Who's Who in the DCU

What’s going on folks? It’s a new week so it means that it’s time for a new column! But before we get into that I hope everyone picked up the latest issue of Wizard featuring the grand debut of WWITDCU Alum & Comic Industry Big Shot Ben Backdoor Man Morse, or as we used to call him “B.” Congrats B! You did us proud.

I also want to give huge props for my copilot Tim for the amazing job he did with The Nexus Awards. It was phenomenal. I was excited to read every installment, and I already knew the outcome. Kudos Mr. Stevens.

Hey, thanks a lot Mathan. Glad you appreciated it. I hope everyone else out there in Nexus land did as well.

Tim, how goes life? Got any heat yet?

Yes, now I finally have heat.

For those of you who do not read my column, I lost heating at La Hacienda on Monday. It was fixed by late that night…or so I thought. When I returned home Tuesday night, the furnace room floor was covered with water and an inky black substance. My heat is oil heat so take a guess what that black stuff was. Even better, some of it had leaked underneath the wood tiles in the hallway so if I stepped in the right place a nice crude would bubble out from underneath. Another call to the fuel company, several rags, a bucket full of sudsy water and a mop later, all appears to be well. So yeah, I have heat again and my house is no longer oozing oil. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing.

We’ve got to continue on, so let’s do some…

Lincoln

Music spills the beans on Kayne’s ghostwriter.

Mr. West has a ghost writer? No friggin’ way. I love that disc. Ugh…I feel so betrayed.

Movies doesn’t hype Constantine enough.

Begging the question, how much hype, exactly, would be enough?

TV has some big plans involving Teen Titans.

Games is full of bits and PCs.

Figures is action packed.

Sports is still talking about The Super Bowl.

Last Week’s Reads!!!

Hellblazer #204 – Read my review.

Flash #218 – Read my review.

I’ve been waiting for this one for months and it was so worth it. My favorite DC book of the week (not counting, of course, WE3).

Y The Last Man #30 – Finally we learn why Yorick survived the plague. I love this book so much. Well written and addictive.

Nightwing #102 – I’m a sucker for Superman/Dick Grayson team ups. I really enjoyed the issue of Legends of the DCU that had this team up and apparently provided some inspiration for this issue. Pure enjoyment.

Richard Dragon #9 – This Zach Howard/Andy Owens dynamic is solid. DC needs to keep this art team together. The art overshadows an unimpressive story.

Legion of Super-Heroes #2 – I was lukewarm on the debut issue, but this one has me sold on the concept. Great issue. If you only read one book last week, I hope this was it.

Batman #636 – With this issue I’ve got an idea as to who The Red Hood is. The story was cool, the art was good, and that cliffhanger is a beast.

JLA: Classified #3 – Fun issue. I’m sorry to see Vixen pushed into limbo (and I don’t think that was responsible on Grant’s part), but the JLA has never looked better.

WE3 – Great miniseries. If you read two books last week, I hope this was your second one.

See me gush about this book in my review, also up on the site today.


It’s Question Time!

Glen Davis, you placed the lyric at the end of the last column. You get to go first!

What’s the deal with the Metal Men? Is Tin’s nameless robot girlfriend still alive? Is the deplorable 1992 series still in continuity? Do they still have a mini in the works?

What do you mean “what’s the deal with the Metal Men?” They are the result of a scientific experiment gone awry (is there any other kind of “scientific experiment?) Robot bodies mixed with responsometers equals the Metal Men. Deprivation rays transferred “mental blueprints” or personalities of six individuals into the robot bodies via the responsometers. Their human bodies were comatose, but the robots were “alive”, missing only their memories of their human lives.

As for Tin’s nameless robot girlfriend yes she’s still around, kind of. She’s now in the robotic mouse Mousy, which Tin created to be his pet. (I shudder to think of the implications behind that.)

Kind of give new meaning to the term “heavy petting”. Huh? Huh?

God…I’m so ashamed.

The 1992 miniseries is still in continuity. Gold is still dead and all that other stuff still happened too. I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it.

As to your last question about the upcoming mini, I’ll toss that over to Tim, since he actually attended the huge Comicon last year where that news was leaked. Take it away Tim.

Actually, there is relatively little to say. Pulling directly from last year’s Comicon report, all the news I had to report was, “according to Didio, they are “trying to do something with the Metal Men.”” So yes, they are looking to launch a miniseries. There is no creative team in place (that we are aware of) and no release date for the book. I can tell you that Mathan and I will not be co-writing it. He had to turn down the assignment to pursue his modeling career and I had to pass based on religious/moral reasons. Sorry fans.


