Who’s Who in the DCU?

Tim, guess what? I open my email right before I begin the column and I get a note from Dan Jolley of Bloodhound and Firestorm fame. He graciously explained why the ending of Bloodhound was so abrupt.

But the coolest part of the story is that he was responding to comments I made in last week’s column! How nutty is that? I tell you; that man is a class act.

So how was your week?

Look at you, such a big man now. Congratulations on your comic celeb encounter.

No complaints on this end. Still on a high after the weekend of Tribeca Film Festival, a Mets game (where they WON!), and buying a dining room table. Well, not so much that last one, but Janelle was very excited so, what’s good for her is good for me.

Links

Moodspins is a cornucopia of reading material.

Music has the reviews of both Beck and Garbage!

TV has news on Paula-gate!

Figures has plenty of points of articulation.

Movies has big screen action!

Games will make your thumbs sore!

Sports has playoff updates.

Visit Our DC Forums

Tim, what’re you gonna link this week?

Just one, but it might be the most important link…ever! Go to Save Arrested Development and make sure Fox knows that it should do just that.

What Was Read Last Week

JLA #113 – This story was way too hyped. There was no way it could live up to it, and it hasn’t.

Human Race #2 – Dense issue. Great art and the story is moving along nicely. Give this book a shot.

JLA Classified #6 – I read this issue once, and I wasn’t too impressed. It was ok, but it didn’t slay me like the previous issues.

Superman #215 – Read my review

Manhunter #9 – Wait a minute. First Copperhead now Monocle, and John Babos loves this book? I don’t get it. Ted and Sue get killed and it’s huge, but Copperhead and Monocle get offed and no one bats an eye. We’ll I’ll speak for the villains. I’ll miss you guys. You deserved better.

Bah! Both deaths were plenty well done and Copperhead’s has served such a large purpose, I can’t imagine the book if it hadn’t happened. Besides, Andreyko has always said that Kate wouldn’t hesitate to cross the line, so this isn’t really a surprise for her character. I support the move.

Aquaman #29 Great looking issue, nice fight with a cool twist at the end. But Aquaman needs to release some stress, quick.

Gotham Knights #64 – Amazing cover! It’s nice to see Bruce Wayne play a role in a Bat book. Hush is getting more and more intriguing.

Hawkman #39 – If Golden Hawk isn’t Byth or Count Viper, I’ll be irked.

The Question #6 – Review forthcoming.

Trigger #5 – Yet another book that I love gets the axe. I’m cursed!

You and me both pal…you and me both.

Klarion #1 – This book was spectacular. The art on this title is so refreshing and practically hypnotizing. I love this book.

Here, here. Morrison does not disappoint, but the art is truly something.

Ex Machina #10 – What a great cover. It is a little confusing before you read the issue, but it makes complete sense after you finish reading. This is a great title, y’all should be reading it.

The OMAC Project #1 – I really don’t see why people were complaining that the issue was slow. I really enjoyed the book. And saw nothing wrong with it.

100 Bullets #60 – Whoa, so much happened this issue, and not much. It’s like all of the components were placed in a blender, but it’s not been turned on yet. I can’t wait for the mixing to start.


Tim, no one’s placed the lyric at the end of the last column, so who what should we start with?

What does it even matter? If they don’t put forth the effort, why should we? Let’s just pick some random schlub.

Dardis is just such the schlub that we seek.

I thought I once read that there was bad blood between Thomas Wayne and his father. That true? If it is, what’s the story?

I’m guessing that you’re referring to Legends of the Dark Knight #133-136 a tale that told of the conflict between Jack Wayne and his son Thomas Wayne. Jack Wayne was a ruthless businessman in the 1920’s but his son Thomas turned out kind of kind of nerdy and quiet. Jack didn’t like his mild mannered son. On the other hand Jack did admire the gumption of Brass, a hood from the streets.

Of course Jack’s views changed when he realized that Brass had criminal ties witnessed Thomas save a man’s life. The story goes deeper into how the Wayne Foundation was created and ended with Jack and Thomas reconciling before Jack’s death.

It’s as in continuity as anything else in Legends of the Dark Knight so check it out and decide for yourself.

