Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I’m still exhausted from the OscarsÃ?®. What a whirlwind affair. I thought that Chris Rock did a fine job as host. I was dismayed that Spider-Man 2 didn’t win more, but what are you going to do? Tim any thoughts on OscarÃ?® night?

I would agree with your assessment of Mr. Rock. He was no Steve Martin, but hey, who is? Too bad about Sean Penn lacking a sense of humor.

As for the Oscars themselves, eh. I got drubbed in the annual Oscar poll I do with Ben, his mom, Jamie Hatton, and several friends from college. I’ve finished second every year since we started, but this year…well, let’s just say, not so much. It was very depressing, but I think I’m good now.

Before we go any further, let me tell you about what I had to endure last week. I went to my new comic shop, this the first week I actually had a “pull box.” The problem was that FedEx was late. I got to the shop before 2pm, no comics. I spent some time in the surrounding shopping center but not enough. I went back, the comics still haven’t arrived.

By this point I’m sure they are certainly en route. I decide to have a seat in the gaming area. As I sit there eventually I begin to hear stereotypical discussions you would expect to hear at a shop like that; “Star Trek vs Star Wars”, “Why X-Books Rock.”

Now despite what this column may lead you to believe, I don’t hang out at comic shops. Honestly, I rarely talk about comics. I buy my books and go on with my day. But last Wednesday, I was too stubborn to leave without my books.

Thus I got drawn into various conversations, mostly defending the honor of the DCU (surprise). What was funny was how they thought they could disparage the DCU. Yadda, yadda, yadda, hours later I left the shop comic-less I did manage to garner DC some respect.

Comics did come in Thursday. Tim have you ever had an experience like that?

I think every comic fan does. It just feels awful when, eventually, you have to throw in the towel and admit that they just aren’t coming. You feel wrong, somehow.

Thankfully, my man Wayne never lets me down like that.

Let’s Link!

Music

Games

Movies

TV

Figures

Sports

And the grand return of Moodspins!

Nexus’ own John Babos is stirring up some debate over on the Forums. Check it out and voice your opinions on a variety of topics.

Yeah, the amount of news articles that John has been posting later actually leads me to believe that he’s after my DCNV gig. All I have to say is, “You better not be, John, because you are not ready to reap this whirlwind.”

What I (Finally) Read Last Week

Human Target #19 – I know that Tom was going to make an appearance, eventually. He was creepy in the original mini and this is even worse here. I’m worried about Chris.

You can check out my review here if you are so inclined.

Trigger #3 – I wish more people were reading this book. I love how the art perfectly matches the story, in tone.

Green Lantern: Rebirth #4 – Fanboy-tastic.

Seven Soldiers of Victory #0 – This book has been getting bashed on our forums, but I loved it. I love J.H. Willams art. The story wasn’t that difficult to follow. The attention to DCU history was cool (particularly the acknowledgement of James Robinson’s work on Starman). Tim I know you enjoyed it as well. What did we see that others didn’t?

Well, it is definitely different in terms of tone and I imagine that was off-putting to many people. Plus, it is not a complete story and it is unclear how exactly it fits into the rest of this massive project, so having either of those expectations probably didn’t help. For me, I just really enjoyed it for what it was and am definitely psyched for the rest of the series.

Y The Last Man #31 – Great as always. I’m glad that we’re going to get a look at the world. It was kind of nice to see 355 catch a bad one, as it brings her down a notch.

Solo #3 – I wasn’t really a fan of Pope’s work before this issue, but now I’ve learned a new appreciation for it. This series has yet to disappoint, which is odd for a anthology.

Richard Dragon #10 – I wish this book would end on a high note, but these last two issues (storywise) didn’t do too much for me. I’m a fan of Dixon, but this book seems to have lost it’s magic.

I could not agree more. And where is McDaniel?!

Outsiders #21 – Batman and Nightwing antagonizing each other. Winick really nailed this one. And the reveal at the end was one that I didn’t see coming.

Batman #637 – Batman and Nightwing teaming up with each other. Winick really nailed this one. And the reveal at the end was one that I didn’t see coming.

