Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I’ve got a friend in town which means I’m leaving the column to you and the readers. Do you think you can handle it?

Oh yeah, sure. We’re still on for our weekly brunch though right? It was your turn to make has browns.






Great. Well, have fun with your “real” friends. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything. Like usual.

Jason R. answers the question I posed in the 11/2/05 column;

What DCU books would I give the boot post-Infinite Crisis?
1. Supergirl – I’m still bitter that Peter David’s run was cut short (don’t get me started on Young Justice!!!), especially after the incredible ending he had in issues 75-80 (I believe), where Linda replaced Kara in the Pre-Crisis DCU. No Crisis would be complete without a Kara of some sort (either the “new” one or Powergirl) biting the dust.

2. JLA – Not for lack of enjoyment; I love the book and I’ve ready every single issue since the title rebooted under the “JLA” name. I just think that if Crisis has the repercussions that everyone seems to THINK it will have, the JLA as it is will not be able to exist, at least for a while. Some time off for the Big Guns of the DCU, and some time for the world without a JLA as backup for any hero that needs it, would greatly change the way a number of books out there read (Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Flash, Superman, etc.) Plus they can just reboot it again with another best-selling #1 issue 6-12 months later.

3. Legion of Super Heroes – Come on Tim, I know you’re with me on this one. I have tried multiple times to get into this book over the last 10 years, and I just cannot get into this book. I don’t know if it’s the future setting (thus removing it from all other DCU characters), the “space opera” aspects or what have you, but I would be remiss if I didn’t state that I would not miss this book at all.

4. Catwoman, Batgirl and/or Robin – There are too many Batbooks; it needs to be streamlined. Have Batman and Detective Comics be the core titles, and I guess keep LOTDK for flashback stories. But other than Nightwing, none of the Bat Family books really feels like required reading (and I check in with pretty much all of them except Catwoman). They’d be better served by making the Gotham Knights a sidekicks-only book, especially with Batgirl and Robin being located in Bludhaven. Plus Robin has been craptacular of late.

5. Hawkman – Not even the power of Geoff Johns can save him. I am so confused by all of his and Hawkgirl/woman’s incarnations that I have no attachment to this character at all.

6. Aquaman – I read the first dozen books or so of v5, and it scarred me for life. Just terrible. Aquaman is VERY difficult to write properly over a long period of time. JLA Year One is the only “good” orange-shirted Aquaman-centric story I can remember.

7. Doom Patrol – do I really need a reason?

Well, now that it is almost a year later (how crazy is that?!) you can see you got some of your wishes, sort of. Hawkman no longer is a title, but Hawkgirl is. Aquaman has been retooled on Conan in water (am I alone in think Conan on Ice would’ve been so much more fun?). Batgirl is gone because Cassie done gone crazy, Robin and Catwoman are still hanging around. The good news is Robin is really quite strong at this time. JLA was cancelled, retooled, and is back. Legion of Superheroes, despite my best efforts, is still around, but now has Supergirl. Which, given your final choice of booted title, is something that I am sure brings you much joy.

Admiral Snackbar had these thoughts from the same column;

I love the column. In regards to how Batman smells… When Jean Paul Valley was Batman, he eventually ran into Catwoman. She knew he wasn’t the old Batman for several reasons. Aside from his lack of style and grace, I believe she said the real Batman had a distinct odor. It’s Batman #503 or 504, which I will look for later for a direct quote.

Now, the “For Tomorrow” story has had a lot of continuity geeks (like myself) losing a lot of sleep. However, the story itself takes places over the course of a few weeks at most. I recently re-read it, and at no point in the whole story does it say that the Vanishing happened over a year ago. There are some vague references to the last year being a difficult one, but that could include Our World’s At War if you REALLY wanted to get into past continuity. So the reason that Lois’ disappearance has never been referred to outside of that storyline COULD be explained away by the fact being that she was only missing (along with everyone else) for a few weeks. At least that’s how I justify the lazy editing.

Oh, and the X-Men did kick Batman’s ass in All Access #3. (Iceman, Phoenix, Cyclops, Bishop and Cannonball handed him his ass. I think Jubilee helped too.)

I love Batman, but the idea of Jubilee beating him is just fantastic. It’s like Squirrel Girl taking down Doctor Doom. So ludicrous you just have to love it. Seriously, you have to. Read your Constitution, it’s in there.

Neil added his two cents;

First, I agree with Tim in regards to the recent Teen Titans arc, it was just bad. Over at the Comicbloc forums, I participated in a chat with Gail and she was awesome, taking the time to answer everybody’s question, even though we were flinging them pretty fast. I also really loved Villains United (my first book of Gail’s). So, yeah, TT, just not good, but Gail is awesome.

As for Locus, I didn’t see them making a huge comeback, more being referred to as a group which helped someone (say Max Lord and Checkmate) get a whole bunch of information on the heroes.

