Who's Who in the DCU

Psst! Check out our brand new logo courtesy of Manolis. Yay for Manolis

(Ok, seriously, if you’re reading this column, you’ve got to send me a question. I don’t care is it’s easy of hard, I need questions. It’s been a very dry summer and the reservoir is dangerously low. I need your questions ASAP, otherwise this column is going to get really short, really fast. You can send me a dozen questions if you want, so long as you send them.)

In fact, let me sweeten the deal. The best question of the summer, starting now and running until questions submitted in time for the September 7th edition of this column, will receive a comic book prize pack courtesy of me. The winner will be determined by Mathan and I, entirely unscientifically. The comics involved in the prize pack? Seeeeeeecret. But with me having chosen them, you know they’ll be some goodies and probably some pretty obscure stuff too.

So what do you say? You motivated now?

Tim, how goes your summer TV viewing? What rocks? What disappoints? What should everyone be watching?

My summer viewing? I’ve been pretty happy with it. It consists mostly of Netflix DVDs (latest recommendation: Rize is incredible. Absolutely stunning) and a few shows to compliment them. The standouts, which I’ve already mentioned before, are Entourage and Rescue Me. I also enjoyed the first installment of Nightmares and Dreamscapes last week (the second, Crouch End was okay”¦the direction was a touch weak and the ending was unsatisifying).

On the negative side, well, most shows I’ve avoided. I did try Saved though and found it to be disappointing. Two episodes in, I checked out.

If new TV isn’t your thing, but you still want to watch something, allow me to recommend the Sleuth Channel. It’s got so much Homicide: Life on the Streets that is hard for me not to cry at how beautiful it all is.

Oh, and back to that Netflix thing. Anyone have a burning desire to be my Netflix Friend? E-mail me at parallax2@juno.com and I’ll do that up.

Links

(IP) Music features a guy who thinks that both Tupac and B.I.G. are overrated.

(IP) Movies is the place to visit before you try to stay cool in a movie theatre.

(IP) Games is great. On a related note, I’m way pumped that a 100 Bullets game is in development, again!

That is great news for you. I, on the other hand, am forever waiting for a Daredevil game. Sigh”¦”¦.

(IP) Figures is always fun to check out.

(IP) TV has all of the recaps without all of the recrap.

(IP) Sports has the latest news on things sport related.

Moodspins is gearing up for a huge relaunch..

IP Culture is the place to class yourself up a bit.

Our DC Forum is full of debate about Nightwing’s new team, Green Arrow and the treatment of Roy Harper.

Also My Favorite Blog wants folks who will be attending the Big Con to do him a small favor.

I’d also suggest that you check out girl-wonder.org specifically the Project Girl Wonder part. Starman Matt clued me into this site and I highly recommend it for its sobering dissection of the most short-lived Robin.

What are you linking this week Mr. Stevens?

I’m linking Silver Age, written and drawn by a former columnist from this very site.

What I Read Last Week

American Virgin #5 – Worst Funeral Ever! Seeing Adam lose it like that was torturous. And Adam has the worst family ever. Seagle has done an amazing thing with this book; he’s made an evangelical sympathetic. Kudos!

On the evangelical being sympathetic side of things, he has and he hasn’t. Adam is pretty sympathetic (and severely messed up) but his mother is every bit the evil TV evangelical that we’ve all grown accustomed to. Right now, Seagle is still skating the line between simply writing a stereotype with her or making an argument that there are good evangelicals and bad evangelicals, just as there are bad atheists and good atheists, etc. I’m hoping he’ll successfully pull everything to the latter side of the fence, but it looks touch and go every now and then.

Squadron Supreme #5 – Mundane. I’m almost intrigued by Princess and Spectrum plotting. But I’m more upset that Nighthawk has yet to appear. Not because I’m doubting Straczynski’s plotting, but I really need to wash that horrible mini out of my mind. I do like the fact that Redstone appears to have traded teams. But this was still a pretty boring issue. Couldn’t Inertia have received her own lame miniseries rather than clog up this book with her back story?