This is shaping up to be my favorite surprise book of the new year. After the Scarebeast arc, I had all but written off Winick on Batman. Glad I gave him another shot.

Nightwing #104 – Batgirl and Nightwing teaming up to paint Gotham red. Winick Dixon really nailed this one. And the cliffhanger at the end was one that I didn’t see coming. But I’m tired of “Nightwing Year One – Guest Starring…” That is annoying me.

Flash #219 – Zoom hasn’t been this creepy in awhile. I liked how Wally was waiting for Zoom to strike at Linda, that was a nice touch that rang true.

Hellblazer #205 – Read my review.

Legion of Super Heroes #3 Read my review.


Coren, do you want to start off the columns theme?

Superman’s gone through a bunch of changes over time. Died, came back, etc. I know this has affected his powers as well.

So, over time, how have the Man of Steel’s powers changed? What did he start with? Is he overall stronger or weaker today than the first issues? And should he really be able to no-sell a magical hammer, even if it is used by someone outside the DC Universe?

Well back in the day, and by “back in the day” I mean Action Comics #1 Superman wasn’t as “Super.” He could run faster than a locomotive. He could leap tall buildings in a single bound (or 1/8th of a mile). And nothing short of an exploding shell could pierce his body. That last bit of trivia could explain why Supes used to sport sandals. (umm…how exactly does it explain sandals?) He was also pretty strong.

As time progressed he became more and more powerful. By the time WWII ended Superman could shrug off an atomic bomb. When the 1950’s rolled around Superman was getting powers left and right, whenever a writer wanted them in the story.

During the Silver Age, Superman could move planets. He was almost too powerful to have any actual threats. I mean even Superman’s costume was invulnerable, how outlandish is that? (He can move planets, but the costume is what strikes you as outlandish? Interesting.)

This is why when Superman was relaunched in 1986, he was depowered. He was still invulnerable, but could be stunned and get the wind knocked out of him. He wasn’t as fast or as strong as he was during the Silver Age. And his costume could would look worse for the wear again (but we’ll go deeper into this aspect later in the column.)

As is stands right now, Superman is way stronger than he was in his first appearance but not as insanely powerful as he was during the Silver Age.

Tim, remember that one time I tried to shoot you with an exploding shell?

Do I ever! You ruined my favorite shirt. And all because I said, “I guess I just don’t really get the big deal about the Focus books.” Imagine if I had insulted Fallen Angel.


Coren want to go again?

What was the deal with Superman Red and Blue? Has that happened more than once (I think that it has)?

What about Electric Superman?

(Since they’re tied to each other, I’ll treat them as one question)

Ah, the infamous Superman Red and Superman Blue. Well I suppose we should start at the beginning.

Way back in Superman #162 there was this machine. It was called the Brain Evolution Machine. Pretty self-explanatory right? Well this machine was powered by Kryptonite, thus when Superman came in contact with it he split into two beings; Superman Red and Superman Blue.

They are just like the regular Superman, only Superman Red is wearing a red Superman costume and the Superman Blue is wearing a blue Superman outfit. At that point the two Supermen go about making the world a perfect place. They end hunger and cure disease. They make the world great place to live in. The End.

This was of course one of those wacky Silver Age “Imaginary Stories” that never really happened, at least in continuity anyway.

While the original one was goofy, the modern one may have been worse. After all at least the original one was a mere single issue. The modern one was a full on storyline.

The Modern Superman Red/Superman Blue

Y’see (not so) way back in Superman #123 Superman was dramatically changed. He looked just like this. Superman had all of these new powers;

Superman could teleport. This is how he “flew” or got from place to place.

Superman had all sorts of new nifty vision powers. He could see infared. Not only could he view wavelengths he was also able to view radiation and spectrums. Whatever that means.

Superman could also manifest a solid energy field. This is how he was able to actually “touch” things.

Superman was also able to manipulate electrons. This was shown in his ability to increase mass, alter appearance and magnetize objects.

Superman could also interface directly with computers. He was able to gain all the data from a computer, just by passing his hand through it.

