’ve got quite possibly our highest profile interview to date thus far scheduled with none other than Peter David! I’m a huge PAD fan, but so are a lot of other guys on the site, so we’ll be interviewing him by committee; look for our trademark unorthodox interview style with one of the most outspoken guys in the biz as well as plenty of stuff on Fallen Angel, The Hulk, Madrox, Young Justice, Supergirl, Captain Marvel, X-Factor, etc. Should be coming sometime in the next two weeks so look forward to it.

In personal stuff, I got to see Megan for twelve whole hours this past weekend for the first time since she entered Theater Boot Camp. She’s in good spirits and hanging in there, but she was confused by the latest issue of Teen Titans because of all the Legion stuff”¦I’m seeing her again this weekend, so we’ll see what she thinks of the Titans/Legion special. Any words of encouragement for Megan as she continues to attempt and make it through the theater equivalent of Survivor can be sent to me at benmorse@comicsnexus.com. -B

Linkin’ Parts
Oh”¦oh that’s clever.

Music has news on the InsidePulse Concert Series!

Games reminds me of the good ol’ days of 8 Bit games.

TV has news on Jack and Bobby, which is comic related. Not to mention damn good; if you’re not watching this (and I blame the WB for doing a crappy advertising campaign in which they’re making the show look like it’s Dawson’s Creek when it’s actually focusing on much bigger issues) you should be. -B

Figures has some startling news about the state of Toy Stores!

Sports has baseball up the wazoo.

Leonard is my counterpart in the Movie universe.

Joe may look different, but he’s full of the same quality.

Everyone has got to go over and nominate for the new DC vs Marvel tournament. This time it’s DC heroes versus Marvel villains and vice versa. The more you nominate the more fun it becomes. You can also email Buddah your nominations. I’ve already nominated my characters.

B, what do you think our loyal readers should read?

I make my triumphant return after two weeks of Ultimate Marvel News-related hijinx with a new Watchtower. I’m also livin’ large in the wrestling zone with a new Mean on No Mercy. Elsewhere on the Nexus, Daron put some blood, sweat and tears into Missing The Boat this week and if you’re not reading Diner Talk because you’re afraid Jamie is rambling and incoherent”¦well, your fears are founded, but give it a shot anyways. –B

Last Weeks Reads

Richard Dragon #5 This book is fun. I’m not sure if I like Dragon himself, but the supporting cast is rounded out nicely. Plus the creative team just rocks.

Adam Strange #1 There’s a chance that I may review this book for the site. It was an interesting twist. I don’t know how many times Adam has lost his wife, but it didn’t seem tired this time. The issue was full of action though, as well as allusions to some of DC’s more prominent citizens.

Superman #209 Things are building up. I like how Superman dealt with the menaces. I really don’t understand why people don’t like this book. The art looks good and the writing is great. I’m at a loss here.

Because nothing is happening, M. I was in the crowd of people bored as hell by this issue. I’m confused and I’m bored and I’m at an equal loss as to why you like it outside of great art. –B

Doctor Spectrum #2 Things are moving along. Review forthcoming.

Green Lantern #181 Oh irony of ironies. The original Green Lantern #181 was the one where Hal gave up being a Green Lantern and quit the Corps. And now #181 paves the way for his return. That said, it was a less than satisfying read. But Daron should sleep well knowing that Kyle survived.

DC: The New Frontier #6 This was very satisfying. I loved this mini so much. Read John’s review as he does it more justice than I could.

Can’t recommend this book enough. –B

Hellblazer #200 Happy Anniversary! Read my review.

Outsiders #16 Why do I buy this book? Read my kind of mean review.

Again, I find myself at odds with you, partner. I loved this issue, from the art, to the fight, to the way Winick is handling the characters. I love the Dick-Roy relationship, I love the way Judd writes Jade and I love the little things he does with the other characters. This book has a different team dynamic then you will see anywhere else. –B

The Losers An interesting look at how it all began. This book always delivers.

