Who's Who in the DCU

Man, I worked so much this past weekend that I’m still exhausted. I hate Valentines Day, and not just because I’m a bitter jaded guy who doesn’t believe in “love.” Tim, care to rub my nose in it by providing an itemized expenditure report of you Valentines Day with Janelle?

For you Mathan…why not?

I picked her up at the train station Friday night, we went out to dinner, and then back to La Hacienda for a homemade Mint Chocolate Mousse (made by the one, the only, UN GAJJE!!!) and a taped episode of The OC (Janelle, she loves the sun streaked strife).

On Saturday, we took it easy during the day, taking time to drop in on my Gram (Grandma for you non-blue bloods) for her 80th. Then, at night, we were off to Azul’s in West Hartford for some four star seafood cuisine, an excellent bottle of wine, and a masterful dessert. Anyone in the area, I highly recommend the restaurant if you are independently wealthy and/or looking to drive yourself into bankruptcy with one meal.

After dinner it was off to historic Hall in Suffield, CT for the play Guilty Conscience. It tells the darkly humorous story of a lawyer plotting his wife’s demise (what can I say…we have a weird sense of humor). That brief plot synopsis hardly gives you a true idea of the show, but to go any more in-depth would spoil its plot twists. If you are a Nutmegger like myself and have an evening to kill, this is a fine way to do it.

There were also 3 cards, 3 letters, and a potted tulip plant along the way.

Janelle, in return, bought me a most spectacular Citizen watch. When the people scream out for me to put my rolie in the sky and wave it side to side, you best believe I will. And I might even consider a holla at my dawg as a follow up.

There…nose sufficiently rubbed?

Let’s just jump straight to”¦

Links

Music has shameful albums and Grammy recaps!

TV has plenty of thoughts on “reality.”

Movies has me excited about upcoming comic flicks.

Figures proves that (thankfully) there is no age limit for hobbies

Games is really tempting me.

Sports has NHL news.

Tim, anything you care to link?

From VH1’s Best Week Ever, comes Dutch boy singing

From, oh, everywhere on the net, X-Men Continuity

Sure, Mathan knows all about DC’s past, but you too can be an expert on DC’s future simply by taking a look at May’s DC Solicitations

What I Read Last Week

Nightwing #103 Read my review.

Do it! Or I swear to God…

Batman: The Man Who Laughs – Wow. This was even better than I expected.

Vimanarama #1 – Pure fun. This was a genuine treat to read. I recommend this book.

Aquaman #27 – This is reason enough for you to keep an eye on all lost body parts. Seriously.

JLA #111 – Tim, you should really give this book another shot. I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would. Garney’s art does detract a bit, but it’s still a solid effort.

I’m sorry Mathan, but I like my break ups clean. Crawling back just complicates things.

Breach #2 – Tim, you were so right about The Herdsman. He’s great. I really hope he returns. Coolest Foe in awhile.

Yes. I was right, wasn’t I?

Action Comics #824 – As much as I loathed Austen’s storyline, I wish he had finished it out. I would have liked to see how he would have ended things. But Finn does a fine job of mimicking Austen’s writing style, and that’s not really a good thing.

Outsiders #20 – Creepy. Way creepy. And am I the only one who’s upset that “Frag” no longer refers to the hero, but the villain? Boo.

JSA #70 – Geoff, accept my apology for doubting that you’d address Jakeem’s dreds. This is was a stellar read as always, but didja have to kill Chronos? (I’m still trying to figure out how he was killed since he was an anomaly.)

Bloodhound #8 – I liked this book more than you did Tim. I’m really sorry it’s canceled.

Oh, I still love the book and am sad about it being cancelled, don’t get me wrong. I just thought this issue was lacking.

Green Arrow #47 Read my review.

Angeltown #4 Read my review.


Question Time!

Colin, do you have a question to start the column?

How is the new Legion of Super Heroes series? Is it worth picking up?

I happen to love the current Legion title. The first issue was solid, but the second one really blew me away. I was completely slain by the conflict between Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl. It was so logical, that I can’t believe that I’d never seen it before.

The idea that Brainiac 5 would be frustrated and even a bit envious of Dream Girl, because while he comes to his conclusions via intellect and calculations, she comes to the same conclusions though her honed natural ability. It was genius.

The first issue was a very good first issue, but it disappointed the “Legion fan” within me. It was a bit too heavy on the “teenage rebellion” theme. But the second issue was more focused on the characters and was more enjoyable.

Legion fans should take heart that the franchise is in good hands, and while they shouldn’t expect the same old Legion that they know and love, they shouldn’t be afraid to try new things.