So disappointed in this book since the Marvel Knights transition. It needs Nighthawk soon. Like, yesterday.

Firestorm #27 – I’m really glad to see Jason so incredibly assertive this issue, standing up to a whining Stein. But I’m sorry to see his link to Lorraine severed, as I’d have liked to see more of the conflict that it brought to both of their lives. I’d really like to see the Pupil become a DCU villain rather than just a Firestorm villain. And I’m way interested in both of this issue’s cliffhangers.

Wait”¦did you just bemoan the loss of Firehawk from the Firestorm dyad? Oh goodness. Did Mathan change his mind about Lorraine?

Green Lantern Corps #2 – I’m disappointed that the real villain of this storyline is so obvious (and was so from the first issue.) I wonder why Gibbon’s would feel that anyone would fall for a Guy Gardner so completely out of character in the final scene. I dig the characters, but the actual story elements leave a bit to be desired.

Green Lantern #12 – I love the reaction the revived GL’s have to Hal, and Guy’s quip about the Cyborg’s “S” shield. I’m curious if Johns will actually delve into how Guy and Hal react to Arisa. And I’m very interested in how Johns explains a certain New Guardian as part of the Global Guardians. Oh and I love Reis’ art on these pages.

Green Arrow #64 – I loved both the revelation about Brick’s motivation and the reveal of what’s causing the “zombies.” Oh and I loved that I was completely right about how Speedy would return to this book.

100 Bullets #74 – The cover made me drool, it’s such a great piece of art. I really dug how with this final chapter, I realized that the storyline was about siblings, a fact I’d overlooked before. I really liked how Augustus is really treating the Trust situation like a chess game. God, do I love this book!

52 Week 10 – I dug Clark’s chutzpah. I loved Morrow and Magus shooting the breeze. I even liked the political debate between Adam and his prisoner. This was another solid issue.

I’m going to go out on a limb and proclaim it the best “52” to date.

The Exterminators #7 – What a disturbing book. You’ve really got to ponder Oliver’s imagination for him to dream up stuff like this. That said, it’s a great read, but man, this book can be creepy at times. I dig how the Bug Brother’s is like a frat. But seriously, this book could give some people nightmares.

The Escapists #1 – I picked this up based on a recommendations from my shop owner, and I wasn’t disappointed. Great art, touching story. It’s quite a solid set up. And all for only a buck. You really can’t beat that.

DMZ #9 – I really feel for Matty and his noided self. He’s out of his head, but he’s still sympathetic. And he’s being used as a pawn in a game so much larger than he is. That last scene was heartbreaking, because you know that with that death, so much is going to happen as a result.

Tim, let’s jump to the column.

Are you sure Mathan? Because we could just talk for a little while? We never get to do that anymore.

Hello? Mathan?

Daron is our boss and thus, we have to print this question

I was organizing my comics the other day, and as I was sorting through some of my Legion stuff, a thought/question hit me. Even before the new Crisis hit, we were introduced to a new legion that was probably a precursor to the events in the new Crisis, but there is at least one “old school” legionnaire who should still have memories of the old history…and her name is Inferno.

Last I remember, Inferno had stayed in the past (as seen in her miniseries taking place shortly after the events of Final Night). Has she been seen at all since then, and if not how do you think the Crisis affected her?

I thought she was an interesting character, and think she could make for an interesting story idea, as the way I see it, she’s new Power Girl of the DCU having had her timeline wiped out.

What do you guys think?

Well Daron, normally I’d say that you’re hopeless and living in the past. However since Cameron Chase and Ragman both reappeared last year, I’ll say “never give up hope.”

That said, I don’t think that Inferno will be appearing any time soon, if only for the reason that she’s very much like Power Girl, only not as vital.

