Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, you like TV, what’d you think of InsidePulse’s Memorable Characters feature?

It is an interesting list, that is for sure. I’m enjoying reading the justification for each entry. I might not agree with every choice (they do skew a bit recent) but, they are still well justified by the authors. Huzzahs to Inside Pulse’s TV department.

Links

IP Music to my ears.

IP Movies to behold.

IP Games to play.

IP Figures things out.

IP TV has the aforementioned Character Feature.

IP Sports has NFL and NBA news.

Moodspins has some damn fine reads.

IP Culture is enlightening and may weigh you down if you take too many of the Food features to heart.

Our DC Forums has speculation on the post IC DCU, as well as good Manhunter news!

Tim, whatever will you link for us this week?

I always like to link my Revamps and this week is no different. The nice thing for readers of this column is that it concerns The Un-Thing, the Aquaman villain I mentioned two weeks ago. Hope you enjoy it.

Besides that, it has been awhile since I linked an Onion article so I think it is time to give them another shout out. This one concerns the civil rights movement and made me smile.


What I Read Last Week

Desolation Jones #4 – I’m so diggin’ this title. J.H. is one of my favorite artists (I’m missing Mick Gray’s inks). I like how Ellis is slowly fleshing out his fully realized reality. This is a damn fine book.

Nighthawk #3 – Oh my god is this book disappointing. Yeah it was cool to see the golf club beatdown, but is there any rhyme or reason to the killer’s crimes? I’m hoping that this book pays off, but my optimism is waning.

I would argue that the point is that there is no rhyme or reason to the killer’s crimes, like the Joker, his other universe brother-in-arms. With crimes this random, it should, if the story is done well, force Nighthawk to confront his own prejudices towards administering justice. Whether it will work out that way or not…hard to say. But I do think that that is the idea.

Bulleteer #1 – Tim, I loved this first issue. There wasn’t anything that I found lacking. As with the other Soldier books, I can’t wait for the next issue. I’m also anxious to see how this ties in with the other minis.

Again…I’m still sitting the fence on this one. Really not sure how I felt about it. Next issue, though, sounds like it will tie extensively into Seven Soldiers #0 so I’m not going anywhere.

Firestorm #19 – I’m worried that something’s going to happen to Mick, since Jason’s not really suffered too much loss in his short career. I loved Jason’s multiple convos in his head. And I dug Jason’s Ron Vidar-esque shirt. Moore has really made this a fun book to read and Igle is doing some fine work every month.

I think Jason has suffered more than his fair share in his short career. Off hand, I can only think of Kyle Rayner who had it so bad in such a short time.

Superman #223 – How did this end up in my box? I swore I updated my list. Fortunately Infinite Crisis is here and you can’t have a Crisis without the death of Kara Zor el. Yipee!

Ahh, now you are speaking my language, my friend. Sadly, I think we are getting our hopes up for nothing.

Vigilante #2 – Tim I’m with you on the whole “Fight Club” aspect of the book and the idea that it’s too obvious. Regardless, I’m basically in for the long haul at this point. Oh yeah, the book was a good read.

Outsiders #30 – Thankfully Sabbac is gone. And you can’t have an issue of Outsiders featuring Sabbac without an orgy, right? I did like this issue. Clark’s work really fits this title well.

Jonah Hex #1 – Great looking book. This art (pencils, inks and colors) is some of the best I’ve seen in awhile. The story was solid as well. Gray and Palmiotti really have a feel for the era. I also dug how there wasn’t a happy ending. I hope people gave this book a shot.

JSA #79 – For some reason I’m not really worried that Jakeem is really evil. I can’t explain it. I’ll certainly be upset if he is, but I’m really not nervous this is the case. Great cover, and I like Stargirl’s new look. I really enjoyed the issue.

I’m not worried that Jakeem is evil either, which is part of the reason that I did not so much dig this issue. If I’m not worried about Jakeem having turned, then I’m not worried about his teammates. If I’m not worried about his teammates, where’s the danger and drama of the situation?


Words from Alumni

About our last column;

“Solo #7 – I wish they had used the back cover as the cover. This may be my second favorite issue after Darwyn Cooke’s issue. But it’s barely second. I loved this issue.”

