Who's Who in the DCU

So, I was watching Gigli last week, and I got to thinking; Tim, we should become collectively we should be known as “Timathan?” You like?

Oh yeah! I loooooooooooooooooooooove it. It’s just SO brilliant. Wow! You’re clearly the genius of this partnership.
Idiot

It was just an idea; you didn’t have to be so mean about it. Geez.

I only insult your bad ideas out of love.

Links!!!

Moodspins remembers Pope John Paul II

Don’t forget to say “Happy Birthday Widro!”

John Babos has singlehandedly monopolized the The Forums.
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Moodspins

Tim, link away!

Check out these comic related movie websites if you are looking for some entertainment and/or snazzy wallpapers.

Sin City
Batman Begins
Superman

What I Read Last Week

Countdown To Infinite Crisis – I enjoyed the book. I wasn’t really offended or put off by Max and Beetle. I thought it was a good read that was surprisingly cohesive.

I’m actually going to pass on Countdown since I’ve been talking about it nonstop in DCNV for about a year it seems. Instead, I’ll just tell all of you how beautiful it is here in CT. GORGEOUS!

Batman #638 – Finally! I’m not offended that Jason is back either. I am anxious to read the “hows” and “whys.”

It’s so nice that there is one Bat book out there that I can cling to and enjoy. A year ago I would have hated Jason’s return. By this time though, I’ve warmed up. You broke me DC.

Flash #220 – I’ll be honest, after the excitement involved in the previous two books, I barely remember this one. I do know that it didn’t disappoint.

Damn right it didn’t. Yay for the arrival of Rogue War!

Richard Dragon #11 – This book did disappoint. I feel bad, but you can almost tell that Dixon is rushing this book to an end.

Read my review here. Rest assured this book did not please me.

Outsiders #22 – Poor Arsenal. Cool cover, solid interior art. The story was ok, but I wish there was more of a lead up to the final page revelation.

Otherworld #1 – Read my review.

Legion of Super-Heroes #4 – This book isn’t getting enough attention. This is one of the best reads out, and readers are too timid to pick it up. Buy this book!


Talowolf barks:

So I was reading over Raab’s run on Green Lantern, when Kyle is trying to reform the Corps to go after the Black Sun and none of the other former GLs want to do it until they get persuaded by a *GASP* Green Lantern of Apokolips! Who is this blue skinned man with a working power ring? Where did he come from? Where did he go? What is his secret and how does he know?

Well, Y’see way back in the day the Guardians sent Green Lantern Raker Quarrigat of Wolsoon to Apokolips, because they had heard that the place was bad news. Well actually they hadn’t heard. The Guardians had sent two other agents to Apokolips; a Manhunter and Kendotha Kr’nek of Binitrix. But those two were never heard from again.

So Raker goes there and tries to be the law & order. He was moderately successful. He was successful enough to get the attention of Darkseid. Raker was allowed to meet Darkseid, in what was supposed to be an act of diplomacy. But Darkesid just took Raker’s hand and broke it.

That’s how you do diplomacy when you’re from the streets, like Darkseid and I. GO WU-INGTON, GET YOUR WINGS UP. HOLLA!

I should also mention that he broke the ring that was attached to the hand as well.

Raker was sent back to Oa as a message. The Guardians got the message and prepared for war. The Green Lantern Corp grew swelled to number 3600. They tried to attack Apokolips by surprise. But by that point Desaad had discovered the yellow weakness and Darkseid’s forces were prepared.

Only one third of the Corps survived the initial assault. To make matters worse due to Apokolips being in a different dimension, the power flowing from the Central Power Battery to the individual batteries was greatly diminished. Just as Raker was preparing to attack Darkseid, the Guardians arrived on Apokolips and brokered a truce.

The Guardians agreed to remove the Green Lantern Corps from Apokoliptian affairs so long as Darkseid didn’t try to conquer space protected by the Guardians. Darkseid agreed, so long as Raker was banished to Apokolips.

(So basically the Guardians gave up Raker to Darkseid. Talk about lack of loyalty to their employees. Being a member of the GLC is worse than working at Walmart. No time to grieve over the destruction of you city, and don’t expect them to bail you out of Apokolips.)

Nothing is worse the Wal-Mart. Nothing.

Ah ha! A fellow Lantern managed to bestow Raker with a ring and battery before leaving Apokolips. Raker retreated to the underground of Apokolips. Naturally the Guardians, being a bit remorseful about their actions, began a cover up, and left the tale of Raker out of the Book of Oa.

