Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I’ve been singing Son of Vulcan’s praises for months now. I love the book. I would have been more vocal to you, but I just assumed it wasn’t “your thing.” But you really should read it.

I can honestly not remember you mentioning anything but the first issue. My fault. But no way I am wrong about it basically not being mentioned anywhere else. If it is possible to have so little hype that it can only be expressed as an imaginary number, this is the book that achieves that.

Links

IP Music has some of the best columnists and reviewer around!

IP Movies is really making me curious about attending a show.

IP Games is making my question my loyalty to Nintendo.

IP Figures offers poses but isn’t full of poseurs.

IP TV features some people who love Reunion and others who hate it.

IP Sports is you’re one stop spot for Badminton scores!

Moodspins has pulpy politics.

IP Culture offers history, books and food!

Our DC Forums are abuzz over Infinite Crisis.

What fascinating links to you have for us this week Tim?

Just want to let everyone know that I am the new Recap man on Nip/Tuck and you can read my first recap here. Enjoy.

In other less selfish news, take a look at I’m Oscar.com, the blog for wrongly imprisoned Oscar Bluth (because they think he’s his twin brother).

What I Read Last Week

Action Comics #831 – Kind of anticlimactic. And this is seems like a completely different Jimmy Olsen than the one that appeared last week, yet I dislike him equally.

Nightwing #112 – Interesting new costume. Nice change of pace. Ravager is creeping me out, and I didn’t even flinch when she stabbed herself in the eye. I’m actually looking forward to next issue.

Breach #9 – Tim, why do the good books with Pulido art end so soon?

Because the universe was built to be cruel Mathan…there is simply no other explanation.

Green Arrow #54 – The end of Dr. Light and the return of Black Lightning. And the end of the Fowler era. Pretty solid issue.

Hawkman #44 – I’m really looking forward to next issue, and I’ve not felt that way about this title in awhile. I just hope that Charlie’s story lives up to my hype.

100 Bullets #64 – Another Graves/Jack faceoff. I so loved this issue.

Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder #2 – I didn’t hate this as much as some of my colleagues. I didn’t think it was all that bad. I kind of liked it.

I don’t think I hated it. I just don’t think I care.

Desolation Jones #1-3 – I picked up the first three issues and I’m really diggin’ this book. I’m a fan of J.H. Williams and Ellis is growing on me. #3 had the most depressing look at the adult entertainment industry this side of Boogie Nights.

Nat Turner #1 – Kyle Baker does some amazing work in this issue. He handles the topic so maturely and unflinchingly. Great book.

I’ve been searching for this book to no avail. I went through a Nat Turner phase in elementary school (don’t ask) and can’t wait to give this a look.

Matador #5 – The build up for next issue is certainly there. I’m anxious for the mysteries to be revealed. But this book looks so good it makes me drool.

It sure does look good. I just wish this issue didn’t kill the book’s momentum.

Firestorm #17 – Moore’s Jason is so likeable. I feel really bad for Moore and Igle because they actually visit the Firestorm Boards over at DC and get blasted endlessly. This book is deserves better fans.

JSA #77 – I used to hate Fern’s art, but Gray’s inks work magic. The issue was kind of Hal-centric, but I didn’t mind too much. It kind of seems like a calm before the storm kind of issue.

Rann-Thanagar War #5 – The death of Hawkwoman. Yawn. It’s pretty funny that it took this long for Captain Comet and Adam Strange, DC’s two space fairing Earthmen to meet. But beyond that this issue wasn’t anything special.

JLA #118 – Tim, you’re right Despero does indeed rock. I’m just glad that Aquaman got some play this issue. Give Orin some love already!

I am normally all in favor of mocking the wearer of green and orange, but the man deserves his props this week.


Onto the questions.

Mike placed the lyric a couple of columns back and submits this ditty.

A lot of people would say that the Batbooks, or at least the majority of them, have taken a turn for the worse lately (War Games, Nightwing’s rape by Tarantula and muddled continuity in Nightwing and Outsiders since, the death of Spoiler, Leslie’s part in that), and I believe you’re among them. So let’s say DC gives you the task of tweaking (or all-out rewriting, if you like) Bathistory since, say, the end of Hush. What would you adjust, what would you leave alone, and who in the world actually isn’t a better choice for Spoiler’s killer than Leslie freakin’ Thompkins?