Power Girl was a relic from Earth-2 that DC stood by. Inferno is a relic from a forgotten timeline, who is equally forgotten. (Almost) No one cares about Inferno. She’s a Legion removed from the current Legion, which makes her a blip in the cosmic radar. Sure she ended up in the present, but there’s no guarantee that she didn’t disappear with one of Superboy’s punches or that she did just fade out of existence when the New Earth was created.

Of course some readers will argue that Bart Allen’s presence in the present would bode well for Inferno’s continued existence in the presence. To that I’d counter that it’s apples and oranges. Sure they’re both from the same era, but that’s where the similarities end.

Bart’s existence is practically written in stone, despite his link to the future. For instance, we know that Barry Allen that went into the future after he was acquitted in the present. We also know that he had two kids, and those kids had kids, one of them being Bart Allen. So Bart not only had ties to the future but the present.

(We can also infer that Xs also exists somewhere in the future, in some capacity, despite her lack of appearances lately.)

Inferno only has links to the future, and a future that doesn’t exist anymore. She’s pretty much toast.

But it would make for an interesting subplot in a book. Much like many readers assumed that Fallen Angel was Supergirl, the introduction of a female with fire powers who suffers from amnesia, would probably fuel speculation that Inferno survived the Infinite Crisis.

Oh, I’m pretty sure that the last time anyone saw Inferno was in Young Justice #50 which featured nearly every teen hero in the DCU at the time.

Tim, I know you hate the Legion, but do you think that Inferno should say gone or return and mess things up for continuity?

I don’t hate Legion, man, honestly I don’t.

(Dude, the death threats just stopped. Why do you always try to hurt me like this?)

I’d argue that point more, but I am still roiling from your idea that Inferno is somehow equivalent to Chase or Ragman. Come on! You must be crazy! Chase is the character find of”¦(well, whatever year she debuted”¦’98?) and Ragman is”¦Ragman! The Tatterdemalion! You do me and you, nay, you do the whole field of writing about comics a disservice by mentioning the three in the same breathe.
As for Inferno’s fate? Well, the way I figure it, Legion gets relaunched like, what, once every 5 years? So, Daron, other Inferno fans, you probably have about 7 or so more years to wait (roughly two relaunches from now). Use this time for meditation and the building of cosplay costumes to show her your reverence.

Also, use this time to come to terms with the fact that a man wearing a suit of rags which contain human souls is always going to be way cooler than your precious (currently defunct) Legion-er.

“Ready? Who am I?
One hint: I’m arrogant enough
to name myself
Fantastic and still too
chicken to fight.”

George Metcalf is so flexible, I recommend you keep your sisters, daughters, girlfriends, wives, nieces, etc. way the heck away from them. He’s liable to show them things that might lure them away from you.

Plastic Man v. Mr. Fantastic; who wins?

Well Mr. Fantastic is like the smartest guy in the Marvel U, right? So he’s clearly got that in his corner. However Plastic Man is zany and possibly crazy, so he’s got that going for him.

I’d say that seven out of ten times Fantastic is going to win. He’s got brains, tactics and probably gadgets at his advantage.

However I’m guessing that three out of the ten times Plastic Man can pull it out, using surprise and completely wackiness to his advantage and catch Fantastic off guard.

Tim, how do you see this match up going down?

That’s just about enough of
that, young man!”

Plastic Man is cool. I love Plastic Man. My favorite issue of the Kelly’s run on the title was the Plastic Man centric installment where he and Batman went to scare ol’ Eel’s illegitimate son straight (as in away from a life of crime. Not as in heterosexual. Both Batman and Plastic Man are very accepting of all sexualities). In fact, it is the only Kelly JLA issue that still sits in my collection.

All that being said, Mister Fantastic wipes the floor with him. Not 7 out of 10 times. More like 9.5 out of 10 times.

If the stretchy ones can involve their friends, that’s a whole other matter entirely. Straight up though, Plastic Man just is not as versatile an individual as Reed Richards. Better at the body morphing? Certainly. A better con artist/street smart operator? Absolutely. In the end though, it wouldn’t matter. Mr. Fantastic knows ways to utilize his abilities that O’Brian’s never even thought of and a range of gadgets at his disposal that make Galactus’s knees weak.