Then one day, many years later, Kyle Rayner and Orion were stuck on Apokolips after a battle. They were wounded. Raker found them and aided them. The poor optimistic Raker believed that Rayner was his backup sent by the Guardians to end Darkseid’s tyranny. He was less than happy to find out that he had been forgotten and that the Corps had been destroyed.

Orion and Kyle got better and Raker decided the stay on Apokolips to fight the good fight.

And that is the ballad of Raker.

Tim, would you rather be forgotten by your coworkers or stuck on Apokolips?

I already wish my co-workers would forget about me, so there is not a difficult choice at all. Although I hear the foliage in Apokolips is quite breathtaking.


Bryan G, got a query?

I’m in favor of more Zatanna. No, it’s not just because of the fishnets, or even Grant Morrison. But the Obsidian Age and ID Crisis seemed to have her bouncing around in them and it got me to thinking why she’s cameo-only. Interesting character with good motivations. Personally, I think she should join the Birds Of Prey cast…(with a slight costume adjustment so she and Canary look a bit more different)…especially with all the guilt she’s probably harboring after IC.

Eh, I’ll come right out and say it; I’m not a huge Zatanna fan. I think that she’s been “cameo only” up to this point because she’s kind of a difficult character to get a handle on. She started out superhero-y enough, but sometime around when Alan Moore became a huge star, magic and the DCU didn’t really mix.

Sure you had Dr. Fate and The Demon, but for the most part magical characters are the realm of Vertigo. Even Zatanna’s last major appearance was over in Vertigo.

Identity Crisis has increased her profile, but don’t forget; the reason why Grant’s using her is because she’s an “ignored” property.

But apparently that won’t be true for long. I recall reading something about Zatanna in the The Roundtable, which sounded kind of familiar to a Words of Questionable Wisdom column from a while back.

Tim, I know you’ve got some thoughts on Zatanna.

Sure do Mathan, sure do.

As with any character who wields magic, I think that there is a lot of possibility in Zatanna, but, as you alluded to, there is a huge potential for downfall. For one thing, Zatanna should be, given her abilities, wildly powerful. Almost unstoppably so.

That can get boring, so you have to give her a weakness. Something that makes superhero-ing a challenge. She does not appear to have one (beyond a well placed gut punch and that can get old). So when she is defeated it seems to be for no discernible reason. It’s very bothersome if you are looking for some sort of internal logic in your comics. However, an excellent writer (like Morrison) can make the character sing and work around her lack of vulnerability or, more likely, unearth a few.


Bryan G anything else on your mind?

Batman and the Outsiders. Yeah, I read the current Outsiders series for a little while (mainly due to Raney and all the pretty colors), but what happened in the old Outsiders series? Is it worth finding in trade? What actually happened, and who was involved that
should come back?

Good News; there were two Outsiders titles. Bad News; neither are available in trades. So if you want to read their exploits you’re going to have to dig in the back issue bins of your local comic shop, but that’s always a good thing.

Is it worth reading those old issues? I can’t say. I enjoyed the original title, but that’s because it had such a cool set up. Lucius Fox is kidnapped in Markovia. Batman tries to recruit the JLA to help him save Lucius, but the JLA won’t. They don’t get involved in political affairs. Batman quits the League and goes about it alone.

While in Markovia he encounters other heroes and they forge a team. The team consists of Geo-Force, Metamorpho, Black Lightning, Katana and Halo.

Ok, the premise sounds kind of cheesy, but the idea of Batman quitting the League is dope.

Bats eventually left the Outsiders as well. The book relaunched with a new #1. The team got three other members, Looker, Windfall and Atomic Knight. The team moved to L.A. The new book ended with #28.

The 1990’s saw the Outsider’s get a second chance. The new team consisted of returning members Geo-Force, Halo, Katana, and Looker, plus new members Technocrat, Dervish, Faust, Wylde, and Eradicator. Oh yeah Windfall also joined up. Terra was seen as a member in Day of Judgment #4 and Dr. Light (II) was a member in JLA: Our Worlds At War.

The second series only lasted two years. But it wasn’t too memorable (which is probably why so many of the newer members are causing readers to draw a blank.)

