Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, how are you and the Wiz adjusting to life in a new town cohabitating? Do you have a new comic shop that you frequent? Was it a teary farewell when you bid adieu to your old shop? Inquiring minds want to know, like me.

The Wiz? Huh…never heard Janelle called that before. The only nickname she has that gets used Tim Sheridan gave to her. The Thunder. Why? That’s a bit of a mystery isn’t it?

Anyway, all is well on this end. James Hatton is nice enough to have already scoped out the area and found me a comic shop to frequent. I am sure the fact that his fiancée works there had nothing to do with it. As for Heroes and Hitters and Wayne (nicest Comic Vendor alive), the relationship has not ended yet, but…

It’s just too hard to talk about, you know?

Links

IP Music Gloomchen liked The White Stripes?

IP Movies better give Crash on DVD a glowing review next week, or else!

No kidding. It was a truly excellent film.

IP Games writers should expect inquisitive emails from me, because we’ve got an Xbox in the crib!

HOLLA!

IP Figures has some sort of shelf devoted to heroes of the super variety.

IP TV is always full of spoilers!

IP Sports claims to have never used steroids, but you be the judge.

Moodspins is a cornucopia of opinions.

IP Culture has reviews about books, without pictures!

Our DC Forums is the place to mourn DCU characters who’ve died in the last year and speculate on who could have replaced them in death.

Tim, you’re always good for an interesting link, what’ve you got this week?

SomethingAwful is always good for a laugh. Whether it be Superhero Personal Ads or Photoshop Phridays about Mixed Up Movies and Comic Book Chaos, I always leave the site entertained. And so will you.

What I Read Last Week

Hellblazer #211 – The issue rocked as always. But what really put it over the edge was the preview of Loveless! I’m so there.

Adventures of Superman #643 – I’m digging the use of multiple artists. I certainly dug the Superman/Batman quarrel. But Superman is such a wimp, going to cry in his woman’s arms. Boo.

Don’t be rude, it is what the man does. He stands for truth, justice, the American Way, and weeping like a small child with a boo-boo.

Otherworld #6 – This book is really picking up, just in time for its final issue. The art and cover is great. The story is way freaky. Phil should take pride in this book.

JSA Classified #2 – Wait, Tim, you’re not reading this book either? It better not be because of the appearance by the Legion. I don’t think I know who you are anymore.

It’s got nothing to do with the Legion, I promise. I just don’t have any particular interest in Power Girl so a story about her “true” origin is hardly of consequence to me.

The OMAC Project #5 – I’m not angry at Dmitri’s death. He went out like a hero. And the rest of the book wasn’t bad either. The JLI was getting handled by the OMACs though.

Legion of Super Heroes #9 – I wanted Brainy to succeed but he appears to have floundered. I’m so digging the concept of the Legion this time around. The movement idea is a great one.

Teen Titans #27 – While I don’t drink, my sentiments about the issue are echoed on this thread from the DC Message Boards.

Black Panther #7 – I really don’t know why I keep buying this book.

Day of Vengeance #5 – I love word balloons on covers. I’m dig characters who deal in darkness called “Shade”. I love talking monkeys. This book rocked!

Batman #644 – I liked this issue.

That makes exactly one of us that felt that way. To steal from Roger Ebert, I hated hated HATED this issue.

What’s the problem with it? How about the profound lack of sense it makes. First, Leslie is a doctor and, by all indications, a damn good one. Do good doctors ignore the Hippocratic Oath whenever they feel like, just to prove some point of theirs? I expect that that is discouraged.

Second, Leslie is the big pacifist in the Bat U. She made sure noted psychotic Mr. Zsasz received proper medical attention and faced down Killer Croc to do it. Does that sound like the behavior of a woman that lets a young woman die to teach a lesson?

Third, does Leslie just have no sense of history? Batman had his back broken, Dick was shot, a couple of times now, Tim almost died of the clench, Barbara was paralyzed, Orpheus was killed, and (until recently) Jason Todd was beaten nearly to death with a crowbar then blowed up. If none of that made Batman think that it was time to stop the hero-ing game, why would this? It’s like you electrocuted me once a week every week when I reached for a cupcake, but I still did it. How do you stop me from still reaching for that cupcake? Your resolution: electrocute me again, but with a lower voltage. It doesn’t make the slightest sense.