Hey Tim, it’s Temporary Mainstay Time!

Huzzah!

Neil is always pick-pick-picking at DC’s self esteem

What were the five biggest mistakes DC made in the past 10 years?

This time out I’m interpreting “mistakes” as “titles that never should have been.”


Haven: Broken City – This book was supposed to be a huge deal, yet I’m guessing that most of you don’t even know what I’m talking about.

Well there was an extraterrestrial city that crash-landed on Earth, and rested in the space that Coast City used to stand. Thus the DCU had a brand new city and full of brand new characters.

The problem was that no one cared. A mini series ran and no one read it. This was supposed to be a groundbreaking, continuity-affecting mini and to this day, there’s barely any mention of it at all. In fact it disappeared in Green Lantern Rebirth and the reaction from the comic fans was completely indifferent.

This was a mistake, not for trying something new, but for not following through. DC committed to the mini, but apparently didn’t commit to incorporating the concept into the DCU.

A short lived series that even Tim Stevens didn’t buy shouldn’t nicely sum up this mess.


Justice League Task Force – This is what I’d call “too much of a mediocre thing.” Apparently DC thought that the Justice League line deserved an expansion just like the X line from Marvel. Sadly the fans (and market) suffered for it.

The Justice League brand had been stretched to include both the JLA and JLE (which this book replaced), plus there was a Justice League Quarterly as well. Apparently this book was created to show how cool J’onn J’onzz was. Oh and it also gave fans a peek of some Nightwing in the Justice League action. But it was a forgettable Justice League title.

This also marked the beginning of the end of equating Justice League with quality, as DC had made the decision to churn out “Justice League” titles like Starbucks.

DC made the mistake of thinking that just because they had a universe full of heroes that they all had to be affiliated with the Justice League.

(Oh yeah, I do know that this book ended in 1996, ten years ago, but if it was around in the past ten years I figured it was fair game.)

I am simply nodding my head in agreement on this one.


Extreme Justice – Ugh, every thing I said about Justice League Task Force is equally applicable here. This book is pretty much an example of everything wrong with the 90’s, be it the “extreme” attitude, or a horrible armored Booster Gold, or a revamped Wonder Twins. This was just wrong.

Let’s take the “extreme” attitude. Back then, extreme was a powerful word, and this title watered it down considerably. This group was supposed to be a more “proactive” group, because Captain Atom was leading the team. It was a “take charge” kind of bunch. Sadly it didn’t quite click.

DC’s mistake here was by trying to capitalize of a popularity craze (a team that wanted to dispense it’s own brand of justice and completely disregard rules) and a fad (heroes with bulked up armor) and a name (eXtreme?), while simultaneously overextending and tarnishing the Justice League brand.

True story: when I started this gig, a neighbor stopped by and dropped off a full run of this book to me. Apparently she had bought it at a tag sale for her son. Anyways, she had flipped through and decided that he was too young for it and knowing that I was writing for a comic site she thought she’d do me a solid and pass them along. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth and knowing nothing about Extreme Justice (I figured, at the least, there would be much Mountain Dew drinking), I accepted. As she walked back to her house, she left me with this parting thought: “I thought they looked sort of ugly, but I don’t really read comics so”¦”.

As it turns out “sort of ugly” was an understatement. Extreme Justice was ugly in every way a comic can be and not sort of, either. Fully ugly. Or, if you prefer Extreme-ly.


The Titans – This book seemed pretty solid on paper. It featured former “Teen Titans” (and other heroes of comparable ages) together in a more grown up team. What resulted was a sad ball of missed opportunity, botched story attempts and embarrassingly poor decisions.