As for For Tomorrow, I don’t recall it being mentioned outside the Superman books, but I do wonder if it will. Specifically the part about creating a place in the Phantom Zone to collect people to live if the Earth dies. As I look back, FT had a great start and some really decent ideas, but the execution was pretty crappy and was ruined by some of the not so great ideas that appeared in it.

Nalydpsycho also chimed in;

You forgot the most prominent Vertigo/DC hopper, Zatanna, who also has very strong, and, ahh, very physical connections to John Constantine.

And I just doubt that Batman can beat the X-Men, even with knowledge and prep time. No team uses telepathy quite like the X-Men, and Batman will have trouble with that. Plus he’d have to go against the Marvel can beat anyone under the right circumstances character.

Well, I don’t know about Batman not being able to handle telepaths, but it is basically a moot point as Jubilee will lay Batman out with all those pink bursts she has before Professor X can do a damn thing.

Nexus’ own Matt Morrison got in on the action;

First, while John may have appeared in COIE, that was hardly his first appearance. Most people site Saga of Swamp Thing #37 as his first appearance. And it was his first named appearance. However, Constantine actually premiered in a brief one panel cameo appearance a year earlier in Swamp Thing #25

John is, for the most part, strictly confined to the Vertigo universe. He did however make several surprising cameos throughout the late 80’s/early 90’s in various DC titles before Vertigo really took off. There’s a near full list at Hellblazer Cameos

You got most of them, but it seems I’m the only one who caught the best; his appearance in Green Arrow #24-25 offering Ollie Queen a word of advice about the odd goings on in Sherwood Forest at night.

Craig M responds to a comment from the 11/9/05 column

In reference to Batman shooting the Hunger Dog in Cosmic Odyssey. It wasn’t a case of Batman’s code on killing only applying to humans, it was a case of shooting it being the only way he could think of to stop it. It was clearly a threat to Gotham after all and he’d tried everything else.

I didn’t actually realize that was a messed up Hunger Dog. Huh”¦cool. Anyway, I am sure that was the reason for it, but Batman is typically all “there’s always another way” so that moment just stuck out to me as being odd. It was a nice one and I’d never suggest changing it, it always struck me as a bit funny.

Dhaise added his comments from the same column;

Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Detective 27, and the Killing Joke I would consider definitive. Anything and Everything a reader would need to know about Batman can be summed up in these, and these are the stories that creative teams attempt to tie their works back onto. Until recently, I would have included ‘A Death in the Family’ as well.

Good choices all around. Well, except Detective 27. I am assuming you mean the actual issue number as opposed to the Elseworld from a few years ago. On that, I’d reject as Year One covers the same ground, with more depth. No reason to double up on the origin story. And if you did mean the Elseworld, come on man, it’s an Elseworld.

Otherwise, I cannot fault your choices.

So did Neil

1. IDW has the Transformers license, not Devil’s Due.

And so it is. I think I was called on this by Ben Morse way back when the column first ran, but I’ll say it again. I was wrong. But come on, I was wrong on the Transformers’ license. Does anyone, save the Nexus’s own Iain Burnside, really care?

2. Re: Secret Identities, the story of how the original 7 revealed their ID’s is in “JLA: Year One” and in a moment that mirrors that one, in issue #50 of JLA, the current 7 (plus Plastic Man) reveal their secret ID’s). As for why they do it that way, I think it packs more of a punch when the heroes use real names to make points. Sort of a way of “disarming” them. Something like, “I know who you are, so cut the crap.”

JayMax took issue with our answer about wealth in the 11/16 column;

I believe that you “richest men in the DCU” list is severely flawed. There are a couple of people that you forgot, who should definitely be on the list:

-Aquaman (he’s the king of freaking Atlantis, you know that he’s got some cash.)

Have you seen the exchange rate of Atlantian currency lately? Dude might as well be trying to buy bread with wet newspaper.

-Thaddeus Sivana (Sivana owns the third biggest corporation on Earth. I’d put him ahead of Kord, definitely.)

I believe, but am not sure, that Sivana owned the corporation. As in past tense. Unlike Lex Luthor, I don’t think he was able to hold on to the property.

-Vandal Savage (He’s immortal, and has a fortune.)

Possibly”¦he has had so many shifts in fortune, it is hard for me to tell how rich or not he’s supposed to be.

-Alan Scott (He owns a broadcasting company, so he’s pretty wealthy.)

That would make sense to me.

-Black Adam (Again, he’s the king of Khandaq, so he’s got to be pretty wealthy.)

Not so sure on that. Khandaq was not a particularly wealthy nature, near as I can tell, and while Adam does not seem to want for anything, he also does not seem to have funds at the ready. And even if his country is rich, those are his country’s resources. If he’s as stand up a guy in reference to his rule as he seems to be, I doubt he’s co-opted those resources for personal gain.

