Who's Who In The DCU


Before we begin I’d just like to note the passing of Christopher Reeve. At one point he probably would have been best known for playing Superman. But then he became a quadriplegic, as a result of an accident. While it showed that he wasn’t invulnerable it also showed that he had a will of steel, as he championed for research into the treatment for the condition. He became such an icon that John Kerry name checked him in the last debate. He made me believe that a man could fly and that a man could walk again. I still believe.

Man what a bummer. Let’s do a quick 180. B, remember when we were going to call The Nexus I Can’t Believe It’s Not 411Comics? Dude, that would have rocked. Can we do it now?

No comment. –B


DOL is sure to make you laugh, or at least smile.

Sports has the Yankees! Go Bronx Bombers!! Ain’t that right B?

The real winners in this series are the fans! “¦and the RED SOX!! –B

TV has plenty of spoilers.

Figures has some hot (toy) models!

Games has video game news (if only they could tell me when 100 Bullets comes out.)

Music has a pretty cool Roundtable as well as pretty good columns.

The most important link I can give is to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation homepage; I’m not saying you have to make a donation, but at the very least take a look and learn what it’s all about. You can read mine and others’ reflections on Christopher Reeve in the Tribute we put together here on the Nexus; Tim also checked in with a touching story in DC News & Views.

Outside of that subject, I finally got back to writing a full column this week and you can read it here. For those of you who can’t get enough of my personal life and views on things outside of comics, there’s plenty of both, but I also start a series looking nostalgically (and a bit tongue in cheek) at the individual members, past and present, of the Avengers, as we prepare to end the current era; hope y’all enjoy it. –B

A Look At Last Week

Swamp Thing #8 This book is way good. Read my review.

Legion/Teen Titans Special I enjoyed this book. I can almost see why some didn’t like it, but nothing really bothered my about this book. I loved Bart’s visiting with his family. I love Braniac 5’s arrogance. I loved Phil’s cover. The preview was even cool.

I liked the book well enough when I read it on my own, but reading it with Megan was a nightmare. We always read Titans together, but after reading this with her, I’m starting to see why Legion has so much trouble getting new fans. Even Geoff Johns (yes, I speak to him, get over it and stop bugging me for spoilers because I won’t give anything away) said to just skip it but I reminded him what a big Superboy/Wonder Girl fan she was and he said then she had to read it (sometimes I really do think he’s just writing the book for her). –B

Superman/Batman #12 So not worth the wait. B, remember when this book was the cat’s meow? Remember how it inspired us? And why is Harbinger dead?!

I don’t know, M”¦I”¦don’t”¦know. This was disappointing, but I have faith in Loeb to regain the magic. -B

Majestic #3 I’m beginning to wish that this title was an ongoing series more and more. I’m really beginning to care about the guy. I may have to pick up the Super-titles he appeared in.

They were ok, nothing special. –B

Y The Last Man #27 Finally we get a hint at what happened! Yee Haw I was right! The title’s almost half through, and it’s really picking up steam.

The Monolith I dig the title. Read my review.

I also picked up the trade for the Human Target miniseries. This book is amazing. The art, by the late Edvin Biukovic, really catches the eye. Peter Milligan’s work on the Human Target monthly is superb as was the hardcover. But this is where Milligan began working his magic on Christopher Chance. I highly recommend this trade.

Chase, you placed the lyric, ask away.

Iron Man beat Green Lantern?! Wolverine beat Flash?! Wha?! Wazzat?! HOW!?

Ok so those events never happened, at least in the comics. Wolverine beating The Flash happened over at the DC vs Marvel Tournament which spawned this thread. Personally I think the result was outlandish, but clearly I’m biased.

(By the way, a new tourney will be starting up pretty soon. I hope everyone will vote to prevent the travesty of judgment that happened last time. B, are you going to “B” there?)

I just logged back in to the forums over there for that express purpose. –B

As for Iron Man beating Green Lantern that happened around a year ago, when the JLA/Avengers hype machine was in full drive. B did a team match up comparison in his solo column, where he said the Iron Man would beat Green Lantern. I, of course disagreed. What I didn’t know was that the two were competing at Beirut or Beer Pong. And everyone knows you can’t beat Tony at anything alcohol related. B, whose liver is more damaged; Roy “Heroin” Harper or Tony “Stoli” Starks?

