Who's Who in the DCU

Mathan, unfortunately, cannot be with us today. His computer had become possessed by evil spirits and he had to slay it to save us all. Feel free to private message him to inquire about how you can donate to the “Get Who’s Who Back On Track” Fund (in other words, the “Let’s All Buy Mathan a New Computer” Fund). He’ll be back next week with a reader’s response column (we seem to do those a lot), but beyond that it is unclear what we are going to do. For this week, I’m doing the column and it should quickly become clear why I’m usually only the editor. And because this column works best when it is call and response style, I will be engaging in conversation with…myself. As represented by the various nicknames I’ve had over the years. That’s right, you can all watch me develop dissociative disorder (the “real name” of multiple personality disorder) right here, right now. And, just for haha’s, I will be doing the whole column in Mets colors. Fun, huh?

Anyway, since I don’t have access to Mathan’s e-mails, I have no idea who, if anyone, got the lyric correct. I also don’t have many questions you may have asked. Instead, I only have the message board postings and an e-mail from DC News and Views. Sorry in advance for the disappointment.

So, let’s get right to it. S’alright, Un Gajje?


Coren never felt like part of the “In” crowd

I haven’t been up to date on Outsiders (I jumped in on 21) so maybe you could explain what the deal with Metamorpho is? I’ve been told this isn’t Metamorpho on the team, that it’s only a part of him that’s somehow more powerful, and other confusing things. Could you clear that up? What implications does that have regarding this month’s Outsiders?

The deal with the Outsiders Metamorpho is that he is not actually Metamorpho at all. Or more accurately, he is Metamorpho, but only a piece of him.

This piece of Meta’s story begins in JLA#1. The Hyperclan, the evil Martians posing a good wholesome world fixing heroes, first showed their hand by attacking the disbanding JLA (they were clearing out so the big guns could take over) that included members like Obsidian, Nuklon (whom we now know as Atom Smasher), and Ice. As the Hyperclan was real deal scary and dangerous, these ex-JLAers had to escape, but found themselves sans escape pod. Thinking quickly and being a heroic fella, Meta twisted his body into a pod around his teammates and launched himself to Earth. Sadly while the gambit worked for Nuklon and Co. inside the human space craft, Meta himself was rendered “inert”. After the Hyperclan affair, Meta was buried in the heroes’ cemetery.

He would show up again, briefly, during Mark Waid’s run on JLA, when his son “wished” him back to life. It was all very Monkey’s Paw and he was sent back to the Great Beyond at the conclusion of the arc.

So that’s all she wrote, right?

Well, no, of course not, this is comics.

It seems that, despite being buried, Meta ended up at S.T.A.R. Labs where he was resurrected during that wonderful story we call Graduation Day. He had no memory of his past, but this was not entirely unexpected as Meta had died once or twice prior and also come back amnesiac. The all-new Outsiders figure that there would be no better way to help Meta back on the road to recovery than to enlist his help in battling the forces of evil. That seemed like a great idea for oh, about four issues. And then, another Metamorpho showed up, claiming the Outsiders’ Meta was nothing more than a fraud. Outsiders’ Meta disagrees vehemently with these claims.

So what’s what here?

Turns out that both of them are sort of kind of right. The newly arrived Meta is the real deal. Outsiders’ Meta, however, isn’t entirely wrong because it turns out that he is a piece of Rex (the “real” Meta’s alter ego). Rex at first wants to simply absorb the piece and put the whole ugly episode behind him, but, as he is generally a kind and decent person, decides to let piece go on living with the all-new all-different name of……..Shift!

See, it’s not complicated at all.

As for the second part of your question, the implications, I must first ask all of you who do not wish the most recent issue of Outsiders spoiled to leave the room. Are they all gone? Good.

In Outsiders #23, Arsenal locks down his fellow teammates and interrogates them at length because he believes there is a traitor amongst them. After interviewing everyone, he shoots Shift without bothering to ask poor “Piece of Rex” any questions and claims that he figured it was Shift all along, but just had to make sure. Now, some of you might ask why Arsenal just didn’t start with Shift then and not bother with torturing (sometimes literally) the rest of the team. I admit that to be a good point, but Arsenal can, at times, make some bad or too quick decisions (heroin, sleeping with EVERYBODY, especially Cheshire, trying to take on Vandal Savage on his own, etc).