-Princess Projectra (Not sure if a “new” Legion character should be on the list, but she was funding the Legion of Super-Heroes by herself until her planet was destroyed.)

I think you got us on a technicality here. We never said, “present day DCU” but that is how we answered it.

There are a few more that I can’t think of right now, but these guys off the top of my head should be on the list.

Admiral Snackbar did too;

Assuming Sandman is still part of the DCU (which I would argue he is) what about Hobb Gadling? He had centuries to accumulate his wealth, and probably collected his own life insurance a few times.

Interesting choice. No idea though.

Idealindreams had this to say about a proposed battled in the 11/23 column

Hey, tell Mr. Silver Surfer to throw his logic out the window – SUPES DEFIES
ALL! 🙂

WRONG! So wrong! Supes is great and he is the original but that does not mean he gets to beat everyone up. The battle would shake the heavens, etc. etc. but no way does Surfer go down. Stop deluding yourself immediately.

R. Hardin had this to add to the 11/23 column;

I have a theory. Maybe Hush is the Dick Grayson from Earth-2 (or whatever alternate earth the extra Lex Luthor running around the DCU is from). Ooh, or better yet, maybe he’s the Bruce Wayne from another universe (can’t be Earth-2, since that earth’s Batman is dead).

Hell of a theory there. How you feeling about it now?

Neil answered the question I posed in the same column;

What are you most worried will happen in the rumored Post Infinite Crisis shake up?
Basically the past 20 years are wiped out under the flag of “return to the Silver Age.”

I like a lot about the past 20 years from Byrne’s Krypton to Matrix/Linda Danvers/Supergirl, etc.

But the biggest thing I hope they don’t get rid of is the “one earth” universe.

I know it’s getting harder to justify the original JSA members being around, but I really like how they predated and inspired the JLA and other heroes and are still around to do so. Putting them on another Earth just doesn’t jive with me.

I’m with you, but, if the recent changes to the IC trade are any indication, DC may not be. Seems they really have their heart set on this Earth 2 thing and it less a matter of if and more a matter of when.

Hopefully, I’m just being cynical though.

George M. offered his answer to my question about which series he’d like to see in trades from the 11/30 column;

One series in trades? Giffen’s run on Justice League International, I likes my laughter.

Never read it (please don’t hit me) but I’d support it. It seems like a lot of older fans (read: people with disposable incomes) would line up for that. On the other hand, maybe they already own it.

Well, even so, I’d say DC should go for it. Especially after the past two years, interest in that series probably has not been higher except for when it was coming out monthly. Money to be made, DC, money to be made.

Glen D. answers the same question;

About the only things from DC that I want and don’t have are Charlton’s Action Heroes, and the original Secret Six.

Glen D. also answers the question from the 12/7 column about which OYL books look promising;

I’m looking most forward to the Secret Six mini and the Shadowpact series the most, due to the creators.

I’m not too enthused about the Blue Beetle’s new look, but I may check it out anyway.

I’d be curious to see how you ended up feeling about the Shadowpact. I was looking forward to it too and I ended up pretty disappointed.

Neil shared his thoughts on the same column;

Ruin: I haven’t read the issue yet, but Hamilton? Three reasons this doesn’t sit well with me: (1) Hamilton seemed to be the obvious choice (excepting another Luthor), (2) DC really seems to be gunning for late 80’s/early 90’s characters lately, and (3) I loved the relationship Superman had with Emil and especially the jealousy angle Jeph Loeb had with Emil jealous of Superman’s relationship with John Henry. Hopefully they’ll bring JH more to the foreground now to compensate.

JSA Classified #4: Yeah, IC did it better, and the whole thing seemed to be about putting all of the fan’s theories to rest after showing them.

Battlesuit Lex: Glad to see that I’m not the only one who dislikes Battlesuit Lex, though to be honest, it isn’t so bad with another, non-Battlesuit Luthor running around.

And GL vs. Iron Man? No match…sure Tony may have been up against a guy with 10 rings, but he never had the willpower Hal has or the creativity Kyle has or the raw emotional willpower Guy has…

I don’t know, I think his will is pretty damn strong. Built a suit of metal, from scratch, with a piece of metal lodged in him, slowly killing him? That’s willpower, emotional or otherwise (by the by, what is “emotional willpower”? Is that how I stop from crying every time I watch that episode of SportsNight where Dan talks about his deceased younger brother even though it is so damn sad.) I’d still give the GLs the edge because I generally think the cosmic trumps our earth tech, but you are selling Tony short.

The topic of bad character names came up in 12/21 column, Glen D. offered some of his own;

When it comes to awful villain names How about:

Signal Man
Amazing Grace
DoDo Man

Back off man. Mocking Signal Man is off limits.

