Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I’m so excited! I just got seasons 1-5 of Homicide: Life on the Street! Now I can get reacquainted with Frank Pembleton and witness Tim Baliss’ growth as a “murder police.” I also get to watch the episodes in the order the producers intended to air them (which greatly adds to the viewing pleasure). My poor, poor DVD player. Admit it Tim; you envy me.

I will make no secret of my envy for you in this (and many other) arenas. Once a night on Sleuth just is not enough for that show, I’ll tell you that.

Before we go too far into the column allow me to unveil my latest concept column; The Bizarro Column! This is where y’all answer the questions that Tim and I pose. Of course you’re thinking; “Mathan, do we already answer the questions you pose at the end of the column every week” to which I respond “sometimes.”

But this is different. This time we’re going to run some questions that pretty much have actual answers, not subjective ones. Maybe they’ll be easy like “what planet is Mon El from” or maybe they’ll be complex like “have we already seen the Seventh Minuteman in 100 Bullets ?” So put your thinking caps on and prepare to wow Tim and I with your amazing answers. We may even begin to post some questions next week.

YAY! For Bizarro Column!


IP Music has reviews.

IP Movies also has reviews.

IP Games has yet more reviews.

IP Figures has previews.

IP TV has recaps.

IP Sports has response.

Moodspins has rejoicing.

IP Culture has respect.

Our DC Forums has response to some Cartoon Network decisions, and some ideas about Infinite Crisis!

Tim, I don’t want you to feel pressured, but if you want to link something you can.

And so I shall.

I like to laugh and demand that you do too so here’s a link to a meme that has been sweeping the comic blogosphere that I cannot help but smile at every time I see a new incarnation of it. Sure, it might get old eventually, but, for now, its golden!

Read Last Week

Vigilante #5 – Oh. My. Gosh. What. A. Shocking. Conclusion. Tim, why couldn’t we have been wrong on this one?

My simple and rude explanation is that Jones just isn’t very good. But, I’ll keep that to myself.

Fallen Angel #2 – Giggle! What a great read. It was nice to see Bumper and Mariah again. I’m also really digging the art. I’m so happy to have this book back.

Green Lantern Corps #4 – This is only a 5 issue mini? The issue was a bit jargon-y for my taste, but it was readable. And I’ll be damned if I attack Patrick Gleason, he truly rocks.

Usually, I’d concur. But this issue? So muddy, so deformed.

Plastic Man #20 – This issue made me cry. It was to great, beautifully rendered fun to read. I really wish this wasn’t the last issue. I’m going to miss this book.

Batman #649 – I’m not Battle’s biggest fan, but since the great L.A. Williams cosigned for the guy, I try to buy his books. Still I wish this book had been advertised as containing Battle’s art. The story was as swell as ever though.

Wonder Woman #225 – This was a very nice slow things down issue. It put things in perspective. I really got a feel for Diana in this issue. Good work to all.

JLA Classified #16 – Interesting. I’ve really got to start reading Birds of Prey because I never seem to catch Gail on top of her game.

Yes, you do. It is way better than this “Saddam Hussein as supervillain” stuff.

Planetary #24 – Tim, I can see why you didn’t really dig the issue, but I enjoyed it. It may be because I’ve read the last half dozen issues in a relatively short span of time, but it was cool to have another “slow down” issue. Man, do I enjoy this book.

Black Panther #12 – I’m torn, this book kind of feels like “Marvel Black Character Team Up”, but it kind of pulls it off. It was nice to see Hurricane Katrina referenced and to see Power Man and Panther chat. Solid issue.

Adventures of Superman #648 – This is a tie in issue. Full of heart. But what was up with Hal’s ring on his index finger? Did I miss something?

Maybe Hal’s other finger was swollen. Or he’s been bulking up lately (too much holiday eating) and it just does not fit like it used to.

Onto the column where yet again, everyone has failed to place the lyric. But it’s ok, I’ll let it slide…this time

You guys are just lucky Mathan’s holding me back.

