Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, the response to my pleading and your bribing has been overwhelming. In fact this week every question is from a different person! That said, don’t think that I didn’t notice that you happen to announce that you’re going to be giving away mystery comics in the very same column that you comment how someone “gave” you Extreme Justice.

Why, Mathan, whatever might you mean? I’m sure I have no idea.


(IP) Music has some big changes coming.

(IP) Movies has review you can use.

(IP) Games is a blast to keep you in touch with the various systems.

(IP) Figures rocks! .

(IP) TV is full of Big Brother stuff.

(IP) Sports has thoughts on lots of things concerning balls.

Moodspins will rock when it returns.

IP Culture never dumbs it down.

Our DC Forum has talk about Superman and the fate of the Joker.

Also My Favorite Blog has news about the Con in San Diego!

I’d also suggest that you check out girl-wonder.org specifically the Project Girl Wonder. Seriously. It’s a good spot.

What I Read Last Week

Jonah Hex #9 – A rare misstep this issue. The story seemed way off. Something was missing. Ordinarily I love this book, but this issue left me flat.

Hellblazer #222 – I didn’t really like this issue. I would have thought that everyone knew the deal with Johnny’s soul, so the ending was kind of a disappointment. But the art was pretty.

X-Factor #9 – Now this was a good issue. I loved how Madrox stepped up to the plate. I’m loving Layla helping Jamie out with her cryptic comments. I’m also digging how Pietro appears to be at least in the neighborhood for the time being.

Civil War #3 – It’s funny that I saw the variant cover, and I was still caught off guard by the last page. But, Tim, I agree with what you say about the logic involved. But this was a pretty fun book. Poor Peter is playing the lackey.

Oh, I think it’s fun, too. I think it’s more than fun enough to overrule those gaps in logic. But I still notice that those gaps exist.

52 Week Eleven – Finally Batwoman is here! I dug her debut. I liked how Montoya put it all together. But man that last page is creepy. That said, I’m all about Wicker Sue!

Yeah, you love Wicker Sue. Which is weird. Very weird.
Good issue though.

Manhunter #24 – Poor Psycho, if only he’d just been a tad more patient. He’s a creepy dude, though. And that cover is giving me the willies right now. Next book!

Catwoman #57 – Now this was a great issue. I loved the homage cover. I dug how safe Helena’s room is. I loved Angle Man’s taunting. And I appreciated Holly and Ted sharing some downtime. This book had everything.

Justice League of America #0 – This was a fun read. I dig the notion that those three meet up every year. It’s a nice touch. And man the book was fun to look at too.

Enjoyable stuff. I understand the argument that it didn’t “mean anything” but I still liked it a lot.

Superman/Batman #28 – Interesting read. Either Supes head is too small or his chest is too big, but that’s about the only thing I can be critical about. This was an action packed book. And it was fun to see Bruce squirm.

Aquaman #43 – I dug Vulko’s storytelling, but I don’t care about Curry. I’m only reading this book for the fate of the characters that I do care about; Orin and Garth.

Robin #152 – I so dug how Tim carried his impending meeting with Boomer. I like how he’s respectful of Nightwing, but he’s got his own agenda. I also like how Harper is getting play in the Bat-books. I’m glad I picked this issue up.

Ion #4 – For a second I thought that Kyle was possessed by the Mad God Sector 3600, so the actual reveal was a shock. But what a reveal it was. Now this book is really getting into gear.

I agree. The book finally seems to have found a rhythm and the art, as not good as it is, no longer bothers me as the story has kicked in in earnest.

Battle For Bludhaven #6 – The Ishtar of comics has ended. It was so bad that I didn’t even pick up Uncle Sam this week. Still it was nice to see Cap in the Monarch armor. I also liked the fact that Bludhaven has been wiped from the face the planet. Sort of. I’m actually going to miss the place.

The Flash #2 – Better than the first issue, but it’s still not my favorite book yet. I really hope that it gets better. I really, really hope it gets better.

Good for you, coming back for issue #2. I just couldn’t do it.

Supergirl & the Legion of Super-Heroes – I love Brainy’s plan for helping Dream Girl. I love the resentment the other Legionnaires have for Supergirl. But mostly I love that Cosmic Boy has a crush. This is such a joyous book.

Checkmate #4 – Rucka really “gets” Alan. The stuff with the Great Ten was cool. I’m digging the notion that Durlans are used as tech, it’s such a cool plot device. But I’m going to miss Alan. It was really fun to see him in his light.

Another book (like Ion) that disappointed me at first that achieved its best installment with issue #4. Great stuff.

Shadowpact #3 – I enjoyed this book. I liked that Detective Chimp was the hero and that the team had real life issues to deal with in the missing year. But I really loved Blue Devil with a beard. That rocked!

Wow…I’m on a completely different page from you on this. Soooo disappointed. I’m done with this book.

The Next #1 – If this book were written by Grant Morrison, the weirdness would be touted as revolutionary. But it’s not, so the book will likely go ignored. That’s sad, because this thing as got some really interesting characters. I dig how they broke things down into archetypes. This should be a fun mini.

Jason R actually placed the lyric at the end of the last column. So he leads things off.

Jason R…ummm… leads things off.

Okay, so I read all the Infinite Crisis minis, about 30-40% of the tie-in issues, the core titles and anything else I could get my hands on… and I still have NO idea what exactly was the point of Donna Troy (aka Harbringer v2.0) gathering the team and going off into space. What exactly did they do?

Well there was a disturbance in space, and Donna Troy gathered a team to check it out. The point was to investigate and determine what to do next. That was the “in story” explanation for their trip.