Wayne B. had this to say about DC’s handling of John Stewart;

In my opinion DC has dropped the ball with this great character. Since revising Hal
Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, John’s character has gotten little to zero play.
Sure he’s in the JLA but his active capacity has been “zip”. Talk about a waste of potential.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: The Animated Series and JLU have proven that John can more than hold his own up against the “Big Three” in both deed and story. He brings much to the table: skill, leadership, humor, passion, etc. And DC should incorporate the qualities of the animated John into the comic book John. Sure, make him a former U.S. Marine (I bet he was a “Gunny”). It goes well with his no-nonsense attitude (in fact John’s character reminds me a lot of Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs of tv’s NCIS, in both sly humor and skill).

For my money John should be LEADING the JLA! Since DC is “flipping the script” they should rock the status quo. And for God’s sake get JLU uber-writer Dwayne McDuffie to write a John Stewart mini-series (and a JLA: Classified arc). Tell me that man doesn’t “get” John!

Kyle’s becoming ION, Alan’s in JSA, Guy & Kilowog lead in GREEN LANTERN CORPS, and the great Hal Jordan has his own book. John in JLA??? Best background “yes-man” since Snapper Carr. John DESERVES better.

Bruce Timm saw his potential and ran with it.

Man, DC is definitely fumbling this one.

Ouch! I mean, I agree, but that “yes-man” line”¦harsh.

Glen D. once again chimes in on the prospect of OYL;

I’m not too excited or concerned about the rumors about OYL. I’m actually going to be getting fewer books afterward, which I doubt was DC’s intention. OYL I’ll be getting only JSA, JSA Classified, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl and Warlord. I plan on getting 52, just to see if it’s a complete train wreck, Secret Six, and Shadowpact, maybe Freedom Fighters, depends on the team. I’m not getting Blue Beetle just because I don’t like the origin. May be cutting off my nose to spite my face but so be it. If they can’t come up with a more interesting origin, one that they haven’t used twice before recently, I think it shows lazy story telling.

DC should bring it, not sing it.

Yeah, DC, bring it, don’t”¦sing it? Umm”¦I’m having a hard time selling that line there Glen. Anyway, I hope you gave Blue Beetle a shot because people seem to like it.

Dhaise shared his thoughts on the rumors as well;

What do you think about the rumors for the One Year Later DCU?

If the rumors are true (or mostly true), it smells like Zero Hour. Not enough ‘big chances’ and shakeups that will have a lasting effect and mostly window dressing. I was expecting a DCU that felt more ‘changed forever’ and dramatic, and the vibe so far seems to be ‘tweak the status quo’.

As did Neil

OYL–it will be interesting, if DC can avoid temporary fixes. It seems like DC always leaves themselves with backdoors and sometimes, those backdoors weaken the supposed changes, ie when they are obvious and used too quickly.

Joe corrects an error I made in the 1/4/06 column;

I don’t know exact issue because I don’t the issues anymore, but I know Shondra Kingsolving made appearances in a couple of issues of Azrael. In those issues she had the mentality of a child and Azrael had to protect her or something. I don’t know if she’s been used since then, but we definitely have seen her since Knightfall. Anyway hope that was helpful. It’s always nice to give a little info to the guy that gives me so much insight into corners of the DCU I don’t normally explore.

The mentality of a child thing actually happened at the end of KnightsQuest: The Search because”¦well, I can’t recall. I remember it being sort of dumb though. I did not remember she showed up in Azrael though.

And Stephen A. corrects an error someone who wasn’t me made in the same column;

You or the guy who types in green made a mistake in your latest column. You said that Vicky Vale was a replacement for Silver St. Cloud and she came about around the time Kim Basinger played her in the movie. This is simply not true as Vicki Vale is a character dating back to the fifties. In fact her first appearance was in Batman #49. In other words, she predated Silver St. Cloud.

I swear I’ve responded to this very complaint before and Mathan is only including it to mess with me, but here I go again.

You are right, sort of. Vicki Vale was introduced first. However, as stated by the creator of Silver St. Cloud, Steve Englehart, the movie Vicki Vale was based on St Cloud’s character despite bearing Vale’s name. The “modern” Vale then evolved to closer to the movie version. Subsequently, since movie Vale was really St. Cloud by a different name, modern Vale is an in-continuity St. Cloud. Unless St. Cloud is continuity again on New Earth and/or with the release of the Dark Detective mini a few years back.

So, I’m also sort of right.

And everything is just blindingly complicated.

Jon C. chimes in on the same column;

Hugo Strange has been all over Catwoman lately. The book, not the character. Though that’d be one hell of a weird twist on the whole pregnancy story.

I feel like Tim Drake would be a monster at Jeopardy, myself. Maybe not as good as Kid Flash, but damned solid. He is, after all, the world’s second-greatest detective, and he’s got a typical knowledge of pop culture for a teenager, which gives him a trivia one-up on Batman. Though Bats did, grudgingly, admit a knowledge of Woody Allen flicks in Starman, so he’s not as out of touch as he acts.