Tim, have you given Legion a try and don’t you have some news on Legion #1?

I do indeed have news. You can check out it here if you’d like (and you should like…I put alot of work in that damn column to make you people happy. YOU PEOPLE!!!). However, if you hate me, suffice to say the first issue of Legion sold out. When the hell did that last happen?

I did give it a try. It was good, but not enough to convince me to take Legion off of the “like, but will never actually buy” list. I also find myself longing for President Ras al Ghul. I loved that idea.


Bill Doughty, do you have a Legion related question?

What was the deal with Legion trainee Laurel Kent? I know that she was supposed to be a descendent of Superman, and that at one point she was shot (with a Green K bullet, no less) by someone trying to off descendents of the JLA, but didn’t it turn out that she wasn’t really who everyone thought she was? Like a robot or something?

Laurel Kent lived in the 30th Century, back when the Legion existed in the 30th Century, (more specifically, two relaunches ago.) She was a cadet at the Legion Academy, where she hoped to join the Legion someday. Since she was a descendent of Superman she had powers like his, only greatly diminished. She even sported a nifty poncho, with the “S” shield on it.

She was indeed shot with a Green K bullet, by some assassins sent to kill JLA descendants in the 30th Century, by Professor Ivo. Yup, Ivo is immortal and still lived in the 30th Century, and was still trying to get his revenge on the JLA, even it if meant killing their descendants.

But lo and behold in 1988, as part of the Millennium event, it turns out that Laurel Kent is”¦a Manhunter. She revealed herself so that she could complete her goal. But since most of the Millennium action took place a millennium earlier, she was too late. When she realized that her mission had failed, she self-destructed.

But don’t worry, as a result of Zero Hour and the current Legion title, that stuff is no longer in continuity, so feel free to disregard it.

Tim, have you ever been a Legion fan?

Sort of. See my “like, but will never actually buy” response above.


Joshua Hoskins, want to keep the Legion Lovefest going?

The Wanderers. I remember them from some old issues of LSH, but it appears they underwent a revamp. Any details on what happened during the revamp.

The original Wanderers were a superhero team in the 30th Century. If the Legion were the JLA, then the Wanderers would be the Ultramarines. They were a smaller bunch of heroes who were a bit more mobile.

The original team consisted of Celebrand, Quantum Queen, Elvo, Immorto, Dartalg, Psyche and Orintho. One day they went to investigate a lead about the offspring of clones. It seems that when clones reproduce, that offspring is mutated into savage “killing machines.”

And then they vanished.

Revamp Time

It turns out they were killed by the children of a renegade Controller named Clonus and his cloned human wife. Clonus felt badly about how things turned out and cloned the Wanderers. Well, all of them except Celebrand who was didn’t have enough material to clone.

Some of them decided to change their names. Immorto became Re-Animage, Orintho became Aviax, Dartalg became Dartalon and Elvo became Elvar. The two ladies kept their names.

Sadly since they were clones they couldn’t procreate. And to quote Who’s Who they were “true wanderers.”

Fourtunately a couple of 31st Century retcons have wiped their slate clean, and spared them their childless fate.

Tim, I heard a terrible rumor that when Fanboys procreate they immediately try to bag and board their offspring. Can you confirm this?

I don’t know if they bag and board them. I couldn’t say if they name their children things like Blue Beetle or Maxwell Lord or Shade. I’m just saying I can’t watch fanboys all the time.

By the by, I do know someone who named their daughter Azrael. Although they spell her name Azrielle. And neither of them read comics. However, they did hear Tim and I talk about Azrael and thought “it sounded pretty.” And now they have the avenging angel of death for a daughter.

Excellent, no?


John Macllachlan is there something on your mind?

Are there ‘rules’ that writers must follow when changing characters? What I mean is does someone have to check with DC to see if it is alright to just change Firestorm even though it will effect other books like JLA? The same goes for idea like Wolverine getting the metal ripped out of him in X-men. Can the X-men writers just do this or do they need to talk it over with the Wolverine solo series writers first? The number of examples is endless but the idea is the same. Any thoughts?

Yes there are rules that writers must adhere to. The “someone” who does all the checking is the Editor (or possibly the Assistant Editor) they are the ones who make sure that every thing lines up.

Obviously no one is going to be using Jason Todd, but anyone who does use Tim Drake has to know to not use Jack Drake, because he’s dead.

I think a prime example of this would be would be when Walter West took over for Wally West a few years back. All throughout the DCU writers “got the memo” that Wally was off limits and they could only use Walter, the Dark Flash.

