Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I was watching Look Up in the Sky! The Amazing Story of Superman on A&E on Monday and I’ll admit; I’m a believer. That was such a well-put together documentary on Superman as a character. It made fall in love with the character, again. It got me even more excited to see Superman Returns and it even got me to consider giving “Up, Up and Away” another shot. Tim, it was that good. Did you manage to catch it?

I have not watched it yet, but I did manage to record it through the magic of technology (behold, the VCR!!!). When my life returns to being my own again I look forward to watching it.


Links

IP Music is review central.

IP Movies has equally fulfilling reviews.

IP Games has good news for gaming fans.

IP Figures makes me wish I had time to pose.

IP TV has reviews and interesting summer fare.

IP Sports has World Cup, NBA Finals and other sporting stuff.

Moodspins is still getting worked on.

IP Culture will make you better for checking it out.

Our DC Forum had debate about characters in Wonder Woman and fans of Connor rejoice.

Tim anything you wish to link this week?

In fact, I do. And this link might just save your soul!

With the Summer Movie Season here, the potential to take in a film that might very well damn you is at an all time high. Thank goodness (God?) then for CAP Reports which sagely gives us the heads up about how bad, exactly, each talkie currently in theaters (and past ones as well) will endanger our place in heaven.


What I Read Last Week

Ion #2 – I dig the notion of Kyle being overwhelmed. I’m really enjoying the art. I’m on the verge of wishing this was an ongoing.

I’m still very much on the fence will this book. A better effort overall (especially on the art end) but I’ve yet to be fully sold on it. The “mystery” I find especially uninvolving.

52 Week Five – Man, that stuff with Buddy, Adam and Kori was kind of creepy. I dug how Buddy’s wife took the news in stride. And I really dug Alan explaining what happened.

I love Animal Man’s reaction to naked Starfire. It was just perfect for the character.

Detective Comics #820 – Why was Bruce so slow to act? He could have saved Harvey! The encounter with the Scarecrow was touching and fun in a pre Crisis sort of way. Tim and Bruce talking was a nice moment, as was the Harper revelation. And I’m certainly glad that Jason Bard survived with his encounter with the Tally Man.

I didn’t love Scarecrow being such an absolute pushover in this issue. It struck me a bit like the “Tim Drake has the potential to be better than Dick Grayson” moment a few issues back in that it was so unsubtle with its “look how good a team this Batman and Robin are.” Plus, I think Scarecrow, despite being fictional, deserves a bit more story respect than that.

Wonder Woman #1 – It was enjoyable. I dug the Rogues and the art. It was a very decent issue.

I’d agree with that. Very decent.

Y the Last Man #46 – Nice to have Yorick and Ampersand reunited. I am worried about Dr. Mann and what the future holds for her, but it’s nice to have another piece of the puzzled partially revealed. It’s a shame this ride is almost over.

The Exterminators #6 – I’m way anxious to see how the AJ thing plays out and the trip to the adult warehouse was a trip. I am worried that that one roach escaped. This book gets more addictive with every month.

Jonah Hex #8 – The art was ok, but the story was superb as always. This really is the most consistently well written book on the market, and every issue is a self contained story. Everyone should give this book a shot at least once.

JSA #86 – As if this story wasn’t boring enough, Paul Levitz has the nerve to mess with the origin that Hawkman had established for the Gentleman Ghost. Way to end a book on a sour note.

Hard Time #7 – This wasn’t the best way to end the book, but it did have some decent closure. It’s amazing how much Gerber, Skrenes and Hurtt managed to pack into one single issue. They did a good job of wrapping up loose ends and making it seem much less forced than it was. Kudos all around.

Outsiders #37 – I loved this issue! I loved the Mallah/Brain scene. I loved Alan facing off against the team. I loved Dick facing off against Superman. I loved the explanation for how deep undercover Thunder got. This may have been the strongest OYL issue of this book yet.


Phooling did place the lyric (though next time I’d appreciate it via Private Message).

Go Phooling!

Thus Phooling gets to ask the first question.

Does Phooling mock the Spirit of Vengeance’s grasp of time?

I have a question though, and haven’t seen much on it. The new OYL Spectre #1 seems to contradict some scenes from Infinite Crisis – specifically the Spectre being forced unwillingly into Crispus Allen, presumably by the power the Spectre serves. In IC it appeared the Spectre was hugely upset by this. In the OYL version though the Spectre seems to indicate that he chose Crispus willingly! How does that (and the odious “take a year and think about” gimmick)work in relation to IC? Is this more fallout from Superboy Prime’s tantrums and the resulting “continuity waves”?

