Who's Who in the DCU

So Tim, do you want to fill everyone in on how we spent our anniversary?

Umm…I’m not sure what you’re referring to Mathan.
Dude, I thought you said we weren’t going to tell anyone about that.

And let’s just say it was a very memorable experience.

Yes…let’s.

Links

Musical!

Sporty!

Gamey!

Posable!

Movable!

Topical!

Viewable!

Tim, anything you feel like Linking this week?

As awful as this is going to look, I can only think of one thing I want to link to and it is one of my DCNV. Sorry to be such an arrogant bastard, but I really enjoyed writing this new feature and I hope you’ll all take the time to check out how I would make DC’s perennial joke, Gunfire, into a viable figure in the DCU once. Just scroll on down to the bottom and enjoy.

Read Last Week Recently

Nightwing #106 – A satisfying end. I’m going to miss the lighthearted vibe this book has had the last few months.

I don’t know. I found this whole arc to be a bit like empty calories. It was satisfying for the ten minutes I read it, but five minutes I felt unnourished. I was really hoping for more.

Human Target #20 – This book is so great, and I’m so irked that it’s ending. It’s very frustrating.

Sometimes the world just isn’t a fair place, Mathan, and this is one such time. Sigh…

The Guardian #1 – What a great read. This is what I consider “classic” Morrison. I hope every chapter of this 30 Part epic reads this well.

Definitely my favorite of the three initial installments. The art and the words worked so well in harmony.

Trigger #4 – Read my review.

Ex Machina #9 – I’m loving this book. I don’t rave about it enough, but it’s one of the best books out. Every month is an intensely satisfying read.

Hawkman #38 – Golden Eagle isn’t dead? Interesting. Loved the art this issue.

Gotham Knights #63 – Beautiful Chiang cover, interesting story. Hush is quite the character. Poison Ivy has me really intrigued.

Hellblazer #206 – This is a stellar issue. It’s so well written. I hope the movie has more people reading this book.

The Question #5 – My love for this book grows every month. I wish this wasn’t a limited series. Edwards needs an ongoing book, and Veitch has redeemed himself for that awful first year of Aquaman.

JLA Classified #5 – Review Forthcoming.

It’s time for questions!

BOOYAKA!


Nexus’ own John Babos care to start things off with a query from the Forums?

Isn’t the Creeper’s alter ego in one of the Superman books now? Where is the Creeper nowadays?

The Creeper did show up recently during Chuck Austen’s run over in Action Comics. Jack Ryder was slumming at the Daily Planet and was given Clark Kent’s gig as a way to increase readership. Jack was so driven to get a story that he ordered a cameraman into the thick of a superhero skirmish in order to get a scoop. The cameraman was killed.

The Creeper showed up a couple times, but didn’t fare too well against his foe.

I’m sure that many of you are curious why The Creeper is still around, especially since he was killed in Eclipso #13. Yes The Creeper was torn to shred by “eclipsed” coyotes. His remains were found by natives, who buried them. End of the story right? Nope.

Y’see one of the nifty aspects of The Creeper was his “healing factor.” The guy could heal pretty quickly. The Creeper’s remaining body parts managed to reconnect and begin healing. As soon as he was mostly together again, The Creeper changed back into Jack Ryder. Fortunately he was alive. Unfortunately he was still buried.

Jack dug himself out of his grave. Ryder was understandably shaken. He roamed around Parador dazed. His mind was shattered. He was found, returned to the United States and institutionalized. I highly recommend reading The Creeper series. It was yet another great book that was canceled too soon. (Issue #4 deals with how The Creeper survived Eclipso.)

Tim, don’t you dig The Creeper?

I dig the concept of The Creeper, a sort of Joker on the side of the angels, but I’ve actually read very little feautring him, including the short lived series you mentioned above. When I have come across him, however, he has proven entertaining.


Nalydpsycho, you care to ask something that hits a bit closer to home?

It would appear to me Mathan, that you are not reading Birds of Prey. So my question is, What’s up with that?

Yeah, what the hell is up with that?

Hm, a personal question.

1) Well I’d have to say that I’m, quite frankly, not that interested in the title. When Dixon was writing, when the book was tied to Gotham, and when Babs and Dick were together, I was almost interested in book. But the concept doesn’t really start my engine. The fact that it’s cut off from Green Arrow, Batman, and Nightwing just alienated me further. I have heard that it’s a good book, but I’m not really looking to add any new titles that I’d have to collect backwards and forwards.