But from editorial standpoint, Donna’s team put many players into position. For instance, Donna’s team put Jade in a position to die. It also put Starfire and Animal Man in the position to get stranded out in space with Adam Strange.

We also got a Firestorm reunion with Prof. Stein, and as a result, OYL we have a much more confident Jason Rusch.

Oh, and let’s not forget about Alan Scott’s eyes.

So Donna Troy’s taking a team out into space may not have amounted to much during Infinite Crisis, but the ramifications to characters involved seem to be pretty long-lasting.

Tim, what’s your take on Donna’s Team, pre and post Infinite Crisis?

My take is that it was easily the most frustrating part of the whole “event”. For me, it was a case of “be careful what you wish for” as I had continually said things like, “I’m not very interested in the cosmic aspect. I hope they don’t make too big a deal out of it.” And so they didn’t. In fact, they made no deal out of it at all. Which also left me questioning, much like the venerable Jason C., what the point of it all was.

Admittedly, Mathan, you are correct, there have been lasting impact. But if we believe that 52 was not the post-Crisis plan from the start (which has several times been stated as the case), then the situation becomes distressing. The case becomes that the team was in space for the sole purpose of interrupting the giant hands and buying, I don’t know, 12 seconds for the earth bound heroes. Nice of them and all, but hardly worth the focus, right?

If I was cynical, I could also include that the purpose was to kill another of Kyle’s girlfriends (poor, poor Kyle) and to justify the existence of the Rann/Thanagar War and The Return of Donna Troy as Crisis connected miniseries. But I’m not cynical. Well, I am, but only cynical enough to suggest such things, not outright declare them.

So, to review, post-Crisis, the space team has yielded fruit, but pre-Crisis…no dice.

“Follow me heroes! To nonessential storylines and oblivion!”

Speaking of Post-Crisis, Brad is loving it!

How great is 52? I mean, so far it seems to me like it’s the Main Event that Crisis was leading up to – not the “aftermath” to the main event that it’s supposed to be. Am I the only one that feels that way?

Well, those who enjoy 52 really enjoy it and those who are critical of it don’t really hold back. But there’s also a bit of a middle ground with people who don’t love or hate it, just tolerate it.

I am one of those who enjoy it. I think that the DCU is a cool place and I’m glad that we’ve got a book that explores some of the odder corners and characters. I’m happy that we get to see Ralph’s grief. I like that Booster is living a nightmare. I love T.O. Morrow’s chats with Will.

But I also like that it introduces new concepts as well. I’m very intrigued by the notion of the Resurrection Cult (though I’m worried that the pay off might stink). I’m pretty interested in the Great Ten and Luthor’s JLA. Supernova has me curious for more.

What’s equally cool is how DC also shows glimpses of what the some of the “name” characters are doing. I really enjoyed the spotlight that Clark Kent got recently and seeing Hal Jordan battling the Great Ten was equally cool.

And I kind of agree with your assessment that 52 is the “main event.” 52 is more ambitious both in scope and in the fact that it’s not really relying on “star power.” I also think that Infinite Crisis relied on the reader having a lot of pervious knowledge of the DCU. 52, while still requiring a bit of knowledge, sets everything up in the first few issues, so you don’t really need much to enjoy the book.

Tim, how do you feel about 52?

I’m less enthusiastic than you are Mathan, but I still don’t consider myself to be in the “just tolerate” category. There is a lot that I like about it, most of which you already listed above. However, I’ve felt like 52, up until the past three or so weeks, has been like a beautiful sports car rolling down the street in second gear. Everything looks great, there is tremendous potential for coolness, if only the damn thing would let loose.

However, as I said above, the past 3 weeks feel as though the book is finally turning the corner. They’ve set up enough pieces that plots are actually starting to move, evolve, and advance. I also excited with how the various plotlines have started to intersect and influence one another (Dibny revealing Booster as a fraud, Supernova stealing Booster’s thunder, Renee and The Question teaming up with Batwoman, Renee and the Question heading to Black Adam’s Kahndaq, etc) before splitting back off and heading on their own way. When all is said and done 52 may very well be the Short Cuts of comics.

Ooo…that’s exciting.

Jag questions the need for women. Hmm…I’m sure I could’ve worded that better.

What is your opinion on the new Batwoman? Although I know it’s early, it just seems like a bad idea from the get-go. I mean, the Bat-World doesn’t NEED another costumed vigilante (Let’s see…Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Birds of Prey, Catwoman, maybe Jason Todd) and one who was publicized as a lesbian by all the media outlets before she had even made her debut just reeks of gimmickry and the kind of thing that would turn fans against her without giving her a chance (not because of her sexuality but more because of gimmick). What do you guys think?

I understand where you’re coming from, but all me to put it in a different light.

First off, you claim that the “Bat-world doesn’t need another costumed vigilante.” You probably have a point, but within the context of the story being told (52), Gotham does need a new costumed vigilante. One year ago, Gotham didn’t have Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Birds of Prey, Catwoman or Jason Todd. All it had was Harvey Dent, and he was sans costume. So, in regards to story, Batwoman isn’t redundant.

And as for her sexuality and the media outlets, I again can see your point. But I don’t think that it’s too gimmicky. Again, within the story Ms Kane is introduced as a former love of Renee Montoya. Then Montoya realizes that Ms. Kane and Batwoman are one and the same. Without the connection to Montoya, this would come completely out of left field. Without Montoya, we’d just have a new Bat character with no link to Gotham.

However with that link, we’ve got a character who a) cares about Gotham, b) as roots in both Gotham and Bat mythos, and c) a character who’s appearing for the first time, yet feels firmly established.

I don’t think that we can blame DC for the media jumping on the story. It’s a Bat character who happens to be gay, like it or not, that’s news in the world that we live in. Where people care more about Nick and Jessica than election frauds, a Batwoman who favors women is kind of a big deal.

