Who's Who in the DCU

Ah it’s time for the good ol’ trusty Reader’s Feedback column. I’m actually in Tucson celebrating my sister’s graduation as part of Tucson High’s 95th graduating class (Go Badgers!). But even if I were home my computer is still on the fritz. But the good news is that I’ve spent a week refreshing my memories as I was reunited with the bulk of my collection. So expect much better and more detailed answers in your future.

Let’s just jump straight to y’all. I don’t actually have the time to respond to every comment that you send, so I dedicate these columns to you, so you know that I read what you sent and to get y’all a bit of attention since you make the column work. Thank you.

B had this to say about the 12/23/05 column

1. Great column

2. Tim is wrong in saying there was no Diana Prince, Princess Diana still used that alias during the periods she was living in Boston and Gateway City during the 90s.

3. Besides what Tim listed, Geoff Johns has also written various Superman fill-ins for DC and The Thing and Morlocks mini-series for Marvel.

I can’t believe I forgot the Thing mini. I really enjoyed it. Very quirky. I don’t even remember this particular column, but I’m willing to bet that I also forgot to mention Johns’ work on Avengers Icons: Vision

Asif sent us this note about our year end column;

It was good to see my comment posted in your year-end WWITDCU. I know I haven’t written in a while since I didn’t have any real questions to ask, but I have been reading each and every week. As always, you have been doing a great job.

Since it’s been almost a year since that comment I sent to you, I figured I would give you an update. I am still reading Superman/Batman each month and have every issue so far (including 2nd and 3rd prints!). However, as I feared, I started to lose control and have started to pick up some other titles, specifically the Bat-family issues. I guess I fell into the cross-over trap as I ended up buying all of the War Games issues. I’m probably one of the few who did enjoy the over all story line and I like the fact that the events in that story line caused some major shakeups in Gotham/Bludhaven. Since that storyline ended I have only kept up with Batman, Robin, and Batgirl although I’m probably going to pickup Nightwing Year 1. I like the fact that they broke up the Bat family and am interested to see how everyone will do on their own.

I also pickup up the entire series of Identity Crisis (including the Flash tie-in issues), and I thought the ending was a bit of a letdown for me. I was hoping that it would be a mid to upper level character that was responsible so that they could build on that story. Anyway, I found that I didn’t really enjoy the comics version of the Justice League (I like the animated series version of the group) so I probably won’t pick up any JLA issues anytime soon, although Green Arrow seems pretty cool.

I’ve been reading Green Lantern Rebirth only because one of my friends has been buying them. I never really followed GL since I didn’t get it most of the time. Anyway, rebirth seems to be interesting but I’m having a hard time following what’s going on since I don’t know most of the story lines they have been referring to.

Nothing from Marvel has caught my eye so far, although I have picked up the first 2 issues of Spider-Man: India. I haven’t read them yet, but it will be interesting to how much Indian masala they will give the character.

So, thanks to you, I’m back into comics big time. I’m at the comic shop almost weekly just to see what’s new ( I found a nice comic shop near my home that isn’t too popular so even if I miss picking up an issue the week it comes out, it will be there the next week).

One of us One of us One of us

Jason had a note about our New God’s themed column;

I really enjoy the Comics Nexus site and all of your features. I recently read the New Gods-oriented column, and a question came to my mind upon reading that New Gods are much taller than people from Earth, but boom tubes automatically correct people’s size.

This seems to fly in the face of past events regarding the New Gods. In Superman/Doomsday-Hunter/Prey, Doomsday arrives on Apokolips via a spaceship. He disembarks and starts creating mayhem, but he’s the same size as everyone else on Apokolips.

Ditto for the old JLI comic (which admittedly wasn’t the best as far as continuity), when Mister Miracle was kidnapped by the Cluster and brought to Apokolips. The Cluster’s leader, Manga Khan, and Mister Miracle himself traveled down to Apokolips in a mode of conveyance that was not a boom tube, yet were the same size as everyone else. That happened in the 1980s Mister Miracle comic, as well, when Scott Free went on his intergalactic Miracle Mister tour.