A full three weeks ago Neil proved psychic

The Monitor operated out of a satellite. Could Alex Luthor be doing the same? Re-reading The OMAC Project, it seems to me that Max Lord might not have been fully responsible for Brother Eye becoming sentient. In fact, there is the question of who deleted the data…Brother Eye says it was the creator, but Batman doesn’t seem to have done so. I think Alex manipulated Brother Eye somehow, leaving “fingerprints” to make Brother Eye and Max think it was Bruce, but really he’s using Brother Eye as a staging ground.

Think about it, wouldn’t someone who was able to do what he did and control the Villains find a satellite that could keep track of all metahumans pretty useful?

Now the current me says that this sounds pretty plausible. Especially since that’s roughly what Alex admitted to in Infinite Crisis #4.

However the me from a month ago thought this was preposterous. I mean how could Alex have done that, he was locked in paradise. Further more, he’s no scientist, he’s just a matter/anti-matter mulatto. (I think he prefers the term “mixed matter”. Let’s try to be sensitive about these things, shall we?) Sure his pop was a heroic Luthor who crafted a ship that was able to traverse dimensions, but his mom was just some housewife who was a straight “C” student and dropped out of an Earth 3 community college before receiving her Associates.

I’m also pretty sure that the me from a month ago would have gone off on some tangent about how Alex wouldn’t have had the time to study creating satellite sentience because he was too busy teaching Superboy-Prime about the joys of manhood, Brokeback Mountain-style.

Anyway, my hat goes off to you Neil. You did indeed peg that one. I didn’t think see it coming, but then again I though The Carver was Jude and was sure that Gigli was going to break box office records, so what do I know?

Tim, anything to add to this one?

Bravo, Neil, bravo! I wanted to send you a prize, but mean ol’ Daron said no, no prizes for Neil. So instead, just imagine what fun it would be to have a brand new pony. Got it in your mind? Good…that’s my gift to you.

It would have been a real pony, but you know how Daron is.

Soak1313 asked this question many moons ago and won’t take a hint!

Sorry to be a pain Mathan, but I was wondering if you had any news on that big brained robot guy I asked you about that was on the inside cover of the Alex Ross mythology book? Well not exactly the inside cover but the actual book cover when you take the dust jacket off. If you were saving that question for something I apologize for bugging you about it.

And then more recently he added this link

Giant robot guy with giant brain…upper right corner…who is it?

Now before I get to the answer I’ve got to explain myself.

I don’t actually own a copy of Mythology, I’m not that big of an Alex Ross fan. Sure he draws a real purty pitcher, but I’m actually more of a story guy. Thus I never leapt at the chance to buy Mythology when it came out.

When Soak1313 sent me the question I thought; “I’ll just go down to Barnes & Noble and take a gander.” Unfortunately every store that went to only had the softcover.

Still I figured it’d still be included somewhere. But for the life of me I couldn’t find anyone that met that description “giant robot guy with giant brain.” Maybe it’s because I was thinking of metallic robot or maybe it’s just because I knew the back story of the character he was describing, but I never put the two together.

Thankfully, Soak1313 provided me with an image, so I’ll provide him with an answer.

That’s Validus.

Oh, wait, after months of build up were you expecting more?

Ok, that’s Validus one of the Fatal Five, a brutal group that occasionally pops up to battle the Legion of Super-Heroes. He was a very destructive force in the future. He was so much of a menace he was placed on the Science Police’s “Most Dangerous” list and was set to be executed.

However Validus was spared execution because a Sun Eater was about to eat the Sun (as Sun Eaters are often so inclined). The Legion was short staffed so they recruited some dangerous villains to help them save the day. There were five Legionaires on duty and they each recruited a villain, who was granted a full pardon for their help in a time of need. Unfortunately when the crisis has passed the five chose to stay together and became the Fatal Five.

Validus was little more than a pawn. While he had immense strength and could project mental lightning, he was much more “Solomon Grundy” than “Brainiac.” Still he proved to be a menace to the Legion for many years.

However unbeknownst to the Legion, they actually had a very close bond to Validus; he was the child of two of their members!

