Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, is it me or do things look different around here?

The times they are a-changing Mathan…they are a-changing.

Links Around the Pulse!

IP Music has some pretty interesting things on the horizon.

IP Movies tells you what’s worth your hard earned money.

IP Games should keep you up to speed on every system known to man.

IP Figures has exclusives as always.

IP TV fills you in on the fall lineups for the networks.

IP Sports is either going to make you happy or sad, depending on the news about your team.

Moodspins has views aplenty!

Our DC Forums has news snippets courtesy of John Babos!

Tim, care to link anything this week?

One of our fellow Inside Pulsers has a review of Batman Begins that I don’t agree with but I think is well worth a read. It’s nice to open our minds to other people’s opinions.

What I Read Last Week

Detective Comics #809 – Interesting first chapter. I missed War Games, but the concept of this story is solid. And it’s nice to see the return of the Joker.

Firestorm #16 – This is an issue that got Stuart Moore to visit DC’s Message Boards, so it must be good.

Superman #220 – Eradicator is to World of Krypton as aura/soul vision is to Birthright. It is nice to see the imposter Supermen in one issue again though.

The Return of Donna Troy #3 – Nice battle, nice to see Donna back. Great cover.

Son of Vulcan #3 – This is such a fun read. It’s really a nice contrast to how grim DC’s been lately. Anyone who complains how “dark” DC’s gotten had better be reading this title.

Trigger #8 – I actually liked how Hall didn’t try to wrap things up in a hurry. Kudos Jason!

Aquaman #33 – A Tempest/Aquaman face off? Aquaman standing up a date? Great art? Well-written Black Manta! This is a really good issue.

Justice #1 – I really liked the book. It was a fun read. Plus it featured Aquaman and Black Manta again.

You’d think one Aquaman/Black Manta comic would be enough for a week. You’d, apparently, be wrong.

JSA #76 – Nice to see Fallen Angel‘s art team is still together. This was a fine issue. Lots of great stuff on those pages.

The last minute development with Atom Smasher was interesting enough that I don’t so much mind that he is still among the living. Good issue overall.

Y the last man #36 – Man, Vaughan can sure mess with your head. Every answer just raises further questions. But I love that.

Matador #4 – Wow. I so didn’t see that coming. This book is hands down the book of the week. It’s got consistently great covers. The story is so full of twists and turns. I can’t wait for the next issue.

I, too, really dig this book. I didn’t mention that cover in my review, but that was poor bad oversight on my part because it is quite great.

Neil gets this party started…and awkward by going political

Without (if at all possible) getting into a major political debate, how would you categorize, politically speaking, the big names in the DCU. It’s well known that Ollie is a liberal and Hawkman is a conservative, but I view Alan Scott as more of a conservative, but Hal Jordan is hard to place. I think he’d be more of a moderate. Barry Allen would be a conservative, most likely, but I’m not sure what Jay Garrick would be. I can see Wonder Woman supporting third party candidates and Wally being a liberal. Thoughts on the ones I’ve mentioned, as well as others?

This is indeed a heavy one.

Batman – Batman may be all about crime and punishment, but he’s also a businessman. He’s going to be voting on the candidate that can give WayneTech the best write off and is willing to turn a blind eye to what he orders.

Superman – Superman is a farm boy, from a Red State. I’ve got to think that this guy is going to be a bit on the conservative side.

Connor Hawke – Connor is a likely third party voter. He’s a bit earthy and isn’t going to be swayed too much by rhetoric.

Nightwing – Nightwing was a cop. But he also spent his youth with a diverse crew (the Teen Titans), so I’m putting him more on the liberal side. However as time goes by I see him becoming more conservative, which I guess would make him a moderate.

Hal Jordan – Hal is also going to be conservative. He’s heavily influenced by his father, a military man, and isn’t going to want to be perceived as weak.

Guy Gardner – C’mon, the dude bleeds conservative.

