Who's Who in the DCU

I’d like to take a moment to note the passing of an industry legend. Jim Aparo passed away Tuesday July, 19th. He was 72.

Jim Aparo was an artist whose work is almost synonymous with Batman. His work graced the pages of Brave & the Bold, Batman and the Outsiders as well as runs on Detective Comics and Batman including “A Death in the Family”, the storyline that resulted in the death of Jason Todd.

I always loved his style and how easily he conveyed emotion in his characters. I also appreciated his use of body language. To me he will always top the list of “definitive Batman artists.”

He will be missed.

I echo those sentiments to the letter. Aparo definitely crafted the way I “saw” Batman and still does.

Man…it has been a rough year for the greats.

And now to spin a complete 180 degrees, Tim I was so pumped to read that television uber producer Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Streets, Oz) is teaming up with amazing artist Cliff Chiang (Human Target, Beware the Creeper) to produce a Batman graphic novel. Tim, I can’t recall the last time I’ve anticipated a project this much.

No kidding. I was so excited when I heard it and almost as excited to tell you (and the people) about it. It’s nice to have someone around who loves Homicide and Cliff Chiang like I do.

Tim, care to share any funny anecdotes from your trip to the left coast?

Hmm…I’m not sure I’ve got much that hasn’t already been printed right here on this very site. For the majority of funny anecdotes, I’d point you to this entry about our most bizarre night in San Diego.

Also, it should be noted this is the first time I slept in a supposedly haunted establishment. Sadly, the only thing that I learned about Roger, the ghost of the Horton Grand, is that he does not have wireless internet access in “his” room, #309. Poor guy.

Links!!!

IP Music has plenty of columnists, including one turning 100!

IP Movies has reviews aplenty, including Wedding Crashers.

I thank the gods for Weddings Crashers which nicely helped me decompress after four days of comics related shenanigans.

IP Games has updates on portables and next gen consoles.

IP Figures has sneak peeks at some of the figs that I’m sure Tim witnessed at the con.

I witness many a figure. Congrats to Ben and his ilk on them finally getting a Guy Gardner figure. Whoopee de friggin’ doo!

IP TV has recaps galore!

IP Sports has the latest baseballs standings. How bout them Bo Sox?

Moodspins always has plenty of people commenting about diverse topics.

Our DC Forums are abuzz with activity.

Tim, care to link anything this week?

Why yes, I do. How about some movie review sites, hmm?

You probably already know Rotten Tomatoes and well you should, because it is excellent.

Some people loath spoilers, but not these guys. They love ’em and they can’t wait to share them with you.

Finally, for those of you who are really, really Christian, here’s a site that will helpfully tell you what movies are sins to see and what aren’t. Fun for those of us who do not take our religion so seriously too.

What I Read Last Week

Action Comics #829 – Interesting. I like how the story is developing. And really, who doesn’t enjoy a trip to Apokolips?

Rann-Thanagar War #3 – I’m glad to see Captain Comet. But this book is kind of boring me. It just seems a bit rushed.

The Manhattan Guardian #3 – I’m loving this title. It’s got all that “Grant Morrison” weirdness that you expect. It’s kooky and fun. Plus it’s a bit political too. Nice, and not too preachy.

Fun crazy ideas matching up nicely with the poor Guardian’s distinctly unfun life makes for one of my favorite books out there. Too bad we’ve only got one issue left.

Batman #642 – A decent fill in issue. Not much substance, but I love the Jock cover.
It wasn’t bad, but after how good this book had been for the past couple of months, this definitely sucked the wind out of my enthusiasm for it.

JLA #116 – Great issue. I’m really digging this storyline. That last page reveal was a surprise. It’s got action and drama. This was so worth the wait.

Much better than the first issue. The stuff in the Batcave was clearly the highlight. I notice that Green Lantern and Flash seem a bit awkward in their appearances in this story. Wally makes sense to me since he wasn’t really on hand for the event that this story takes as its catalyst, but Hal was there when it all went down. So why does he feel so tacked on here? I don’t know, it might be an intentional move, speaking to how his Rebirth hasn’t necessarily returned him to his prime heroic footing.

Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #1 – This book was way worth the wait. Some folks have been critical, but this was a purely enjoyable issue. I mean, Miller managed to make Vicki Vale interesting! How impressive is that?

100 Bullets #62 – The plot (as always) thickens. I love this book more than you can imagine.

Nightwing #110 – Surprisingly enjoyable read. It’s still barely tied into Villains United. Great characterization.

Green Arrow #52 – Great follow up to #50. Sadly the art is still not pleasant to the eye. I feel bad for Fowler, but his art just doesn’t work with the title. But perhaps the best part of the issue was the Cliff Chiang cover! Love Chiang!