Tim, how do you like your Legends of the Dark Knight stories set in the present or stories set in the past?

Set in the past or at least, a story that occurred off the beaten path of the present. When LODK enters current times, it is almost always for some crossover, which makes it just like any other Bat book. And what’s the point of that? The reason for LODK and the only reason why I support keeping it around is to tell stories from Batman’s past that we missed the first time over. To tell present day tales…why bother with a fourth (fifth? eighth?) Bat book.


Some guy named Un Gajje is being bothersome.

Heh. Un Gajje. What a stupid name. I mean…wait a sec…HEY!
I know you hated it, but Deadshot was a wonderful series. In that final issue, there was a bunch of low grade villains: Javelin, Deadline, Firebug, Pathfinder, etc. So tell, what are all their deals? How did they get the powers, what have they done with, where can I find other stories with them, why does the DC Encyclopedia ignore most of them?

Golly Gee, as the sole member of the Nexus who isn’t enamored with the Suicide Squad, it’s certainly ironic to be the one who writes a column that’s about the DCU.

Anyway, Tim since it’s you asked, I guess I’m obligated to answer.

*Sigh*

Javelin never got a true identity. But we do know that he was an Olympic athlete from Germany. As Olympic athletes often do, Javelin turned to crime as a use for his talents. He was contacted by the Monitor (yes from the original Crisis) who introduced him to Congressman Jason Bloch. Bloch was hell-bent on destroying Ferris Aircraft, and utilized Javelin’s talents in an attempt to ruin the company.

He joined the Suicide Squad and was seemingly killed during War of the Gods. But he didn’t die, perhaps because he was too cool. He turned up in Power Company #5 and met defeat again.

But when he met Deadshot, he met defeat again, only a bit more harsh this time.

Tim if you wish to remember Javelin feel free to read Green Lantern (v2) #173-175, JLI #13, Suicide Squad #13 & 58 War of the Gods #3 and Power Company #5.

Or if you’re feeling thrifty you could just send me the money.

Well that sounds fair enough. Will a check be…wait…are you hustling me?

Way back in the original Suicide Squad title, toward the end, there was a revamped team known as Task Force X Mark II. Pathfinder, Metamorpheus, Kaliber, and Sidewinder were all part of that team. Their back-stories weren’t revealed but not because they were lame or anything.

Sniff, sniff. Is that sarcasm I smell?

Kaliber could shoot beams from his hands, *cough*Gunfire*cough*. Oh and he used a nifty rifle to focus them.

Pathfinder was a teleporter, could phase and could damage what he phased through.

Metamorpheus could change his shape and even create weapons from his body, be they spikes or blades.

Sidewinder could transform his lower body into a snake-like tail, because really when doesn’t that come in handy. He was put out of his misery by Kaliber. But then he came back apparently.

Also a member of the faux Suicide Squad was Sudden Death of Hawk & Dove fame. He’s an established bad guy, not in a “Joker” established sense, but rather in a “Mister Z” established sense. His first appearance was in Hawk & Dove #5, and he’s been appearing sporadically every since.

Schreck was part of the Red Shadows. Y’see once upon a time there was a “cold war.” The Soviet Union and the United States were enemies. The Red Shadows were like a type of Russian Suicide Squad, doing dirty government work.

Schreck also happened to be a vampire. Check out Suicide Squad #55 for more on him.

As for Deadline, he’s yet another guy who was a poor nameless slob. Well actually he was a hitman, but he was nameless nonetheless. But during the Invasion when the genebomb was detonated in the atmosphere, it activated his metagene bestowing him with cool powers. He could phase through things and make whatever he touched intangible. He also had some pretty think skin, which made his feeling pain a real chore. Oh yeah, he also had very quick reflexes.

He also had a pretty neat arsenal. He had hover discs so he could fly. His helmet was equipped with night vision. His armor was equipped with various weapons as well.

He was a frequent foe of the Will Payton Starman. He also showed up in Flash #179 where he was apparently killed by Warden Wolfe. But then again apparently he wasn’t.