I also don’t think that it was supposed to be a big secret. During No Man’s Land we had a mysterious new Batgirl that got fans into a tizzy. If DC had tried to introduce a mysterious new Batwoman, it would have been kind of a retread of that storyline.

I don’t think that she’s gay as a gimmick other than a plot device to give her a back-story in Gotham with an established character. I think that the publicity was certainly used to create a buzz, but I don’t think that she was “made gay” to court attention.

Where do you stand on Batwoman Tim?

I would prefer that Batwoman, of any kind, was never put on the table to begin with. I’ve stated more than once (although, mostly in reference to Superman) that I don’t love the idea of female heroes who are not created with their identities but rather as (typically) less experienced, less competent versions of their male counterparts. It renders the superhero identities of the men less “special” and the women inevitably suffer in comparison to their “inspirations”. I feel it more in the case of Superman because of the whole “last of Krypton” thing is destroyed by it, but I feel much the same way about Batman.

Of course, we have a Batwoman now, so the above stuff is largely academic.

Dealing with “reality”, I enjoyed her 52 debut. I thought the story made for one of the better installments of the series and that her first costumed foray was well presented. I respect that, thus far, the “gay thing” is part of her, but not the focus. For me, thus far, it feels no different than if she was an ex of say, Bruce Wayne’s, that has taken up the cape and cowl. Yes, to an extent she is being defined by that previous relationship, but not because of the fact that it is a same sex one, but rather because it provides a “in” to the world of Batman and Gotham City.

Finally to speak to the idea of comic fans disliking her because of the “gimmick” of her being gay but not her actual sexuality. I agree that that is the case with some people. Hell, it gave me pause to. I would’ve hated to see that exploited or, worse, declared and then summarily ignored (as in Marvel’s Northstar). However, I notice several of the people who claim to only dislike it for “gimmick” reasons seem to use language that would suggest otherwise. In other words, complaining about the gimmick allows them to complain about DC making a character gay without having to admit that it is the sexuality issue that is the true root of their “issue” with Batwoman. Just a little something to chew on their.

Soak1313 charms snakes…with only the power of his adorable dimples

Who’s Whisper A’daire and where else might I know her from other than the newest issue of 52?

Whisper A’daire is an associate of Ra’s al Ghul. She was one of his agents and dutifully did his biding. She’s also usually in the company of Mr. Abbot.

Sadly there’s not a lot know about her past. If she’s to be believed she’s British and if Batman’s research is to be believed, she’s over 80 years old. The reason she looks good for her age is because she’s an addict of a drug the Ra’s supplied her with.

Ra’s distilled the essence of the Lazarus Pit into a drug. While it doesn’t make users immortal, it does greatly slow down the aging process, provided the user ingests it on a regular basis. The drug also appears to alter DNA, as A’daire’s seems to be mixed with that of a cobra. As a result she periodically sheds her skin.

However it appears that she’s currently aligned herself with Intergang.

Tim, any thoughts on Whisper A’daire?

I loved her in Rucka’s Detective Comics run (because I pretty much loved that whole run as covered previously in this column) and was very excited to see her in 52. I believe that I, in fact, whispered, “Awesome” when I saw it. Why? Because I am a massive nerd.

Anyway, my personal guess is that she is working with Intergang but only for the purposes of a hostile takeover given both her past employment and her personality. Also, I predict that it will go fairly disastrously as Intergang is not a presence in Gotham OYL and she has no connection to them when they have showed up in Metropolis OYL.

Jim H. is reading the back of a milk carton

Has it been established what would make Supes, Bats, & WW disappear for a year? (If it was established in IC – I am waiting for the trade PB to read it, but please tell me anyway)

You know that I hate spoiling, but for you, just this once, I will.

As a result of what happens in Infinite Crisis #7 the three decided to take some time to sort things out. In fact that scene is referenced in last week’s Justice League of America #0.

Diana went off to find her place in the world. Bruce wanted to learn to depend on and care about people again. And Clark was powerless.

They agreed that they’d meet up again in a year, which I guess will happen in the Justice League of America #1.

Tim, of those three, who do you think had the most fun during their “year off?”

Ooo, hard to say. I imagine Bruce’s was a lot like Spring Break. He, Dick, and Tim went down to Cabo or Cancun or who knows where, did ice luges, foam parties, and judged wet t-shirt contests. They woke up with strange women (always plural because that’s how the Bat family rolls) almost every night, slipped out without waking them (superhero training does come in handy!), had a little hair of the dog that bit them, and started all over again. With Bruce’s bank account, Dick’s casual smoothness, and Tim’s sharp intelligence there isn’t a “type” they don’t fulfill. The fact that they are all ripped doesn’t hurt either.

Oh, they probably also went to like Tibet and learned to meditate or something.

Wonder Woman, on the other hand…well, who knows. No one yet. So, let’s just imagine, shall we? Diana is off to find herself (and her place) and any trip of that nature starts, of course, with a visit to DisneyWorld. Not Land. World. Land is the suck and let no one tell you otherwise. She did all the parks plus Sea World and Universal Studios. And I assure you, she loved every moment of it. She also got to go to the character breakfast TWICE and got a picture with Donald and Mickey at the same time. Like any smart person, she prefers Donald, but has to acknowledge Mickey’s status as the torchbearer.

From there she decided to follow Pearl Jam on tour for a few months. She’s a big fan of their politically conscious lyrics and their fearlessness in the face of critics who demand they act more like other rock stars.

The rest of the year was spent taking classes at a nearby university, working at a used bookstore downtown, and doing trivia at the local pub every Tuesday. No surprise, her category of expertise was Mythology.