Oh and how about Leslie handing Bats a gun? Boy…she really missed the boat on that one. “Huh, Bruce never uses a gun, but I’m sure he’ll make an exception…to kill me! Something else he doesn’t do.”

Finally Batman leaves her with nothing more than the proverbial slap on the wrist? Wha? Batman has two reactions to this sort of thing, usually both at the same time. Kick the snot out of the friend turned baddie and then try to get them help.

The only part that was remotely satisfying in all of this was Bruce verbally tearing into the (formerly) good doctor. I love me some angry speeches.

Dr. Thompkins may be a good doctor, but she’s hardly the first to ignore the Hippocratic Oath. Just ask that doctor that first injected Raphael Palmeiro’s soft, yet firm buttocks.

You say Leslie is a pacifist, but doesn’t that just mean she is opposed to committing violent acts? Considering that, is it difficult to believe that she might allow the death of one individual to prevent Batman and the rest of his team from ever using violence as a way of life again? To wake them up to the implications of what they do?

You mention the bad things that have befallen the Bat family over the years, but you fail to take into account that Bruce was not to blame for any of those. Dick being shot, Jason’s “death”, Tim getting sick were all horrible things that shook Batman, but none of them were ever because of him. Steph’s death is the first time that he bears direct responsibility for the demise of a partner.

When Batman finally caught up with her, he didn’t just leave her with a “slap on the wrist.” He recognized that living with the guilt was worse than any punishment he or the court system could have imposed so he made the decision to leave her there. He knew she would never return to Gotham and was of no further threat to him. Plus, he was honoring the bond they formerly shared. (Oh, and she never handed Bruce the gun, he took it.)

That speech at the end was pretty dope though.

Sure, some doctors do ignore the oath, but I hardly think “well, other people have done it” qualifies as a good defense for having Dr. Thompkins act out of character.

Yes, strictly speaking, “pacifist” means what you say it does. However, looking at the idea of pacifism as a holistic lifestyle choice would certainly include, “not letting people die in the hopes that it will persuade other people not to punch criminals,” would it not? At its heart, pacifism is about respecting all human life. Do teenage girls in purple costumes somehow not fit that criteria?

As for your third point it makes sense…only if you know nothing about Batman. Every death is Batman’s fault. Every. Last. One. of. Them. It is the way he thinks. He always thinks he could have/should have done more to stop it from happening. You might see Steph’s death as having more to do with Batman than any of the rest, but he certainly doesn’t and never will. Any death, serious injury, etc. that occurs to one of his costumed ilk, Batman will always feel responsible for, period.

Finally, “living with the guilt was worse than any punishment he or the court system could have imposed”? What is this, an episode of ‘Leave it to Beaver’? Batman’s never been a big believer in the “Well, you seem to feel bad enough already” school of justice.

To bring this thing to a close, it was a bad story poorly told. I’m honest enough to admit that I like Leslie and I probably wouldn’t have been thrilled with doing something adverse to the character regardless of how it was written. However, I am also self aware enough to tell you that my distaste for this book has nothing to do with this. Thankfully, Willingham did such a poor job with it, I don’t need to deal with that sort of cognitive dissonance. It was a shock ending based a complete lack of understanding of any of the characters involved and leaving no feeling of resonance after putting down the issue. It was ugly and purposeless. No debate over the meaning/application of pacifism is going to change my mind on that.

Ok, you said; “At its heart, pacifism is about respecting all human life. Do teenage girls in purple costumes somehow not fit that criteria?” Um, Steph wasn’t respecting her life, she was part of Batman’s crusade, which Leslie had become fed up with. Doctors don’t have to prescribe drugs, if there’s the thought of drug abuse. What Leslie did was an extension of that. She transcended the Doctor and cast a judgement, hoping that it would wake Bruce up.

I think there’s a distinction between Bruce taking responsibilty for saving lives and Bruce taking responsibility for someones death. Bruce takes responsibility for his parents death because he placed them in that situation. But, while he may blame himself for Jason’s death it’s not the same as taking responsibility. Batman takes “responsibility” for keeping Gotham’s streets free from crime, but he doesn’t take the “blame” for criminals.