Thus in Titans and JLA, they used Dark Flash, or had the editor’s box saying “this story takes place before Flash #XYZ.”

Or take the last issue of Adventures of Superman. Wonder Woman is featured in the book, but she’s not blind. Thus the Editor had a box saying “this issue took place prior to the events of Wonder Woman #DEF.”

Other examples include Electric Superman, AzBats, Mystic Aquaman and any of the Batman mega events (Cataclysm, No Man’s Land).

The Superman Editor has the final say over what can be done to Superman or any of his supporting cast members. So Lucy Lane isn’t going to show up in Green Arrow pregnant by Arsenal. Likewise Connor Hawke won’t die on the pages of Manhunter, unless the Green Arrow Editor gives the “ok.”

Whatever ideas the writes have must be mulled over by their editors first. No comic is released without the Editors two cents. Much like this column.

Tim, as an Editor, do you feel undervalued?

Nah, I’m just happy to live in your shadow.

Plus, I get to write my own stuff to so I don’t feel too constricted. Being just an editor with no creative outlet for yourself though I would imagine being rough.

On the other hand, as an editor, you almost never get blamed for things like story ideas or lack of continuity. The writers tend to take that hit. So you are kind of bulletproof.


Chaos, do you have a question about Starman?

Are there any stories about Starman’s history with his Aunt the Phantom Lady (errr… I guess that means Jack Starman’s aunt)

Sadly Jack and his Aunt, Sandra Knight didn’t really share any adventures. In fact the only comic books they shared appearances in were Starman Secret Files & Origins and Starman #73.

The second Phantom Lady, Dee Tyler made more appearances in Starman but she wasn’t related to Jack.

Tim, how do you like your Phantom Lady; Old School or Current?

Oh, who can choose?


Jerry Hizon, have you got a question on your mind?

Whatever happened to Hitman? Has he appeared since the end of his series?

I do believe that Hitman died. In the final issue of the title (#60) main characters were killed off. This had some fans calling Ennis a spoiled child who didn’t want to share (killing off his characters so no one else could play with them.)

But this is comics. Maybe Hitman is The Red Hood. Or perhaps he’s Hush. Perchance he’s the body that Batman is carrying on the cover of DC Countdown.

Tim is Hitman really dead?

Yes…

(But since this is comics, I do have to add this caveat.)

…for now


Vincent Ortega, is something plaguing you?

Do you have a list of issues numbers in the book Demon that the character Tommy Monaghan (Hitman) appeared in?

Hitman’s first appearance was in Demon Annual #2. Tommy went on to show up in Demon #43-45 before he got his own title, two years later.

Y’know Tim, I never really got into the whole Hitman phenomena. Can you sell me on it?

Sadly, I cannot. I never really got into the book myself. Maybe someday when DC gets around to TPBing, I’ll get around to reading it.

If you do want a sales pitch though, try on these two words: zombie animals.


Jerry, do you have a question about one of my favorite books out?

In Justice League Elite, is Wolfwood a new character or has he appeared before in another series?

He’s a brand new character and that’s what makes him so cool and mysterious. He’s like Wolverine, only with a lighter workload. We know squat about him. What are his motivations? What is the extent of his powers? What side is he on? Who did he vote for?

Does he brush and floss? Is he lactose intolerant? It’s 10pm, does he know where his children are? Does he know who let the dogs out?

Is he ambidextrous? Where was he on the night that Superman died? Did he enjoy Titans? How does he rank Planet of the Apes and its sequels? Can he explain what’s going on on Lost?

This guy is a completely blank slate. And that makes him very intriguing.

Tim, aren’t you intrigued by Wolfwood?

No, Mathan…no, I’m not. Not at all.


Apparently we’ve reached the Jerry Hizon part of the column;

Sorry to fire off another so quickly, but I just can’t contain my geekiness when I say the “Ultimatum” episode in Justice League Unlimited. It featured the Justice League facing off with the Ulti-Men, a group of young heroes based on the Hanna-Barbera Superfriends characters: The leader Wind Dragon is the Samurai analogue, LongShadow has Apache Chief’s powers, Juice is Black Vulcan’s update and the Wonder Twins are represented by Shifter and Downpour (where’s El Dorado?). They’re “managed” by Maxwell Lord, who’s reporting to Amanda Waller. Also involved with the group are Professor Hamilton and the CADMUS Project, and what made me fanboy all over is Waller’s mention of the Suicide Squad as a fail-safe measure against the Ulti-Men.