Oh, and then there was Superman. Superman did everything the same, work, family, wife, except he did it all without the superpowers he’s come to rely on since he was a teen. So…that’s cool…I guess.

Who had it best though? I’m going to say Wonder Woman, but only because I really love bar trivia and Bruce and Co. had to go ruin their OYO (One Year Off) with all that meditating.

Michael S doesn’t grasp complex quantum physics. He must be pretty dumb, huh?

I have a question about the current Supergirl. I noticed in the October solicits that she’s now in the Outsiders. Yet, she’s also in the future, with the Legion. Not being a reader of either of these comics, I must ask, how is that possible? Have they explained it, or is this just a whole “It’s OYL! We’ll Explain Later!”, because I’ve been questioning her being in two times at once since she joined the Legion.

“And people are always wondering why I’m so thin. With all this running around from team to team, how could I not be?!”

Sadly Michael, Supergirl’s appearance in the 31st century has yet to be explained. I do think that her inclusion in the Legion is certainly an attempt to capitalize on the OYL buzz, as the Legion was so far removed from Infinite Crisis that it didn’t really affect the status quo at all.

I don’t think that her being in the future really needs to be explained. The Legion series prior to this one featured the recently deceased Superboy as a member, while he was also a member in the current Teen Titans title. It was explained that he was whisked away to the future at some point in the Teen Titans future.

So perhaps Supergirl travels to the 31st century in Outsiders #50 or even Supergirl #50. That’s the beauty of time travel; Supergirl can be transported to the future, spend a year there, and return to the present one second after she left. So in the second that she blipped out of existence, she’s experienced a year.

Or maybe the Supergirl in the Legion isn’t really “Supergirl.” That’s the theory that I’m going with. Especially since the leader of the Legion, Cosmic Boy, has fallen for her. I’m thinking that she’s a plant. Plus when you’re dealing with Mark “The Return of Barry Allen” Waid things are usually too good to be true.

Tim, do you care about Supergirl or time paradoxes?

Every time I admit that I don’t really like Supergirl (Again, first and foremost, it is the very concept of the character I dislike. And second is the fact that she has yet to do anything to convince me we needed to bring back the whole Superman’s cousin idea when the DCU still had a perfectly working Supergirl or two or three) I seem to get at least one e-mail giving me a hard time about it and putting out how well the book sells. So…I’ll leave that be.

However, I will say that I find time paradoxes intensely interesting in a “ow, my head hurts” sort of way. Except the ones that are a lot easier to explain then people seem to realize. At this point, Supergirl’s joining of the Legion fits in the latter category to me for the reason you mentioned Mathan.

Parallax2814 has a scorecard and still can’t figure out the players

With the recent release of Justice League #0, who do you think will comprise the new team?

Ok, I’m basing this purely on the cover of Justice League of America #2.

The cover in question.

So we know it’s Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.

I think that we can safely recognize that Red Tornado is on the squad.

I’m guessing that the “Hawk” character is Hawkgirl. I’m saying this because Hawkman has yet to return and Hawkgirl would be a nod to the Justice League Unlimited show.

As much as I want to say that the Green Lantern is John Stewart, I’m saying that it’s Hal Jordan. Brad didn’t have a chance to utilize Hal in Identity Crisis so he’s going to jump at the chance to use him here.

So those are the obvious characters. Oh wait, I forgot about the archer. I want to say that it’s Arsenal because he’s been conspicuous in his absence OYL, but the guy is clearly holding a green bow, so I’m saying that it’s Connor Hawke. Because what goes better with a green bow than a Green Arrow?

As for the feminine figure with long hair, I’m saying that it’s Black Canary. I can’t really explain why I feel that way, I’m just guessing.

I think the flying figure between the archer and Red Tornado is Captain Atom. Again, I’m just guessing here. Plus he’s one of the cooler members of the JLI era squad.

Finally the feminine hovering character, I’m thinking that that’s Vixen. She’s one of the few characters from the JL Detroit era still around and she’s still active.

And that’s who I think is on the squad.

Tim are you going to offer your thoughts on the cover that’s shrouded in mystery?

Yes, I am. But only because if I don’t I feel guilty about the enormous paycheck I get every week for editing this column. (Seriously, it’s huge!)

As you mentioned, the Trinity’s in. And the Trinity’s Wonder Woman is Diana.

I agree on Red Tornado.

I disagree on Hawkgirl. Hawkman has no presence in the Justice Society relaunch (I think this has been confirmed) so my belief is that Carter is coming roaring back to the DCU in the pages of the Justice League. Take that, Hawkgirl, stealer of titles.

Meltzer talks about his love of Hal all the time which is weird because he’s usually very cagey about who’s going to be on the team. Thus, I doubt Hal’s presence. However, he could just be doing this to make me doubt Hal making the cut. It’s all very confusing. For now, I’ll side with you Mathan and say that Hal is in with an outside chance that Meltzer is trying to trick us (but not double trick us) equaling a spot for John.

It would be awesome if the archer was Connor, but I’m going to guess it’s not. I can’t decide if it is Arsenal or Ollie though. A Titan or two is “graduating” to the big leagues so that makes me lean towards Arsenal. However, the bow is green, so that makes me think Ollie. Oh what the hell, I’ll choose the sleeper here and go with Arsenal (no doubt sporting yet another costume).

The long haired woman does fit with Canary as she was depicted by Turner on the Identity Crisis covers, so that’s not a bad fit. However, I do think her hairstyle has changed since then so maybe that is no longer such a great fit. I read someone theorizing that it was Kate Spencer aka Manhunter because she too rocks the ponytail while fighting. Awesome idea, but I doubt it. I just thought I’d mention it on the extremely unlikely chance that it is true though.

