Who's Who in the DCU

I hate technology. Right now I should be searching for answers, but I’m just typing. Something is wrong with puter and I’m irked to the bone. Sometimes it’s just not worth it. But then I remember the readers. You, loyal readers make this column worthwhile.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to remove my fist from my monitor. While I’m doing that, Tim anything eventful happen lately?

Eh, same old same old. Turning the big 24 this weekend. That’s about it


Puter’s acting funny, this no Links from me today.

But Tim, feel free to link away!

All right, I’ve got your back on this one. To steal your format, we have…

We’ve got Music to the ears .

Movies is all about those new fangled “talkies”.

Figures aren’t just for kids anymore.

Games has got me playing around.

Sports remains 100% hockey free (Pray for the return of the mighty Whale!).

TV is entering sweeps week.

Moodspins is never to be confused with moodswings.

And, finally,

Visit our DC Boards to let us know how we’re doing.

Read Last Week

Solo #4 – This is a great book that everyone should read. It’s consistently enlightening and a treat to read.

Papa Midnite #4 – What a cool book this has turned out to be. It’s books like this that make me glad I try new things.

Firestorm #13 – Jolley’s exit was pretty smooth. He wrapped things up nicely, and left a nice status quo for Moore to pick up from. It’s a satisfying conclusion to his run.

Boy, did we ever differ in opinion on this one. I can only agree with the smooth wrap-up/new status quo thing, honestly.

Superman #216 – Eh. This was a decent story, but nothing special. I wish we had more Eclipso. But it’s a nice prelude.

Matador #1 – Whoa. Read my review.

I concur.

Dark Detective #1 – Read my review.

Justice League Elite #11 – I’m sorry this book hasn’t been picked up as a monthly. This has been a solid read, I can’t wait until next issue, even though it’ll be the last.

The Losers #23 – This book appears to be wrapping up. It’s been a fun ride.

Villains United #1 – Good read, if misleading. The Six got as much screen time as the Society. Nice to see Eaglesham and von Grawbadger transition from HERO to Villains.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel #3 – Great read. Lex is so great of a character, it’s a shame he’s wasted as Superman’s foe.

Human Target #21 – Talk about breaking my heart. This was a great, confusing, bittersweet issue. It was a perfect ending, but it tore my heart out.

I’ll miss you Christopher Chance…I’ll miss you.

Y The Last Man #33 – Awkward! Poor Yorick, he’s got a way with women, a bad awkward way. We’ve finally got another Australian connection! I can’t wait to reconnect with Beth.

Shining Knight #2 – My least favorite of the Seven books. But that doesn’t mean it’s not good, just not to my liking. But I’m in it for the long haul.

Fallen Angel #20 – Review forthcoming (provided my problems alleviate.)

Time for questions.

Who’s Who alum Ben questions Tim’s authority

The best “big guy with a brain” you could come up with is Girder, Tim? How about Metallo? Killer Croc? Bane? The General? Mammoth? The list is endless…for shame…

B, I think you’ve got to cut Tim some slack. I’m sure that you’re familiar with how many books just don’t “do it” for him. Clearly I didn’t pick Girder either, but you can’t fault Tim for his choice of tough guy.

Wow…you guys are hysterical. Isn’t funny how Mathan won’t print corrections to his mistakes the next week (like not knowing Firebug) but when someone questions me, wow, that’s gotta go into the column.

I’ll say again what I said in the e-mail to both of you before. When I said “brain” I didn’t mean intelligence, I meant he was capable of some form of thought. The problem with Croc, The General, and Bane is that they’d never kowtow to Brainac at a level that he’d want. All three of them are thinkers on their own, one of them was a general (hence, the name) and the other two were big times rulers of Gotham for a bit. Simply put, they are too damn difficult to control. As for Metallo, I just don’t like him. Plus, I already had my Superman villain.

And who is Mammoth?

What? I just defended you! And you aren’t familiar with Mammoth? Haven’t you been reading Outsiders? Don’t Mammoth and Shimmer ring any bells?

For goodness sakes! Mammoth is a foe of the Titans, one of the Fearsome Five, he’s a dimwitted brute who’s got a severe attachment to his sister, Shimmer, who was recently resurrected.

Tim, I hope that was offered for comedic purposes.

Actually, since you ask, no I don’t read Outsiders anymore. I understand it has gotten better since the first 6 or so issues, but I checked out after those. Most people prefer Winick on a team book, but not me in this case, not me. And, really, you are going to take me to task over Mammoth? Puh-leeze.

