Who's Who in the DCU

Hello and welcome to the first ever Bizarro column. Big ups to everyone that made it happen. Mathan and I are eternall grateful. Now, without further ado, I pass the baton to you, the readers, as you do our jobs for us this week. THANKS!

I’m helping! I’m helping! Bizarro I love you. I’m helping!

“Pusher Man” wants to hook a new generation.

So, my girlfriend has a kid in grade school and I really want to introduce him to the DCU. But I don’t know what trades would be suitable for kids. Can you give me a few trade suggestions with iconic characters or fun stories?”

Joshua Crawley recommends
The Batman Adventures Vol 1 digest (I think that’s what it’s called). It has a story from Batman: Gotham Adventures, as well as possibly a Dean Haspiel-drawn story. It will prepare the kid for Billy Dogma when in middle school, as well as “The Quitter” in high school.

Hmm, interesting choices. Scavenger, do you have anything to add?
The tpbs of the “Adventures” book, BTAS, JL & U. Good solid story telling, usually done in one.

Alright, more animated stuff. Neil, could you make similar recommendations, while editorializing about the current state of the mainstream DCU?
I guess I’d say Teen Titans Go! and the Justice League Unlimited comics. While technically DCAU and not DCU, it’s getting hard to find a decent DCU comic that is entirely appropriate for kids. Hell, when the major comic mini-series features characters getting their heads blown off, arms ripped off, etc. it’s hard to say “go for it.” Supposedly things will lighten up post-IC, but we’ll see.

Maury Povich has a paternity test all set but is still baffled.

Grant Morrison has dropped some hints about his first storyline concerning the son of Batman. Batman has a son?! What is Morrison going on about?

Neil insists that the kid is not his son.
It could be the child he and Talia had in the previously thought out of continuity “Son of the Demon” special. Or, my guess is this that is a “wait and see” thing.

Roger Roeper somehow doubts that Batman & Robin is the worst film ever.

I was arguing with my best friends and we almost came to blows. Our argument was over the worst DC movie, with one of us representing Superman IV, Catwoman and Batman & Robin? So, which one is the worst DC movie? And can they really compete with Nick Fury the first Punisher or the first Fantastic Four?”

Joshua Crawley, could you tell us the Halle Berry principle of comic book movies?
Never saw nick fury nor much of Superman IV, and the first FF made me laugh and was so bad I give it credit, and the first Punisher had he-man in it, which also makes me laugh. Batman & Robin should deserve it, but other than having (even a bad) Batgirl, it still doesn’t get it. Why? Catwoman came out even later than Batman & Robin and STILL no one had the intelligence to JUST SAY NO! HALLE BERRY SUCKED AS STORM ALREADY!

You just might to be on to something there Joshua. I have a feeling that Scavenger might disagree though.
Superman IV, while bad, had Mariel Hemingway being all slinky. Catwoman-haven’t seen it, won’t see it. Batman & Robin actually killed the Super hero movie genre. It wins.

Death is pretty bad, but Terry D. Redd has another set of criteria worth considering.
And here we go into the wonderful world of suck. Of those three DC movies I think you have to place Catwoman as the absolute worst. My basis for this, is how well translated was the comic property to the big screen. At least in Superman IV and Batman & Robin, Clark Kent was Superman and Bruce and Dick where Batman & Robin. In Catwoman, instead of Selina Kyle we get Patience Philips in a costume that looks nothing like anything Catwoman has ever worn. This is inspite of the fact that Catwoman was already established in Batman Returns.

Neil won’t partake in this vicious attack on the movies of yesteryear.
I never suffered through Batman and Robin or Catwoman. Superman IV has its nostalgic charm and at least Christopher Reeves was Superman (George Clooney did not make a good Batman from the parts of B&R I’ve seen). I guess I’m biased though because as bad as Superman IV was, I hesitate to call it awful.

Hal Jordan An Anonymous Test Pilot seeks guidance

I despise Guy Gardner. What one story arc of Warrior, would sell me on the character?

Joshua Crawley has his own agenda.
I wouldn’t know; I’ve never read it. I myself never liked guy until Green Lantern: Recharge, which is easily 5 times better than the regular GL book.

Wow, Joshua, thanks for NOT HELPING AT ALL. Scavenger, can you salvage this little operation?
Been a while since I looked at the issues, but by going by this Warriorific site, looks like the story arc starting in issue #22 is where you want to go. It’s the beginning of him becoming Warrior.

