Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, now that the Fall Season is upon us, are there any shows that you’re looking forward to?

Of course there are, Mathan. In the category of returning shows, I’ll be watching Prison Break, Veronica Mars, (yup, I’m a big girl), House occassionally, Lost, My Name is Earl, and The Office.

Meanwhile, the only new shows that I know I’ll be tuning in for are Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (go Sorkin!) and Heroes (because I’m contractually obligated to).

Finally, there are a few borderline shows that I might check in on. Amongst those are Fox’s animated lineup (it’s not as good as it once was, but come on, it’s still the Simpson), How I Met Your Mother (I love me some NPH, but I drifted from this show last season), 30 Rock (do I need to watch two shows about behind the scenes at an SNL-esque show?), the two Law & Orders that aren’t the original (perfect disposable TV when you have nothing better to do), and the Nine (I know nothing about it, but EW is endorsing it so…).

Links (What I’m Diggin’ At This Very Moment)

(IP) Music Pete Yorn’s Nightcrawler.

(IP) Movies I watched City of God tonight. I so wish I spoke Portuguese.

(IP) Games I’m actually jonesing for Super Mario Brothers.

(IP) Figures while not technically a figure, I really wish I had the Spectre Heroclix, um, figure?

(IP) TV I caught the season premiere of The Wire on HBO On Demand. It’s way good and a decent jumping on point.

(IP) Sports Um, I like Pardon the Interruption.

Moodspins is way close to relaunching.

IP Culture was fun while it lasted.

Our DC Forum has debates on the Marvel Family and Barbara Gordon as well as some theorizing the return of Hank Hall?

Also My Favorite Blog; Glyphs has news about a guest writer for Firestorm!

My second favorite blog; Fat Wonder Woman Blog is beautiful in its simplicity.

Tim, what are you linking this week?

Not a darn thing.

What I Read Last Week

Loveless #10 – Great read. I love Wes and Atticus. I love how graphic it is and how it’s equally humorous. But mostly I love that I can still get my “adult Western” now that Deadwood has wrapped.

Superman/Batman #29 – Eh, I’m ambivalent about this book. I’ll stay with it for a minute, but I could probably just drop it at any point too. This issue was cool, but nothing special. I did dig Sarah Charles hitting on John Stewart.

Teen Titans #38 – I really dug the stuff with Risk. Red Star was equally cool, but I could barely stand the actual Titans. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

I don’t think it is a good thing either, but I do think that that’s kind of the point. I’m most excited that, with the Hunt/Rescue of Raven on, the book might finally be heading in a direction. As I’ve said before, I’ve liked Teen Titans OYL, but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s all been a bit…aimless(?) if that makes any sense.

Solo #12 – I’ve yet to read it. Mostly because it’s the final issue, but partially because Brendan McCarthy is it way out there. I’ve got to really sit down and devote myself to this issue.

Fallen Angel #8 – I really dug the tension between Sachs and Violens. The stuff between Jubal and Jude was very intriguing as was the development with Benny. I think that I really liked how Fallen Angel didn’t appear in the issue at all, and I barely noticed. That’s how strong the supporting cast is.

Snakes on a Plane #1 – It sucks that this thing isn’t an ongoing.

X-Factor #10 – Way good issue. Didn’t see that ending coming. Completely dug the trip into Tryp’s past. I really felt for Buchanan. The stuff with Quicksliver was fun too. In fact I loved every part of this issue.

Trials of Shazam #1 – I’m very interested in finding out what happened to Billy. I do love how we got the peek at what happens to Mary, months ago, and we’ve still got no resolution. What a great act of marketing.

52 Week Seventeen – Dug the Lobo remix of the debut cover. Dug behind the scenes with Team Lex. I really dug Kori and Buddy spouting Grant-speak. Hell, even Lobo was tolerable this issue. That’s saying something.

Yeah, I didn’t hate Lobo either, so that was a good thing. Heck, I even liked his jacket. Lex’s Justice League makes me uneasy for reasons beyond the opposite. I’m curious to see how that plays out.

All-Star Superman #5 – This book makes me feel like a kid again. The pacing and plotting of everything is so perfect. I look forward to every panel. I love how oblivious Lex was. Great issue.