The other woman as Vixen? Hmm…could be. Meltzer’s did reveal that Vixen would be in issue #1 and he is all about paying respect to every League incarnation as displayed in his recent fan Q&A at Newsarama, so that’s a pretty good guess. My guess was Zatanna before the Vixen thing…now I’m not sure. Maybe Zatanna the ponytailed one and this one is Vixen. I’ll ponder this.

The final man is Cyborg. Just a hunch. And please let it not be Captain Atom. Please.

A final note for all of you other folks who are trying guess. This is Meltzer talking when asked whose idea the shadow cover was, “My idea. And my requests to play with some of the shadows.” In other words, the shadows may not be an entirely accurate representation of who made the cut. For instance, I don’t doubt the presence of a GL on the team. But the outline of his hair in shadow? That might not be how it appears on the final cover (adding more fuel to the possibility of it not being Hal Jordan). Similarly, ponytail woman might have a short ponytail or, conceivably, none at all. The man about Batman’s shoulder and below Red Tornado (who’s shadow, I’d guess, is legit) might have a cape or different arms or a helmet of some sort (suddenly I’m getting a Ray vibe. Blaze of Power Ray, not current Freedom Fighter Ray…but I think that’s just hysteria). And so on and so on. In other words, all this guessing? Yeah, it might all be for naught because the deck is stacked against us.

Andrew has good, if incomplete, taste

Can you give me a brief rundown of the Chase series and Chronos series that ran a few years.

I’ve managed to track down quite a few of those oddball, short-lived series, from the good (Hourman and Aztek) to the not so great (Argus). Those two have thus far alluded me.

My friend, you need to track down those two titles. They are two of my favorite of the short-lived books.

Basically Chase is about Cameron Chase an agent with the DEO who doesn’t really dig costumed heroes. In fact she kind of views them as a menace so she sort of enjoyed her job of keeping tabs on them.

Over the course of her short lived book we learn her father was a costumed hero and that she might have a gift herself. We also get to see her figure out Batman’s secret identity and hang out with the Suicide Squad. It’s a brief series, but it’s a bit ahead of it’s time.

Chronos on the other hand may have been a bit too high concept for the comic fans of the time.

The book centered on Gabriel Walker, and industrial thief who managed to get his hands on some of the retired criminal Chronos’ tech. They greatly aided his criminal activities. However he came into conflict with Linear Men which caused him to bump around in the time stream to various points in the history of the DCU.

We met future versions of Gabriel as well as saw him meet figures from DC’s numerous mythos. It was a delightful romp that sadly ended before it even approached its potential.

I’d suggest that you scour the web until you find some reasonably priced issues of those books. Chronos reads very well in one sitting.

Tim care to share your feelings on those two lamented titles?

I love Chase. I nearly talked myself out of buying it back in the day and I am so glad that I am apparently not all that persuasive. It still kills me that it was so short lived, of course, but it was smart, had exceptional art, and told the kind of down to earth smashing together with larger than life stories that I dig so much. Plus Chase has gone on to be a legitimate presence in the DCU and has a large supporting role in one of my current favorite but little read titles, Manhunter.

As far as Chronos goes, I regret to admit that I only own the first 5 issues. I keep meaning to pick up the rest, but I just have yet to get around to it. Part of the problem is that the first 5 issues did not come down on me like the bolt of creative lightning that I expected them to be. I should go back and read them again, now that I am free with that unfair expectation. If it works for me this time out, I’ll definitely round out the collection.

Docbooty has a most excellent name but finds planning for the future oh-so confusing

What the hell was going on in the Superman arc “For Tomorrow”?

Basically Superman was worried about Earth sharing Krypton’s fate, so he stepped up to try to succeed where his father failed; by coming up with a way to save the population. So he created world that could house folks should something happen.

However Superman felt that he was really stepping out of bounds by doing that, so he just put his creation into the Phantom Zone, because that’s what Kryptonians do; house their mistakes in the Phantom Zone.

And he also erased his memory of creating the place.

Then the Vanishing happened. A million folks vanished. And Superman blamed himself. Eventually he found that the device responsible for the Vanishing was in the possession of General Nox. Naturally Supes went to confront but the device gets activated again and more people vanish.

Superman gets blamed this time and the JLA aren’t really on his side. So trying to save the day Supes decides to use the device himself to meet up with missing folks. Wonder Woman is opposed to him doing that so they tussle. Supes does use it and ends up in Metropia, the place he created but forgot out.

There he runs into Zod and eventually saves everyone.

And I think that’s basically For Tomorrow.

Tim, who has better failed experiments; Batman or Superman?

Wow…I had no idea that’s what happened in For Tomorrow. That’s…that’s something alright.

Anyway, as to your question, Batman gets it for being more active in the failed experiment department (I would include things like the Protocols from the “Tower of Babel” arc and Brother I in this sort of thing) but Superman gets recognized as well for the more spectacular screw up. Building a satellite that gets hijacked and eventually leads to the death of some of your colleagues is a pretty lousy mistake. If all Superman did was create a “replacement” world, change his mind about it, banish it to the Phantom Zone and somehow leave evidence around for a crazy general to take advantage of its existence, they might be on the same level. However, Superman took it even further by a.) forgetting the world ever existed, b.) banishing it to a place where an even crazier (and superpowered) general could claim it as his own, and c.) letting millions of civilians get caught in the middle.

At the end of the day, I should hope that both Bats and Supes have chastised themselves roundly for their errors. If they ever lose their superhero-ing gigs and need to look elsewhere for jobs, this sort of thing does not look good on a resume.