Caper #12 Winick shines! This entire mini had some very good tales. The last story was a lot of fun. Colorful characters, conspiracy theories and frozen limbs. Who could ask for more?

Parallax2814 did it again. That’s right he’s correctly placed the lyric at the end of the last column. He gets to fire the first salvo.

Besides Green Arrow and Daredevil which characters has Kevin Smith tackled?

Kevin Smith has worked on a few titles. He’s done some work with Oni Press on some of his own creations. He’s worked on Green Arrow and Daredevil. He actually began work on two projects over at Marvel: a Spider-Man book and a Daredevil book. Neither were ever completed.

He was rumored to have wanted to do a Brave and the Bold re-launch at DC, but he decided to bless us with Jersey Girl instead. And Highfather knows we’re all the better for it.

Since we’re on the topic of Kevin Smith; I think the guy is incredibly overrated. I’ve seen some of his flicks. Jay & Silent Bob”¦ was almost enjoyable. Dogma was the biggest hunk of turd I’ve even seen, and I’ve seen Ishtar. Clerks captured a moment in time and is probably my favorite. (I think I’ve seen half of Mallrats and Chasing Amy.) Green Arrow was cool but wasn’t mind-blowing. I really don’t see what the big deal about the guy is. He’s like the Insane Clown Posse; I have no idea what the nature of the absurd fanaticism behind him is, nor do I understand what their mindless followers see in them. I bet he’d even mess up Ra’s al Ghul.

I know the guy has a lot of sway, but to me it looks like he’s squandering his potential. B, what are your thoughts about Kevin Smith’s comic book works and his cult?

I think the guy straddles the line between genius and overrated depending on the day and his mood. Clerks is one of the most brilliant movies of all time and the best dialogue you’ll find anywhere; the quintessential “making the most out of very little” movie. Didn’t love Mallrats, but I can watch it a million times. Chasing Amy is his most underrated movie, very clever. Dogma was meh. Jay & Silent Bob is pure fun. I loved him on Green Arrow and didn’t read him on Daredevil. I blame the lateness of Daredevil: The Target and Spider-Man/Black Cat on short sightedness on the part of Marvel and not on Smith himself. He writes the most incredible dialogue in the world, but his plots can be hit or miss (and he’ll be the first to admit this). Overall, I’m a fan, and he writes a great Batman. –B

Clinton also picked that obscure lyric. He asks:

What happened to Empress after her appearance in the beginning of “Graduation Day” ? I’ve looked up info on her at titanstower.com, and they just say Anita Fite (I need a fight) is taking care of her parents. She retired?

Dude, imagine you were a teen age girl whose parents were murdered then reborn as infants, do you think that you’d have the time to balance a life, parenting your parents and super heroics? (Since B is such a huge Young Justice fan I’ll let him fill you in on the “parenting her parents” bit.)

During “Fighting Maad” storyline in Young Justice, one of the highlights of a series that was essentially one giant highlight, Anita’s father, long-running YJ supporting character Donald Fite of Fite & Madd (two secret agent types) was killed in an explosion triggered by Baron Aqua Sin Gaaz, later revealed to be Anita’s grandfather; it was also revealed in the same storyline that Gaaz caused his daughter, Anita’s mother, to be killed years earlier. Gaaz was involved in all sorts of cloning nastiness and when the smoke cleared after Young Justice (and friends)’s final battle with Gaaz and the citizens of Zandia, Anita ended up with clones of her parents”¦both of whom were only a few months old. So now Anita is raising her own parents, who are infants”¦glorious.

It all went down in Young Justice #47-51, available at a comic book store near you. –B

What’s really crazy is if her parents hook up again, years from now, and have a kid in theory Anita will be like a grandmother to her own sibling (kind of like Ra’s al Ghul’s daughters.) Ah, wacky comic book physics.