This book was so excellent. I am really tempted to see a full book of Allred pin ups of characters doing the cover pose.

“So, come on, people! Superman, gay? What are you, nuts? If he ever slept with a dude, it was only because he was so comfortable in his
heterosexuality that he has just like “whatever” about the whole thing.
Superman is Superman for God’s sake. When he is not bedding women that you cannot even get in your fantasies, he sure as hell is not concerned about living by earth’s standards of sexuality. BOOYAKA!”

What could I possibly add? Did you swipe the “so straight he’s gay” thing from me or have I never told you that theory and it was just beautiful synchronicity?

“Ok, this is pretty easy. Thanks to the excellent look back at Crisis on Infinite Earths in last week’s Wizard (which was written by some dude named Ben Morse) (Ooooo, he’s dreamy.) we learn that good ol’ Johnny Constantine first appeared in COIE.”

That’s what I’m talking about. I should get a bleeping hardcover.

“Honestly, no. I think they worked very well in JLA: Year One, but they are, really, just another evil organization in a universe rife with them. I’d sooner see O.G.R.E. get a huge push than Locus. Nothing personal, they just do not get my motor running.”

Agreed. They worked great as a one off threat to be built huge in ten issues then taken down in two big ones. Bringing them back would cheapen them. It would be like any bad and forced sequel you’ve ever seen.

“As far as I know For Tomorrow hasn’t been referenced in any other DC book.”

“As for Azzarello’s Superman story, with the exception of his villain being an OMAC of sorts and the Amazon Fortress of Solitude, the rest of the DCU has basically let the story drift into the ether.”

Bzzzt! Wrong on both counts. Mr. Orr and the OMAC from For Tomorrow showed up in the lead story of Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files a few weeks back. Normally I’d write this off to me being able to read every comic for free and you guys not having that luxury, but I’m sure you both picked that one up.

And that is why you will always be the master. I am quite chagrined.


Jason R placed the lyric

I have a theoretical question for you. Do you think DC could write a solid Transformers comic? Marvel did a decent job at time, but Dreamwave imploded under its own excess. Could DC bring it back to a viable franchise? And if so, what creative and art team(s) would you want to see bring it to life?

I’d imagine that DC could probably pull of licensed property. I’m not too familiar with the Transformers mythos (I only know about The Touch) (Which, I assure you, you have. YEAH!), but I don’t think that it’d be too difficult for the book to be a success. And I’d think they could pull off the franchise.

If DC did take it over the property, you’d need a fan of the concept to write it. Most folks would say that Geoff Johns should write the book, because he rarely fails. Even though I’m a fan of Geoff’s work I’d rather see Will Pfeiffer write the book. I loved his H*E*R*O and I’m currently digging his Captain Atom mini.

In terms of art, I’d have Tan Eng Huat do all of that. His work on the lamented Doom Patrol title is really what I’ve got in mind. Not that his work on Batman:Jurney into Knight is bad, but I think the former shows his strengths, particularly in his depiction of Robotman.

Tim, do you think that DC would be a good fit with the Transformers?

If we are talking as a mainstream DCU property, no, I do not think so. One need look no farther than the Superman/He-Man team-up from back in the day. The Transformers already have a whole story universe of their own set up and it just would not jive with the DCU. However, if DC would like to simply publish Transformers licensed comics that exist in their own separate world and never shall touch any aspect of the DCU, then by all means, why not. Sadly, they have already missed their chance this go round as Devil’s Due now possesses the Transformers rights.


Bill C also placed the lyric

My question to you is this: If Lex used the Black K gem on Pete
Ross, would one of the Pete’s be black? Lol

We could only hope.

Please, people, do not attempt to anger up Mr. Erhardt. You would not like him when he was angry.

All other times though, you’d love him. He makes this absolutely brilliant tortes that I could just go on and on about all day. Sadly, this is a comics column so we now move on.


We give Bill C another question, because we are nice like that.