Rick is a great fan of taking credit for the ideas of others

Was there a pre-Crisis character who kept dying and coming back to life with new powers? If so, whatever happened to him? If not, I claim dibs on the idea!

Actually Rick you’re thinking of two distinct characters. The Pre Crisis character was the Immortal Man. He’s sort of the opposite number of Vandal Savage. In fact they both got their immortality from the same meteor.

Immortal Man would be reincarnated after each death and he was always a thorn in the side of Vandal Savage. But he didn’t really great powers. Ok he did have mental abilities like telekinesis, pyrokinesis, and telepathy. But I wouldn’t call those “great powers.” Also he’d be different people when he was reincarnated.

The post Crisis character was the Resurrection Man, who starred in his own title. Mitch Shelly wasn’t the Immortal Man, but when he died he returned to life with abilities that related in some way to the manner in which he was killed.

Mitch is still out in the DCU somewhere, but he’s not being used right now, which is a shame because he’s such a great character. And I love his book just as much as I loved Chronos and Chase.

So Rick, sorry you can’t claim dibs on it, but I’d recommend that you pick up the Resurrection Man, it’s a solid book.

Don’t you think that Mitch Shelly should be much more prominent in the DCU Tim?

You bet I do!

I suppose you were looking for a bit more than that, eh?

Okay, well, the first reason I think he deserves a bigger role is because how crazy excellent a superpower does he have. He can’t be killed, and least not for good. That’s spectacular! Plus, if you do succeed in temporarily offing him, he’s just going to come back with a new superpower. No matter how good you are with your weapon of choice, it’s inevitable that at some point he’s going to be reborn with the superpower that will enable him to stomp your face. And won’t you just feel foolish then?

The second reason is DC One Million. I was just okay with this series when I first read it years ago. I think that was mostly because I hated the idea of picking up all the tie-ins and that resentment turned on the series itself. Anyway, even at my “eh, this is all right” stage, one scene that I always thought was damn good was Martian Manhunter and Resurrection Man surviving until that far flung century and helping save the galaxy. Come to think of it, Chronos was there too (he wrecked Mr. Vandal Savage). Another reason to give that book another shot, eh?

Now, I have changed my position on DC One Million and I actually really like it. I also like most of the tie-ins. Still, the Resurrection Man/J’onn moment is the second best in the whole book (first, no doubt, is Kyle relaying the story of Superman’s return and how he took a moment to toss Kyle a wink).

For those two reasons alone, Mitch should be more prominent. There are more, too, but frankly you shouldn’t need them.

Aaron apparently resents being forced to wear jewelry

I copped the new GL Corps title. Haven’t cracked it open yet, though. I remember the sheer awesomeness that was Hal Jordan’s murderous killing spree against the Corps back in ’94 and was wondering how Kilowog’s “resurrection” was explained. Any other GL’s that Hal killed that have since been brought back? Does anyone with a ring ever stay dead, dammit. (Besides me, of course.)

Get it? Because Aaron’s married so his life is over.

Wow…that’s depressing. Thanks for that bleak perspective Aaron. One of the few things I have to look forward to now that I’m 25 and you just had to ruin it. Thanks man, thanks.

Oh that Aaron, he’s a crack up.

Does crack up mean jerk? Cause if so, I totally agree.

Actually Kilowog’s resurrection was explained in two parts.

First Kilowog sort of came back as a golem of sorts in The Last Will & Testament of Hal Jordan. Y’see some of the GL’s who lost their rings when Hal went on his rampage were kind of bitter, so they tapped into the magic and the wacky nature of the afterlife for Kilowog’s people. Kilowog came back as the Dark Lantern and he sought to avenge Hal’s actions. The Dark Lantern calmed down once Oa and the Central Power Battery were restored.

But Kilowog still looked like the creepy Dark Lantern. However in Green Lantern #169 he was returned to normal in both body and spirit.

As for the other Green Lanterns that Hal took out, as I repeatedly mentioned Hal didn’t “kill” them, he just attacked them. Some of them showed up the Graphic Novel Last Will & Testament of Hal Jordan, but they all showed up in Green Lantern #12 as pawns of the Manhunters.

How dare you besmirch the name of Hal Jordan? He killed two people, Kilowog and Sinestro, and they’re both alive so no harm no foul.

Hal was bling before bling was in.

Tim, how do you feel about the retconning of the effects of Hal’s rampage?

Honestly, it bugs me. I don’t actively wish for the death of others, even if they are comic characters, but some of those guys were pretty clearly done. I understand the need for a hero not to be a former madman/mass murderer, so I get the why for the retcon. I just don’t like it.

The real thing that bothers me though is the idea that somehow Hal Jordan is off the hook for the murders now. With Kilowog and Sinestro, he killed them. No question of that. He literally scorched off and snapped the other’s neck. Just because they came back does not make me feel any better about that. With the rest of the GLs that did not directly kill but did maim (remember him cutting off that one woman’s hand?), steal their rings, and leave them for dead, good for them living. However, just because they got lucky and lived does not make me feel good about Hal coming over to babysit my nephew. Think about it. If I went crazy and stabbed ten people 30 times each and they managed to still live would everyone proclaim that bygones are bygones and let me on my merry way? I have my doubts.

It was nice to see in a recent issue of GL that for those left for dead, they still don’t like him (although it was painted as more of a mistaken identity/we thought you were still crazy situation). However, if I have to read one more fan trying to explain away Hal’s past sins with a “oh come on, most of those guys didn’t really die and those that did came back” I might just blow my top.

I don’t want to do that though. So, in the interest of fairness, I offer this truce. Hal apologists, if you promise to stop trying that defense out, I promise to stop referring to Hal as mass murderer. Instead, I will simply refer to him as an attempted mass murderer.