She had retired. But I’m sure that she could come out some time down the line. I really enjoyed her character. She had an interesting backstory and she was a “Black” character without having to speak in broken English. I really admire Peter David’s work on that book. B, want to go on and on about how you miss the title? Ooh, if you could only have one would you rather have the current Teen Titans title or the former Young Justice?

Oh no you don’t, I ain’t picking between children. –B

Alice has a very interesting question. Fire away!

So the other might my friend and I are up at IHOP till about 2:00 am discussing the joy of JLA/Avengers, when we started debating about who in the DCU could lift Thor’s hammer. Wonder Woman did in Marvel vs. DC and Supes did in JLA/Avengers, but who else could?

After throwing around almost every name in the DCU (Nightwing? Barbra Gordon? The Atom? Wally West?) we settled on these four:
Captain Marvel (duh)
J’onn J’onzz
Conner Hawke
Jay Garrick
What do you think? (Personally, I’d love to see Guy Gardner pick it up. That story writes itself.)

I don’t really know all the rules about Thor’s Hammer. You’ve got to be a noble person right? I think you also have to be pure of heart. You may also have to have that warrior thing going on.

You mentioned Superman and Wonder Woman have done it. I’ll accept Jay, Cap, and Connor. I don’t really know about J’onn. I can’t say why he wouldn’t but I don’t know if he would be able to. Didn’t he keep tabs on his fellow heroes in JLA: Year One? That doesn’t sound too noble to me or too pure.

I think that Alan Scott may stand a chance of picking up Mjolnir as well as Ted Knight, if he were alive. Mister Terrific and Doc Midnight may also have a shot.

I’m really torn about Hawkman. He and Thor are pretty similar, in terms of mentality. Carter crosses the line at times, but would Odin look down on that, being from a warrior society? I think that the same would apply for Orion as well.

I’m a firm believe in Aquaman being noble (he’s actual nobility) and pure of heart. He’s a bit aggressive and a tad stuck up, but I think that he’d be able to pick up the hammer.

Up until Nightwing allowed Blockbuster to be killed he would have made the list. I think that Tim Drake might be able to. There’s no denying, the kid is a class act.

I’d like to think that Ra’s al Ghul would be able to, but I doubt I could convince anyone that he’s noble.

If you and your friend invested all that time, I’m not going to discount your picks. Again I don’t know all the ins and outs of the hammer, so the people I listed may not be applicable. B, do you agree with my names and would you add any others?

The key to picking up Tho’s hammer is being pure of heart and of strong will, if I’m not mistaken. I know Captain America can do it. For your list: yes to Captain Marvel, no to Jay Garrick and Connor Hawke, no to J’onn, yes to Alan Scott, no to the rest of your JSAers, no to Hawkman & Orion (too violent), no to Aquaman, no to Nightwing, no to Ra’s. I’d say if Wonder Woman could, Troia probably could as well, but it’s gotta stay a pretty short list to keep it special, hence why I nixed most of your picks aside from the purest soul in the DCU, Captain Marvel (see Underworld Unleashed) and Alan Scott (the master of willpower). I think the biggest debate would come from one Hal Jordan. –B

The Dark posted the following question on the message board.

Batman is seemingly the baddest hero in DC. There has to be a hero who could take him down, should he ever go evil. Who do you think it would be? My money would be on Nightwing since he knows how Bruce thinks and what tricks he has up his sleeve.

Honestly any hero could take out Batman, provided he didn’t know they were coming. Y’see everyone knows that Batman has designs to take down all the heroes, as a result of the “Tower of Babel” story in JLA, involving Ra’s al Ghul. So with that in mind they would certainly utilize the element of surprise. He can’t carry all of his protocols for dealing with the JLA with him at all times can he?

That said, if he went rogue, he’d be ready for a confrontation. Now some heroes wouldn’t go against him because he’s their teammate (read: they’re too afraid of a beat down) so he wouldn’t have to worry about them. But others would attack him, and I’m sure he’d prepare for that eventuality.