Y’see Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl had gotten married and had a child, a beautiful baby boy. But the thing is, they were supposed to have twins (as is par for the course on Winath, Lightning Lad’s home planet.) However at the moment of birth, Darkseid, who was bitter at his defeat by the Legion, plucked Validus from the delivery room. Darkseid then mutated Validus and sent him into the past. His ultimate goal was to have the Legion face Validus and kill him (preferably with one of his parents striking the killing blow.)

(Since Validus was basically a toddler, his lack of intelligence and susceptible behavior makes a lot of sense.)

Darkseid’s wish almost came true when Lightning Lad attacked Validus in an attempt to save his son Graym. Saturn Girl realized Validus’ true nature and stopped Lightning Lad from killing Validus. Darkseid, his plan foiled, returned Validus to his true form. The reunited family live happily ever after, pretty much.

Now to fully appreciate this story, you’ve got to realize that Validus first appeared in 1967 and it wasn’t until 1984 that his origin was revealed. But don’t you think it was kind of worth the wait?

Oh yeah, and they didn’t live happily ever after. Validus was renamed Garridan and had a normal life, if you consider living on a quarantined planet away from your family “normal.” Y’see Garridan carried the “Validus Plague” (another part of Darkseid’s curse) which affected Titanians and Winathians by mutating them into something resembling his mutated form before killing them. So Darkseid still kind of won.

And that my friends is why I really, really miss the Pre Zero Hour Legion of Super-Heroes. It had such a lengthy in-depth history. Yes, it was complex, but in a rich way.

Actually let me go off on a little rant.

I can completely understand the need for Crisis on Infinite Earths the multiverse was complex concept. But I really think that the Legion could have done without a reboot. The Legion, for the most part was an insular concept. Yeah, the lack of a Superboy did add a wrinkle, but the Pocket Universe pretty much worked that out. The Legion was the one concept that was allowed to actually age and grow, which was refreshing.

As much as I love the current book, the previous reboot didn’t take. I think it’d be really cool if DC brought back the 5YG Legion like they brought back Hal Jordan. God, do I miss that title.

And there you have it Soak. I hope it was worth the wait.

Tim, any thoughts on Validus, Legion reboots, or writers going off on rants?

I’m totally for writers’ rants as I have committed a few myself over the years (peek Tim’s Tirades in the latest DCNV for evidence of this). And, I have to say, as rants go, yours was remarkably restrained. So, feel good about that.

As for the rest of your question, that’s Legion business and I tend to try to steer clear of that out of respect for Legion fans and my frightening lack of knowledge of the subject.

I do confess to being a bit confused though. So, Darkseid takes this little baby Validus and mutates, right? So why does it end up looking like a robot with a brain? Shouldn’t it have wings or blue fur or detachable leeches? Isn’t that how mutation really works?

(Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week.)

Jon just won’t let it go!

I’m still on the White Martian thing. I’m sorry. My point was more along the lines of “why don’t any of the characters involved mention it?” Superman allowed J’onn to enact whatever punishment he saw fit, with J’onn more or less stating it was okay because of the cultural difference between Martian and Earth cultures. You’d think he’d have a softer view of what the Satellite League did than how he’s been characterized. And it’s kind of surprising that Despero didn’t bring it up when he was questioning J’onn’s morals in Crisis of Conscience, considering Geoff John’s utterly insane knowledge of continuity. When the Satellite League went to the Watchtower to try to convince J’onn to erase their secret IDs from the minds of the SSoSV, one of them was quick to point out that J’onn wouldn’t do it, but Wally could’ve just as easily point out that he pretty much has before. Fairly recently, too, if Zero Hour was really only a year ago , their time. To me, it just seems like the whole affair’s been swept under the rug because it kind of undermines the conflict that broke the League up.

It’s still different. It’s all about context. The White Martians where punished for their actions. J’onn judged them and a punishment was handed down. The punishment fit the crime.

What happened to the Secret Society of Super Villains and Dr. Light wasn’t punishment. They weren’t judged. Everyone was cool with that happened to the White Martians. People weren’t cool with what happened to Dr. Light.

Let’s also factor in that playing with minds is kind of J’onn’s field. Meanwhile Zatanna was basically like a first year med student performing neurosurgery.