Anyway, is there by any chance these JLU characters will find their way in the DCU continuity? Harlequin did it. John Stewart reappeared in the comics with the success of the animated series.

There’s always a chance, but I don’t think that it’s too likely.

The Wonder Twins have already appeared in the DCU in both Young Justice and Extreme Justice. Black Vulcan is widely acknowledged as DC’s attempt to alter Black Lightning just enough to not pay royalties to Tony Isabella.

You are right to point out that characters have crossed over from cartoons to comic books. I just don’t think that those “Superfriends” really have a chance. If they couldn’t make it in the DCU before Crisis I don’t see how they can make it now.

And let’s face it, it’s been at least twenty years since any of these heroes have appeared in the cartoons. They are becoming more and more a distant memory in the minds of creators.

I’d also guess that many fanboys don’t really want them to crossover, because as cool as it was to watch Superfriends the nostalgia doesn’t cover how that cartoon helped shape superheroes in many non-comic fans eyes. The Wonder Twins and Aquaman are still punchlines as a result of their portrayals in that show.

So basically, I’m saying that if I were you I wouldn’t hold my breath while waiting for them to appear.

Tim, where do you stand on those characters joining the DCU?

Didn’t we kind of answer this one already?

Yes…yes we did. In this column here. To reiterate my point: no, please don’t bring them in. Besides, we already have an Apache Chief in the DCU. His name is Manitou Raven.


My Jerry sense is tingling;

Space Ghost has his own comic, any news if Adam Strange or any other
DCU cosmic vagabonds (Lobo?) will interact with him?

I hate to burst your bubble, but Space Ghost doesn’t really take place in the DCU. It’s just a book published by DC. So the likelihood of either of those characters showing up is slim to none.

However it should be pointed out that everything is possible with a Hoveround®.

Tim is it more likely that Adam Strange will show up in Space Ghost or that Ambush Bug will join the JSA?

I don’t know. I do know that I would sure as shooting buy myself about 10 copies of a book that had Space Ghost and Ambush Bug teaming up. Perhaps to stop the machinations of Goth (from that oh-so-excellent Titans series). But nah”¦that’s probably just hoping for too much.


Jerry this is your last one, I’m cutting you off;

What do you think if Andy Diggle used Lobo as one of the bounty hunters tasked to bring Adam Strange?

Honestly I hope not. I’m not really a fan of Lobo. I have his first miniseries, and I enjoyed his appearances in L.E.G.I.O.N. and J.L.I. and even Young Justice (ah Slobo, I hardly know you.)

But Lobo got played out and became very overused in the 90’s. So much so that I still don’t want to read anything with him in it. It’s like how many times can you frag a bastich?

That said, I can see why Diggle would utilize the character. A Lobo appearance would further cement this titles place in the DCU. We’ve already seen both The Omega Men and L.E.G.I..O.N. appear, and Lobo played roles in both books, so it could be that he’s leading up to a Lobo appearance.

The way I see it, Lobo appearances don’t really mean anything. Everything always ends up in a draw. Adam Strange doesn’t stand a chance to beat him, and the story will end up with one of three endings. 1) Adam Strange outsmarts Lobo, with Lobo vowing to even the score at a later date 2) Adam Strange and Lobo agree to put aside their differences to fight a greater menace, with Lobo learning to respect Adam Strange or 3) Adam Strange challenges Lobo to a drink off, Lobo wins, but gives Strange his respect for drinking more than any other “earther.”

Lobo is a clichéd, predictable character. And he’s really not so different from Superman in that regard, he’s just the negative image of Superman.

Tim, was I too hard on Lobo?

Felt just right to me.


George can you please wrestle the column from the grips of Jerry?

Daredevil v. Batman, who wins?

This one is easy; Batman. Personally I’m of the mind that Batman could take Daredevil in a straight up physical brawl, but the fact that Daredevil’s blind is going to make it that much quicker.

Whether sooner or later, Batman is going to use a flare, and it’s not going to have an effect on Daredevil, which is going clue Bats into the fact that Matty can’t see. Daredevil might also give away his radar sense, by avoiding something he shouldn’t be able to, which will give Batman a hint that something is special about his opponent.

Let’s not forget that Batman’s got his nifty little belt, full of helpful tools. And isn’t an enhanced sense of smell really a liability against a gas attack?

It might be cool to watch and it would probably go a longer than most people think it would, but in the end Batman is going to be the guy left standing.

Tim who are you putting your money on in this bout?

Why you gotta ask me this? It’s like friggin’ Sophie’s Choice.

