Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I do believe that things have finally returned to normal in the House of M um, I mean my life. I’m back in my own room on a computer typing this column in the early A.M. Now we can go back to the old column ways of Links and What I Read Last Week. Aren’t you excited.

Giddy as a school girl about to meet David Cassidy. Or Justin Timberlake, if you prefer a more contemporary reference. Or John Malkovich, if you’re friggin’ weird.

Links (by way of what I did on last months trip back to Tucson)

Zia’s is always nice to visit.

I played Basketball and jammed my finger but good.

I gave my Gamecube to my sister, thus I’m sans system.

I lost all my G.I. Joes.

Episode Three was packed.

I got my mom hooked on The Wire.

And I’ve got nothing for Moodspins.

Be sure to visit our our DC Boards

Tim, what’re you linking this week?

Wow…I am so out of practice with this. Let’s see. I’ll link more blogs. These guys are blogs from real people though.

The Absorbascon is just fun and currently has a great poll about which fictious DC city needs to get more play these days. VOTE VANITY!

One man, a vast comic collection, and a gift for humor gives you Dave’s Long Box. Dave dedicates his site to random reviews of each and everyone of the comics he’s gathered over the years: the good (Avengers #198), the bad (Extreme Justice #1) and the ugly (Alpha Flight #121). Add to that his ongoing “Lamest Villains” feature and a great essay called “On Being Mean” that I think perfectly lays out the difference between having fun and being mocking comics and crossing the line into trolls-ville and you have one of the best “blogs” out there, in my opinion.

If you’re ever curious about how accurate a comic is (especially medically) Polite Dissent is the site for you.

Finally, no blog summary is complete without the king of snark Fanboy Rampage. This is also the spot for even more Jesse Baker, if that’s your cup of tea.

What I Read Last Week

Teen Titans #25 – I really enjoyed it. I completely echo Tim’s remarks about Battlesuit Lex. But more on that later.

Otherworld #4 – This issue really clicked with me. I feel bad that it’s not doing better than it is. It’s a solid read.

Papa Midnite #5 – Kind of an abrupt ending. Something seems “off.” I can’t put my finger on it. I do hope that Midnite shows up again somewhere.

This book is still running? Did Constantine really only hit theaters 5 months ago? It seems much farther away than that.

Astro City: Dark Age #1 – I missed the flipbook, so I’m a bit behind. But this issue is a great start. This is quickly rinsing the taste of the last JLA arc out of my mouth.

Supreme Power #17 – So the threat was to reveal that he was an alien? That was kind of a letdown. And I guess when the book relaunches Milton won’t be visiting any more “clubs” eh? I’ve got a very bad feeling that the Nighthawk mini is going to be a huge letdown. But this book still rocks.

Legion of Super-Heroes #7 – This book rocks more. Brainiac 5 is a genius. With this issue Waid lets us know that nothing is safe, not even Colu. And it sucks because he make Colu so cool. Tim, you’ve got to start reading this book.

You’ve got to back off. Lest I go call Michael Keaton Batman on you. “You wanna get nuts? Let’s get NUTS!”

Now before we get started I’ve got one thing to clear up; nearly two months ago Tim tried to call me out about Firebug (with an assist from some guy named Ben Morse, who claims to know a thing or two about comics.)
In the 4/27/05 column this occurred;
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?

(I would like to point out that our fine readers didn’t back Tim up.)

And just what would you call Ben Morse.

And now for the coup de grace; in Gotham Central #5 Joseph Rigger, the original Firebug, reveals that he’s retired and actually sold his costume to some dude, who was committing crimes as Firebug. Thus if Joseph Rigger is retired, we’ve got a new Firebug.

Tim, any rebuttal, now that you know I’m infallible?

Infallible? Hardly. First, like any “retired” criminal hasn’t lapsed into recidivism. Second, Firebug’s dialogue in issue 4 or 5 makes it pretty clear that he and Deadshot have a history beyond the job depicted in issue #1. I vote that it is the same ol’ Firebug. Deal with that!