What J’onn did to the White Martians was a last resort. Couldn’t the JLA have found a better way to punish Dr. Light? I’m guessing they could have, but they acted in the heat of the moment. J’onn thought his actions out and realized it was the best option. Those responsible for Identity Crisis didn’t consider any other option.

And the reason other characters don’t bring it up around J’onn is because it is a cultural thing. In a country where race and even Christmas are tiptoed around in favor of PC nature and “holidays”, do you really think that that anyone in the JLA wants to be considered Politically Incorrect by brining up the treatment of the White Martians?

Besides I’m guessing that his response would be “It’s a Martian thing, you wouldn’t understand.”

Is there anything that you would possibly add to this one Tim?

I think it all comes down to maturity. Sure, Zatanna could have been all like, “Buuuuuuuuuut come onnnnnnnnn! You got to do it to those White Martians,” but she knows better than that. She recognizes that those were different situations. She has class and sense so she’s not even going to try to throw it in J’onn’s face. Now, Aquaman, he might (see Tower of Babel for Aquaman bringing up another of J’onn’s skeletons in the closet), but he was not there when this Satellite stuff went down and during Crisis of Conscience had his hands way full with fighting (against, and then for) Despero.

So yes, Leaguers could have brought it up. But they know the difference between the Dr. Light mindwipe or the SSoSV mindwipe and the Martians one.

Admiral Snackbar likes a little milk with his meow mix

Why the retcon with Catwoman being mindwiped? Go back and read Batman: Year One and she was never a supervillain post-Crisis. Don’t they realize this? Or is this supposed to make it more tragic because she didn’t need to be mind-wiped?

Wait, Catwoman was mindwiped?

As an avid nonreader of Catwoman I’m out of the loop. I know it was hinted at during the Crisis of Conscience storyline in JLA, but I guess it’s now been confirmed.

I would say that Catwoman was a supervillain Post Crisis. I recall her showing up in Detective Comics when Norm Breyfogle was on the book, in a villainous capacity. Did she ever try to take over the world; I don’t think so, but she did break laws.

I think that the tragedy behind her mindwiping stems from her relationship with Batman. It’s tragic because we don’t know if Catwoman stopped her criminal pursuits because she wanted to or because she was manipulated into it. Furthermore, did she truly care about Batman or was it part of the manipulation as well? But that’s just my two cents.

Tim what’s your take on the tragedy of the mindwiping of Catwoman?

I think you hit the nail pretty square on the head there. Catwoman’s transition from villain to anti-hero/hero has been a gradual evolution and thus, I’m pretty sure it is a real one. However, because of the mindwipe, that change will always be in question. Did Selina Kyle grow up and mature into the person she is today or was she forced into it? The tragedy is that she will never truly have the answer and the knowledge that she might be something different today because of magical manipulation will always be in the back of her head.

Aaron is trying to incur the wrath of Ben Morse

How many more chances is Guy Gardner gonna get before his one-dimensional character is exposed as both unoriginal and uninteresting? His schtick is an ’80s Dirty Harry archetype. Am I the only one who knows this?

No, no, Guy Gardner is as one-dimensional as they come. But I’ll try to defend him a bit.

Guy was great as a parody in the late 80’s/early 90’s. He was funny in JLI. I never read Warrior which is where he apparently gained depth (in fact the only issues of the previous Green Lantern series that I’m missing are the Guy Gardner solo ones).

I will say that Guy does work well when playing off of others. His recklessness works well in a group dynamic (JLI, Green Lantern Corps) but without anything to rebel against he’s lost as a character. I can’t see Guy ever anchoring a solo book again, but I don’t see him fading into obscurity anytime soon either. Green Lanterns seem to be experiencing a nice resurgence in the DCU.

At least white Green Lanterns are.

Ooooooooooooooooooooooh, snap!

Seriously though folks, please remember that this month is Black History Month. Support your local black superhero.

Tim, is Guy still viable as a character or should be write him off like Aaron did?