There isn’t one hero the others would call to beat Batman. He’s been beaten before . Batman has been beaten. Wonder Woman beat him in the Wonder Woman: Hiketeia. Deathstroke has beaten him. He’s not unbeatable. I bet Impulse would stand a chance against Batman, but I don’t know about Kid Flash.

But to those who think that Nightwing would beat Batman; you’re crazy. Bruce would wipe the floor with Dick. No matter what other training Dick had with his fellow Titans, Bruce still knows his core being, and his weaknesses. Bruce raised Dick, and knows the flaws in Dick’s attack, no matter what shape it would take. Face the fact that Bruce can be ruthless, while Dick still cares. Worst case scenario Bruce fakes defeat, and while Dick crumbles realizing he’s beaten his mentor Bruce puts him to sleep with the knowledge that he’s still not as good as his mentor.

B, I know you’ve got thoughts aplenty, let’em loose.

You’re 100% correct as far as Batman vs Nightwing goes, Bruce would win every time. I also think Wonder Woman will beat him 9 out of 10 times because she doesn’t have Superman’s inhibitions. A name left off the list is Bronze Tiger, who readily kicked Bats’ ass a couple times before joining the Suicide Squad and kept up with him a few times after he did. Given that info, you have to think Richard Dragon would give him headaches as well. –B

We had it as a red herring during Hush, and during the recent Batman v Scarecrow storyline, we were teased with it again…the return of Jason Todd.

Now, maybe it’s just me being crazy, but what if these two events were clues to Todd’s return? Maybe he COULD be alive? Perhaps Ra’s or somebody else DID take him to a Lazarus Pit? Or maybe there’s some other, equally wacky reason for his survival?

There may be people out there who would be screaming blue murder if he was to return, but I think it would provide a very interesting storyline.

Also, if Todd is back, who’s to say that he isn’t behind the murders in Identity Crisis? He could have got the information about people’s families from Batman’s files, and decided to take out his revenge on them.

Plus, ultimately, what better way for Todd to get his sick revenge than to kill the Father of the current Robin, Tim Drake – which everyone I’ve spoken to has assumed is going to happen?

Okay, so maybe it’s waaaaaay out of left field, but all this talk of the murdered people being surprised and amazed to see who their attacker is points to it being somebody they would never have expected to do that to them…and if you think somebody has been dead for some time, there’s NO WAY you’re going to expect them to come back and wallop you, now is there?

Whoever the killer may be, I have a feeling that ultimately, the end result of this storyline will be to tighten the status quo as regards to secret identities within the DC Universe. The hero’s will take a vow to keep their secret identities a secret from now on, and maybe even go through a similar process to Dr Light to erase their current knowledge of who everyone else is.

What do you think, Mathan? Do you think it would be a good idea to bring back Jason Todd, or do you think the fanboy outcry would be too hysterical? Also, do you think my theory about him behind the Identity Crisis is completely loopy, or does it have some (very small) merit?

Let me say this first. I’m all for Jason Todd coming back. He was kind of reviled when he was around, and he’d make a great adversary for Batman and the Bat-fam. Traitors always rock! But DC would have to do it just right.

Now if I was shaping the story (as a writer or editor) I’d just have Jason Todd appear looking like “he” did during “Hush.” It’d be a crazy shock to Batman and the rest of the crew. Dick might try to talk to him. Tim would be torn because he kind of looked up to him, even though he never met the guy. Basically Jason would beat them because of the shock factor. (I’d also have Tim narrate the story because I think that his voice would work the best.)

The next time they meet Jason there’s more fighting, but also more talking. It comes out that Jason doesn’t even know what happened to him or how he came back to life. All he knows is he wants vengeance. Jason doesn’t beat them, but he manages to escape, probably by tossing someone of the roof (like he allegedly did as Robin.)

Yadda yadda yadda, it’s revealed that Ra’s al Ghul dug up Jason and used some wacky Lazarus Pit to make him all better. Why? Because Jason was a descendent of Ra’s. Ra’s has been around for while. We just met Nyssa a daughter from before Talia. Why would it be so hard to believe that Ra’s hadn’t had kids previous to that? Well one of them begat someone who begat someone who begat someone who begat Jason’s mother who begat Jason.