Black Lighting showed up in Outsiders and in Identity Crisis with Katana. Metamorpho is appearing in The Doom Patrol. Halo is in limbo. Dervish is a villain. Looker, Windfall, Atomic Knight, Technocrat and Faust aren’t likely to be used anytime soon, unless it’s as villain fodder.

I think the best bet for upcoming appearances are Dr. Light, Terra, Eradicator and Geo-Force. My logic is this; with the reemergence of the original Dr. Light, he may look to take out the person to took is name. While Geoff Johns is really busy right now, I’m sure he has plans for Terra over in Teen Titans, and if Terra appears I’d bank on a Geo-Force appearances as well, after all they’re brother and sister. And Eradicator is…well see futher down the page for what’s going on with him.


Vincent has needs and those needs include having this question answered:

I just finished reading the Death of Superman trade, and Guy Gardner’s in the JLA but he’s not Green Lantern. Why was he booted out of the Green Lantern Corps, and what powers did he have at that point? He still was acting all super-hero like, so I’m assuming he had some powers.

There’s always been a rivalry between Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner. It was finally resolved when the two decided to have a fistfight, the loser giving up their power ring. Hal won. Guy lost his ring.

Later Guy tricked Lobo into taking him to Oa. Once there Guy raided Sinestro’s grave to get his yellow power ring.

Wow… that’s not at all creepy and wrong.

Sinestro’s ring was like your average power ring, it could make constructs and was a powerful weapon. Sinestro’s ring however “spoke” Kougarian and Guy didn’t. Guy also needed the ring to come in contact with Green Lantern Ring energy to recharge his ring.

He eventually became Warrior.

Tim, I still don’t get why Guy is so popular, can you explain it to me?

No…and it doesn’t matter how many times you ask me either. The answer will always be no.

Moonknight25, in an unofficial company crossover, wonders

Why does DC give characters like Firestorm and Manhunter there own series? Every store I go to, the owners tell me that no one buys them. Are these just practice books for new writers and artists?

I just want you to know that John Babos is weeping right now. I hope you’re happy.

Firestorm and Manhunter are not “practice books.” They are viable properties that are underrated and undervalued.

Firestorm is a book that’s just had a really tough time. First Ronnie Raymond fans gave the book about as much bad word of mouth as possible because Jason Rusch had inherited the mantel of Firestorm. Then artist ChrisCross left the book in an equally controversial fashion. Finally current scribe Dan Jolley is about to leave the title. So the book (and I’ll attest to the fact that it’s a good read) has just had the deck stacked against it.

Manhunter on the other hand has had pretty much universal acclaim. It had a good buzz before it launched and is been a consistent fave of Nexus writers (including the aforementioned Mr. Babos.) It is a great book that should be on everyone’s pull list.

The only book that I know that were deemed to be “practice books” were the Showcase anthologies of the ’90’s. Writers and artists got a chance to “showcase” their talents on those titles. It also provided a venue for established creators to do stories featuring some of the DCU’s “less than star characters.”

I don’t know why Firestorm and Manhunter aren’t selling, but I’ll do what I can to help fix that problem.

Tim, what’s your take on this question?

If DC only put out what they knew would sell, all you would see is wall-to-wall Batman and Superman. Would you really want to live in such a world? Yes, neither Firestorm or Manhunter are selling well, but do you really only judge comics on how much money they pull down? If DC puts out a good book and it sells well or it sells poorly, I’ll pick it up and be glad to have it on the shelves. I’ll let DC worry about the business side of it.


Greg K got all misty and nostalgic on us and wrote in to say:

I was hugely into comics as a kid (my peak reading years were 87-95, with a lot of back issues read) and got back into comics with Hush. I was wondering what became of these (relatively) obscure characters:

Eradicator

KGBeast (you mentioned what a joke he became, but I remember loving the Ten Nights
of the Beast trade)

Bane’s henchmen (Bird, Trogg, and Zombie) — I thought they were all their own
unique characters and served to make Bane even more badass.

Well The Eradicator is still around. He was a member of the Outsiders during the second incarnation of the team. He also had his own miniseries. He recently showed up Majestic miniseries and new series.

That said, with Superman’s newly tinkered with origin (via Birthright) Eradicator’s place in the DCU is up in the air. His origin is tied directly to Byrne’s Man of Steel, and with that story no longer (necessarily) in canon, I’m curious how Eradicator still exists.

Ten Nights of the Beast was a great tale. But in this day and age, where “former KGB” is more commonly heard than “KGB” (for obvious reasons) it’d be hard to convince anyone what kind of threat he is. KGB has greatly been devalued as a concept.