What Shift being a piece of a man, but not a real one has to do with him also being traitor is murky. For one, it is not entirely clear if Arsenal is right. Given that the Teen Titans/Outsiders crossover that starts in Teen Titans #24 (out on Wednesday) focuses on a traitor from within, it is possible that Shift is not who should be shot and imprisoned. One particularly involved theory on the net has Arsenal actually being the traitor and interrogating his teammates as part of a clever, elaborate ruse. Possible, I suppose, but I find it unlikely.

Another reason it is unclear what, if any, impact Shift’s former life has on him being a traitor is we still don’t know his motives. If he is the traitor and we find out why, it will be much easier to figure out what role his origin played in him making like Benedict Arnold.

What do you think, Mr. President? Is Shift really the traitor? If not, who? Arsenal?

While the idea of Arsenal being the traitor is fascinating it is ultimately a bit far fetched for my tastes. Plus, I like Roy, so I’d prefer it not be him.

However, I am not convinced that Shift is the traitor at all and, either way, I hope there is some fallout from this. Nightwing has been given a hard time as of late in the title for being “too cold”, but at least he never subjected his teammates to interrogation and torture in the name of a “hunch”. When all is said and done and the traitor stands revealed (Shift or not), I hope that Roy gets some comeuppance for this move.

Neil looks to the stars to find a question

Can we get a lowdown on Starbreaker? I have the JLA issues with him in them from the 90’s and based on that, it appears it took no less than the Guardians of the Universe to subdue him. Then an elaborate ruse is required to stop him by the JLA.

Now he’s back and on the verge of galacticide. What’s his origins?

To call a spade a spade, Starbreaker is, in many ways, DC’s Galactus. While he does not employ a bevy of heralds or quite have Galactus’s fashion sense (why wouldn’t a planet devourer wear a purple skirt?), both shared a penchant for snacking on the energy of planets. Starbreaker did it be-decked in silver (he’s a robotic looking fella) and often took a portion of the energy he sucked out of planets and sold it off to the highest bidder.

First appearing back in the 1970’s (’72 to be exact) Starbreaker burst onto the scene with a hankering for Rann. His attempt to chow down was repelled by the Justice League and Adam Strange. Rather than simply take his ball and go home, Starbreaker decided to eat Earth in revenge. The Justice League and Sargon the Sorcerer, however, were in no mood to see the place where they keep all their stuff destroyed and beat him which led to his imprisonment by the Guardians.

As all prisoners in the DCU do, Starbreaker escaped. This time he actually managed to sink his teeth into a planet, Almerac. After that, however, the JLA bested him again and the planets of the DCU were once more free from the fear of being eaten.

Then came Adam Strange #7, where Starbreaker was revealed to be the villain of the piece. And that catches you up to date.

Who wins, Timsalabim, in a battle between Mogo, the planet with a Green Lantern ring (when he still had it) and Starbreaker, the Silver Galactus?

Mogo destroys all comers, every day of the week. Count on it.

Neil knows that, in the end, you just can’t fight fate.

Next, I read Dr. Fate’s origin in Secret Origins and it says that due to Nabu becoming obsessed with order, Dr. Fate needs to be a man and a woman. Is this why Fury was so important to Hector in JSA?

To catch everyone up to what Neil is talking about, there was a time when Kent Nelson was Dr. Fate and he and Nabu were essentially two people in one body when Nelson was doing the hero thing. The best case scenario for Dr. Fate however was three entities, Nabu, a male and a female. Nabu was a bit of a sexist and a control freak so he preferred the two person approach which allowed him to be dominant.

This seemed to work just fine until the coming of Kali Yuga. Kali Yuga was one of the End Time-esque situations that comic heroes often find themselves up against and it was dangerous enough to persuade Nabu to let Inza, Kent’s wife into the equation.

This was more or less the approach to Fates until Jared Stevens (through Eric Strauss and his mom Linda and back to the Nelsons again) who had basically none of the trappings of his predecessor, even going as far as dropping the title of Doctor.

As far as now…hard to say. It would not be much of a surprise if Hector “needed” Fury for this reason given writer Geoff Johns documented ability to make continuity work in his stories. However, to date, Hector’s need for Fury has been portrayed as simply missing the woman he loved so much that Mordru could play on those feeling to manipulate Hector.

Grimace, how could a leather jacket wearing Fate no catch? Doesn’t wearing a leather jacket instantly make you cool?