Let me begin by saying that I was pro “Leslie killing Stephanie” while Tim was vehemently against it.

Let me also point out that the only “Bat” titles I read are Nightwing, Batman and Gotham Knights, so I may not be the best person to be asking this question to. But since it’s you sent it to me, it’s too late now.

Post Hush, I’m keeping Broken City intact, because the love that 100 Bullets crew. As The Crow Flies was cool, in that it laid the groundwork for Behind the Hood. I’ve enjoyed every arc over in Gotham Knights so that’ll be staying intact.

Nightwing is a tricky subject. I can’t say that I really like what Dick’s had to deal with in the past few years, but I appreciate the effort. I like how Devin had the nerve to shake things up. I completely felt Dick’s misery and self-loathing. Her run made me care about Nightwing, the character, again.

Still I didn’t like how the original Tarantula was killed off nor how Roland Desmond was killed off either. But that’s really nitpicking on my part so I’ll keep those intact.

But when it comes to multi title storylines, like, um War Games I’m going to do some changing.

War Games did many things to Gotham City. Stephanie “Robin” Brown died. Orpheus also died. Batman once again became a fugitive from the law. Batman lost Oracle as an ally, and Bats became the only one of the family operating in Gotham. And I think that’s about it.

I’ve got no problem with the net result of Batman being a fugitive and being estranged from his “family.” But I’ve got a major beef with Orpheus’ death. His death didn’t have to happen. His profile was raised only for him to be killed. It’s kind of a waste. Stephanie was doomed from the moment she donned Robin’s “R”, but Orpheus was just a squandered character.

War Games also bled over into Nightwing for some stories that were less than memorable.

I don’t read Birds of Prey but it sounds like it’s moving along nicely. Robin and Detective Comics are just beyond my radar, but I’d leave them alone as well.

So to recap; I’d leave Batman alone. I’m loving the Bat Rogues centric Gotham Knights so that remains untouched as well. While I’m not ultra hyped about Nightwing, I respect the vision enough to keep it intact. But War Games should be pushed over to Detective Comics with Orpheus left alive.

Tim, I’m sure that you and I differ on numerous things, to feel free to take over now.

Well, as Mathan mentioned, I had a strong distaste (loathed perhaps?) for the Thompkins’ revelation and didn’t care for War Games one bit. It was overlong, at times senselessly brutal, and, more often than not, made me wish to burn each issue the moment Black Hood opened his mouth and babbled like Joker-lite. If I could, I’d evict the whole thing from continuity. Stephie was Robin for far too short a time for it to mean anything and her death was just…awful. She was strung up and tortured for like 8 issues. That’s excessive by any standard. Orpheus’s death was such a sucker’s death, it blew my mind. Batman’s inability to tell that it was Black Mask in disguise late made it even worse.

But enough about what I didn’t like. Here’s my remedy for the Bat portion of the DCU, without canceling any titles.

The “main” books need to return to their initial mission statements. That means Detective is the book where Batman is portrayed most like a detective. It’s a solo book (in other words, no sidekicks) with an emphasis on street level crime. See Rucka’s run to see how that’s done. Also, this (along with Gotham Central) can be where the tensions between police and the Bat are really delved into. I prefer the old “some like him, some don’t” relationship as opposed to the “boy does everyone hate him” one they are sporting now, but either way this is the title to really show that.

Batman can keep on trucking as far as I am concerned. It’s a Batman as superhero book and it is being done very well. See also Brubaker’s recent run on the title or Dixon’s ‘Tec run for a strong Batman as superhero approach. Avoid Hama’s vision at all costs.

Gotham Knights needs to stop being Hush’s book. The man has overstayed his welcome. Either reveal his identity or don’t, but stop having it clog this once interesting title. Then, make it the Shadow of the Bat meets Batman Family book it was always striving to be. That means we get to see Batman interact with his partners and/or we can shine the spotlight on villains to get into their heads. Note that I said villains, not villain. (Again, Hush, I’m looking at you).

Also, in all of them, more Bruce Wayne. I know, I know, Bruce is the mask, Batman is the real face. Whatever. Without the conflict between identities, repeating that mantra does not make it interesting.