Marshall is attracted to money

Who are the wealthiest people in the DCU in order? I mean at the peak of their financial empires who was wealthier Bruce Wayne, Lex Luthor, Ted Kord or some other Trump-like figure I’m forgetting about?

Well I’m going with Bruce Wayne being the wealthiest of the bunch. He’s got “old money” whereas Luthor’s money is pretty recent as is Kord’s. Max Lord, during the JLI era was also pretty wealthy. But Kord’s wealth diminished as did Lord’s. Luthor had to divest once he became President and afterward Talia Head left his empire in a less than pristine state.

Of course that makes it even more curious why the two are working together now (in VU), but I suppose there is a greater good to be accomplished or beaten down, depending on your vantage point.

Tim, I know of Stately Stevens Manor, how’s your wealth rank among the DCUers?

Before student loans, I was like fifth on that list. Now…124369th

A man we’ll paint with the brush of “disgruntled Marvel fan” asks

Aren’t the JLA Classified/JSA Classified titles along the same basic premises as the DC All Star titles?

I’m pretty sure that DC’s All Star line is just trying to tell classic tales that aren’t bogged down by continuity, and with big name creators.

I liken the Classified books to Legends titles (Legend of the Dark Knight & Legends of the DC Universe). Those books adhere to a type of loose continuity that fit in with the DCU. Legend of the Dark Knight told tales set, for the most part, during Batman’s first year. Legends of the DC Universe told tales set in DC’s past, to fill in the gaps in some ways.

I think that the Classified books offer creators a chance two work with characters (or teams in this case) that aren’t always available to them. I’m sure plenty of people would love to play with the JSA, but Tim’s best friend, Geoff Johns, seems to have a stranglehold on the book. Thus JSA: Classified allows for creators to write their JSA tale while the iron is still hot.

Likewise, JLA: Classified gives other incarnations of that team a chance to get in the spotlight again, like the JLI bunch currently appearing in the title. Maybe we’ll get a Justice League Antarctica story some day.

Since JLA doesn’t have a “regular” creative team, I’m thinking that JLA: Classified’s selling point is the variety of incarnations offered, while JSA: Classified offers the variety of different creators.

Regardless, I’m going to be picking the titles up. I’m sure that both the All Star line and the Classified books will provide quality and entertaining reads for all.

Tim, what are your thoughts on the variety of lines and titles?

I’d agree that the Classifieds fall into the LOTDK “It happened, we just can’t say exactly when” style of continuity. What I’d be more upset with if I was a disgruntled Marvel fan would be how DC won’t just own up to All-Star Batman etc is essentially Ultimate Batman. I’ll sort of, kind of buy that All-Star Superman is a different beast (it is written by Morrison, after all), but Batman? It is an Ultimate style rendition of him and Robin and there is no reason for DC to feel bad or shamed about that. Just come right out and say, “Hey, it’s a good idea so we’re trying it too.”

All-Star Superman is more of, in my estimation, an Elseworlds book. Why? Well, on what appear to be a silly, superficial level, it focuses not on the beginning of Superman (as would an “ultimate” Superman) but rather his end (he’s dying in All-Stars). So this is not taking Superman back to square 1 but rather back to square 15, let’s say, the time when he was incredibly powerful, Lois didn’t know he was Superman, etc. A sort of Silver Age Supes refracted through a modern lens, if you will.

So, yeah…that’s my long winded take on things.

Brett likes to indulge Mathan’s penchant for lists.

I was wondering if you could list the names of all the villains on page 4 of Issue of Villains United?

Dude, I so love to list.

Gentleman Ghost – foe of Hawkman. Gentleman Jim Braddock died years ago (he was hung) but his spirit has been causing problems on this plane, most notably with Hawkman for years. He’s kind of one of those “gray” characters like The Shade, at least that appeared how Geoff Johns was going to portray him.

Cicada – Flash rogue. He was a leader of a cult that worshiped the Flash. He’s immortal due to the sacrifices of his followers. He’s a sick dude.

Fatality – Foe of Green Lantern (specifically John Stewart & Kyle Rayner). She’s an alien from Xanshi, the planet that John Stewart accidentally destroyed. Fortunately she was off training to be an uber warrior. She then vowed to kill all Green Lanterns, but specifically John Stewart. Kyle got in her way most of the time. She’s such a fanatic, that she’s sacrificed limbs to carry out her goal. (Come on, who hasn’t done that from time to time.