Talowolf12, you also placed the lyric. What’s your question?

With Doctor Light’s dramatic change back to crazy/powerful, I was wondering about the second Dr. Light that appeared in a couple of issues of this past Green Lantern series. I know his was trapped in Kyle’s battery and got released then put back. So I wanted to know if he’s still there or got killed or found a temp job or what?

Not only is he still around, he’s the same character, the same Dr. Light who played such a pivotal role in Identity Crisis. He’s the same Dr. Light who was toppled not only by the Teen Titans, but by Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys.

He’s the Doctor Light that most people think of when you mention “Doctor Light.”

There was another Dr. Light, who first appeared in Crisis on Infinite Earths. She was a hero. She was down with the Justice League during their JLI days. Currently she’s doing whatever forgotten characters do when they aren’t appear in books.

Those are the only two Doctor Lights that I know about. Tim, can you think of any others?

Nope, Mathan. As you pointed out, the “all new, all powerful” Dr. Light that showed up during Final Night in GL is one and the same as the “no longer mindwiped” Doc that was in Identity Crisis. In the Final Night appearance, despite being more powerful than ever (and sporting a new outfit), he remained a coward (which, as we now know, was the fault of the mindwipe). So, Final Night made him a force to be reckoned with and Identity Crisis reminded him how to use that force.


Guess what Marshall placed? Fire away Marshall.

I have a quick question. I’m not to familiar with the Legion of Super Heroes, but I started reading with the relaunch and I’m really enjoying it. My question is: Is there any relation between Brainiac 5 and the evil Superman villain? If there is, why would they let him on the team?

Why shouldn’t they let him on the team? A hereditary link for criminal tendencies hasn’t been proven, not even 1,000 years from now. And besides, there are plenty of people related to villains who don’t do bad things. Like Obsidian, his mom was a criminal, The Thorn, and he’s never committed any criminal acts, right?

Um, ok bad example. How about Brainwave? His pop plagued the JSA and he’s never had any run ins with the law? Darn, not a shining example. How about Atom Smasher? His grandfather was a crook, but he’s…oh, right. Kahndaq, I forgot.

Let’s forget those other characters and focus on Brainiac 5. He comes from a planet, Colu, where the average person is about a gazillion times more intelligent than anyone on Earth, and he’s head and shoulders above them in terms of smarts. So this guy is one of the most intelligent beings in the known universe.

Plus, based on the way he was talking in the issue, there’s a reason to believe that Brainy had something to do with the creation of the Legion. So in theory, there may not have been a Legion without him.

Querl Dox is a descendent of Vril Dox. Vril Dox was a genius on Colu and he worked with the Computer Tyrants. He plotted to overthrow them; they spread his atoms across the cosmos. Vril’s consciousness was so strong that it stayed together and made its way to Earth and grew to cause problems for Superman as Brainiac.

Vril’s son, Vril Dox II helped overthrow the Computer Tyrants, freeing Colu of their… um… tyranny. He also went on to found L.E.G.I.O.N., who help keep the peace galaxy-wide.

Tim, who’s your favorite member of the Dox family?

If I had to choose, I guess I’d say Vril II, but I do so hate playing favorites. Especially since I’ll always have a bit of affection for Tommy, the black sheep of the Dox family. He only wanted to play music…why couldn’t they understand that?


Nalydpsycho, do you have a very logical question?

Have Cyborg and Brainiac ever crossed paths? If so, what issues? I see solid ground for conflict there.

I looked it up and tried to find an issue where Cyborg and Brainiac battled and I found none.

That said, I’m guessing that Brainiac would win hands down. Brainiac is more advanced than the current Thinker and he incapacitated Vic Stone over in The Flash. However if DC would make Vic more tech savvy the fight would be much better. It might even take place a virtual plane, and everyone witnessing it would just see Vic and Brainiac standing still as statues.

Or it could be creepy like that robot sex in Bjork’s “All if Full of Love” video. What a great, creepy video.

Tim, Brainiac vs Cyborg, who’re you putting your money on?

To be honest, I am still reeling from the suggestion of Brainiac and Cyborg getting it on. I mean, I love robots and I am fully in favor of the sex. But robot sex? I’m not sure anyone is ready for that. Well, I suppose it is my problem, not theirs. They are, after all, only as God (or a demented scientist) made them.


Joshua Hoskins, do you have a question about an obscure character?

I have a question not even the DC Comics Encyclopedia could answer….