This book is continually proof positive that a guy like me can enjoy a Superman comic. Too bad I don’t get that from the main books most of the time.

Justice #7 – Great looking book, it’s really fun to read. This might was well be All Star Justice League considering its shipping schedule. I don’t think that I really care for the Aquaman “regeneration” cop out. But I did dig the Doom Patrol appearance. This is one fun read.

I hesitate to be a continuity cop because, really, I don’t care, but Aquaman has a healing factor? Does anyone in comics not having a healing factor anymore? Or are we just confusing resilience with healing and then taking it to a more extreme level?

American Virgin #6 – The stuff on the beach was fun. But what I loved most about this issue was that the notion that Adam has a “gift” with people. I really dig how I love where this book takes me.

I normally like the art on this book, but they dropped the ball in one way that I think is going to be very important. Adam loses his chain and cross on the beach when he gets buried, but the art fails to really express it. It looks less like a chain snapping and more like Adam just get hit in the chin with his cross. I had to go back and check subsequent pages to realize that, yes, in fact, Adam is now cross-less.

Black Panther #19 – Man the Marvel U is an interesting place. The whole diplomacy thing between Panther and Doom was interesting. I do wonder if Black Panther will ever lose a battle. I did appreciate the minor disagreement he had with Storm.

Did THE Mathan Erhardt, writer of Who’s Who in the DCU, really just write the words, “Man, the Marvel U is an interesting place”? Whoa. I think my brain is officially blown.

And now onto the column!


Carl P. wants the secret of our social chemistry

I do not know if this sort of question has already been asked and answered, but as a recent convert to Who’s Who, I was wondering how each edition comes to be. If you could indulge me and others in the dark, that would be great.

How do you and Tim write it? I know you’re in Nevada and Tim’s in Jersey so you obviously aren’t in the same room, but do you talk it out on the phone or over IM? Regardless, the flow achieved is impressive for being two time zones apart.

Technically I think that we’re three time zones apart, as Vegas is on Pacific, so you should be even more impressed.

Oh snap!

See this Carl?

Yeah, you best learn it before you bring your noise round here again.

Basically here’s how it works; I scan over the questions I’ve received via email or our thread and put together around three pages of questions. Sometimes I’ll try to put a theme together based on what I’ve got. Occasionally I’ll try a “topical” column that either addresses comics from last week or spotlights a character who’s appearing in this week’s comics.

Anyway, I gather the questions on Monday or Tuesday night. If it’s a Monday I’ll try to send Tim a copy of what we’re covering so he’ll know what’s coming. However, and I’m sure that Tim will verify this; that’s a rare occurrence.

So rare, that I believe I can count the number of times it has occurred on one hand. You see, Mathan lives his life a quarter mile at a time and if you can’t keep pace, you should just get out of the way.

Tuesday night, around 11:30pm or midnight I start on the column. I usually finish right around 11 pages or 6am, whichever comes first. Following my answers, I always try to give Tim the perfect “set up” to, as I call it, “work his magic.” I usually go with one of three directions; 1) set him up to be funny, 2) set him up to give his take on the answer to the question or 3) ask him a question I’m genuinely interested in hearing him answer.

Now I think that I “know” Tim well enough to give him quality to work with. I mean, I’m literally still in awe of Nightwing’s Chest Hair. What kills me is when I forget to leave an opening and I’m left with a lack of Tim. What really sucks is that generally I had a set up all lined up, got distracted (usually by a “late night” cable offering) and moved on to the next question. I hate when I do that.

I usually do “What I Read…” and “Links” last, which explains why they’re super full of grammatical errors.

It also happens to be what I edit last so that probably increases the chances for mistakes to go missed.

After it’s all done, I send it as an attachment to Tim in an email that reads something like;


Here’s the column. I hope everything is cool with you. I can’t wait to see your take on (fill in the blank). Work your magic. I’m going to bed.”

Then I crash. And from here the column is in Tim’s worthy hands.

Tim, what do you do when I’m passed out in bed?

