Who's Who in the DCU

Editor’s Note: This Edition is so big, we needed two parts to complete it!

Tim, have you been enjoying Life on Mars?

I have indeed. The concept sounded a bit, how do I put this gently, dumb to me. A little too high concept (“it’s NYPD Blue in England meets Time and Time Again…backwards”) and the 70’s is the decade that I did not live through that I hate the most. But it was a drama on BBC America so it’s like a requirement that I watch it. And guess what? The reviews are right. It is really very good. Anyone put off by the cops meet time travel thing (which you really shouldn’t have been. Remember how awesome Time Cop was?!) or 70’s setting should definitely reconsider their stand.


(IP) Music has tons of great stuff with tons of great voices.

(IP) Movies is one place that I can’t wait to hear what they think about Snakes on a Plane.

(IP) Games is a blast to read. .

(IP) Figures deserves more attention.

(IP) TV is all about Big Brother.

(IP) Sports does not use performance enhancing substances.

Moodspins is gearing up for a huge relaunch..

IP Culture always cheers me up.

Our DC Forum has a lot going on, including Religion in the DCU and the defending of Joe Kelly.

Also My Favorite Blog has news about a controversy at the big con.

Tim, what are you linking this week?


Instead, peek my tiny, tiny nephew (in my hulking arms) who is set to be baptized next weekend and thus no longer a godless heathen. Or however that works.

Can you handle the cuteness? CAN YOU?!

What I Read Last Week

The American Way #6 – Man, this is yet another Civil War that I care about. This is such a good mini, but I can’t wait to sit down and read the whole thing in one sitting.

Loveless #9 – I’m loving this book. It’s darn brutal, but is a great read. Every character has such a distinct voice. And Wes has such a wicked sense of humor.

JSA Classified #14 – COMPLETE WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. I’m disgusted in this issue. It’s a lame story, that’s made even lamer by the absence of Roulette. Boo.

I second this motion and thus, I did not buy it. Money saved for booze helping orphans.

Hawkgirl #54 – I’m pretty sure that nothing has actually happened since OYL. Ok Driver died last issue, but that’s it. I don’t think that any other notable events have taken place. Boo.

Nightwing #122 – Boo. On one hand I’m glad this issue came out, because it means the storyline is that much closer to concluding. But boo. I don’t care about Cleveland. I just don’t care about this book anymore.

Who doesn’t love Jason Todd the Amoeba?

Batman #655 – I enjoyed this issue. It was kind of subdued for Morrison, but yet still “Morrison.” I dug it. I liked seeing Bruce Wayne. Solid debut.

Good, not great. But filled with potential. I’ve got high hopes for the future of the title.

The Spectre #3 – Loved it. Love Chiang, love Pfeifer. This was a great issue. It really punched me in the stomach and took my breath away. Powerful issue.

As I said in my review, there’s a lot I liked about it, but the business with Allen’s son is under my skin. I’m still evaluating how I feel about it.

Astro City Special – So worth the wait. So very worth the wait. Busiek should just stick to writing these characters. I’m torn because I want to see more of the Infidel, but I want him to be as cool as he is here. Man, that was a good read.

If Busiek did nothing but Astro City stories once every year or so, I’d be perfectly okay with that. Perfectly okay.

Blue Beetle #5 – As far as I’m concerned Rouleau could stay the permanent fill-in artists. His work really meshed well with the vibe of the book. I dug the stuff with the Posse (yet another example of characters having actual ‘voices’). I am wondering if the mystery child is going to have ties to Dr. Fate, since the last time we saw a sought after child that was the case. Regardless I’m loving this fun book.

Supergirl #8 – Boo! Why is this not taking place on Earth? Why does this book suck so much? I hate Kandor. Boo.

52 Week Twelve – Man do I love a loony Billy Batson. He was clearly the star of the issue as far as I’m concerned. The stuff with Ralph was pretty good too, but in a sad kind of way. This book has really exceeded the novelty factor for me.

