Who's Who in the DCU

Let’s begin the column sending our thoughts and well wishes to the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It’s comforting to see all that our fellow citizens are offering up in terms of donations and support. It’s a very difficult situation, but at least our spirits are triumphant.

But this is a column for escapism. We are here to entertain and that’s what we plan on doing. Tim, the new fall television season is about to start, what do you plan on watching?

New show wise, I’ve already started watching Prison Break. It is a silly, over the top concept (younger brother robs a bank so he’ll go to prison so he can break out his older brother who is on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Oh, and he was framed by the Secret Service), but the show is a good time. It’s not Shakespeare, but I don’t really need it to be.

Other new shows I’ll give a look at are: Kitchen Confidential (it could be good and you’ve got to support a show featuring the former Will Tippin AND the former Xander Harris), My Name is Earl (good buzz, Jason Lee with a mustache), and possibly Reunion and/or Night Stalker (for the “time passes” gimmick and “the original inspired the X-Files” respectively).

I would also be amiss if I didn’t mention that the best comedy on television, Arrested Development, is back this season and on Fox Mondays at 8 pm. Anyone who says they don’t like or try to distract you from watching are either evil, cruel, or deluded and in any case, people you should have nothing to do with.

Finally, allow me to pimp myself by saying that I will be writing the Nip/Tuck wrap up column this season over in the TV section so be sure to check that out when Nip/Tuck returns to the air on Tuesday September 20th at 10 pm.


Links

IP Music Mike Eagle has the best column of the zone right now.

IP Movies offers reasons for me to avoid work and go to the movies.

IP Games never told me that Grand Theft Auto was the devil. That game is so addictive it’s evil.

IP Figures makes me sad that I neglect my action figures to much.

IP TV has Fall Season Premiere Fever!

IP Sports is full of scores, but isn’t to be used to aid in gambling.

Moodspins has some interesting views on the result of Hurricane Katrina.

IP Culture covers food. Man I wish I could follow a recipe.

Our DC Forums have been pretty quiet, but that’s understandable considering current events.

Tim, you ready to go link crazy?

Sadly, not really. All I can really think of is selfishly link to my column from last week that features another revamp, this one of a truly obscure character. Sorry to disappoint.


What I Read Last Week

Ex Machina #13 – Tim brought up an excellent point with the phone call. This book is so well plotted it makes you dread the time between issues.

The Flash #225 – The end of an era. But since I’ve been reading the title since #1, I’ve been here before. Johns brought much to the title, but “Rogue War” wasn’t the swan song some might have hoped for. I enjoyed it. I wish we’d have gotten to delve deeper into the lives of the detectives. I also thought that the identity of Boomer Jr’s mother was done rather hastily. But I’m certainly going to miss Geoff. So, Tim tell your best friend that I’ll miss him.

I shall tell him and I imagine he’ll be both touched and moved by the news.

Green Lantern #4 – Creepy. Way creepy. Hector is like “ewww.” Man, this issue creeped me out.

Shining Knight #4 – I enjoyed this book. I liked how Morrison explained Justin’s dual existences. It’s looking more and more like this storyline is in continuity.

Supreme Power #18 – Boo! Talk about hastily tossed in, the rest of the “Supremes” are literally thrown in for good measure. The story doesn’t really warrant their appearances, but this isn’t really an 18th issue; it’s more of a set up issue for the future #1. Boo. This is the first issue that I’ve been disappointed with. Boo!

Wow! I’ve gotta be honest, I think you’re being a little harsh here. Sure, the appearances by the other “Supremes” amounts to little more than one or two panel cameos, but I didn’t think they interrupted the action of the flow of the issue in the least.

JLA Classified #11 – I liked the issue. I even liked Kyle. That document getting spread around was a really clever plot point.

Gotham Knights #68 – Huh? I was supposed to review this? Tim, the review is literally forthcoming.

Solo #6 – I enjoyed this issue much more than I though I would, considering I’d never heard of Jordi. But the art looked great. The stories were pretty diverse. This book is very consistent, which is odd considering the lack of regular creators or characters.