Gutzsant is known for his legacy…OF DEATH!!!

Although Infinite Crisis killed a lot of characters, a lot of old ones are getting better. For example, all the Green Lanterns, even those not killed by Hal Jordan, Kid Eternity, and some others. Those who are not coming back, are getting a successor, like the new Crimson Fox, the Blue Beetle, the Freedom Fighters, etc. Which dead heroes would you have coming back and which ones should have a successor? I’d love to see Superboy again, even if that demerits his death. I’d have preferred that Nightwing was the dead guy since he could have a kind of interesting successor with Jason Todd or Tim Drake. There is no replacement for Superboy, I think, especially now that CM3 is powerless. I’d like to see Match take Superboy’s place or better yet, that Superboy from Hypertime, which grew to adulthood and was more or less a dark Superman.

This isn’t an easy question to answer. Most of the time death in comics happened for a reason. For instance Barry Allen had to die. And as much as James Robinson made me love Ted Knight in Starman he had such a fitting ending that I wouldn’t want to tarnish that.

That said, I guess I’d say Orpheus. He was an underused member of the Gotham vigilantes. He never lived up to his potential and he could have been used to explore a part of Gotham that readers rarely see: the Black areas.

What’s worse than his short life was how he was dispatched. He was basically discarded. It was a shame and he deserved better. He certainly deserves a successor.

Keeping with the theme, I’d bring back Amazing Man. He was a member of the Justice League Europe that the Mist demolished in Starman #38, and not only did he not need to die, but he could easily be brought back. He’s a legacy hero who should have a rightful place in the JSA. But no one cares enough about him to bring him back. But I do, and he’s the guy I’d restore to the living.

Either him or Bloodwynd.

Tim, who are you picking for those categories?

I’d definitely get your back on the Orpheus matter. What a mess/mistake that was. I don’t mind a villain killing an established hero for the sake of building up that villain, but you’ve got to make it good. Plus, Orpheus wasn’t all that established.

I think I’d also want to bring back the android Hourman (who would also sort of satisfy the second part of your question). I appreciated his final story in JSA where he sacrifices himself to Extant to maintain the timeline and let the original Hourman live, but the more I think about it, the more I don’t love it. To be fair, it still works and the story has great art, etc. But I look at it as yet another example of DC developing an interesting legacy character only to discard him to resurrect the original. (see also: Green Arrow, Green Lantern). I fear the day when the new Blue Beetle and the new Firestorm fall prey to this inclination.

As far as other characters who should develop a legacy, I actually think that DC probably has enough legacy characters already. Without doing any research, I can name Hourman (the robot and the son), Blue Beetle, Firestorm, Flash (multiple times), Starman (again, multiple times), Star Spangled Kid, Sandman, Doctor Midnite, Mr. Terrific, Firebrand, The Atom, The Ray, The Spectre, The Phantom Lady, The Black Condor, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Doctor Fate (again, multiple times), Wildcat, and the Crimson Avenger. That took me 30 seconds. The list would expand if you included characters like Robin, Wonder Girl, etc. who have established identities and may not graduate to their mentors’ mantles but will carve out significant heroic careers of their own.

That said, that doesn’t mean there can’t be more legacy characters introduced that wouldn’t make me change my mind. Plastic Man’s illegitimate son (as seen in JLA a few years back) could certainly be an interesting character sometime down the road.

On a side note, I think I deserve a reward for not suggesting Aztek in either category. Even if he was a natural fit.

Hescraftee sees the past everywhere. And he damn well doesn’t care for it.

Do you think that the reason behind DC’s recent rush to bring back the Silver Age after having spent the better part of the last 20 years burying anything to do with it has anything to do with the assessment by many over at Marvel that DC’s been imitating their style?

I guess you could see things that way.

I don’t.

I see it as DC playing to their strengths. DC has icons so they should be portrayed as such.

And I don’t know if you can really say that it is “brining back the Silver Age.” Apart from Superman with his fellow survivors and multihued kryptonite, I don’t see much that mirrors the Silver Age.

Batman isn’t having kooky adventures with a utility belt full of insanely specialized devices. Robin isn’t making corny quips. Aquaman is MIA and Hal Jordan can’t be beaten by guy dressed in yellow.

Furthermore Green Arrow doesn’t boomerang arrows and The Flash isn’t trying to hide his identity from his fiancé.

So I don’t see it as reverting to the Silver Age.

I do think that DC did try to distance themselves from the Silver Age, in the aftermath of The Dark Knight Returns and The Watchmen, which were considered serious work. I don’t think that those works were “imitating” Marvel’s style so much as advancing the art form.

So DC tried to make their comics more adult and the success was marginal. So if there was a return to the Silver Age, it could be viewed as returning fun to comics. That’s how I would see it, if I thought the Silver Age was returning.

Tim, do you think that the Silver Age is returning and if so, what’s the cause?

I don’t know if I’d label it as returning, per se, but I get why Hescraftee would see it as such. For one things, a lot of Silver Age elements have returned in the past few years, especially in reference to Superman (I’m looking at you Mr. Loeb).

Coupled with that has been the resurgence I actually mentioned above where legacy characters introduced in the 90’s or later where replaced or overshadowed by their more “classic” counterparts. The combination of the two does sometimes feel like a regression. One could’ve easily labeled it a return to the 70’s or 80’s and been equally accurate. In other words, sort of, but you are forgetting a lot of other stuff there.