Superman could generate energy and even create energy duplicates of himself. Of course this leads us naturally to…Superman Blue.

While being attacked by Toyman and (the evil) Cyborg, Superman was split in two; Superman Red and Superman Blue. They both had the same powers and both could become Clark Kent(s?). Superman Red was more temperamental and carefree of the two, while Superman Blue was more thoughtful and caring.

The explaniation for Superman becoming an energy being was that when he recharged after Final Night he overloaded his solar energy absorbing cells. His body responded to the influx of energy by becoming energy to accomadate the excess energy.

Superman became whole again (and returned to his normal duds) after both Superman Blue and Superman Red were willing to sacrifice themselves to stop the Millennium Giants.

Ugh, I hope this is as close as DC gets to a Clone Saga. Tim which is worse; Superman Red/Blue or The Clone Saga?

Wow, if that isn’t a competition in which no fan is the winner.

However, having to choose, I’d say the Clone Saga wins out. Red/Blue was dumb, but it was over relatively quickly and was relatively harmless. The Clone Saga was longer, far more insulting to the fans, and did much more damage to the Spider-Man titles than Red/Blue ever came close to. That being said, Red/Blue still sucks huge.


Nexus’ John Babos got a related question?

I know that Supes’ cape could tear when Byrne relaunched the franchise in the mid-1980s, but I thought his costume became indestructible within the last 10 years. Has that changes? The reason I ask is because of the John Byrne cover that kicks off his return to Action Comics.

I hadn’t been reading Superman until the current teams took over the books. But I know that when Superman died his costume was still normal material. I know that during Our World’s At War (based on what I could find) his cape was still vulnerable, which leads me to believe that his uniform was too. I was actually flipping through Lee’s work on Superman and I saw that his costume was damaged there too. So I’m betting that Superman’s costume was remained destructible during the entire time.

Wow, imagine that! Continuity in a Superman comic? Go figure.

Tim, don’t you have some indestructible articles of clothing?

Bah…Un Gajje has no need for pants! Indestructible or otherwise.

Also, I would like to just a put in a word here edgewise. I cannot remember where this notation comes from, but I do recall Superman informing someone that there is a sort of protection aura in the immediate area around his body. This is why his cape can get tore up with a decent amount of effort while his costume takes considerably more. It is also why he can fly with people, protect them with his body from explosions, etc. Not sure if that is current continuity or not, but I do know that that exchange has taken place. If it is current, that could be where some of the confusion about an “indestructible costume” may be coming from.


Nalydpsycho, have you got a Kal related question?

Has there ever been a Lois Lane origin story?

That’s a tricky question. How can a normal person have an “origin story?”

World of Metropolis shed some light on how she began her career with the Daily Planet, particularly issue #2. Some other notable Lois Lane flashbacks occurred in Action Comics #597 and of course the Man of Steel mini that revamped the Superman franchise.

Tim, would you read Lois Lane: Year One?

Well, Superman’s not my thing, so no. I also would not read a Perry White Year One, a Jimmy Olsen Year One or a Krypto Year One, so it is not a sexist or specist thing.


Want to follow up Nalydpsycho?

Luthor could find out Supes secret ID, and tear him down, without any big problems. The question is, could it be done without being a Born Again rip-off?

That idea is kind of happening right now. Over in Adventures of Superman it looks like Lex knows that Superman is Clark and is trying to destroy him via Ruin, who may or may not be Pete Ross.

As for your actual question about ripping off Born Again, I think it could be done. The recent storyline over in Nightwing (that culminated with #100) had shades of Born Again but I think it was distinct enough to set it apart. And those two tale featured very similar main characters.

I don’t even know if it’s possible to do Superman “dark and gritty.” I think that if something happened to someone that Kal loved he’s probably redouble his efforts across the globe to make sure that it never happened to anyone else. Kind of like Batman, with super powers and not limited to one city.

He’d be more brooding and withdrawn, and would certainly abandon his secret identity of Clark Kent, but Superman would still be a beacon of hope for the world.

Tim what are your thoughts on this question?