The Losers #27 – Man, if Pooch dies, I’m going to be pissed. Roque is no joke. What a brutal interrogation session. I rarely cringe while reading a comic, but this issue is cringe-worthy.

Astro City: Dark Age #3 – Wow, what a great read. I dig Charles and Royal. And as I usually feel after when reading Astro City; I really don’t want next issue to be the last.


Let’s go to the questions.

Yes, let’s. As a special treat this week, I will be dropping myself into a meditative state so that not only I will be offering commentary, but so too will my inner monologue, unedited for your enjoyment. Think of it as an homage to master writer Grant Morrison. I’ll be writing in my typical green, while my inner self’s text will look like this because that is how my inner monologue rolls. Here we go!

Marshall placed the lyric, which more of you should have gotten.

Indeed they should have. For shame, all of you, for shame.

Marshall is a primate enthusiast

I was at my local comic store and I picked up the Angel and the Ape miniseries by Phil Foglio not knowing anything about it. I enjoyed the series, but it got me thinking. Which monkey is the better detective: Sam Simeon or old Bobo who’s getting all the attention in Day of Vengeance?

Let me admit that I’ve never read Angel and the Ape. That said I’m still going with Bobo. First off, he’s got that nifty hat. He’s also been known to use a magnifying glass (who still uses magnifying glasses?). He’s also a chimp and I’m partial to chimps. Gorillas can be intimidating, but that doesn’t really make you a good detective. Take Jim Rockford; he was a great detective but he rarely relied on brawn. I think that Bobo’s more in line with Jim Rockford. Thus Bobo’s the monkey I’m aligning myself with.

Tim, who’s the ape whose hands you’ll place your life in?

Well, not to be a jerk or anything, but actually, neither chimps nor gorillas are monkeys. They are both apes, as demonstrated by their lack of tail and a skeletal system that more resembles a human’s. Monkeys typically have a tail and their skeletal system is closer to a dog or cat’s.

I am filled with smug self-satisfaction. Watch me drop just a bit of my copious amounts of knowledge.

Moving beyond that factoid, I would choose the gorilla named Ape (which, by the by, is a bit like naming your son, Human, but whatever). Why? Well, as snappy a dresser and magnifying class wielder as Bobo is, he’s out of practice. He’s spent literally years in the same location just drinking his life away. Granted, a great many fictional private investigators had a love for the sauce, but most of them alternated their benders with some actual detective work. Bobo hasn’t been using those skills in years.

Besides that, chimps are actually incredibly vicious, territorial animals. Bobo could do some damage in a fight, but he’s likely to only be concerned with his safety and not your back, or, worse, do that damage to you.


Marshall some days feels like he just doesn’t measure up

Also the series established Angel as the sister of Dumb Bunny from The Inferior Five. I am not familiar with these characters at all, and there’s no mention of them in the DC Comics Encyclopedia. What’s the back-story on The Five?

Well back in the day there was a super team called the Freedom Brigade. They were world-renowned heroes. They eventually settled down and had kids, who they expected take up the heroic mantle. Thus the world got the Inferior Five!

Merryman is skinny, comic strip creator who also happens to be a weakling. He is a descendant of a long line of heroic, if non-powered, folks. While he’s bright, he’s just not built for the job.

Dumb Bunny is the daughter of Princess Power. Like her mother she’s incredibly powerful. She’s just not too bright, but at least she realizes it.

Awkwardman is the offspring of Mister Might and the Mermaid. And he’s got the best of both worlds; he’s way strong and he regularly needs to be hydrated. And he’s pretty clumsy, hence his name.

The Blimp is the son of Captain Swift, a guy who could travel (fly or run) really fast. Blimp can also fly, but he’s not quick at all.

White Feather is the son of The Bowman. He also happens to be afraid of nearly everything.

And there you have the Inferior Five, who actually occasionally beat villains. At least they did in the pre-Crisis DCU. The team hasn’t been seen much in the last twenty years. Although eagle eyed readers may have caught an Inferior Five homage in a recent issue of Villains United.