Strange but true: Roy really only did heroin for like five minutes, people just like to bring it up a lot. Tony wins once more in the liver damage category and now thanks to Bendis magic ™ he has gained the new superpower of getting hammered without drinking a drop! Kyle Rayner wishes he could do that! –B

Bronze Age do you have a related question?

I hoping someone can help me with a question on the Flash’s powers. As part of the debate in the DC Vs Marvel Tourney (vote in the Hero/Villain Tourney now !), Mathan gave this example of the Flash’s speed.

Ok, in Flash #30 Wally is sitting in a movie theater. Suddenly the movie frame pauses. He realizes that his speed has kicked in. Why, because there’s a sniper in the movie theater and a bullet is pressing up against Wally’s neck, thus bringing about his speed.

Now I always thought that the Flash’s power was the ability to move REALLY fast, but if he’s sitting, then he can’t be moving at speed. So how does this work ? It would seem, from that example, that his power is more the ability to alter his relative time rather than speed, per se.

Well see it’s really explained in last week’s Legion/Teen Titans Special speedsters have vibrational powers. Whereas Superman might be fast like the Flash, The Flash can vibrate his molecules. This is what allows the speedsters (The Flashes, Impluse, XS) to vibrate through objects. It’s like if you shake your leg. The Flash can do that much faster, and at a molecular level.

Now in the issue that I pointed out, the Flash was considerably powered down. He couldn’t vibrate through objects, but he could vibrate fast enough for time to stop, in his eyes.

Also you can move fast while sitting. If he’s devouring a meal at super speed, it’s going to be a blur to you, and you’re going to be a statue to him. B, you want to address The Flash’s speed?

In a sense, describing Wally’s power as “the ability to alter his relative time” is not too far off, Bronze Age. Think for a minute how super speed would really (and does for Wally) work on a deeper level: Wally is still doing everything at normal speed to him, everything around him just slows down in relation to him, thus the rest of the world seems incredibly slow. Mark Waid and Geoff Johns have both given examples of Wally kicking into “speed mode” without meaning to when he gets bored, thus making a minute seem like an hour to him when to everybody else it’s still just a minute. Bottom line: The Flas’s and any other speedste’s powers have more to do with perception of the world around them than anything else. –B

So a long time ago Chris T sent me the following question;

We all know about the trophies Batman keeps in the Batcave, like the giant penny and the T-Rex, but where did they come from?

Just last week Kairow send me the a very similar question;

My 6-year-old nephew is an up and coming comic fan in his own right, and he asked me a question I had no answer for. Where did the giant penny and the t rex in the Batcave come from? I told my nephew I had no answer, but knew a guy who would. Don’t make me a liar…..

Now allow me to explain my stance on children. I believe that children are the future; teach them well, and let them lead the way. Y’know, show them all the beauty they posses inside. Give them a sense of pride. Wait a minute, I’m rambling.

When I was abroad in England two years ago, me and my friend Adam from Kentucky were riding on the train to Manchester and some kid was running up and down the aisle screaming and carrying on. My friend Adam expressed how he hated kids because of the unfair advantages they had in life: nameless being able to scream and carry on in public without being considered anything but an annoyance whereas if he did the same he would be arrested. He also called them a drain on the economy. I love kids, but boy did Adam hate them”¦-B

So anyway, all those fixtures of the Batcave are things to remind Batman of times past. The T Rex reminds him of the time that he and Robin went to Dinosaur Island® and had to defeat the rogue robot (as detailed in Batman Chronicles #8. The Giant Penny reminds him of the time that he fought the Penny Plunderers (apparently back when pennies actually meant something) in a tale reprinted in Batman #256. These are trinkets that remind him of the lighthearted exploits.

Of course he also has things to remind him of the bad times. He’s got the gun that killed his parents. He’s also got the costumes of Batgirl and Robin II, two of his compatriots whose careers were cut short by The Joker.

I hope that answered your question. B, do you have problem with the things that Batman keeps in his cave?

