Who's Who in the DCU

Welcome back to you weekly tour of the DCU. I’m your tour guide and along with me as always is trusty Tim. Tim how’s your week been thus far?

Couldn’t say for sure. Today was a good day though. I didn’t have to use my AK…

Man, Tim we’ve been doing this column together for such a long time. Remember that one time I confused Greg Rucka with Ed Brubaker? It seems like just a few days ago. Where does the time go?

Well, it was actually a few days ago. And I wouldn’t be joking about it if I were you, Daron’s still considering revoking your “Question Answerer” license.

Um, I do that’s my cue to jump to…

Links Around The Pulse!

Music has news about things of a musical nature.

Figures has plenty of hero-y goodness.

TV notes the passing of Johnny Carson, the King of Late Night.

Games features news on the latest releases.

Sports is full of Super Bowl thoughts.

Movies is your place for Oscar nominees!

DOL has never looked better.

Tim, do you wanna link anything?

If it makes you happy Mathan, then of course I will.

This week’s theme is movies and here are some sites to show love to.

Dark Horizons

The Internet Movie Database (Hint: Search for Tim Sheridan to see what our resident reviewer does when not telling you what comics to buy)

Rotten Tomatoes

and then, when you decide what movie to see, go to
Hollywood.com for theatre listings, showtimes, (and, if the commercials are to be believed, interviews).

Now it’s on to…

Last Week’s Reads

Teen Titans #20 – Very good issue. Poor, poor Robin. Beast Boy gave me the creeps. But it was nice to see the Lex Corp Armor come back into play.

Really, the creeps? Huh. He’s never been my favorite, but I’d hardly call him creepy.

Wanted #6 – Complete and utter letdown. This book makes the Weather Channel seem like classic writing. Millar is so close to the “overrated” category, it’s not funny.

Trigger #2 Read my review.

Manhunter #6 – I am loving this book. I really hope it succeeds. This is one of the few books that I get giddy about reading.

Damn straight! Support this book people. I’ve already lost Human Target and Bloodhound. You do NOT want to trifle with my state of mind right now!

Hawkman #36 – I’m no fan of Deadman, but this issue was good. It looks like Hawkman is about to have his own little “Rogue War.” I’m really diggin’ the new art team.

Madrox #5 – While it’s the end of the mini, apparently it’s not the end of Peter David and the characters. So you know what that means; I’ll be returning to Marvel proper in the near future.

Plastic Man #14 – Read my review

Gotham Knights #61 – You’ve got to love a Bat-book where the Bat doesn’t appear. Plus it’s got a Cliff Chiang cover.

Adventures of Superman #636 – Read my review.

Or not. We don’t want to come across as pushy or anything.

Outsiders #19 – Heavy issue. I can’t decide which Judd I like better; heavy or “attempt at funny.” This issue didn’t do it for me, but that may have just been the subject matter.


JohnBritton placed the lyric, thus he goes first.

That’s right he did! And who says I don’t motivate people.

J’onn J’onzz is enjoying a little bit of a revival through the JL cartoon. I think he’s a great character, and his finest hour is American Secrets, the overlooked but excellent miniseries. Is it still canon? Why doesn’t anybody ever talk about it? Can we start?

I still haven’t read the book. But plenty of folks enjoy it. When I googled to find out more, I found lots of people who listed it as a definitive rendition of J’onn.

However I don’t believe that it’s still in continuity. Since it was released before Zero Hour, (when “0” issues were determined to be origin issues) I’m thinking that Martian Manhunter #0 is the definitive origin.

The inclusion of another Martian on Earth seems to contradict the current thinking on J’onn, Mars and Martians. The appearance of Charles McNider might not jibe with current JSA continuity, though that’s still being determined.

I remember seeing ads for this book and being intrigued, but at the time it was out of my price range. I’ll probably end up picking it up further down the line.

Tim, is there any definitive version of J’onn for you?

Sadly, no. His solo title, despite being worked on by Spectre duo Ostander and Mandrake never connected with me and I ended up dropping it fairly quickly. I think he is a character with definitive characteristics (his almost shaman quality calmness, his fear of fire, his love of Oreos, to name a few) that is still lacking a definitive story. Then again, I have never read American Secrets. I will now though. Color me very interested.


J’onnJohnBritton got another J’onn question?

Does J’Onn J’Onzz have body hair?