And while Batman may feel responsibile for every act committed against his “fam” no one could ever “blame” him before now. He’s not only responsible for Steph’s death, but he should have been blamed for it as well, is the point that Leslie was trying to drive home.

While Batman’s never subscribed to the “Well, you seem to feel bad enough already” school of thought, he did this time for numerous reasons; Leslie knows too much, he has feelings for Leslie, and deep down on some level he knows she’s right. He drove her to compromise her values and that guilt weighs heavy on him.

I don’t think the ending was purposeless. I think that his driving Leslie to such an extreme coupled with the Brother MK I fiasco is going to cause Batman to reevaluate his actions (perhaps during an extended stay in Arkham?). Batman is going to feel more alone and paranoid then ever. This was a crippling blow to him, we just haven’t seen the cracks yet.

And again, I’m not the biggest Batfan, but from what I’ve read Leslie hasn’t been overly happy with the man Bruce has become. She helped Bruce start down the, as she sees it, slippery slope that has him where he is today. She made a desperate act to try to stop his descent, an act that compromised her very being. It wasn’t selfish, was selfless.


Man, that was intense. Let’s get to the column.


Chaos wants to move past the hype

And on the hype thing, now hype aside, how are you feeling about the mass of cross-over stories in everything coming out? I’ve gotten to a point where I’m super excited and yet terrified to read some at the same time… mostly due to the deaths, I feel kind of drained on the number of deaths and growing paranoia over who’s next – mostly ’cause even if they stay dead for a year or two, I just know in my gut they’re all coming back (well, maybe not Max) but their legacies and what not and I find the death’s starting to leave a bitter taste in my mouth despite all my excitement – I mean I know most people don’t even know who Dimitri is, but his death hurt, as Max and Beetle’s did (I know I shouldn’t mourn Max, but I’m one of those JLI era guys) and when it seemed Fire was out at first, I almost couldn’t take it. I always feel a little cheated in not getting to see a final face off with Max and Booster – I mean, there’s something I would have liked to have seen.

I would be lying if I said I hated it. I dig the sense of urgency. I’m not really terrified to read comics, it’s much more anxious to read them. As a kid who was reading comics during the original Crisis (even if I couldn’t fully grasp them) there was a palpable sense that something big was happening. I remember when Barry died. I remember when Kara died. Seeing Kal holding Kara was a huge deal, even if I was really only reading Green Lantern at the time. And seeing the pain of Wally’s face in Crisis #12 when he found Barry’s costume or seeing Kal L’s agony over losing his life were moments that I can still vividly relive almost 20 years later.

And that’s what is happening right now. Blue Beetle’s death is equal to Kara’s death. And while some may think that Max’s death equates to the Bug Eyed Bandits death, there are several of us (yes, I do mean “us”) who view his death as a pretty big deal.

It’s a scary time to be a comic fan, but it’s scary in the good way. It’s not scary in the way it was in the 90’s when the bubble burst, it’s scary because you love characters and for once you can’t really predict what’s going to happen. You don’t know who’s safe and who’s not. To me, I can’t see it as a bad thing. Again, it’s not the 90’s where you had four Supermen and Azbats, changes you knew weren’t going to last.

I love the fact that being a comic fan right now is akin to witnessing a big suspenseful movie. I don’t know all the twists and turns it’s going to take, but I’m certainly going to stay tuned until the end.

Tim, I’m really curious how you weigh in on this one.

No project this large is going to be good 100 percent of the time. There have been missteps: “Red Sky” tie-ins, fill-in art in the midst of a mini to keep it on schedule, multiple artists on one issue for the same reason, the necessity of “Sacrifice” not being known until it was upon, and so on. However, overall, I have really been enjoying what’s happening.