One mistake that this title made was to try to appeal to every fan. The book featured original Teen Titans (The Flash, Tempest, Arsenal, Donna Troy and Nightwing) alongside New Teen Titans (Starfire and Cyborg) plus a couple of random former Titans (Damage and Argent). Oh and they also threw in Jesse Quick for good measure. And that hodgepodge assortment of character gelled about as well as you can imagine.

The 50-issue run featured plenty of disappointing moments, from the infamous D.E.Orphans, to the equally infamous “Jesse Quick stealing her mother’s boyfriend” to the embarrassing “Starfire wearing aluminum foil on her head to protect herself from an alien plot” to the frustrating “what was up with Epsilon again?”

DC made the mistake of trying to give the fans they thought they wanted by using the “everything including the kitchen sink” approach, rather than giving the readers a good story and solid characterization to work with. And again, DC almost killed the Titan brand with this one.

How did it all go so wrong? I know not. I couldn’t even stay until they turned the lights off on this series. All I know is each issue made me day a little inside.


Richard Dragon – I really wanted to like this book. But looking back, DC duped me, because this book was sub par at best.

The book featured an uber violent portrayal of a modern day Richard Dragon. Both Nightwing and Connor Hawke made guest appearances, but sadly, so did Neron, a demon. And yeah, the storyline with Neron was as bad as you can imagine.

DC’s mistake here was to think that a critically acclaimed creative team can trump a poorly conceived concept.

I never thought I’d say this, but”¦

Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel turned a pretty crap job on this one.

Tim, feel free to add you two cents in on this one.

Sure I can. In fact, I have a few titles of my own to nominate for consideration in this “contest”.


Suicide Squad – I perhaps don’t have the reverence of this original title that a lot do, but I dig it. I love villains, I like Deadshot, and any time Batman and Flagg want to beat on each other an entire issue, I’ll probably be there. So I’d like to think I’m enough of a fan of the concept of the Squad, without being a worshipper of its issues as sacred texts, to fairly judge this volume.

As a fair judge, I proclaim this series as”¦not good at all. The problem Giffen and company run into is that they created a book that was simultaneously too close to and completely lacking the charms of the beloved first volume. It was not a train wreck. Rather, it was a sub-mediocre effort that made you think that maybe DC just needed to renew that copyright (or trademark, whatever”¦please don’t send me e-mails enlightening me on the difference).


Doom Patrol – Never has a series felt so perfunctory, so utterly unimportant, from moment one. I am, of course, referring to the Byrne headed relaunch (it’s either volume 3 or 4, I can’t recall) from two years ago.

And yes, I know everyone picks on Byrne. For me, that’s not even what this is about. Problem 1 was that the first issue was actually the conclusion of a story that started in JLA. A not very good story, in fact. As a business plan, that’s a fairly horrendous one. Fans of the concept trying to jump aboard again found themselves in the middle of a storyline began elsewhere. Those who were reading the JLA story may have come over to Doom Patrol, but certainly all of them did not. And those that did, a large portion would have probably left after issue #1 because they now had their complete storyline.

Problem 2 started around the third issue. Here’s where, through interviews and the like, it became increasingly clear that a.) Doom Patrol was heading to the woodshed and b.) all the stories happening in this volume, all the “this is their first time” nonsense did not matter because DC had a plan to “fix” it so that Morrison’s (and everything before and after) stories “counted again”.

So, to review, DC had a terrible game plan to launch this series and then, almost immediately, revealed that the book was just marking time until it was rendered null and void.


Vigilante – I know this ended up as a mini, but there were threats of it being an ongoing and thus, I think its good enough for this list. What it is not good enough for is to bear the name of “Vigilante”.

Jones built the series on the back of “surprise” revelation – that of Vigilante’s true identity – that I have and several others had already unraveled by issue #2. Add to that the revelation was one that was so played out by movies like Fight Club and Adaptation (Charlie’s twin’s serial killer script parodied the concept) and you are left with a lot of shifting sand for a foundation.