It doesn’t seem to make sense that the New Gods would always WANT to be the same size as Earth people when they travel here. For example, a colossal Orion would be of much more help to the Justice League than a human-sized Orion.

So is this story element just unevenly applied, or are there other forces at work? I think it’s a neat idea, but too many instances exist that don’t support the concept.

I think you might have stumbled on to a little bit of “bad” continuity. Most likely it was a neat story element that proved too difficult to work with in the long term. Thus, it was discarded for the “reality” of the New Gods that DC now embraces. Purely guesswork on my part, but that’s how I think it is.

Tom Walsh had this to say about a G.L. comment from the 1/13/04 column

I guess this wouldn’t be in continuity but there was an issue of Justice League Adventures (or something like that) in which John Stewart gave his ring to some kid to prove to him that powers do not make the hero. So that’s one more non-GL who has had a ring.

B also commented on that column

Great column, I loved the Bloodlines stuff, gotta go back and read it again. As far as Nightwing having a power ring, I’m pretty sure it was just referenced that he was a backup choice for Hal, not that he actually got a ring, but because I’m a nice guy, I’ll go hit the library when I get a chance and check Action Comics for you.

JohnBritton had this to say about the 1/20/05 column

Black Adam loses to Superman. Main reason — Ego. Superman isn’t as dumb as people think he is. He understands tactics, he learns in battle, and he doesn’t rely solely on his strength to overcome his opponents, largely because he’s not inclined to kill. Some see that as a weakness, I see that as a diversity of experience that may come in handy. Superman has more powers than Black Adam. A little heat vision can go a long way. He is mentally healthy, also.

Okay, to be clear, Superman could beat Black Adam, sure. And in the context of the DCU, probably would. However to go just on facts about power, weaknesses, etc, I’d still give Black Adam the edge almost every day. You mentioned ego and I don’t doubt that would be a factor. However, Black Adam is infinitely more ruthless and willing to do damn near anything to defeat his enemy. As far as the mental illness issue goes, Adam has been “cured” of that as of late.

Jim also had something to say about that column

I had a thought about the Batman/Wolverine fight you discussed. The comparison the person who asked the question made was to HHH and the Undertaker, but I think Wolverine is more like Ric Flair. He’s “the best at what he does”, but his win/loss record stinks. In an issue of the Punisher last year he got destroyed. The Punisher kicked him in the nuts, blew his face off with a shotgun, doused him in gasoline and torched him.

I suppose Wolverine would be almost impossible to beat in a fight to the death, but in a quick battle even the Punisher can take him. If big Pun can do it, Batman would easily.

Maybe. But to quote the Renny Harlin opus “Mindhunters” the situation is not secure until the drive home. So Batman might be able to take round 1 or rounds 1-5 even, but, in the end, Wolvie is victorious.

Glen Davis from the same column;

Nemesis was killed by her lover, Phillip Reyes/Eclipso during the Black Reign storyline, after which Phillip killed himself, leaving a black diamond out there for someone to find.

Jon L from the same column

Now, about that Batman/Wolverine fight thing… I pretty much agree with you, but, being a Marvel guy at heart, I can give you a little more info. I have a Star Trek/X-Men crossover comic that was basically treated as in-continuity for both groups. I’m not digging it out of the box to reference, but at one point, Spock takes down Logan with the Vulcan Neck Pinch Thingy. Then, Spock turns and speaks to the other team members that are there for a couple seconds… and then Logan pops back up like nothing and takes Spock hostage: “Take me to your leader.”

So there you have it… Vulcan Neck Pinch… pressure point attack… takes Logan down for a second. Seconds later, Logan has the element of surprise back.