John Stewart – I think John falls on the liberal side of the equation, but I’d imagine that on certain issue he could come off as a conservative. But for the most part he’s a liberal.

Kyle Rayner – This guy is an artist who vehemently defends homosexuals. That sounds pretty liberal to me.

Wally West – I’m saying that Wally’s a conservative. Here’s why, Barry is his role model. He may have began his career as The Flash in The Flash #1 a much more liberal (free-spending, sleeping around), but in recent years he’s really settled down. He’s married now and has a blue collar job, in a Red State. He’s become more conservative with age.

Jay Garrick – I think that Jay’s pretty liberal. He never really casts judgment, and didn’t disapprove of Barry the way that Alan looked down on Hal. Jay tends to let the kids be kids. And he wears a metal bowl on his head.

Aquaman – Aquaman, who is used to the royal treatment is going to be conservative, except when it comes to the environment, which he’ll likely go third party.

Wonder Woman – I agree that third party candidates will reflect some of her ideals, but she’s clearly hard on crime, which leads me to believe that she’ll be a bit conservative.

Cyborg – This guys going to be liberal, if only for his interest in expanding technology and cloning.

Arsenal – C’mon this guy hooked up with an assassin and is a single father. Plus he sleeps around. He’s a liberal.

Martian Manhunter – This is a toughie. I think that due to his enlightened sense of thinking he’s not going to fit in any category. He may even be beyond the whole thing. But just to supply an answer, third party.

Manhunter – Kate is clearly a conservative. She kills criminals that escape justice.

Firestorm – He’s a freewheeling college kid, who associates with known drug dealers. Jason’s a liberal.

Atom – Ray Palmer (a character I’m guessing is going to reappear in the current JLA arc) has to be liberal. He’s way into science, and he can’t be too hard on crime, since the woman he loves is a killer. He maybe inching toward moderate with the current happenings in his life.

Mr. Terrific – I think that he’s a moderate. He’s not going to be too faith based, but he’s also not going to be too liberal (his wife was killed). That would put him smack in the middle.

Power Girl – I’m guessing that she’ll be pretty liberal. I think that women’s issues are important her and conservatives tend to be more “family values”, which she would probably find off-putting.

Tim, what are you thoughts on the political leanings in the DCU?

I think you nailed a lot of them quite well. The only suggestion I would make is to bear in the mind the difference between one lives their own life and how they view the rest of the world. For example, I am personally rather conservative. I’m not in for the whole drug thing, I rarely host orgies, and I’ve never, that I can recall, performed an abortion. However, politically, I am a liberal. I recognize what is right for me is not right for everyone and believe that they should have the leeway to make decisions that are right for them (within, obviously, reasonable boundaries). So that’s why, while I’m not interested in sleeping with guys, I have no issue with those that do and I think they are entitled to everything that I am.

Thus, while I think you are right to label someone like Superman conservative on a personal level, I have no doubt that he’d likely be more liberal on a world scale because he believes in the possibility of rehabilitation, he does not view any one religion as “more” right than others, he has a complex moral code but rather exerts that on others (except when it comes to killing, which he is opposed to. And that, of course is typically a more liberal point of view). Finally, don’t forget that his parents took in and raised an ALIEN baby. That’s a pretty liberal thing to do. So, for those of you who might be planning to vote in the same manner as their favorite superheroes, take the time to not only see how they act, but also see the views they espouse.

Kevin M. wants to see blood on our hands

Protocols aside, how would you most easily defeat the JLA without brainwashing other heroes to take them out for you? Please find the least spectacular way if you can.

I’d send 500,000 OMAC’s, oh wait, you said “least spectacular way.”

Hm, that’s going to require some thought. I guess, if you’ve got a powerful enough telepath, you could shut them down mentally.

Um, I’m betting that destroying the Watchtower might also be effective.

Man, this is more difficult than I thought. Would destroying the moon during a meeting be “spectacular?” I mean, sure blowing up the moon is kind of a big deal. But when you actually think about it, it’s not too spectacular; it’s just like breaking a big rock.