In Suicide Squad #58 (the War of the Gods issue), there is a character called The Writer who apparently meets his death in this issue. The Writer, at least to me, bore a resemblance to Grant Morrison’s depiction of himself in Animal Man. Is The Writer Grant Morrison? If so how did John Ostrander get the rights to not only use him, but to kill him off? Also, are Animal Man & this issue of S.S. the only places we can find The Writer? I need more, MORE I TELL YOU. I need a Writer mini series!!!!!

Wow, that’s as deep a question as we’ve ever had here.

The Writer is Grant Morrison. When Animal Man met The Writer he met Grant Morrison. However that’s also the point he stopped being Grant Morrison. Once he wrote himself into Animal Man he became part of continuity and couldn’t get out of the comics. Thus Grant and The Writer ceased being one and the same. So when he appeared in Suicide Squad he was more “The Writer” and less “Grant Morrison.”

How did Ostrander get to use the character? Well Grant didn’t own him, DC did (just ask Carmine Infantino.) The Writer was a character like any other. DC can do what they want with them. Thus he was used and killed off.

I don’t have any other appearances by The Writer, but if comics by Grant Morrison that play with “the Fourth Wall” I’d suggest that you track down Flex Mentallo. It’s a trippy read but it works.

Tim what’re your thoughts on Grant Morrison, the writer and the character?

As a character in Animal Man, I thought it was a great moment. The entire series led up to that moment and it was not at all what you might have expected, but it was still not a let down. A bold move. As for his later appearance in Suicide Squad…I honestly don’t remember it. It was Suicide Squad though, so chances are, it was excellent.

As far as Morrison the writer goes, I am a huge fan more often than not. On the not side would be Seaguy (I can’t bring myself to try The Invisibles or The Filth. I don’t feel I am ready yet). On the more often side would be most of his JLA run, Earth 2, WE3, Animal Man, Doom Patrol, and Arkham Asylum, to name a few.


Mr. Hoskins, do you have another question, how about one that’s nearly twenty years old?

I found this ad (see above) perplexing. There are many characters on here I don’t know. A few of them I found particularly interesting, and would love some more info on them. I have taken the liberty of giving them names I deemed appropriate based on the ad.

A. Stretchy Metal Cowboy Guy
B. Chick with Arrows
C. Funky Green Purple Robot Dude
D. Mad Dog (I remember him briefly, but not much about him other than a Punisher rip off).

A – This gent is known as the Duke of Oil!

Decades ago there was a chap named Earl J. Dukeston. He was an oil tycoon. But he was caught in an explosion at one of his wells. As is usually the case, he woke up to discover that he was stuck in a robotic body. His caretakers told him they kept his human brain in the robot body and were working on a process to clone him a new human body.

Earl was cool with that, because he knew he was still human, albeit just in brain form, and as soon as the technology was effective enough he’d be transplanted into a new human body. What could be better than that? He found out the people who helped him were part of the criminal organization Skull. But all that mattered was becoming human again.

Earl was persuaded to break into the Outsider’s headquarters (the old Outsiders, not the current crop.) In the ensuing fight he discovered that he wasn’t really a human brain, but rather a computer that had Earl’s memories. He lost his mind, and disappeared.

But don’t fear, he’s slated to pop up in the next issue of Green Arrow. So that one person who’s been holding his breath waiting for the Duke of Oil to return can breathe easy now.

Tim, I’m talking to you.

Every convention I go to, every artist I meet, I only ask for one character to be sketched: The Duke of Oil. With his triumphant return, they can no longer give me dirty looks and send me away. HUZZAH!

B – This woman is the villain known as Artemis.

Back in the day Zatara had a villain known as the Tigress. Well she had a daughter who turned out to be a villain known as the Huntress, a member of the Injustice Society. Huntress and fellow Injustice Society member the Sportsmaster hooked up and had a daughter, Artemis.

Artemis lucked out and got her parents knack for athleticism and crime (score one for Marshall!) She’s built up a rep of her own as a member of both Injustice Unlimited and later as the Tigress in the latest incarnation of the Injustice Society. She even competed in the Olympics as part of Zandia’s team in Young Justice.

Tim how do you like her better, as Artemis or Tigress?

Tigress, hands down.

C This guy is the Electric Warrior. (Since he’s not really a “DC” character, I’ll save his run down for a future column, which will feature all of the questions from outside the DCU that I’ve amassed.)

Tim, aren’t you excited?

Umm…yes?

D – Yup that’s Wild Dog.

I’m not going to spoil Wild Dog. Sure it’s a comic that’s 18 years old, but someone may actually be interested in reading the mini and trying to figure out who Wild Dog, which was part of the mystery of the book.