While I don’t necessarily subscribe to the “all the stories have already been told” maxim, I do believe that it is not so much the plot as the way you tell it. Thus, it is entirely possible to do an arc where Lex Luthor finds out Supes’s true identity and proceeds to tear apart his life. I would prefer never see it as I think it would suck a lot of the drama out of the LL/Superman faceoff because Luthor would so clearly have the advantage in the wake of such an event.

But yes, such a story could be told and not be a rip off of Born Again.


Cheeze do you have a Super Question?

I can remember a few years back that Lex had some superman related being imprisoned and under scientific study. He may have been called Caleb, but not really sure. I also think he was originally in an elseworlds story and bought over to the DC continuity proper. What was the story with this and how did it end, if at all?

Sorry, but I’m drawing a blank. I’ve looked everywhere for the answer to this. I’ve googled various combinations of “held captive” “imprisoned” “Lex Luthor” and “Superman”. I’ve come up with nada.

Thus any of you readers know what Cheeze is referring to just drop me a line and I’ll pass the word on. And Cheeze if you can come up with anything else that you remember, I’m sure it’d help me finding out more.

Tim does this story ring any bells with you?

Not a one. Sorry.


Colin, do you have a question?

Superman is muy powerful with a yellow sun, and weak with a red sun. Has it ever happened that he traveled to another planet and had the sun give him completely different powers? Like morphing powers or something? I thought it would be a cool idea for a Superman series to be based on him going from planet to planet and each planet would feature new powers for Clark.

Colin, you would have loved the Silver Age. Not just because it was a fun time, but also because they answered your question.

Here is a list of some suns Superman has encountered.

Blue Suns and White Suns make Kal more powerful (stronger, faster). But if your planet orbits a blue sun, you find yellow sun toxic. (Adventure Comics #315).

Orange Suns suns have no real affect on Superman’s powers.

As one would expect Green Suns cause Kal to lose his powers. (Superman #155)

Purple Suns give Superman mind over matter powers (Action Comics #532).

Damn me and my lack of imagination; I can’t think of any more colors.

Since we’re on the topic of how various radiations affect Superman and the wacky Silver Age, why not revisit the variety of Kryptonites around back then?

Green kryptonite – kills Kryptonians.

Anti-Kryptonite – kills non-powered Kryptonians.

X-Kryptonite – gives temporary powers to human beings.

Red Kryptonite – unpredictable. It made Superman into a giant, a dragon, a thief, a human ant, a tiny being, and an amnesiac among other things.

White Kryptonite – kills plant life.

Blue Kryptonite – kills Bizarro Supermen.

Gold Kryptonite – Takes a Kryptonians powers away, permanently.

Jewel Kryptonite – Increases the mental power of Phantom Zone prisoners.

Tim, which is wackier, different colored suns or different colored kryptonite?

Both are equally wacky, but the different colored suns is a story element that would be difficult to use very often (Supes could never be at home). Kryptonite, on the other hand, can be anywhere and everywhere on earth it seems. Thus, I’ll give the nod to the suns on being the preferable of the two story devices.

Also, in modern continuity, just so all of you know, Red K is synthetic and spikes Superman’s powers off the charts, often exceeding his control. It also, apparently, makes his translucent. It showed up in The Tower of Babel arc in JLA, which was the first arc of Waid’s writing run and the last arc of Porter’s penciling run.


George Metcalf, how about a battle question?

Superman v. Super Skrull

I don’t know much about Super Skrull, but isn’t he just a slim Amazo? Does Super Skrull have magic powers? Nope. Does he have kryptonite? Nope. He does have the hypnotic vision thing, but I don’t think that’s enough to bet Superman. I’m saying Superman wins.

Tim, how about you?

I’d be curious what inspired the question in the first place, it is one of the more unique “who would wins” I think I’ve heard of.

Oh, and the Man of Steel puts him away, lickety-split.


Um does anyone else have any questions concerning Kryptonians? Well I guess it’s time to move on.

JohnBritton care to change the direction of the column?

Why did James Robinson leave us? Will he ever come back?