BUT… if Batman can keep from being skewered in a similar situation, he could use another pressure point attack to disable Wolvie again, but now, knowing full well that the effect’s only temporary, he can dig something out of that wonderful belt and try and immobilize the little runt before he wakes up again. I don’t know what all Bats carries in there, but I figure his freakin’ ropes strong enough to hold a sufficiently hog-tied Wolverine. But Bats HAS to be able to evade Wolverine’s attacks, because, with Wolverine’s bones being what they are… well, let’s say that even without his claws, he’s got the equivalent of permanent brass knuckles. Or, rather, canuckles. (I’m so sorry I just typed that, should’ve kept it to myself.)

It’d be a hell of a fight, and they both have the capability of winning… Wolverine’s got the “superhuman” edge, and is pretty much on equal footing with Bats as far as combat training and such, but, even being an old Marvel guy, I think Bats could find a way to win that one.

But they both have to pray that the Taskmaster doesn’t get to watch the whole thing. Then they’re both in trouble.

Would Black Adam beat Superman? Yeah, easily. But Batman and his new ally Wolverine would hand Black Adam his ass right after that.

Tim, Dan’s got some words for you;

Sorry, Tim, but Gaiman’s never won a Pulitzer. In 2002, he did win a Hugo award for “American Gods” (the Pulitzer-equivalent for sci-fi/fantasy writing) and “Sandman” has won all sorts of sci-fi awards, but never the Pulitzer. The Pulitzer doesn’t really have a category for comics/graphic novels which is why, in 1992, Art Spiegelman won a “Special Award and Citation” for “Maus” instead of, say, the award for history or biography that year.

I’m a supporter of the belief that comics can most certainly have literary value, but you’ll probably never see a comic win a Pulitzer in one of the “main” categories, and rightly so. The Pulitzers are given to pieces that show outstanding journalism or writing. In the fiction category that a large majority of comics would be eligible for, there is a great emphasis on prose-writing. And while some comic writers, say Alan Moore, are gifted in their prose, the fact that pictures accompany their text is going to hurt any chance they have at winning the Prize. The emphasis is on using language to craft a story; art-with-prose is something else completely.

Hence, the special category that “Maus” won, a nice little vindication that even uppity-literary-types can see massive artistic value in the comic/graphic novel medium. The comic industry got another vindication in 2001 when Michael Chabon won the fiction prize for “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.” It’s a fictionalized account of 2 young men in the late 30’s creating a comic in the still-fledgling industry. Many of the situations in the book are based on stories told to Chabon by people like Will Eisner and Stan Lee. Excellent book, wonderfully written, and with plenty of winks to comic readers.

You’re absolutely right…I made an error there. The award I was thinking of was the World Fantasy Award for short fiction. He won it and then changed the rules so, effectively, another comic book can never win the award again.

What bollocks

Spike G thinks we’ve got it all wrong;

As far as Superman vs Captain Marvel goes you guys have obviously never played heroclix, the enjoyable minatures strategy game (mechwarrior with super heroes). If you did you’d know Supes would win hands down. With heat vision and telescopic vision mixed with them being of equal speed, Supes could blast him all day long without ever being hit. Eventually the Big Red Cheese would fall. That’s how it works out in heroclix every time.

You’re right, not a Heroclix man myself. That being said, I just don’t think that this is the final determiner of who would win. Thanks for the info though.

Hescraftee said;