Was that a good answer? How about this one:

2) It’s a chick book. Why would I read a book that’s all about chicks? I bet all they do is paint their toenails and wash their hair. I didn’t watch Sex in the City and I’m not reading Birds of Prey.

Oh, wait. What about this one?

3) I’ve got no money, man! I’m broke! I can barely afford Del Taco, much less picking up a new title. Newsflash; I steal my comic books. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to go to the comic book story every week, buy nothing, and walk out with like ten books? Let me tell you, it’s no cakewalk.

Tim, which of these arguments is the most persuasive?

Well, all of them fail miserably because BoP is such a good book that it trumpets any of your weak @$$ arguments. However, of the ones you put forward, I’ve gotta go with #3. Gotta love an outlaw.


John Babos, you look confused about something (from the Forums);

Maybe we’ll see Extant, Monarch, Hank Hall, Captain Atom, and Waverider in Day of Vengeance and all the personalities can get sorted out. I’m still unclear who bonded with who to become what.

John, I don’t think it’s that difficult.

Oh son, you got told!!!!

Ahem…sorry. Go on Mathan.

Hank Hall (was manipulated a certain “Dark Lord” and) became Monarch (Armageddon 2001. Monarch absorbed Waverider’s energy and became Extant (Zero Hour). Extant was killed in JSA #15.

Now onto Captain Atom. Let me allow 2/24/04 Mathan (I loved 2/24/04 Mathan. He was so pure of heart.) to handle this one;

Now onto Captain Atom. Let me allow 2/24/04 Mathan to handle this one;

Captain Atom was Nathaniel Adam, a good little soldier who was framed for a crime and had a choice between disgrace or a pardon. He went for the pardon and underwent a government experiment that thrust him into the future and gave him powers. He was supposed to be Monarch. He first appeared (in the DCU) in Captain Atom #1.

But wait apparently Captain Atom wasn’t really Nathaniel Adam, but rather his quantum twin. The real Nathaniel Adam was still trapped in the Quantum Field. He got out with Monarch’s armor, and became Monarch II. He first appeared in Extreme Justice #6.

John, I hope I cleared things up, just a bit.

Tim, did my explanation lack clarity?

I think it is pretty straight forward to explain, but the stories that told the tales were a bit…how do you say…convoluted as they unfolded.


Dan Belenkov, do you have a completely unrelated question?

When is 100 Bullets coming out on PS2?!?

Grubby, do you have a similar one on your mind?

Love the column. I have a quick question for you about the 100 Bullets Video Game. I can’t find any information about the release date. In your last column you had a link to the games section, but I did not see any info.

Yeah, I usually just link IP sections with what I can relate to from each section, as opposed to what’s actually being covered in that section. I’m sorry for the confusion.

As far as the release of the game this site says the release is coming up on Friday. 4/1/05.

That sounds like a viable release date, right Tim?

It sounds viable, but I always thought that video games were Tuesday releases, like DVDs and CDs. That’s probably just a mistake on my part thought.


John Babos, again? What is it this time?

I saw Kestrel in the JSA a while back. We don’t know who it is or how it separated from the Hawk entity? I recall Hawk absorbing Kestrel in the old series if I’m not mistaken.

Hawk did indeed absorb Kestrel. But just as “Hawk & Dove” are spells Kestrel was a spell as well. So perhaps a new spell was cast, and a new Kestrel was created.

Or perhaps, since we have a new Hawk, the passing of the mantle unleashed Kestrel. And don’t forget that in the close of Hawk & Dove #17 Barter was in possession of Kestrel’s memories, so that could play a factor.

Who knows? The tale hasn’t been told, yet. But judging from Geoff Johns’ track record, I’m betting that he knows how things did occur and it’s only a matter of time before he fills us in. After all, imagine how curious the rest of the DCU is about the appearance of a new Hawk.

Tim, do you have any theories on the reappearance of Kestrel?

I am inclined to side with your passing of the mantle/Kestrel’s memories lingering theory. It is pretty straight forward, makes sense, and would require very little by way of exposition to catch up the readers.


Sean Esser, do you have a question about one of my favorite characters?

I remember in Impulse & Young Justice that Bart gained a new power where he could create duplicates of himself (termed “Scouts”) & then send them to scout around & remerge with him (gaining the memories of the scout in the process). The scouts also had the ability to travel back in time if I recall correctly. These scouts played a part in the
Young Justice “Our Worlds At War” crossover where Bart witnessed one of the scouts die & went into shock, as well in the “World Without Young Justice” storyline where Bedlam used a magic hammer to knock them out of Impulse under his control where they went back in time and caused havoc which was blamed on Impulse.