Jag sent this following the 1/11 column;

First off, I have to say…I LOVE this column. I used to go to InsidePulse primarily for the wrestling and now that wrestling sucks, reading columns about comics and primarily DC has reignited my interest again. Having you and your buddies answer questions that have always haunted me about my favorite characters as well as give opinions on graphic novels and collections to read and the current happenings with DC has really made me care about comic books again. So thank you for that.

Now, I have to talk about Infinite Crisis. See, I was one of the millions of fans who stopped reading around the mid-90s with Marvel and DC f*cking up the industry with gimmickry and those damn crossover events. However, when Identity Crisis came out, I was hooked again.

DC catches a lot of criticism from the industry for its portrayal of heroes and events, mostly from Marvel fans but the Crisis events (although they are really gimmicks as well) have been incredible. DC has made me give a damn about characters that I thought were lame like Superman and Wonder Woman and what they think of this event and how they will act. A comic book like Infinite Crisis makes you salivate for the next issue (Batman and Nightwing have a “confrontation”?! Hot damn!).

Also, characters like Deathstroke keep you intrigued because everyone wants to see a throwdown between Slade and Bruce without any run-ins or when the two Supermans will duke it out. Jason Todd’s return, Zatanna’s betrayal, Villains United (my FAVORITE of the Crisis books) and the OMACs have shown that DC’s creators have planned well and are keeping the comic reading public intrigued. Hell, people that I know who don’t even like comics know what Dr Light did. That’s awesome.

See, I used to like Marvel and DC equally. I loved Batman and Green Arrow just as much as Spidey and Wolverine. But recently, man…I just don’t care about Marvel. As much as I adored Spidey when I was growing up, I just can’t stand him anymore. Wolverine as well. It’s like Marvel is relying on the same tricks for years now.

I remember when I was growing up and Stan Lee and the other Marvel creators would deride DC for making heroes that didn’t have human characteristics and were gods while Marvel’s had everyday problems. Reading Crisis has really reversed things as you care when Flash leaves his family to deal with the world because he MAY be the hero that kicks the bucket before OYL. Or Green Arrow protecting his family from Dr. Light’s revenge. Or Superman losing his confidence because of almost killing his best friend and having Batman in turn criticize him for being a weak hero. This stuff is gold.

I’m not sure what the point of this rant is, but man…I love comic books again.

Well, I can’t speak to other portions of our site sucking, (Seriously, I can’t, it is in my contract. How can I feed my many children if I lose this job?!), but I’m glad you are loving us now. Also glad to hear you are back in with comics. Hope you are still enjoying your return to the fold.

Julian S. offered this following the 1/18 column;

I guess I should read the entire article before writing next time.

Wow…Tim pulled out Prince on you. Wow.

Don’t forget that Martian Manhunter wiped out the entire White Martian population as ‘The Burning’.

Also, indirectly, Batman is a mass murderer for the whole OMAC thing.

Batman did not make the OMACs, Brother Eye did. Making him responsible for all the murders is like making the Chinese people responsible for gun deaths because they invented gun powder.

Jon C has a correction from the same column;

Superman also killed Doomsday. Sure, he got better, but Supes killed him. Same with Darkseid.

Superman killed Darkseid? How did I miss this?

Neil provided his thoughts on the same column;

Damage: I kind of dug Damage, but in my mind, there was only so much you could do with the character…either you perpetually have him unsure of his powers or you make him comfortable with them and kill the interesting part of the character. As for the reveal of his parentage, it was interesting, but sad that he never got to meet his real father.

I did enjoy his role in “Sins of Youth” grown up and in control of his powers (even though, as I said, it ruins the character a little). Since he’s not in a series any more (well not in his own series for almost a decade by now), it might be fun to have him in control OYL and one of the DCU’s big guns.

As for Tim’s comments, the DCU Class of ’94-’95 was a good lot. Kyle, Conner, Damage, Impulse, etc. were introduced and Tim Drake, Superboy, Ray Terrill, and others came into their own. Hell, I’d go so far as to say it would be great seeing all of those guys as the DCU big guns OYL.

I agree. I actually was not actively collecting comics that year, but I borrowed it from fellow Nexus-er Tim Sheridan. Eventually, I circled back and get much of that stuff and yes, it really is all sorts of excellent.

Amanda Waller: Was the kiss between her and Luthor passionate? I thought it was just Lex being whacked out of his gourd from his batch of Venom.

You say this as if it makes it okay.

Bloodwynd: I dug the guy and liked the reveal that he was J’onn (since it fit J’onn into the League during the only time Post-Crisis he was “absent,” as now we can add a footnote that he wasn’t really gone). And the reveal was great, with Bloodwynd taking on the dream universe J’onn J’onnz, having that J’onn comment that no one could be as strong as he was, only to find out, in a way, it was him.