I don’t like Guy, usually, and I certainly do not understand how he courted or secured the following he has. That said, I think it’d be wrong to junk him just because of my opinion of him. Clearly he resonates with some people and as long as that’s the case, he deserves a seat at the table. I don’t think my personal disinterest (or yours) in Guy is enough justification to through him out into the darkness with the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

That’s a fate for someone like Black Condor.

What? No? Too far?

R. Hardin has had a rough fate as of late (sweet rhyme!)

Why must Dr. Fate be re-booted every few years? I have been a huge fan of Dr. Fate since way back in one of those JLA/JSA team-ups. I don’t remember the issues, but it was late-70s or early-80s, and it was the teams against Darkseid and his agents (and the Fiddler, Icicle, and the Shade). He’s a great character who I felt has had a rather roller-coaster treatment vis-a-vis his level of power, his importance, and his general use. I was very happy to see Hector Hall take over Nabu’s helmet in JSA, and I thought it was a perfect fit (hey, a pun). I was a big fan of Silver Scarab, too, though, so my judgement may be a little iffy. Now, Hector has apparently been sucked back in to the Vertigo Universe, Nabu is dead, and Captain Marvel chucked the helmet into the ionosphere acting on the advice of a chimp, so the Doctor in “out”…again. Are there plans to bring Dr. Fate back OYL, or will he just show up sometime in the future when someone at DC gets around to needing some mystical dude to fill a spot on a new team roster. Maybe John Stewart could be the new Dr. Fate?

Well, I feel better now. Thanks.

Hey, that’s why we’re here, to provide solace.

I’m guessing that Dr. Fate will return, but I don’t know of any definitive plans to bring him back. Given that the new Blue Beetle and a new Dr. Fate would have similar origins (a novice discovering an object of immense mystical power) I’m guessing that DC will hold off on Dr. Fate for awhile.

As a general rule, I don’t dig characters with magical powers. I kind of find Dr. Fate too powerful. So while you may have disliked his treatment in the past, I think that that “roller coaster” ride is necessary for the character to be intriguing. Who wants to read about an all-powerful Dr. Fate, when a rookie (and fallible) Dr. Fate is much more intriguing?

That said, I did dig the Dr. Fate mini from a few years back.

But yeah, I think that Dr. Fate will reappear when someone has an interesting idea for the character that The Powers That Be like. I’m putting my money on him appearing in the forthcoming Shadow Pact book.

Tim, where do you stand on the good Doctor?

Well, I think my treatment of Doctor Fate from a couple of weeks ago is clearly a work of genius and the way DC should go if they ever want to revitalize the character.

However, if you’d like an answer that does not come from my delusional fantasy world, try this on for size.

Too much Fate is boring. It’s true, for the most part. I like him as distant and unapproachable, showing up in times of great need and helping secure the victory (see Cosmic Odyssey). Less, in my opinion, is more when it comes to the Doctor.

I do like your idea of a rookie Fate and I do think that that might be the way to get more of him without putting me to sleep. However, he has to be a rookie Fate that is unlike the rookie Fate Hector proved to be. A rookie hero feeling indecisive or overwhelmed, that’s cool with me. In fact, I tend to really like that. However, Hector was always more ineffectual and whiny. Even the story that covered the return of Lyta was a bust for him. He should have come out the other end a more sympathetic and interesting character, but instead…nothing. His best moment was probably defending his wife, without powers, during the recent fill-in JSA arc that eventually resulted in his death.

But, that’s just how I see it.

Jon wants to welcome Kal-L to Earth 1…and punch him in the face!

I suppose I could ask who y’all think could take Earth-2 Superman in a
fight, or something. My vote’s for Alan Scott. Cat’s made of magic, after all.

By the way, I went to high school with Ben Morse‘s Megan, and he must be one Hell of a guy if he got her reading comics. I couldn’t pull that off, and I’m a Goddamn charmer.

Um, I’m not quite sure how to respond to that last part, but if convincing girls to read comic books is one of your “moves”, you must be a charmer.

Or really, really lonely.

(But I’m sure it’s the former.)

Thankfully while the aforementioned former column copilot Ben Morse has gone off to bigger and better things, he’s still going to help me answer this question.

Y’see Ben Morse wrote up an excellent comparison between the Earth-2 Superman and the current Superman in the latest issue of Wizard.