However, since Bart became Kid Flash II, we haven’t heard anything about his Scout powers. What gives? Did he lose it somewhere?

Bart hasn’t “officially” lost his Scout powers, in that it hasn’t been mentioned, but I’m doubt that we’ll see him actively using them again. I think that this can be explained away very easily. 1) The death of the scout during OWAW deeply affected him (and it did) and 2) His power was too easily manipulated by Bedlam. There’s a chance that Impulse’s scout powers would have been resolved in his own title, were it not canceled.

I think that was can assume that Bart not using his scout abilities is just another example of his maturity. And besides scout powers are like so Impulse. He’s Kid Flash now.

Tim would you rather be able to create duplicates or remember everything that you read?

Oooh, solid question. Definitely the former. If I remembered everything I read there would be no point in going back to read my favorite books or comics and rediscover why I liked them in the first place. And I quite enjoy going into the long bins and onto my bookshelves to rediscover those stories.

The duplicates, on the other hand, would make balancing the site, my full time job, and my grad school commitments incredibly easy. Plus, I could fit in some movies, a nice dinner, and some house cleaning with ease. Everybody wins there. Or rather, I win. And can’t everybody can’t behind that idea?


John Babos? That’s it, this is the last one!

Is this the first time that we learn that Dawn Granger had a sister who lived in Europe. I don’t recall that from the 1990s series.

John, I’ve got to believe this is our introduction to Holly. I’m also pretty sure that she wasn’t ever mentioned before. I’m basing this on the fact that I hold Hawk & Dove #20 in my hands. It’s a Christmas issue focusing on Dove/Dawn. I’ve skimmed the issue over and find no mention of a sister or Holly.

But apart from that I’ve got no problem with her appearance. I like the idea that “Hawk & Dove” are siblings. I think it makes the premise enticing again.

Even though you didn’t ask, I’ll give you my idea on how I’d “fix” things.

The Grangers moved around a lot, due to the diplomatic nature of Mrs. Granger’s job. Dawn, being the more levelheaded of the Granger girls, took each move in stride and adapted. Holly the more brash of the girls tended to “act up” when placed in a new school setting.

When Mr. Granger got his job at Arlington’s S.T.A.R. Labs, the Granger’s had choice to make; uproot Holly from a situation where she had finally adjusted and was comfortable or allow her to stay in England and go to school. They chose the latter. As a result Dawn decided to attend Oxford to be closer to her sister. Holly would occasionally visit her family in the States.

Upon the death of Hank/Hawk/Extant, the Lords of Order and Chaos decided to try a new “Hawk & Dove” experiment. Since the last Hawk & Dove weren’t related, the prospect of coupling and the resultant child proved to be a temptation for others to interfere with the “experiment.” Thus the Lords decided to go back to the sibling model of the original “Hawk & Dove” experiment, only this time to prevent Dove from being overly influenced by Hawk, they allowed Dove to remain Dawn, who is both older and more experienced than Hawk/Holly.

C’mon Tim, it’s time for you to share your thoughts on the current Hawk & Dove.

Well, I’ve barely just met them, but so far, I like the return to the sibling format. I thought that was a pretty cool hook in the original incarnation of the team and this return to the well, with a twist, reopens those paths again.

What I’m still not sure of is how this squad relates to the former Hawk/Dove team that appeared to be some sort of rock band that I recall from the house ads years ago. I assume Dawn is that Dove, but who was that Hawk? Readers…why don’t you set me right on this? Or did I imagine those house ads?


Matt McCarry, did you miss out on something?

So I was re-reading Quiver the other day and realized that I had missed a huge gap of continuity in the mid 90s. So: why did Hal Jordan turnheel? How did he become Parallax? How was he stopped? And how did he “die”?

Well that’s a funny story. I mean tragic story.

Once upon a time, Superman died. In his stead four individuals tried to fill his void. One happened to be person with a grudge against the Man of Steel (The Cyborg), who had made a pact with an alien who also had a reason to hate the Kryptonian (Mongul).

They wished not only to sully Superman’s name, but also to create a new Warworld. Part of this plant entailed turning a city into Engine City. As a result Coast City was vaporized and reborn as Engine City. Everyone who lived in Coast City was killed.

Hal Jordan had lived his life in Coast City, and he didn’t take its destruction too well. He used his power ring to recreate Coast City and it’s residents, in an effort to say “good-bye.” But the Guardian’s viewed this display as an abuse of power and disrupted the construct. This enraged Hal Jordan.