I really don’t know what you want from me Kevin. Do you want me to put together a team to take them on or am I just a madman with a scheme?

Tim, can you come up a way to defeat the JLA without being too spectacular?

Sure. Me. The JLA. In a steel cage match. There would be 14 hits. Me hitting each of the “big” 7, them hitting the floor. ‘Bout time someone wiped the smug off that Aquaman’s face.

Barring that I’d just tell Batman that I thought I saw his colleagues acting a little squirrelly. He’d build something and the rest would kind of take care of itself.

Aaron wishes more people could just die

With the return of Hal Jordan as GL, and the impending return of Donna Troy, do you ever get discouraged that anything that ever happens (death, life, entire storylines) can get wiped clean and restarted in the blink of an eye?”

Yes, wait, no. I don’t know if “discouraged” is a good word. To me it’s more of a frustration. For instance I absolutely loved the “Five Year Gap” Legion. To me that was some mighty fine storytelling. So when that storyline was “wiped clean and restarted in a blink of an eye” it was pretty hurtful. But I eventually got over it, because I realized that Legion continuity was a confusing mess, and in order for readership growth to take place a change had to happen. But it still sucked.

On the other side is my view of Superman: Birthright. I loved Man of Steel. To me that was the definitive Superman origin. I also held The World of Krypton and Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor as sacred. Well Birthright spat in the faces of all three stories. To me it seemed like Superman’s continuity was being influenced by the television program Smallville instead of vice versa. I think it’s a case of fixing something that isn’t broken, unneeded change.

As far as character resurrections, I’m ambivalent. I think if it results in a good story I’ve got no problem with it. For instance I’m loving Jason Todd as The Red Hood, just as much as I loved A Death in the Family. There’s no explanation for his return, but I don’t care because the mystery is compelling and the character is interesting.

Donna Troy wasn’t really “dead” even when she died. The whole story was just a tool to transition from The Titans/Young Justice to Teen Titans/Outsiders. Hal Jordan’s resurrection is pretty much to correct an editorial misstep from over a decade ago.

It is frustrating when a title like Peter David’s Supergirl is canceled because DC wants to give the name to someone else.

What I try to do in my darkest hours is to put things in perspective; I could be a fan from DC’s Silver Age who lost every story that they cherished after Crisis of the Infinite Earths. So there’s always a “it could be worse” scenario.

Tim, how do you feel about the fluidity of continuity?

I see the frustration/annoyance/disappointment. And I certainly feel it from time to time. What I always came back to is DC’s clichéd response to anyone who said things like, “What about the stories I grew up with” post-Crisis. Those stories are still “there” for the reading. No matter what editorial move occurs, DC can’t just take them away from you.

Take Emerald Twilight and beyond as an example. I thought Parallax was a great villain (there’s a reason it’s in my e-mail address). He had an interestingly skewed worldview, he could be sympathetic and repugnant, often at the same time, and he represented the ultimate in missed opportunities. A man that could have gone down as the greatest hero of all time became one of the DCU’s most dangerous villains. I thought the ending of his arc in Final Night was well done and a fitting closure to Hal’s life. DC, of course, disagreed.

Fast forward through the Spectre stuff (aw-FUL) and Rebirth and we now have a Hal that is completely antithetical to the take of comic heroes I typically enjoy reading about. The story, so far, being told with him is well written, make no mistake about that. However, the more I read about DC’s philosophy in reference to Hal, the more I realize that I just don’t come down on the same side of their interpretation of the character. I like my heroes with the occasional bouts of feet of clay and Hal Jordan post-Rebirth isn’t the type of guy to have that problem. Now that’s disappointing. I’d like to be interested in Hal, but I’m just not.

However, I still have those stories to read and enjoy. Even if I can’t love the current Hal that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy him at all. And given the fluid nature of continuity, I know it is only a matter of time before that ball bounces back into my court again.