Anyway, I love me some DD, but I have to back Bats on this one. The fight would be long and brutal, but it comes down to this. DD can’t beat Captain America. Maybe one time out of ten DD would shock the world. Batman can do it about four or five times out of ten. So, in the end, a bloodied, bruised, and suitably humbled Bats drags DD over to the Batmobile by his horns. And then, on to the Batcave for medical attention for them both.


Now if only we had a question from a Comic Industry Big Shot. Why Ben Morse, I didn’t see you standing there. Want to close out the column?

I’ve been reading complete runs of stuff lately and my next one is going to be DC. I’ve narrowed the choices down to two: Starman or Nightwing. Each of you state your case…now.

Ooh tough one. I love both books and characters. Starman was a magnificent book and it ended on it’s own note. Nightwing occupies a neat corner of the Bat-verse but it’s not ended yet.

Both books have their selling points. Nightwing was the long awaited solo book for a much loved character, while Starman seamlessly used an original character provide a direct link between DC’s past, present and future. Both books featured fan favorite creators like Greg Land, Tony Harris, James Robinson, Chuck Dixon, and Scott McDaniel.

But I think that I’ve got to go with Starman. I fell in love with Jack Knight from the first time I picked up Starman Secret Files and Origins. From that moment on I was hooked. I eat, slept and breathed Starman. I even got the zodiac logo tattooed on my back.

Starman is about Jack Knight, the son of Golden Age Starman Ted Knight. After a family tragedy Jack reluctantly inherits the mantel of Starman and becomes the protector of Opal City, perhaps the greatest city in the DCU.

Opal is populated by many colorful characters, including; The Shade, who isn’t as evil as you’d think, and the O’Dares, a clan of policemen and sworn allies of Starman. Jack also runs up against various incarnations of The Mist and befriends Solomon Grundy.

Series creator James Robinson’s greatest feat may be managing to link every DC character named Starman into the mythos of this book, and that does included the blue skinned alien, Prince Gavyyn and Will Payton.

Robinson has a creative way of using “artist fill in” issues. When the regular artist needs a break, rather than having a fill in artist disrupt the story with a jarring difference in styles, he has a “Times Past” issue where Opal’s history or Starman’s legacy is filled in with stories set in the past. It’s also nice to see how toss away lines from the title’s first year end up playing huge roles before the end of the book.

Tony Harris and Peter Snejbjerg provided the lion’s share of the art for the run of the title. You can literally witness co creator Harris’ style evolve as the series progresses. Snejbjerg manages to put his own stamp on the title, making it his own, when he takes over.

So if you want to see the book that provided the template for Geoff John’s work on JSA and Hawkman pick up Starman. And if you get the chance read the individual issues as opposed to trades, because those letters pages are a joy.

Well, Mathan is right. Starman was an excellent book and a fine choice for you to read. However, I can hardly stand to NOT recommend Nightwing to such a diehard Titans fan as yourself.

The series got off with a bang under the guidance of writer Chuck Dixon and artist Scott McDaniel. It remains some of the best work of Dixon’s career and the first time McDaniel fully delivered on the promise of his earlier work.

McDaniel was followed by some very excellent in their own right artists including Greg Land and Patrick Zircher. On the writing side, Dixon eventually moved along and Devin Grayson came aboard, proving herself to be a worthy successor.

On the character side of things, Dixon made very sure not to render Dick Batman-lite, instead carving out a unique path for the former sidekick. Bludhaven was Gotham turned up to eleven and NW found himself facing crooked cops (include Soames, a man reborn as the psychotic villain Torque), untouchable crime lords (Blockbuster), an insane assortment of villainous lackeys (Lady Vic, Stallion, Brutale, Double Dare, and Shrike, to name a few), and an even more insane group of possible protégés (Nite Wing, Tarantula). Not only that, Dick has to juggle a crush from his building super, a budding romance with Barbara Gordon, neighbors who include the original Tarantula and the former Bat villain Amygdala, and his new job as a cop.

I won’t lie and tell you that every issue of Nightwing is a homerun. It isn’t. Dixon does seem to falter a bit towards the end of his run. However, the good far outweighs the bad.

More importantly, for a Titans fan such as yourself, this book represents a necessary chapter in the growth and evolution of Dick as a character. Starman is a great book that will be there for you when you get to it. However, the time for Nightwing is now!


Well, I’m beat and going to bed. I hope that everyone enjoyed this weeks’ column, or at least learned something new. Remember to post your feedback and/or questions over on The Forums. Or email me.

My question for you this week; Have you been disappointed by a book this year?

“Hunger hurts, but starving works, when it costs too much to love”

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