DC, a Bloodwynd series”¦now! It’d be like printing money.

Batman Protocols: It’s not related to the actual question, but Batman isn’t the only one who has thought out ways to incapacitate his fellow JLAers, but he may be the only one to write it down, not to mention do R&D to have the protocols ready.

Green Lantern: Legacy The Last Will & Testament of Hal Jordan (one of the longest titles I’ve seen for a comic, btw), Tom is remembering (and in the process implementing) a conversation he had with Hal:

Tom: Could you beat the JLA? Along? Like, Mister Mind hits them with a purple ray and they go crazy?

Hal then outlines how he’d do it, off the top of his head:

J’onn: Using the ring to block against Psi-attacks.

Flash: Keeping Barry occupied (designing a race track in the shape of the symbol for infinity, then opening it to send Flash barreling at his teammates).

Batman: Rocket him away strapped to a rocket construct.

J’onn and Wonder Woman: Taken out by the barreling Flash.

Superman: A Kryptonite construct to weaken his resolve and then the ring would do a mental whammy on him (to make him think innocents were being hurt because of him).

That all may work, but boy is it not nearly as interesting as Batman’s protocols.

If you could set up the creative team for a One Year Later title who would be the creators and what title would it be?

James Robinson and/or David Goyer on JSA with art by Leonard Kirk and fill-ins by Don Kramer (since the rumor is that Geoff is off of JSA, if the rumor is false, then I have no problem with Geoff staying on the book).

Jon C wouldn’t let the 1/25 column go;

I’m still on the White Martian thing. I’m sorry. My point was more along the lines of “why don’t any of the characters involved mention it?” Superman allowed J’onn to enact whatever punishment he saw fit, with J’onn more or less stating it was okay because of the cultural difference between Martian and Earth cultures. You’d think he’d have a softer view of what the Satellite League did than how he’s been characterized. And it’s kind of surprising that Despero didn’t bring it up when he was questioning J’onn’s morals in Crisis of Conscience, considering Geoff John’s utterly insane knowledge of continuity. When the Satellite League went to the Watchtower to try to convince J’onn to erase their secret IDs from the minds of the SSoSV, one of them was quick to point out that J’onn wouldn’t do it, but Wally could’ve just as easily point out that he pretty much has before.
Fairly recently, too, if Zero Hour was really only a year ago, their time. To me, it just seems like the whole affair’s been swept under the rug because it kind of undermines the conflict that broke the League up.

But, eh, it’s just comics.

By the way, I went to high school with Ben Morse’s Megan, and he must be one Hell of a guy if he got her reading comics. I couldn’t pull that off, and I’m a Goddamn charmer.

Rest assured, Ben Morse is one hell of a guy.

As for your getting caught up on this White Martian thing, I get where you are coming from. For me, what makes it all make sense is Superman and killing the Kryptonians. No one in the JLA brings that up when talking to Supes. Wonder Woman would have had a prime opportunity to use it when the whole Max Lord nonsense went down, but she didn’t. Why? Cultural sensibility and friendship. On the first score, it is the idea that Superman (or J’onn) has a certain amount of responsibility when it comes to their respective people and a certain, perhaps different, code to judge them by. The second speaks of not wanting to drag them through difficult decisions again.

That’s how I see it anyway.

Neil supplied his thoughts on that column as well;

Superman: I’m more concerned about what we do now. This is your call. Who else can judge these people?

J’onn: Martians are shapechangers, Superman. We’re familiar with a wide range of mind control techniques. There are…methods. Punishments. You may not approve but I must be the final arbiter. You do not know the culture. You were not there.”

So it all comes down to the fact that it was a technique developed by Martians for use with Martians and back when there was a Martian society, it was acceptable.

Whereas we as a culture do not have the means to do something like that. Even the regular DCU law enforcement can’t mindwipe someone. So it would have to be a metahuman or an alien. But we’re not used to it, no judge has ever issued that decree. It’s just not done.

Either way, I hope the JLA learned that in both cases, it backfired and ended up hurting them in the end.

Was the downward spiral of Hal Jordan/GL considered a “mistake” by the DC brass?

I disagree with you guys. I think the turnover that’s occurred over the past 10 years means that the people who made the decision to bring Hal back were not the people who decided to make him Parallax. I’m sure if you ask those people, Ron Marz, Kevin Dooley, Eddie Berganza, etc. they’d still tell you that they stand by what happened.

As for the Paul Levitz’s and Dan Didio’s, they were not in the position to make that decision. Who knows what they honestly feel about it. I don’t think they’d say it was a mistake, rather they’d probably tell you it wasn’t how they would have handled things.

Well, Levitz certainly was in a position to make the decision the first time around. He’s served in the role he has now for quite sometime. True though, Didio couldn’t. Still I think he’d say it was a mistake and given that’s who DC brass is now, that’s how I answered the question. I get your point though and I’m inclined to agree that yes, I think those that spearheaded Emerald Twilight and beyond most likely would refer to it as a mistake.