As for Firebug, oddly enough he’s the coolest of the bunch (which believe me, if you’re Firebug that’s a rare occurrence). Y’know why, because he’s a brand new guy. Firebug’s got no lame back-story and is plagued by appearing in canceled books. He’s a new character with a clean slate.

Tim, are you happy now?

Happy? Nah…I’ll never be happy. But the information is helpful. I don’t think you are right on that Firebug thing though. I think he has previous appearances before this mini. Readers, can you back me up on this?


Sly Reference hopes to milk us for information so he can live up to his name.

OK, I’ve been reading Adam Strange and a bunch of JSA back issues, and I have one big question: Thanagar. I know almost nothing about it, but it seems to be rather important. I know it has something to do with Hawkman’s origin, but the JSA issues make me think that that’s a pretty confusing topic, too.

Thanagar isn’t that confusing. It started out as a slave world. Polara, another planet, had a huge empire and Thanagar was part of it. As the legend goes, Kalmoran, a slave, (of the Kunta Kinte, not the Britney Spears variety) started a rebellion that granted Thanagar its freedom at the cost of the Polaran empire.

Whereas Kalmoran decided not to fill the void left by the Polaran empire, as generations passed the Thanagarians grew hungry for the taste of conquest. In fact the Thanagarian Empire now lives by the policies of aggression and imperialism.

Thanagar began conquring worlds and creating quite an empire. As time passed Thanagarian culture began to stagnate, thus the natives began to import their other world subjects to advance the culture.

As a result, the upper class of Thanagar live in the floating cities known as High Towers. Meanwhile three billion subjected aliens live in the Downside, on the planet below the Towers. They live in the squalor hoping to be employed by the rich in the Towers. Here are some interested stats:

Everyday one thousand subjects are immigrated to Thanagar to replace those who have been sent home or died.

Three thousand subjects die everyday mostly from disease and starvation.

There have been attempts at rebellion by the Downsiders, most recently by the Manhawks. The Manhawks are birdlike aliens, who wear masks made from the flesh of their Thanagarian oppressors, the Wingmen, Thanagar’s police force.

And that’s a pretty brief rundown of Thanagar. Tim, you spend your summers on Thanagar, care to give a personal account of the planet?

Well, you know the cliché…it’s a name place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

By the by, flesh masks? I know they seem cool in theory, but they aren’t, not really. They’re hot, they smell, and then decompose, and smell worse. If you need to wear a trophy, I recommend a necklace made of teeth and bone or perhaps a nice shrunken head on a belt. Either item would look quite fetching.


JohnBritton once shot a man just to watch him die. But that’s not important right now.

I was reading the Judas Contract Trade the other day, and Dick Grayson dropped that he had been wearing the Robin uniform since he was eight years old. Eight! He must have been the youngest superhero ever. Unless that referred to his time with Haley’s Circus, where he wore a similar uniform. Is that still continuity? Eight years old? The Teen Titans have a bunch of young heroes fighting Dr. Light this month. Which ones started out the youngest? Bart Allen seemed pretty young. Beast Boy was pretty young (and purple) when he started. But who were the youngest?

Pantha hasn’t been the game for too long.

Ok. Vic Stone was pretty old when he started the hero thing, as were Mal/Herald, Bubblebee, Hawk & Dove, CM3, Flamebird, Mirage (who isn’t on the cover) and Argent.

Duela Dent’s loony so we don’t know when she started.

The current Wonder Girl and Robin began doing the “hero” thing a little earlier that those heroes.

Those who started pretty young were Arsenal, Nightwing, Flash and Tempest. They all began their heroic careers around the same time (and I’d say that Nightwing’s been active since he was right around 9 or 10).

I think that it’s fair to say that Red Star and Starfire have both been training rigorously for years, so while they may not have been “heroes” they didn’t have normal childhoods.

Impluse is next because he’s been a hero since he was two. It may seem like a long time, but when you consider that he’s currently hovering right around 5 or 6, it’s not that long. Y’see Bart came from the future. He was born in the 31st Century, with his metabolism in overdrive. He was aging at a tremendous rate. He was sent to the present era in an attempt to slow his metabolism down. It worked, but by the time it was over he’d aged about twelve years in the relative span of two.