Shrapnel or Frag – Shrapnel died, but got better. Frag is a pretty new character. Both of them are pretty lightweight in terms of threats. They can explode and recombine their fragmented shrapnel. (My guess is that its Shrapnel, especially since he recently popped up in Manhunter working for Calculator)

Knockout – She and an on again off again thing with Superboy. She’s originally from Apokolips, so you know she’s tough.

Phobia – Currently appearing in Manhunter. We actually covered her a few weeks back.

Skorpio – Foe of Steel. Skorpio wasn’t a real villain, he was just created to occupy Steel. Originally Dennis Ellis adopted this persona to pay his student loans. But he got attached to the persona and grew into the role.

Prometheus – Foe of the JLA and more recently lackey of Hush. We’ve covered him in the past as well.

Plasmus – Onetime foe of the Teen Titans and member of the Fearsome Five. He’s got an acidic touch.

Body Doubles – These gals are just a pair of bounty hunters. They crossed paths of the Resurrection Man. They’re deadly, but fun. (Not unlike Mathan and I….except we look better in skimpy costumes)

Gorilla Grodd – He’s a super intelligent ape from Gorilla City. He’s got mental powers and frequently goes up against The Flash.

Lord Satanus – He’s a bad demon who’s messed with Superman in the past. .

Tim, due to my lack of technology, I’m not 100% confident with my placing names with faces. Did I do all right?

You did great Good Buddy.

Andy Campbell is all about what’s below the surface

Here’s a question for you, regarding Black Mask. I have older issues of Batman comics where he is depicted wearing an actual mask. Nowadays, he is depicted as basically a black version of the Red Skull. When did this transformation take place, and why does he now have just a skull where his head should be?

He did wear a mask back in the day. But that was partially to cover up his very disfigured face, which had been burned and scarred by a really hot mask, which resulted in his current visage. The mask was that hot, that it melted and contorted his flesh into it’s current state.

So let that be a lesson to you, always make sure that your mask has had time to properly cool before placing it on your face. Lest you be tragically scarred and have people mistake you for a bad Marvel rip-off.

Of course part of that is artistic license. Artists drew his face more and more disfigured until he got to the point where it is now. I kind of like it. I did notice the similarities, but I didn’t mind. I think he looks cool.

Tim, your thoughts on the Black Mask, and wearing masks in general?

Masks are all right. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. Personally, I’ll all about the intimidating cloaks. And perhaps an eye patch.

As far as Black Mask goes (who does now look a bit like Black Skull, since you mentioned it, and who’s encounter with a too hot mask mirrors Victor Von Doom’s, Doctor Doom to you peons, own unfortunate mask accident. So I guess he’s kind of ripped off two Marvel villains there) he and I are reconciling.

I like him okay in his initial role as a mob boss with a huge Oedipal complex (his mask was carved from his father’s coffin and his all time best line was, “Father I would smash you a thousand times,” spoken while looking at himself in the mirror.). I liked him more as the crazed cult leader he was converted to during No Man’s Land. I think I kind of loved him in Catwoman when he transitioned to vicious torturer.

Then, I hated him in War Games. Hated, hated, hated. He came off as some Joker knock off and his dialogue always was terrible (especially when written by Bill Willingham). Of course, his role in the 15 issue long torture session of Spoiler hardly helped things.

However, since then, in Batman, I’ve kind of dug him. He is more flip and sarcastic than whacky/crazy and his relationship with his assistant, with Freeze, and with Red Hood are all good for a laugh.

So it will take some time to rebuild that trust, but I think he and I are back to a good place.

Alain is feeling a bit diabolical and looking for like-minded individuals

I picked up Villain’s United this week, and was wondering if you could give me some background on some of the more obscure characters, of the six opposing the united villains.

Deadshot, everyone should know by now. Cheshire is Arsenal’s baby’s mama, so she should be pretty familiar. Catman was once a big game hunter, who turned to a life of crime and was a Batman foe, so he should be vaguely familiar.

As for the other three; Scandal, Ragdoll and Parademon, I’ve not got a lot. Scandal is a new creation, so we’ve got zilch on her. Rumor has it this is a new Ragdoll, as opposed to the cult leader who was in Starman. As for the Parademon, I recall a Parademon gaining sentience in an issue of Aquaman, but I’m pretty sure it died at the close of the issue.

I’m sorry, that wasn’t helpful at all. As more facts become available, I’ll revisit the question, but as it stands right now, I’m in the same boat as you are. I do want to go on the record as saying Sivana is Mockingbird.

Tim, perhaps you’ve got some insight on the lesser known of The Six?