This book seems to have finally found a groove. Grandness!

Black Panther #18 – Satisfactory. I feel like the Civil War stuff was wedged in, but it was wedged in rather well. Storm does have a nice looking wedding dress.

Tim, can you believe that Parallax2814 placed the lyric?

I cannot. I’m pleased though. Good on you, Parallax.

Parallax2814 wants to get some peanut butter in my chocolate. Will it taste any good?

What characters would you like to see crossover (for at least 1 story or so) from either the Wildstorm or Vertigo Universes in the main DCU? And what plot would you like to see the story consist of?

Honestly I’d like to see Dr. Randall Dowling (one of the Four from Planetary) in the DCU. He’d be such an evil force, plus it could possibly tie into what’s happening over there.

The way I see it is that he’d appear and be working behind the scenes in the DCU. He’d be similar to how the Monitor was prior to the original Crisis. He’s be testing the limits of the heroes and gauging what they were capable of and where their breaking point was.

Eventually (around two years later) some hero would get a hint of his existence and investigate, probably just how Blue Beetle did some digging on Checkmate possibly with similar results. But the news would be out and the heroes would hurry to defeat Dowling, but he’d be too powerful.

Then he’d hit them with their worst nightmare; even though he was beyond their capabilities he was doing the bidding of another race of beings from another Earth. He was testing the heroes to see if they could withstand the onslaught that the race was preparing to unleash. And he determined that they couldn’t.

What would result would be the DCU literally fighting for their lives. Heroes and villains would band together, lives would be lost. Would the heroes win? I don’t know, but even if they did, what would it cost them?

And that’s how I envision it.

Tim, what’d you think of my idea, and more importantly, what’s yours?

Your idea is pretty cool. Certainly universe shaking. Although, I admit I am a bit tired of universe shaking by this point.

Plus, I am very protective of my Planetary (see) and would rather they stay their own separate/awesome entity.

A couple I always like to see in the DCU are Swamp Thing and Constantine. I don’t really have any storyline specifically in mind for them, I just like when they show up in the DCU, however briefly. For Constantine, it would be easy enough to swing. He’s connected to magic and right now, magic is all crazy like. It only makes sense that someone as naturally…curious as Constantine would want to dive into what the heck is making his magic go all wonky and would go straight to his “Trenchcoat Brigade” counterparts and, of course, the Phantom Stranger. The Phantom Stranger could then put him in touch with Shadowpact and specifically Detective Chimp. And like that, hilarity ensues.

As far as Swampy goes, he basically can show up in any way he wants and I’ll be over the moon about it. Maybe a team up with Animal Man (The Green and The Red) when Buddy manages to make it back to earth?

The Fables gang, bound for the DCU.

The one group of characters that are not DC characters to begin with that I’d like to see would be the Fables. Think about it, at their core, in a different time, the superheroes of DC would no doubt be analogous to Fables. Thus, their “dimension” should be accessible to the Fables and/or the Adversary. The storyline would involve either the Adversary plotting to take over the DCU next before, ultimately, deciding it would be too difficult and require too many resources to engage in an invasion OR the Fables seeking out the DCU as a recruitment mission for a campaign against the Adversary and they would decide to not use the heroes because of the potential for villains then becoming involved and/or how much worse the destruction would be by calling in these big guns. If it was the latter approach you could have an issue where let’s say Blue Boy teams up with Robin or Prince Charming teams up with and attempts to seduce Wonder Woman. Think of that Squadron Supreme issue where Nighthawk chases after some villains into the 616 Marvel Universe and runs into Captain America.

Of course, I do admit that that the whole idea is a pretty stupid one.

Gutzsant wants to make Superman a dirty, dirty man. Wow…that sounded a lot less creepy in my head.

Some heroes in the DCU have traveled to Vertigo. How would you have Superman making that trip? I’d like to see how a mature focus on a Superman story would work.