Nah, I don’t think that Black Adam or Captain Marvel could beat Superman. The only DC icon that I think could do the job in a straight up toe-to-toe donnybrook is Wonder Woman. CM and BA may have powers derived from magic, but their powers aren’t magical per se, like Dr. Fate’s or Zatanna’s. Their powers are kind of similar to Supes, but without all the fancy upgrades (No vision of hearing powers for you!!!), and even when you consider the powers that they have in common, you always got the idea Captain Marvel (and by extent ion, Black Adam) was just a little weaker, a little slower, and a little less invulnerable. Plus, Supes has kicked The Big Red Cheese’s butt in the past, both in that giant edition mentioned by Cliff Rold (although Superman’s victory was kind of negated by an appearance by the wizard Shazam, who stated that Captain Marvel’s powers diminished every time he left Earth-S. Friggin’ Pre-Crisis continuity!!!), and in the Superman/Batman Public Enemy story arc, where, if I’m not mistaken, Supes not only beat Marvel, but left him nekked alongside Hawkman. As far as their brawl in Kingdom Come goes, the lightning, while devastating to Supes, could be negated by heat vision. It would allow him to strike at The Cheese from a distance, and a blast the size of the one that took out all of those Doomsday clones could definitely take out CM. Basically, if Supes can beat his bargain basement counterpart, he could beat Black Adam. Plus, like Chris said, Supes is the hero. That’s it, that’s all.

George answered my question;

I never got why Blue Beetle was popular. Sure, my first experience with Kord was the Death of Superman TPB so maybe I missed something, but even in other issues, the guy doesn’t do much. So I’m curious how he ever got popular.

I would direct your attention to I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League and other Giffen Justice League enterprises. That’s the why for most folks.

Bill F. thinks I overlooked someone in the 1/27/05 column

In regards to the question, “who’s killed the most superheroes?” Parallax was not only responsible for Zero Hour, but also in his destruction of the Green Lantern Corps the deaths of hundreds of GLs. A total number has never been provided, but when Hal absorbed the main power battery on Oa, he left any Lanterns traveling in space with out their rings protection, as well as the face to face murder of several other GL’s (including Kilowog, who got better).

Good point, good point.

Brad M also answered my question;

For the character who’s fanbase I don’t get, it’s gotta be Ronnie Raymond AKA the original Firestorm. There’s been a lot of a hubbub by all these Ronnie fans pissed that he was replaced in the new Firestorm series, and I’m just amazed. I always thought always thought Firestorm to be nothing more than a B-level character. Mind you, my only real experience with Firestorm comes from the Super Friends toons, which definitely isn’t a good introduction to any character. But still, these fans were acting like I expect all the HEAT guys did when they made Hal go insane. Hal I understand, he’s always been one of the big members of the DCU and I’m pretty sure had supported a book for most of the time since his creation. But Firestorm? And these fans really believe that the series would be a humongous hit had they simply replaced Jason with Ronnie? Call me just a bit skeptical there. If Ronnie was that popular, I’d think he’d still have a title and a big role in the JLA. But he doesn’t. I understand every character as his fans. Just look at all the hype on the different message boards about Darkhawk, my answer if this was a Marvel column, coming back in Runaways. But this rabid? And this deluded? *Sigh

It just goes to show you that almost every character has at least a few diehard fans. Firestorm was huge in the 80’s. Most of those readers probably grew up and drifter away from comics for a bit and thus, sales dropped. Some drifted back and those are the folks who we are hearing from now.

Glen D also has an answer;

The character whose following I can’t understand is Wonder Woman. Her series, such as it is has consistently been one of the worst ever. From the fetishes of Marston, to the origins of every single part of her costume, to fighting a giant Chinese Communist Egg, to the White suit years, to the using NOW as technical advisors, and so ad infinitum.

Like it or not, Wonder Woman is an icon. It’s it and that’s that.

Ciaran has a correction for us;

I love the site and the articles. A correction on something I’ve seen a couple of times , but most recently in this weeks who’s who. It’s been stated that guys’ personality changed because batman punched him. In actual fact after the fight was over guy went under the communications console to retrieve his ring (which blue beetle had thrown there during the fight after guy passed it to him). While under there, guy was startled by a mouse, and banged his head. And that is what caused the personality change. Don’t believe me? Check out the JLA: a new beginning tpb. You’ll see what i mean.

Glen D has a comment from the 2/2/05 column

Wilddog also appeared in Action Comics Weekly and a one shot special. (I bought Action for the Secret Six, who have similarly disappeared into limbo.)