Well now that I’ve proved my superior knowledge of the DCU it’s time to take myself down a notch. In the 5/11/05 column, when naming villains from Villains United I erroneously identified Sabbac as Lord Satanus. That was a huge error on my part. I don’t how I could have forgotten the character, whose debut resulted in insane controversy.

We wouldn’t want anyone to think the character is forgettable, right Tim?

No. Of course not.

On to the questions.

Parallax2814 just realized how fun it is to yell “OMAC!” Seriously, try it. But not until you read this question.

O.M.A.C. has been piqued my curiosity about Maxwell Lord. Can you give me his background info and whatnot.

Max has a pretty interesting back story. Y’see Max was your typical American guy; he was a capitalist bent on obtaining more. He even managed to have two failed marriages. (Maxwell Lord is my mom?) He was the pinnacle of success. (Pinnacle of success? Oh, nevermind…that’s not my mom at all.)

One day he went spelunking with his boss, when he encountered a computer, excuse me, a supercomputer. The supercomputer and Max had a chat, where it convinced Max to form an organization bent on world peace. Of course Max didn’t quite realize that the computer was using Max as a pawn in it’s plan for world domination. (Wait…sounding like Mom again.)

Anyway, Max went on to help form and control the Justice League, during it’s “International” years. But of course, a supercomputer deep within the Earth isn’t a natural occurrence, and it’s owner returned to claim it.

The owner was none other than Metron. You know Metron, the laziest of the New Gods. The guy who looks like a cosmic couch potato in his nifty floating chair. Anyway there was a tussle, and Max ended up destroying the computer.

For some reason he was allowed to remain with the League. Eventually (during Invasion Max’s latent metagene was activated and he had the power to “push” people in the right direction. What’s a “push?” It’s like a Jedi Mind Trick®, only Max’s nose would bleed every he did it.

Later, Max was shot and critically injured. While he was recovering his body was possessed by League villain Dreamslayer. But he got better. When Superman took over the League, Max took a smaller role in activities. And when Superman died and Wonder Woman took over things got even more grim (if only because it lead to Extreme and Task Force.

After the League severed ties with him, you’d think things couldn’t get any worse. Well, you’d be wrong; he was diagnosed with brain cancer. It also turned out that Max was part of Arcana a cooler (or lamer depending on your view) version of the Royal Flush Gang.

Because Max didn’t want to die, he hooked up with the Kilg%re. Max died but was brought back by Kilg%re as a sort of cyborg. Max took over Arcana and ordered the death of some of his rivals, which made him bad. (Wow…that is Mom to a tee. Her and crazy Kilg%re…good times.)

But later he showed up to organize the Superbuddies, which made him good. Yet still later he showed up with a severe disdain for metahumans and killed Blue Beetle, which made him bad.

Tim, how do you like your Max Lord; shifty, sneaky businessman, or murderous hatemonger? And for that matter; cyborg or human?

Well, it’s always hard to say no to a murderous hatemonger. Still, I think I’ll go human and sneaky.

Rich shows us the danger of a little knowledge

I read on a Superman website that cyborg was banished to a black hole and another reality where he encountered the silver surfer!? Did this really happen and if it did can you tell me what issue of what comic it happened in.

Tis true my friend. Cyborg did indeed journey through a black hole and meet up with Silver Surfer. Of course Parallax, Thanos, Terrax and Green Lantern also appeared. It happened in Green Lantern/Silver Surfer: Unholy Alliances. I don’t think it’ll be too hard to find. It’s a fun read, with some pretty good looking art.

Tim, what’s your favorite DC/Marvel crossover?

