Who's Who in the DCU

Welcome back to your weekly jaunt through the DCU. As usual, I’m Mathan and along for the ride, as always, is Tim. Tim, how’s life been treating you?

What is it you hepcats say? “Livin’ large.” Yes. Well then, that would be me.

Well Tim, aren’t you pumped about the DC Direct Green Lantern Figures that come out this week? I think that once Parallax gets home he’s going to snap Sinestro’s neck, kill Kilowog and brutalize Kyle. I can’t wait!

Personally I can’t wait for him to attempt to remake reality and then, reignite the sun. Or possibly the other way around…for fun.

Links

Music is always fun.

Movies makes my mouth water.

TV is full of spoilers.

Games makes me feel so out of touch.

Figures makes me wish I had more extra income.

Moodspins has some interesting points of view.

Sports is full of March Madness. Go Del State!

Tim, I’m sure you’ve got stuff to link.

Aww yeah, I do! This week we are exploring humor that uses comic books as a basis and to that end, I’ve got Hulk’s Diary That Is On The Internet which is excellent, Green Arrow’s journal of crime fighting and goatee maintenance, which I am rather eh on, but some might enjoy, and The Shaft NewsWire for all your mock comic news.

And as a bonus just for you Who’s Who fanatics, because we all love those wacky auctions, check out the Haunted Nintendo.

Read Last Week?

The Losers #20 – Yes, I just got this book. This is a fun book. I’m kind of sad that it’s not going to go on forever. I was really looking forward to The Losers #825.

Action Comics #825 – Huh? What happened now? I feel really bad for J.D. Finn. This was horrible. In fact I’ll go out on a limb and say that these three issues will be why we never hear from that writer again.

JSA #71 – This is just a neat read. How dope was it to see Courtney and Ted take to the skies?

Superman #214 – Zod rocks. Azz rocks. Lee is adequate. Why don’t more people like this book?

Shining Knight #1 – I don’t think that calling this book “action packed” would do it justice. There is almost too much going on, but in a good way.

Adam Strange #6 – What? Why is Dox a bad guy? I love Dox. Thus by default, I didn’t dig this book too much. And what’s up with a bad Durlan? Everything I know about the DCU is wrong. The entire DCU is upside-down!

Bloodhound #9 – I’m going to really miss this book. It died before it’s time.

Here, here. See Tim Sheridan wax philosophical about it in Reviews

Green Arrow #48 – I’m happy Drakon came back. But the Duke was boring. I really hope Roy isn’t dead. I think that Connor sounded a bit off this issue. But the issue was cool.

Breach #3 – Yay! The Herdsman isn’t dead. Talia makes an apperance. And Tim reunites with his son, sort of. This book is a slow burner. But I think it’ll really pay off.

Nightwing #105 – Who hasn’t been clamoring for a Dick Grayson/Jason Todd team up? Practically the entire Bat-fam appears. Ah, days gone by.

Aquaman #28 – Review Forthcoming.


Aaron Cameron was the sole person to place the lyric at the end of the last column. So he gets to go first. Aaron take it away;

Steel and Vibe died during the Legends mini-series, I think…have Vixen and Gypsy been written out of all DC continuity?

Well Aaron, not quite. Vixen was down with the Suicide Squad for a bit. She most recently turned up in JLA Classified #3, for a hugely minor role. She (as well as the rest of the UltraMarines) has since been relegated to an infant universe, that looks to play a role in the current Seven Soldiers mega event.

(Interesting fact about Vixen; she would have had her own title back in the seventies. She was a victim of the DC Implosion. Her book was axed before it even came out. But she was set to have her own monthly and it would have run right alongside Black Lightning.)

Gypsy actually worked with the Justice League Task Force. She also gained the ability to mimic appearance, in a limited fashion.

Want to know what else those two had in common, besides Detroit? Bronze Tiger. Yup The Tiger hooked up with both of those lovely women, putting Bronze Tiger further in the realm of “negative stereotype.”