KGBeast played a major role in the third Robin miniseries Cry of the Huntress. He also showed up in Nightwing #35-37. He mostly recently appeared in Gotham Knights #46.

As for Bane’s henchmen, Bird is missing and kind of presumed dead (but this is comics after all). He was last seen going through Venom withdrawal on the pages of Azrael. Both Zombie and Trogg were also last seen in the same title. Azrael broke all three out of jail to lead him to Bane. Bird was recaptured and Bane later broke him out again to help create a new strain of Venom.

Sadly I don’t see those last four characters coming back to prominence anytime soon.

Tim, what do you think of these fallen stars?

I wish KGBeast could be as cool and bad ass as he was in Ten Nights, but it just does not seem likely at this juncture. Too many whoopings at the hand of Robin, I expect.

As for the Bane’s henchmen, they served their function. Unless a writer can craft a hell of a story to feature them in, I see little need to revisit them.


Steve wants to bring up Countdown because he likes to poke at wounds before they heal

First, one of the folks on the forum asked what the M and Protogene icons were for on the screen that Blue Beetle was looking at. I wondered the same thing, but also could not identify the red circle with the lines in it on the “Hero Side” of the screen. Martian Manhunter, maybe? Never saw that red circle before.

The red circle logo is indeed Martian Manhunter. The logos are the “Big 7” and Captain Marvel.

Now onto Progene. Apparently I am the only person who reads Aquaman. Progene Tech is the company that has patented Aquaman’s DNA. Oh yeah, they’re also tied to the creation of Sub Diego.

As for the “M” logo, that one is tossing me for a loop. There is speculation that is Department M, who had a hand in the creation of the Creature Commandos. Of course I’m sure that there’s equal speculation that it stands for “Marvel” and Countdown is their elaborate plan to alienate DC readers from within.

Tim, any ideas on what the “M” stands for?

Not a one.


Another guy from the other side, Daredevil1, desires info.

Just a quick question do you think that Nightwing is a Daredevil rip-off?

I don’t see how anyone could come to that conclusion. Dick Grayson, as a character predates Daredevil as a character. The identity of Nightwing is just an evolution of that character, as witnessed in the recently completed Nightwing: Year One.

Are their similarities between the two characters? Sure. Both are acrobatic and skilled in martial arts. Both are/were involved in legal careers in their secret identities. And that’s about where the similarities end.

Nightwing doesn’t use a Billy club, he uses two escrima fighting sticks. Nightwing is also a team player, having been a member of numerous incarnations of The Teen Titans. He’s also played the role of both mentor and sidekick. Nightwing has a secret identity and the ability to see.

Nightwing was involved in a storyline that was similar to Daredevi’s “Born Again” but with enough differences to keep the stories from being compared too often. Also, Nightwing’s character arc lasted a bit longer than Daredevil’s did, allowing for more characterization and ramifications.

I think that Nightwing is more a reaction to Batman than to Daredevil. Tim, is Nightwing a Daredevil rip-off?

Nah. There are a couple of neat similarities (the reliance on fighting sticks, being drawn by McDaniel, the Born Again esque story, talented in flips and such) that might remind one of the other, but there is no copying going on here.


Steve wants to make us dig back into the archive, as shown by this question:

Who is the short guy in Lex Luthor’s “Injustice League?” Everyone else is at least a familiar face to me. Gotta be a Jonn Jonzz or Wonder Woman villain, given that the rest of the biggies are covered and I know he’s not a Flash or GL rogue. A shame they skipped Prometheus. My personal favorite DC baddie.

You are correct indeed he is a Wonder Woman foe. Fortunately for you I recently covered him.

From the 3/16/05 column;

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?
To which Tim responded;

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.

I should also point out that just as this response hit the net DC revealed the Dr. Psycho’s real name in Wonder Woman #214; Edgar Cizko.

So remember when it comes to results, this column is like McGarnicle.

Prometheus is currently appearing (barely) in Gotham Knights.

Tim, do you stand by your previous statement?

100, nay, 200 percent. Suck on that math nerds!

Sorry…I have a lot of hostility.


The column is done. I’ll catch you guys via email or over in the Forum.

My question to you this weeks; Anything else about Countdown to Infinite Crisis you want to vent about?

“I made myself a promise, as a young, green polliwog.”

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