Now Jason is torn; he’s angry at the Bat crew for “abandoning” him, but in his heart he’s still not ready to cross over to Ra’s side of the Bat-verse. Maybe he goes catatonic and Bruce pays for the best room in Arkham. Maybe he escapes to contemplate his place in Gotham. Either way, we get Jason Todd back.

I don’t think there would be too much outrage, because Jason wasn’t really well liked, he’s death meant very little in the scheme of things (in contrast to Supergirl or Barry Allen) and fans would get a pretty original foe for Batman that was like a throwback to the days of Two-Face and Joker (where Batman had ties to their transformations.)

As for your Identity Crisis theory it may hold some water. I do believe that Brad Metzler and Judd Winick know each other. Perchance Judd was planting the seeds for Identity Crisis. B, any thoughts on this one?

First off, I’ll chime in and agree that Jason Todd would be a great Bat adversary and I fully endorse his return and your explanation for it. That being said, yes, Brad & Judd are friends, but I’d be very surprised if Jason Todd were the killer in ID Crisis. I approach this the same way I approach people who think Zoom is the killer: Zoom is a Flash villain, Jason Todd would be a Batman villain, and I think Brad Meltzer is out to create or reinvent a villain for the entire DCU. Zoom is Wally’s personal demon where Jason would be Batman’s; nobody wants to see Elongated Man interrupting a grudge match to seek revenge for his wife. –B

Speaking of descendants, Shiv’kala do you have a related question?

What’s the relationship between Jim Harper, Roy Harper, and Vandal Savage. When did the Harpers learn this and is this something that is easily forgotten/retconned?

Well it’s a family affair. Jim Harper’s brother had a son, Roy Harper. Roy Harper had a son, Roy Harper Jr AKA Arsenal. And way, way back in the day Vandal Savage had a kid who begat someone who eventually begat someone who was Jim Harper.

The Savage/Harper connection was revealed in the Arsenal miniseries from a few years back. Devin Grayson used it to expand on the immortal Savage. Y’see Savage is immortal, much like Ra’s al Ghul, but he needs tune ups. So he harvests organs from his descendants, which are suitable for transplants. Lian got caught up in the mix. It’s not a pretty affair.

It hasn’t been brought up recently, so it appears that people want it to be forgotten. As for the retconning, that’s a tough call. B, want to make that call?

Why retcon or forget it? It’s a cool idea. –B

Shiv’kala, got a follow up?

Vandal Savage–good villain or over used. I personally think he should be seen more. He’s got the most to gain/lose from hero’s interference (being that either way, he’s going to have to live with the repercussions of anything the heroes do far longer then most of the heroes will have to).

I don’t know. Maybe he should be behind the scenes. Like a global kingpin. He should be more like Ra’s al Ghul (I’m trying really hard to work him into every answer this week.) Ra’s has a plan and he doesn’t like people to interfere with it. But Vandal just goes with the flow.

Vandal is like that fly at a picnic. You know he’s going to show up, but he’s not really a threat, just annoying. He should be like a wasp, you see him coming and you bail.

He’s been part of the Illuminati (in the Time Masters mini) and as an organ harvester in Arsenal. He’s been a drug dealer (of Velocity 9 in The Flash) and a team leader (of Tartarus in The Titans). He really just needs to find his niche. Personally I’d like to see him take over the “Blockbuster” role in Bludhaven. Many fans might see this as below him, but I think he’d make a great fit. Either that or as the head of a restructured Lexcorp. He should be a powerful guy, given all the years he’s lived. B, what are you thoughts on Vandal Savage?