As to why, the answer, I think, is pretty obvious. A new generation is at the helm. And with them, they bring the stuff they loved when they were young and read comics. Hal was always your favorite GL and you think he got a bum deal? Well, you are in control now (and this isn’t just in reference to the writers. This ranges from the creators all the way up to the Mr. Didio himself). Supergirl confuses you and you prefer her as Supes’ cousin? Make it so. And so on and so on. You can see this in a microcosm with Robert Kirkman. Kirkman’s about my age (25ish) and he grew up with the same heroes I did: Darkhawk, Cable, and so on. Now look at a lot of his work, especially for Marvel Team Up. The League of Losers (who end up saving the world) are full of late 80’s and early 90’s heroes. He did a big gun Cable story in MTU. His first Marvel work was a Sleepwalker story for Epic.

This is why, sadly, I think it is only a matter of time before someone who grew up with Firestorm comes to DC and brings back Ronnie Raymond, his favorite. Or someone kills off Jason Todd again because he was dead when that artist or writer or editor was reading comics as a kid. And so on.

Good or bad, I think every “era” in comics has the potential to bring back some old favorites that were long dormant, dead, or resigned to the background. The key is making the stories worthwhile enough that you don’t mind the “regression.” I leave it to you to judge if DC has accomplished that your satisfaction as of late.

Speaking of long dead popular characters, Anthony S. has a question

Whatever happened to Azrael after Bruce came back? I’m sure this is a common
knowledge question, but again, haven’t kept up w/ anything other than your column.

Don’t sweat it, that’s why I’m here.

After Bruce took back the Bat mantel, Azrael was disgraced. So he left Gotham and continued his own adventures in his own title. It was called Azrael.

In that book Azrael was basically battling the Order of St. Dumas, the secret society that created him. He spent some time in Europe. For the most part he was a loner and didn’t really play well with the other Bat family. He was even courted by Ra’s al Ghul.

However as the sales of the book began to plummet, the book was renamed Azrael: Agent of the Bat in an attempt to capitalize off his status with the Bat. It didn’t really work.

The title descended into poor writing and finally ended with the 100th issue. Azrael was gunned down and took a drop. However his body was never found, which caused some fans to speculate that he is still out there lying low.

Tim, do you think that Azrael is a suitable candidate for the Revamping?

I do, actually. Which is why I already did it here(skim to the bottom of the column under the “Welcome to the Revamping” heading.)

Do you hear that sound Tim? That means it’s Temporary Mainstay Time!

Is it?! Oh, I hope it is!!! I don’t do so well with being disappointed.

Neil must be suffering from a profound sense of déjà vu right now.

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

Yay, it is Temporary Mainstay Time!

This is an easy one.

Canceling Young Justice – I loved this book. It was incredibly well written and fun. It featured kids being kids and had heart. Yet DC axed this book. At the best the book was axed to make room for Teen Titans but at worst it was axed because Dan Didio didn’t dig what David was doing. But Young Justice will certainly be looked at favorably as time goes on. And the further we get away from it, the more remarkable it will end up being.

It was probably a bit of both. Didio admitted the book was making a profit when he cut it. However, his basic reasoning goes, it was not making enough of a profit considering the characters it was using (Robin, Superboy, Wonder Girl, Impulse, specifically). Teen Titans was designed to rectify that and, so far, has. David’s comments about it, however, do seem to indicate that Didio might not have been in tune with the book’s “mission” or “purpose”.

Not keeping Peter David on Aquaman – Again, this is another example of DC editorial being worried about some writer tinkering with an icon. DC vetoed David’s proposed storyline where Orin was presumed dead and someone else took up the mantel (sound familiar?) In David’s proposal, Garth would have been Aquaman for a short span, until Orin returned as a water-based entity. And even Orin’s transformation would be short-lived. But the powers that be were squeamish, so David decided to walk.

And readers were treated to Erik Larsen writing Aquaman. The horror.

A “title shot” for Garth? Oh man. Booo DC. Booo.

Canceling SupergirlSupergirl was probably the best written “Super” book on the stands. It had a diverse cast of characters (including Buzz and Wally.) And it was a deep book, what with Linda pondering her role in the universe.

David even managed to get the book into a sales upswing by reintroducing a Pre Crisis Kara Zor-El into the book for a short spell. Yet the book still got the axe, leaving many fans in a lurch and mourning the loss the one of the DC’s best books.

Kara Zor-El – So then, to add insult to injury, DC reintroduced Kara Zor-El into the DCU less than two years later. Way to go guys.

Canceling Fallen Angel – DC published Peter David’s creator owned title Fallen Angel. In the book readers met Lee, the Fallen Angel who bore some resemblance to the Linda Danvers. Many fans thought that this title was in fact a continuation of David’s Supergirl run.

Sadly DC canceled the title, even though it never really supported the book in trades. DC actually published the book as an experiment. The title was much darker and more mature than most DCU books, but it wasn’t a Vertigo book either. That said, DC still didn’t push the book enough.

Tim, how do you take Peter David’s recent comments about the fate of Young Justice?

I understand his frustration. I think it most always suck when a prominent player at a company that used to employ you points to one (or several) of your decisions and say, “see, that didn’t work.” If it was me, I’d probably just cry a lot, but that doesn’t mean David’s reaction was unreasonable.

It probably does mean that it will be a little longer before we see DC work from David, which means that my one pick for a mistake this week is:

Picking on Slobo– Yeah, I don’t get him either Mr. Didio. But the kids do. And Peter David certainly did. You shouldn’t want David or the kids to be mad at you.

On that note I guess we should end the column.

But don’t worry we’ll be back next week with plenty of questions. Plus there’s a Jason Todd spectacular right around the corner. Be sure to email me your questions or post them Our Astounding Thread!

In the meantime here’s my question to you; who would you like to see in the new Justice League of America?

“I can be your daddy, be your Rock N Rolla, you can be my sugar.”


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