Hm, the Inferior Five in Villains United? Tim is it possible that Merryman could indeed be Mockingbird?

I wonder what kind of paperwork I need to file to have someone institutionalized against their will in the state of Nevada. Do you think just showing these columns to the doctors would be enough to check Mathan in for his unhealthy obsession.

Haha, Mathan, good one. I love that joke. You so silly. Anyway, my guess is that, no, the Inferior Five aren’t Mockingbird. But that would be quite a twist, wouldn’t it?

Yes, quite a twist…you poor crazy bastard.


Beej is apparently putting together a gang for some street fighting.

How would you rank the non-powered heroes in the DCU in terms of formidability? I think most people would be inclined to put Batman at top, followed either by Green Arrow or Nightwing/Robin, then work their way down, but I was wondering what an expert thinks.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Neither Tim nor I are “experts” per se, I prefer to think of us as guys who are passionate about their hobby…and have a bit too much time on their hands.

Um, I don’t quite know you mean by “formidability.” Do you mean “formidable” against each other in a type of tournament setting? Or do you mean the most “formidable” against powered heroes?

Since it’s not entirely clear, I’ll pretend you mean “formidability” in terms of having my back in a fight. Because who wouldn’t dig having a costumed vigilante at their side in during a rumble?

I think that you’ve really got to have Batman at the top of the list. Sure, you know that years from now he’s going to consider you a threat and unleash his plans to take you down. But for that one fight, he’s the guy that you want.

I’m sticking with the Bat Fam and going for Nightwing next. He’s going to be very acrobatic which will probably be cool to witness. He’s also going to crack wise, which will be equally entertaining.

Huntress would be next. Sure she’ll be brutal, but all that I’m saying is that Huntress and Nightwing collaborated on a case and hooked up afterwards. (Wow, great minds think alike. I was going to say the same exact thing.)

Connor Hawke is my next choice. I think that watching Connor take out bad guys would be akin to watching poetry in motion. I think he’d be so fluid it would seem like a dance.

I’ll go for Bronze Tiger next, because this will get him out of the hospital bed he was last seen in over in Richard Dragon.

Hawkman doesn’t really have a “power.” But man would he be ruthless. Since I’ve recently discovered Grand Theft Auto, I’d gotten in touch with my inner bloodlust. I think that Carter could really help me build a relationship with that so he’s next.

I suppose that Green Arrow would be next. But I think he’s going to be a bit too critical for my taste. He’s going to be shooting arrows (and not even cool trick arrows) and yelling at me “get the hell out of the way!” However there’s a chance that I could get a meal out of it (and anyone who doesn’t consider chili a meal is a fool!)

Even though I don’t really care for her, I’ll say that Batgirl is my next choice. Again she’s going to be like a female version of Connor.

Mr. Terrific’s “power” is a pretty useless one (except in the current era of rampaging OMACs) so he’s next up. But in all honesty I’d probably spend most of the time trying to stump Mr. Terrific on useless trivia and television continuity.

I guess I’ll go with fellow JSAer Wildcat for my final pick. He’s so down to earth, I think he’d give me some pointers and treat me like a peer as opposed to someone who’s butt he was saving. And he’s pretty graceful himself.

I didn’t pick Robin, because he’d get all whiny on me. “I lost my dad and ex in a pretty short span of time.” Shadup! You’re a “Robin”, you’re lucky to be alive! (Ahh, Mathan…a pillar of understanding.)

Tim, I’ve made a mockery of some poor readers query. Do us all a favor and clean things up with your response about the formidability of some mere mortals in the DCU.

I’ve got to agree with Batman in the top spot. There’s really not way you couldn’t choose him. There may be better martial artists in the DCU (Shiva, Connor Hawke), smarter individuals or quicker thinkers (Brainac, arguably Lex Luthor), or people who are better with weapons (Green Arrow, Merlyn), but no one is as complete a package as he is. Plus, if you put Batman on the team, you basically have access to the Wayne fortune. Useful when planning for battle or relaxing after it.