I was wondering when exactly anyone with a JLA decoder ring learned every other hero’s real name and identity. What really put the thought into my head was the latest issue of JLA where the “team” is arguing, openly and not a single codename is used. Even the new chick somehow knows that Batman is Bruce Wayne. Anyone else could have overheard their heated exchange as well. Why even wear a mask? It’s sloppiness like this that brings on the mindwipin’.

The “new chick” in question I’m assuming is Dawn. Dawn is actually the wife of the recently deceased Manitou Raven.

And I can explain why this infraction is minimal for several reasons.

Firstly Dawn isn’t from this time. She’s actually from a pretty distant past. This is relevant for several reasons. She doesn’t really get out much. She’s got like no friends outside of the JLA. She probably doesn’t fully grasp the concept of “secret identities” and there’s a chance she doesn’t even know who Bruce Wayne is.

Secondly, she’s already hooked up with Green Arrow. Now I don’t know about you, but when I hooked up with Green Arrow it was awkward. Ollie doesn’t really do the whole “pillow talk” thing, it’s much more “pillow yammering on and on and on.” I mean the guy will not stop talking. I’m trying to get some shut eye and he keeps going on about the time he beat the Clock King. Like that’s an accomplishment! I could beat the Clock King. But my point is that Ollie may have spilled beans.

Thirdly, Mister Miracle was actually using his Mother Box to dampen the sound waves coming from the area, so that there wouldn’t be thing overheard. That sounds pretty plausible, right?

Yeah, so it’s not that big a deal. But if it is a big deal, blame Ollie.

Tim, is Bill making a big deal or a valid point?

In this case, I think it is a no-harm, no-foul situation. However, it does point to a problem with the DCU and secret identities. It is very difficult to keep track of who know who’s real identity and it seems to change all the time. Sometimes, like that issue of JLA, it is like some brotherhood where everyone knows everyone else. At others, it is a more select majority. It is just another thing that we can blame on (in addition to Ollie) DC’s multiple earths and multiple reboots. Every option has been true at one time or another and it is difficult to suss out which of those is still accurate. Perhaps Infinite Crisis will light the way to the correct answer.


Now Bill C is just pushing his luck

Batman is actually the only bat-title I’ve ever made it a point to check out. Could you recommend any definitive arcs from other bat books to pick up? Any Minis, GNs, or Elseworlds you liked would work here also.

I dig Batman. But until recently I stayed out of Gotham. Back in the day, when Norm Breyfogle was doing the art I read Bat books on the regular. I fell out favor with the books right around college, so there are some lapses in my Bat knowledge. But I can give you some of my favorites.

Allow me to get the obligatory out of the way; Batman: Year One yadda yadda yadda, The Dark Knight Returns yackety smackety The Killing Joke blah blah blah.

Now that that’s done with I’ll do my best to give you some pretty solid Bat reads.

Arkham Asylum – This recently got the deluxe anniversary treatment and it’s quite the read. Basically the inmates are running the asylum, and they force Batman to run the gamut. It’s a bit on the dark side but it’s very well written. And the extras in the anniversary edition are very nice.

Batman: Ego – This book has amazing art by Darwyn Cooke and has a compelling premise; Batman vs Bruce Wayne. It’s one of those rare books that is flawless. You’ve got to buy this one.

Holy Terror – I’ll admit that I’ve not read this one in years, but I recall it fondly. Breyfogle art, interesting story (this Elseworlds takes place in a world where church and state aren’t separated and Bruce is about to become part of the church) and it’s a single issue. Plus there are some cool cameos by other DCU characters.

Gotham by Gaslight – This was the first official Elseworlds. It’s a classic book. Just check it out.

Birth of the Demon – This is the origin of one of my favorite characters ever; Ra’s al Ghul. It’s an oversized book and it’s got painted Breyfogle, what more could you ask for?

Son of the Demon – This story has been retconned as an Elseworlds, because it features Bats and Talia conceiving a child. It’s still a pretty good read.

Batman: Black & White – This was originally an anthology miniseries featuring Batman stories by various artists and writers. It had some beautiful pinups and great covers. This basically shows every facet of the Bat.

Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1-4 – This was a way cool arc, which starts with Batman an inmate in Arkham. The new asylum director, a descendant of the original Arkham is quite a character, and this is his debut. It also features the debut of Mr. Zsasz.