I know not a lot of fans do, but I am one who subscribes to the notion that only killing people whose story potential is used up is a waste. For one, I don’t really believe any character is beyond the possibility of someone making them interesting and for two, if such a character does exist, why should I care if you kill him or her? The fact that Beetle died when he was, perhaps, the best written he had been in some time was tragic. And it should have been. If they decided to make, I don’t, Gunfire be the one who unraveled it all only to get shot, the issue would have garnered little more than yawns. The deaths that hurt, of the characters that we love, those are the deaths that last; those are the deaths that matter. Replace Barry Allen in Crisis with Brother Power, The Geek and you lose one of the most powerful moments in Crisis history, not to mention all of the great moments that happened because of Barry’s death.

To give a more personal example, I love Aztek. Most of you already know this. Aztek died in World War III, the JLA arc that ended Grant Morrison’s run on the title. We had been promised a death for months, and that was it. Again, I love Aztek. I love 90% of Grant Morrison’s stuff (Seaguy, notwithstanding). But the way Aztek went out…I didn’t really even care. It was such background noise. I wish that he had gone out like Ted, like Barry. I wanted his death to be cool and meaningful and surprising and it was none of those things. Long story short, death doesn’t bother me, but it has to mean something. Ted’s did. Dmitri’s did.

Looking beyond the issue of characters dying, I still think there is a lot to recommend in the DCU, Infinite Crisis related or not. I feel that the JSA has become more interesting in these past few months that it had been in the preceding year (don’t get me wrong, it was still good. Now, it’s just better). Catman is cool again, who the hell thought that that good happen. Parademon and Ragdoll are two basically new characters who are just a ton of fun. Ragman was well written. Flash is rushing towards the close of one of the most impressive runs on a comic in the past ten years by Geoff Johns (sorry about the pun). Seven Soldiers is an incredible undertaking and so far has lived up to that.

I’ll be the first to admit that all these crossovers and minis and “moments that will change the DCU forever” can be overwhelming. But I look at it this way. I’d rather be overwhelmed then underwhelmed. I’d rather be surprised and shocked then always know what’s coming. I’d rather feel something about a comic, be it anger, joy, excitement, disappointment, or whatever then to feel like I just read another funny book. Obviously, there will always be exceptions (see my feelings on War Crimes above), but the fact that there are enough good books, moments that have me excited, that I can site those instances as exceptions (rather than the norm) is something I can’t help but be pleased about.

Boy…I do run on at the mouth, don’t I?


Neil better slow down (Get it, Russian, slow down? Get it? ……. Look, these are the jokes people).

Mathan, did you ever do a history of the Rocket Reds?

(See, this is why I don’t answer every question every week. If I had answered this question last week it would have reeked of synergy, but answering it this week is as poignant as an episode of Oprah.)

No, Neil I’ve never covered the Rocket Red Brigade, so why not now?

Now in order to fully grasp the Rocket Red Brigade you’ve got to mentally transport yourself back to the Cold War. Y’see way back then the United States was in a “war” with an enemy that hated us for our freedom. It was a crazy wacky time.

Anyway, our enemy in this war was the Soviet Union. Even though they had a few heroes over there, they were no match for the impressive roster the United States had. To be honest, our JLA Detroit could have bested what passed for heroes over there.

So the Soviet Union government decided to jumpstart a quick program to increase their hero community via a variety of programs. One such program was the Rocket Red program. Sadly it proved to be less than successful (in other words it had a 100% mortality rate). Enter Kilowog.

Kilowog was a Green Lantern who settled here on Earth after the Guardians of the Universe went on a (conjugal) vacation with the Zamarons. Anyway he was here on Earth and he found the Communist ideal that was propagated by the Soviet Union to be reminiscent of life on his home world. So he went over to the Soviet Union and aided them with nifty Green Lantern ring and skill as a geneticist (as seen in Green Lantern #208 which features one of my favorite covers from the 1980’s.)

Of course, with him helping out, the Rocket Red program became a success. Joseph Denisovich was the first triumph, as Rocket Red #1. He had enhanced strength and Rocket Red armor full of weapons, armor and weapons designed by an alien Green Lantern! Once Joseph proved to be an achievement the Rocket Red program became an assembly line, producing the Rocket Red Brigade.

But since it was the Cold War, this was pretty much an international incident. Especially when Guy Gardner got involved. There was a big throwdown between the Rocket Reds and the Green Lanterns. During the battle Joseph died, which sucked because he and Kilowog had grown close.