In the 1950’s, sure (see the Fonz), but these days, not so much. These days, the “cool” fabric is white linen. That’s right, people, Tom Wolfe is on the bleeding edge of fashion.

Neil is really pushing his luck, asking all these questions.

Last, in the Secret Origin for the LSH I remembered a question I had…why did Marla Latham wear Ultra Boy’s costume?

Best I can figure, the deal is this, Marla and Ultra Boy are friends. For a time, Ultra was the leader of a gang called the Green Dragons. Ultra’s emblem is a green dragon. Being that Marla and Ultra were friends, Marla was probably a member of the same gang. Thus, he would also wear a symbol like Ultra’s to represent that allegiance.

Let the Legion fans now strike me down with insults for my wrongness.

What’s the name of your gang, Death?

I’ve rolled with a few different crews. Grey Lady Down and White Boys with No Rhythm were both very good to me, but both of those were less gangs and more bands. However, back in the day at Martin Kellogg Middle School in Wu-ington (0-6-1-1-1!) my running crew was the Funky Crustaceans. Wolfgang, Brillo, the Lumberjack, and Golden Boy…we were some dangerous people, I tell you what.

Mark Poa wants to be confused so he asks,

Whatever is Bloodwynd’s story? I remember seeing him during the Death of Superman arc with teleportation powers, eye beams… then, I learned that he was really Martian Manhunter in disguise… then, he’s appearing as one of the magic-users in DC… who is he, really?

Bloodwynd is Bloodwynd, but he also was J’onn. Confused? Here’s the deal.

Back when Superman decided to reorganize the Justice League in issue #63, Bloodwynd was one of the teammates that made the cut. Five issues later, the League encountered Doomsday for the first time and by next issue Superman would have fallen to the behemoth. Still, the mystery of Bloodwynd remained unsolved, with him transitioning to join the next incarnation of the League.

We’d have to wait until issue #77 to get the final answer about who Bloodwynd was. At this point, it was the Martian Manhunter. Apparently J’onn had found Bloodwynd injured and “accidentally” bonded with him. The result was J’onn shape shifted to match Bloodwynd’s form, Bloodwynd’s physical body was absorbed into his gem, while his consciousness was the driver of J’onn’s body. In #77, the two were split. Bloodwynd was back in his own body which was as healthy as ever and J’onn got to go green again and think for himself.

Bloodwynd has kicked around some since then, doing a tour of duty with the Justice League Task Force (headed up by none other than J’onn) and running with the Sentinels of Magic. These days, he does not appear to be much for the spotlight.

What say you, TV’s Michael Rosenbaum, lame-o character or river of untapped potential?

There are no lame characters, only characters being handled by the wrong creative team. That being said……..lame.

John Britton is an animal fan.

What’s the history of animal sidekicks in the DCU? I guess Krypto is still around, but is he a robot? Does Dr. Mid-Nite still have that owl? Who might we see as guest-stars on that Krypto cartoon?

Ugh…animals. Okay, here we go.

Krypto the Superdog- Essentially the only super powered animal sidekick to boldly make the transition from the Silver Age to today (thank you Mr. Loeb!), originally had an origin not unlike the current Supergirl’s. Rocketed away from dying Krypton like Kal-El was, Krypto’s ship was knocked off course. By the time he reached earth, Kal was now Clark, a teenager, and saved people under the guise of Superboy. The Kents, big hearted farm people that they were, also adapted Krypto and christened him Skip which they falsely believed to be an improvement over his given name. Superboy/man remained buddy-buddy until Crisis wiped out the poor canine.

The name Krypto returned to comics post-Death of Superman as a pet of Bibbo’s that was eventually passed to the modern era Superboy. However, the superpowered version would not rejoin comicdom until the aughts. He was a part of a trap set for Superman that revolved around a warm, friendly Silver Age-esque (and ultimately, fake) Krypton. Superman was able to escape the trap and return to Earth with the dog of steel. Krypto remains on earth and in continuity today.

Streaky the Supercat- Supergirl’s answer to Krypton, this feline was normal Earth cat until an encounter with X Kryptonite gave her superpowers. She kicked around for most of the Silver Age, but by 1971 had disappeared from the DCU. With any luck, she will never be spoken of again.

