Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, we’ve come to another column. Um, I don’t really have anything to open it with, so… any big plans with Janelle for Valentines Day?

Now, Mathan, I can’t exactly give them away here and have her read them, can I? Let me just say that I am hoping she will be both surprised and in awe of Valentine’s Day gift prowess.

Ooh, how about this Tim, what comic movie are you looking forward to the most this year? And no, you can’t say Catwoman 2.

I can’t?

In all seriousness, I don’t think anything this year, comic book movie wise, can possibly top the excitement building about Batman Begins

I’m all “fanboy” over Batman Begins. I’m down right giddy. Which means it’s a good time to…


http://music.insidepulse.com/>Music has got plenty of news and reviews.

http://movies.insidepulse.com/>Movies has loads of news and reviews.

http://figures.insidepulse.com/>Figures has some cool looking shots of figs that I plan on buying.

http://tv.insidepulse.com/>TV is full of things pertaining to “reality” tv.

http://sports.insidepulse.com/>Sports has Superbowl results, in case you don’t already know.

http://games.insidepulse.com/>Games is packed with new game goodness.

Tim, what’re you gonna link this week?

I just have one and I have to thank the message board for it. Check out this site and prepare to laugh. It reveals a side of Superman that you might not have noticed but appears to have been there all along.

Read Last Week

Human Target #18 – I finally picked this issue up. Man, I’m so going to miss this book. How can this book be cancelled?

The Intimates #4 – Read my review

Papa Midnite #1 – Read my review

Superman/Batman – I love alternate realities and I love Ra’s al Ghul, so I really dug this issue.

Firestorm #10 It was cool to see Ronnie/Firestorm back, but it was even better to see him so cocky, only to fail. I’m sorry that Jolley is leaving this title; I’m really curious what he had in store for the characters.

I too was a little bit surprised by Ronnie’s arrogance. Is this really the character that so many fans had been missing? Cause, really, if this is his normal personality, he’s a bit of a dick.

The Monolith #12 – Read my review

Adam Strange #5 – I feel gypped, we only got a glimpse of Dox. But Adam is putting the pieces together and the larger picture is becoming clearer.

Deadshot #3 – I don’t see why people are raving about this title. It’s cool, but it’s nothing special.

Not sure if I’ve been raving about it, but I dig it. It is a good story well told. Sometimes that is all I am looking for.

The Question #4 – Now this is a book that I’m really enjoying. The talk between Superman and The Question was a nice touch.

Superman #213 – Jor-El and Zod, this book is a dream. I’m really diggin’ Zod’s logo.

Justice League Elite #8 – A death, a rebirth, a secret revealed and The Source Wall. What a great title.

Supreme Power #15 – Scary stuff. Why does Stan suck so much? Kyle’s my #1 favorite guy in this book. Mike comes in second, but Stan is dead last. Hopefully he’ll see either “light.”

Black Panther #1 – Interesting.

Question time and once again I stumped you. But don’t worry even though I’m not forced to answer questions, I still will.

Neil, do you have a problem with last weeks column?

I feel gypped on your Metal Men answer. What was their Silver Age origin? They weren’t originally human minds stuck in robots, were they?

Well the originally (before the 1992 miniseries) the Metal Men were just the creations of Will Magnus. He was a leader in the field of robotics, and created six metallic robots, each one not only composed of a different metal, but the also had the qualities of that metal. For instance Lead could protect against radiation, Gold was excellent at conducting electricity, and so on.

The robots also had responsometers, which is what gave them their human like personalities. To top it all off, each of the Metal Men was a shapeshifter. They could transform into many different things, and still retain the qualities of their respective metals.

So basically their Silver Age origin was that Will Magnus made them, to help mankind. That’s it. Their origin was that he programmed some robots. I hope it was everything you dreamed it would be.

Tim, if you had to become a Metal Man, which metal would you choose?

The kind of metal that is strong, but sensitive, fit for beating down fools, and has the ability to make one hell of a pie. So, titanium, I guess.

Brad Brasfield do you have a question about a current book featuring one of my favorite writers?

I’ve been following all the Superman titles since Doomsday. The relaunch titles are pretty satisfactory for the most part, though the Azzarello/Lee run has left me lost and confused. What is this “Vanishing” that supposedly happened? Why is everyone pissed at Superman and holding him responsible? Wonder Woman’s fighting him, acting like he committed some horrible act of betrayal, and I don’t have a clue what he did, or what he’s talking about, or WHY. It doesn’t help when DC’s previews for each issue (in the back of each DC title) seem to describe a totally different story than what I’ve read. Am I the only one scratching my head here? Thanks.