Good villain but overused and, as you said, has been put in too many roles. He’s a guy whose appearances should feel special and epic. The best example I can think of using Vandal Savage is when Grant Morrison used him in DC 1,000,000; he came off like a total bad ass. When he appeared in JSA a couple years back, it was more or less as an afterthought. He was also kind of cool during the all-but-forgotten Joe Kelly JLA story Trial By Fire. Maybe he’s behind ID Crisis”¦? –B

Who’s the team least respected by DC? Now, I know there are a lot of teams out there that are really minimal but I mean this question in wider way. You see, I have been reading some old issues of Infinity Inc. and (in a letters’ column with Roy Thomas) I read about the editorial order to write the JSA out of the DC universe in the Special “The Last Days of the Justice Society”, which I read was really an intent to kill them off until Roy convinced them otherwise.

I have also witnessed another intent of that kind in Zero Hour. Searching a little I found that the first JSA regular series (from the 90’s, I think) lasted only 10 issues, which was only 2, more issues than the mini-series before it. I don’t really know what happened there but I suppose it lacked support from DC. I also read a recent Interview with Jerry Ordway and I think he talked about this topic a little (I think specially about “Zero Hour”) but I don’t remember it too well. What I do remember is that he had something to say about Jay Garrick just giving up the mantle of the Flash by taking the symbol of his chest.

After seeing all what the JSA represents I can’t quite understand why DC has wanted to axe it not once but twice, both of them after a big change in the DC universe (Crisis on infinite Earths and Zero Hour),
which makes me wonder if they would attempt a third time when there is a big change in the DCU (third time is the charm). After all, the JSA was the first superhero team, so I just can see these attempts as total disrespect for what they represent (specially in Zero Hour because in TLDOTJS it was well done I think). But I think that there are other teams that have suffered similar destiny no matter how well they were faring or how much they mean. I suppose that maybe the recent Doom
Patrol might be another one (if continuity is totally ignored) or the Teen Titans before this last change.

Least respected team? That’s a tough call. There are various levels of lack of respect.

First let me try to defend DC’s actions. The post Crisis actions are pretty easy to defend. After the Crisis DC wanted a streamlined universe. They also wanted the “brand new start” type effect. Having those old coots running around in their costumes would have made the refined universe a bit more confusing, thus negating a bit of what Crisis had intended on doing. So I’ll defend their banishment after Crisis.

As for Zero Hour, that’s a bit tougher. DC wanted the old guys to pass on the mantle. Ron Marz had already dealt with the Alan Scott issue as a result of Kyle being the one and only Green Lantern, he was de-aged and became Sentinel. Jay Garrick had become a supporting member of Wally’s title, so he had some supporters. Rex, Chuck and Al had no home. They really were expendable. And sadly in order for an event to be “real” it has to have lasting effects. All Zero Hour did was give the Legion a brand new start. Not too much changed in the present. Extant became a further evil guy. Hal was already a bad guy. They died to show how much of a threat Extant was.

I give, I can’t defend Zero Hour.

I really can’t think of anther team that DC has treated like the JSA. DC does actually respect The Doom Patrol and the Teen Titans, they are prime properties. These are two team very identifiable with DC. That’s why they’ve both had so many incarnations and series. They are franchise books.

The same thing with the Legion. There will always be a Legion title on the shelf. There’s a new Legion book that comes out in a few months that’s a relaunch (I guess this means Ra’s al Ghul will never be President in the 31st century.) There is basically no other team that DC has disrespected like the JSA.

Oh wait what about Sonic Disruptors? That was that miniseries that was so bad that DC didn’t even finish it. B, can you think of team that has been more disrespected by DC?

I’m not going to say Young Justice because I know you’re just waiting for it.

Honestly, it’s the JSA, no question. You already demonstrated why. It’s sad, but the story ultimately has a happy ending with the current JSA series, so all’s well that ends well. –B

And that’s going to do it for the column this week. In the future; Green Arrow: Killer?, Infinity, Helix, Rogues, Suicide Squad, Teen Titans, and of course your questions. My question to you: Do you really think that Wolverine would beat The Flash?

“I want to deedle deedle dee, a deedle deedle doo.”