Robin needs a new writer like…yesterday. The book has been floundering since Dixon sent Tim to boarding school.

I enjoyed Devin Grayson’s Nightwing for the most part, but I feel like she’s painted herself into a corner out of which no logic can escape. End this undercover storyline quick (like pulling off a band aid) and get some fresh blood all up in this piece.

Birds of Prey is excellent. Leave it be.


Legion makes us feel very old

The original Crisis came out before I was born I believe. But I was wondering if you can give info on all the characters we’ve been seeing from the original Crisis in the new minis. I, for one, have no clue who they are and why they are so important. Like Psycho Pirate from JSA Classified, and the people just seen in VU #5. Also, how is the Crisis on Multiple Earths related to Crisis on Infinite Earths?

Ah, the impending Infinite Crisis. I can remember when everything we heard was how it had very little to do with Crisis on Infinite Earths. But now everything seems to point to there being a definite connection between the two.

Thus I’ve got a list of five characters who were pretty important COIE who’ve shown up in the DCU pretty recently. Even those who’ve not shown up in the Countdown minis.

Harbinger – Lyta was adopted by the Monitor. And she killed him too. After the Crisis she hooked up with the New Guardians, but that didn’t last too long. She ended up living with Wonder Woman and the other Amazons and taking notes. She died in Superman/Batman #10, which caused many of us to pause.

Kara Zor-El – Kara Zor-El aka Supergirl died in the original Crisis. She was Superman cousin from Krypton, and she caused the Anti-Monitor some serious damage before she was killed. In the same arc that reintroduced Kara Zor-El to the DCU, Harbinger died. Coincidence?

Barry Allen – Barry Allen sacrificed himself to save Earth. But he popped up in at the end of Flash #224 and is allegedly going to show up once more to help Wally West in a time of need. Perhaps during Infinite Crisis?

Pariah – Pariah first appeared in the original Crisis and inadvertently helped cause it. He’s cursed never to die and always appear in a time of certain doom. His appearance is never a good sign. He popped up in Villains United #5

Lady Quark – This woman, who lost her family in the original Crisis and was spared death by Pariah, was thought to have been killed and was last seen floating in space in L.E.G.I.O.N. #62. However she turned up in Villains United #5.

Dr. Light II – She was a hero who was created in COIE and joined the JLI for a spell. She was recently robbed of her powers by the dastardly Dr. Light from Infinite Crisis.

Psycho Pirate – Psycho Pirate was held captive by the Anti-Monitor who used him in his scheme. He tormented Barry Allen and after the multiverse became the universe, Psycho was the only one to remember. In fact he actually closed COIE from a cell in Arkham.

The Crisis on Multiple Earths trades are like an indirect set up to the COIE. Those tales showed various other “Earths” in the DC Multiverse, which COIE eliminated.

I hope that I’ve straightened out the relevance of the characters and the storylines. I’d suggest that you pick up the trade for COIE as it appears to be a book that’s having more sway than one would suspect.

Tim, do you have a favorite moment from COIE?

Flash’s sacrifice, bar none. I know it’s a cliché, but that’s just because it is so the right answer.


Chaos has a 356 word question to ask. Bear with us.

Did you see the Preview for Infinite #1? I’m pretty bummed on how DC is setting up Diana for a big fall from what she did to Max. It seems pretty drastic considering how Superman has been forced to fight to the death and really should understand what happened more than he does, and… well… this isn’t a scoop or a lead or anything, or fan insanity, but a intelligent decision based on market as well as story factors… I’ve worked in TV a lot and I understand how icons work to a media image and based on everything I’ve seen and heard and read, it seems that Wonder Woman will be the one to go and replaced by her sidekick come the end of Infinite Crisis – something that really only lacks confirmation from DC on the fate of. I don’t think it was really that big a deal that she killed Max in terms of context and story, but DC have really spun it to be a huge and reputation staining event. It’s easy to see that they’re trying to soften the change in character. Now… how is it Wonder Woman can be replaced at all, well for much the same reasons that Wally was easily able to assume Flash’s role (from a market stand point, not fan reaction) – the core of the Flash is the red suit, the speed, the strange sci-fi science. Wonder Woman’s core identity is the lasso, the costume, a strong female amazon with dark hair (which is why I don’t ever see them replacing her with Cassie), all of which Donna Troy can stand for with ease. You can’t have Batman without Bruce Wayne and the incident that gave him birth, you can’t have superman as a clone of the alien god-like survivor of a doomed planet… see what I’m saying? So what irks me, is I feel like Diana is gonna go down as an embarrassment to superhero legend and not a high mark which in terms of her long time development has been pretty impressive for advancing the ideals of a strong, authentically WOMAN, character… thoughts?