First off, I don’t think that you could explicitly state that it was “Superman.” I think that you’d have to do something clever like the John Carter (who’s meant to be John Constantine) that appeared in Planetary. Or like the rumor that Thomas Graymalkin who appeared in Fallen Angel #2 was actually Batman. The reason being that DC is uber protective of Superman and they don’t really want him to appear in the book that can’t be read by an all-ages audience.

So how I’d have the trip take place is at the end of an issue of a Superman title, maybe by having Darkseid open a boom tube or Mxy opening a portal and having Superman go through it.

Then the very next week, I’d publish a Vertigo story, where a character who kind of resembles Clark Kent plops out of a portal into a Vertigo reality. It’s not like Clark really refers to himself that much, so he’s just a guy who has these powers and the writer does whatever they want.

Now maybe the book is one-shot or a six issue miniseries, it doesn’t really matter. It’s really just an exploration of a familiar character in a different setting.

The important thing is that in the next issue of a Superman title (be it the following week or two weeks later) Supes plops out of the portal and into whatever trap is waiting for him by Darkseid or Mxy. Mxy can even make a quip apologizing for the “detour” and Supes can remark how it felt like he was in there for “six months.”

But I don’t think that this would ever happen. At least not until Superman becomes a public domain character, which is within our lifetimes. So just be patient and you may get your “mature” Superman.

Tim, how would you get Superman into Vertigo?

I’d lure him there with a sandwich? I mean, everybody loves a sandwich, right?

I’m not being helpful here, am I?

Jag can find no shelter

Because of the new Superman movie and renewed interest in his character, I find myself drawn to the Man of Steel as a reader but I find a lot of his stories are still kind of weak and don’t really explore any depth to the character that we haven’t seen, you know? What would be your dream creative team on the character? I’d be really interesting to see a team that is completely atypical to the common Superman approach. Like the 100 Bullets team or maybe giving Alan Moore an extended term (like a year of so) to do something radical with the character. What do you think? Or maybe some required reading on the Man of Steel?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…perfection.

Let me begin by saying that I’m loving All-Star Superman. That’s a dream creative team for me.

I don’t really know who else would quality in terms of “dream creative team” status, because despite my really digging Superman Returns, I’m not a big Superman fan. I can give you a list of writers who, if they were given the reins, could make interested enough to pick up a Super-book.

Troy Hickman – I was in love with Common Grounds. I’d certainly be curious what he would do with Metropolis. I think that I’d like to have Paul Smith as the artist on this run.

James Robinson – To me, his Starman is the standard. While he wouldn’t have the same freedom, his love for the DCU is so great that I know he’d do wonders for Superman. Of course it’s be a dream come true to have James reteam with either Tony Harris or Peter Snejbjerg

Will Pfeifer – This guy is a fave of mine. He really seemed to “get” Aquaman during his run and his recent Spectre mini really touched me. I’d like to see him visit Metropolis. And let’s actually keep that creative team intact by drafting Cliff Chiang as the artist.

Mark Millar – I was a fan of Aztek and Red Son. Now that he’s a big star, it would be interesting to see him handle a Superman book in the actual DCU. And, since we’re dreaming, I’d have Neal Adams as the artist.

Who’s your dream Super creative team, Tim?

I too LOVE (and yes the capitalization is necessary) All-Star Superman. If you are looking for good Superman stories that don’t feel like retreads, that’s where you should be heading right now.

As far as other perfect teams, boy am I not the right person to ask. I love the concept of Superman but rarely does he connect with me in reality.

That said, I would echo Mathan’s choice of Millar. The single best Superman ongoing title in the past 10 years was, without a doubt, the one based on the animated series. And guess who wrote it? That’s right, Mark Millar. I know lots of people are scared of him on icons or equate him with a disrespectful attitude toward the “classic” pillars of comics, but he clearly gets them and knocked it out of the park when given the chance.

Andrew does not suffer from Triskaidekaphobia

In honor of his new backup story in Tales of the Unexpected, what’s Doctor 13’s deal?