Comet the Superhorse- Another one of Supergirl’s pets, Comet wasn’ really a horse at all. He was a former centaur who had been changed into a full blown horse by his lover Circe. Circe had done it while attempting to actually make him completely a man. Since she failed miserably in his endeavor, she felt guilty. To alleviate this guilt she gave him superpowers rather than, say, changing him back. As was right and just, Comet was eliminated by the Crisis.

In his modern incarnation, things are considerably more complicated. Andy Jones, a horse jockey, is injured and left paralyzed. Nearing the end of all hope, he agrees to let a shadowy corporation experiment on him. The result, ironically, leave him looking much like a horse. As a package deal with his hideous disfigurement, it turns out he also has superpowers.

This alone would make one’s life rough, but sadly, Comet does not get off that easy. At some point, he runs across a dying woman and through some odd occurrence, the two are merged together in one body so now Comet can be half man half horse or a woman at will.

Beppo the Supermonkey- In the realm of Kryptonian explorers, Beppo actually preceded baby Kal El. Beppo was sent into space first by Jor El, Kal’s father, to verify that it was a safe trip for his son to take to escape the death throes of Krypton. When the time came for Kal to leave, Beppo also hid on the rocket and, like Krypto and Superboy, gained superpowers upon arrive on Earth.

A superpowered monkey doesn’t get the nod, but a half jockey/half horse does? That’s just wrong.

Ch’p- Green Lantern who looked very much like a squirrel. I know that he was hit by an eighteen-wheeler in Green Lantern Mosaic (another thing for John Stewart to feel guilty about), but am not sure if he was “resurrected” after that. He did play a role in the post-Crisis world of the DCU, however, so unlike many of his furry counterparts, his continuity still “exists”.

Ace the Bat-Hound- In the 50’s, following on the heels of Krypto’s success, Batman got a furry sidekick. Ace was just a normal German shepherd who had been found by Bruce Wayne after his master, John Wilker, had gotten kidnapped. Batman and Robin used Ace to locate Wilker, a task that the dog had to do in a mask because Wayne’s unending paranoia convinced him that someone would notice the dog and connect him to Wayne thus outing Batman. The amount of money Batman would need to be successful apparently not an easy indicator to Wayne, but a random German shepherd equals danger! Wilker eventually had to ask Wayne to take the dog in for good because he could no longer care for him. Wilker never figured out that Ace was the Bat-Hound or Wayne was Batman. Presumably this can be owed to Ace’s nifty mask.

Thankfully, Ace was “erased” post Crisis until the early 90’s, when he returned as more of a name checked reference than an actual sidekick. In this incarnation, however, he was rarely seen and seems to have been quietly forgotten about.

Hooty the Owl- Not to be confused with Hootie the Owl or Whootie Owl or Hootie and the Blowfish. Much like male Dr. Midnite’s, there are two incarnations of Hootie. One of the few animal sidekicks that don’t bother me, neither Hootie had any superpowers, just a willingness to help their blind masters. Classy animals those owls are.

That’s all the “super” animals that come to mind for now. DC may have a few more embarrassing skeletons hidden away in their pound, you never know.

So far Streaky and Ace have shown up on the show or so I’ve heard. I try to avoid it if at all possible.

Il Grimach, super animals: supercool or superdumb?

I try to see the good in all things but here…I cannot. Although, as you said, Hooty’s not such a bad guy…for an owl.

John Britton is looking for a fight

What hero would be worst off without their super-powers? Superman managed to hold his own against Muhammad Ali, and nobody would mess with him even without powers. I’ll bet Raven would be in a lot of trouble, though. You never see her training with a bo staff or anything.

Wow…tough question.

Well, we can look in continuity for the answer for some people. During that aforementioned opening arc of Mark Waid’s run, the JLA was split from their secret identity and thus made ordinary people. Ignoring that it was mostly a tale of how the team would handle such an issue psychologically, we did see them pull together and mount an assault. Successful assault? Eh, but still, they had the capacity for heroics..

But, as I understand it, your question is more one of physical capability. So first we rule out all of our fighters. Richard Dragon, Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Green Arrow (both of ’em, but Connor in particular), Huntress, Arsenal and so on. What they have is physical ability not powers and therefore cannot be evaluated in this test.

Next, I’d move to the minorly powerful. People like Black Canary who has the Canary Cry, but is mostly a fighter. Wildcat (nine lives), The Question (recently developed “city empathy”), Mr. Terrific (a technological black hole), and so on fit into this category as well. Essentially they all have “gifts” but most of them still rely on their physical abilities to get the job done.