Baby Wildebeest is the second youngest “hero” as it started its’ adventures as an infant.

But the youngest hero, at least by my count would be Superboy. This guy is a clone who pretty much started being a hero from the time he was “born.”

And even though you didn’t ask about non-Titans, I’ll toss Arrowette in there with Starfire and Red Star, since she’s been groomed to be a hero from an early age.

Tim, when did you first don a cape and cowl to fight crime?

Well, much like Arrowette, Red Star, and Starfire, it is something I’ve trained for my entire life. My father used to wake me up at 2 in the morning and make me run alongside his car, uphill for three hours. Then, it was a quick shower and off to school…public school! I need not tell you how dangerous those places are. At home, it was four hours of weapons mastery and off to bed with a piece of pepper or (if I was lucky) pear for dinner. On the weekends, we took it easy. He just pelted me with stones for four hours.

Then abruptly, at age 12, my father declared me unworthy of his mantle and sent me out in the world to fend for myself. Something about me having 6% body fat, not 5.

Boy, I sure do miss the old homestead. Good times…good times.


Colin also is interested in Young Dick (no? too much?)

Ok, I read the Nightwing: Year One. Not bad. I’ve never read Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, but it is my understanding that Starfire gave all the personal info of her fellow Titans to Deathstroke, and he messed them all up, leading to Robin being the only one to escape and come back as Nightwing. Where was all this in Year One? Pre-Crisis?

Argh! I want to answer your question, but since you’ve not read The Judas Contract, I really don’t want to spoil it for you. It’ll be obvious when you sit down and read the tale who the turncoat is, but it’s not Starfire.

Anyway back to “Nightwing: Year One. In Chapter One, Robin is late after shutting down Brother Blood, which means the issue takes place directly after New Teen Titans #41.

The final page of Nightwing #106 appears to take place during The Judas Contract. So I don’t really see any major glaring signs that point to any contradictions between the two tales. Of course this goes on the belief that Nightwing Year One doesn’t actually take place over an entire year.

Tim, can the two stories coexist peacefully?

I guess so, but I wouldn’t worry about it. Year One was so mediocre that if you just concentrate on Judas Contract as the continuity and Year One as, I don’t know, some sort of writing exercise, you wouldn’t be in the wrong.


John Babos wants to know secrets…six of ’em to be exact.

Since Villains United is coming out soon and will a feature a new Secret Six led by Mockingbird, I was wondering if you’d be able to fill Nexus readers in on the Secret Six of old and whether you think they are still in-continuity?

The Secret Six, as you mentioned had two incarnations; the first was comprised of Carlo di Rienzi, Mike Tempest, Kim “Crimson” Dawn, King Savage, Lili de Neuve and August Durant. They worked for The Agency. Their liaison with The Agency was Mockingbird. Not only was he their liaison, but he was also a member of the team. That’s right; no one knew who Mockingbird was. What’s worse is that Mockingbird held something over every member’s head. He had dirt on them, and if they didn’t go along with the plan, it would be released. But they did their missions and everything was kosher and they were let off the hook.

Then a couple of decades later The Agency told Durant and di Rienzi that they had to get a new group of six together, and train them. This time however each member of the new Secret Six were handicapped and Mockingbird had devices that aided them. Luke McKendrick was a former track star with messed up legs, Anthony Mantegna was deaf, Mitch Hoberman had really bad arthritis, La Donna Jameal was terribly scarred, Vic Sommers was blind, and Maria Verdugo was epileptic. They were the new Secret Six.

Well Durant and di Rienzi didn’t like being bossed around so they decided to have a reunion of the old Secret Six to try to extricate themselves. The Agency found out and blew up the plane they were on. Only di Rienzi got out alive. But he was killed after that. The new Six decided to break up right after that.

So technically they are still out there, but I don’t think that we’ll be seeing them anytime soon. If you want to relive the most recent exploits, pick up Action Comics Weekly #601 where the new saga began. Oh yeah we did find out who Mockingbird was, but I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Tim was I wrong for keeping the secret of the Secret Six a secret?

Wrong to keep that secret a secret? Nah, sometimes secrets are meant to be kept secret or else, they just aren’t as special. Or secret. So yeah, keeping secrets secret is (secretly) the way to go.