Good ol’ Terrence Thirteen was just a guy who was devoted to science and thinking. He was a professional debunker of all things mystical. He was like Scully, in the early seasons of the X-Files.

However Dr. Thirteen lived in the DCU, where the supernatural does exist. Accordingly he bumped into the Spectre, Deadman and the Phantom Stranger, which caused his world to spin.

Since then, he’s been continuing to debunk the fakers in the world, while equally refusing to acknowledge the true mystical wonders. His daughter Traci Thirteen, in a true act of rebellion became a sorceress.

However, sadly Dr. Thirteen died in Zatanna #1. I do wonder how he’s coming back into existence, though does certainly sound like a tale that no one expected.

Tim, are you looking forward to this?

You know what, I am. I always liked the idea of a man clinging to his skepticism in the face of crazy things happening everyday. Even if Superman is not supernatural, it’s got to be hard to be a doubter of the supernatural when men are flying every day. That said, even in a world where the supernatural is documented as real, not all people claiming to possess such powers would be legit. In fact, if anything, the need for skeptical debunkers would be even more necessary to protect people from supernatural con artists. Plus, Dr. 13’s drive to disprove had shades of Houdini to it and you can’t go wrong with shades of Houdini.

It seems John-Paul F. has a bit of a man crush

I’m really enjoying Black Adam in 52, what is his back-story?

From the 6/15/05 column
Ok, so way way back in the day centuries ago, Teth Adam was the champion of the Wizard Shazam. And he was good at it.

However when his wife and kids were tragically killed, Teth Adam became a rebel, as well as a force of evil. He went on a rampage and changed his name to Khem Adam. Shazam wasn’t too happy about this turn and revoked his power. Teth Adam died.

Later some guy named Theo Adam was helping Billy Batson’s parents on a dig of Khem Adam’s tomb, when a mystical scarab was discovered. Now, Theo was either A) a descendant of Teth or B) the reincarnation of Teth. Either way he killed the Batsons, grabbed the scarab, said “Shazam” and became Black Adam. Eventually he gained Teth Adam’s memories.

But Theo did manage to reform and play nice for a minute. At least until a tumor in his brain affected him, causing him to turn evil once again. He fought against the JSA, and ended up with the DEO. He escaped and later encountered Johnny Sorrow who promised to remove the tumor if he’d join the new incarnation of the Injustice Society.

Theo accepted. The tumor was removed. Unfortunately for Sorrow, this returned the “good” Black Adam. Thus Adam was like a turncoat, trying to bring about the defeat of the Injustice Society from within.

After their defeat, Adam tried to join the JSA but was rejected. They did allow him to join him on a mission to Thanagar. After that mission he was made a JSA member on a probationary status.

However, Adam came to believe that the JSA was too soft on criminals. With his stance hardening, Adam recruited like minded champions and invaded his native land of Khandaq. This brought him and his champions in conflict with the JSA. The battle ended in a stalemate with numerous lives lost. The JSA agreed to leave Khandaq to Adam.

Since then Black Adam joined the villainous Society, which double-crossed him. Black Adam then killed some folks and went back to Khandaq where he is in 52.

Tim is there such a thing as “enough Black Adam?”

I can only assume that there. But, much like mint chocolate chip shakes, the “enough” is nowhere in sight and I pray we never get there.

Docbooty is a poozer

Can you give me the history of Kilowog?

Sure can! Kilowog hails from Bolovax Vik in sector 674. It’s a planet that’s pretty communal and everyone was created equal. They were so equal, they were downright identical. More on that later.

Sadly Bolovax Vik was destroyed during the original Crisis. Naturally that left Kilowog the only survivor because his ring protected him. And where do you go if you’re the sole survivor of an alien race? That’s right; Earth.

So when the Guardians of the Universe decided to take a conjugal vacation with the Zamarons, they decided to slack off on the whole “One Green Lantern per space sector” decree. Thus Green Lanterns could do what they wanted to do, with the side effect being that sectors went without protecting.