For Neil, everything gets rolling a bit later (and earlier, actually)
Well, Beau only really did one big story arc, “Way of the Warrior” and to fully appreciate that one, you have to have read the issues that came before it. To make things easy, I’ll say Warrior #25 has everything about GG:Warrior I loved. It starts out with a touching scene with Guy saying his last respects to Ice and Ice’s mother letting Guy know that she respects him for how happy he made Ice.

Then we get to the meat of the issue and get to know one of Warrior’s main enemies, the Dementor. He’s rude, he’s crude, and he’s holed up in the comatose world of Guy’s high school prom date who’s been in a coma since he got drunk and drove after the prom.

I think the real turning point for Guy was “Yesterday’s Sins,” which, unfortunately, I haven’t been able to track down. It started the turn from obnoxious Guy to the more developed Guy.

Access desires just that

My brother told me that DC and Marvel actually had a storyline where the combined characters like Batman and Wolverine into one person. What was that all about, and was it any good? Did they combine any other heroes?

Neil was melded with his 90’s self to bring you all this answer
Short and sweet, during the “DC vs. Marvel” mini from the mid 90’s, Captain America and Batman hit upon a solution to stop the twin brothers (each one representing their universe) from fighting…the galactic equivalent of Rodney King’s “can’t we all just get along” speech.

This caused the two universes to form an Amalgam universe where characters were merged together. Several one shots ensued and the last issue of the “Marvel vs. DC” mini cleared everything up.

Among my favorites were Karl Kessel’s “Spider-Boy,” a frantic day in the life of everybody’s favorite cloned human-arachnid combination and Ron Marz’s “Dr. Strangefate” where the combination of Dr. Strange and Dr. Fate realized that things weren’t right (which upset him, since he kind of liked the status-quo of the Amalgam Universe).

About a year later, the two companies go together for a second round of Amalgam one-shots.

Before the poop hit the fan between the two companies in the late 90’s, two more minis were produced and were quite fun, if unnecessary.

Roy G Bivolo is trolling for compliments

If you read this column, you know I love my villains. Especially the obscure (some would say lame) ones. Who’s the “lame” villain you think is cool and what (if any) storyline shows him or her living up to their potential badassness.

Joshua Crawly managed to divert his attention from the pretty pretty flames long enough to get us started.
well, I haven’t been reading too long… but I’ll give it a fair shot: scorch, who in turn led us to FERNUS, THE BURNING. It was the only time I liked Martian Manhunter… and Scorch always wore those trampy dresses.

Neil is unmoved by flames and enjoys mocking the questioner.
I do want to see more of Geoff’s Rainbow Raiders. There short appearance at Boomerang’s funeral and in Busiek’s arc on JLA were only a taste. It seemed a great way to bring back Roy G. Bivolo’s shtick, but make it truly menacing.

Rick Jones longs for his other half

Who’s the best non-superhero sidekick/mascot in the DCU (you know, of the Jimmy Olsen, Snapper Carr, Harold, etc types)? Why?

Joshua Crawley has a left spot for a former boxer who loves his “soder”
Bibbo is the only one i can think of offhand that you didn’t list… but if the Young Heroes In Love had one, that would be my choice.

Rip Van Winkle slept through a lot which is why he is so curious.

Kingdom Come was SOOOOO good. Did DC ever milk that cash cow further? If so, when and how?

Neil is like Mapquest, all directions, no insight.
See “The Kingdom” two-parter and the 5th week “The Kingdom” specials for the low-down. I haven’t read them, so I can’t provide the nitty gritty details.

Ima P. Essimist is all about others missteps

Think of your favorite writer of DC Comics (past or present). Got it? Good. Now what’s their biggest misstep? You know, their worst storyline or single issue? Why’s it so bad?

Joshua Crawley thinks outside the box to bring us the answer.
This is hard, because anyone that comes to mind, I think of the awesome stories and thus forgive the ones that were bad… for instance, Mark Waid gave us “Terminal Velocity”; Joe Kelly gave us “What’s so Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?”; though I did just see a flaw in your requirements…Neil Gaiman could be considered a favorite DC writer… and his worst storyline? 1602! Because you never said it had to be in the DC universe…

Lex Luthor A Billionaire Industrialist who Has No Desire to See Superman Held Up for Ridicule is just wondering,

So I’ve heard of this thing called, “Superman Blue/Superman Red”. What’s the deal?