Thus, to summarize that overly long point, yes it can bother me. Usually, though, that is only at first blush. When I remind myself that I can ignore certain characters (Krypto, for example) or look back on a previous incarnation of them (the aforementioned Hal Jordan) I feel okay about the whole thing again.

Mike Z wonders about that first Post-Crisis era

Post-Crisis, which of the Big three had the best restart? Krypton became a cold, sterile world, Wonder Woman became a clay statue, and Batman didn’t really change all that much.

Allow me to preface by saying I didn’t read Wonder Woman’s revamp.

That said, I really dug Superman’s revamp. It decreased his power, took out some of the silly elements of the mythos and made him readable. It made Superman much more believable, much more “real” and accessible.

Wonder Woman’s revamp was a solid one. Here you have a female character that was created in the 1930’s, which was hardly a time when women were getting truly positive portrayals in the media. Well with the revamp, Amazons are much more realistic and tied to mythology. Wonder Woman herself is more realistic. Her revamp, pardon the pun, did wonders for her. (No. There can never be any pardon for such an awful pun.)

Batman’s “revamp” didn’t really change much, but it did provide a much clearer picture, and placed him firmly in the real world. Gotham never seemed more alive or cruddy.

All three revamps did different things for their characters; Wonder Woman was more realistic, Batman finally and officially shed his campiness, and Superman became cool again.

I’d say that Superman’s revamp had the largest hurdle to overcome, so his was the best. Wonder Woman took the basic elements and really reinterpreted them, so she comes next. Batman didn’t change too much, but his tone was cemented. Sadly that puts him in last place.

Tim, care to chime in on revamps?

My favorite revamp of the big 3 is Batman: Year One. It is an excellent story and I’m previously inclined to prefer Batman anyway.

However, I’d give Man of Steel the nod for “best” or “biggest” revamp. I’m not to shy about stating the dislike I have for many of Superman’s Silver Age elements so this book was right up my alley. Plus, for me, even without the Silver Age, Superman is a character that rarely works for me in a solo context. However, Byrne’s “Steel” is one Superman story that I can read over and over again. This is, of course, why Krypto, Supergirl as Clark’s cousin, etc grate on my nerves so much.

Talowolf has a unique idea for a DC Strongman Competition

Who’s the strongest demon in DC?

Demons eh?

Let’s see, there’s Blaze, Lord Satanius, Etrigan, Neron. Man, that’s all that I can think of. I guess I’m not up on my Demon registry. Etrigan has to be pretty strong, what to put up with rhyming and whatnot.

Blaze is a typical one of those “I want your soul” demons. Satanus is a bit low-key for my taste. But Neron is a mighty powerful dude. I mean he’s got to have enough power to give anyone their wildest desire. Look at all of that power that he used during Underworld Unleashed, giving DCU villains upgrades. To me that seems to make him pretty powerful. At least in my eyes.

Tim, do you have another demon who’s more powerful than Neron?

Do I have one? Sure. Does he exist in the DCU? No. He’s right here in the real world. I call him Bob.

You forgot Scorcher (from Hourman) on your demon registry. But he basically just belches fire so he couldn’t give Neron a run for his money.

John T. is all about the dudes who have no faces

Hey, I was wondering if you guys could clear up some background on the Question. I (like many others) was turned on to the Question via Justice League Unlimited. I also read and enjoyed his miniseries that just wrapped up (particularly the ending scene where he pisses Superman off). I know he is really Vic Sage, learned to fight from Shiva, and has some shaman related powers. I was hoping you could give me some more background on what his deal is… is he a shaman or a conspiracy theorist like in the JL Unlimited cartoon? Also are there plans for him to show up on one of the super teams or maybe in his own monthly series? If not will he be popping up anywhere? I personally wouldn’t mind seeing him show up in Gotham, I could see Batman liking someone who creeps Superman out. It seems that the timing is right for the Question to get more of the spotlight… but will DC actually run with it?