I’ll admit I was kind of troubled by this seemingly glaring lack of continuity. However as I reread The Spectre #1 I looked at it in a different light. As I read it it’s the Spectre owning up to what the situation is. He was manipulated and made a fool of himself. He was punished (by being bound to Allen), but once he had that human tether, he realized the error of his ways. Furthermore he realized that he needed to walk the straight and narrow in order to redeem himself.

Think of it like this; the Spectre was on a rampage, like a high-speed police chase. However he was apprehended and locked up. While locked up he realized that he was out of line and accepted whatever sentence was handed down. Now for a human this whole ride might have taken months or years, but the Spectre has been around a bit, so he recognized how in the wrong he was pretty quickly.

Tim, you enjoyed the Spectre, did you get hung up on his change of heart?

As is usually the case with issues of continuity (especially in reference to a strict timeline of events), I was pretty forgiving on this one.

The reasons you gave for Spectre’s far more compromising attitude make sense to me. Spectre spent weeks or perhaps months making bad decision after bad decision until he finally made enough bad moves to catch God’s attention. I don’t know about you, but I always feel kind of guilty when someone I respect says they are disappointed in me. Now imagine God saying that. The Spectre being all “yessir” makes a bit sense in that context, eh?

Also, a word to the “why on earth (or heaven) would Spectre give Allen a year to make a decision” crowd. I think I may be one of the few comic fans for whom this was not upsetting so allow me to try and convince you of my point of view.

First, the Spectre has been around forever. A year is nothing to him.

Overlooking that point though, being at this as long as he has, the Spectre has learned some things, gained some wisdom. I don’t think Allen ever really had a choice, but Spectre was willing to give him the illusion of one because it suited his purpose. He “knows” that he would not have been “assigned” to Allen unless that Allen’s soul was an ordained fit. He also knows, however, that Allen, in his present state of mind (pre-OYL) is of no use to him. Rather than force the issue and end up constantly at odds with his host and engaging in a mission so all over the place it is unsuccessful in any of its goals (Hal Jordan, anyone?), the Spectre is willing to sit back and wait until Allen works through everything and is finally ready to “do this thing right.”


If Tim Stevens fought Joe Camel., who would win?

That guy in front there, the one smoking the cigar…is that just the Thing in a cat mask? Also, I thought the Omega Men were outer space folk. Do outer space folk really have cigars available to them? And if so, would they really smoke them?

First off that guy in question is none other than Tigorr, the de facto leader of Omega Men. Secondly, asking if aliens have access to cigars is like asking of 5th dimensional imp or furry Canadians have access to them; the answer is a resounding yes.

One need look no further than Lobo to see that aliens do have access to cigars and that they do smoke them.

Yeah, I guess you’re right. I just always think of aliens as having cooler stuff than us so I kind of hoped they had find a cooler way to ingest tobacco. The fact that cigars are the coolest way to smoke on Earth as well as the rest of the galaxy is a bit of a letdown.


Is Tim Stevens part of the problem or part of the solution?

As maybe you can tell by now, I’m not say an Omega Men fan. Or, more accurately, I have zero idea who they are.

Well then, let’s remedy that.

Actually, I wasn’t really requesting—

There’s this sector of space that’s composed of 25 planes that can host life.

Oh”¦I see you’ve already started anyway. Well, alright then. Don’t let me stop you now.

All of the life on those planets were the result of the Psions, who though splicing and cloning techniques created new races based on the two original races in the Vega system; the Okaarans and the Branx. The Vegan system is controlled by the Citadellians, who rule with an iron and oppressive fist (as opposed to an iron and gentle fist.) The Vega system is also hands off for Green Lantern Corps due to some bad blood between them and the Spider Guild.

Now that that brief history of the Vega system is out of the way, we can get into the Omega Men and what they stand off. The Omega Men basically exist to thwart the Citadellians. Every member of the Omega Men is from a Vegan planet and thus has a grudge to bear and possibly an axe to grind against the Citadellians. They’re kind of like the Black Panther Party or the Young Lords of the Vegan system. And this is a good thing because as I mentioned the GLC doesn’t frequent the area, so the Omega Men are really the only heroes of the Vega System.

The members of the Omega Men range from your typical last of his kind (Tigorr) to the sibling of an established hero (Ryand’r younger brother of Starfire) to a former Green Lantern (Green Man.) They’re a diverse team, but they’ve got one thing in common; they’re freedom fighters.

Now c’mon Tim, are you telling me you’re going to side with The Man and not support the Omega Men?

If Green Man is in, so am I (I just love that guy). Power to the People!


Green Man and John Lennon. Masters of Populist Pop.