I am a bit partial to the 2 Batman/Punisher crossovers. There was great, they were actually in continuity, which is odd, and some very cool moments. #1 coolest is Punisher punching Batman (Bruce Wayne version) and Batman responding, “I gave you that one because you probably think I deserve it.” Punisher swings again and Batman catches the fist saying, “I said one.” You better believe that Punisher got a slice of hurt there.

I also get a kick out of Batman/Hulk because it proves, yet again, that Batman can beat anyone. Plus, who the heck thought, “Hey, these two are a natural pairing.”

Rich maintains the question path

who would win a fight between silver surfer and superman. Silver
surfer is my favorite hero of all time but I just started to get into superman.Thank you for your time.

I think that Silver Surfer come out ahead in this one. I’m not too familiar with his abilities (besides the ability to look way cool) but I do know that Surfer has “the power cosmic” which every Marvel fan assures me is unbeatable.

Of course to me, a DC guy, “the power cosmic” sounds like a bunch of hogwash mixed with gobbledygook with a pinch of Urkel for good measure. But I’m sure over in the “616” they can make neither hide nor hair of The Speed Force, so it balances out.

Basically, I think that Surfer is just too powerful to Superman. Plus I’m pretty sure that silver is more valuable than steel.

Tim, where do you stand on the battle of these two metallic aliens?

Well if it was my Man of Steel (the post Crisis can’t breathe in space version) then I give the edge to Silver Surfer cause, well, the battle would probably be in space. The current Supes, I believe, is back to doing damn near anything, including breathing in space. I’d predict a much closer contest, but with Surfer eventually still whooping him. Truth be told though, I don’t this battle would ever take place. Both are too peace loving and are more likely to bond over their similarities then bicker over their differences.

Christopher M likes himself some specificity.

Just finished reading the Seven Soldiers of Victory Archives, and noticed that throughout these early appearances, the Golden Age Green Arrow uses only conventional, non-trick arrows. Trick arrows (with boxing gloves and what not) were, of course, always part of the Silver Age Green Arrow’s gear, so I was curious to know at what point the Golden Age version started using gimmicked arrows. Date, title, and issue would be most appreciated if you can find them.

Based solely on what I could find, it appears that trick arrow were part of Ollie’s gimmick from early on. It’s widely acknowledged that Green Arrow was a “Batman with bow & arrow” complete with a kid sidekick and a “utility” quiver. In fact in Adventures Comics #150 from 1950, there’s a tale about Ollie and Speedy holding a trick arrow contest.

Green Arrow debuted in 1941, which is after the success of Batman. I’m really guessing that the Golden Age G.A. was using trick arrows pretty soon after he debuted, I just can’t track down an exact issue. And with the Green Arrow fansite in disarray I don’t know where else to look.

Tim, what’s your estimate on when the G.A.G.A. started using trick arrows?

Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) first utilized trick arrows in JLA #8-9.

What…you didn’t really think I could answer that other question, did you?

Chaos needs a blow by blow

Did u read Teen Titans #25 – the copies at the store I go to, all had 8 extra pages reprinted, and the story seemed really weak, as it jumped from Superman-robo shooting Cassie in the same pose as when it killed Donna, then jumped to the Brainiac family, then when it next showed Cassie it seemed fine… thing is all the reviewers seemed to love the issue, so I was wondering if our 8 reprinted pages, might have replace, 8 important story pages… any idea?

Good news you only missed six pages of actual story. But you did miss some pretty important moments. And since you always have a question for the column I’ll give you a page by page recount of what you missed.

On page eight (the first page you’re missing) Cassie deflects the heat vision with her bracelet to destroy the head of another Superman robot that’s hassling Speedy and Arsenal. She then proceeds to punch through her opponent’s head.

On page nine Cassie uses her lasso to destroy another robot. Ares then appears and warns gives her some advises on how to beat Superboy and implies he knows that the Infinite Crisis is coming. She bashes the window he appears in. Tim then goes to tap her on the shoulder…

On page ten, An emotional Cassie throws a punch that she stops just short of connecting with the Boy Wonder. Cassie apologizes and Tim consoles her. Then she asks “what happened to Connor?”