The Question is an odd bird. He exists on the outskirts of the DCU. Honestly he’d fit in perfectly over in the Vertigo universe, but in the DCU he’s kind of an outcast.

He’s always been portrayed as “connected” but not really as a shaman, until recently. There are many aspects to his character. He’s very inquisitive, which lead to his portrayal in JLU. But his connection to unseen things is what evolved into this recent portrayal in his miniseries.

You want my honest theory? I’m guessing that Vic Sage will play a part in the upcoming 52. 52 is supposed to bridge the gap between Infinite Crisis and every post Infinite Crisis book. And who better to explore the new DCU than someone with a naturally inquisitive nature like Vic Sage? Personally I think he’s a going to be a featured character in the weekly book.

But apart from my speculation, I’ve not heard of him popping up in any of DC’s books anytime soon. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that I’m right.

Tim, what’s your take on The Question?

I think his recent mini might have taken him out of contention for a big role in “52” but that’s just me. Your idea does sound cool.

As far as personal preference goes, I lean toward the Denny O’Neill, Greg Rucka interpretation of the character. I found Vic’s turn as “urban shaman” to be rather uninterested and victim of some of the most grievous purple prose crimes it has ever been my misfortune to read in a comic.

For Chaos it’s just another day for you and me in Paradise

Last I saw, wasn’t Paradise Island surfing close to the US with big nasty army threats hanging around – what’s been going on with that?

Themyscria is chillin’. It’s not bothering anyone. They’ve got an embassy and they’re just another nation on this world we call Earth. Things were tense, but everything seems kosher now.

Oh wait, there was an explosion in JLA Classified #10, so maybe things aren’t as kosher as I thought. I suppose we’ll have to wait until the next issue to see what’s going on with that.

Tim, didn’t you spend Spring Break on Themyscria and try to film “Amazons Gone Wild”? How’d that work out for you?

Eh, it was okay. The ladies looked great, don’t get me wrong. There was just no challenge to it though. They were all like, “Take off my robe? Sure. Our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of.” What’s the point of getting ladies naked if it doesn’t involve booze, bribery, and cajoling? It just…it really just killed the sport of it all for me.

On the other hand, those ladies make a mean strawberry daiquiri. Que bien!

A disgruntled Marvel Fan is surprisingly concerned with DC continuity.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel: What exactly is the time frame on this thing? Some parts of the story suggest that it takes place sometime close to when Superman first appears in Metropolis. But then some parts suggest something a little more recent. Also is this story taking place in a post-Smallville/post-Birthright continuity?

I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure it happens after Crisis on Infinte Earths but before Infinite Crisis.

Huh? Oh you wanted a more precise answer. Well based on all accounts it takes place after The Question miniseries but before Azzarello’s For Tomorrow arc in Superman both of which featured a married Clark Kent, which rules out a “Year One” timeline.

I don’t really see any implication of it taking place in Superman’s early days. If you’re talking about Lex’s animosity and pontification about the evils of Superman, I’d say that if you’re passionate about something you can ramble on and on about it forever (use this column’s existence as an example). Lex is passionate about Superman being a bad thing, he’s had a grudge for a while now and I don’t see it dissipating anytime soon.

Well since Superman has his aura/soul vision (as witnessed in last week’s Superman #220) is seems that, yes, this is the post –Birthright Lex. But besides using current continuity, there’s no indication that of whether this story uses the Lex from Birthright or the Lex from Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor as its basis. Personally I think that it the latter is the basis, since the two Lexs seem similar in tone.

Tim, care to tackle the mysteries of Man of Steel?

I’d add another parameter. It is also prior to Luthor being elected President of the United States. Beyond that, it is tough to say. The whole Superman/Batman bit in issue #3 would seem to support the idea that this is in the early days of DC’s current generation of heroes, but there was so little exposition in that section it is impossible to say. My best advice is to enjoy the story on its own merits and not worry where it fits in. It’s darn good and that’s all we need worry about.