(Flipping to Wizard #173 page #47)

Well now that I’ve read that amazingly well written piece I am certainly a more enlightened individual and better equipped to provide you with an insightful answer. Thanks again Wizard scribe Ben Morse!

Now onto your answer.

Magic is always a good way stop a Kryptonian. Alan Scott also has the added advantage of having the sentimentality factor; Kal L would be reluctant to really cut loose on his old friend.

But given the recent Sacrifice storyline, I’m pulling for Wonder Woman. She’s got some magic up her, um, sleeve? She’s also a proven warrior. And she’s not as much into bondage as her Golden Age counterpart. She’s did a pretty good job of slowing down Kal El, so I figure she’ll take down his older “uncle.”

Oh and I think Frank Pempleton would make him crumble. Put Kal in The Box with Frank for five minutes and he’ll have the Kryptonian copping to the destruction of Krypton.

Tim, who do you think would match up well with Kal L?

Hmm…there are plenty of good, worthy choices but I’d have to give my nod to…me. Kal-L has psychological scars and weaknesses a mile wide. I’d play up them and have him weeping inside of three minutes, thinking we were best friends inside of ten, and doing my bidding within 15. It would be over and I would not have even thrown a punch.

But, if by some miracle, he withstood my strong soothing voice, I’d burn him with my eyes. Cause that’s how I roll.

Jag thinks an eye for an eye is the only true justice.

One thing has been puzzling me over the past few months as I’ve read Infinite Crisis and the associated books, which is the relationship between Batman and Deathstroke. Over the past few months, Deathstroke has committed crime after crime against Batman and his peeps and Bats has just kind of sat back (mind you, yeah…he’s had a lot to deal with in terms of OMACs and Jason Todd, etc). For example, Slade has impersonated Batman to fool the Outsiders, impersonated him to steal back Dr Light, operated out of Gotham, gone after his kids (getting Ravager to attack Batgirl and his dealings with Nightwing) as well as other members of his extended family like the Birds of Prey. Doesn’t really seem like Bats would just kind of sit back and take it.

Based on all this, do you think a showdown is brewing between the two or will Bats just sit back and they’ll have slight run-ins like in the past? I mean, Nightwing has a longer and deeper history with Slade as well but will Slade his a$$ handed to him by SOMEBODY in the Bat-family, after continuously embarrassing them (although Batgirl did outsmart him pretty well)?

First off, Batman and his “family” have kind of strained relations right now, so I don’t know if he’s really doing the whole “avenging” thing right now. I think that some part of him, deep down, probably thinks they deserve that for abandoning him.

I could see Batman bringing it to Slade for impersonating him. I mean Batman’s got enough of a bad reputation in the DCU without these bad acts committed by Deathstroke.

That said, Deathstroke’s dance card is pretty full right now. The way I see it he’s got a rematch with Green Arrow still lingering from Identity Crisis, a face-off with Nightwing regarding Bludhaven’s current status and probably a run in with the Teen Titans for good measure followed by a much needed trip out of the limelight. I think that Batman’s beef comes after all those.

Tim, do you think Batman owes Deathstroke something, or should he leave well enough alone?

I’m always for a good Bats/’Stroke throw down, senseless or not, so I’d support this one.

As for why it has not happened yet, as you mentioned, Batman has been pretty busy. Also though, he tends to let his protégés solve their own messes. He’ll intercede if he feels they need him, but he cuts them a pretty long leash. Batgirl ended up besting Ravager and Nightwing seemed to have well handled both Slade and Rose so Batman saw no need to intervene. However, after Bludhaven, I do not think Batman will be so forgiving. It might take awhile, but I am guessing the two are on a collision course.

It’s time for me to put in a new Homicide: Life on the Streets in the DVD player, which is as good a time as any to end the column. Next week is sure to have some type of Bizarro content with an equal chance of Clayface appearances.

Be sure to email me your questions/comments or post them over on our very own spiffy thread!

But before we go, I’m going to ask y’all a question; who do you think will be The Flash in the OYL DCU?

“I can’t help from looking outside for a guarantee.”