Kilowog hooked up with the bunch of GL’s that were headed to Earth, including Katma Tui, John Stewart, Salakk, Ch’p, Arisa and Hal Jordan. They set up a Green Lantern Citadel and things were grand. Sure they’d never met Kilowog, but GLs are a friendly bunch so it was all good.

But Kilowog, being the adventurous sort decided to venture outside of the United States. He was intrigued by the Soviet concept of communism, as it reminded him of how things were back on Bolovax Vik. He liked it so much there that he helped create the Rocket Red Brigade.

By this time Guy Gardner had escaped Maltus and was looking for a fight. Since he was “patriotic” he decided to pick a fight with Kilowog and they battled it out. (But everything worked out in the end, as Guy and Kilowog were the best of buddies on the pages of JLI.)

Later Kilowog went out into space and made a startling discovery. He found a planet that would perfectly fit his needs. Remember when remarked how everyone on Bolovax Vik was practically identical? Well they were so much alike, that when the planet was destroyed the ring did it’s best to save everyone, not just Kilowog.

It wasn’t able to save their bodies, but it did manage to retain their essence. So when he found the planet that was suitable for his needs he decided to release his people from his ring and be reunited with his people. It was a touching moment.

But it was a brief one. Y’see right around then Sinestro and the Mad God Sector 3600 destroyed the planet for fun. Sadly the ring didn’t save them a second time and Kilowog was a sole survivor again.

From there Kilowog joined the JLI in a handyman capacity.

But here’s when things get tricky. Y’see when Emerald Dawn II was released Kilowog’s history was retconned so that he was one of the Green Lanterns who trained Hal Jordan. Where as before Hal had never met Kilowog before he joined them on Earth, now the two had a history as long as Hal’d been in the Corps. But that was how the story went.

From there Hal went on to kill Kilowog in Emerald Twilight. Kilowog came back, first as a golem of vengeance, and then as flesh and blood again. And now he’s back to being a being a trainer again.

Tim, don’t you care a little more about Kilowog than you did, say 23 hours ago?

I liked Kilowog just fine before this and I like his just fine now. How can you be opposed to a guy who looks sort of like an upright pink space hippo, you know? However, I really wish someone would stop having him say “poozer” roughly every third sentence. He’s not J.J. Walker, he should not be required to speak his catchphrase all the time.

John-Paul F. has the answer but he can’t quite grasp the Question

Who is the Question, is he a new character or is he an old one.

The Question is an established hero. He’s so old that I gave the ol’ rundown treatment way back in the 11/4/04 column. Let’s take a peek.

The Question, like many heroes was an orphan. The Hub City orphanage named him Charles Victor Szasz, but when he got out on his own he changed it to Vic Sage. As a kid he didn’t quite understand human nature, this lead to his adult profession of investigative television journalism.

At KBEL he covered political corruption. He got frustrated because he couldn’t uncover all the corruption with his reporting. So he turned to his good buddy Aristotle Rodor. Rodor who had been working with Arby Twain on a new kind of artificial skin called Psuedoderm.

Psuedoderm didn’t quite work out. And impurity in the gas that bonded it to the skin, was sometimes fatal. The two creators decided to give up on the breakthrough. But Rodor was going to sell it to third world countries anyway. Sage decided to stop Rodor and wore a mask of Pseudoderm that covered his features. Thus the Question was created.

The Question went after the corruption that Sage couldn’t expose with his reporting. He retired to the Amazon rain forest to “find himself.” But he later returned after learning a few things (marital arts wise) from Richard Dragon.

Most recently The Question mentored The Huntress and connected her with Richard Dragon, who taught her some things as well.

And now for the update; he had a miniseries last year where he could “communicate” with cities. I enjoyed it, but fans didn’t really dig the take on the character. But it was kind of fun.

Tim, do you think that The Question will make it through 52?

We sort of covered this before. As I cannot think of a good reason for him to die in 52, he’s my front runner to meet an untimely demise. I really, really hope I’m wrong though.

Please go to Part 2 to finish the fun.