I think that you’re jumping to conclusions. Granted “Diana” isn’t “Bruce Wayne” or “Clark Kent”, but “Wonder Woman” isn’t “Green Lantern” or “Manhunter” either.

I don’t think that Diana can be replaced any more successfully than Batman or Superman. I also don’t think that she’s being set up to be replaced, if only because no one would buy it. Everyone would know that Diana would be back, just as she was when Artemis took over for a spell. (Or when she died and become a Goddess of Truth. Shudder.) No one would believe it was permanent. I mean look at the Ronnie Raymond fans out there who still believe that Jason’s a temporary Firestorm.

And I think that you’ve got to factor in the Wonder Woman motion picture. Just as Batman comics featured a vigilante who’s not on the best terms with the police (just as he appeared in Batman Begins), I can’t see the fine folks at DC trying to rock the boat by having Donna in the comics and Diana in the movie.

I do think that she’s not going to be on the best of terms with the heroes of the DCU for a minute or two. A line was crossed, and although some might argue how severely it was crossed she’s going to lose some support from her fellow heroes. But just as Barry Allen and Black Adam before her, I think she’ll find some supporters as well.

I’ve got faith that Diana will persevere, remain Wonder Woman and be as successful as ever. I’ve never been more interested in the character than I am right now.

Tim, what are your thoughts on the future of Wonder Woman?

I agree it is kind of beat that both Superman and Batman are treating WW like a leper. Unless things get worse for her in the next month (like she kills a bus full of children or eats a cute puppy live on the steps of the orphanage or something), Superman’s “They’re scared of you,” line is just way over the top. I can understand some discomfort, a cold shoulder or two, maybe even a lecture. But this…this is too much.

All that said, no way is Diana being replaced. Just…no way.


Kirk thinks Winick’s choices for The Outsiders are less than Marvel-ous.

I don’t really think I’m sold on Captain Marvel Jr. as an Outsider. Is there any reason that he might have been picked for the team (other than Winick might like the guy) when it doesn’t seem like he fits the tougher dynamic of the group? Personally, if I had to replace Indigo, I would have chosen Natash Irons or better yet throw John Henry back in the Steel suit and have him there. Tech replacing tech, etc, etc.

It’s pretty obvious that Winick’s got a thing for the Power of Shazam. Winick recreated Sabbac and is currently scribing the Superman/Captain Marvel First Thunder miniseries. So yeah, Judd digs the concept.

But it’s not that far fetched having CM3 on the team. Many of the Outsiders are former Titans. Arsenal and Starfire used to be Titans and so did CM3. Thunder, Shift and Jade are all legacies of sorts and so is CM3.

John Henry Irons is gone. The sooner you accept it the sooner you can move on with your life. Plus he was in the JLA, I hardly think he should be slumming with the Outsiders. Natasha would have been an interesting choice, but I’m pretty sure that the Superman folks are too busy ignoring her to loan her out. And for the most part, the Outsiders don’t really have ties to iconic characters.

Even though you didn’t ask, I’d probably replace Indigo with, tech-wise, um one of the Psyba rats? They’re not doing anything, right?

But my main choice for replacing Indigo would have to be Tempest! The guy is squandered in Aquaman Wally and Dick have their own books. Arsenal is part of a team (the one in question) and Donna is making a high profile return. Yet Tempest is playing Mr. Mom under the sea? Let that be a lesson to you kids; never knock up your mentor’s ex, much less marry her after the fact, because you’ll never hang out with your friends ever again.

Tim, why is CM3 with the Outsiders, and who would you replace Indigo with?

CM3 is with the Outsider because…umm…they have nowhere else to put him? Honestly, I don’t know. Much in the same way, I’m okay with there just being a Superman sans -Girl, -Boy, -Money, -Horse, -Toboggan, etc. I really would prefer just Captain Marvel and his opposite number Black Adam. That’s not to say Mary and CM3 cannot work, I just wish no one tried to find out. So, generally, I avoid discussions about the Marvel family. It just isn’t my place.