From there the Rocket Reds crossed paths with the Justice League a couple of times. Eventually when the Justice League became the Justice League International, Rocket Red #7 joined the ranks of the team. Unfortunately he turned out to be a Manhunter, and was promptly replaced by Rocket Red #4 Dmitri Pushkin who served the JLI in good standing, eventually joining the Justice League Europe (in order to be closer to his family.)

During a mission Dmitri’s Rocket Red armor was destroyed. Fortunately he found a new suit of armor on Apokolips.

But back to the Rocket Red Brigade. When Firestorm went all crazy and wanted Nuclear Disarmament, the Russians sent Pozhar after him to stop him from talking all that junk. Pozhar donned the Rocket Red armor, which was the fashion at the time, and went to face Firestorm. But the trick was on both of them as nuclear missiles were aimed at them and detonated. Did they die? It’s not important, this answer is all about Rocket Reds baby!

Over in Justice League Europe, Dmitri and several other member of the Rocket Red Brigade were commandeered by Sonar. No, not the lame cyborg enhanced version that fought against Kyle Rayner, the lamer cape wearing tuning fork gun waving version who fought against Hal Jordan. It was a pretty dark day for all involved. Fortunately the heroes saved the day and the Rocket Reds returned to normal.

Alas with the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, Rocket Red armor began to leak onto the free market. Vandal Savage got a hold of some and used it in that cool DC One Million event. He destroyed Montevideo using the Rocket Red armor.

Rocket Red armor also turned up in Chase #3 (which was an amazing book I tells ya.) The Russian mob had pillaged some Rocket Red armor and were using it, not to build schools, but for criminal endeavors. Can you believe that? What’s worse is that the armor was all full of a virus by the Construct. Who’s that? An answer for another column, because this one is all about Rocket Red armor!

Sadly the Rocket Red armor has fallen on dark times. It popped up in Green Lantern #128 but it was being worn by some Quraci terrorists. But the lowest blow came last week in The OMAC Project #5 when fan favorite Dmitri sacrificed himself to save his former JLI teammates from certain onslaught by three, count ’em, three OMACs.

Tim, Dmitri’s death; shameless or valiant?

As eluded to above, I thought it was valiant. He sacrificed himself to save his friends/colleagues from the JLI and his thoughts were only of his family. I’m not convinced he needed to go down like that, but he believed he did. These are OMACs after all, and just one of them went toe to toe with Superman and held its ground nicely. The only reason I mark it down is that it was another member of the JLI and while I know there is no anti-JLI campaign going on, this incident will do little to dissuade people from thinking that there is.


Hanes00 misses the good ol’ corrupt days of the GCPD

What happened to Detective Flass or former Commissioner Loeb from Batman Year One?

Renato asks the similar themed

What about Jim Gordon, and his ex-wife and his son? I didn’t hear about them since maybe Year One and that story about the origin of Two-face.

Loeb turned up in Dark Victory written by Jeph Loeb, coincidence? (Mmm, I think not. After all, Dark Victory and Year One are set in relatively the same time period in Gotham’s history. Wait…that isn’t what you mean? I’m confused then.)

As for Barbara and James Jr. they are actually hanging out in Chicago. After she left Jim, she moved back to Chicago and lived happily ever after with their son.

James Jr. actually proved pivotal in Legends of the Dark Knight Annual #2 where the disgraced Flass kidnapped the boy on Jim Gordon and Sarah Essen’s wedding day. But that’s about it for them. They should be allowed to live happily ever after.

However I’m betting that someone will try to make James Jr. a villain, perhaps an anti- Robin? Given that there’s probably only a few years difference I’m guessing that this is the fate that James Jr. has in his future. Unless…

That’s right, I’m pretty sure that James Jr. is indeed Mockingbird.

Tim, do you have any thoughts on James Jr?