He flew off into space. His destination: Oa the home of the Guardians. The Guardians knew that Hal was headed their way. They dispatched members of their Green Lantern Corp to intercept them. But Hal was too much for the inexperienced Corp members to handle. Hal made short work of them, and took their rings as souvenirs.

Once he arrived on Oa Hal killed Kilowog. As a last resort the Guardians released Sinestro from the Central Power Battery to face off against Jordan. After a brutal battle, Jordan snapped Sinestro’s neck. He then entered the Central Power Battery. When he exited he was Parallax and he had internalized the emerald energy.

Parrallax went on and attempted to recreate the universe during Zero Hour he was halted by the combined effort of several heroes. He used his energy to reignite the sun during Final Night, and in doing so his life expired.

His soul was tied to the Spectre force during Day of Judgment.

As for the “behind the scenes” story of why Hal went crazy; DC was having fun shaking up the status quo of some of their most recognizable character (Superman’s death, Batman’s replacement) that they decided to continue the trend with Green Lantern. This coupled with the perception that Hal Jordan was “boring” made him seem like an easy target for a more permanent replacement.

Gerard Jones was replaced as Green Lantern writer by Ron Marz and Emerald Twilight became history.

If you’d like to get a glimpse at “what could have been” just read this. It’s a pretty interesting storyline that never happened.

Tim, how do you like you’re Hal Jordan: All Powerful Parallax or Greatest Green Lantern Ever?

I think I’m one of the few that actually likes him both ways and doesn’t think either is mutually exclusive. I loved the legacy of Hal hanging over Kyle’s head and as well as the knowledge of how Hal, despite being the greatest, still ended up. I found Hal, as Parallax, to be tragically compelling. The idea of Hal as Spectre, seeking redemption for his sins, was also interesting to me, but the delivery never really rose to the occasion.


Vincent, do you have a semi related question?

How did Batman break his back? Specifically, what did Bane do? Throw him at a wall; hit him with a baseball bat, backbreaker? And why was he fighting Bane that time in the first place? Also, how is he able to walk again now?

Bane was one bad penny. He wanted to make a name for himself, as the guy who broke the Bat. So what he did was break everyone out of Arkham. Batman had a doozy of a time trying to wrangle everyone up. When he finally finished, Bruce was pretty tuckered out. That was when Bane struck.

Having deduced Batman’s identity, Bane was waiting at Wayne Manor for Bruce to arrive. Bats came upstairs. Bruce and Bane tussled. Batman exhausted and far from peak form, was beaten senseless by Bane. Bane then lifted him up and snapped Batman’s back over his knee.

Batman was ambushed and broken. Jean Paul Valley took over for him. Bruce was helped in his healing by Shondra Kinsolving. All of this happened in the stories Knightfall and KnightsEnd.

Tim, what are your thoughts on Bane?

When Knightfall came out, I definitely dug it. I liked that Bane, this huge guy who you’d typically expect to be low on brains, turned out to be a master strategist. His victory over Batman was brutal and his own eventual defeat at the hands of Azbats (undone by his addiction to Venom) was similarly so. However, as time went on, DC kind of ruined the brand name. Bane popped up too often and the awkward transition to anti-hero and almost brother to Bruce Wayne was awkward and unconvincing (one recalls Venom’s path in the 90’s, although not with that level of overexposure). In the Bat villain stable, I would compare him to KGBeast. A physically large but mentally nimble character who had a splashy debut and then became less impressive with every subsequent appearance. Bane, however, has yet to become the joke that KGBeast has.


Moonknight25, got another Bat related query?

I was surprised to see Nightwing’s book surpass #100. Why do you think his book sells so well? Do you foresee Batgirl’s title having that success?

I wasn’t surprised at all. Nightwing is a very popular character. He doesn’t get the props that Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman get, but he’s been around almost as long. He was also the first of teen sidekick to come out from their mentor’s shadow. Sure Wally “Kid Flash” West was the first to get his own title, but Nightwing was one that everyone was waiting for.

Nightwing had proven himself a leader in New Teen Titans, and was due to get some time in the spotlight. He’s also got all of the “coolness” of Batman, without all of the angst. He was a relatively happy character, up until recently.

I think that one of the reasons why his book is so successful is because at least two generations of comic readers relate to him; those who grew up reading New Teen Titans and those to began reading comics in the 90’s.

He’s also benefited from having basically only two writers write him in his title. That stability is a recipe for success. And c’mon, he’s just a cool character.