Six AM Mathan’s time is, as noted above, 9 AM my time so I’ve already been up about 3 hours by this point. (Janelle is a slave driver who forces me to wake up and run 4 miles almost every morning, thus, the early mornings). I don’t typically have to be at work until 2 o’clock PM on Wednesdays, so I usually eat breakfast and scan the column. I do this for three reasons. 1.) Since who knows when I’ve developed the habit of scanning damn near everything I’m going to read before I actually read it. Magazines, newspapers, comics…the only real exception is novels. I don’t know why I do it, I just do.
2.) It gives me an idea of what we are covering so I can pull my first round of pics
3.) It gives me an idea of what we are covering so I can start to plan my responses or fill in any memory blanks I might have by hitting the long boxes or Google.

After the scan, I pull pics. Typically, I just hit Google Image unless I have a very specific image, cover, etc in mind. I edit their size and pixels and then let them be.

Then, it is off to the comics shop for my weekly fix. And then, onto my job.
At dinner, I take another look at the column and start to edit and offer my opinions. This is the point where the column changes from quality to an almost irredeemable mess. Usually, I upload, place, and caption the already edited images as I go.

While I write, I do usually come up with a few more images I want so I hit the net again. John Michael Karr from last week would an example of a late edition to the column that occurred to me as I wrote/edited it.

At this point, I’ve extended my break far behind reasonable boundaries so I table the column. When I get home at about 11, I give it a last once over and upload it. Usually, I check the html encoding at this time and put it up on the site. Sometimes, however, the last check takes longer than usual and I wait until the next morning to post it. I hate those days, but it does happen.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I ruin the magic each and every week.

Carl P. thinks we’re clever. I guess you truly can fool some of the people all of the time.

Who’s responsible for giving the questioners their little bios, like the “Mike loves the democratic process” from last week. They can be very clever at times.

That would be Tim. Again that’s part of his magic. If you ever see “Joe Schmoe had a similarly themed question” that’s one that I did.

It’s one of the joys, for me, when reading the column. I know what was asked and what I answered, but seeing how Tim sets up the questions is a real treat. What’s equally cool is how he takes the tone of my answer and incorporates it into the introduction.

There you go Tim, I praised your sentence writing abilities, can you please give me the whereabouts of my kidnapped pet goldfish now?

You mean, this goldfish?

I don’t know Mathan…I’m not sure I’ve found it yet. Maybe after you sign over your Who’s Who royalty rights your fish might turn up.

I think Carl P. has a little crush on me

Who chooses and provides captions to the pictures? The captions in particular tend to be funny.

Once again that’s Tim. I, very rarely, contribute images for a few reasons. Firstly I don’t really know how to code images. Secondly I get distracted very easily and scouring the net for images would make my part of the column take even longer. Lastly, I come from a journalism background (which probably isn’t obvious given my rampant and glaring grammatical errors) so I don’t really “think” visually, I’m much more a verbal guy.

I actually don’t tend to think visually either, but working as editor-in-chief of the Voice in college (the paper that such other esteemed comic pundits as Ben Morse cut their teeth on) sort of forced me to adapt or die. I still my column layouts are pretty lousy, but that’s partially because of the limited html tricks I know and partially because thinking visually is still awkward for me.

It should be pointed out that images are a relatively new part of the column. It came down from Daron himself that our columns should be more visual, especially considering the medium we cover.

Needless to say Tim really stepped up and delivered in regards to images. And his captions really do tickle. He also provided the images to my recent Words of Questionable Wisdom contribution. He’s a class act all the way around.

So Tim, do you come up with the captions first and find a comparable image or vice versa?

It really depends. If you look at last week’s column, the Matches/Plastic Man image came first and actually sort of caused not only the caption but the latter part of my response to that question. The X-Men playing baseball and the You Got Served images and captions more or less came together simultaneously.

If you go back one more week, the captions for the Nightwing and Captain Marvel pics were in my head and it was just a matter of finding the images that would properly fit them. Given Nightwing’s recent history, his was by far the toughest to track down.

Why is Carl P. always trying to steal our privacy?

Where does all your knowledge come from? Are you and Tim just walking encyclopedias or do you do research to answer the questions?

Um “all of the above?” I have tons of comics. Personally I’ve got nine long boxes, plus random piles of comics with me in Vegas. I’ve also got twelve more in Tucson, plus various graphic novels and trades. So I’ve got tons of normally useless comic trivia bouncing around in my head.