As far as who should replace Indigo, I like your idea of Tempest, but he doesn’t exactly bring the tech with him. Bumping Cyborg up to the bigger leagues, however, would. He shouldn’t be playing nursemaid to the Teen Titans, especially when they appear more than competent. Let Beast Boy be the generational fixture on the Titans and let Cyborg finally have a future beyond what first made him famous. The only risk of that I can think of is that the Outsiders would slowly be becoming the Titans (as in the series that we do not speak of from the late 90’s, early aughts), but that same risk exists in making Tempest a big league player.


Brett seeks electrifying enlightenment

While reading some early issues of the current JLA series I realized I had no idea how Superman got changed into the energy being and how he was changed back – care to enlighten me?

Y’see (not so) way back in Superman #123 Superman was dramatically changed. Superman had all of these new powers;

Superman could teleport. This is how he “flew” or got from place to place.

Superman had all sorts of new nifty vision powers. He could see infrared. Not only could he view wavelengths he was also able to view radiation and spectrums. Whatever that means.

Superman could also manifest a solid energy field. This is how he was able to actually “touch” things.

Superman was also able to manipulate electrons. This was shown in his ability to increase mass, alter appearance and magnetize objects.

Superman could also interface directly with computers. He was able to gain all the data from a computer, just by passing his hand through it.

Superman could generate energy and even create energy duplicates of himself. Of course this leads us naturally to…Superman Blue.

While being attacked by Toyman and (the evil) Cyborg, Superman was split in two; Superman Red and Superman Blue. They both had the same powers and both could become Clark Kent(s?). Superman Red was more temperamental and carefree of the two, while Superman Blue was more thoughtful and caring.

The explanation for Superman becoming an energy being was that when he recharged after Final Night he overloaded his solar energy absorbing cells. His body responded to the influx of energy by becoming energy to accommodate the excess energy.

Superman became whole again (and returned to his normal duds) after both Superman Blue and Superman Red were willing to sacrifice themselves to stop the Millennium Giants.

Ugh, I hope this is as close as DC gets to a Clone Saga.

Oh yeah it was that easy. Superman was magically normal again. And no one ever mentioned it ever again.

Tim, how’s your campaign for the return of Aztek going?

Dude…you promised not to make me cry this column. Now…*sniff*…*sob*…I’ve gotta go grab a Kleenex. I think I have…*sob*…something in my eye.


Kirk understand freedom is not free and less seeks knowledge to pay for it…or something.

Have a question for you which I hope you can answer. I was reading through Wizard and saw their preview to Infinite Crisis and noticed the Freedom Fighters (I think that’s their name) starting off the issue. If I have the name wrong, it’s the team with Uncle Sam, The Ray, Damage, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb and I can’t remember if anybody else was there. Anyway, since it looks like they’re about to get destroyed by the bad guys that are in front of them and we may never hear from any of these characters again, I was wondering when this team was formed and where they might have appeared – I saw their one appearance in JSA 73(?) and have always been a fan of Damage and The Ray, so any info would be awesome.

The Freedom Fighters have a long and storied history. Uncle Sam’s history dates back to the birth of the nation all by himself.

The first band of the Freedom Fighters got together on a day that will live in infamy, December 7, 1941. This squad consisted of Hourman, Magno, Miss America, Invisible Hood, Red Torpedo and Neon the Unknown. (But it did featue Neon the Unknown, so, that’s cool.) The team didn’t actually fare too well.

But Uncle Sam got another team of Freedom Fighters together; this time the team consisted of characters that became closely associated with the team. This team was made up of Red Bee, Black Condor, Phantom Lady, Human Bomb, Doll Man and the Ray.

Most of the current membership made their first appearance with the team in JSA #49. Legacy heroes Ray, Black Condor, and Phantom Lady joined with Uncle Sam, Iron Munroe and Damage in that issue.

The team has been around for years and has had quite a few members over the years. I’m sure that they’ll be viciously offed by the villains, but I’m hoping that they won’t actually get killed.

Tim, am I being naïve?