Neil was there for it all. I promise you Neil, you will heal”¦someday.
Another convoluted mess. DC thought it’d be cool to have Superman change costumes. More than that, they figured he might as well change powers. So when The Final Night caused the sun to be blocked and Superman to use up his store of solar energy, he had a problem getting his powers back.

It really wasn’t a good time for Clark, seeing as how Lois broke their engagement, and a prior tussle had caused him to almost get caught in the magnetic bottle housing the Post-Crisis, Non-Kryptonian City of Kandor. The latter had almost had him get sucked into an energy portal which allowed one to enter Kandor. But when Supes was pulled out, a strange energy permeated his body, causing the Fortress Scanners, which were designed to identify his Kryptonian DNA to go whacky.

So Clark ended up without Lois and without powers. The first problem got solved and with the help of various sources, so did the second one.

Except the second one left Superman, who already had his DNA messed with, full of foreign energy sources. Eventually they changed him into a complete human who could turn into an energy being. A blue energy being, to be precise.

To make matters worse, after a while of this, the Cyborg-Superman and the Toy Man attempted to destroy his energy form. They failed, but the attempt had created a duplicate Superman, a red one at that. So for a while, there were two energy Supermans, Superman-Red and Superman-Blue. Both with different temperaments (I’ll give you two guesses, the first two don’t count, which was the more “cooler” personality and which was the more “heated” personality).

Some big dust-up with the Millennium Giants and a never fully explained cosmic deal with the Lord of Order, Kismet combined the two and left Superman back to his original costume, powers, and Kryptonian DNA.

Fairweather Fan wants to rejoin us now that comics are cool again.

I used to be way into comic books, (I was a huge fan of the Justice League International). But when I got to college I fell out. Anyway I read somewhere that the Elongated Man’s wife was raped and killed and that Max Lord killed Blue Beetle. How did this happen and is DC intentionally trying to destroy the JLI?

Terry D. Redd gives us the rational scoop.
That’s a fair question, though somewhat involved. ***Spoiler Alert for People Behind the Times on Identity and Infinite Crisis*** In the story Identity Crisis, there is a mystery involving who killed Elongated Man’s wife, it turns out that Dr. Light is a suspect because way back in the day he was a scary and competent evil unlike how he appears in Teen Titans. He was held down and had his entire mind fiddled with by Zatanna on a vote of the JLA (At least the ones who came to the tower at that time, which did not include Superman and Batman). Then Batman showed up and flipped his wig so they wiped the memory from him and this all leads to the big things shaking up the DCU now. I will say no more as if you have not read Identity Crisis (All two of you in your cave apparently) will pick up the trade. As to the other part of your question; I hate to say it but most of the JLI where fairly obscure compared to your Supermans, Batmans, and the like. The fact is they are never going to have Lois Lane get raped and murdered in anything but a wacky time traveling rape adventure that gets fixed at the end of the story arc because it changes the status quo a little too much and ruins characters marketability according to the higher ups so when the crap really hits the fan, or someone becomes for real evil (not just crazy for four or five issues) it is going to be a lower tier character that they hope will get noticed more.

Neil echoes the sentiments and points out that the JLI is hardly alone in this category
The short answer: DC realized their universe was getting dark and they wanted to return to the more up-beat way of doing business that was the Silver Age (while trying to keep the universe from being too saccharine).

So instead of just making everything Silver-Agey, they launched a two year plan to drive DC into a period of darkness, in their minds the darkest it has ever been, in a sort of “it’s always darkest before dawn” sort of way.

Identity Crisis, was the first wave of this, in which Sue Dibny was murdered. Things like Identity Crisis, the conflict between Rann and Thanagar, the uniting of villains, strange things going on in the mystical realms, and an army of OMACs threatening everything were the first clues of the impending Infinite Crisis.

Too involved in their own problems, no one realized the connections, until Ted Kord did some sniffing around. Unfortunately, his sniffing brought him to the attention of Max Lord, who was the head of Checkmate, which was responsible for the OMACs. Max appealed to Ted to join him in his plan to elevate the common man in a world of super-heroes, but Ted declined. Max responded by killing Ted.

DC claims that it has nothing against the JLI. I think they’re just easy targets.

Incidentally, with the death of Hector Hall (again) and Lyta Trevor Hall, Atom Smasher being a criminal, the early 90’s deaths of the Beth Chapel Dr. Mid-nite & the Yolanda Montez Wildcat, the going off his rocker Obsidian (then losing his powers), and another recent death, some people think it’s Infinity, Inc. that DC has it in for.