But in terms of research material I’ve also got every issue of Who’s Who and most of the Secret Files and Origins at my disposal. Plus the internet is amazing useful when someone has a question about a specific character from a specific issue, or a plot twist from a comic that I’ve never read.

It can be fun and enlightening particularly when it involves a story that I was kind of curious about, like way back in the early days of the column when I had to explain how the whole “Lex/Lex II” clone thing was resolved.

So there you have it we have tons of knowledge and we do the research. Oh way, I apologize Tim, I said “we.” I don’t want to overstep, where do you get your information from?

In much the same way as you do. There’s less pressure for me to do research on that which I know nothing about because I’m more reacting to what you say, Mathan. But when I do need to, if I know nothing, the first stop is the internet. If I have a vague memory of an event or issue I want to reference than I hit the long box and pull it to refresh my memory.

The secret of our success.

The toughest ones for me are usually the “what characters would you put on this team?” because I have great ideas for all those until the moment I’m asked and then, poof, there it goes. And since it is my opinion on what I’d like to see, there’s no research to be done. So usually, I just bang my head against the wall until I can unravel it.

Carl P. has a new job in mind for us

Have either of you ever considered getting into the business or given it a shot? I know a lot of your story ideas are spur of the moment and meant to be silly, but some of them have struck me as pretty interesting and might be worth elaborating on.

Or, if the creative side isn’t your thing, perhaps editing?

First off, I’m flattered that you dig some of our ideas. Some are obviously over the top but some are genuine ideas.

I’m pretty sure that can speak for Tim and say that we’d love to make a living in the comic book industry. It would be a dream come true.

And that’s one of the great things about comics, many of the professionals were once part of the fandom. Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek and Phil Jimenez, among others, were once fans just like Tim and I.

That said it’s bloody difficult to get in. DC accepts submissions for artists and not writers. With writing being my strong suit it sucks to be me. If Las Vegas had a comic con, I’d get the chance to hobnob with pros. Sadly Vegas is devoid of cons. I mean conventions.

And as much as I’d love to stalk meet up with Las Vegans Bill Willingham and Steve Gerber, I really can’t see any positive outcome from such an encounter.

Except me flying out to Vegas to pay your bail…again.

I’ve actually seen that DC had some openings in their editorial department and sent my resume in (which is a bit more impressive than you’d expect), but I never got any reply. Such is life.

Being the optimist that I am, I firmly believe I’ll get my chance one day. Eventually I’ll get something into the right hands and I’ll be able to blow this nightmarish Popsicle stand and the deadweight that is Tim Stevens behind.

I mean, um, I’m sure that someday I’ll catch the eye of DC.

So Tim, share with us you’re professional aspirations in the field of comics. Can’t you have your best friend, Geoff Johns, hook you up with a gig?

He might be able to. But he’s usually doing…well…this.

So, that keeps him busy.

Anyway, I sort of hate to admit that I’d love to write comics. I’m not ashamed of my interests, per se, but the idea of every comic fan wanting to be in the industry is so cliché. I hate being one of those people that feeds into that stereotype.

Alas, I am who I am.

Fun little known fact: I have actually pitched to one of the bigger companies out there. I went, basically, the whole nine. I submitted writing samples, then was asked to dialogue a given scenario, and, finally, to pitch my own unique idea. So I did. I wrote a character bible, five issues worth of scripts, and a plot outline for the first year or so. Then, the submissions editor changed, the promise of me having an answer in 6 weeks quickly turned into almost a year, and the answer was, obviously, no dice. I’m not arrogant enough to think that, had the editor not changed, I’d be an industry pro now, but I’d like to think that, having spoken to her a few times, I would have had a better idea of what went down. If it was plot, dialogue, direction, just that I was not good enough, etc. Oh well, que sera sera. It’s not as though I don’t enjoy this or my current job or my chosen career path. If I ever get my foot in the door, you better believe I’ll be psyched beyond belief, but if I don’t, eh. It’s not the worst thing that could or has happened to me.

Will Knight stands up for the oppressed and misunderstood

I’ve seen that you and other comic commentators have a fairly negative view of Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Strikes Again and I was wondering if you could elaborate why. As a sometime comic book fan and a full-time political science graduate student I find the story even deeper than the first one. I wouldn’t go so far as to compare it to Maus, but for a comic book DK2 delves into issues of American politics that are rarely if ever dealt with at the traditional political level.