That said, I don’t think that Batgirl will be as successful. She doesn’t have the history that Dick has. She doesn’t have the stability that Dick has. She also doesn’t have the connections to the DCU that Dick has. She’s basically filling the role someone else inhabited, as opposed to Dick who is the one and only Nightwing. The same argument I made against Batgirl could be made for Robin/Tim, but he at least existed for a few years before he got his on title.

Tim, share your thoughts with us.

I think it is difficult to compare Cassie to Dick (or Tim for that matter) for exactly the reason you outlined above.

Nightwing is probably the single biggest character in the DCU who is not a member of the big seven. Beyond the walls of the “community” he’s not nearly as well known, but these days, being well known and popular in the “community” is enough to keep a book afloat.

Robin has a built in recognition factor, even if people do not necessarily know that Tim is Robin these days. Plus, at the time that series kicked off, it was right in the middle of Knightfall/Quest/End so the Bat books were very much in the spotlight.

And actually, that last point is the one thing that Cassie did benefit from. She spun out of the events of No Man’s Land, another popular mega-crossover, and that gave her a boost. However, unlike Robin or Nightwing, she has not benefited from a singular vision of one writer (Dixon in both cases) to guide the title and encourage a commitment from the fans. That, I am guessing, could prove to be what derails the Batgirl train. That said, I still would not be stunned if Batgirl did march on to reach at least close to 100 if not further.


Moonknight25, got another question about a former Robin?

What’s the deal with all of this Red Hood stuff? Think it’s going to be Jason Todd?

I don’t even know anymore. My original guess/fear was that it was going to be Anarky, but since Lonnie’s showing up Green Arrow in a few months I guess that was wrong.

I hope its Jason Todd, if only so that we can be done with it. But I wouldn’t count out Azrael, he could be a dark horse candidate, especially considering how his title ended.

Tim, any last second-guesses as to the Red Hood’s identity?

Well, you gotta figure that Jason Todd is running at about 3:2 odds these days. DC’s been teasing it for almost two years and they have to get around to delivering on that tease, one way or another, at some point soon. Otherwise, such a reveal will either a.) lose all impact (which I think it might already have) or b.) become so drawn out it becomes an X-esque (as in those Merry Marvel Mutants) joke that frustrates rather than delights fans and can prove confusing to those who are just dropping into the title for the first time or after a hiatus.

The other possibility you raise, Azrael, would be cool with me. His send off in his own title was tres weak and he has always been a touch off kilter. However, the manner of the Red Hood would suggest that this is not Jean Paul Valley. Winick makes a particular effort to emphasize that Hood talks while he fights, which Valley never would because of the System. Plus, Hood’s too amoralistic and calculating. Valley, when he was off, was more of a force of brutality and near murder, not a planner.

So yeah…signs point to JT.


Moodspins own Leland Eidson is there someone you think has gotten the shaft?

I’ve got this question that’s kinda been bugging me for a while. Whenever I can catch it, I usually watch the Teen Titans cartoon, and I’ve been sorta wondering why they don’t use any of the well-known speedsters. I’ve seen Speedy, and Aqualad on the show, but for some reason no Impulse or Kid Flash (not sure what they’d end up calling him on the show). In fact the only speedster I’ve seen was some strange spanish-only speaking twins who only had speed when they touched hands. Do you know if it’s some sort of character rights issue, or are they just idiots for ignoring Bart?

It’s a character rights issue. The DCU is a very segmented thing. That is why you don’t have a young Bruce Wayne on Smallville. And it’s why Green Lantern didn’t pop up on The Flash. It’s the same reason why Superboy and Wonder Girl don’t appear in the cartoon either.

DCU properties are to be valued. Bart isn’t being ignored; he’s just being saved for a Flash project. Suppose Bart were to be a cartoon Titan. But then when the proposed Flash movie is released, it spawns a Flash cartoon. Well now you’ve got a Kid Flash in one cartoon and another Flash in his own cartoon. The property is diluted and kind of confusing. Well, it’s not too confusing, but it leads the way to a cartoon Multiverse, and nothing good can come of that.

Tim, did you ever catch the episode of Smallville with Bart Allen?

As a matter of fact I did. It wasn’t too bad. I liked the bit with all the fake IDs featuring names of other Flashes. Good times.

Alas, another column has ended. But fear not, the fun doesn’t need to stop. Send me an email or visit The Forums!. As your question and give your comments.

My question to you this week; Did Countdown To Infinite Crisis live up the hype?

“Charm the wolves with the eyes of a gambler.”

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