Just that he still has my copy of Beyond The Mat and I want it back”¦oh wait, never mind, that’s my Argentinian buddy Alex. Viva la rasa! –B

Fan Favorite Aaron Cameron also placed the lyric (but with all due respect he does write for InsidePulse Music)

Sonic Disruptors? Why does that title sound so familiar to me? Are we talkin’ late ’80s? Can you tell me anything about the premise of the book or what, if any, impact it would’ve had on the DCU?

No, I’m sorry, I can’t. I’ve looked around and I really can’t find a synopsis. Sonic Disruptors was going to be a twelve issue miniseries for DC. I’m almost 100% sure that the book wasn’t going to be in the DCU. Well DC decided to pull the plug on the book after issue #7. That is how bad the book was. It’s like this comic books are to Sonic Disruptors as characters as powers are to Gunfire.

Oh yeah Aaron in regards to your question about Black Heroes a few weeks back, here’s an addendum: Orpheus, the Black hero in Gotham got his throat slit during War Games, he’s dead. And check out the outrage to Starboy in the new Legion of Super Heroes, a book that has an expansive cast, being Black this time around.

B, any news on you asking your best friend Geoff Johns to put Gunfire’s teen sidekick Slingshot in Teen Titans?

This is why I threw out the pre-emptive strike this week, but then remembered that I’m editing all this after M is done with it, so it does nothing. All I can say is that if you’re a Gunfire fan you’ll be very happy in 2005, because most likely your hero won’t be killed or really have anything negative or otherwise done to him. –B

Jon Lavigne, do you have a complex, serious question?

This is a simple, silly question: When Superman wakes up in the morning, before he brushes his teeth, is his super-breath hot instead of cold?

That’s a tough one. On one hand Superman is invulnerable and doesn’t even catch colds. Since bad breath is caused by bacteria, his mouth may be super resistant to the germs that cause bad breath. Or maybe his alien physiology creates Superbacteria that cause Super Bad breath, bad enough to kill!

Wait a minute, I know for a fact that Superman uses Argofresh® brand toothpaste. Y’know, Argofresh® the only toothpaste with kryptonite as an active ingredient.

(holds toothpaste close to the computer screen)

See that green glow? That’s how you know it has toothpaste.

(begins to brush his teeth)

Feel that burn? That’s kryptoburn©, that lets you know it’s working.

That kryptonite is guaranteed to kill 99.9% of the germs that cause super-bad breath.

So the next time you’re the sole survivor of a planet shattering event, stranded on a planet with mere mortals, grab a tube of Argofresh®. Remember; it’s the only toothpaste with the green glow.

Warning prolonged use may result in death

B, do you think I went too far that time?

That was brilliant, simply brilliant. –B

Parallax2814 also placed the lyric. Do you have a question about a specific character?

What’s the story on The Resurrection Man, I’ve heard you guys talk about him and I read about him in DC 1 Million but you’ve finally got my interest piqued.

Mitch Shelly was a just your typical homeless man. He lived on the streets, but he also had amnesia. He had shards of memory, but nothing really concrete. He then discovered that he couldn’t die, for long. Every time he died, he could come back to life. And every time he died he would come back to life with powers to counter the way that he died last.

Eventually he found out that he was a lawyer who was part of an experiment by a very wealthy man. The guy wanted the secret to immortality. Mitch proved to be a success. They gave him tektites, which would rebuild him anytime he “died.” They also stimulated his powers. But then he later found out that the tektites were only stimulating his natural abilities.

So basically Mitch Shelley, the Resurrection Man, is immortal. He’s also crossed paths with Vandal Savage a few times in the past and future (?). He had his own book that ran 28 issues. I really recommend it. DnA wrote it, and it featured the art of Butch Guice. It’s a mighty fine read.

Jerry Hizon do you have a question about the least asked about character in column history?

What’s up with Jonah Hex? Any series coming up in the pipeline? How did he
end up in a Mad Max type of world anyway in the 80s? Thanks!

Oooh Hex. Well Jonah Hex was a popular western hero for DC back in the day, and by back in the day I mean 1972. He’s the guy who has the Two-Face-type scar, where half of his face is damaged. He’s got a really recognizable mug. He was also way popular. He had a solo, western book from 1977 to 1985. Could you imagine a western book lasting that long today?