I’d like to see James Jr. again, but not in the role of a villain. Maybe as a cop trying to live up to the tremendous ideal set by his father. You could even do a story where James Jr. trying to be a good cop worthy of his father’s legacy while still being his own man dovetails nicely with Nightwing trying to be a good vigilante worthy of his “father’s” legacy while still trying to be his own man. Or, you could go in a completely different direction and have him be just one of the work-a-day Gotham types who we just happen to see every now and again. Perhaps he interns for Wayne Enterprises or strings for one of Gotham’s local rags. I don’t know, just throwing out ideas here.

In other news, there is no way he’s Mockingbird. I beg you Mathan, please seek help for this “There’ll all MOCKINGBIRD!!” obsession. If not for yourself, then for me…for the whole Nexus family.


Vampiro69 has a scary name and a Marvel related question

There is a lot of speculation as to the identity of Mockingbird. I was wondering what you would think if it turned out to be Dr. Sivanna.

Personally I think that it would be a great move. DC is trying to push Marvel to the forefront of the DC universe and it would make since to use Marvel’s main villain. I think it would be a great move to use him as a counter to Lex Luthor. Both are somewhat similar and I think that they could have a great rivalry. So am I out of my mind for thinking that Mockingbird could be Sivanna?

Truth be told, the only time I genuinely suggested that someone was Mockingbird it was Dr. Sivanna. I can’t say for sure which column it was, but rest assured if Mockingbird is indeed Dr. Sivanna I’ll quickly find that column to gloat about how right I was.

So, yeah, I agree that Sivanna would make a great Mockingbird. However I’m putting all of my money on Steve Dayton as the mastermind behind The Six.

Tim, care to speculate about the identity of Mockingbird?

Good God man. You couldn’t even give it up for one question! Not even for one question?! That’s it, I’m staging an intervention.

Oh, and Vampiro, yes, that would be cool if it was Sivanna.


Jakeman619 demands equal attention for wrestling!

How come you never link the wrestling section of Inside Pulse at the beginning of your column? I know I for one starting reading this site just for its wrestling coverage, so I just thought some props might be in order and I bet there’s other fans who think so. Just a thought.

The reason I don’t link Wrestling is pretty much for the reason you pointed out. While I’d be flattered if I was anyone’s first stop on the site, I’m pretty sure that I’m not. I’m even surer that there are loads of Wrestling fans who read me as an afterthought.

My not linking Wrestling isn’t an oversight or a slight, it’s a matter of redundancy. I don’t know how many hits Culture, TV, Figures or Moodspins gets, put I’m pretty sure that Wrestling beats them all individually and, very possibly, combined.

If I thought that Wrestling was suffering from a lack of “props” then I’d give it some. Wrestling is a site favorite and deservedly so. I simply choose to link the sections that I think deserve a few more hits. Again it’s not a slight or an oversight, it’s just me trying shed a bit of light on some sections that may go unnoticed.

Tim, it makes sense to me, but I need a second opinion, was that clear?

You bet it was. It makes sense too.

I won’t let Mathan take the hit on this alone though. The thing…well…I don’t really watch wrestling. At all. I used to, but that was like 10 years ago. So, out of respect for my ignorance (I tend to get upset when people mention stuff I don’t know about and say things like, “So what, you’re smarter than your editor now? Huh…you Mr. Big Shot now? Maybe you’re so smart, you don’t even need me around anymore. Is that what you think?” And so on.) and for his own health, Mathan forgoes the Wrestling linkage.

Seriously though, no disrespect intended.


Ryan C. wonders where he might see a man dressed as a bat tearing some $h!+ up

What issues were Batman’s crusade to destroy all the lazarus pits? What sparked the crusade to go after them? Finally, is this collected in any specific trade paperback?

Ovronnaz asked the freakishly similar;

I’m not sure if this has been answered, but when, and how, did Batman destroy the Lazarus Pits (if possible with issues or TPBs please)? I’ve read Batman / Ra’s Al Ghul Year One, and they don’t give the answer. I would also like to know it Batman: Death and the Maidens is worth checking out.

Ok, a bit of clarification from last week’s answer. First off Batman’s “crusade” was just Bats trying to hinder Ra’s plans. When he gets the chance to destroy an existing pit, he does, but most of his crusade involves finding areas where Lazarus Pits can be created (at key points of geography), purchasing the land and then developing it so it can’t be used to make a Lazarus Pit.