On page fifteen Superboy attacks Arsenal and Speedy with some heat vision, while Beast Boy and Starfire try to attack Lex, whose force field protects him. Lex disables them. Raven tries to attack Lex with her soulself. The entire time Lex is being perfectly arrogant.

On page sixteen Bart gets the order to take down Superboy, but Bart wants to try to talk his friend back into sense. Bart tries and fails, as Superboy takes flight and slams Bart to the ground.

On page seventeen Robin tosses some batarangs at Superboy, to no affect. Superboy, on the other hand punches his own palm, creating a sonic boom which knocks Robin down. Bart recovers, Cassie tells Bart to put her lasso on Connor, then run away.

And there you basically have the pages you missed. The story wasn’t bad at all. The eight pages you missed out on were incredibly crucial. They showed how Battlesuit Lex could indeed be likeable. They showed how close to the edge Cassie is. They showed how tight the bond of the Young Justicers are. The issue was stellar.

Tim, I know you read and reviewed the issue, anything else to add?

I would say that that is pretty exhaustive.

InsidePulse TV’s own Kevin Wong asks

Can you list the Asian heroes in the DCU? I managed to come up with
Dr. Light, Katana, and the current version of Karate Kid, but that’s
about it. Any others?

Well I can give you only few more, and even if we include villains we’d only be reaching a handful.

In terms of heroes aside from those you’ve mentioned, Cassandra Cain, the current Batgirl. Of course there’s Rising Sun and Thunderlord from the Global Guardians and Lightning and Thunder from Teen Titans. Bushido is also a Titans affiliate.

Stryker Z is part of The Power Company, and Connor (Green Arrow) Hawke has some Asian ancestry. And that’s pretty much all I can come up with.

Now if you want to add some less than heroic and sometimes downright villainous characters you’ve got, Lady Shiva, Sensei and Cheshire.

Tim can you think of any Asian characters that I’ve missed (and preferably one without a background in martial arts)?

I wish I could. Unfortunately, I got nothing. And in comic book world, an Asian character without martial arts abilities is called a supporting character (see Linda Park/West), so good luck finding more than a handful.

Chaos wants to know about the guest that didn’t make the party

In The Villains United story, I have trouble accepting that Lady Shiva would join up with the secret society folks (she’s not shown)… do you think she’s there?

I really don’t want to talk about Shiva. The last time I saw here was in the terrible final issue of Richard Dragon. That book had a decent amount of promise, but quickly started to stink up the racks.

Um, it’s possible that Shiva is there, but I too think that Shiva is a bit above or at least beyond what amounts to a grudge match. She doesn’t seem like a joiner. But then again Talia helped run Lexcorp into the ground and Lex seems to have forgiven that, so perhaps the revelations of Identity Crisis have people acting out of character.

Tim, is it possible that Richard Dragon reached Titans level of suckness?

Wow…saying something like that…that’s something you can never take back.

Let me think about it a sec……….

Yeah. Yeah it did.

Chaos puzzles over an enigma

Is Mockingbird something long-term readers should recognize?

Kind of, but not necessarily so. Y’see Mockingbird was the mysterious leader of the Secret Six. They were six folks who were brought together because Mockingbird had some dirt on them. So Mockingbird had them go on espionage/spy type missions. The kicker was that Mockingbird was actually one of the Six. Pretty sneaky sis.

So clearly, with “The Six” and Mockingbird, the logical leap is that the current Mockingbird is one of the current Six. Which is why many folks are leaning toward Scandal, whom they believe is Nyssa, Daughter of the Demon.

As for me, I’m thinking that Mockingbird is the one, the only; Jason Todd. Wait, Jason Todd is the Red Hood. Um, I’ll say Mockingbird is Anarky, because I can’t get enough of that guy.