Then, you have art problems (2-3 artists for 6 issues?!), dialogue problems (what the heck is with the photographe’s pseudo-street patter in #1), and characters that are built up in the narrative as key to the story and then disappear for four issues before making a reappearance in the final issue in a role that anyone could have fulfilled (see again: the photographer). It was a mess top to bottom, plain and simple.


Martian Manhunter – The team that brought you The Spectre can do better than this. It was not bad, per se, it was just wholly uninvolving. J’onn only gets a shot at an ongoing once every 10 years or so and every time (his next failed attempt will be starting shortly) and that it was wasted on this, a book that seemed out of ideas after the first arc (excepting that Oreo story), is truly disappointing.

George Metcalf likes his destruction big and mindless

Hulk v. Doomsday; who’s the winner?

VS.

I imagine this would probably be a good battle. Or maybe it wouldn’t. I can’t quite pin this one down.

Y’see I’m sure that Doomsday faced a hulking powerful behemoth at sometime during his travels. And since Doomsday has that nifty form of evolution where once he’s defeated he’s impervious to that attack next time around, I’m guessing that he’d be pretty much ready for anything the Hulk had to offer.

However the Hulk gets stronger the angrier he gets, which means that the longer the fight lasts that stronger he’ll become, the more likely he’ll be able to beat Doomsday. Which would make him a pretty even match for Doomsday.

So basically I’m saying that any defeat would be a temporary one and this battle would rage on forever.

Tim, who you have your money on?

Hulk is the strongest there is. Any other discussion on the matter is just semantics and a waste of all of our times.

Sandmatt recognizes that the Gotham underworld has changed hands more times than”¦ something that changes hands a lot”¦ Daron’s mom’s phone #, maybe?

I’m confused as to how Gotham has gone from being under the control Black Mask to Penguin to White Shark, without us really knowing any details.

Ah the joys of OYL. In the past twelve months Gotham has seen quite a few changes. James Gordon has become Police Commissioner again. Harvey Bullock has returned to the GCPD. Harvey Dent has gone from hero to villain and Batman has gone from absent to omnipresent.

But story of who’s running Gotham’s criminal operations seems to be a pretty easy one. Y’see Black Mask was killed by Catwoman while Infinite Crisis was going on. Thus it’s assumed that Penguin resumed the criminal enterprise in Mask’s absence during OYL. However the Penguin lost control of Gotham to Great White Shark, an inmate in Arkham.

And now Great White Shark is running Gotham, however he’s got to deal with dual threats on his domain in the form of Two Face and Batman. I can’t wait to see this story develop.

George Metcalf is obviously my kind of guy

Ego, the living planet v. Mogo; who’s going the way of Krypton?

VS.

This is going to be a pretty good battle. Ego has psionic powers that are practically immeasurable. But Mogo has control of the most powerful weapon in the universe at his disposal.

Well we know that Green Lanterns are vulnerable to mental attacks (as witnessed by Hector Hammond being a thorn in Hal Jordan’s side) but we also know that they can overcome that (as witnessed by Hal besting Hector.)

However Ego can create his own army of super beings to attack Mogo. But Mogo has dealt with invaders before.

I’ve got to go with Mogo, because he’s got the most powerful weapon in the universe and because I’m seen him in action.

Tim, which ‘go are you going for?

Jeez”¦now I know how Sophie felt. (Tell me someone, anyone, got that joke)

Anyway, in making this very difficult decision, I’m going to have to go with my Marvel roots. Thus, it’s all Ego. He’s got a face, he occasionally speaks, and Mogo would never be able to concentrate enough to got that ring of his to work to fight back.

Although, in reality, both planets and the galaxy would be the loser as their gravitational pulls would rip each other, and the integrity of whatever galaxy they fought in, apart.

But that’s sort of a downer to think about.

And that’s to bring it to an end for this week’s column. But don’t fret, new week we’ll return, provided you send me some questions. You can either email me or post them on Our Bloody Thread!

Here’s my question to you; What DC vs Marvel fight would you like to see?

“The malls are the soon to be ghost towns. So long, farewell, good-bye”

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