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #6-10 – In this arc Batman confronts a ghost from his past. We also see what role Bruce Wayne may have played in the death of his parents. Possibly.

JSA: The Liberty Files – Sure, this Elseworlds doesn’t just focus on Batman, but it’s a cool look at the character in another setting. Plus it makes Batman look cooler than he’s been in his own titles in forever.

Tim, I gave ten of my favorite Bat tales, how many are you going to offer? And don’t forget to include War Crimes.

Oh Mathan, you cut up! Hahaha. I swear to you, one day I will make you pay for your impudence. PAY! Anyway, I am a huge Bat-fan so there is just a ton of stuff that I have dug over the years. However, I’m focus on a few random favorites so as not to overwhelm you.

Batman #417-420: Batman with a heavy dose of Cold War paranoia. KGBeast is a joke these days, but here, in his first appearance, he was the real deal. He cut off his own hand at one point rather than let Batman catch him! The real thrill though comes from how a wiser Batman defeats the Beast. It is a great example of how far Batman can go without crossing that “will not kill” line.

Cosmic Odyssey #1-4: This isn’t a Batman story alone, but he really shines in this. He blows a giant hole in an alien, outsmarts Darkseid, and almost thrashes Orion for a fallen comrade’s honor. It is a great showcase for how useful Batman is even in situations where, by all rights, he should not stand a chance.

Batman #477-478: “A Gotham’s Tale”. Batman, a man, and a woman are stuck inside a museum vault with only enough air for two of them to survive. They come upon the idea to trade stories and whoever’s story is “worst” will sacrifice themselves for the good of the rest. It is simple, but a great example of how much smarter Batman than, well, everyone else.

Legends of the Dark Knight #0: A rich man pays several authors to come out to his mansion and solve the mystery of who or what Batman is. Delight in the differing visions, none of which are entirely right or wrong, and, of course, how Batman derails the whole shebang in the end.

Batman: Long Halloween and Batman: Haunted Knight: Two excellent collections of top notch Jeph Loeb/Tim Sale work. Between these and Superman: Man for All Seasons, this duo has secured a place in the Comics Hall of Fame no matter what else they do.

Superman: Speeding Bullets: This book is essentially “what if you merged Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne’s origins” and does a nice job of exploring that very idea.

Batman: In Darkest Knight: Batman as a Green Lantern. Just as fanboy fan as the idea implies.

There is still tons more, but I will stop there for now. Consider it a primer and check back with us when you need some more Batman in your diet.


Beej9181 hungers for order in the universe

Does Grant Morrison and Dave McKean’s brilliant if disturbing “Arkham Asylum” take place within official Bat-continuity? I just read it for the first time and am curious as to whether the Joker’s disconcerting flirtation with Batman and Harvey Dent being re-trained to use tarot cards (ingenious) for a while “counts”.

Sadly it doesn’t really take place in Bat-continuity. Y’see back in 1989, there wasn’t such a thing as “Vertigo.” Had there been, this book would have most likely been classified as on the Vertigo side of things.

It’s a very dark and “mature” look at Batman and his foes. And while it may have had some influence on that Bat universe, it’s not really considered in canon.

When you factor in how Bats mutilates himself and the language used, this clearly isn’t to be read by everyone. And DC tends to keep books like that out of continuity. So while Arkham Asylum was based on the then current continuity, it’s not really in continuity.

Tim, care to share any thoughts on Arkham Asylum?

I think it is a fascinating, if ultimately flawed, look at the Dark Knight through the prism of “who’s really crazy here”. The one part that I will never get out of my head is poor, poor Harvey Dent and his deck of decision making cards. As an individual on his way to being a psychologist, it seems silly to say, but that always stands out to me as a warning about the very real possibility of doing harm while attempting to undo years of damage. Certainly Harvey was not better of “as is” but that was no solution either.


Jamie brings us a bit of info on a question from last week and it leads to MURDER.

If you check out the mini series where Batman faces Manbat and his family over genetically mutated locusts, you’ll see the girl (Marilyn) Batman is teamed with takes note of his scent.