I don’t know if this is a suitable question for Who’s Who, but I’ve never really understood why DK2 is so maligned. The possible causes that I’ve seen are the vastly different artwork styles and the period in which the comic came out in that a lot of people even now can’t talk openly about September 11th and so some of the overt politics may be sensitive to some people. I was wondering if you could expand upon why there is such a negative reaction towards the story.

I think that there are plenty of reasons why DK2 has been bashed.

It Was a Sequel – Fans are notoriously hard on sequels in most genres. They rarely live up to the original and often are viewed as a cash grab.

DK2 was a very different tale than the original. It didn’t really help that the original was a groundbreaking piece work that not only expanded the genre but was nearly character defining.

It Didn’t Live Up to the HypeDK2 may have been a solid idea and a good book, but it was part of a huge hype machine. I don’t know if you can “over hype” a sequel to one of comics most acclaimed works, but this came close.

It was also late, which added a measure of “not worth the wait” to the hype machine.

Comic Fans Are Shallow – I don’t think that fans were expecting a book to be so on the nose. Dark Knight Returns was much more subtle with its critiques and jabs. DK2 was a pointed piece. I don’t know if it was “too soon” as you suggest, but rather too blunt. I think that fans wanted a Batman tale, not a political tale featuring Batman.

Fans went in thinking it was a sequel to Dark Knight Returns not fully realizing that it was a sequel in every sense, down to the critique on American culture/politics. If you want to see the Batman from the original again, and you read DK2 you’re going to be disappointed. And that’s what the majority of the fans were expecting.

I do think that DK2 ages well and reads better in one sitting. I know that most of my attacks on it are based in my notion that it was a mistake to revisit the original, not necessarily with the outcome.

Tim, why do you think there was a backlash against DK2?

Because it was not very good.

I’m not saying it was bad, but it was rather…mediocre, all things considered. If you are going to do a sequel to a modern comics classic, you better make it worth it. Simply point, it was an unworthy successor and, thus, wildly unnecessary.

Well, that’s my opinion, anyway.

However, in general, I think there are a few Mathan missed or misspoke on.

What Mathan calls “spot on” political commentary, I would call “being beaten to death with the cudgel called “the message”. Reading the book was like watching the ending to “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”. The story seemed to literally slap every few pages and say, “look, do you get it? Here’s the point I’m making,” while you whimper, “Yes, Mr. Miller, I got it on the third page. Please stop hitting me.” Add in the fact that Miller’s political message seemed so internally conflicted and you’ve got some unhappy (and dazed) readers.

Miller also did some very different things with coloring and art that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. See below for a fairly tame example.

I don’t necessarily agree with the critique. I like when artists try new things, so I’m okay with it. I can see where other people would label it “ugly” or have a distaste for it though.

Third, it was less a Batman story and more a DCU story (and then, in its third act, a Superman story). Some people just didn’t sign on for that. Plus, with all those characters, characterization was difficult to stuff in.

Fourth would be the price. Each issue was prestige format and retailed for about 6 dollars a piece. At the time, that was about 2 and a half times the price of a normal comic and it took three issues to complete the series. Although there were more pages, people still had a sticker shock reaction.

Of course, all would have been forgiven on that front had the book proved a worthy addition to Miller’s Batman catalog. Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier encountered a similar problem with price, but after the first issue, all those complaints died down because people loved it and were thus happy to pay the price. Not so much on DK2.

And actually, that’s my last one to point out. DK2. It doesn’t work. Dark Knight 2 was not and was never going to be the title of the book. Therefore, DK2? Just dumb.

Soak1313 always seems to be watching teenagers

Newest Teen Titans…double splash page and I need some info. Who’s Bombshell, Aquagirl, Power Boy, Little Barda, Argent, Hot Spot, Mirage, Young Frankenstein (is he new too?), and Molecule? I know Miss Martian is a new character along with Riddler’s and Joker’s Daughter (I think so at least).I recognize Mas y Menos from the Titans cartoon but were they ever in the DC universe proper? I know offspring was in The Kingdom and as Plastic Man’s son he appeared in JLA a couple times but he looked a lot younger then than he does in his pic so what’s the deal there? Talon also looks like the evil Robin guy from the TT cartoon but has he appeared in comics before? Lastly is Osiris an established character?