Talowolf wonders about the Countdown villain that almost was

What’s the story on this Mr. Jupiter? I hear he’s a Titan villian, but he sounds like someone the Legion should be tackling.

What, because he’s got a spacey sounding name he’s automatically pigeonholed to the Legion universe? Shame on you Talowolf. Shame. On. You.

You’ve never heard of Loren Jupiter? World renowned millionaire philanthropist? Father of Teen Titan Lilith? Honestly how could Mr. Jupiter be a villain? How many Teen Titan’s do you know that have villainous fathers?

I mean besides Jericho. And Changeling. And Raven. And Superboy. And Rose Wilson, Wally West and possibly Duela Dent. Ok bad example.

The point I was trying to make is that Loren Jupiter isn’t a bad guy.

We actually touched upon this dude back on 5/19/04

Way back in Teen Titans #25 (1970) the Titans were involved were involved in a famous philanthropist getting killed. They got reamed out by the JLA. Then they were asked to take part in a program for teens sponsored by the government and lead by Mr. Loren Jupiter, a very rich dude. The only thing was they couldn’t wear their hero costumes and they couldn’t use their powers.

Kid Flash, Hawk & Dove, Wonder Girl, Lilith, and Speedy all joined up for the program. But Robin wasn’t too keen on it and decided to go his own way. He bowed out to go to college and fight the good fight alone.

Aside from his fashion sense (purple jumpsuits?) the guy’s got nothing to indicate a turn to the villainous side. Eventually the Titans’ went back to their normal costume wearing habits and Mr. Jupiter stayed their benefactor.

He also hooked up with a different Titan team, the one that featured a teen age Ray “Atom” Palmer in their ranks. Again, Mr. Jupiter was on the straight and narrow. The only thing villainous about Mr. Jupiter is his son, Jarrod Jupiter AKA Haze, who’s not only disappointing as a son (going against his father’s dream of making the world a better place) but disappointing as a villain.

And that is the story of Mr. Jupiter. Based on what John Babos posted in on the Message Boards, Mr. J would have been a perfect fit to be the head of Checkmate, especially when you consider how his initial focus was on making the world a better place and heroes not using their powers. That said, I liked how Max played out.

Tim, do you think Mr. Jupiter will ever get the revamp treatment by you?

Signs point to no.

Chaos actually cares what we think

As a DC expert what is your opinion of all these changes, seen and hyped, how are you feeling about the things to come?

I’m honestly excited. I like the return of Hal Jordan because it opens up new stories (How other aliens/GL’s feel about him, how he fellow heroes feel about him). I knew Donna was coming back and there’s no time like the present. The build up to Jason Todd’s return was nice and the delivery lived up to the hype.

As for Infinite Crisis I am anxious as to see how the Countdown minis will play a part in this event. I don’t know how Rann/Thanagar War and Day of Vengeance will tie in, but I’m sure they will to some capacity.

I’m so looking forward to both 52 and the One Year Later stories. I’m hoping that The Question and The Creeper pop up in 52 (as their day jobs would seem to work with covering the changes in the DCU). And if any of the rumors about what’s in store for the Bat books are true it should be a dream come true.

So basically I’m excited and optimistic about things to come.

Tim, how do you feel about current and future events?

I’m in the same boat as you Mathan. These things are a risk, but I like that DC is stepping up to the plate and trying to deliver. I may not love it all (the “Red Sky” tie-ins for example), but anything that gets us a-buzzing can’t be all bad. This could be great, it could be a disaster, but at least it will be something. I say good for DC shaking things up.

Well it’s time to close another column. Be sure to send me your questions and comments or post them over on our thread.

My question to you this week;how do you feel about Wonder Woman killing Max Lord?

“Dead in the middle of Little Italy, little did we know that we riddled some middleman who didn’t do diddly.”


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