Besides Bats, I’d stock my team with Connor Hawke, arguably the best “good guy” martial artist in the DCU; Richard Dragon, the only person who might challenge Connor for that position; Batgirl as she went toe to toe with Shiva and lived to tell the tale (no easy feat) and she was trained by David Cain who is a very dangerous man in his own right; Nightwing’s up next because he’s essentially Batman Jr, he can do almost everything Batman can do almost as well, but he’s more acrobatic that Bats could ever dream to be; Mr. Terrific is good at everything, hence the name, so he’s a shoo-in at this spot; a dark horse choice would be the Unknown Soldier who well nigh immortal has no “powers” per se and would be utterly ruthless; finally, I’d choose the Question for his dedication to getting the job done. Had you asked me to make this list a year ago, Black Canary would have been a shoo-in (probably just after Nightwing), but since she now has her sonic scream back, she no longer qualifies as without powers. Robin is hungry for it and may get it in time, but, for now, he simply too young. Plus, he’s always been better at the detective stuff than getting physical.

Everyone always chooses Batman as their top choice. How boring. How come no one ever chooses Don Cabarello? Now that’s a list I could believe in.


Chaos hears Bruce’s biological clock ticking

I heard that the Hour removed Batman and Talia’s child from continuity – one, how was that established, without being really tacky? And two – what was the story on their kid anyhow? I remember him all grown up in Kingdom Come, but uh…that’s it…

Well since I didn’t pick up any of the Bat “Zero Issues” I can’t say for sure, but I’m pretty sure that Talia’s kid wasn’t really acknowledged in anything outside of the Son of the Demon graphic novel.

Son of the Demon was a gorgeous book and great story, mostly because it involved Ra’s al Ghul.

Batman teams up with Ra’s to solve a murder. Ra’s accepts the deal so long as Batman hooks up with Talia. Bats agrees and the adventure begins.

Along the way Bruce and Talia shag. She later reveals to him that she’s preggers. It’s a pretty joyous occasion. The problem came when Bruce became distracted by caring about Talia’s welfare.

Talia decided to tell Bruce that she had miscarried. Bruce accepted it and withdrew emotionally again. But then at the end of the story we see Talia drop off a child at an orphanage. Hmmmmm.

(I’ve done some research while writing this part, and I found out that post Zero Hour Bats and Talia have never shared a “home run.”)

Son of the Demon was/is considered an Elseworlds story, even though it was published before Elseworlds was a concept. Some fans rejected Bats portrayal in the book (he just accepted that Talia lost her pregnancy, he tosses a weapon to Ra’s, who uses it to kill.) Others wanted to keep the story in canon, justifying Bats never bringing his potential fatherhood because it was too painful.

Either way, the book was a pretty good read and the first of three oversized Demon graphic novels, the other two being Bride of the Demon and (my personal favorite) Birth of the Demon.

However during The Kingdom the Batbaby-young adult appeared again. Ibn al Xu’ffasch’s, the notorious Batbaby of myth proved to be a reality, in an alternate reality kind of way. But seriously the Batbaby doesn’t exist.

Tim, do you think the Batbaby should be floating around in the DCU somewhere?

I don’t know about a Batbaby, but I do know of a Batboy

Coincidence? I think not.


Daredevi1 also has babies on the brain

My question is about Power Girl, I know that she´ll be retconned soon , but my question is about her pregnancy during the zero hour, What happened with that kid? Who was the “lucky” father? Did she feed him?

Ah the tale of Power Girl’s child. Ok, back when Power Girl wasn’t supposed to be from Krypton she was from Atlantis and the granddaughter of Arion. Arion was a pretty powerful mage and he performed some experiments on Kara when she was a child. Because he knew that there would be an eventual battle between Light and Dark, he manufactured the perfect champion for the war and placed the seed in his granddaughter, to be born when she reached the proper age.