Was Kyle’s ten year run considered a failure?

I too wouldn’t classify it as a failure. I think like any change in comics, it had the intended initial response, but changes like that are often not as long lasting. Think back to that time period, Superman died (and later got new powers), Batman’s back was broken and Bruce walked away from the mantle (later to reclaim it and pass it to Dick), Wonder Woman lost her title to one of her Amazonian Sisters, etc. Only Kyle and Conner lasted more than a year.

But, with anything, after the initial shock wore off, I don’t think they planned well enough how to continue to make Kyle interesting. He languished for too long as an inexperienced hero who made big mistakes.

So DC looks for a way to establish him and they decide to give him Parallax level powers for an arc. And while I’m not a big fan of Judd’s writing, I think back then, 2001 – 2002 was Kyle’s turning point. He went from being a Peter Parker clone into becoming his own person.

And then DC shoots itself in its foot. Instead of working on developing the aspect of Kyle that had godlike powers and kept his head or the aspect of him getting his act together, they send him into space following a controversial storyline, break him up with his girlfriend, and basically do everything they can to strip away what made the character unique.

By the time Ben Raab got him, he might as well have been Hal Jordan. And speaking of Raab, I didn’t read his issues, so I can’t comment on his quality, but I remember reading that he was only hired through #175 and given a strict set of things he had to do during his stint.

As big of a Hal Jordan fan as I am and as happy to have him back, I’m still willing to admit that Kyle could have gone on longer, like Wally, if they focused on his interesting bits instead of what they did.

I am a Kyle fan and I largely don’t disagree with anything you’ve said. I do not necessarily look as favorably on Ion (the first) as you do as I always looked at it as a temporary at best change, but otherwise, you were pretty on the nose there.

Scavenger defends Guy Gardner from my attack in the 2/1 column;

Re: Guy Gardner – Why does he have a fan following? 5 words–Keith Giffen & Beau Smith.

It’s forgotten today that behind the Bwah-hah-hah’s of the JLAEIOU era, was real character work. (It’s especially forgotten today every time Giffen & DeMatties try to do new versions of the stuff). If you read JLI, and pay attention, Guy grows as a character. Not the Rambo/Mr Rogers stuff, but, mainly thru the stuff with Ice, he starts his way to becoming a mature character.

Then, in Guy Gardner: Warrior, with Beau Smith, It comes to fruition. He’s basically just a hard working joe with powers. He’s not a hero because he’s a paragon of virtue, nor cuz he’s obsessed with justice. Just a guy trying to do what’s right. There’s a great issue where Guy saves the president, and suddenly finds himself respected as a hero by the public and the super hero community, and he works to maintain that respect. There’s some great scenes with him & Superman discussing what it means to be the last of their races (Kryptonian and Vuldarian–an element sadly lost by making him just another Green Lantern agains).

Unfortunately, at the same time you had that, you had writers like Dan Vado and even Peter David not paying attention that “Jerk-Guy” was no longer around in his solo book, so they just had Warrior as the same one note character he’d always been. Only Priest was able to bring the coolness of Guy’s new character that Smith had crafted–around, playing off some bits that Guy and Steel had become friends after realizing they had known each other during their college football days.

But in the GGW series, Guy became a multi-faceted 3D character that was awesome to read.

I can’t answer for Mathan, but I’m not a big Guy fan either so I tell you what my perspective is. I hear everything you are saying about Guy and I have not read most of that stuff so I defer to you.

However, I have read a decent amount of his stories and more often than not the Guy you have mentioned is not the Guy that inspired so many fans. Many fans point to moments that were highlighted by Guy’s arrogance or his buffoonery and for the most part that’s the Guy I know. And that’s the Guy I don’t care for. That Guy always struck me as the idiot meathead in the back of the class room who had a heart but was way too concerned with how he was viewed by others to really be honest about it. Typically, I have no use for those people and thus, I have no use for Guy.

He may very well be a good character in some writers’ hands. I’d argue all characters have that capacity. However, for Guy, more often than not, he did not get that treatment. Since I’ve mostly read those stories, I just don’t much care for him. Sorry.

Colin answers the question in posed about the future of the Flash in the same column;

I really hope it’s Wally. As a relative newcomer to the DCU, Wally’s who I know, and I like the idea of Kid Flash growing up and becoming The Flash. That said, it would seem dopey if Bart were to all of a sudden become Wally West v2.0, and have to come to terms with taking over his mentor’s legacy. Barry’s also a no-go, as Hal’s back now, so do we really need the entire DCU to revert to the Silver Age? How about a Flash from the future? That’s even dumber than an alternate future Iron Man coming back. There are a million speedsters in the present – including one already from the future – and one of them can’t be the Flash?