Uh-oh. Now that that’s secret is out, those issues are bound to shoot up in value. Better get to the comic book store and snag ’em before that happens.

Christopher M. has a correction from the same column

To the best of my memory, the first, Golden Age Tigress (Paula Brooks) was originally a *hero* under that name. She later became a villain and changed her name to the Huntress, and became an arch-foe of Wildcat, not Zatara. It was she who married the Sportsmaster (making her Paula Brooks Crock) and is mother to Artemis, now the second Tigress.

Joe S. answers my question from the 2/10/05 column;

Most anticipated comics movie this year. Without a doubt Batman Begins. Scarecrow just looks so freakin cool. My only problem with this movie thus far is I don’t like the way the Batmobile looks, but hey if that ends up being the only downfall then that’s not to big of a deal.

Dan B. has something he wants to get off his chest;

I was reading your current column and I just wanted to drop my $.02 regarding Tommy Monaghan, the Hitman.

I read that you never got into the series, and I would like to encourage you to go scavenge it up. Great stuff, funny, action packed but my favorite part has to be the tight characterizations. Everyone was true to who they were supposed to be, at all times. That’s a rare feat. But this brings me to the impetus behind my writing this:

“I do believe that Hitman died. In the final issue of the title (#60) main characters were killed off. This had some fans calling Ennis a spoiled child who didn’t want to share (killing off his characters so no one else could play with them.)”

First off, it was his character from inception to death. That’s like saying “Why did he kill off God or Starr in Preacher?!? Now no one else can play with them.” Ah, f*ck it! It was his characters. You never hear anyone bitch “Why did Stephen King kill off Randall Flagg? Now no one else can play with him!” or “Man, f*ck Alexander Dumas! He killed off Aramis! Now no one else can write about him” Well, maybe it isn’t anyone’s place to write about him but the creator’s. This isn’t old school Marvel where Lee and Kirby created characters for the company to own. But then, we didn’t have the “complex” stories we have these days. We didn’t have the intricate symbolism of Grant Morrison or the allegory of Alan Moore.

However, the true heart of my argument is this: Monaghan was always meant to die. They kept bringing it up all series long, about how you cannot go around calling yourself Hitman and expect to collect pension checks. He was always wondering to himself when his luck will run out, or when he could finally lay down his guns (which was his greatest wish – peace) Until he realized that the only way he will ever get peace is 6 feet under.

Ok, enough rant. Personally, I felt that Ennis was on a roll during that period of his career, with Preacher and Hitman burning on all cylinders. They both happened to be there at the right time and greatly moved/influenced me. Great column, definitely helps me pass time here at work. Take care man.

Some great and perfectly fair points. Far as I’m concerned killing a character (provided it does with intelligence) is never “off limits”, if the character is 1 week, 1 year, or 100 years old. Obviously, some of those guys will come back, but for the sake of drama I don’t think it is smart to ban any creator from using death in their stories (or reserving it for small supporting characters.

George M. has some thoughts on Tim’s thoughts from the 12/24/05 column;

Quick thought on Superman/Clark Kent. What if Clark Kent were the Superman the titles were referring to? I mean, here’s this guy, humble, smart, unassuming with some humor splashed in there and genuinely warm. The world mourns the loss of Superman, but isn’t the loss of a man like Clark Kent just as jarring. Is Superman the ideal people should be living up to, or is Clark Kent? In essence, who really should stand for Truth, Justice, and the American Way, a near-invincible alien, or a human being, just carving out a little slice of happiness? This is of course all operates under a duality, not Tim’s monopersonality (pardon my lack of vocabulary, please)

I love the idea. Even in dealing with a monopersonality (great made up word by the way. I think the true term though is “integrated”) I think that that is a story worth telling.

Well that’s going to do it for now. (Hopefully) next week everything will be back to normal and the usual comedy will ensue.

My question for you this week: Now that all of the Countdown minis have begun; which one stands out as the best of the bunch?

“I got a letter from the government, the other day.”


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