Aaron never got that lesson about it being impolite to ask a person’s age.

Dude, just how old is Black Lightning? He references being around when there were no heroes of color *and* he’s got a daughter fighting crime. Even Frederick Douglass knew when to hang ’em up.

I’m guessing that DC is placing Jefferson Pierce in the mid to late 40’s range. This would allow him to have a daughter whose 20something and allow him to be a member of President Luthor’s cabinet.

As for his line about being around when there were few Black heroes around, it’s a reference to his being DC’s first Black hero in his own title. Geoff Johns was just trying to be sly and put the character in perspective.

I’d be remiss if I failed to mention how outraged may of Black Lightning’s fans are that he’s got a daughter in her 20’s. There are the usual “it goes against every part of his character” cries as well as “how dare you make him an absentee father.” And when you consider the contentious relationship that DC and Black Lightning’s creator Tony Isabella have had in the past (Black Vulcan on Super Friends was created because they didn’t want to have to pay Isabella for using Black Lightning) one could possibly view this as an attack on Isabella using something he hold dear; his creation.


Can you tell the difference between these two heroes?

As a fan of the character I can’t say that I dig everything that’s happened to him in the last few years (becoming a killer and a father) but I do appreciate that he’s back in the limelight. Hopefully he’ll continue to land in the spotlight. However considering the treatment of John Stewart lately, I can’t say that I’m holding out that much hope.

Tim, care to add your thoughts on Black Lightning?

First, I’ve gotta say that the Black VulcanBlack Lightning was one shady deal. And flagrantly so, too. Their powers are almost exactly the same! Even if Black Vulcan’s later career as a supporting player in Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law was genius, I still cannot forgive DC for its trespasses. Bad DC. Baaaaaaaaaaad.

As for the character himself, I regret to say that I really don’t know him. I mean, I know him by sight and I know his general deal, but I have no feel for him besides that. His series was cancelled by the time I was collecting comics in earnest and his guest appearances in titles I was/am reading were/are rare. I feel this low profile should be rectified and immediately so. Thus, let me now, publicly, nominate Black Lightning for the new Justice League. Let’s just see how Black Vulcan likes that.


Tim Stevens proves speaking a foreign language and understanding it are two completely different things.

Mas y Menos will be in the Teen Titans comics.

I’m sorry…who? Mathan?!

Tim, I know you just got a promotion and all, but you’ve got explore more. DC doesn’t just make comics anymore; they’ve gone on to other mediums, like movies and TV.

Mas y Menos are familiar to folks who watch the Teen Titans cartoon on Cartoon Network. Mas y Menos are a pair of Latino twin speedsters, who only speak Spanish and can only access their speed when they’re touching. Teen Titans producer David Slack called them “a cross between Flash and the Wonder Twins” which is pretty accurate.

So it appears that Mas y Menos will join the likes of Harley Quinn, Lockdown, Renee Montoya, Mercy and Livewire as characters who were created for DC cartoons and were later introduced into the DCU proper.

An added bit of Mas y Menos trivia; Freddy Rodriguez, who played Federico Diaz on Six Feet Under supplies the voices for the twins on the cartoon.

Tim, are you down for some Mas y Menos?

Umm”¦sure. They don’t seem any more silly than having Wendy and what’s his name around so, what the hey? Plus, a little color in the DCU is always nice.


Aaron digs the one with experiences

Any idea who the longest running (and current) writer/artist tandem is in the DCU? Back in my day, I remember Wolfman/Perez on TNTT running from 1980-84 (or 85). Are such runs common today? Just wondering.

Long runs are not common in this day and age. Part of it has to do with policy; for the past few years DC has made it known that they preferred having rotating teams on their A List books (the Super titles, the Bat titles and JLA.) For some reason they thought that a lack of stability would be a big sell for books.

The second reason is one that I’m just guessing, but it appears that artists aren’t quite a strong as they were back in the day.

(at this point Mathan goes on and sits on the porch with a glass of lemonade)

Back in my day, we had artists who could perform their duties for over a year without needing a fill in artist, and we had annuals too. Nowadays artists can’t even complete a six issue miniseries (Villains United, Day of Vengance) much less complete three issues of a book before getting a break (Blue Beetle.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got no problem with Gary Frank or Frank Quietly taking their time, because both Squadron Supreme and All Star Superman are usually worth the wait. But the notion that an artist can’t complete a single storyline, when I vividly recall a time when having a fill in artist was a huge deal, just seems odd to me.