Tim, which of those two females seems to be the more interesting character?

I’d have to say Vixen because a.) I feel she’s slightly less insulting and b.) her appearance in Birds of Prey several months back was actually quite good. But really, it is a bit like comparing the drying of paint to the watching of grass growing. Neither push any buttons for me.


Moonknight25 asks –

Can you tell me about the current Batgirl and why her outfit is designed like that?

I don’t know what you mean by “like that.” I’m guessing you mean with the mouth covered. Well the first person to wear that costume was none other than The Huntress. She adopted the identity during No Man’s Land. The additional covering was probably to protect her identity from Batman (the two were on the outs back then.)

As opposed to now, when everybody is on the outs with Batman.

Later Cassandra Cain took up the mantle of Batgirl. When she first took over, she didn’t speak, so she didn’t really need a mouthpiece. She communicated physically, and could “read” people by how the moved. She now has a pretty extensive vocabulary.

Cassandra Cain is the daughter of David Cain, a guy who trained Batman, and is pretty lethal in his own right. Batman and Cain have crossed paths a couple of times.

Tim, are you a fan of the current Batgirl?

She works fine for me. As usual, I am generally opposed to the idea of “diluting the brand” if you will with countless Bat-blanks (Batgirl, Ace the Bat Hound, Bat Woman, etc most of whom are, blessedly, pre-Crisis) or Super-blanks (Superboy, Supergirl, Krypto the Superdog, whatever the monkey called himself, etc…sadly most of those are now in-continuity again). It all strikes me as a bit too Silver Aged silly. However, in practice, Batgirl has had a pretty interesting character arc. Still would have been nice if they could have come up with a different name though (and I am sure it would have saved Barbara some heartache as well).


Moonknight25 do you have another?

How did Spoiler die and what was Batman’s reaction.

Well the Spoiler was kind of tortured to death during War Games. The Black Mask was the culprit. He also killed Orpheus. It was a dark day in Gotham.

Bat’s didn’t take it too well. He became kind of delusional and more focused on his war for Gotham. He partook in a libation. But in all fairness he always refocuses his efforts after a Robin dies. Actually he focuses himself on combating crime pretty much when anyone close to him dies.

Tim, you’ve got experience in psychology; how do you think Batman is taking Stephanie’s death?

Like he takes everything: supression and denial until it is too much and then he gets crazy violent and standoffish until someone (usually a Robin or former Robin) pulls him back from the edge. Sadly, in this case, I think that Spoiler’s passing will go largely unreferenced for the most part. Don’t expect any “Lonely Place of Dying” level of storytelling to come out of it.


Moonknight25 do you have a topical question?

How did Speedy get HIV and why are the writers doing this to a DCU character?

Ah Speedy.

Y’see before she was Speedy, Mia Dearden was just Oliver Queen’s ward. Your typical teenager living with a costumed vigilante and his equally costumed and vigilant son. So she decided to get in on the action.

But before that, she was a child who was abused by her father. Seeking refuge from the abuse she turned to the arms of Richard. Richard sound like a nice guy right now, but wait a few sentences.

Richard was basically using her for sex. Not only was he using her, but he was sharing her, and by sharing her I mean pimping her out, and not in the “cool” Xzibit way either. I’m talking the hardcore “HBO Documentary” way.

In order to keep up with the lifestyle Mia shot up with drugs. Clearly shooting up with drugs and prostitution isn’t a healthy cocktail. Thus Mia has HIV.

As for “why” I’ll say awareness. Sadly it’s a relevant issue in today’s society. Information is important in keeping the spread of the disease down. It’s also a nice balance for the sexually carefree Oliver Queen to be anchored by the reality of Mia’s illness.

Of course some people would argue that Green Arrow scribe Judd Winick likes to inject “issues” or “causes” in his books. During his run on Green Lantern Kyle’s assistant, Terry Berg, a homosexual teenager, was prominently featured. Over in Outsiders a recent storyline focused, not only on child kidnapping but also on children sex slaves.