“Until Joey, she’d thought that all men smelled of after-shave. Joey didn’t use deodorant. Nor does Batman. Marilyn likes that. Pheromones again”

This series leads me to my question. In part of the story, Batman is fighting with one of Manbat’s sons, called Virgil. When the second son tries to help too, they fall awkwardly and Batman breaks Virgil’s neck.

He justifies killing the by saying “It was unavoidable. My life was threatened”.

In several other stories, Batman has killed or allowed people to die and yet still acts totally anal about other people doing the same things. So the question is: How many people has Batman killed? I’m curious about this answer since a big part of his character has always been to never kill another person.

I know for a fact that Manbat is an Elseworlds, so the killing doesn’t really count. But thanks for reminding me, because I really did enjoy that mini. It was like the darkest Batman since Arkham Asylum.

As for Bats history of killing here’s what I wrote awhile back;

This isn’t the first time we’ve attempted to answer this question in this column.

Way back in the 5/15/03 column I answered the question of whether or not Superman or Batman has killed by saying;

The only case of Superman killing someone was in Superman #22. That was the only instance of Kal crossing the line that I know of.

Batman is another story. Bruce almost killed Joe Chill in “Batman: Year Two.” What stopped him you ask? The Reaper killed Chill first. Batman also left the KGBeast locked in the Gotham sewer, which is kind of like sentencing him to death. Most recently Bruce was willing to kill the Joker for all the pain and suffering he caused. So we can see that Bats is willing to cross the line. I’m sure that there are more incidents like this, but the only time I was a heavy Bat reader was for like five year, in the late eighties to the early nineties.

Man, what a crummy answer. There was some debate about an incident with Shiva and a ninja, but it boiled down to the fact that Bruce has never taken a life. KGBeast ended up alive. Joker is still breathing. Batman doesn’t even know who Joe Chill is.

Want further proof? Pick up Death and the Maidens miniseries. In issue #2 Ra’s al Ghul gives Batman a potion that will allow Bruce to speak with the dead, more specifically his deceased parent. The only catch, in order to meet them you have to meet every person that you’ve killed. Ra’s tells Bats “you have no dead to claim.” And who knows more about Batman than Ra’s al Ghul? So there you have it. Batman has never killed.

Y’know what? I’m sticking with this answer. Mostly because Ra’s is a man of his word and no one knows Batman like Ra’s does. He knows Batman better than he knows himself.

Batman is willing to cross the line, but he hasn’t yet. He can see a situation where killing might be necessary, but he’s just not gotten to that point yet. During Hush he was almost driven to killing Joker, but he didn’t. It’s very much a part of his character; this discipline. He restrains from crossing the line, because he knows there’s no crossing back.

Just like Angelina Jolie wouldn’t break up a marriage because of her childhood, Batman doesn’t dig killing because of his childhood. He always sees the “other” option. It’s just who he is.

Tim, you’ve got all that fancy book learnin’ get inside Batman’s head on the subject of killing.

I’m not sure if you need book learning for this or not, but here it goes. Bruce’s trauma is from his childhood and, in some ways, he has never moved from that era. Joker hits on this in, of all things, Punisher/Batman, when he mentions that Batman reacts like a child to crime, with toys and gadgets, not guns and ammo. Batman’s morality is much the same. As a child, he was taught that killing is never right and that was reinforced, rather starkly, by the death of his parents. Thus, even as an adult, he is unshakeable in this belief. He often flies off the handle and contemplates it, but, much like a child, his fear and guilt about crossing that line rein him in, more often than not. And if not, typically, the voice of a mentor (Commissioner Gordon, mostly) or father figure does so.

All that said, in the earlier mentioned Cosmic Odyssey, Batman does, with very little hesitation, does put a rather sizeable hole into an alien. So, perhaps, the no killing thing is a human only rule.


Kyle Litke is also confounded by the intricacies of DC Continuity

Speaking of Lex Luthor, Man of Steel, there’s a question for Mathan. Was that storyline in continuity (although not taking place in the present day)? Or was it essentially an Elseworlds story?

I’m of the mind that it’s in continuity. When you factor in Mr. Orr and Lex’s position in Metropolis I think that it is a DCU story all the way. Plus the Science Spire showed up in Superman #204, which is continuity.

The reason why it’s so unclear is that it’s very much a character portrait, as opposed to an action filled story. It appears to be blending the Lex Luthor of The Unauthorized Biography of Lex Luthor with the Lex of Birthright.

I loved the mini. I think that it’s the best portrayal of Lex in quite some time. In fact I’d love to read a Lex Luthor monthly written by Azz and drawn by…Rob Liefeld?

Yup, it’s true.

Tim, do you think that LL: Man of Steel is in continuity?

Yes, although I think it will make your brain melt to try to figure out where, exactly, it falls. Thus, I recommend enjoying its awesomeness and leave those questions to professionals like Mathan and I.


Stormangel revisits our recent history.

Is Birthright the current continuity, Byrne’s Man of Steel, or a mix of both. Never read Birthright, but read a detailed synopsis and it irked me, as it made many favorite elements of the Superman mythos now gone such as Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, and similar. Seemed to me that Birthright was made to make Superman closer to the Smallville show.

Ok, here’s what Tim and I wrote just over a month ago.

First let’s read my thoughts on Birthright

Birthright was ok. Here are some of the more notable changes;

Kal-el was born on Krypton, which looks much more like the Silver Age Krypton than John Byrne’s “World of Krypton.”

Clark Kent’s powers began developing earlier, more akin to the tv show Smallville’s timeline.

Another influence of Smallville, Lex Luthor spent some time in Smallville, and even went to school with Clark. The two were friends. (But young Lex still has flowing red locks in Birthright.)

Lex was a super genius, who was so smart that he alienated himself. His quest for comparable intelligence was a driving force in his looking for extraterrestrial life.

Clark didn’t find out his Kryptonian name until after he became Superman, when Lex attacked him in Metropolis.

No one in Smallville will acknowledge that Lex was ever there, nor will he acknowledge it. He suffered some sort of breakdown so that he doesn’t recognize that the Clark that he knew (sans glasses) looks anything like Superman (also sans glasses.)

That’s about it. There were some pretty good scenes, but it doesn’t really make up for some of the stuff that I didn’t enjoy. But I don’t want to bash the book.

Is Birthright in continuity? Kind of. If you look around you can see examples of Birthright being referenced in DCU books. For instance in Superman/Batman #1 the sequence where Clark recounts his origin is much more Birthright than Man of Steel or World of Krypton. In Superman/Batman Secret Files & Origins 2003 the second story (Young Luthor in Smallville) is clearly based on Birthright continuity, plus it’s written by Mark Waid who wrote Birthright.

But most recently in Superman #220 Supes used his vision powers to look at Superboy’s soul. The concept of Supes being able to view souls was introduced (in comics) in Birthright. Of course this issue also featured Eradicator, who has a clear link to World of Krypton.

Basically Birthright isn’t completely in continuity, but it’s clearly influencing it.

Tim, what’s your official stance on Birthright?

The nice thing about not really reading the Superman books very often is that I rarely have to redefine my understanding of Superman’s origins. Overall, I prefer the Man of Steel origin, but I think the best scenario is probably a bit of each being true. The one problem with Birthright is that if you really look at it, it causes a whole lot of other things in Superman’s timeline to go wonky. For example, prior to Birthright, Lex Luthor and Perry White were contemporaries. How can I contemporary of Perry White’s have grown up with Clark? Prior to Birthright, Lex was an older crooked business man who “died” of kryptonite poisoning, but actually had his brain inserted into new body that was introduced to the world as Lex Luthor the second. The idea of this is less mentioned now, but it was still all the vogue as recently as The Reign of the Supermen. Again, how could Lex realistically (in the eyes of the public) be Clark Kent’s age (roughly) and also have a child who is around Clark’s age? The nice thing about Man of Steel is that it rebooted the whole line. It was literally square one and thus everything else that came before it didn’t “happen” until it happened post-Crisis. With Birthright, however, the beginning was changed but none of the middle was. Thus, we have a problem. Add into that factors like the return of multi colored krypton, Supergirl, and Superdog and not one but two stories entitled return to Krypton and it is increasingly difficult to tell which way is up. But we also have another Crisis coming up, so perhaps all will be resolved soon enough.

In regards to Birthright tying the current Superman continuity to Smallville, I think that’s pretty much the truth, and I don’t fault DC for doing that. They are trying to capitalize on the popularity of Clark Kent in one medium, by altering the Clark Kent in another medium. Synergy makes sense. DC is trying to bring some new readers to the Superman titles, which aren’t exactly selling out every month. More people are watching Smallville than are reading the comics and DC is trying to help the comics move more units.

I’d also like to bring your attention to this part of your question;

Never read Birthright, but read a detailed synopsis and it irked me, as it made many favorite elements of the Superman mythos now gone such as Eradicator, Cyborg Superman.

Now almost twenty years ago a fan could have said “never read Man of Steel, but read a detailed synopsis and it irked me, as it made many favorite elements of Superman mythos now gone such as Superboy and Krypto.”

Y’see you’re lamenting the potential loss of some of your favorite aspects of the Superman universe. And I’m not saying that I’m not feeling what you’re feeling, but I can put it in perspective. Just like Psycho Pirate, I too remember the multiverse. I remember when people complained about losing “their” Superman. But I also remember the cool period afterwards.

Obviously the difference between Birthright and Man of Steel is that the latter was more organic while the former is being influenced by an outside medium. Still think about all of those cool things that were introduced in other media before the comics. Mercy, Lockdown, and Harley Quinn came from cartoons. Kryptonite came from the radio. And Livewire is currently making the transition from cartoons to comics. Corporate synergy can be a good thing.

My main problem with the Smallville-ization is what deemed ok to introduce from the show and what isn’t. I’ll spare you my obligatory “Black Pete Ross” rant, but I do find of what DC decided not to import from the show rather dubious.

Tim, do you have anything else to add to what is clearly going to be an ongoing debate?

As comic fans it is always tough to see the books altered by “outside” influences. Spider-Man fans lament the loss of mechanical web shooters, X-Men fans mourned the (short lived) death of spandex to make way for leather, Batman fans in the 60’s could barely recognize the Dark Knight in the day-glo dancing fool who replaced him. We know why they do it, so if fans trickle in from the other mediums, they’ll feel comfortable. More often than not though, we just don’t care. We were here first, why should what we like change so that others who never gave it the time of day til now will feel comfortable?

And that is a fine attitude to have as a fan, perhaps, but not as a business person. The fact is, they know that we will hang around, more or less, through thick and thin. The newbies though, they do not have our commitment. Think of it as the difference in how you might treat your partner after only three months of dating versus ten years of marriage. In the former, you are “earning” them, in the latter, you can be merely maintaining. A perfect scenario would suggest you never reach that “maintaining” status, but, sadly, things are rarely perfect. So the newbies, they are three month girl, and we, were are 10 year wife. Both are valuable, sure, but DC (and the rest of the comic companies) recognize you have to work harder for the latter.

I’m not saying it does not stink, I’m just saying that, if you divorce yourself from the situation and look at it with cold indifference, it makes sense.

As for what they use and what they don’t, yes, it can be frustrating. For example, the multi-colored kryptonite returning to the DCU because of Smallville? Color me less than thrilled. (God forgive me for that pun). But, I know I don’t own the character so I take the bitter with the sweet.


Blaine brings up the dark, distant past

Being that 411 was originally a wrestling site, and November has the annual Survivor Series, who would you have on a four man, DC team? Anyone in the DCU qualifies, but keep in mind that this is a team and they have to get along enough to work together.

What is this 411 you speak of? I’ve never heard of it.

I keed, I keed.

This is, like, too easy. There are so many four person teams that can be complied. Here’s what I came up with off the top of my head;

Mercy, Livewire, Lockdown, Harley Quinn

Lar Gand, Valor, Mon el, M’onel

Arsenal, Nightwing, Flash, Tempest.

Robin, Huntress, Batgirl, Batman

Geo Force, Black Lightning, Katana, Metamorpho (that’s for you Cam!)

Black Canary, Green Arrow, Speedy, Connor Hawke

Mr. Terrific, Doctor Midnite, Hourman, Stargirl

Monolith, Breach, Bloodhound, Richard Dragon

Oliver Queen, Hal Jordan, Jason Todd, Donna Troy

Sue Dibny, Max Lord, Ted Kord, Dmitri Pushkin

Snapper Carr, Secret, Empress, Lil’ Lobo

Hourman, Resurrection Man, Chase, Chronos

Again, there are a myriad of combinations I could come up with, those were just the themes that I came up on the fly.

The team I’m going with is Superman, Lois Lane, Alex Luthor and Superboy Prime. I don’t think that you’re going to find a team that’s more finely tuned than this. They’ve spent the last twenty years together! Who else has that much team experience?

You’ve got two kryptonians, a kid from the anti-matter universe and a woman who looks pretty spry for her age? No one it beating that.

Tim can you come up with better squad?

Better? Perhaps not. More hilarious? Definitely.

I submit my fabulous foursome: Streaky the Supercat, Comet the Superhorse, Krypto the Superdog, and Supergirl. Beppo gets a pass. Why? Well, with any luck, this group would make the name “Survivor Series” ironic by being dispatch in various brutal ways.

Remember when I said above about taking the bitter with the sweet? Yeah, I should have mentioned that that does not mean you cannot wish whatever aspects of continuity you wish did not return ultra violent ends.

Ooo, another good foursome: Beppo, Grodd, Gleek, and Detective Chimp. So much monkey/ape. Almost too much? Hmm…no. Never too much monkey.


Neil wants us to save him money

Also, I only got the Teen Titans issues of “The Insiders,” so what happened with the Outsiders issues with Indigo being Brainiac 8 and how did Superboy break free of Lex’s control.

Man! Now I have to dig around and actually find those issues. My room is so far from being settled after the move. I don’t even know if those issues are in “heavy rotation” or “under loads of other stuff.”

Oh Neil, I can never say no to you.

(after way too much searching in way too many boxes)

Hey Neil, interesting fact; I’m a bit obsessive compulsive about some things. My CD’s have to be in alphabetical order, separated by genre. Also I should be able to find any comic book in my present collection in two minutes. For every thirty seconds longer than that it takes to find a certain issue I become increasingly frantic. And should this occur at, say 4am I have the outward appearance of a madman.

But back to your answer. Indigo didn’t “become” Brainiac 8, she always was Brainiac 8. Indigo was just a façade, or more accurately a sub program. Y’see apparently Donna Troy spells doom for Colu, so Brainiac 8 was sent to the present to kill her.

After that was accomplished Indigo laid low to make sure that Donna stayed dead. She was reprogrammed by Arsenal, but her main program was just laying dormant. When Lex and Brainiac decided to activate their agents, then Indigo reverted to her true purpose.

In issue #24, “Indigo” beats down on the Outsiders. I mean she dismantles them. And makes Roy look like more of a fool than he did last issue.

As for Superboy snapping out of it, it happens in #25, when Lex attacks Cassie. It’s enough to bring Connor back and he brings it to Lex. Lex barely escapes due to the timely dropping of some kryptonite. “Indigo” is defeated when Shift turns her form into flesh. But since he can’t make her “alive” she dies. Get it?

The Insiders was a decent story. I dug it. It does kind of suck that Brainiac 8 didn’t last more than two issues though.

Tim, what are your thoughts on The Insiders?

I thought the change in art style between the issues was jarring but otherwise, I quite enjoyed 75% of it. Since the first issue of The Outsiders part of the crossover was essentially the first issue of the Teen Titans part with different characters that I cared less about, that costs it the 25%. Harsh, perhaps, but that is how this fella rolls.


Phew, after looking for those issues, I’m tuckered out. Thus the column comes to a close.

But don’t worry, the conversations have just begun over on our very own thread. It usually offers a glimpse at what’s coming up next for next week’s column. And should you decide not to post your questions or comments there, you can always email me.

Before I go, my question to you this week; which of Batman’s stories do you consider definitive?

“Now I’ll relate this little bit; it happens more than I’d like to admit.”

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