Well during Crisis there were a lot of time storms going on, a bit of time travel too. Jonah ended up in the future. Not only is future but ours too. He ended up in the middle of the 21st century, back when that wasn’t the foreseeable future. He even teamed up with the Batman of that era.

That book Hex only lasted 18 issues and Hex never returned to his time. But he somehow got back to his time, because there was a special written that detailed his death. At age 66 he was shot by an enemy and died in 1904. Then his corpse was stuffed and traveled the sideshow circuit. When the show folded he ended up in a warehouse. But eventually he went back on tour, because Hex’s corpse appeared in the Hex series set in the future.

Most recently he’s appeared in a few Vertigo miniseries. They proved successful, but he’s not been seen recently. B, would you rather read about Hex in the future or the past?

The future! Cowboys in space rock, watch Firefly.

Here’s two obscure Jonah Hex facts for all you Hexamaniacs out there:

1-He appeared briefly during the wacky time travel Justice League Europe Annual in 1991 as part of Armageddon 2001; Metamorpho ended up in the future Hex got stranded in and the two teamed up and argued about who was uglier.

2-During the second Karl Kesel/Tom Grummett run on the Superboy solo series, they created a character named Hex who was a former model who had one of her eyes damaged in an accident and thus had to wear an eye patch; then she found a pet dinosaur and claimed to be possessed by the spirit of Jonah Hex.

Strange but true! –B

The Nexus’ own Un Gajje (Tim Stevens in his civilian identity!) asks;

Brian K. Vaughan mentions on his website that he wrote a story for a Batman secret files that featured a villain called “The Skeleton.” Got any info for me?

Tim, when have I ever let you down? And don’t even mention the time I wouldn’t give you a kidney, I told you I wanted to complete the set.

I on the other hand have an entire folder on my desktop entitled “Times I’ve Let Tim Down” with four files within entitled “Intentional,” “Unintentional,” “Tim Sheridan’s fault” and “Involving Brad Meltzer.” –B

The Secret Files in question was the Gotham City Secret Files. This is the post Cataclysm Gotham City, which apparently warranted it’s own Secret Files.

Anyway the story features a series of heists pulled by some Bat Rogues. The Joker pulls a job at a chemical plant. The Riddler tries to stump a supercomputer. Mr. Freeze steals something to raise the temp in Gotham. Only when Mr. Freeze goes back to his hideout, he takes off the suit and there’s a guy in a Skeleton motif costume, complete with skull mask.

It turns out that he’s been dressing up as the Bat Rogues to sabotage some of Wayne’s industries. Then the guy, in shadow takes off his mask in front of a portrait of Bruce Wayne. Not only does the guy have a grudge to bear against Bruce, but also he’s someone that Bruce knows and is very close with. He plans on revealing his true face to Bruce when he kills the millionaire. The Beginning!

Ehhhhhhh wrong! The end. Whoever this guy was, what his plans were, were never revealed. This is the Skeleton’s only appearance to date. Maybe now that Vaughan’s an A list talent he’ll use that as leverage. He’d sign a DC exclusive contract provided they let him pick up on plot thread from four years ago. B, does the Skeleton sound intriguing, and who do you think he was?

Good lord, I’m gonna lose sleep now”¦and for your answer, it was clearly Snapper Carr. –B

Dardis, do you have a question about another foe with a personal bent mission?

Can I ask about Zoom ? I read somewhere that he doesn’t tap the Speed Force for his speed. Has it been explained how he’s that fast ? And can he break light-speed ?

Ouch. My brain hurts.

My theory is that when the Cosmic Treadmill exploded, it released energy, possibly temporal energy. Whatever it was Zoom absorbed and it put him on a faster timeline. That for all intents and purposes gave him super speed.

It’s like if you and I were a dvd. Well Zoom is a dvd on fast forward, like x32. Where we could maybe go x2, he has to focus to get down to x8. He’s not in connected with the Speed Force, which gives normal folks speed. He’s already sped up. B, did that make any sense?

Yeah”¦it was actually explained in The Flash #200, but I don’t have it handy at the moment, so I’m going to say just trust M”¦and pray you don’t need a kidney any time soon. –B

Julian L Smith, you placed the lyric place you question.