Sadly, J’onn doesn’t have body hair. Unfortunately J’onn, like an estimated 15% of all male Martians over the age of 100 suffers from premature complete bodily hair loss.

(J’onn is so ashamed of this fact that he has spread rumors that he shaves his hair as a result of his fear of it catching fire, or that all of his hair fell out, and never regrew, when he witnessed his wife and daughter’s death.)

Sure the Martians may have been technologically advanced, but even they couldn’t cure baldness. Fortunately for J’onn and the couple of others who suffer from this malady, there is good news on the horizon.

First, for those who don’t have complete hair loss, there are transplant and graft procedures that are progressing by leaps and bounds every day.

There is also J’onoxydil which as proven to help regrow hair in some of the “patchy” places. J’onoxydil, coupled with H’rogaine have been shown, in studies, to provide at least enough hair to make for a D’onald T’rump like comb-over.

Of course, even the Martians have hairpieces. And while the current crop of prosthetics are more lifelike and vital than ever before, they aren’t recommended for the Martian on the go, especially one who saves the world more than one a year with the JLA. But the Hair Club for Martians is still a Fortune 500 company, despite the lack of Martians on Earth.

So J’onn, don’t give up; it’s 2005 and a cure is right around the corner.

(It should be noted that baldness is a common occurrence for alien shapeshifters, after all when was the last time you saw a Durlan with hair?)

Tim, what’s your take on J’onn follicle failures?

I think that you best shut up about men who shave their hands or are otherwise without hair. That is unless you wish to be culled in the revolution. Cause that $h!+ can be arranged.


Ryan Albrecht, do you have a J’onn related query?

Do you know if DC has any plans of producing a Martian Manhunter series anytime soon? Also what about Captain Marvel? Anything planned for him in the near future?

Sorry Ryan, Martian Manhunter isn’t likely to get a new monthly anytime soon. His last book didn’t fare too well even with the acclaimed team of John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake.

I think that one reason for this is because J’onn is a character full of nuance and the “super hero” genre doesn’t do him justice. (Although if the opportunity presented itself, I’ve got a few ideas for J’onn that I’d love pitch to DC.) I think that if Tim’s Best Friend Geoff Johns wanted to write J’onn it’s be hit, but I bet that another writer familiar with large green guys might do an even better job; Peter David. Just imagine what he could do with that tragic character.

As for Captain Marvel, 2005 is supposed to be his big year. Judd Winick is writing a couple of Captain Marvel team ups and Jeff Smith’s hardcover treatment of Cap is also supposed to see the light of day this year. And I believe that there are rumors that Johns has plans for Cap in JSA. So that’s good news, right?

Tim, who do you care more about; J’onn J’onzz or Captain Marvel?

J’onnzz, all the way. I’m just waiting for my man to break out large and be the star that he deserves to be. And then…the revolution.


Colin also placed the lyric.

Do you ever feel as if a GL should be running the show? Supes, Bruce and WW are, as Frank Miller calls them, gods of the DCU; but, the Green Lantern Corps are the (admittedly, self-appointed) police of the universe with the most powerful weapon in the universe. Read that last part again. Shouldn’t John or Kyle, and soon Hal just speak up and say, “this is the way the JLA should be run, and that’s that”. I think a GL should always have more of a leadership role. Thoughts?

I believe this exactly how Guy Gardner was portrayed during his early Justice League days. On the pages of Green Lantern Corps Guy was trying to run the show and even heated up the Cold War. In the early issues of Justice League Guy did try to exert his power, but got KO’d by Batman, dramatically shifting Guy’s personality.

Hal did try to run the show, as witnessed in JLA: Year One, it’s just no one really listened to him.

I think that one of the reasons for Hal and John not trying to “run the show” is because they respect that, for all intents and purposes they are heroes by chance. Superman was born that way, Wonder Woman was made that way, and Batman made himself the best.

Another reason for them not trying to take over, is because they also respect that Bats & Supes have been at it a bit longer then they have. They may have the most powerful weapon in the universe, but they don’t really have the same type of experience. You have to remember that even Hal looked up to Tomar Re, his mentor as a Green Lantern.

Kyle on the other hand, was just a rookie. He couldn’t really assert himself because he wasn’t too sure of himself. He was, after all the “Peter Parker” of the DCU. He kind of grew a backbone during the issues he was Ion, but that was a short-lived stint.