Not much out there by way of answers. I also think that Scandal is all new character and that Ragdoll is a new character with an old name. The Parademon, from what I hear, actually comes from the comic adaptation of the toyline Extreme Justice. His name is Mike. There is also something about an internet joke involving an “intelligent” (not totally mindless in other words) Parademon, but I’ve got no idea what the joke is or where to find it.

Boy…did we ever drop the ball on this one.

Gaz is all about the Motor City and, presumably, 8 Mile and that’s why he’s gotta say:

I have never read any of the 2nd major incarnation of the League, JL Detroit. Why did DC change the title so much, getting rid of the big hitters (Supes, Flash, GL etc) and replacing them with Vixen, Vibe, Steel and Gypsy? Were sales down? And why do you think this League ultimately failed, causing the creation of the Giffen/Dematteis League out of Legends?

One of the reasons for this is because the heroes you mentioned weren’t ultra active in the JLA at the time. JL Detroit took place right after the “Satellite Era” of the JLA. Zatanna, Firestorm, Green Arrow, Aquaman, Black Canary Green Arrow, Elongated Man, Martian Manhunter, Hawkwoman and Hawkman were the most prominent heroes during the end of that era.

Part of the reason for the JL Detroit is because Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were getting relaunched or at least revamped Post Crisis. So those characters were off the table in terms of usage. Barry Allen had just died so Flash was still tied to the Titans. It would have been pretty confusing to have those familiar faces in the League, while their origins were being retold elsewhere.

I think the JL Detroit failed because it had to follow something and didn’t have any marquee names. It was really an extension of the original JLA and had all that baggage, where nearly every other DC book had abandoned the pre Crisis baggage. It also suffered from having Aquaman as the big name of the team. That’s never a good sign.

It also had the difficult issue of timing. Heroes were becoming more human. But the JLA title was still a good ol’ super hero title, when people were beginning to hunger for more.

I’ve never read any of those issues, nor do I have any interest in doing so. It was a difficult time for the League and they stumbled a bit.

Tim, what do you think the worst aspect of the JL Detroit was?

The fact that we were asked to take a team seriously that named itself not after a concept (international), a continent (Europe) or a country (America) but rather a city.

And of all the cities…Detroit?

Gaz double dips on the JL questions

How does this version of the League compare with another overlooked and criticized era in League history, that being the team that Wonder Woman led after Superman died? I know a lot of people tend to forget about this era, and jump straight from Giffen/Dematteis to Morrison, but what are your thoughts about the UN sanctioned, New York based team of WW, Maxima, Bloodwynd, Ray, Guy, (and for a short time Agent Liberty and Black Condor), with Fire, Ice, Booster and Beetle lurking around in the background? Is this team ever mentioned in current continuity?

Again, this isn’t a particularly fond era of the team. It is kind of glossed over and avoided. Both teams are similar in that they were both pretty much makeshift teams. But I think that Wonder Woman’s squad suffered from the competition. There were other Justice League books on the market at the same time, and that kind of diluted the product, as well as the quality of the characters.

The team is mentioned, but it’s a much more recent “dark period” for the franchise.

Tim, would you rather join Wondy’s Justice League, Justice League Task Force or Extreme Justice?

I wouldn’t exactly describe any of them as my top choice, but if I had to choose, I guess I’d choose Task Force because that Martian Manhunter is one smmmmmmmmmoooooooooooooooth cat.

Tom G has an “enchanting” query

Isn’t The Enchantress dead from the LAST miniseries where The Spectre goes bananas, Day of Judgment, or did she get somehow revived while I was away?

Indeed she did. June Moon and the Enchantress had a reunion during the final issue of
JLA: Black Baptism. They were resurrected as Soulsinger, who apparently reverted to The Enchantress.

But don’t beat yourself up, I don’t think too many people read JLA: Black Baptism. I know I didn’t.

Tim, did you?

I did once look at the cover of an issue. Does that count?

Tom G is back with a vengeance

If the Phantom Stranger’s been turned into a mouse, who was that guy in the fedora and trenchcoat a few pages earlier? The one rapping to the vampire?

That would be none other than Doctor Occult. Trenchcoats are pretty popular among the mystical set of the DCU. So popular in fact there’s a crew of mystical characters called The Trenchcoat Brigade. This “team” consists of John Constantine, Mister E, The Phantom Stranger and Doctor Occult.

So don’t feel bad for mistaking the two characters, it’s kind of a joke that the share similar tastes in clothing.

Kind of like Tim and his Wonder Woman-eque star motif underwear.