Hmm…hard to say. I don’t think that DC would wholesale slaughter off a whole team. On the other hand, they have done it twice before (Eclipso, those issues of Starman), so it is possible. My guess? One to two characters die, at least one is knocked out of commission possibly to never return, and the rest somehow survive.


Kirk

Like I said, I am a fan of Damage and it looked like he was really being pushed hard by DC when his series came out. Between restarting the universe in Zero Hour, the stint on the New Titans (which was an awful book, but they loaded it up with some pretty impressive guns when you think about the roster) and with Justice League Task Force. Then, a while later, he shows up as part of “Titans” and I always figured he’d be a natural in the JSA with his history, but I guess not. So I guess my question is how much say does DC have in the push of a character. Would they have said to Wolfman or Grayson “Damage needs to be on your team” or, for the most part, do the creators pick the team rosters or is it a bit of each?

DC has all the say in the world to push a character, or have you forgotten Last Laugh? Given that DC has yet to give me my own monthly title to script I can’t say for certain, but I’m betting it’s a bit of both with the sway going to DC.

I do know that when Devin Grayson wanted to use Nemesis in Catwoman #62 DC allowed her to, with the caveat that he die by the end of the issue.

DC does have quite a bit of say in the matter, after all the creators are playing with DC’s toys. Aquaman had to come back from the dead, because DC demanded it. Remember the rumors about Young Justice getting the axe so that DC could capitalize off the Teen Titans cartoon by launching a title with a membership that resembled the show?

When you look at how Damage joined the New Titans it looks like it could have come from DC or from Wolfman. Wolfman was doing the government assisted Titans and Damage was in trouble with the government.

And with the Titans I think there was the desire to have members from nearly every incarnation of the Teen Titans, so Damage again fit the bill.

Damage, to me, seems like DC was trying to do the “legacy” thing, but hadn’t quite perfected the formula, as they appear to have now. Damage was an attempt to show DC’s rich history manifested in a new character, it’s just no one was listening. Damage is kind of like Triumph, an interesting concept that didn’t quite work in reality.

Tim, your thoughts on the topic at hand?

My favorite Damage moment was when he brought the house down (literally) in JLA doing their first recruiting drive. Poor, poor Grant never had much luck.

He, like Ray, is a character that I think has a lot of potential, but has fallen through the cracks by not being old enough to have figured into the iconic Titans run or to join the JLA. In fact, I nominate both of them for Outsider status. Sure, we’d have to change the direction of the book, but I don’t really like it now, so what do I care. It can be the home for cool heroes who can’t yet join the JLA, but have no place for them in the Titans because they’ve outgrown that already. Hmm… I like this idea. I like it much.


Glen D wonders how many times a planet can get all messed up

Read Rann/Thanagar War today. What’s the deal with Tamaran? How many times has it been destroyed?

Note to everyone; never invest in property on Tamaran. You will get hosed.

The original Tamaran was destroyed by the Psions. Tamaran’s core imploded which, as usual, spelled doom for the planet. Good News; plenty of folks evacuated or were off planet at the time so the race survived and set up shop on a new planet called New Tamaran! Hooray!

Unfortunately when the Sun Eater was running rampant in the universe New Tamaran was in its path. Even though an alien tried to warn the New Tamaraneans of their impending doom, Komand’r wasn’t trying to hear it. Furthermore she banished her sister Starfire from the planet for believing the alien. Of course Sun Eater destroyed New Tamaran.

Some Tamarans who happened to be off world when Sun Eater struck decided to set up shop on a new planet. And can you fault them? I mean what are the odds of your homeworld getting destroyed three times? The decided to live on Karna, the planet the Gordanians called home. While there was a war in the beginning the two races worked things out. And they all lived happily ever after.

Until some Imperiex probes destroyed Karna during Our Worlds at War.

Tim, would you rather take up the mantle of Robin or vacation on Tamaran IV?

Robin, all the way. At least I could then take an active role in my own eventual demise but throwing myself into dangerous situations without thinking. Plus, it’s a nifty costume.


On that note, we’ll end the column.

Email me your questions or comments or post them on our very own thread where we love to hear from new posters.

My question to you this week; Will you be picking up 52?

“You’ve got your fingers on the pulse, you’ve got your eyes everywhere.”

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