There are two other incidents of Lazarus Pits being destroyed. Bane impressed Ra’s al Ghul by beating Batman, whom he had wanted as his heir. Clearly if Bane bested Bats he’d make a better heir, right? I mean, where’s the flaw in that logic?

So Bane was Ra’s right hand man for a campaign. Unfortunately for Bane, Batman won the rematch. Typical judgmental Ra’s declared Bane worthless and cast him aside. Bane didn’t dig the rejection and set out on a mission to destroy Lazarus Pits. If you want to see Bane hanging out with Ra’s check out the Batman: Legacy trade.

There was also another who had a grudge against Ra’s. If you want to read about that, then you really should check out Batman: Death and the Maidens. This is also the story that shows how Bruce is buying and squandering Lazarus Pit real estate.

Tim, would you rather have a Lazarus Pit or a Purple Ray?

Hard to say. I know the Purple Ray heals, but does it really prolong your life in the same way as a Pit might? I mean, sure, the Amazons are old and still look great, but they were kind of built for that, no?

On the other hand, I’ve never seen anyone lose their mind after encountering the Purple Ray. Also, I’m not so big on taking off my shirt and fighting people who I call “Detective” with swords, which seems to go along, part and parcel, with owning a Pit.

Hmm…I guess, in the end, it comes down to locales. Lazarus Pits tend to be located on god forsaken pieces of land (the desert, the mountains) while Purple Rays are either on an island inhabited only by smart, statuesque, athletic, beautiful women or are the moon surrounded by superheroes.

Not so hard a choice after that. Purple Ray it is!


Julian L wonders if because the hawk was dead, we were left loving angels instead

So, I’m re-reading the JLA story arc that intoduces Zauriel. At one point, Aquaman looks at Zauriel and says, “Katar?” So the question is…was there ever a plan to use Zauriel as the new Hawkman? I know after Zero Hour and all points in between, Hawkman’s background was up in the air…but was there a plan to make him an angel?

Well it’s no mystery that Zero Hour messed up Hawkman continuity for years. And if you look at Morrison’s JLA line up, it’s got all of DC’s iconic characters. So I’m betting it’s pretty much a safe bet that Grant was using Zauriel as a kind of skim Hawkman.

Oh wait, here’s a link to an interview from 8 years ago where Grant pretty much says that.

Damn Grant for stealing my thunder!

Tim, can any of us ever escape the shadow of Grant Morrison?

No. But then…why would we try? Why wouldn’t we envelope ourselves in his healing presence? You know what, I’ve changed my mind. I don’t need a Purple Ray, I just need Grant Morrison’s shadow.


Don’t you know Julian L is loco?

Where has Psycho-Pirate been all this time?

Well after his groundbreaking appearance in Animal Man #10 written by…Grant Morrison?! Confound it!

Anyway, Psycho Pirate popped up during that dreadful Joker: Last Laugh crossover. Before that he showed up in the forgettable Manhunter book that preceded the current one and succeeded the Mark Shaw version.

But the character’s mainly been lying low. I’d imagine that this has to do with the fact that one of the coolest things about Psycho Pirate is that he remembers the Multiverse. Writers probably wanted to use that aspect of him, talked it over with Editors, who nixed the idea. Thus he’s been sent to a creative limbo of sorts.

Tim, how do you explain Psycho Pirate’s lack of appearances in the years following Crisis?

I think it is a matter of after you get past the memory of the Multiverse, what do you do with him? Grant Morrison (wow, I feel better already) already capitalized on that fact and did so in such a way that it is damn near impossible to try again. I mean, who wants to follow that act?

So while Psycho Pirate was a character pre-Crisis, he was so transformed by that event that rare is the individual who can look at him as anything other than the guy who remembers the worlds of the Pre-Crisis Universe.


Chaos can’t decide if he’s ending or beginning

Oh yeah, and I was reading some old JLE, and there was a lot of ads for something called the Janus Directive in the early issues… what the hell was that?

See, its questions like these that make it difficult for me. On the one hand I don’t want to spoil the story for you because many times (I pretend) readers actually go out and buy the issues in question. On the other hand, however, I still want to provide you with a detailed enough answer to satisfy.