J’onn J’onzz is one of my favorite characters in the DCU. I see him as #2 only to Superman in terms of powers and abilities. I, however, missed out on his series and wanted some background info. How many alternate superhero identities does MM currently hold? I know he works out of the southern hemisphere…does Z’onn Z’orr stilll exist? Also…has he had any aftereffects from absorbing that virus back in Justice League Annual #1 and with the whole Fernus thing? Thanks for the input!

Well in J’onn’s title he got “outed” by the DEO. All of his other identities were released to the news outlets. It was a pretty cruddy move, but he wouldn’t play ball with them. Chase, the cool DEO agent, did allow him to keep the identity of a stray cat. Seriously.

Z’onn Zorr is still around. But J’onn spends most of his time in the JLA, so it’s rarely seen. As for the Fernus thing, the rotating teams on the JLA have made it kind of hard for too much development to take place. And that Virus, I really don’t think it’s been mentioned since.

Apparently you love J’onn more than the DCU. Those are all things that could be touched upon, but they aren’t. Maybe he’ll get some shine when Busiek takes over the title.

B, do you think J’onn’s a squandered character?

Duh, I wrote a whole column on it. –B

Speaking of J’onn, the still MIA JohnBritton asked;

Did Martian Manhunter ever have a sidekick? I have this faded memory of him having some kind of super-pet a long time ago. I guess he doesn’t really talk about it much.

Ah Zook, we hardly knew ye. Zook was J’onn’s sidekick. He was just from another dimension. He had those antennae, which were very sensitive. He had minor powers, not really powers, more like talents. He could stretch. He could change his body temperature. Stuff like that.

Now I really hope that you all appreciate this because it took me forever to find a picture of this other dimensional creature. But behold Zook! (He’s the orange thing snuffing Martian Manhunter).

B, don’t you think it’s time for Zook to come back? Quisp came back. Can’t Zook make a comeback?

More importantly, where’s that little starfish alien thing sidekick of Hal Jordan’s, Itty? What role will he/it play in Rebirth? –B

Graham do you have a question about the JLA?

What’s the difference between JLA v3, v2, and v1. My friend keeps referring to the current run as “v3”, so what happened that made them restart the series twice?

The JLA has been around forever. The original title, Justice League of America, began back in the 1960’s. That was V1. That version ended in during the Legends miniseries. DC wanted to take advantage of its newly refreshed universe, and get rid of the lame-o Justice League America-Detroit.

V2 spun out of Legends. I was just called Justice League. It was a more lighthearted team book. They title soon became the Justice League International and then spun into Justice League America and Justice League Europe. Those books were good.

Then after a few years’ things spun out of control. Justice League Task Force, and Extreme Justice came out, and the Justice League franchise had become greatly diminished. It seemed like every hero, no matter how obscure was a member of some sort of “Justice” team. They all got the axe.

V3 came out, and that’s the book that you are enjoying so much. DC decided on the “back to basics” approach. They had a mandate that the “Big 7” (Aquaman, Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman and Martian Manhunter) were the team. It worked. The book was a success. And that’s the story of the JLA.

B, are you looking forward to Busiek’s run on the title?

Immensely. And for the record, there has only been one book actually called JLA and that’s the current one; it reads Justice League of America somewhere in the indicia, but the official title of the book is JLA. The original/v1 series was Justice League of America and the v2 book was Justice League/Justice League International/Justice League America (no “of”), as M just outlined. –B

Nathaniel Hensley do you have a very topical question?

I buy my comics based on the writer. Good art is important, but writing can make or break a book. But I know I’m in the minority, being loyal to writers and not characters or artists. But what can I say? I love the Hulk but there are LOTS of sh%tty Hulk stories out there. So what draws you to a book? Writer? Artist? Characters? A combination of all three?

Well for me, having that DC Bullet in the corner means a lot. I’m a fan of the company so I’ll give DC and Vertigo books a shot based on principal alone. That’s why I picked up the late Focus line.