It also has to do with the membership of the League. For instance Kyle shouldn’t be ordering Bruce or Kal during a battle, but Hal did lead the Justice League Europe in #39, a team that featured Elongated Man, Dr. Light, and Power Girl.

Alan Scott does have a leadership role in the DCU, as even Batman looked up to him. Hal could have taken more of a leadership role, because he did lead the Green Lantern Corps on several occasions. John might have been able to handle more leadership; he did manage to keep Oa together in Mosaic. Guy and Kyle, however need a little bit more experience before I’d follow them into battle.

Tim any thoughts on Lanterns as leaders?

There is only one GL fit to be a true leader and his name is Mogo. Mogo knows discipline. Mogo knows order. Mogo knows leadership. Mogo knows.

(I’m sorry, you covered it pretty well on your own, so I kind of had to make something up on the spot.)


Andy Campbell got a question?

I just got finished reading the “10th Circle” story in JLA…I think you may have previously covered this, but here goes: why is everyone acting like they don’t know the Doom Patrol? If memory serves me, weren’t the Doom Patrol a fairly big part of the JLA Year One storyline? I’m confused.

Don’t be confused. Be scared.

THE DOOM PATROL HAS BEEN RETCONNED!!!!!!!!!!.

Do you always need to panic people when they ask this question?

Some retcons are minor (Batman never found out who killed his parents, Aquaman is the son of a wizard) and some are major (Superman and Lex went to high school together, Batgirl and Black Canary teamed up during the former’s first year). The Doom Patrol’s retcon might not seem like a major one. After all they spent the better part of the last 15 years over in the Vertigo-verse. But it is major.

The Doom Patrol however has some major ties to various parts of the DCU. As you pointed out, they were played a pretty major role in JLA: Year One. They also had a prominent role in some of the adventures of The New Teen Titans, especially since Beast Boy/Changeling was a member of both teams.

With the New Doom Patrol making their 1st appearances in the DCU some gaps and questions have formed.

Who Did The JLA Team Up With In JLA Year One?

This one isn’t too major. Since the JLA were battling some Doom Patrol villains, everything can be wiped pretty clean. Plus, this was a retcon in and of itself.

What’s Up With Those Classic Titans Tales?

This one is trickier. The Doom Patrol influence with the Titans isn’t limited to a limited series, it spreads over many, many issues. Without the Brotherhood of Evil, lots of development with those Titans goes down the drain. Robotman was also featured heavily in many issues.

Fortunately John Byrne decided he wasn’t going to utilize Steve Dayton, so Mento can still be part of those stories. But his motivation (revenge) needs a new focus point, since Rita Farr was never his wife.

Now most major retcons happen in mini-series. That way they are allowed to clear up any errors or inconsistencies.

The problem is that this is that The New Doom Patrol 1st appeared in the JLA title, which really gives it precedence. It can’t be ignored. That and the Doom Patrol title is all new too.

Rumor has it that Geoff Johns has plans on clearing up Beast Boy’s murky history (and if anyone can do it it’s the guy who helped clear up Hawkman.) Maybe he can even fix up those Titan’s issues that are now in question.

Tim, is the new Doom Patrol good, bad or confusing?

I don’t love it. I have yet to see anything that gives the reboot/revamp/retcon a reason to have been done. If Byrne had treated this as Year One story (which it kind of is, but then, isn’t) on simply set it up in the now without resetting its continuity, I don’t see that as derailing his stories. I am generally okay with retcons that make sense or have a genuine and interesting motivation that will lead to the revitalization of the character or characters. I just don’t see that as the case here.

But, on the other hand, it is not really something that is keeping me up at night. Plus, I always have the Grant Morrison issues to look back on if I want to read a Doom Patrol story. So, life could be worse.


Soak1313, do you have a question about a character that I truly care about?

I just got done reading the flash trade “A Race Against Time” and had a few questions. I was wondering if the “future flash”(the guy that was trying to get Linda) has shown up anywhere else? My 2nd question is do we ever get to see what happens to the future that worships the Flash? I am currently trying to get all the flash trades up until where the current series is now. So I guess if any of my questions are answered later in the trades…well just ignore me, but either way let me know. One other thing…I got a pretty good list from Chris D on the trades I need, but I wouldn’t mind getting a full run down from the resident DC experts. Not to say that Chris didn’t give a complete list, but I’m always looking for a second opinion.

There just seems to be some stuff that is missing. Then again they might not have been collected in trade format. I’ve rambled long enough…thanks for the help.