I will say this; this is a tale of espionage full of twists and turns. It involves numerous government agencies and a plot from another group. You can read all about it in the following issues (which you should be able to find pretty cheap);

Checkmate #15
Suicide Squad #27
Checkmate #16
Suicide Squad #28
Checkmate #17
Manhunter #14
Firestorm #86
Suicide Squad #29
Checkmate #18
Suicide Squad #30
Captain Atom #30

I hope I didn’t give too much away and I hope you check out the issues and see what a solid story is.

Tim, did I do the right thing?

You always do the right thing, Mathan, and that’s why the people admire you so. You’re like Superman, without the red boots.


Jakeman619 has no tolerance for the show Unsolved Mysteries

You mentioned in your last column that as a result of Zero Hour, the Wayne murder case became unsolved. I was shocked to hear this having not endured the horror that is Zero Hour for myself when it was released. If, however, the case is even today unsolved, do you think DC will do a storyline in which Bats does find the killer and bring them to justice? It seems reasonable to me considering that every time I turn around three more Batman minis are being written. If such a mini did come about, who would you like to write and pencil it, and who do you think would be a good choice for the killer?

I don’t think that DC would do a storyline where Bruce finds out the guy who murdered his parents. First off, it couldn’t live up to the hype. In order for the “reveal” to be big enough to warrant a storyline, the killer would almost certainly have to be an established character in the DCU. But having an established character effectively create “Batman” would in itself be a disappointment, because the whole tragedy of Batman is that it was random and it could happen to anyone.

To have some “name” be responsible for the death of the Waynes takes away from the beauty of the story. If you make it a vast conspiracy it kind of undermines Batman’s crusade against crime.

The only way to make the reveal of the Waynes’ killer actually compelling is to craft a situation where Batman comes in conflict with another hero over brining the killer to justice. Say, if the killer turns out to be a criminal that the JSA has promised immunity to in return for him giving them the whereabouts of Johnny Sorrow or something of the sort. If a situation were to arise where the killer were being protected by another hero (or heroes) and Batman is thirsty for personal justice that would make a good story.

But in the long run it would diminish Batman as a character, in my eyes. As we’ve said a few times in this column, keeping the mystery unsolved gives Batman’s never ending war on crime a more personal slant, because after all, if he didn’t catch his parents killer tonight, he could catch the killer tomorrow night.

However if I had to pick the killer today I’d pick Alfred just so that everyone in his inner circle would have betrayed Bruce.

Tim, come join us on the topic at hand? Could such a story where Bats finds his parents killer work? Who should the killer be?

Unfortunately for people like me, who liked that Batman had found Joe Chill (the original killer) and the way Chill had gone out, probably not. The killer Bruce’s parents needs to be Random Thug A for the story to have true resonance. One of the things that still bothers me about Tim Burton’s first Batman movie is that it turns out Jack Napier (the Joker, don’t you know?) killed Thomas and Martha Wayne. It might lead to a nice exchange in the bell tower (“You made me.” “You made me first.”), but it robs the crime of its randomness. To have a “name” do the crime makes it less frightening, less of a “it could happen to any of us at any time” story.

Sadly, since that would be such a status quo changing story now, in this post Zero Hour world, it would need to be a well hyped, big deal story. The only possible way I can see it working is that a random criminal gets arrested and, in the midst of his interrogation, he either blurts out or coolly and casually admits to gunning down the Waynes. From there, it is a psychological tale as we watch Batman wrestle with his creed, whether he can just stand by and wait for justice to be served or if he needs to go farther to satisfy his parents’ memory. In other words, we make it less about who the killer is and more about what it does to Bruce.

As for writer and artist, I wouldn’t mind see Peter Milligan and Cliff Chiang (of the awesome, short lived Human Target series) team up yet again. Or, barring Chiang’s involvement, Brian Stelfreeze.


Ok, that’s going to do it for another week.

Please make sure to send me your questions or post to post them on our very own thread where new posters are encouraged!

My question to you this week;Who Do You Think Will Die In The Upcoming Infinite Crisis?

“Kiss me, please kiss me. Kiss me out of desire, not consolation.”

Tags: