Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I was thinking about the finale for Nip/Tuck the other day and I’ve got to say, it still gets under my skin. But have you caught anything interesting on TV lately?

Well, by the time the world gets to read this glorious column, the first episode of Veronica Mars since December will have aired here in the States and I am sure it will be excellent. Besides that prediction, however, only “24” season premiere has really knocked my socks off (although the subsequent episodes were quite good as well). There has been plenty of good TV since shows returned from their holiday hiatus, but not much has blown my hair (or lack thereof) back yet.


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Our DC Forums is a darn tootin’ good time!

Tim are you linking anything this week?

You know what? I do not think I am. I’m just not feeling the inspiration in that arena tonight.

What I Read Last Week

(No joke; this was like the biggest week I’ve had in awhile. I was cringing when it was getting rung up.)

Infinite Crisis #4 – So much happened this issue I’ll have to make a list and give my reaction. It’s the only way I can do the issue justice;

Bludhaven’s Fate – Damn. I really liked that town.

Me too. But don’t worry, Force of July is on the way to make it all better again. Sweet, sweet Force of July.

Explaniation of the Countdown Minis – I can live that.

Alex Luthor’s Power Girl kiss – Really Alex? I get it Tom Cruise Alex; you like girls. Way to jump the couch. Are you sure you’re not trying to make Superboy-Prime jealous, because he sure looked jealous.

Just stop right there! Alex is no Tom Cruise and I resent the comparison. Tom is all hetero man! He’s a handsome man, sure, but he is straight as can be. So don’t hate.

Alex though? Way camp.

New Blue Beetle – Good enough for me. I’m not picky.

Nor am I. Viva el Ecarabajo Azul nuevo!

New Spectre – I’m sold. Not only am I picking up Gotham Central but I’m going to grab the Spectre mini too.

I was sorry to see the character go in the first place, but this should be interesting. Intriguing way to maintain the legacy as well.

Titan Massacre – If only Superboy-Prime could to the same to my actual memories and collection of The Titans.

Sadly, nothing can do that. Even when you mind has been ravaged by senility so 70 or more years from now to the point that you cannot recognize your own children, the memory of Titans will remain.

End of the Speed Force? – Sweet Perez art! Sad to see it go. But at least it’s not as final as Barry’s fate 20 years ago.

Earth 2 Fade Out – Quite the cliffhanger.

Firestorm #21 – Can I just say I’m pleasantly surprised this book is still around. I thought with the demise of the Jolley-verse and the Jason-haters this book would have fallen by the wayside. But this issue continues to make me love this title.

Ex Machina #17 – I’m so hoping that we aren’t going to see a “priests are molesters” storyline, but given the timeframe of the book it appears inevitable. I liked the taste of Baghdad and the phone conversation. But I’m not really desperate for the next issue.

Legion of Super Heroes #13 – Satisfying conclusion. Great letters page as always. You’ve got to love Brainy taking a prisoner of war.

All Star Superman #2 – What a glorious issue! This issue so delivered on the promise of the title and entire line. And it was cool to see the DC One Million Superman. This was such a good issue.

“Glorious” is the perfect word to describe this issue.

Manhunter #18 – See Alex, this is how you do it. Todd was a hero who turned villain and he’s gay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s the year 2006. By the way this was another good issue.

Green Lantern #7 – Nice to see the Black Mercy again. I’ve not see it since it since JLA: Destiny. I am curious to see what role Mongal will play in the story.

Can someone please come up with a better name for Mongal? Pretty please?

Hellblazer #216 – Great start for Mina. This would have worked well as a stand alone issue, but I really can’t wait for the next chapter.

Nightwing #116 – Imagine how well this issue would have read if we’d had the two chapters of the story we missed out on? We might have actually cared about all of Nightwing’s work (which we saw little of) and find out why he wanted to save Blockbuster’s lawyer. Still the issue worked very well mostly because Infinite Crisis #4 also came out this week.

Flash #230 – I expected so much more from a final issue, especially a book I’ve been reading for 19 years! Eh, Infinite Crisis #4 kind of made up for my disappointment in this issue.

JSA Classified #7 – Aw, a happy ending, kind of. It’s cool that the Injustice Society has a hangout and a formidable roster. It was also cool to see Nyssa again, for a spell I thought she was hanging out with Bloodwynd.

Testament #2 – As a callback to the last column, this is about as close as I plan on getting to the Bible. Unfortunately this issue was darn slow. I hope next issue is better.

Gotham Knights #73 – Those Killing Joke dwarves are creepy. Way creepy. It was good to see how Joker recuperated and bonded with nature. His scene with “robin” was pretty clever.

The Losers #31 – I actually read through this issue thinking it was the final issue. I’m thinking “there’s no way they wrap everything up before this issue is over.” Twas still a good issue, though I’m thankful it wasn’t the last one, for many reasons.

Mister Miracle #3 – Wow. That was pretty brutal. Shilo got treated a bit harshly. This was just a downright down issue. I’m still bummed and it’s been like a week already.

Jon C. just can’t seem to remember what he wanted to ask

Why isn’t more made of the fact that the League mindwiped ninety White Martians? Made them think they had no powers, placed them in jobs where they would be exposed to fire, all that jazz. How come that’s kosher, but making Dr Light into a third-string Teen Titans villain instead of just, I don’t know, beating him to death is the highest crime imaginable? Is it because people, deep down, don’t give a damn about space aliens? Or is it because the members of that particular League are meant to stand on some kind of anti-mindwiping moral high ground, continuity be damned? I mean, Batman was in on that mindwipe.

You make a valid point. I’m going to try to bring up some points that might put it more in context.

The Martian were indeed aliens Everyone knows that aliens aren’t afforded the same rights as citizens or even humans. The same way no one raises a stink about Superman killing those Phantom Zoners, but Wonder Woman gets the book thrown at her.

They posed a greater threat These were super powered aliens, an entire flock of them. With super powers! The same way no one raises a stink about Superman killing those Phantom Zoners, but Wonder Woman gets the book thrown at her.

Dr Light was personal He could have just been locked up in Belle Reve, which would have held him, unlike the Martians. However the League took the extreme action, kind of like when the cop did a full on cop stop with his vehicle to pull me over for jaywalking.

That cop was a straight up jerk, no doubt about that.

The League is supposed to be better than that If the Outsiders did it, hey, they color outside the lines. If the Teen Titans did it, they’re just kids. But the League is supposed to know better.

And they weren’t in total agreement. And they mindwiped one of their own. What makes the League mindwiping Dr. Light so extra bad is because there was dissension and they also wiped Batman. They knew what they did was wrong and they had to clean up their mess.

And no one cares about damn dirty aliens.

Tim, how do you feel about the mindwiping incidents?

I file it under Superman and the Kryptonian Supercriminals. It was necessary to quell the White Martian threat and this option was the least harsh way to carry that out. However, as future stories revealed this mind wiping also came back to bite the JLA in their proverbial ass so maybe mindwiping really never is a good idea.

Even in the case of damn dirty aliens.

Jag has double vision

[In Superman/Batman] All the Super/Bat-Kids decide to infiltrate the White House and I saw a character that I didn’t recognize. She looked like a Supergirl as she had the S on her costume but had short black hair. Then, about 3 or 4 issues later, we get another Supergirl who was in an underwater pod and looked like the traditional Supergirl. Who the heck was this black-haired Supergirl?

Ah Cir El, likely to be forgotten in the annals of history, but I seem to recall that many believed she was partially to blame for the demise of Peter David’s amazing Supergirl title.

Anyway Cir El was originally introduced as Superman’s daughter and she had the DNA to prove it! She appeared in the Superman books and caused a bit of tension between Lois and Kal because of the whole DNA thing. She was also supposed to be from the future.

In the end it turned out that Cir El was a pawn of the Futuresmiths. They had grabbed Kal’s DNA in the Superman 10 Cent Adventure and used it in an experiment with a human girl which resulted in Cir El. It was part of a long convoluted plot that involved Brainiac. How bad was it? So bad that it’s yet to be mentioned again.

As much as I hate Kara Zor El, she did essentially wipe Cir El from everyone’s minds, so she’s got some positives. Right Tim?

Well…yeah. That is certainly one of them.

Now, I have never been hesitant to discuss in this column my distaste for Supergirl. I do not love the concept of the character in the first place (I prefer Superman as the lone survivor), the stories that she was featured in did little to develop her in a way that was interesting to me, and the stories themselves never struck me as particularly good. Essentially, I feel the same way about her as I feel about Krypto. Needless diluting of the Superman brand because once, in the Silver Age, these concepts worked.

All of that being said, I have to acknowledge that there is at least one other positive that Supergirl (this one in particular) possesses. It came to my attention because of Ben Morse (who turned 23 this Tuesday) dates a fine young woman named Megan. Megan is not a longtime comic fan. There are a few titles she has come to enjoy by being with Ben, however. Chief among them is Supergirl. It is, point of fact, her favorite.

Now, it seems to me that if this title has this effect on other ladies, if it manages to appeal to a key demographic that American comics have long tried to and failed to tap, then that should be noted and praised.

I still dislike the character (or, more accurately, the stories involving the character), but props must be given where props are earned.

Brave Dhaise heads off, once more into the… well, you know the rest

Any guesses as to why Alex Luthor would be interested in Breach for his master plan? He seems to be the wild card.

Now I originally planned a snarky response claiming not to know what you’re talking about since Breach is nowhere to be found in Infinite Crisis #4. However upon closer inspection I realized that Breach is the horribly miscolored figure to the left of Power Girl on page #3.

That caused me to check back with Infinite Crisis #3 where it appears that there are three positions to be filled on Alex’s Tower; one between Lady Quark and Ray, one between Breach and J’onn (which is filled by Power Girl) and one to the left of Breach. Kara and Nightshade are two of the filler’s but who’s the third?

You didn’t mention Black Adam…could he be the third? Or did you just forget him?

Oh wait, I’m supposed to be answering your question.

Well I guess that since Breach was a bit of a “rifter” if I recall correctly, his powers might be formidable in opening paths to other dimensions. He’s also a very powerful character who might be able to provide some of the extra juice that, say, magical lightning won’t provide.

But I think that he’s mostly there to die. I don’t think that J’onn, Kara or Black Adam are going to die. I’m also betting that Ray will survive. However I’d put up some serious dough saying that Breach is dead. His title is done, he’s got limited ties to the DCU. He’s basically super expendable. So I’m saying Alex Luthor is using him because he knows he can kill him with no problem.

Tim, can you explain what Breach is doing there? Or even how he got there? Did that happen in the same issue that Bloodwynd died in?

Dhaise, please forgive Mathan. He’s just being facetious.

Of course he knows what Breach is doing there. And how he got there. And where Bloodwynd is too. But he wants you to buy the book to find out.

What book you ask? A fine question, that is. Good for you for asking it.

The book is Identity Crisis 1/3, a Comics Nexus exclusive. It is written by Mathan and myself, drawn by (ex?) webcomics columnist Bill Ellis, inked by the loveable and impeccable Dani (of Fangirl Ramblings), and colored by, I don’t know, let’s say Daron.

Featured between its covers are not only the answers to how Breach got where he is and why and what ever happened to Bloodwynd but ALSO:

– Where’s Gunfire during all of this?
– The exclusive truth on Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor’s “friendship
– Beauty tips from Big Barda
– Aztek’s triumphant return…………………………and subsequent explosion.

Be the first on your block to own it today!!!!!

Vortex gets taken to school…business school

I went to my regional Amazon site looking for Superman Hunter/Prey. I thought it was a kinda strange error that it was out of stock and the used copy was £118. So I dumped amazon and moved to some other graphic novel distributor, where they said it was still over $100. Why is this book so expensive?

I’m pretty sure this is just a case of supply and demand. Much like the case of the one comic that I truly covet, Elsesworlds 80 Page Giant, there’s a pretty steady demand and very little supply.

I’m sure that the demand for this book is coming from people who were reliving their childhood. The trade came out just over a decade ago, which is just about enough time for someone to fall out and back into comics.

That coupled with the fact that it unveiled the origin for Doomsday and featured a rematch between Kal and Doomsday, and you can see how this collection has sold out and is fetching high prices.

Those youngsters who ate up “The Death of Superman” were eager to find out how Doomsday came to be, and how the rematch went.

I actually think that I’ve got that trade somewhere back in Tucson (where the majority of my collection resides).

(Speaking of Tucson, should you ever be in the area, or know anyone around there, I’d suggest you venture to Fantasy Comics. It’s where I found both JLA: One Million Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper two equally out of print books, though not quite as in demand. You’d stand a fare shot at finding what you’re looking for there.)

Tim, how do you explain the insanely high price for Hunter/Prey and should I should I sell my copy now?

I explain it like I explain all things I do not understand: it is all because of intelligent design. Or the invisible hand of the marketplace. Or possibly a tag team of design and invisible hand.

As far as should you sell it? I don’t recall if it was any good or not. If it wasn’t, go ahead. If it was, take pictures of it and send them to Vortex, forever taunting him with what you have that he does not.

Aaron just does not feel alive unless he’s soaking in the HEAT

Was the downward spiral of Hal Jordan/GL considered a “mistake” by the DC brass? It just seems that they went a long, long way in tearing him down and establishing Kyle as the one and only GL. Then, in a quick little miniseries, Hal’s back in as, essentially, the one and only GL. Was Kyle’s 10-year run considered a failure? Were there that many people clamoring for Hal’s return? Or was this all part of some 10-year plan to jerk readers around before bringing back Hal?

Ok, Aaron, I’m going to tackle your questions one at a time.

Was the downward spiral of Hal Jordan/GL considered a “mistake by the DC brass?

Yeah, I’m guessing that they do consider it a mistake. It was disrespectful to the character, which I’m sure they regret. It was also an attempt to capitalize on the fad at the time, stunt stories. It got a reaction, just not the reaction they had hoped for. So I think that 20/20 hindsight, they wish they had handled the situation differently.

I’d concur with that opinion. I really enjoyed ‘Emerald Twilight’ and the Kyle stuff which followed it, but I was just a second hand Hal fan through my father (who counted Hal and Thor as his two favorite characters). So, for me, I did not have any sort of true emotional investment in Hal Jordan. For more entrenched fans, I can certainly appreciate how they would have felt betrayed.

If I was DC and I had a time machine to do it all over again, I’d still end it all with Hal going off the reservation and becoming Parallax, but I would have built up to it. Sadly, 3 issues just was not enough of a time investment to establish Hal’s building madness.

Was Kyle’s ten year run considered a failure?

I don’t think that they considered it a “failure” but I also don’t think it was a successful as they’d hoped. I think that DC was kind of hoping for the “new generation/torch has been passed” reaction that they got when Barry and Hal took over for Jay and Alan at the dawn of the Silver Age. Or the very least they were hoping for the gradual acceptance that Wally got after inheriting “The Flash” mantle.

I’ll also say that Kyle’s tenure was rather bland. His rogue’s gallery was laughable. Some of his most memorable stories featured Hal Jordan (either as Parallax or as a time displaced rookie GL.) I think my favorite issue was when he was being tortured by Desaad. Wait, Alex in the fridge was pretty memorable too.

It wasn’t a failure, but it also wasn’t enough to make people forget about Hal.

I disagree with some of that. I think, short term, the onset of Kyle Rayner was a rousing success. And considering that, with moves like these, DC was only largely concerned about the short term, I think they were plenty pleased with that.

Long term, obviously, some of those new readers and some of that heat (no pun intended) drifted away. However, for most of Kyle’s tenure, the books was ranked consistently higher on the sales chart than prior to Kyle’s arrival. (Unit sales, however, might have been higher with Hal. That’s an unfair comparison, though, because all comics sold a lot higher 10 or 20 years ago than they do now).

Villain wise, I would not describe Kyle’s as laughable, only mediocre. Major Force was a formidable foe (although not specifically Kyle’s to begin with) the bedeviled Kyle a few keys times during the series in a way one would expect from an archnemesis.

Parallax, as mentioned, was an excellent villain, both on his own and as a warning about how Kyle could end up. I’ll get more into Hal in a second though.

Effigy, Nero, Grayven, and the kid in the wheelchair who Kyle “healed” that eventually made a deal with Neron, were all strong showers in their debuts, but never were given enough face time after to reach the level of “archnemesis”.

Fatality, in my opinion, had a great origin and mission, but never progressed beyond her debut arc.

Already existing villains the Kyle, in essence, inherited, like Sonar fared less well (his exposed metal look was…unfortunate).

A big problem for Kyle, as you intimated above, was that he was literally and figuratively, constantly shadowed by Hal Jordan. Whether it be the memory of him, his new status as a villain, or that time traveling rookie, it seemed like Kyle could only go a few months before running into Hal again. Plus, HEAT was constantly circling the wagons, demanding Hal’s return. Between both HEAT and DC’s inability to let Hal go, Kyle never really had a fair shake, in my opinion, of “replacing” Hal as the prominent GL of that time.

Were there that many people clamoring for Hal’s return?

Kind of. Y’see Kyle took over as G.L. right around the time when the “internet” was becoming huge and widely accessible. Thus those who were outraged at Hal’s treatment were vocal, and persistent. H.E.A.T. (Hal’s Emerald Advancement Team) was practically as fanatical as PETA when it came to Ron “I Made Hal Jordan Crazy” Marz. That poor man endured years of harassment.

Honestly, even before Rebirth was announced, the Green Lantern Message Boards over at the DC site were still full of “Hal’s a Better” or “Bring Hal Back” threads. Some people refused to give up hope.

Hal also had some strong supporters within the industry most notably Geoff Johns (who became DC’s golden boy and Tim’s best friend) and painter extraordinaire Alex Ross. Those are two guys who carry a bit of weight.

I wasn’t “clamoring” for Hal’s return, but I was happy when it happened. Hal was the GL that I grew up with. Hal was the reason I got into comics. So part of me did appreciate his return, but I faithfully followed Kyle’s adventures as well because I’m a fan of the concept.

I think that that is a pretty good summation of things. I’d remind you and everyone else though that while Ron Marz wrote ‘Emerald Twilight’, he did not make Hal crazy. That decision was made before Marz was even hired to do the book. He was just the lucky fella that got to carry it out.

I’m of a mixed mind on having Hal back. In some ways, I wish that DC stuck to their guns and left the man alone. However, they never did from the moment they made him Parallax. Even in death, he came back as the Spectre. So really, you had to see his return coming.

I think ‘Rebirth’ was a legitimately good story so I was pleased that if he had to come back, he came back with class.

These days, I am just trying to get used to this characterization of Hal. For me, as I’ve said before, the perpetual strong jaw and “I’m the man now dog” way about Hal these days is not what I tend to look for in comic characters. I like my heroes with a bit of feet of clay. So, while it is not an invalid characterization choice, I’m still not a 100% on board with “new” Hal.

Or was this all part of some 10-year plan to jerk readers around before bringing back Hal?

I don’t think it was part of a 10 year plan, but I do think that DC recognized that enough time had passed for them to give Hal a second (or third) chance.

To believe this was a 10 year plan is to imply that DC was thinking that far ahead. I don’t think any comic company has a 10 year plan and I am almost positive that the DC of that particular era had no plan even close to 10 years.

Tim do you have anything to add to this?

Only that, in addition to this week bringing Alumnus Ben Morse’s birthday, it also brings Rebirth and current GL scribe Geoff Johns’ birthday too, on the 26th. So please be sure to wish both Ben and the man labeled by Mathan to be DC’s golden boy and my best friend a happy birthday.

Soak1313 is about to get set straight

Didn’t Hal take down Salakk(sp?) when he went all ring crazy, but they show him in the current issue ring and all?

Salakk did not get taken down by Hal Jordan. That was a vicious rumor spread by Hal haters. It’s simply not true.

In order to understand where Salakk’s been you’ve got to go all the way back to Green Lantern Corps #224 shortly after Sinestro died, for the first time.

Salakk, who had been hanging out in the 58th Century as Pol Manning, returned to the present day Oa too late to prevent the GLs from killing Sinestro and dooming the Corps. The Central Power Battery fell apart and few rings were left working. Sadly Salakk’s wasn’t one of the working ones.

Salakk didn’t want to be stranded on Oa so he caught a ride to H’lven to hang out with his estranged old friend Ch’p. Ch’ps ring still worked and the two rebuilt their friendship.

However Ch’p abandoned his ring to get closer to his people. When it came time for hibernation on the planet Salakk was left in the cold, literally. Salakk then entered a phase that all members of his race would enter, a time when they would be reborn.

Eventually Ch’p picked up his ring again and realized that the Corp was in a rebuilding phase. Ch’p took Salakk to Oa. Ch’p was aiding John Stewart on Oa when Ch’p met a tragic end. Salakk was still kind of out of it.

Later John and Salakk connected on another place of consciousness and Salakk snapped out of being “out of it.” Salakk was evacuated from Oa before Kyle Rayner destroyed it. Even later Salakk was captured by an interstellar slave ring. He was freed by Guy Gardner.

But between then and now, what Salakk’s been up to hasn’t been revealed.

Tim, don’t you feel like you know Salakk just a bit better now?

Can we ever really know Salakk? I mean, really really know? Can we ever really know anyone else for that matter?

Soak1313 is too lazy to slack his own bloodlust

Who all did Hal take down before he killed(not really) Sinestro? I just read emerald twilight and am wondering who I am thinking of, and I am too lazy to just go get the trade.

Oh, and I’m not lazy? I’m just supposed to grab my trade and spout off who Hal took out, but didn’t kill (like I’ve been saying for years.)

Okay, in Green Lantern #49 Hal takes out Ke’Haan or Varva, Laira of Jayd, Tomar Tu, Jack T. Chance, Kreon of Tebis, Hannu of Ovacron Six, Graf Toren of Karax, Boodikka and Kilowog.

And none of them are dead.

Come on, Kilowog was dead. VERY DEAD. He is only walking around right now because of editorial decision. Hal might not be guilty of literal murder because of that, but shouldn’t it at least count as attempted?

Tim, is laziness a good enough reason to ask a question?

Sure it is. Laziness is also a great reason for diabetes, asking someone else to dial a phone for you, drive-bys, and tons of other stuff involving the letter “d”.

W.T. Harmon craves balance in the universe

With the success of Supreme Power over in Marvel, would the Champions of Angor (or Assemblers or Justifiers if you prefer) work for DC?

I really don’t think that it would work. Sure part of the allure of Supreme Power is that it’s full of DC analogues in a “real world” setting. But I also suspect that an equal part of it’s success is that it’s a book featuring costumed heroes that doesn’t take place in an already over populated NYC.

Let’s be real, Marvel’s NYC might as well be Springfeld from The Simpsons. Say what you will about Metropolis and Gotham, they’re a bit more realistic than a villain trying to commit a crime in a NYC protected by Daredevil, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.

Take offs on Marvel concepts work best in small doses like the Maximums in Superman/Batman or popping up on the pages of The Authority.

Tim, do you think that DC should try to take the Supreme Power approach?

I hesitate to sound editorial on this, but I think it really comes down the story that will be told. It is not enough to simply say, “Hey, look, thinly veiled versions of the Avengers in the DCU!” There has to be a compelling reason for them being there. So it could be a good idea, but only if the plotting is equal to the idea.

Stephen A is feeling a bit impish today

Recently, I read Aquaman v1 #1. There was a little Water Sprite character named Quisp who reminded me of an Aquaman version of Bat-Mite and I was wondering if he appeared anywhere outside of this story and if he has, did he ever make a post-crisis appearance.

Ah Quisp. He has appeared in half of the issues of Aquaman’s first year (#’s 1,4,6,7,10 and 11). He was a friendly creature that aided Aquaman. He was actually a 5th Dimensional Imp, just like Mr. Mxyzptlk

However when Aquaman got is 90’s grim makeover that featured a hook hand, long hair and a beard Quisp too changed. He got darker, less mischievous and more malevolent. With his change in demeanor he also adopted the moniker Qwsp. He showed up in JLA: Crisis Times Five as well as in the recent JSA #78-80.

Tim, how do you like him better as Quisp or Qwsp?

“W” is a way more extreme way of following up “Q” that “Ui” is, so I’ve got to give the nod to Qwsp. Plus, malevolent trumps mischievous in the battle of the “m” words all the time.

That’s going to be the end of the column this week. Be sure to return next week were I unveil a plan for a Bizarro column. We’ll probably also address some more Infinite Crisis stuff and perhaps even Guy Gardner.

Make sure to email me your questions and comments or you can post them over on our very own nifterific thread!

My question to you this week: Is there really something going on between Superboy-Prime and Alex Luthor?

“Oh men don’t notice what they’ve got.”