But aside from that I don’t really have a set rule. While I don’t read Runaways I buy Ex Machina because I dig Vaughan’s writing on Y but also because I love Tony Harris’ art. I pick up Madrox because I love Peter David’s writing and I really enjoyed X-Factor. But if he goes back on The Hulk full time I doubt that I’ll follow. I’m going to pick Loveless because of the Azzarello/Frusin team, but I read Superman because of Azz. I’ll always read The Flash & Green Lantern, regardless of who’s doing what. And I’m sure to pick up a Starman book should one ever come out again. I’ll probably at least try anything with Cliff Chiang, Eduardo Risso or Marcos Martin attached to the art. Darwyn Cooke and James Robinson would both lure me to read.

So as you can see I’m all over the place. Some artists I love. Some writers I love, but not enough to follow. Some writer/character combos draw me in. Some writer/artist combinations draw me in. I don’t think that a character/artist combo would be a draw. I’m sorry, I just fit into nicely into a box. I’m a madman. B, where do you stand?

For me it’s writers and characters. Because of the sense you get for a write’s style, you also get a decent idea of their taste, and you know that books they choose to write will most likely appeal to you. Writers whose stuff I will pick up more or less on blind faith are Fabian Nicieza, Peter David, Geoff Johns, Judd Winick and Kurt Busiek. With an artist, their style really has very little to do with their taste in most instances, as the best artists can draw across genre lines; thus, even though I love Jim Lee and George Perez, when they work on books that have to do with street level crime or swords and sorcery, I’ll probably avoid them because I’m a super-hero guy for the most part. But the characters remain for me the main draw; I’m far more likely to stick with a character I love through a bad creative team (see: Titans) than follow a creator to characters I don’t care about. –B

Joshua Hoskins, you also placed the lyric (Does anybody not place your damn lyrics? Is there one poor person out there who has eight hundred burning questions to ask but is stumped week in and week out? If so, e-mail me at benmorse@comicsnexus.com and tell me your story; I care. –B), do you have a related question?

With the Teen Titans / Legion special out, I thought I would ask for a rundown on the Fatal Five. What are their powers, back stories, etc. I seem to remember an old legion tale where it was revealed that Validus was Lightning Lad & Saturn Girl’s son who was stolen by Darkseid, but I may just be imagining that or have it confused. I assume that is not still cannon, so does he currently have an origin? Also, at one time wasn’t Emerald Empress powers tied someway to the Green Lanterns?

The Fatal Five were just the worst bunch of bad guys in the 31st century.

Mano has a disc on his right hand that can disintegrate anything. And he’s a crook.

Tharok was just a petty criminal when he was caught the Science Police, who “accidentally” vaporized his left side. Fortunately technology had advanced enough him to be grafted to a replacement robotic half, yet not far enough to just clone him a new body, odd. It made his mighty bright. He didn’t dig his new look, but he dug his new thinking. He was the leader of the team.

(back in the old Legion, he did have a clone, the Dark Man, who was equally bad. He was a “vampiric parasite.”)

Emerald Empress found the legendary Emerald Eye. She joined the team. There was a supposed link to the Green Lanterns, but it never came to light. However, the Emerald Eye does exist in the present DCU, and there are more then one. They appeared in the L.E.G.I.O.N. series, and seemed to have an overwhelming effect on whoever “controlled them.”

The Persuader has an axe that could cut almost everything.

Valdius was just a goliath beast with mental lightning. Currently he doesn’t have an origin. Again back in the old Legion series Valdius was the son of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. When Saturn Girl was giving birth, Darkseid used his power to blackout the area and steal one of her twins. He did that because of how the Legion had beaten him. Then he mutated the child and sent it back in time to fight its parents, back when they were members of the Legion. Eventually they got him back, and cured him. But it was a dope story, and yet another reason why I miss that version of the Legion so much.

B, did you like the Fatal Five Hundred?

Didn’t care for the 500, but always liked the five; they were good old fashioned villains who were just brutal and greedy for the sake of being so, nothing more complex, almost like a more diverse version of Marvel’s Wrecking Crew. –B

Well again we come to the close of anther column. It’s been a blast. Send you questions, post your questions. I’ll see you in the future. My question to you is; What makes you by the book; the writer, the artist; the character, or a combination of the three?

“Most rappers is real hard, but still hardly rhyming.”