Back to Wally inheriting the mantle, it was great because in a medium where people are perpetually 28-32, the kid sidekick fulfilled his promise and grew up to be a top tier superhero. You’re telling me that we’re on our 4th Flash, but Batman hasn’t gotten old and broken down to let Nightwing be Gotham’s protector? Green Arrow’s still around?

It’ll be dull, disappointing, a see-through gimmick and plain unoriginal if Wally is
NOT Flash post-Crisis.

So, Colin”¦umm”¦sorry?

Legion took issue with a comment from the same column;

Good column this week. One thing I didn’t really agree with was from a questioner mentioning Zero Hour happened a year ago in DC terms. That just doesn’t sound right. Maybe someone with vast knowledge could try to come up with a timeline featuring all the major happenings in the DCU…. *hint hint* This started bothering me when I tried to figure out how old Dick, Jason, and Tim were in relation to each other. Maybe that would be an easier task.

Well, we would, except Zero Hour does not matter anymore since Superboy showed reality how strong his pimp hand truly is. Zero Hour, for all intents and purposes, is no more thus we can hardly offer you a proper timeline on the matter.

Of course what could a column be without Neil?

Guy Gardner: Warrior: I’m not sure if I ever said this, but damn it Mathan, pick up Guy Gardner from the time Chuck Dixon took over. I’m kind of peeved at DC for their recent portrayal of Guy, since it’s something of a step back in my mind from where Chuck and later Beau took Guy in terms of personality.

I always equate it to a kid I knew in elementary school through High School. In elementary school he was plain and simple a jerk and a bully. In high school he mellowed out. He was still not someone you’d expect to see smelling flowers and you definitely did not want to cross his path, but he was not malicious as he was when he was younger.

Same with Guy, in my mind, he went from being antagonistic, and willing to start a fight with everyone short of Ice, to being somewhat gruff and pushy, but knowing when to quit it. He also would be much choice to have my back in a bar fight in the DCU.

Wow”¦Neil we used almost the same basic analogy and ended up on completely opposite ends of it. Funny.

Dr. Fate: I’m tempted to say it’s just fate that Dr. Fate gets rebooted so often. (Oh, you are hilarious Neil).Honestly, I disagree with the idea that DC will hold off, for fear that he’ll be too similar to Blue Beetle in origin. The most recent Dr. Fate was an established DCU character, so there’s no reason this one couldn’t be as well.

There are a lot of magic users who will probably find it hard to adapt to this new age of magic and some might come out depowered. One of them could possible make an excellent Dr. Fate.

Of course, they could go with a rookie and/or unknown character. Or they could just make a lot of people happy and bring back Kent and Inza (though I have a feeling they’ll be serving the Nabu role, now that Nabu is gone).

Well, as we now know, it is going to be Kent Nelson. But not THE Kent Nelson. No, you aren’t the only one that makes no sense to.

Flash OYL: Tough question. I’m holding out hope that Wally will be Flash OYL. Geoff (or Dan, or another of those editors, all their press releases sound the same) said that we haven’t seen the last of Wally and that wherever they went, it was not to die off-screen. Barring that, the obvious choice would be Bart, since they’ve been building towards that since his debut, though more recently in Teen Titans.

I’m not sure how I feel about the rumor about Jay being a de-aged Flash OYL. In a way, it sounds cool, but I’d rather see him still active helping/training the OYL Flash.

Stormangel also thinks I was too hard on Guy;

I echo the opinion on Guy. The Warrior title had changed him into a real interesting three-dimensional character. I love the JLI Guy, but he has stepped backwards now. Warrior had him as a tough guy more akin to John Stewart in the JLU cartoon than the jerk he is often portrayed again now.

I used to write a fanfic of him for a group called DCFutures, which had Guy returning from an intergalactic war as a burnt out veteran, tortured by the atrocities of war. Could have been better, but I’m still proud of it. Guy is so damn under-rated.

There’s a fanfic joke to be made here, but I’m just not that mean spirited.

Glen D answers my question about Kyle’s transformation from the 2/8 column;

I don’t care about Kyle becoming Ion one way or another. My biggest complaint about the RT War special is that they wasted too much valuable panel space on Kyle, and not on more interesting (to me) characters like Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Alan Scott, Ultra the Multi Alien, Prince Gravvyn, and Jemm Son of Saturn.

As a human being, I find it difficult to ever argue against the need for more Ultra the Multi Alien or Jemm. So I feel you on that.

On the other hand, Kyle’s Ion coming out felt rushed and perfunctory to me. I’d say that R/T was simply an issue or two (or more) great tastes that tasted just lousy together.

Glen D. also provides an answer to my question about late comics in the 2/22 edition;

To be honest, I don’t mind the lateness of DC comics so much due to years of late independent comics.

What an upbeat note to end on. Huzzah! See you next week for a brand new, non-reader response column. And yes, Mathan’ll be back so you won’t be stuck with me again.