Third we eliminate the silly ones. Here we’d have people like Aquaman (would’ve drowned a long time ago with his powers), Martian Manhunter (would good is a green alien without superpowers), Spectre (the host would be dead with the Spirit of Vengeance), Cyborg (without his metal body, he’s dead), etc. Sure, they’d all be in dire straits, but I hardly think that’s what you mean.

This leads us finally, to your question. I would agree with Raven as she is rarely, if ever, involved in straight up fisticuffs. I would also nominate Dr. Mid-nite (he’d be effectively blind without his powers), Obsidian (I don’t know…just call it a hunch), and Gunfire (mostly because he’s Gunfire).

However, the single hero that I would nominate for worst off would be……………………….DR. FATE, the Hector Hall edition! In his days as Scarab maybe he could’ve torn things up, but these days, in his new body, not so much. He’s all about the magic and almost zero about the physicality. Plus, even in magic mode he is prone to bouts of doubt and/or distraction. Without the artifacts, Hector’s just not a player at this point in his career.

Gaj-father, you, Hector Hall. Two men go in, one man comes out. Who’s that one man?

Please, Hector is just a snack to me. After him, I’d take down Batman, Batgirl, Guy Gardner (in Warrior mode), that guy’s mom (yeah you), Evander Holyfield, the Dali Lama, Martin Lawrence, and finish it all up with Connor Hawke and Lady Shiva, at the same time.

You know, if I didn’t fall asleep from boredom.

Stone__King throws one right into my wheelhouse

You finally convinced me to pick up Flash at the beginning of Rogue War. It’s great, but I don’t know the players. I do recognize a few, but mostly, I’m clueless. Any help? Maybe you could forward this on to Mathan for Who’s Who?

Or I could just steal it for my fill-in column. And thus, I have done so.

For ease of presentation, I’ve divided the Rogues up into 3 categories: Rogues (or Classic Rogues), Reformed Rogues, and New Rogues.


Captain Cold- Leonard Snart has, under the direction of Geoff Johns (who counts Cold as his favorite Flash villain), developed into one of the most multi-faceted villains in the DCU today. Ruthless enough to kill a man by freezing his skin and pushing off a balcony (as he did to Chillblaine, his sister’s murderer) one minute and kind enough to send flowers to Ralph Dibny after Sue’s murder the next, Cold plays the villain game as he sees fit. Currently, he is the leader of the Rogues and has taken the fight to the Reformed Rogues, viewing what they have done as a betrayal of the Rogue’s code, a sort of informal compact that bound together all of Flash’s villains.

Mirror Master- Evan McCulloch is actually the second person to be Mirror Master full time and the third overall to wear the costume and use the tools of the trade (Captain Boomerang messed around with the identity a bit while part of the Suicide Squad). After an ugly childhood and some time in the employment of the US Government (they once dispatched him to kill Animal Man’s family, a mission that McCulloch ultimately rejected, warning Animal Man instead), Mirror Master struck off on his own as a merc for hire. Most of the time it puts him on the side of wrong, but occasionally he can be bribed to do good (for example, in the JLA’s first encounter with Lex Luthor’s Injustice Gang, Batman “bought” McCulloch over to their side with a large donation to the orphanage that had raised him). At the moment, in addition to battling alongside the Rogues, he is attempting to pick a cocaine habit.

Weather Wizard- Mark Mardon always was a crook. However, he didn’t join the supervillain crowd until one fateful day running from the police. He escaped to his brother Clyde’s house who had just created the “weather wand”, a device that could (obviously) manipulate the weather. The two struggle for the device and, in the end, Mark got it and Clyde ended up dead. Mark maintains that his brother died of a heart attack and not by his hands. At one point, several years ago, Mark encountered a dejected Julie Jackam in a bar. Julie was an ex-girlfriend of Wally West’s during his love ’em and leave ’em phase. Given Julie’s vulnerable state, Mark was able to manipulate her into the sack. After their one night stand, Mark left her, not knowing that he left her with child. Years later, Julie re-encountered Flash briefly before being slain by Cicada and Wally found out about the baby, Josh. For a brief moment, it was suspected to be Wally’s child. That is until Weather Wizard showed up and explained the true story. Flash bested Mark’s attempt to steal the baby and Josh has now been taken in Iris Allen, Wally’s aunt and Barry’s widow.