SuperJ (who’s name indicates he holds himself in rather high esteem) asks a perennial Who’s Who favorite:

Who in the DCU remembers the original crisis other than Psycho Pirate (I think that’s what his name was)? Not just an inkling that something “big” happened but really remember the skies turning red and all of the destruction.

Ok initially only Pariah and Psycho Pirate remember The Crisis. However it appears that some time travelers are also aware of what went down, most notably the Linear Men. But in the most recent issue of JSA Per Degaton appeared to display knowledge of The Crisis when he referenced the Huntress.

It does appear that as time goes on more and more people are finding out about The Crisis. I’m also betting that as the next Crisis closes in more people will become aware of the original.

Tim what are your thoughts on the past, present, and future of The Crisis?

Sigh.

Sometimes, I wish they could just leave well enough alone. But, sadly, it seems since Crisis writers love to return to it and extract a little bit more of the past, pre-Crisis continuity.

Some very good stories have come out of this (see Psycho Pirate’s appearance in Animal Man during Morrison’s run) and some not so good one’s too (anything in Superman/Batman, especially anything related to multi colored K or Supergirl). I get the fascination, I suppose, but I just think if you are going to do something so big and (arguably) so well, why spend the next 20 years backpedaling away from it.

As for Infinite Crisis, I believe the DC folk when they say that this one has nothing to do with multiple earths or fixing continuity. I do think that, in terms of scale, it will be reminiscent of Crisis of Infinite Earths, but in all other ways, no.


Talowolf has some timely inquiries that connect with the excellent DC series, Manhunter. Which is excellent, by the way.

After Identity Crisis and with the upcoming Villains U, I figured I need to brush up on my villains that weren’t bald presidents, living in an insane asylum or going to war in Keystone. So could you give some background on Merlyn the archer? He looks like he’s had/has/will have some potential. Since she also appeared with Merlyn over in the newest Manhunter, how about Phobia?

Well let’s begin with Merlyn.

From the 8/18/05 column
Merlyn “the Magician” was an expert archer. He was so good in fact that he proved to be an inspiration to a young Ollie Queen. Soon after Green Arrow appeared Merlyn challenged him to a competition, and beat him. Merlyn then vanished.

He popped up later as a member of the League. Not the Justice League, the League of Assassins. He tried to kill Batman, but failed. Since he failed he couldn’t return to the League, because the prize for failure is death. Instead he became a regular assassin; he even took work as part of a plot against the JLA.

He showed up in Young Justice #23-24, as an Olympian for the rogue nation of Zandia. (So…funny. …quot;B) But now he’s back to his “bow for hire” ways. He’s an amazing archer, who isn’t above using trick arrows.

Angela Hawkins III (seriously a “III” for females?) is a member of that wacky British aristocracy. One day, at a young age she discovered she had the ability to project fear.

Later she became part of the Brotherhood, the team put together by The Brain to battle the Teen Titans. She’s never attained “big time” status, but she’s pretty powerful. She’s recently received a bit more attention since appearing in Identity Crisis.

As you pointed out, both are appearing in Manhunter. But I guess poor ol’ Monocle gets no love. Tim what’s up with that?

Well, he is name is… the Monocle and his power does come from…a monocle so, call me crazy
(crazy)
What? Oh yes. How droll. Anyway, call me crazy (but not really!), but I think that might have something to do with it.

Actually to be more serious about the guy, I really did feel something for him in his recent Manhunter appearance. His reaction to using his eyepiece on another person after having forgotten to dial it down from its highest level (to blow out the wall) was a very authentic moment.

Of course, after that…boom!


Alas another column is through. But fear not, next week will (probably) feature Per Degaton, Lost Bat Elements, Checkmate and of course the answer to your questions provided you ask them.

Be sure to share your thoughts on the column and post your questions over on the Forum. Or you can email me you’re replies, requests and reprimands.

Last week I forgot to ask you a question, but I’m on the ball this week; If you were in charge of DC Comics, how would you do a better job of promoting titles?

“When I get there she’s got incense, wine and candles; it’s such a freaky scene.”

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