Before we get to the rehashing (oh, you know there’s going to be some cutting and pasting going on) I’ll tackle some of the new folks.

Here’s a list of characters who are, to the best of my knowledge, new: Bombshell, Power Boy, Young Frankenstein, Molecule, Miss Martian, Riddler’s Daughter, and Talon.

There’s plenty of speculation about Talon. Some suspect that he’s Jason Todd. Some think that he’s Robin’s analogue in the Anti-Matter universe, making him Owlman’s sidekick. Still others speculate that he’s Batwoman’s “Robin.” I’m kind of interested in seeing how he plays out.

There’s a rumor that Little Barda is a character named Seera who appeared in the A, Bizarro mini from a few years back, so she might not be “new” at all.

Mas y Menos haven’t appeared in DC proper, just the Teen Titans cartoon. I mean unless you count their picture in the current issue of Teen Titans, which we’re discussing right now.

Speaking of the cartoon, Hot Spot is none other than Joto. Y’see in the cartoon there’s a character based on Joto called Hot Spot. He wasn’t called Joto because in Spanish it’s a huge slur for a male homosexual. In the comics he took the name Joto because it was Swahili for heat (this despite Swahili being an East African language, whereas most Blacks in America came from Western Africa.)

But yeah, he was one of the “half human/half alien” Teen Titans that were lead by a youth-ified Atom.

I’m appalled that you don’t know who Aquagirl is. Lorena Marquez was at the San Diego Zoo when “Sub Diego” happened. Like all of the other survivors she can breathe underwater, but unlike them, she can survive out of the water, but only for a limited period of time.

She fell in love with Orin’s son, Koryak. While she survived when the Spectre attacked Atlantis, her love didn’t. She was Aquaman’s sidekick during his time in Sub Diego.

As for Offspring, here’s how I account for his appearance; he can change his shape. Perhaps he’s making himself look older.

Osiris has yet to debut in the DCU, but he’s supposed to turn up in 52 shortly.

And now to the cutting and the pasting!

We’ve actually covered Mirage before. But since covering her means rehashing Team Titans I’m going to cut and paste the great Ben Morse and let him do the hard work;

The Team Titans first appeared during “Titans Hunt,” then their “origin” was given during Armageddon 2001, when Waverider touched Nightwing and saw a group of future Titans, led by ‘Wing, fighting in a future run by Lord Chaos, Donna Troy’s son grown up very wrong. The Teamers came back in time, minus their Nightwing, to try and kill Troy before she gave birth, but instead they ended up teaming with the original Titans and defeating Lord Chaos, who followed them back, and somehow prevented Donna’s son from ever becoming him. After that, they stayed in the present for awhile, living with Donna and her husband Terry Long, and their Nightwing came back as well, but hooked up with Raven, who was evil at the time, and became Deathwing, a poorly dressed villain with two nipple rings, which was lame, as opposed to my one, which is cool. However, Zero Hour revealed that the future the Team Titans thought they came from had never actually existed; Extant, aka Monarch, aka Hawk, aka Hank Hall, aka a continuity nightmare, had created their, and hundreds of other, timelines with “Titans” in each whom he could activate a mental control over and make into an army of slaves at his whim. He did so during Zero Hour, pissing off people who had read the title and suddenly saw all their favorite characters become mindless zombies in an army of nameless hundreds; to make matters worse, after Zero Hour, they all ceased to exist…except for Mirage, Terra II and Deathwing, who for some reason did not vanish. During the “Year One” Annual, the Time Trapper showed up and revealed to the three that they were actually from the DCU proper but he/she had implanted them with false memories so they could be sleeper agents in Extant’s army…one would at this point wonder why the Trapper thought three sleeper agents, none of whom were particularly powerful, would do squat against an army of hundreds…but I digress. Mirage was some South American chick, Deathwing was just some thug and Terra didn’t want to see who she was, because she was afraid she was the original psycho Terra, resurrected by the Trapper. Mirage and Terra would serve a bit more time with the core Titans team until they disbanded; Deathwing faded into obscurity and is probably currently residing in the Bay area. Mirage and Terra still do cameos during big Titans events like JLA/Titans

Mirage was actually Brazilian and in her false memories she and Nightwing were a couple. Of course that “Nightwing” became Deathwing who, after being implanted with a Trigon Seed, raped Mirage.