The Trickster- Axel Walker is the second person to bear the moniker of Trickster and does so much to the anger of his predecessor James Jesse. Walker broke into Jesse’s storage locker and stole much of Jesse’s gear to begin his own life of crime. Since then, he has secured a position with the Rogues despite being an individual of great annoyance.

Captain Boomerang- Owen Mercer is the love child of the original Captain Boomerang, Digger Harkness, and a heretofore unidentified woman. Not only did he inherit his father’s skill with a ‘rang, but he also displays burst of super speed, presumably a result of whatever genetic material he got from his mother. Captain Cold invited him to join the Rogues not only out of respect for Digger’s place on the team, but also because Golden Glider was one of the individuals rumored to be Owen’s mom. If this was true, Cold would be Owen’s uncle. Owen, for his part, joined up to secure the body of his dead father which had been taken away by the FBI and is currently being re-animated in an attempt to gain information about the Rogues.

The Turtle- He hasn’t shown up in Rogue War yet, but he was recruited by Captain Cold in an earlier issue. Initially, he was just a slow guy who employed careful planning and devices with the theme of slowness to oppose the Flashes (he has fought Flash I, II, and III because, like a turtle, he has a very long lifespan), but in his most recent battle against Wally West, it was revealed that while in his prison he developed the ability to steal speed.

Reformed Rogues

James Jesse- The first Trickster bested Neron during Underworld Unleashed and quickly decided that he best avoid returning to Hell after pulling a stunt like that. To those ends, he joined the FBI and decided to turn his con abilities and knowledge of crime to lowering the crime rate instead of contributing to it. It is in this position that he was charged with bringing down the Rogues.

Heat Wave- Mick Rory is a pyromaniac. It’s what sets him apart from the other Rogues. They were in it for fun or money or revenge, but for him it was a way to justify his own disease. By becoming a Rogue, he took a psychological problem and made it a gimmick. And for a time, that was enough.

Now, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that, even on the side of angels, his pyromania has spun out of control and threatens everyone around him, including himself.

Pied Piper- Hartley Rathaway not only went straight, but became fast friends with Wally West after doing so. However, recent events have dislodged Piper from his formerly righteous position. The first was being framed for the murder of his parents by Plunder. Unable to recall anything from that night, a part of Rathaway began to believe that he really was guilty. He gave himself up to police and was locked up in Iron Heights. While there, in addition to being beaten by the guards, Piper was infected briefly with the Joker virus during Last Laugh. It raised a blood lust in him that did not dissipate even after he was cured, which greatly unnerved him. Shortly after this, Piper busted out of prison rather than waiting for his trial and was taken in by Jesse to aid in taking down the Rogues.

Magenta- Frankie Kane was another ex from Wally’s less mature days. Wally pushed her to use her powers, but she was never comfortable doing so. Eventually their relationship dissolved under this pressure and she took herself to S.T.A.R. Labs for help with her powers. Unfortunately she found none, instead encountering a doctor that cultivated a second, dangerous personality within her. After this, Raven (while evil) implanted her father’s soul in to Kane. Even though it was eventually purged, Magenta was very much unbalanced by the experience. This unbalance would eventually lead her into Cicada’s Cult and the Rogues. At some point, her saner personality regained control and she turned on the Rogues. Joining this team of reformed villains is another step on the road to recovery for her.

New Rogues

The Top- In reality, not a new Rogue at all, I put him here because his role in this war is still unclear. Roscoe Dillon was a hero for brief time when Barry Allen was Flash because of Zatanna altering his personality. The guilt of his previous life quickly caught up with him driving him insane, but not before, he claims, he helped alter the thinking of several Rogues. He promised Wally that he would come back to reverse those changes at some point and this very well maybe when he decides to.

Zoom- Once again, not technically a new Rogue, (although it is a new guy in the suit) I also put him here because his role is still unclear. Hunter Zolomon is a former friend of Wally’s and Rogue profiler who was paralyzed by Gorilla Grodd during a prison break in Iron Heights. He has since become obsessed with making Wally a better hero by teaching him about tragedy. For his first lesson, he caused Wally and Linda’s twins to die in utero. This time out, he has “recruited” the first Flash, Jay Garrick, for a still unseen mission.