Tim, any thoughts on who Mockingbird is this week?

Not Black Mask Goddamit!

Jon T has a question about the baddest man in a jetpack this side of the Rocketeer

What is the deal with Adam Strange? I have no idea who he is, where he came from etc, just that he is a hero on Rann.

Adam Strange, ironically, has a very normal back story. Adam is from Earth. What’s more he’s an archeologist. One day he was transported to Rann, a planet over by Alpha Centauri. Once there he defeated a menace and made himself at home hooking up with local beauty Alanna.

But Adam found himself transported back to Earth. Apparently the device used to transport him to Rann, the Zeta Beam, wore off, which sent him back to Earth. Adam was smitten with Alanna and discovered that the Zeta Beam was sent regularly to Earth, but only on the Southern Hemisphere, because it’s from Alpha Centauri. So went down there, calculated where the beam would next hit and took it to Rann. He quickly became Rann’s hero.

As he got more comfortable during his trips to Rann he discovered that many of the locals resented him a bit. It stemmed from the fact that men on Rann were sterile. Adam was actually there to help with reproduction, at which point he married Alanna and conceived a child.

There reason he’s a hero on Rann is because he’s “the man” in every sense. Plus there’s not too much competition in the hero department there. Oddly enough the babysitter unemployment rate on Rann is close to 100%, so while there’s a lack of heroes there’s an insane surplus of childcare providers.

Tim any thoughts on Strange, or even the Rann/Thanagar Disagreement?

First, I’m curious as to how that life story qualifies as “very normal”. Remember, Mathan, not everyone out there lives the kind of planet hopping, booze fueled, hedonistic lifestyle we do. They should, of course, but some people just don’t know from fun.

Anyway, if you check out my Absorbascon link above, they have a series of great reasons to support Thanagar in the conflict. For me, though, I am hoping Earth swoops in when the fighting has dragged on for years and claims a couple of colonies for itself. That would be sweet!

Daniel G. proves that everyone’s mind seems to be on VU these days

How about giving us some background on Catman? I’m not familiar with the character’s past, except that he was a pretty worthless villain up until VU began.

Oh Thomas Blake. He’s your typical adventurer type. He liked to hunt big cats and was a gambler. He discovered and stole a cloak and idol from a Polynesian tribe. I know, I know you think he’s a jerk for doing such a thing, but he had good reason. Y’see rumor had it that those items gave a person nine lives! Doesn’t that sound sweet?!

Of course the logical leap to take when one possibly possesses nine lives is a life of crime, in Gotham. He figured that he’d get his fortune back (which he gambled away) and with his hunting skills he’d be a good match for Batman. Doesn’t that sound like a solid plan?

Catman proved very successful, oh wait, that’s right he was going up against Batman. Blake was trounced every time. Yet he would miraculously escape to fight another day, which could prove that he did indeed have nine lives.

Lately he’s been portrayed as a loser. Rumor has it he crossed Monsieur Mallah and The Brain and Mallah ate him. Clearly that wasn’t the case. He also showed up out of shape (like Blue Beetle out of shape) on the pages of Green Arrow. However in Villains United he seems to have a new lease on life and taking advantage of it.

At least until he was captured by The Society and tortured by The Crime Doctor.

Tim, you think Blake’s new persona will take?

I kind of hope so. He hasn’t been this interesting…ever, really. Not even Meltzer’s take on him as a sad sack made much of an impression on me. I do hope that if it does take though, they don’t just shunt me back to Gotham at the close of VU or make him an almost hero. New persona or not, he’ll just get lost in the shuffle in Gotham and down the hero path equals lose of coolness. Perhaps he can bedevil Green Arrow for awhile since they share some history now.