I stand by my awareness argument.

Tim, want to weigh in on this?

I’m of two minds on the subject. I have a strong dislike (hate even) of the knee jerk “who dare they put issues into my comics” reaction that inevitably follow such events. I also found it difficult to swallow the “Winick always puts gays or AIDS into his books”. First, no, he does not. Second, even if he did, is that really the most terrible thing in the world.

On the other side though, Winick’s first few issues post-AIDS announcement were often pedantic and nigh school special-esque. Mia’s speech in front of the school assembly sticks out in particular.

To answer your specific question, however, I think it is awareness that motivates Winick not some desire to spread AIDS and homosexuality through the comic world.


Colin do you have a question about a “classic” book (I feel so old)?

I was reading the few issues of Justice League Europe I have, and the series started off with the JLE being hated in their adoptive home of Paris because the team was almost exclusively American, and the French loved the Global Guardians, their former heroes. Facing this PR disaster, why did Fire and Ice, both former Guardians, not switch from the JLA to the JLE? Wouldn’t that have been good for the team? Metamorpho and Animal Man could’ve gone back to the states. Even Elongated Man could’ve left.

Um, because it would have screwed up the dynamic of the team and the book.

JLE would have been just a JLI clone. But the fact that they had antagonism from who they were trying to protect added a new wrinkle to the mix. It also made things that much funnier.

Fire and Ice were basically a team, and I’m sure that the writers knew that Ice and Guy would be an eventual item. So if you transplant Ice, you need to take Fire as well. Then you lose the entire Guy/Ice relationship. And didn’t Booster, Beetle and Max all try to hit on Fire?

If you altered any of the components of either book, they would cease to be the classics that they are today. It may not have seemed logical for the teams to stay the way they were, but story wise things turned out classic.

Besides JLE eventually got Crimson Fox to join, right?

Tim, any thoughts on either JLI or JLE?

You’d like to know my thoughts on that, wouldn’t you? Well, too bad! Hope you can survive the suspense.


Dan do you have a personal question?

Is it about my hair?

How did ID Crisis ruin JLA Classified #4?

Let me explain. I loved Identity Crisis. It was a powerful story that looks to have lasting repercussions throughout the DCU for years to come. It was well written and beautifully illustrated.

That said, Formerly Known As Justice League and JLA Classified #4 were hilarious. They were full of characters who interacted with each other in the most entertaining fashion.

Identity Crisis has effectively robbed readers of any more stories featuring The Superbuddies. Two of the principal characters, Ralph and Sue Dibny have been irrevocably altered as a result of Identity Crisis. Thus the magic that The Superbuddies harnessed is forever gone, because any future stories would be tainted by Identity Crisis.

On one hand JLA Classified #4 made me appreciate Sue more, which made Identity Crisis that much more powerful. But then I realized that one of the effects of Identity Crisis is the dissolution of the Superbuddies. That spark has been vanquished.

In that regard I’d say that Sue’s death had more impact than any other character’s death in the DCU. Supergirl’s death didn’t affect Superman stories. Barry Allen’s death didn’t rob us of Flash tales. Jason Todd’s death didn’t make Batman any less upbeat. But Sue’s death has robbed future readers of future stories involving one of the DCU’s most loved franchises.

Identity Crisis may have given the DCU some humanity, but it also took away one of the genuinely fun aspects of the DCU as well. That is one corner of the DCU that’s not going to be revisited. And in my eyes that’s an honest to goodness tragedy.

Tim, am I blowing things out of proportion?