That rape resulted in a pregnancy. The pregnancy was miscarried, or so everyone thought. Actually Mirage had used her powers to fool everyone into thinking she had lost her child, but she eventually gave birth to a baby boy (New Titans #130). However for some reason when she shows up in JLA/Titans #3 she’s got her daughter, Julienne.

Oh and when she tussled with Psimon he said that she had some hidden psionic powers.

Tim even Revamped® her.

We’ve also covered Joker’s Daughter before, apparently some gent named “Ryan C” inquired about another two page spread in an issue of Teen Titans. Go figure;

Duela Dent is a mixed up individual. Back in the wacky Silver Age she first appeared claiming to be the Joker’s daughter but she wasn’t really bad. Then later on, but still in the Silver Age she claimed to be Two-Face’s daughter. Then the Crisis happened, and while everyone complained about Barry Allen, Supergirl, Hawkman, Power Girl and Wonder Girl, no one ever worried about a character that had no real continuity but was still messed up by this catastrophic event nonetheless.

Since the Crisis, she has appeared in various issues of the various Titans series, including the Titans Secret Origins and Files #2. She is usually portrayed as a confused woman who is claiming a different villain parentage every time she comes into play. She has become a joke, and an example of an idea that wasn’t fully thought out when it was introduced.

Personally I’m waiting to read the quote in Wizard where Geoff Johns is describing a future storyline in Teen Titans as “Huge. I’m really going to shake things up. You are going to see some familiar faces from the Titans past. Not only will I make Duela Dent a force to be reckoned with but I finally reveal who her real dad is, and his identity will surprise you.” Look for “Who is Duela Dent” in Teen Titans #75-100 beginning in about five years. B, are you looking forward to that storyline?(I’ll ignore your hopeless delusions of grandeur and give our reads the full Duela Dent skinny they deserve. Duela’s first appearance in the New Teen Titans was in issue #50 of the first volume, as a guest at Donna Troy’s wedding; she had gained some weight and teased Dick Grayson as she was clearly too old to be Two-Face’s daughter but refused to reveal who her real father was. However, that appearance was apparently wiped out by Zero Hour, meaning the first glimpse the comic got of Duela after like twenty plus years was in a cameo in Team Titans; she was spending time in an insane asylum. As joke, in the final issue of Team Titans, there was a fake next issue box about Duela Dent manipulating Zero Hour to remake the universe in her image; premature cancellation wiped out whatever plans writer/artist Phil Jimenez had for either Duela or Kole, the presumably dead Titan chick who also showed up in the shadows of Team Titans. In JLA/Titans, one of Vic Stone’s Cyberion probes sprung Duela from the same asylum to help the Titans combat the natural disasters being caused by the Technis; she helped out Pantha and mocked her, saying she was the Wildebeest’s daughter. Duela would next appear in Titans Secret Origins & Files #1, getting a bit tipsy at a bar, watching the Titans reformation on TV and ranting that she was Doomsday’s daughter. Her last appearance to date was in T SO&F #2, crashing the Titans West party with villains Fear and Loathing and going toe to toe with former teammate Flamebird.

Argent? She was covered too:

Argent is the bluish young lady standing next to Mal. She was part of the youthful Atom’s Teen Titans. They were half aliens. She has the ability to create silver constructs. It’s kind of like Green Lantern energy, only silver. She was also a member of the terrible, horrible Titans squad.

And there you have it. I’ve covered as many of the Titans as I can.

Here’s some opinion for free; while I dig the notion of a Titan team in shambles and running through members without Cyborg, Robin and Superboy, I don’t think I dig these characters. I mean DC has enough underutilized characters without the likes of Little Barda and Young Frankenstein.

These poor kids are going to be neglected and I don’t think that anyone would advocate neglecting children.

Tim, how do you feel about the massive influx of teens to the Titans?

It is still too early to tell. Johns has mentioned the Titans being in disarray during 52 and it certainly makes sense given that Cyborg was out of commision, Robin was abroad, Wonder Girl was in thrall of a cult, Superboy was dead, and Kid Flash had no powers or thought he had no powers or…whatever. So the idea of a team without a center falling apart again and again makes some sense to me.