I will give props to those other guys; Ultimate Spider-Man has a very impressive run with the current creative team. And if you take a peek at the Vertigo line, you’ll find that 100 Bullets has done a mighty fine job of keeping the band together (including letterer and cover artist) for 73 issues and counting.

But to answer your question, even prior to OYL (at which point most DCU books got a shift in creative teams) things weren’t very stable creatively. Excluding the Super and Bat books, artists were still rotating off books left and right. I’m really drawing a blank, but I guess if we’re allowing for fill ins, I’d say that Jamal Igle has been on Firestorm since issue #8 (though he’s missed a few issues) and Stuart Moore began writing with #10 and the book is has reached it’s 25th issue. I’m guessing this has been the longest run and it’s just over a year.

Tim, care to voice your opinion on this one?

This sort of thing is tough because time does play tricks on you. The same people that complain about the disrespectfulness of the youth today grew up at the height of elder disrespect known as the 60’s and 70’s, but for some reason they never remember that. I often think that those that wax nostalgic for the “good ol’ days of comics” look equally silly.

In this case, I do think that there probably has been less long runs on books and more fill-ins, given the vagaries on the industry and the increasing importance of having the “hot” book or books.

But I will say that I don’t think that this time period is nearly as disparate from others as people say (especially in comparison with the early to mind 90’s, which I would argue were even worse). Also bear in mind that studios were often producing work under one artist’s name despite actually being several people. Mike Deodato’s early work for Marvel is a fine example of this. “He” was penciling three or four books a month”¦except that “he” was actually “they”. It’s a lot easier to meet deadlines when you are actually several yous.

What’s more, I think the quality of the fill-in has grown exponentially over the years. In the past (up to late 80’s and perhaps even beyond), fill-ins were often “desk drawer” stories; scripts from a time past that were written for the specific purpose of eventually being a fill-in and thus had little to nothing to do with the current direction of the title. Now, more often than not, they fit into the context of the stories the book is telling (even sometimes the actual storyline, being part __ of __) and sometimes storyline are even built especially for fill-in creators (see the Champagne JSA arc or Y: The Last Man)

So I guess I’m saying we’ll always find something to complain about and every era has its good and bad points when it comes to this sort of thing.


Aaron is apparently the fashion police now

Earth-2 Wonder Woman, we all agree, is gross. Octogenarians in matching stars n’ bars bra n’ panties is wrong on every level. That said, what are some of the most ill-fitting attire in the DCU? Yep, it’s a “worst costumes” question…I’ll spot you the original Wildcat and Nightwing, Version 1.0, too.

Eh, I’m down. But to make it interesting I’m limiting myself to the loose leaf version of Who’s Who and I’m sticking to heroes. Thus I give you”¦

The Eight That I Hate


Azrael – Talk about a costume that hasn’t aged well. This thing reeks of the 90’s. I’m convinced that this is the reason why Joe Q is out to crush DC, because he helped create one of the most absurd looking costumes of all time. In fact DC should bring the book back from the dead if only to taunt Joe Q.

Eh, it ain’t so bad.


Captain Comet – There is nothing about this poor soul that is even remotely modern, not his name (“Captain?” Really?) and certainly not his look. The whole “red/white/blue” motif is corny and the guy just looks absurd. It’s a garish costume.

Ahh, but what of his new look?


El Diablo – I dig the guy. I dig the character. But a bolo tie should never be part of anyone’s uniform.

I’ll be the guy who admits that I kind of liked his non-costume costume, complete with bola tie.


Elongated Man – If there were something even less than basic, this costume fits the bill. His purple/white two toned outfit is embarrassing. And what’s with his gloves? I swear if he suits up again during 52 Sue will be turning over in her grave.

I’d agree, but I think they got it better (if not exactly “right”) with the later costume below.


Firehawk – There’s just way too much going on. The blue flames around her arms, the wings and the hawk motif, and what’s up with her 80’s blue flame fro? She’s got all the nuttiness of a cosmic character instilled in a bland Earth based one.

Yup, I’d agree.


Guy Gardner – What’s up with his boots? What’s up with his turtleneck? What’s up with the belt that covers his navel? And really what’s going on with that coat/vest monstrosity?

And yet, oh so popular. Go figure.


Jericho – If this guy was a New God, he’d have an excuse for his appearance. Or if he were blind instead of mute. Or maybe even if his one eyed pop dressed him, then there might be some explanation for the random metal and his impractical vest.

Not even Daddy’s lack of depth perception can explain this monstrosity away.


Extrano (2.0) – I’m not one of those people who thinks that all gay folk are especially attuned to all things fashion. However I do think that no person, gay or straight would be caught dead in that.

Wha”¦who the heck is this guy?