In a word, yes. True, there will never be any more “current” Sue Dibny appearances and thus no “current” Superbuddy stories. However, Barry Allen died some 20 years ago and he pops up all the time in stories. Besides which, the Superbuddies have been in such low demand since their glory days that it isn’t like they were appearing all over the place all the time before this. I predict that their flashback or out of continuity adventures will continue as they have, relatively unabated. Because, as you know, in comics, all stories are stories are imaginary and all timelines are open to be filled with more stories. So don’t fret Mathan, there will always be a chance to tell another great (or merely good) Superbuddies tale.


Stephen Avino do you have a question?

I think Doctor Psycho is a really creepy character. Who exactly is he and what are his powers? Where did he first appear?

The current Dr. Psycho first appeared in Wonder Woman #54. Psycho doesn’t do the guy justice. His origin isn’t known, nor is his name. He’s just a creepy diminutive guy, with insane mental powers.

Y’see the guy can control people’s perceptions. He can tap into their psyches and amplify their emotions and feelings. Using his powers effectively he can turn a person into a puppet.

He’s clearly not given enough credit in the DCU. He should be a power player. But since he battles Wonder Woman the guy gets no respect. Just because he fights females, people think he’s a chump.

Tim, you give Psycho respect, right?

Oh, of course. I always show props to anyone who call themselves “psycho” without any sense of irony. Although the psychologist in me wants to put out that a more accurate name would be Dr. Socio (as in sociopath) but I suppose that is neither here nor there.

He should be a power player and I think, with his recent stint in Wonder Woman and appearances in Villains United, is well on his way to that status. But, then, I’ve been wrong before.


Care to go again Stephen?

Is Veronica Cale a character created by Greg Rucka or is she a long-standing character in the Wonder Woman Book? When did she first appear?

Veronica Cale was actually created by Greg Rucka. She first appeared in Wonder Woman #196. She way anti Wonder Woman is trying desperately to turn the public against Diana.

It’s nice to see Wonder Woman’s rogues flesh out a bit, isn’t it Tim?

I think one of the key’s to a good run on any book is smart use of interesting villains. So yes, I should say that it is a good thing.


Dan, anything else on your mind?

What’s so special about the upcoming Seven Soldiers maxi? I love Morrison as much as the next guy (er…I guess) but why is everyone doing cartwheels?

Let’s see. Grant Morrison is the guy who made JLA “must read” again. He’s the guy who gave the most powerful heroes of the DCU threats that deserved their attention.

He’s also the guy known for his whacked out Vertigo work.

I think Seven Soldiers is a huge deal for a few of reasons.

#1 – It’s very ambitious. Thirty issues, seven titles, and two bookends. That just seems huge.

#2 – It’s Grant unleashed. You don’t know what’s going to happen with these characters. Maybe some will die. Maybe some will be brutalized. Grant pretty much has complete freedom with this project, as many of the characters are his revamps, so anything could happen.

#3 – How can heroes who never actually meet, save the day? I’m sure everyone is curious about that one.

There are some out there who think that this won’t live up the hype, but I think it will. At the very least I’m curious to how things will shape up.

Tim, are you in for the long haul with Seven Soldiers?

Not the haul necessarily, but certainly the foreseeable future. The thing runs all the way ’til next April (?!) so I’ll probably re-evaluate my commitment every couple of months. Sort of like what Janelle does with me.


tgc do you have a question?

In the final issues of Blue Beetle’s mid 80’s series Kord Inc (or something similarly named) was going bankrupt. In Captain Atom’s series around the same time it was revealed that it and it’s subsidiaries were sold off, some to LexCorp. Yet in the Countdown pages in Wizard it is mentioned that his company is alive and well. At what point did Ted Kord get his company back?

Way back in DCU Heroes Secret Files & Origins #1 it was established that Booster Gold and Blue Beetle set up Blue & Gold Software. The next time we learn of Ted Kord’s business savvy is in L.A.W. #1 where he’s once again in control of Kord Inc. In fact Beetle’s business has frequently turned up in Birds of Prey (#15, 35, 40-41).

Kord Inc. may not be Lexcorp or Wayne Tech, but it’s certainly better off than Booster Gold International.