Arion sent Kara to the future, yadda yadda yadda, Kara finally became mature enough for the seed to grow. Thus Kara became pregnant in an immaculate kind of way. The child was born during Zero Hour. Both were protected by magic and the kid exhibited a pretty quick growth pattern. The child disappeared in Justice League America #97.

But that’s not the end! He reappeared, fully-grown in Justice League America #105 as an adult and with the moniker Equinox. He faced a menace and disappeared again (more permanently) after Justice League America #107.

And there you have the sordid tale of single mother super heroes with borderline incestuous undertones that DC wishes never happened.

Tim, do you think this story will ever make it into a trade?

If there was any justice in the world…no, no it would not.

Can this possibly be real? Did someone really create this plot? Did someone really approve it? Why does God let things like this happen.


Chaos wants to remind us of a dark day in Titans history

Hey… did you read Titans #27, artwork made me want to barf but that aside I found Simone’s characterizations really off… though to her credit they seemed more like teenagers than they usually do, I found Robin seemed really goofy compared to normal and her take on Raven made her seem like some recent visitor from outer space or something… could she really never have bowled before?

I wanted to like it. And I really wanted to say “at least the story was good.” But I didn’t dig it. I was as disappointed in Simone’s Teen Titans as I was in her arc on the previous Legion title. The story left me so flat that I actually enjoyed the art.

*Shudder* Did I just type that?

Tim, was I too harsh on Simone?

Nah, I said more or less the same thing in my review from last week. Well minus, “enjoying the art.”

…Which I didn’t say because I do not merely “enjoy” it, I revel it. It defines my existence.


Aaron stands up for the few, the proud, the mutton chop wearers

Any thought as to the most mismanaged character in the DC annals? Off the top of my head, I always thought Jericho (goofy sideburns and costume, notwithstanding) was very intriguing, but his turn to the dark side in the Titans Hunt storyline reeked of shock value for the sake of shock value. Last I heard, he was still evil, but his “essence” was stored on a computer disk or something. Any hope that someone might get this guy’s character “right”, someday and who else has DC dropped the ball on.

What is it with you and you’re beloved teams? It’s always New Teen Titans this or The Outsiders that. And what ever did happen to Infinity Inc?

(Folks, I’m kidding. Aaron is a pal who can take a good ribbing. This is no means a response to him not drafting me in his 411/InsidePulse Draft.)

(Folk, he’s not kidding. Just last week he was shouting about how he would see “Aaron driven out before me and broken. I will dance in front of his home and drink in the lamentations of his women.”)

I’m actually looking at Jericho right now. He has a neatly managed fro and some insanely huge sideburns (I’m currently sporting a pair myself, which just looks nutty with my bald head.)

I never had any interest in him as a hero. Sure he could possess people, but it’s much more interesting to possess people and make them do bad things than do good things. Plus the guy couldn’t talk. I mean how interesting is it to have a guy with copious amounts of hair who also sports turtlenecks, year round?

Was his turn evil handled well? I can’t say, but I trust you assessment. I am really digging his turn to the dark side now though. And when you look at his family tree; his brother was a bad guy, his sister is unstable, his pop is merc. They guy was fated to go bad.

Who do I think is really mismanaged? I’ve got few that spring immediately to mind. I wish the android Hourman could have had a more prominent role in the DCU, as well as an extended run of his book.

I also think that Cameron Chase deserved better than what she got. Chase could have been a cross between Powers and Gotham Central. She was a great character who got segregated to various Secret Files & Origins before eventually disappearing (though she is currently making an appearance over in Manhunter.)

But the character that I think was the most squandered was Chronos. I didn’t read the book when it was published but I did become a fan a couple of years ago. Apart from his own history, Chronos could have given DCU a chance to explore its rich history. Gabriel Walker is a thief with the ability to travel in time. He was a fascinating character whose moral fiber was questionable.

Chronos was a missed opportunity as far as I’m concerned. Gabriel visited various time periods in the DCU. For instance he bumped into The Kents on the frontier. Chronos could have provided the answers for some of DC’s lingering questions.