Breach #7 – This issue really turned up the heat. I’m digging Talia’s role in this title. This book has yet to disappoint.

Hawkman #42 – I swore that Geoff Johns made the character less confusing. This book has me, the guy who writes this column, confused as to whether I’m coming or going. I can’t wait for this storyline to be over, just so I can catch by breath.

Now it’s onto the questions.


Chaos roves the country, looking for answers

Oh can you tell me the story of Gypsy… as far as I can tell she has
no ties to gypsy culture other than once wearing the Halloween costume
of one… what’s up with her?

Gypsy is an oddly popular character, especially considering

From the 5/23/03 column;
Gypsy is one of those forgotten leaguers. And honestly, who wouldn’t want to forget the Justice League Detroit? This team was composed of, like, Q list heroes. Gypsy, her real name is Cindy Reynolds, had the power to blend into her surroundings, which is like a lamer version of invisibility. Well that team was demolished, leaving her the only survivor of that rag tag bunch of youngsters. She took some time off. But then Despero came a callin’ and she was back in action. She even helped make the big bad Despero a cuddly little alien fetus. Then she joined the Conglomerate, and eventually the Justice League Task Force. Now she has the ability to take someone else’s appearance. Which isn’t quite as lame as blendability, which according to my spellchecker isn’t a word. What a foulthy piece of technology.

and as an addendum, from the 3/16/05 column;
Gypsy actually worked with the Justice League Task Force. She also gained the ability to mimic appearance, in a limited fashion.

I thing that you’ve got to take Gypsy’s era of origin into consideration before critiquing her name. I mean, she became a hero in the pre Crisis DC multiverse. There weren’t a lot of good names available. Even if an Earth 1 hero with a cool name died, thus making the name available, there was still the Earth 2 version of the hero to complicate things. It’s like picking an email address; you’re never going to get your first choice.

Also she could easily be characterized as a “street urchin” and really isn’t that synonymous with “gypsy.” Plus, wasn’t Punky Brewster popular at the time?

Basically she looked “like a gypsy.” Let’s face it; this was far from a P.C. era of the League, as it featured a Puerto Rican break-dancer named Vibe (a character that comic legend George Perez despises.)

Tim, can you come up with a reason for Gypsy to be called Gypsy?

Give me a sec, I’m still getting over how anyone could despise Vibe. I mean, he was a hero who break danced (broke danced?). What do people need to be happy?

Anyway, no, there is no discernible reason for Gypsy to be called that. Her name indicates that she is, in fact, not Roma (the acceptable term, as Gypsy is similar to saying Oriental or another low level ethnic slur) or, if she is, she’s a bit ashamed of her heritage and has covered it up with a WASP-y last night. Her powers are not representative of the Roma culture, even stereotypically. And no, street urchin is not a equal term to Gyspy, sorry Mathan.

Thus, we have found yet another reason why Gyspy should not exist at all.


Parallax2814 can’t help but nose around in other people’s mysteries

Whatever happened to The Secret from Young Justice?

Ah Greta. I remember her well. She was one of the true joys of Young Justice. I miss that book.

Anyway, the story of The Secret eventually ended up with her embracing her “dark side” with a little help from, um, Darkseid. He convinced her to give into her nature. However her love for Robin proved stronger than Darkseid’s influence. She listened to Robin and turned her back on her negative benefactor. Darkseid was repulsed by her reaction, and stripped her of her powers as a punishment.

But being a normal girl was what Greta really desired, thus Darkseid’s curse was a gift to her. As for her current whereabouts, she’s studying at the Elias School for Girls; alongside former teammates Cissie King-Jones and Cassie Sandmark.

Tim, aren’t you glad that there’s finally a hero story with a happy ending?

Absolutely not. All comics should end in death, destruction, and dismemberment. If someone could cry as well, all the better.


Parallax2814 ain’t afraid of no ghosts (even wireless-less ol’ Roger)

How is Despero back in the pages of JLA while I clearly remember The Secret making Despero’s ghost disappear.

C’mon, Young Justice #6 was like six years ago! Don’t you think that six years is enough time off for an A rate villain like Despero? Well apparently Geoff Johns and David Goyer did, because they brought Despero back from limbo in JLA/JSA: Vice and Virtue in 2003.

To answer your question though, here’s how things get to where they are today. After losing his body with his encounter with Supergirl (Supergirl #17-18), Despero popped up in Young Justice #6. While he lost his body he still existed as an astral being who could possess others. Again he was defeated and The Secret absorbed him. Furthermore, Despero was terrified of her. But his story did not end there.

Despero eventually hooked up with Johnny Sorrow on the “Abyssal Plane” and they returned to Earth to battle the JSA and JLA.

So as you can see, Despero being back isn’t such a big deal (especially considering that Johns worked on both Vice and Virtue and the current JLA arc). But it may be worth pondering whose body Despero is possessing.

Tim, aren’t you glad to see Despero’s three eyes glaring at you again?

Thrilled actually. I was always aware of Despero, but the first time I really encountered him was actually in that JLA/JSA crossover you mentioned. For a creature awash in a pink-purple color, he was still pretty friggin’ cool.

Truth be told though, when I got to his appearance in the latest issue of JLA, I was disappointed for about two and a half seconds. Why? Because I had managed to convince myself that the source of J’onn’s psychic difficulties was no other than…JEMM, that fella from Saturn. When I realized, “hey, wait, Despero is about a thousand times cooler,” I got over it. It still should be noted, however, that I was a big enough nerd to not only know how Jemm is, but to be disappointed when he didn’t make an appearance.


George M. has written the best introductory clause ever.

While on the subject of survivors of planetary holocausts, is Lobo still the last Czarnian?

Lobo is still the last Czarnian. Y’see way back on Czarnia Lobo caused crazy havoc. He excelled in science and bioengineered an insect that resembled a flying scorpion.

These insects went on to kill Lobo’s entire race. It burrowed into the skin of people, causing black blisters and blood poisoning. They also induced paralysis, with death following five days later.

Lobo, the scientist that he was developed immunity to the insect. And he killed all of those people just to be unique.

But Lobo did miss one Czarnian, who was off planet at the time of the genocide; Mrs. E. Tripp who also happened to be Lobo’s 4th grade teacher. He did eventually kill her.

The reason I know that is because I actually picked up the first Lobo miniseries. It was also the last one that I read. Tim, how do you feel about Lobo?

Wait, wait, wait. Lobo is a scientist? The guy with chains and hooks who says frag a lot? That Lobo? Since when?!

That’s about as believable as Denise Richards playing a nuclear physicist or Tara Reid playing an archaeologist.

On the other hand, both of those did really happen, so I guess I’ll swallow this too. Still…a scientist?

Wait, he killed his entire planet? And Superman’s never done anything more than beat this guy around for a little bit before parting ways? Maybe the Green Lantern Corps should have arrested him? I mean, I know how important it is to recruit a squirrel for your elite group of super cops, but certainly they could have spared half a dozen GLs to take down a genocidal maniac? And if not for that, he still would need to be punished for blatant abuse of the Cure look that was all the rage 20 or 25 years ago.

But, I’ve gotten distracted. To answer your question, how do I feel about Lobo? The Cure looking, muscled up, bad 90’s parody that became legit murderous scientist whom everyone seems content to roam free? How do I feel about that awful awful awful character? Is that what you really want to know?!

He’s alright, I guess.


Glen D. recognizes that the first step towards beating arachnophobia is education.

What’s the deal with the Black Spider? I have an issue from way back when where he is a killer vigilante. Now he seems to be a killer for hire.

Todd M. has a similar question.

By the by, I’m not sure who that Black Spider is, but I do know he is new. The previous owner of the identity bought it in Gotham Central about six months back. Unless he get better, which, since this is comics, I can’t rule out entirely.

By the by, Hellhound was also corpsified in the opening act of War Games.

So that’s two dead minor Bat villains who show up alive in Villains United #2.

What’s up with that?

Ok, the original Black Spider was a Eric Needham, a drug addict. While in the thrall of addiction he killed a guy, inadvertently. It was a sobering moment, truly as it convinced him to give up the drugs. He then began to kill drug dealers on a regular basis. After his wife and child were killed in a drug related manner, Needham went the suicide bomber route and took out a bunch of drug dealers with him.

But then he came back to life, with the aid of Baron Agua Sin Gaaz (Or Barry, as his friends call him) and began hanging out in Zandia, the criminal country (As opposed to the highly underrated Olivia Newton John musical). And he’s recently been hanging out with criminals on a regular basis as witnessed in Identity Crisis and Villains United.

I’ve no clue as to the personality change, but then again I’d imagine being brought back to life could possibly alter more than one suspects.

The second Black Spider was Johnny Lamonica. He was contracted to kill Black Mask and took up the guise of Black Spider as a way to infiltrate the gang. He wasn’t successful, and was later killed by GCPD officer Crispus Allen, in self-defense.

So that should explain the Black Spider, whether it’s satisfactory or not is another matter.

As for the matter of Hellhound, here’s what series scribe Gail Simone posted over on DC’s Boards;

It’s a copycat Hellhound. The character was just too neat to die. This one is SUPPOSED to be African American, but it’s hard to tell in his brief scene.

Honestly, we planned it.

I believe her completely.

And thus you see that this is all just one big misunderstanding.

Tim, don’t you think that things have been pretty well cleared up?

Everything except how Ms. Simone can declare Hellhound “too neat to die” without getting a severe case of the giggles. Ooo, also, where did Hellhound get his hounds. Did he just inherit them from the previous owner or has he been training these dogs for years, just waiting for his shot at the big leagues?