Cicada- The cult leader who hit upon the idea that all the people Wally West had saved over the years had been saved only to be killed for the resurrection of Cicada’s wife (who Cicada killed in the first place). He was frighteningly successful in this endeavor and only his wife’s rage from beyond the grave and Flash’s overloading Magenta with power prevented him from fulfilling his mad goals. He was locked up in Iron Heights, but escaped along with several other Rogues and has not yet resurfaced in this war.

Murmur- Michael Amar was a surgeon turned serial killer who’s own nervous tic betrayed him. While in prison, he cut out his tongue and sewed his mouth shut to prevent such an event from ever reoccurring. He also has the habit of cutting out the tongues of his victims.

Murmur was essentially the opening battle of the Rogue War. Heat Wave was dispatched to kill him, but failed when Cold intervened. While Murmur does not seem to have a place on Cold’s team of Rogues (Cold does not seem particularly fond of him), Cold viewed Wave’s betrayal of the Rogue code as being a far bigger problem than Murmur psychopathy. Murmur thus currently remains free.

Double Down- Since being created, Jeremy Tell has not done all that much or been given a very specific origin tale (a cursed deck of cards burrowed into his skin). Perhaps Rogue War could be his big coming out party.

Girder- Tony Woodward was never a pleasant guy. One day, he assaulted a female co-worker. In the ensuing scuffle, Woodward was tossed into a vat of steel from S.T.A.R. Labs. It bonded to his skin and has since used his abilities for crime. A downside of his new body is that it is slowly rusting, causing him great agony. He briefly aligned himself with Penguin when the avian villain made a play for Keystone, but has not appeared since Flash and Nightwing shut down that idea.

Plunder- The Mirror World double of Jared Morillo, Plunder was well utlilized by Blacksmith during her time as head of the Rogues, but has not been seen or heard from since their dissolution. He may end up sitting this one out, but he’s as ruthless as can be so if he sees an opportunity for personal gain, he’ll throw in with whoever he thinks with benefit him the most.

Tarpit- Joey Monteleone has crime in his blood. His brother is a big time drug dealer known as The Candyman. For Joey, however, drugs were never of much interest and he ended up busted for some pretty small time stuff. Figuring it was only a matter of time before his brother arranged for his escape, Joey waited contentedly behind bars and eventually took up meditation and astro-projection. At some point, he decide to project his soul self into molten tar. He had some fun for a time, stealing the DC equivalent of the Stanley Cup. However, it quickly became apparent that the tar was also his prison and he has been unable to return to his body since. Tar Pit was last scene attacking a parade in honor of Flash with Trickster and Abra Kadabra.

And that catches you up on all the players and possible players. Whew…that was sommmmmmme hard work.

Well, Redman, who is your favorite Rogue in each category?

Jeez…tough one. Well, amongst the Classic Rogues, I’d have to choose Captain Cold. Johns has worked miracles on the guy and it shows every panel Cold is in. Mirror Master is a close second though, due especially to the things Grant Morrison did with him in JLA and Animal Man and the Rogue Profile issue that Johns wrote revolving around him.

The headliner in the Reformed Rogues is Heat Wave, a character I didn’t even think about before his Rogue Profile issue. I love how Johns has brought Rory’s disorder to the forefront, treating it realistically which renders Heat all the more frightening and explosive.

Finally, amongst the new breed, I have a few favorites. Zoom is a great re-imagining of that character that is respectful of the tradition of Professor Zoom while still blazing a new and different trail for the character to evolve on.

If we are talking totally new characters Cicada and Murmur get the nod. Both are incredibly creepy and do a nice job of setting up the contrast between the Classic Rogues (basically in it for the money, with a twisted sense of honor) and the Newbies (more violent, more socio and psychopathic). A guy like Double Down has a great look but has yet to prove himself an interesting character. These guys already have shown themselves worthy of joining the pantheon of interesting Flash villains.

Well, that is it folks. I hope it was diverting for everyone, even if it didn’t live up to Mathan’s usual levels of brilliance. Please visit the message boards and give us your thoughts, comments, and corrections so Mathan has ample material for next. Please keep putting your questions there too so I have something to answer, if need be, in the weeks that follow.

Thanks in advance, and here’s your lyric. E-mail you guesses of song and artist to parallax2@juno.com and, as always, the person with the correct answer will lead off the next Q&A column.

I cried the other night
I can’t even say why
fluorescent flat caffeine lights
its furious balancing