I suppose I’ll have to take your first question. John Fox, the Flash of the 27th Century, first appeared in The Flash 50th Anniversary Special (which was Mark Waid’s first Flash story). That issue explains his origins.

He also appeared in bothFlash & DC One Million 80 Page Giant, DC One Million, both Impulse & Chronos 1,000,000, and in Flash: Chain Lightning.

I enjoy the character. I hope he pops up some more. He did pop up in Flash #145-149 in a story called Chain Lightning which also features several different looks at the future, so there goes question #2.

Here’s a list of The Flash Trades;

Born To Run

The Return of Barry Allen

Impulse: Reckless Youth

Terminal Velocity

Dead Heat

Race Against Time

Blood Will Run

Rogues

Crossfire

Blitz

Ignition

I love The Flash. I’ve been collecting since #1 and have every issue. If I were to get another comic themed tattoo, I’d be a Flash logo. I’d buy the individual issues, but that’s just me. I really enjoyed the letter column in those early issues, which I doubt will be collected, since they don’t really factor in to the current direction of the book (Wally lived on Long Island.) Great Butch Guice art, interesting characterizations. Track down those early issues.

Tim, when did you start reading The Flash, when your best friend Geoff Johns took over the title?

Man, I am going to get in so much trouble for this new “best friend” direction, I just know it.

Anywho, no I did not start with Johns took over. In fact, after reading the first issue of Wonderland (Johns’s first arc on the book, it is uncollected and most likely will stay that way), I took that opportunity to drop the book. I was just to alternate world-ed out after Waid’s run to immediately sink my teeth into another alternate world when the “new guy” came aboard. I saw the Kolins art on the first issue of Blood Will Run, however, and gave the book another shot. Thank god I did. I have yet to be disappointed. And yes, I went back and got those Wonderland issues.

When I actually started buying Flash was actually, oddly enough, the Race Against Time storyline. I got hooked on Waid’s voice for Wally and followed the book throughout his run, even during the Chain Lightning stuff which I can’t even read anymore I dislike it so much. I went back and filled in most of Waid’s run before that as well, but it all began with Race Against Time.


Vortex, do you have a morbid question?

Which villain has racked up the most superhero kills? You can include premature retirements too if you want, as long as the villain permanently retired the hero – no comic style temporary retirements.

I’m really struggling to come up with some names. Um. How about Onomatopoeia?

Onomatopoeia killed lots of heroes in Green Arrow #13, but they were all no name heroes, who never appeared before they were killed. So they don’t really count.

Extant killed Dr. Midnight, Hourman and The Atom. He also killed Waverider, sort of, and Dove, kind of. But they weren’t really flashy deaths. Plus Waverider and Dove both came back.

If flashy deaths are your bag, look at Starman #38 where The Mist destroys a second string JLE. She kills Amazing Man II, Crimson Fox, and Blue Devil (the latter was resurrected.) It’s a great, if controversial issue.

But I’m guessing that the villain who killed the most heroes was Eclipso. In Eclipso #13 he killed quite a few. As a matter of fact he killed Commander Steel, Dr. Midnight, Wildcat, Major Victor, Manhunter III, Peacemaker I, and The Creeper. That’s over half a dozen heroes killed in one issue! Of course Manhunter and Creeper came back, but that’s still five heroes taking dirtnaps because of Eclipso.

So that’s my answer. That’s what I’m going with. Tim, agree or disagree?

In the mainstream DCU, I think you’re right. However, I feel like I would be amiss not to mention Anti-Monitor and Parallax. Anti-Monitor killed dozens of heroes (and millions of people) by knocking off all but one of DC’s multiple Earths. Parallax pulled a similar feat in Zero Hour by first into existence many heroes (Batgirl, Alpha Centurion, etc) and then, when bested by the DCU’s heroes, allowing most of them to blink back out of existence. I am not sure we’d count either of these though because, in the case of Anti-Monitor, a lot of the dead heroes were actually older, younger, future, etc versions of heroes that did survive and, in the case of Parallax, those heroes were arguably not “real”. For the record, I would count Anti, but not Big P.


Spike Gilbert, do you want to rub salt into a wound?

As far as Superman vs Captain Marvel goes you guys have obviously never played heroclix, the enjoyable miniatures strategy game (mechwarrior with super heroes). If you did you’d know Supes would win hands down. With heat vision and telescopic vision mixed with them being of equal speed, Supes could blast him all day long without ever being hit. Eventually the Big Red Cheese would fall. That’s how it works out in heroclix every time.