Not that DC has been much kinder to groups such as Team Titans (as we saw in this week’s column), Primal Force, the Blood Pack, etc.

Jeff Wade sprinted over to make sure this question made the column

Help me out. I’m not a fan of The Flash but my friend keeps telling me about something called The Speed Force. He makes it sound kind of new age-y, can you shed any light on this “speed force” concept?

Neil is ready and waiting with an exhaustive history. Hope you can speed read!
Per Jay in IC #4, there is no more Speed Force, so fuggetaboutit!

Eh, no, that didn’t work? Okay, quick run-down. The speed force is an extra-galatic haven for kinetic energy. Those with the power of speed draw their power from it and eventually are called upon to join it.

To join it, you must achieve light speed and then you must be fully prepared to join it, any doubt or stray thought will cause it to reject you. Rejection usually takes the form of being bounced off of it through the time stream.

Max Mercury has been the one character who has bounced off of it the most, which is why his origin occurs way back in the 1800’s, why he spent a good portion of time in the Golden Age, and why he’s was still around in the 90’s as no more than a 50-60 year old.

Because he had so much experience with it, Max learned a few tricks from it, but nowhere near what Wally would.

When Barry made his sacrifice he was said to have joined with the Speed Force (Wally made a comment that he was sad that Barry never found out about the speed force and the reply, from either Jay or Max, I forget, replied that they think he figured it out in the end).

We got to see Johnny Quick join with it in the “Dead Heat” storyline that introduced Savitar, a villain who had gleaned more insight from the speed force than Max or Wally. The one big problem? He was never able to join with it. Wally saw to it that he did and was lost for a while in the time stream because of it.

Oh, and Wally? He brushed up against it after achieving light speed to try to halt the destructive effect of Zero Hour on the 64th. He ended up thrown into the time stream, landing a few years back and talking to his younger self. Then he returned, a being more of energy than physical matter. He knew going to fast would cause him to fade into the speed force. But, to save Linda, he had to accelerate and he ended up joining with the speed force.

But Wally learned a secret, a tether to the physical world could allow someone to return. So Wally returned for Linda. (Apparently, it’s not enough to have someone you want to return to, they have to hold out hope for your return as well. Wally learned this during his trip through time after his fight with Savitar, when Linda thought him dead and turned her attention to the time traveling Flash, John Fox, who showed up to take Wally’s place).

Having returned from the speed force, Wally found himself on the bottom rung of the next evolutionary step in terms of speedsters. Whereas before, he needed to eat ungodly amounts of food to compensate for his increased metabolism, now he drew energy straight from the speed force.

He could also manipulate the speed force to pull off some neat tricks, such as lending speed. In essence, any object in motion was available for him to add extra motion to, thus speeding them up. He used this trick for the first time (knowingly) on Mongul, when he co-opted a truck full of I-Beams and added his speed to the beams, sending them straight into Mongul.

The trick also worked on humans, so that anyone running alongside him could be accelerated. Of course this cut down on his overall speed while lending his speed to other things/people. (Note: Savitar could give speed to anything, regardless of whether it was in motion or not).

Learning from Savitar, Wally could also “steal speed,” giving himself more acceleration. Wally was reluctant to to do this, but it helped a few times, such as when Jay and Bart (and ultimately Jessie Quick) allowed him to take their speed to defeat the Hunter Zolomon Zoom.

Unlike Barry, Wally always (well, always, meaning since a Waid retcon) had trouble vibrating his molecules through solids. Once he got the powers from the speed force, he thought he might try it again and to his surprise, he was successful. Except for one thing. Now, due to the extra energy he was using, the vibrating trick left the material(s) he vibrated through with an overdose of kinetic energy, causing them to blow up shortly after he made it through.

There are tons of other things he could do, but my favorite was his suit. When events caused Wally to break both his legs, he was out of the game for a while, but determined to get up and help stop the murdering entity, known as the suit, from killing his friends.

He concentrated and was able to pull out pure energy from the speed force and craft it into a suit. The suit, at first, gave him the ability to run on broken legs, but it continued to work when the legs healed. It helped keep him at a constant temperature and cut down on the kinetic forces that slowed him down before.

And so it ends. Thank you all for taking this journey with us. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

And for those of you who love Bizarro’s “adorable” speech impediment and feel cheated that I didn’t use this tired interesting device, check out down below. You’re welcome.

Bizarro am happy this column is begun. Bizarro won’t miss you.