Tim, are there any outfits that get under your skin? I mean other than J’onn’s new one.

First off, Aaron, you are way out of line judging the Nightwing disco costume. That thing was gorgeous”¦GORGEOUS.

I mean, just look at it.

Look at it!

LOOK AT IT!!!!

Ahem”¦ sorry.

Anyway, during the 60’s, it seems like Batman was rocking a hideous costume every day or so (Rainbow Batman? Really?), but I won’t focus on that. Instead, let me just toss a few out there that always give me pause.


Nuklon– So”¦why the headband exactly? It can’t be to prevent the hair from falling into his eyes since he is rocking a comically bad Mohawk.


Superboy’s (Kon El) first duds– It’s like the late 80’s vomited all over him. Seriously, belts in random spots, sunglass (never a good sign in a superhero costume), a shaved bowl haircut, and a leather jacket…what a mess.


Black Canary’s Giffen costume– Fighting in fishnets might not make a lick of sense, but at least they don’t look like this disaster.


The Killer Moth– At least when Batman went rainbow he had some asinine, half assed reason for it. For Killer Moth, rainbow tights were a way of life.


Argus– Goodness, Argus couldn’t find a good tailor worth damn, eh? The first one (the purple guy) was pretty rough, what with all the belts and all, and a bit generic. Not terrible, but not great.

But the second one? More belts? The huge eye thing? I love Phil Hester, but boy, did he drop the ball here.

There are more of course, many of them Flash villains (the Trickste’s original duds, the Top’s original duds, etc), but I could probably go on and on. So take these few and add your own on the message board or via e-mail and maybe we’ll revisit the topic.


Brad worries for Robin’s virtues

Since we recently found out that Superboy and Wonder Girl consummated their relationship in Smallville, I’ve been curious…did Robin and Spoiler ever do the same? I know she was pregnant for a good chunk of their relationship, but still. I wasn’t reading Robin, but it seems like Tim is too much of a gentleman to really pursue it unless he’s being pursued. But he has to start somewhere; he has quite the legacy to live up to in Bruce and Dick. And while we’re discussing his romantic life, is Stephanie his only relationship and do you think he’ll ever be the playa’ Bruce and Dick are?

C’mon, do you really think that Tim would put the moves on a pregnant girl? You’re completely right, he’s way too much of a gentleman to make such a move.

She was not pregnant forever though. You really think they dated all that time and didn’t fool around? Not necessarily the big get down, but some “romance” took place. He’s a good guy, not a cold fish incapable of showing love in physical way.

Tim actually dated a girl named Ariana before he hooked up with Steph, so it’s not like he’s a slouch or anything. He’s just a guy who moves at his own pace.

As for his future there’ve been hints that he’s destined to follow in Dick’s footsteps and hook up with Starfire. And Ravager appears to be have her sights set upon Tim in the OYL issues of Teen Titans. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the two actually hooked up during the missing year and he’s regretting it, while she’s trying to pursue a relationship.

But I don’t know if he’ll ever reach the heights of Bruce and Dick. I mean Dick was in the circus and Bruce traveled the globe, while Tim attended a private school. That’s not really an even playing ground.

Tim, do you have any relationship advice for your namesake?

Learn from the mistakes of those around you. Bruce and Dick are so messed up in love that if you observe them and do the exact opposite of whatever they do, you should be golden.

Also, you should get back with Ariana because dating your ex-girlfriend again always works out.

Or

Definitely pursue a relationship with Ravager. Former super villains with daddy issues are fine choices for long term companionship.


Aaron has never heard of “suspended disbelief”.

Has anyone ever explained how every character based under water can TALK underwater? It doesn’t have to be a very good explanation, but I’d like to hear one, anyway.

I’m pretty sure that it’s got to do with the anatomy of both speaker and the receiver. As far as I understand it it’s pretty much the same way it works on land; vibrations bouncing off the inner workings of the ear.

However those denizens of the underwater lands (I’ve always wanted to type that) have specialized anatomy that allows them to be attuned to specific vibrations that would be made underwater. Just like dogs hear at a different pitch, those underwater create and “hear” vibrations that we might not be able to comprehend. And usually those underwater are speaking a different language.

At least that’s how I wrap my head around it.

Can you think of another explanation Tim?

MAGIC!


The sun is up, so clearly it’s time for the column to come to an end. But have not fear we’ll be back to answer your DCU questions next week. That is provided you send me some. You can either send it via email or you can on our spiffy thread where visitors are always welcome.

Before I go here’s my question to you this week; What’s your take on a the new Batwoman being a lesbian?

“If I was sober, would I kill caution and stay over?”

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