As for many of them being all new characters…could be good, could be bad. I’m going to wait for more than a headshot before making that call.

Aaron likes to heckle the archnemesis less

Steel. Did he get an ongoing series after his run in “Reign of Supermen”? If so, how long did it run? Any significant rogue’s gallery to speak of?

Yes Aaron, Steel did indeed have his own title. His title was oddly enough titled Steel. It ran for 52 issues. Holy cow, he’s currently a star in 52.

As for rogues he had his little brother Crash, who was working on taking down crime from within. So he was kind of a good guy and a bad guy. There was also Dr. Villain, a guy who does whatever it takes to get what he wants. He’s a brilliant guy, kind of Lex like. Finally there was Skorpio, who served as Dr. Villain’s enforcer.

So basically; no Steel had no significant rogues gallery.

Tim, do you think that Steel’s lack of solid foes lead to his diminished role in the DCU or does the blame fall solely on the movie?

Hmm…the movie was pretty rotten. And that’s even counting the presence of the one, the only Judd Neson.

However, Dr. Villain is…just an awful name.

Tough one…

Out of respect for Priest (he being the creator of Dr. Villain) I’ll give the edge to the movie. But villains like that certainly don’t help.

Earth 2 Julian would know better than to bring up the “multiverse”

In Justice League America #0, a ‘tomorrow’ glimpse of the JLA shows a new
satellite and the Big 3 discovering a new earth? Are we back to the multi-verse now? And if so, why is anyone surprised about finding it?

I guess that since it’s a “tomorrow” we aren’t back to the multiverse, yet. But should it return I think it’d be a big deal.

I mean the coelacanth was thought to be gone, but when scientists found it again they were pretty excited. So if a prehistoric fish got the world into a tizzy, I can only imagine what the discovery of an entire universe would do.

Sure our heroes are aware that there was once a multiverse, but let’s really think about the times they’ve had encounters with other Earths and their residents.

Earth 2 – On this planet their evil analogues rule with an iron fist.

Kal-L – This guy was from the old Earth 2 and he tried to wipe their Earth off the map, or whatever the space equivalent of a “map” is.

Alex Luthor – This guy tried to make the perfect Earth.

Superboy-Prime – This guy from Earth Prime, killed some Teen Titans, including Superboy and wreaked all sort of havoc.

So, as you can see Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman have had some pretty bad encounters with aspects of different Earths. The thought of a new Earth troubles them, and it’s completely understandable.

Tim, do you find that possible presence of a multiverse troubling?


Will doesn’t know the meaning of letting old wounds heal

So, in JLA #0, it’s shown that Batman was hit pretty hard over Superman’s death. My question is, how was Batman’s reaction to Superman’s death handled back in 1993? I do remember him appearing in some of the Funeral for a Friend issues of Superman, but did he have any kind of reaction in his own books? And what about the Reign of the Supermen stuff…I know the 1993 Batman wasn’t portrayed as omnipotent as he has been in recent years, but that still seems like the kind of thing that Batman may have an opinion about…

Y’know Batman had his hands kind of tied with what was going on in his neck of the woods. The Batman creative teams were gearing up for Knightfall which meant they were pushing Batman to the edge in Gotham.

1993 saw a Batman who was far from omnipotent, he was downright vulnerable. He fell for a trap set by Bane and even got his back broken. Bats was far too busy being immobile to care about what was going on in Metropolis.

However in the World’s Finest miniseries from 1999, did show Batman confronting those who adopted the S shield in Kal’s absence.

If I recall correctly, Bruce rocked the black Superman armband for a few of the issues that were unofficially Knightfall (and included in the trades). Besides that, I don’t think Supes death was ever really addressed.

And we’ve come to the end of yet another column. Rest assured we’ll be back next week. There’s a possibility that we’ll cover Jared Stevens and Blue Devil. I know, I know, those two don’t really sell you on the notion of returning next week, but both Tim and I’ll be here too. So send me your questions or post them on swell-tastic thread!

But before I go, here’s my question to you; Are you glad that Lobo has returned?

“Turn it up, let it knock, let it bang on the block, ’til the neighbors call the cops.”