They make me feel pretty. I make no apologies for that.

Chaos is lost in all the pretty colors

In Day of Vengance, Animal Man mentions the red and his powers, I thought this idea was a creation of Andy Diggle for tinkering with Swamp Thing’s daughter in the new book… please correct me, or at least fill in the blanks…

I actually touched upon this awhile ago while discussing Avatars and Elementals.

Now the confusion between the Avatars and Elementals is easy to clear up. Elementals are M&M’s and Avatars are Skittles. They are both candies; but different kinds of candies. Avatars are animal based. For instance awhile back, when Hawkman was almost beyond repair, there was the Hawk Avatar who messed things up further. Elementals are representatives of things that occur in nature, but aren’t really alive, like Water, Fire, Air, Earth, Quantum Mechanics. You get the idea.

All the Avatars exist in the Red, the Morphogenetic field that is the connection between all animal life, the way the Green links all plant life. So whereas Swamp Thing taps into the Green to use his plant powers, Animal Man links to the Red to use his powers. In fact any character that has animal based powers taps into the Red.

I’m pretty sure that The Red is a creation of Grant Morrison. Regardless Animal Man and Tefe are both familiar with the Vertigo Universe. Animal Man just has the ability to traverse the two freely.

Tim, do you prefer the Red or the Green?

I love me some Animal Man, so I’ll go red.

Although in font color, green has it all over red everyday. Take that Ben! (Ha, it’s doubly funny because he’s colorblind!)

And yes, by the by, The Red is all Morrison.

Chaos dares to speak the Demon’s Head’s name

What happened to Nissa, Talia’s sister and current Demon’s Head – how did Talia end up here?

I’m sure Nyssa is still around. She’s just playing a role behind the scenes. It would be difficult for her to create an identity for herself in this age of DNA testing. But Talia on the other hand has established herself in the world. She took over for Lex at Lexcorp while Luthor was in the White House after all.

Everyone knows that Talia represents Ra’s. Her cred is established in the villain community. Nyssa, on the other hand is a relative newbie to the club. Talia earned her spot. So while Nyssa may have the actual power, she’s got no rep, yet.

I’d imagine that Nyssa will reappear relatively soon, especially since Ra’s al Ghul’s profile is about to be huge in about a month.

Tim, don’t you dig Talia?

You know what Mathan, I do. I really do. I’m psyched to see what she does in Villains United as she seems to be embracing her darker side and abandoning the side that would lead her to help her “Beloved”. I am also quite interested to see how that will effect a Batman who is already reeling a bit from a.) OMAC and b.) the truth about the JLA mindwipe.

Your favorite and mine, Sly Reference, is curious about Thanagar’s manifest destiny.

What’s this about Thanagar invading Earth?

Thanagar didn’t do it alone. In fact it was the Dominators who actually initiated the plan to attack Earth. The Dominators were afraid that Earth’s predisposition for heroes would get in the way of the Dominion’s um, dominion. So they built an alliance of aliens including, Durla, Okaara, Gil’ Dishpan, Knudia, the Vegan Citadel and yes the Thanagarians, to invade Earth. Some Daxamites joined up to observe the events.

In the end, after a few deaths and a few heroes (and villains) were created, Earth was triumphant.

And that was the (truncated) story of Invasion!. The End.

Tim, how come the Dominators get no love as a threat to the DCU?

They set the bar too high. They call themselves the Dominators for goodness sake. You take that name and do anything less than totally dominate, people just won’t take you seriously after that.

That guy with the funny name, Un Gajje, is back with a scary riddle

Great Riddler stories? Do they exist? If so, what are they? Ditto for Scarecrow.

My favorite Riddler story took place after Jason Todd was killed. I know that my favorite issue of the story was Batman #454. Sure the Riddler was possessed by a demon, it was still my favorite Riddler story. His telling of his own origin in the Secret Origins special was also decent.

As for the Scarecrow, I really liked his appearance in Nightwing #10 & 11. I think he really shined there. But that’s about it for me.

Tim, did that satisfy your need?

Eh, sort of. Not your fault though. I just already had that Nightwing story in mind and a Riddler story involving him possessed by a demon sounds intriguing, it isn’t the kind of classic but cool Riddler story I was hoping for. I’ll still look for it though, so it is a victory in that way.

That’s it for this week. Send your feedback or post your comments.

My question to you this week; How the hell do I stop upd203 from completely messing with my computer and causing Explorer to shut down?

“How come day break but don’t fall, and night fall but don’t break?”