Tim, which of those companies would you like most to be a part of?

Lexcorp. That’s a company where a man with a shaved head can go far.


tgc got another?

Around the time of Zero Hour Booster Gold lost an arm and had his costume, which he brought from the future destroyed. He was given a mechanical arm from STAR Labs (I think) and was wearing a godawful Iron Man wannabe armor. In his most recent appearances his arm seems to be fine and his costume is back to normal. I know this didn’t get retconned away due to Zero Hour, as he was in this state in the early issues of Extreme Justice, which was published post Zero Hour. When, where, and how were these issues dealt with?

Booster was actually fatally wounded when he lost his arm in Justice League America #89, during a battle with Overmaster. Fortunately Beetle was there to fix him up, with a suit that had a cybernetic arm and keep him alive.

Umm…Mathan, fatally wounded=dead. Perhaps “critically wounded” is more what you are looking for?

Well, later on in Extreme Justice Monarch fixed Booster up right and proper. In fact Booster was fully healed by Monarch. As for the new threads, they’re courtesy of Professor Hamilton, and are based on Superman’s “energy containment” wares.

Hope that cleared things up for you.

Tim, any thoughts on Booster Gold?

That cybernetic costume was awful. I enjoy his banter with Beetle. And…ahh….gold is a pretty color?


tgc a final query?

Guy Gardner died in the mid 90’s, yet he’s alive and well now. How was he brought back to life, or am I wrong on his death?

Thanks to the miracle of Time Travel we’ll go back to the 4/28/04 column, and let future (and present) Big Shot Comic Insider – Ben Morse.

In one of the great indignities of our time, Guy was “killed” by an Imperiex probe jabbing him with a spear during Our Worlds At War. What’s that about? What a lame way for one of the DCU’s all-time tough guys, “one punch” or not, to go…it’s like getting beat up by M. Anyhow, Joe Kelly was kind enough to undue this travesty in a weird little story in Action Comics that had Guy’s regenerative powers keeping him alive but hideously mutating him and depositing him in some sort of pseudo-Hell outside of General Zod’s country, Polokistan. The rules worked that Guy had to get somebody to take his spot in order to get out. He used Kancer to lure Superman and Krypto there and made it seem as though he was trying to get Supes to take his place as “punishment” for forgetting about him, but in fact the Guyster was outsmarting Kancer, tricking him into taking the bullet for Supes and himself and helping Big Blue by eliminating the thing, Kancer, that knew his secret ID and could give it to Zod. Supes wasn’t too happy about the whole thing, but Guy basically told him to get bent. Afterwards, Guy expressed some begrudging admiration for the Man of Steel to a mystery man who was most likely Manchester Black, as he was the mystery guy du jour in the Superman titles at the time. Guy hasn’t been seen since, but he’s coming back later this year under the creative team that made him great, with his old yellow Sinestro ring intact, in the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Justice League mini.

Tim, please tell me you’re not a huge Guy Gardner fan like Ben was.

I believe we’ve chatted about this in the past, but nah, not much of a Gardner fan myself. I find people’s dedication to him to be a bit…perplexing. Which is not to say he hasn’t been involved in some good/great stories or that his “voice” has not been well utilized. I just don’t get why so many people are seemingly willing to run to the ends of the earth to get the man some love.

Of course, I’m a big Aztek fan, so I probably don’t get to talk.


Sorry, but I’ve got to call the column shot. Because of an altered work schedule, I can’t pull an all-nighter like I usually do. Next week will be an extra special affair. And future columns will feature; Hal Jordan’s Breakdown, Mr. Terrific’s “T”, Kal-El’s identity, Seven Soldiers continuity, and whatever happened to Darkstars?

My question for you this week;What team would you most like to be a part of in the DCU?

So remember to visit the Forums and drop me a question or comment via email.

“If you don’t know some secret, way you can check on, you’ll break your neck on…”

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