Paul P hungers for the big time

The question about the Flash villains and who would be in a Flash
movie got me thinking about why the Flash’s Rogues Gallery has never really produced a superstar villain like the Joker, or even Ra’s Al Ghul at least within the DCU. You’d think that a character as old as the Flash would produce a villain with a high profile in the DCU. Am I wrong? Which Flash villain could be written as a main JLA foe for an story or two?

First off, Joker is an icon. Ra’s al Ghul’s plans affect everyone, so he’s got the “big picture” in mind. The Rogues on the other hand, don’t have lofty goals of world domination. They pretty much exist in a game of constant one-upmanship.

I would like to point out that Gorilla Grodd has a pretty big profile in the DCU. He’s tangled with Supergirl and the JLA, among others.

I think that written properly Weather Wizard might be able to hold his own against (a version) of the Justice League. I mean, the guy does control the weather. Abra Kadabra could also probably be a menace.

But again I think you’re selling Grodd short. In fact you are selling him so short, that I’m proclaiming he will be revealed as Mockingbird, if only to right the cosmic balance of your ignoring the threat that is Grodd.

Tim, are there any other Rogues that you think can hang with the big guns?

Mirror Master already did as a part of the Injustice Gang, but was ultimately bought off by Batman, so I don’t know if he really counts. I think Savitar could’ve been a dangerous foe for the JLA, but he’s dead now, so nevermind that.

Hmm…I guess the Rogues, working solo, probably wouldn’t be JLA level villainy. However, I would like to see what they did as a team against the JLA. That could prove interesting.

SoulonFire better be careful or he’ll put an eye out.

Back home I had Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #1-33. One of my favorite characters in it only appeared for one arc before getting killed off. He was a former actor who decided to don a Zorro type costume and become a thief. He also rescued some woman from jumping off a bridge and they fell in love. At the end of the arc, he was gunned down by the cops. Anyone remember who this guy was? And did he ever appear in any other Batman comic?

That guy was the Cavalier. He’s a Golden Age foe of Batman’s who first appeared in Detective Comics #81. And I’ve got a theory about why that story was written and why he died in the end.

Y’see one aspect of the character of The Cavalier was that he was a gentlemen. In fact to quote the original Who’s Who; “though an able athlete and skilled hand to hand combatant, the Cavalier is also a gallant and courtly villain who refuses to harm a woman and who has, in fact, on occasion, stopped in the midst of committing a crime to help an elderly woman with her packages.”

Yet in Detective Comics #526 The Cavalier is shown attempting to harm a woman. And even before that in a 1974 issue of Wonder Woman he is shown to have the power to make a woman submit to his will. Now call me old fashioned but that doesn’t sound very “courtly.”

So my theory is that James Robinson, a fan of DC’s past, wanted to keep the “gallant and courtly” Cavalier character pristine. And while Hudson Pyle from Legend of the Dark Knight #32-24 isn’t Mortimer Drake, he does share many characteristics of that initial Cavalier.

Robinson loves to keep DC’s history intact, even if is means changing minor details (like ditching the “Bruce Wayne” but keeping the Starman of 1951). I think this was him doing the same thing with a different character.

Tim care to jump in on this one?

I don’t remember much about Cavalier beyond the fact that he was in Knightfall for about 2 pages or so. Even in lousy shape, Bats made pretty quick work of him. Maybe he should spend some time as a Robin foe until he can get his “A” game back.

Well folks the column has come to a close. Thanks for reading. Be sure to visit our thread with your comments, questions or corrections.

Before we go, I also have to heap a huge pile of thanks on Mathan who collaborated with Ben and Jamie to give me an excellent birthday gift, a copy of Manhunter #5 signed by the writer and a piece of an original art from the same book (it’s the fight sequence, when Kate punches into Shadow Thief’s suit and blow a hole into it). It was a total surprise and very very cool.

And to think I didn’t get him anything.

Thanks again Mathan. That’s huge.

Oh yeah, before I forget (like I did last week), here’s my question to you; What do you think about DC’s new logo?

“It was his friend’s guitar, that he plays.”