I actually do play Heroclixâ„¢. Well, not recently, but I have played in the past. Since I just got my case of Unleashed I’ve yet to try out Cap, but he looks mighty to me.

And you are correct; Supes does have that formidable ranged attack (heat vision.) But in order to get close enough to attack Cap, and out of all the Supes figures I think the longest distance between characters has to be 10 squares. So on the next turn Cap moves toward Supes and allows for a push, activating Cap’s hypersonic speed. The point is right about now, Supes much vaulted ranged attack is negated, making this fight much more balanced. And what about Cap’s exploit weakness ability? That’s pretty formidable.

As much as I want to pretend that Heroclix actually means something, mostly because I used to demolish my best friend when I put my DC squad against his Marvel squad, every thing boils down to the roll of a die.

Are you happy? You made me cry. As if I don’t miss my best friend enough, you had to remind me that I no longer have anyone to demolish with my impressive Heroclix collection.

Wait…why do I feel like I missing some huge chunk of some complicated story?

Tim, are you down with the Heroclix, or is that too “fanboy” for you?

Not a Heroclix man myself. I’ve never been much for any of the role playing type games (I include Heroclix and card games like Magic in that category). My friend Tim and I once tried to play Overpower. Once. Needless to say, those cards were put away after that and never seen or heard from again.


Nalydpsycho, you placed the lyric, wanna close out the column?

Does Scarecrow have a specific grudge against Batman, or do they just fight because they are both in Gotham?

Scarecrow doesn’t really have a link to Batman, besides Gotham.

Jonathan Crane was plagued by bullies, but rather and go “Columbine” or listen to gloomy and angry music, Crane decided to conquer his fear of bullies. This led him on the path to discovering the nature of all phobias.

His studies naturally lead him to the field psychology. Since he also focused on biochemistry he had a keen insight into the human mind and fear. Thus he was a real catch for Gotham University.

Young professor Jonathan Crane was a nerd of an instructor. He had a lanky wiry frame. He wasn’t really treated properly, and was kind of eccentric. He had some questionable teaching methods, which got him kicked out of the school.

Crane dressed up as the Scarecrow and killed some of his perceived enemies. Bats stopped him and a rivalry was born. Scarecrow has a beef with Batman because Batman does a good job of resisting Scarecrow’s fear gases.

Also, Scarecrow fears Batman and thus is fascinated by him. After all, how can the embodiment of fear be afraid? It is one of those, “Can God created a boulder so larger even he cannot lift it?” type of questions. To him anyway.

Tim, you’re a psych guy, what’s your take on Jonathan Crane?

Batman has some of the best villains out there and I think Professor Crane is one of the reasons. First off, he is one of the few villains who can force the reticent (he said, proving his ability to use understatement) Batman to be emotional. Even though Batman has managed to overcome the fear gas time and again, it always exposes his vulnerabilities and pathos, even if it is just for a bit. Actually, though, my favorite Scarecrow appearance is in Nightwing # 9-11 where Crane meticulously takes Grayson apart in search of NW’s greatest fear. He manages to find it, but the celebration is short lived as NW pulls it together again and drums on Scarecrow rather brutally.

Speaking as one psych man evaluating another, Crane’s a pretty big disgrace. For one thing, he has no interest in the healing aspects of psychology. In fact, he does not seem to care much for psychology as a study even. He only involved himself with it because it was the only pursuit that could mask his obsession as something scholastic. As a professor, his “questionable” methods never would have occurred, in the real world. Any college’s IRB (Internal Review Board) would have shut down each and every one of his experiments immediately. Plus the whole thing he does where he runs around scaring birds? No college or university is going to be impressed with that.


That’s it, another column is done.

That’s it. Boy, that was quick this week. Are you getting tired of spending time with me?

Hope you’ve enjoyed it.

Yeah, of course I did. But why won’t you answer my q—

Send me your feedback and questions to me. Or you could post them on the forums. But be sure so release your thoughts and queries, because you don’t want them to build up pressure and cause you to explode.

Alright, fine, play me like that. But you can’t ignore me forever! I’ll still be here for next week’s column. And for the revolution…

My question to you; What Comic Character’s following do you just not understand? Does Aquaman’s popularity confuse your? Are you befuddled by The Flash’s success? Let me know.

“And oh what heights we’ll hit/on with the show this is it.”

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