Sniff, sniff…you smell that? Smells like spinoff prequel miniseries to me.


Robb L is not your baby’s daddy

Hey right with Deathstroke being a top tier player, where are his many children at? Specifically Rose Wilson. Oh and are Raven and Terra currently dead?

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down. You can’t pile questions on top of each other like that. I need room to work, and breathe.

First off Grant Wilson is still dead, but if Jason Todd can return I wouldn’t discount Grant returning one of these days.

Joe Wilson, also known as Jericho, is still alive. He actually possessed Deathstroke early in the current Teen Titans series. Cyborg has since been trapped Joey in a computer file. (Alive thus being a relative term in this case meaning, “not a completely abandoned plot device”)

Rose Wilson is also still alive, and following in her father’s footsteps. Not only has she take up the mantle that her brother Grant held (that of Ravager) but she also blinded one eye as a sign of allegiance to her father.

Raven is alive and is inhabiting a new body, thanks to Brother Blood. Terra is dead. But there’s also another Terra that’s currently roaming around the DCU. She’s trying to learn from the lessons of her namesake. I’m betting that Geoff Johns will address the current Terra at some point in the future.

And that’s about it. I think we’ve answered all of your questions.

Tim, unless I missed anything, I think you should regale us with a Con story right about now.

What am I, your monkey? What, you want me to dance for you? Maybe shine your shoes?

You want a Con story? Here’s your Con story. I watch a writer who dared to tell his editor what to do be torn apart by wild boars.

There, how’s that for a Con story? You like that? Huh, do you?

I also saw the most adorable baby (or one year old) get his face painted like Hulk. So cute.


Jon C. willfully ignores leash laws

I could be wrong, but isn’t Krypto from Krypton? I mean, unless Jeph
Loeb came up with a more ridiculous origin for a dog with Superman’s powers. Which he might’ve. Because he’s like that.

Krypto is a popular query subject. Everyone wants to know what’s up with that dog in a cape.

Well, I don’t. But then, no one seems to care about what I want.

Anyway, we’ve covered this one before way back in 4/13/05

It’s a funny story.

Ok, it’s not a “funny” story, it’s just a story but you asked.

Kal El has returned to Krypton a couple of times. Each time he journeyed back to Krypton he was actually taking a trip into The Phantom Zone and visiting a world created by Brainiac. Anyway Kal got a glimpse at how great life on Krypton could/would have been. As one of the parting gifts from a trip “Jor El” gave Kal Krypto. Thus Krypto has returned to the DCU.

One could argue that Krypto is really just highly advanced AI, but he’s still a super dog.

On a related note I caught the Krypto cartoon and I was appalled at the continuity mistakes. It was just absurd. How can DC allow this cartoon to be produced with such glaring continuity gaffes? A talking dog? Hello, that’s just stupid.

Wait, you mean it’s a cartoon for kids?

Tim are you going to rant more about how you don’t think that Krypto opens up story avenues?

Well, am I wrong? I’m sorry, but no matter how many times Loeb tells me that Krypto is a really cool idea and Superman needs a dog, I ain’t gonna buy it. He’s a dog. With a cape. Just because they don’t have thought balloons for Krypto anymore does not make him a good character.

So mock me if you will, but someone must speak the truth. For the children. For America.


I think Chaos just called me a bastard

Did you notice Luthor isn’t on the cover of UV #6, and the Mockingbird silhouette looks like a bald bastard?

Chaos, I’m appalled that you can think you can tell a persons disposition just by their silhouette. I’ll have you know that both Tim and I are bald (it’s way too hot to have hair here in Las Vegas.) And I suppose if you saw our silhouettes you’d call us bastards too?

Now normally I’d say “I have no idea what you’re talking about” because I don’t generally read Previews or check out preview cover images. But thanks to John Babos, I have seen the cover so I’ll comment on it.

I’ll say this; I swore that Lex has green eyes.

Tim, any thoughts on who Mockingbird this week?

I personally think that that silhouette appears to have elfish looking ears and Luthor certainly doesn’t have those. Plus, as you said, Luthor’s eyes are green.

As far as my guess goes, I think it’s the Writer. That’s right, Grant Morrison from Animal Man. Back and crazier than ever. This time, he’s not satisfied messing with some C-list hero. This time, he’s gonna take on several A, B, and C- list villains.

Oh, and it’s personal. Of course.

Hey, it could happen.


It’s pitch dark, and it’s still too damn hot. I’ve got to call it a column. We shall return next week with more answers to your questions.

But allow me to ask my question of the week; Do you have a favorite Jim Aparo image or issue?

“No more maladies. I’m so tired of crying, you’d think I was a siren.”

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