Remember a few months ago when we were talking about the respect that comic book writers get? Well this is a prime example.

James Robinson left because he wanted to try the “Hollywood thing.” He wrote the screenplay for Cyber Bandits. He also wrote and directed Comic Book Villains (which I recommend watching.) And I’m sure that many fans of comic books went to see The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which he adapted for the big screen.

Recently his name has popped up as the writer of the upcoming Hot Wheels movie. I’ll admit this has me curious. I’m skeptical of a movie based on a children’s toy, but if anyone can make it worth watching, it would be James Robinson.

Good news is that over on the thread devoted to DC: The New Frontier James Robinson popped up. Not only did he gush about what a great job Darwyn Cooke did on the book, but he also said that it embodied the spirit of what he wanted to with his oft rumored sequel to The Golden Age.

Furthermore he said that The New Frontier had inspired him to return to comics. However this was roughly a year ago, on the old DC Boards. I’ve not heard anything more about it. But some of the rumored projects were a trip to the Orient with Jack Knight and the origin of the Shade revealed.

I too hope that James returns, and preferably to the DCU. His work is still ranks among my favorites.

Don’t you miss James Robinson?

Sure, if for no other reason than if he was writing comics, he wouldn’t have written that Gentlemen script.

I would say that I think his departure did not necessarily have anything to do with respect and, possibly, everything to have to do with making a better living. Screenwriters makes more than comic writers and can do so while writing under much easier deadlines. I love comics, but I can see the attraction there.

I wouldn’t be holding my breath on his return though. At the recent Emerald Con one of the panelists, when asked about Robinson, said that he was expected to return any time soon. Sorry.


JohnBritton, do you have another question?

Who the heck are the current Hawk and Dove? It must be somebody, right? Are they both women now?

Ok, this is kind of tricky. There is a current team of Hawk & Dove, but then there is also a current solo character Dove.

Let’s start with the current Dove then go on to the current Hawk & Dove team.

From the 2/24/04 column;

Dove II was Dawn Granger. She got her powers when Dove I lost his. She hooked up with Hawk they had a career, and then Monarch killed her. She first appeared in the Hawk & Dove mini series #1(drawn by Rob Liefield!) She died in Armageddon 2001 #2.

Or so we thought. Apparently she wasn’t dead, she was just beaten up. See Mordu drove Hank crazy making him become Monarch by making it look like Dove, the love of his life (more on that later) was killed. But she wasn’t. In fact she was full of life, as she was carrying Hawk’s baby. (That baby got the soul of Hector Hall, and became Dr. Fate.)

Dove III was/is this guy named Wiley Wolverman. He was part of a government program when he was a kid. Y’know the old story; given a mysterious drug, later they get powers. In his case he got wings that come out of his back whenever he wants. He can also use a sonic shriek. And last but not least when he’s with his partner he has more strength and endurance. He also appeared in Genesis #2.

Hawk II is Sasha Martens, she was a military brat. She had leukemia. But the same government project that Wiley was in cured her. The reason that she and Wiley were the only subjects that took to the project was because of the “Godwave” from Genesis. She had the same powers as Wiley. She first appeared in Genesis #2.

Ok, Tim, now I tried this out with Ben when he was doing the column. Y’know how we had the whole “M & B” going on because that first arc on Superman/Batman was so fun? Anyway I suggest if we ever tired of that we could to the “Hawk & Dove” motif with our state birds. Are you down?

Wait, that was supposed to be fun? Oh…I guess I missed that.

So, with this idea of yours, I’d call you Mountain Bluebird and you’d call me Robin? Well, I’ll try anything once.


Sadly, we’ve come to the end of another column. I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and maybe even learned something new. Be sure to send me your questions or post them on the Forums. Y’all are a vital part of the column and your feedback is always welcome.

My question to you this week; Which of the “big” miniseries (Day of Vengence, Villians United, etc) are you looking forward to the most?

Hey, you stole that from the DCNV thread! It’s cool though, Mountain Bluebird, it’s cool.

“Watching drops of rain on my window pane (empty streets)”

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