The book also dealt with domestic terrorists. And I don’t know if I’d call it a “Punisher knockoff.” The mini was written by Max Collins and was set in the Quad Cities, hardly a hard-boiled crime town. And while the Punisher goes around without a mask, because he’s got nothing to lose, Wild Dog keeps a mask on because this is just his part time gig.

It’s funny because while I have one summer home in Opal, the other is in the Quad Cities. Have you ever been to the Quad Cities Tim, they’re real y’know?

Sure they are, Mathan, sure they are.


Dardis, I’m bored. Gimmie a question!

I do have a question close to your heart though. I just picked up my first Flash trade, Terminal Velocity (Only one the shop had) and I’m curious.

Wally appointed Jesse Quick his ‘heir’ when he thought he was going to die, in order to make Impulse serious about wanting the job. But what was wrong with Jesse ? Why was he so set on Impulse, if Jesse seemed to be a better candidate for the job? Nepotism?

I think there were numerous factors at play in Wally’s decision.

1) Nepotism was probably a factor. I’m sure that most people would agree that the mantel of “The Flash” is Bart Allen’s birthright. His grandfather was Barry Allen, The Flash. His cousin Wally West was The Flash. Bart should probably follow in his family’s fast footsteps. And certainly Wally was following the example set by Barry.

2) Deep inside Wally probably wanted a teen sidekick. He looked up to Barry Allen and I’m sure he wanted to be looked up to in the same way. I’m betting the he really liked the idea of having someone to mentor and he most likely saw some of himself in Impulse.

3) Bart Allen, at the time, didn’t really have too much of a life. Bart Allen, the secret identity wasn’t fully formed yet. Jesse Chambers had a real job and huge responsibilities, and thus might not have been able to devote herself fully to the hero gig. Bart didn’t have that problem.

4) Jesse Quick wasn’t a “natural.” Bart could instantly access the Speed Force, while Jesse needed to speak the speed formula. Part of being “The Flash” is acting immediately, and immediately isn’t taking the time to speak a formula. Bart could act, then think, while Jesse had to think then act. Also since Bart was born with his speed it was part of him. Jesse on the other hand could function perfectly well in “normal” mode.

5) Jesse had barely more experienced than Bart, and whatever experience she did have was negated by #4, Bart’s natural ability.

6) There is scientific data out there that indicates females are more susceptible to cooties infestation, so that could have played a role.

Those are the only reasons I could think of why Wally would select Bart over Jesse. Other than that he may be known that Jesse would be featured in that horrible Titans title and later be relegated to one of Geoff Johns numerous drawn out subplots over in JSA.

Tim, you know Geoff Johns, what’s he got in store for the character, and what are your thoughts on Jesse Quick?

To take a page from Mr. Johns’s book, I will simply say “Wait and see” in reference to Jesse Quick. For example: “Is that romance I smell a-brewing for Ms. Quick?” “Just wait and see.” Voila.

As far the character herself, I like her. I like that she is a speedster, but still an outsider when it comes to the Scarlet Clique. I think her workaholicism is an interesting character flaw that has some miles to it. She probably should never be asked to carry a book, but as a supporting character, I support her presence in JSA or Flash or both. Not in Titans though. That last time………shudder.


Mike Z, got a question from the archive?

Which DC series from the ’90s holds up the worst? I tried reading the Azrael mini but I couldn’t bring myself to get half through the 1st issue.

I’ll give you two answers this week. Visually, I’d say any comic with Kal El’s post death hairdo. Y’know the one that dangerously resembled a mullet? Why they tried to make Superman “cool” by extending his hair is beyond me. Did Clark Kent sport a perm, they were in style too, at some point.

In term so of an actual title (and by title I mean just the title not the book) Superboy & The Ravers. Whose great idea what that title? Were “Raves” ever really cool? Were they cool enough to warrant being referenced in a comic book title? It kind of smacks of pandering.

But that’s it. Those are the two that I can think of off the top of my head, but I reserve the right to revisit this question in the future.

Tim, do you have any suggestions of dreadful 90’s reading?

Hmm…a few things stick out. The Alan Smithee (a pseudonym, duh) issues of Daredevil, for one. DD was still running around in the armor, but McDaniel and Chichester had already left (officially anyway. After all, Smithee had to be someone, right?) and the stories…they were not good. Maximum Carnage and the Clone Saga were both 90’s fiascos, so they make the list. I would concur with the bulk of immediately post-Reign of the Supermen Superman stories as being rather beat. The Justice League of America pre-Morrison’s relaunch (the Obsidian, Nuklon (who is now Atom Smasher, etc. squad) was pretty awful stuff. The Azrael issues (since you mentioned him) when Denny O’Neill had him fighting monsters (vampire, werewolf, maybe a mummy of some sort) was the storyline that killed that series (even though it lasted for several years after that, you could just tell that all hope was lost).Wow…I guess I could go on. But let’s just stick with those for the time being.