Walker could have stolen some tech from the Legion and placed it in the Space Museum for Michael Jon Carter to find. Think about what an easy out Gabriel Walker could have been?

But alas his book was canceled years ago, and he was last seen over in JSA looking a bit worse for the wear.

Tim, who do you think is the most mismanaged hero in the DCU?

These days, I’d have to say

Say Batman, just say it. Come on man, take on the power!

Martian Manhunter

Arrgh! What a cop out.

He’s a character with a great amount of history that can be interesting, funny, alien, insightful and frightening, sometimes all in the same book. His part in the latest arc of JLA is pretty good, but he shouldn’t have to wait for his every three years or so chance to shine. I’m not demanding a solo title here, I just want good ol’ J’onn J’onnz to given a chance to be all that he can be.


Aaron gazes into his crystal ball to bring us this query

I’ve read, off an on, that Green Lanterns were banished from Earth in the 30th Century. What’d they do? Who’d they piss off?

Well way back in the Pre Crisis DCU the Guardians of the Universe had a mad on for anyone who even tried to witness the dawn of time. Y’see, one of their own, Krona, tried to witness it and ended up unleashing evil into the DCU and creating the multiverse. So as a result the Guardians created the Manhunters and eventually the Green Lantern Corps.

Well in the 30th Century on Earth some scientists were trying to witness the birth of the universe. The Guardians weren’t having it. So they sent some Green Lanterns to stop the proceedings. Three Green Lanterns were dispatched. They tussled with the Legion.

Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and one of the Green Lanterns was able to convince the Legion of the damage they would cause if they followed down their current path. The end.

Not really. One of the Green Lanterns, a guy named Vidar, was curious about what the Guardian’s didn’t want people to see and tried to check it out for himself. He was stopped by the Legion. And to add insult to injury he was kicked out of the GLC. He later became the Legion foe Universo.

But as a result of all of the drama involving Green Lanterns on Earth the United Planets decided to ban Green Lanterns from Earth altogether.

However Vidar’s son, Rond Vidar was secretly given a Green Lantern ring and was a covert G.L. on Earth. He also had the coolest G.L. uniform ever.

However it’s all moot since Zero Hour wiped that timeline out.

Tim, what would it take to get you to start reading Legion of Super-Heroes?

Oh, big surprise! Mathan brings up that I don’t read Legion. Shocking. I should tell him what it would take to get me to pick up that book. That it would involve—

Well, you never know Mathan, I might just start reading it tomorrow, stranger things have happened.

—and then the chicken and the milkmaid would dance! Ha, I bet if I told him that, that’d teach ‘im.


Mark P fought the LAW and the LAW won

DC published a miniseries called L.A.W. (Living Assault Weapons). All I remember is that the team included Blue Beetle and Captain Atom. Who are its other members and was the miniseries any good? Did it have a lasting impact on the DCU?

You’d think that a comic that had the same basic component as The Watchmen would be a pretty good book. And L.A.W. would prove you wrong.

L.A.W. was an attempt to rescue neglected characters (the Charlton heroes) by showcasing them in a team book that kind of segregated them. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But obviously when the big name talent include Captain Atom and Blue Beetle the book isn’t destined for success.

The other members of L.A.W. were; The Question, Judomaster, Nightshade, Peacemaker and Sarge Steel.

“Was it good?” Let me put it diplomatically; should you come across it in a “Quarter Box” at a con or your local comic shop, you would get your money’s worth.

(I’d actually argue that you wouldn’t.)

As far as “lasting” impact, Fate altered Nightshade giving her spectral powers. Captain Atom adopted his “Kingdom Come” outfit. A new Peacemaker was introduced to the DCU and L.A.W. vowed to remain a team.

Tim, is it even possible for a book called Living Assault Weapons to possibly approach “good?”

Possible? Sure. With a little something I call magic. Or maybe someone could sell their soul. One or the other I am sure would do nicely.


That’s going to mean the close of the column this week.

But don’t worry, we’ll be back next week. My question to you this week;Who would you like to see get the Solo treatment?

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

“Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week.”

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