The “Vanishing” was an event that caused millions of people to vanish off the face of the planet. Nobody knows where they went or if they’re even alive. Superman decided to find out the answers to both, as well as what caused it.

If by “everyone” you mean “the Justice League”, then they are irked at him. They’re irked that Superman, a guy who’s always preached restraint, lost control and intervened in a conflict in the Middle East. Y’see the JLA try to keep their noses out of problems like that, mostly because they don’t want it too look like they are acting on behalf of the United States, where most of them operate. They keep their distance, and Superman interfered, and then tried to justify it.

As for why Wonder Woman is fiercely fighting Superman, it’s because she know that he planned on using the orb to make himself vanish. This irked her for a few reasons. 1) She didn’t like the idea of Superman using such an unpredictable device. There’s a chance that if he used, he might not be the only one to disappear. 2) She was worried that he might not return. The prospect of a world without Superman is a dismal one indeed. So even if he did manage to use the device successfully, there was no guarantee that he’d return.

You aren’t the only one who’s a bit lost. Azzarello’s writing (apparently) is an acquired taste. Even famed Wizard writer Ben Morse had problems with this storyline, and he’s a Comic Industry Big Shot. Azzarello’s Broken City storyline over in Batman also drew mixed reviews.

I loved Azz’s Batman, and am relishing his Superman. Once you understand his style, and learn to read between the lines, his work is very enjoyable.

Tim, where do you stand on Azzarello?

I am very much looking forward to his Lex miniseries. It just sounds incredibly cool to me and the art is drop dead gorgeous.

As far as past work goes, here are my opinions on what I’ve read:

Banner: Not sure why this book is so beloved. I think it might have been the art that killed it for me.

100 Bullets: Love the concept, couldn’t get into the book.

Broken City: All atmosphere, no substance. One of those arcs that had to be read all at once to realize, “Wait…this story just doesn’t hang together if you take any sort of close look at it.”

Superman: Haven’t read it and what I’ve heard about it has not inspired me to feel bad about that.

Nexus’ own John Babos, do you have a question?

Where was it established that the Kon-el Superboy can age? I remember reading somewhere (don’t remember what issue) that as a clone he can’t age, but then I see him the recent “Titans Tomorrow arc” as a grown Superman.

Severn, do you have similar question?

It’s been a while since I’ve read him and haven’t read him in TT. But from what I remember he’s 14 years old permanently due to the premature releasing of his chamber or something during “Reign”.

But now I hear about an alternate future TT where Superboy became Superman. So can he age now or something?

Superboy regained the ability to age as a result of Sins of Youth. You remember, that crossover where all the kid heroes became adults and all the kid heroes became adults. It was a wacky romp with tons of flip-flops in terms of age.

Anyway, as result of the magic spell cast by Klarion, causing all that age changing, Superboy was cured of his inability to age. Check out Superboy #74 for more information.

Tim, your predecessor loved Superboy. Please tell me you’ve got more sense than that.

Heh. Superboy in Teen Titans I enjoy, but beyond that, I’ve never really felt anything for the character one way or another.

Jerry Hizon, do you have a question about a team that recently reappeared in the DCU?

I just browsed JLA Classified #3 and saw it’s about the Ultramarines. I (vaguely) remember them as a group that faced the JLA and that event was collected in a TPB, I’m not sure what’s the title. As I flip the pages, I recognize some Global Guardians characters like the Olympian. What happened in between their first appearance and the seeming integration of the Global Guardians (I haven’t read the book, now I’m planning to pick it up) to the Ultramarines?

They haven’t really made too many appearances in the DCU. The Ultramarines first appeared in JLA #24, they also popped up in JLA #41. But they don’t a long list of appearance, thus their story hasn’t really been told, at least no in detail.

So that makes them a perfect match with the Global Guardians. For instance the Olympian last appeared in 1994 in Justice League Quarterly #17. But he was seen in Justice League: Classified #3 beating J’onn J’onzz.

I think that Grant Morrison just took a leap of logic. It’s not too much of a leap to think that some former Global Guardians would have joined up with the Ultramarines, after all those snobs in the JLA weren’t returning their calls.

Tim, any thoughts on the Global Guardians and the Ultramarines?

Well, I am a big fan of the Ultramarines (or, at least, as big a fan as I can be of a team that has appeared very little. As far as the Global Guardians, they are now associated with the Ultramarines, so I think the buggers I guess.

I will point out that at the end of the Ultramarines first appearance in JLA that there are already several Guardians with them when they announce their plans for Superbia. So, the basis of them appearing in the JLA: Classified springs from that last page.

Jerry, got a follow up?

As for the Global Guardians, I must admit I like the idea ever since I first came to know about them in the 80s. Are there any plans for them in the future?

Sadly I don’t think there really is a plan for them. They pretty much always played second fiddle to the Justice League in the DCU. Some of its members, (most notably Fire, Ice and Tasmanian Devil) even joined the J.L.I.

The Ultra Marine Corps was a bit of an attempt to bring them back to a form of presence in the DCU, and now Grant has exiled them to a baby universe. I’m sure a writer could possibly dare to retrieve them from their current locale. However that might not be a good thing. I’m betting that there’s a 70/30 chance that if they should come back, the majority of the members will die, to show just how evil a bad guy is.

So your best bet is to have them remain in limbo, until there’s a writer who actually cares about the characters who gets them out.

Tim, how you like your Global Guardians; in limbo or just slumming in the DCU.

Neither. I really think that Morrison (or someone of similar talent and mindset) could do some pretty brilliant things with the Ultramarines in the baby universe. Just my opinion.

If I can’t have that, I’d like to see them slum it. Cause that way, I’d at least get to see them at some point.

Julian Smith, do you have a related question?

The Ultramarine Corps have left for the miniature universe that will grow into NEH-BUH-LOH, or The Nebula Man. Fine. But JLA:Classified #3 raises an number of other questions centered around the UMC and Global Guardians. Can you give me some information regarding the history and abilities of? 1. The person Wonder Woman called ‘Fleur.’ 2. Olympian. Moreover, how he ‘stopped’ The Martian Manhunter. Can J’Onn get some LOVE?!? 3. Goraiko. 4. The Cosmic Keyboard guy, typing stuff, cut-n-paste blah blah blah

Here’s some background on the squad.

From the 11/9/04 column
Ok here’s a brief rundown on the Ultramarines.

4-D, Warmaker One, Pulse 8, and Flow were original Ultramarines. They were under the charge of Wade Eiling, of Captain Atom fame. The Ultramarines first appeared in JLA #24 and fought against the JLA. They did that until they realized that Eiling was off his rocker (they realized this, of course, when Wade took over the body of Shaggy Man.)

At that point the Ultramarines kept the name, but ditched Wade. They set up shop in the floating city of Superbia, which is usually hovering over the former site of Monte Video. Superbia was open to anyone who wanted to live there.

If you’re wondering why it was above the former site of Monte Video, it’s because Vandal Savage blew up Monte Video with a nuclear warhead during DC 1,000,000,000, so the Ultramarines figured it was a good place to be if they wanted to remember to stay ever vigilant. …quot;B

Some notable folks who did want to live there, Vixen (from JLA Detroit), Jack O’Lantern (the third one, from Primal Force), Goraiko, and Knight & Squire.

Now it’s origin time! Lt. Colonel Scott Sawyer, Major Dan Stone, Captain John Wether, and Captain Lea Corbin were all exposed to Proteum by Eiling. Of course they gained super powers!

Sawyer got a nifty energy form, which is housed in a battlesuit. His new name; Warmaker One! Corbin has the ability to tap into the fourth dimension, hence the name 4-D! Stone became an intelligent liquid form, of course he can control it, thus his name is Flow! Lastly Wether linked with the “unified field harmonic”, whatever that is. He’s now Pulse 8!

Vixen and Jack O’lantern are old news. Goraiko is pretty much unknown. But when it comes to Knight and Squire things get interesting.

The original Knight and Squire appeared in Batman #62. Knight was like England’s equivalent of Batman, with Squire of course being Superman (I’m kidding Squire was Robin.) They were a father and son team. Of course like many of those old stories people thought they were tossed out after Crisis, or even the 70’s.

So a new Knight and Squire were recreated Post Crisis. The Post Crisis Knight I and Squire I appeared in Young All Stars #22. He was part of the Dome, which was like a precursor to the Global Guardians. The Squire, Cyril, took over as Knight when his father was killed. He first appeared as Knight in Infinity Inc #34.

Now Knight II and his daughter, Beryl, the new Squire, are heroes in Superbia. So there you have it. They were supposed to have been forgotten, but they came back. Just like Bat-Mite!

Fun fact: in early descriptions, JLA/JSA: Virtue & Vice centered around the Ultramarines rather than around the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man as it eventually came to be. …quot;B

Now on to your specific questions. Fleur is Fleur de Lis. She’s a Guardian from France. She first appeared in Blue Beetle #20. I’ve scoured the net and found nary a reference to her powers or abilities. I’m kidding. She’s like a super Batman. Y’know how Batman is an Olympic level this and that? Well she’s beyond Olympic level in every category. She’s even been known to carry a gun.

The Olympian was a Global Guardian. He inherited the fabled Golden Fleece, the strength of his fifty predecessors, and their voices in his head. He’s often portrayed as schizophrenic or distracted. He beat J’onn by catching him by surprise. He used a discus to strike J’onn down and then stabbed him. Olympian is way fast and super strong. Plus he’s got that mental problem, which probably makes him difficult for J’onn to read.

Goriako is a Japanese hero. It’s apparently a construct that’s controlled by an individual. Goriako all about the brute strength.

“The Cosmic Keyboard” guy is Pulse 8. With his Cosmic Keyboard, he can control the forces of nature on a fundamental level. You’ve got to admit, that’s nifty.

Tim, I curious how you feel about the Ultramarines.

I think I covered that above. But, for the sake of the column, let me say that I was very impressed with Pulse 8 in JLA: Classified. In his first appearances, his powers were not really fleshed and or discussed and thus I failed to have any feel for the character at all. However, in Classified, his abilities are fascinating, scary, and brilliantly non-traditional

Jerry Hizon, you’re back!

With a Deadshot mini-series currently running, any news of a Suicide Squad revival with John Ostrander or a comparable writer at the helm?

Well I get all my news on Tuesday from Tim. He hasn’t really mentioned it being a reality so I wouldn’t bet on it. If you dig the gritty action of the Suicide Squad you may want to give Justice League Elite a shot. It’s very well written and very dramatic. While there isn’t too much killing, there are some great visuals.

If that’s not your fancy you should pick up an upcoming book that Comic Industry Big Shot Ben Morse told us about in his Wizard debut; Villains United. It’s only a mini, but it has some bad guys hell bent on revenge after what happened in Identity Crisis. I’m certainly looking forward to it.

Back to the Suicide Squad, I just don’t know if it could be viable at this point. The last book flopped, with an admittedly poor premise. I don’t really think that an ongoing book could work in the current climate of the DCU. Think about it like this; the original title coexisted with the JLI. I don’t think that it’s reasonable to think that the Suicide Squad could coexist with the “Big Seven” JLA, the JSA, Justice League Elite, Teen Titans, and Outsiders.

The idea of covert ops was neat in the late 80’s, what with the revelation that the C.I.A. was selling crack. But in the mid 00’s were Bin Laden can’t be found it’s just not quite as believable.

That said, if DC got a strong writer it could really take off. I’m thinking that Azzarello would do a good job with a shot at the Suicide Squad. Oddly enough I’d also give a Mark Millar Suicide Squad book a try, given his characterization of villains in Wanted.

Tim, is the Suicide Squad a viable concept, and if so, who do you want writing it?

If it was once a viable concept, it can be again, provided you find the right writer. In this case, the fans of Suicide Squad are many and there are more than a few professionals aching to give it a whirl. Frequently mentioned writer Geoff Johns, for example, loves the original series and I am pretty sure that he can write damn near any title.

The other possibility might be Christos Gage, the current writer of the Deadshot mini. He too is a big Suicide Squad fan and has proven himself to have a great hold of what makes Floyd tick. So why wouldn’t he be able to do the same with the rest of ‘Shot’s cohors,

The final choice would be me. I’d be willing to give it a shot.

Sandmatt, do you have a question about a pretty stand up individual?

Lex Luthor: Is this still that cloned son of his with his brain in it that was around during the Death of Superman or is it the original. I ask because in that he had a full head of long ginger hair, but now he’s bald again.

Also how did the clone thing come about? And why does he now look like the original Luthor?

From the 3/27/03 column
Y’know I have often wondered what happened myself. I mean how could an incarcerated, sickly clone rise to the position of Head of State? Very simple: using magic and technology. You know about Lex’s deal with Neron (during Underworld Unleashed Neron went around offering heroes and villains their greatest desire in exchange for their souls. This is how we got Killer Moth became Charaxis and Blockbuster gained intelligence.) After Lex became healthy he then put a clone of himself in police custody. Once the clone stood trial for the crimes in Metropolis, Lex entered the courtroom and “proved” his innocence. Exonerated, Lex stabilized his empire and made his way to the White House.

I stand by that statement.

The clone thing came about because he was dying from cancer on account of that kryptonite signet ring that he wore. So Lex faked his death, and had a nice young body cloned for himself, a body full of hair, and a bit taller.

Then he passed himself off as his own illegitimate son, and retook his empire. But then the clone plague hit and he got all sickly. He tried to destroy Metropolis and was arrested. Which brings us to the first part of the answer.

Tim, did you vote for Lex?

Of course not. Comics aren’t real, silly. It’s not like playing Jumanji.

Ryan Albrecht, do you have a question that causes me to ponder?

Who do you think are the top 3 characters that are not being used to the best of their abilities in the DCU?

Right now my top three underused characters would be Black Lightning, Cameron Chase, and Chronos. But that’s at this very moment.

I’d really like to see Chase make her way though the DCU. Look at the success that Powers has, now imagine that set in the DCU. Chase left so many unanswered questions; how did Mr. Bones get to the DEO? What was the extent of her ability? Could she and her sister get past their problems?

While the current Manhunter walks a very similar path (woman, in law enforcement, thrust into the costumed life) Chase’s strength lies in her versatility. For instance she could pop up in Opal City to give us Starman fans a glimpse at one of our favorite haunts. I’m sure that the DEO would be very interested in what’s going on in Coast City at the moment. Plus she could investigate the death of John Law in Bludhaven, and find out that he didn’t really die (we should be so lucky.)

I’m just saying that it’d be nice to have a view of the DCU from the perspective of a “common (wo)man.”

Chronos was an amazing experiment that didn’t have a chance to succeed. Unlike certain other universes, the DCU’s history is rich with characters from the distant past the far future. Chronos was a chance to explore that.

Chronos is a guy who can travel through time at whim. How cool is that? He could unravel the mystery of how Superman has encountered multiple versions of the Legion of Super Heroes. He could also provide an explanation for how Jonah Hex got from the future to back to the past.

Chronos as a character was “eh,” but as a concept it was amazing. I’d like to see more of the Justice Experience, and Chronos could have given us that. He could also go back to JLA: Year One so we could find out who those rookies teamed up with, since it wasn’t the Doom Patrol.

Lastly I’m going to go with Black Lightning. This guy needs to get out into the spotlight. He’s really adrift and he’s got to get out of Judd Winick’s hands.

A Black Lightning title could clear up exactly where Thunder fits in, continuity wise. It could also give him a shot at redemption after he murdered a guy in cold blood over in Green Arrow.

And would it really be that bad to have DC’s first Black hero in his own book again? He could team up with his old Outsiders buddies or have a nice father/daughter team up. How does he adjust to life after being part of Lex’s cabinet? I want to know.

So there you have it. Chase, Chronos and Black Lightning are the characters that I’d like to see used more in the DCU, but specifically, given their own books.

Tim, what do you think about my picks?

Interesting, diverse choices. I can see your points on each of them. I’m not sure I would choose the same, but certainly Chase would be in my top ten at the least. You managed to get me interested in Chronos’s title which I never was before (hence it is one of the few short-lived DC series I don’t own), so kudos on that. Finally, I have no problem with Black Lightning returning to the forefront, I just wished he’d get a better name to do it beforehand. There is no such phenomenon as “black” lightning, so it is obvious that the name is a race thing. That kind of Mickey Mouse naming is unnecessary and a little bit disappointing these days. So, if he can ditch that alter ego for a new one, then I will fully support his comeback tour.

Soak1313, got a query for the column?

Ok I know I asked you this before about the teen titans, but the one girl called batwoman/flamebird/bette kane seems to have a history with robin. What is the history?

This poses a serious question; can it be history if it hasn’t happened yet? Y’see in that whole adventure with the “Titans of Tomorrow” was set in the future.

As it stands right now, Bette Kane doesn’t have a history with Tim, she’s got one with Dick Grayson. She became a “hero” to get his attention. In fact the emphasis was more on “getting his attention” than “being a hero.”

Now perhaps it was just the costume, because in our glimpse of the future we see that she and Tim do get involved at some point in our future. Not only do they get involved, but he cares so much for her that he makes a deal with Ra’s al Ghul to use a Lazarus Pit to bring her back to life when Duela Dent kills her.

So “yes” they do have a history, it just hasn’t happened yet. Personally I’m waiting for the Starfire/Tim Drake hook up.

Tim, you know Geoff Johns, any idea when either hook up is going to take place?

Well, Titans Tomorrow’s future has been derailed so don’t hold your breath on that.

As for Starfire…ugh…that’s just creepy.

Sadly we’ve come to the end of another column. But don’t fret, we’ll continue the witty banter over at Forum where you can ask your question or offer your thoughts on this week’s column. As usual, I’m always accepting email feedback/questions as well.

Speaking of which, my question for you this week; What Comic Book Movie are you anticipating the most this year?

“I’m way past tense/I’m borderline crazy.”