And for the record, Sword of Azrael does not bother me all the much.


Inside Pulse’s 2004 Music Staffer of the Year Aaron Cameron, do you have a question for the column?

I assume low sales killed the Sonic miniseries dead in the water, but that got me thinking…more specifically, I messed around looking for other instances of series that were killed off mid-storyline. I found lots of references to the DC Implosion of 1978, but few details. Can ya educate me?

Ah the 70’s. What a weird time. What a wacky weird time.

It was a time when DC planned some great things. DC had this idea to launch (and relaunch) lots of titles. In fact it was 30 years ago. In 1975 DC advertised “The DC Explosion.”

Explosion is an understatement. From 1975-1978 DC launched 57 titles. Can you imagine that in four years having 57 new books on the market? That’s insane!

Yup it was insane. In 1978 alone, 31 books got the axe. Let me repeat that 31 titles were canceled in 1978. And in 1975-1978, 34 other books were canceled. And thus you have the DC Implosion.

DC tried to expand the market, not only by expanding the number of titles, but the actual books themselves, as the page counts went up from 17 to 25 pages per issue. Sadly the market couldn’t take it. Books were canceled and the number of pages per issue went back down to 17.

It was a dark time for the DCU. Titles were canceled after 12, 9, 6 and even 3 issues. Fortunately things like this don’t happen anymore, right Tim? *cough* AztekAnarkyChaseTheCreeperChronosBloodhoundTheMonolithFractionTouchReignoftheZodiac*cough*


Sandmatt, ya got a query?

I know most of the story to knight fall and I’m quite familiar with the Jean Paul as Batman and Azrael.

My questions are why did Bruce Wayne choose him? And where is he now?

Bruce was at a difficult point in his life. When you’re used to being the main protector of a major metropolitan city and said city is being overrun with crime while you lay in bed nursing a broken back causes you to make snap decisions. This was one of them.

But I’ll give Bruce the benefit of the doubt. Jean Paul had been training with Bruce in Gotham, and unbeknownst to him even donned the cape and the cowl once. Jean Paul was in the right place (Gotham) at the right time (when Bruce was stuck in bed with a broken bat while Gotham was full of crime.)

As to where he is now, he was last seen falling from a rooftop after taking a few bullets. However (he said cryptically) no body was found.

Which leads me to my idea that Azrael is the new Red Hood. Think about it, Batman’s surprise, Batman remarks about his training and skill. I’m betting it’s Jean Paul.

Tim, give the readers what they want; your two cents on Jean Paul and also the Red Hood.

I though the original premise of Jean Paul Valley, that is a man who was trapped between his true self and the brainwashing program forced upon him, was a fruitful storytelling plane. His initial supporting cast including Brian, a psychologist, was strong. However, the series seemed to move along in spurts and sputters. After the first year or so, neither the book nor Jean Paul were ever able to live up to that initial promise. And the ending of the series…well, I’d just as soon not talk about it.

As far as your Red Hood guess, that could be interesting. Jean Paul didn’t tend to talk in costume (as they made a big deal of in the first issue of this arc) because of the system, but perhaps he has finally conquered it. It would be a nice veer away from the front runner, Jason Todd.


Neil AKA Shiv’kala, can I count on you for a question?

What powers, if any, does Empress from YJ have?

Empress is a great character. She’s one of the main reasons why I miss Young Justice other than the great creative team behind that book.

She has the ability to teleport and she’s way skilled with knives. She’s also pretty well versed in Voudoun (Voodoo). And she’s also got a knack for making people follow her commands.

I wish she’d appear more in the DCU, but sadly she’s relegated to character limbo. What’re you gonna do?

Tim, who would you like to see come back from character limbo?

You’re kidding, right? Or are you just setting me up?

Either way, I still have to say it.

AZTEK, BAY-BEE!

Sadly, you’ve reached the end of another column. But don’t fear, we can continue this over at the Forum. Tim and I post there all the time and respond to critiques. I’m always accepting your feedback and questions via email.

Speaking for questions, my question to you this week; Whose Identity Are You More Interested In; Hush or the Red Hood?

“Cause I can flow like Donovan throw/sound supersonic”

Tags: