Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, I finally got an Ipod. So this is what the year 2000 is like.

Yes, it is. Just wait until you get to 2007. We have flying cars and no weather! IT. IS. AWESOME!


Broken Dial

Beyond the Threshold

The DVD Lounge

Inside Fights

Machine Gun Funk


Not a True Ending

Popcorn Junkies

Primetime Pulse

Retro Grading

Tailgate Crashers

Visit our DC Boards, they’re a blast. Plus we speculate about the new Ventriloquist’s identity.

Are you linking this week Tim?

Nothing much struck my fancy this week so I’m just linking this silly little thing from Taco Bell. It’s got those lions from the commercials and a computerized voice repeating what you type. It can be entertaining if you are bored and working late at night. Oh, and don’t feel like actually doing your job right then and there.

What I Read Last Week

JSA Classified #24 – So wait, now the good Doctor has a nemesis? And while I can see why folks don’t dig the art, I could see it really clicking with another character.

Perhaps…heck if it was specifically a vampire book, it might work. But the sight of a Doc Mid-nite who looks about 90 years old just didn’t work for me.

Plus, purely geeky here, but the Doc’s hair color was wrong. And, also, the Doctor is spiritual, not purely scientific like Mr. Terrific so the whole “choose science” thing rang untrue.

American Virgin #13 – I’m still digging this book. I do wish that last page had caught me more off guard, but it was much more of a “finally” moment. I really liked how the men stood up for themselves this issue. Good read.

I held on through the thin parts of the first year and am so glad I did. This book is great right now.

Scalped #4 – Nice for some back story about Red Crow. It seemed like he was a decent guy at one point who sold his soul. I’m really curious about what Dash sees in Crow’s daughter. I feel grimy after reading every scene she’s in.

52 Week Forty-Eight – Tim, I’m so glad that you said what you said about the art, because it’s exactly what I was thinking. Sadly, I think that the cover was the best part of this issue.

I’ll second that whole thing. Especially the part about me being right. Because, I am.

Justice League of America #7 – Great cover. Fun issue. I think that Meltzer excels in smaller moments like this. And I didn’t mind the flirting between Hawkgirl and Red Arrow. For the first time in a long time Roy felt vulnerable and not world weary. I liked the issue.

I disagree on the flirting thing, but Roy’s vulnerability was something I had not mentioned but you are dead on with that. I’ll say what I said in my review: The book is decent, Meltzer can be better than this and by now (7 or issues into his run) he should be.

Fallen Angel #13 – I’m a sucker for asylum issues. So reading this was a blast. I also dig the notion of mind over matter. I am worried about what this means for Lee. But a new character in town is always a good thing.

Welcome to Tranquility #5 – Wow, I didn’t see that turn coming. Either one actually. The scene with Maximum Man was great. Gail really managed to have everything meet up perfectly.

Tales of the Unexpected #3 & #4 – I finally got around to reading the main story and it’s not that bad. I actually kind of enjoyed it. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t anticipating the amazing back up, or maybe it reads better in quick succession. But it’s not half bad.

You are wrong Wrong WRONG!

BoF: Black Alice #1 – Tolerable issue. I enjoyed the art most of all. But this book really doesn’t get me hyped for the possible Dr. Fate relaunch.

This came out a bit of awhile ago, but I seem to remember feeling the same. I like Black Alice so I enjoyed seeing her again, but it did nothing to get me psyched for the upcoming series. Still, it was better than the Zauriel issue which actively turned me off the upcoming series.

– Better issue. I almost care about what’s happening. The art was again the high point.

Detective Comics #831 – Tim, I’ll echo your comments about the heart of this issue. It’s not surprising that this issue is so good. What’s surprising is that Bianchi is still supplying covers.

Do you say that because you don’t like him on covers? If so, I am so with you on that. Beyond his depiction of the corrupted Galahad in Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight I have consistently disliked his art and I just don’t get why so many people dig it.

The Atom #10 – I’m loving Ryan’s trip home. I’m loving how much fun this title is. I’ve really got no beefs with this book.

Me neither. This is a book that I feel like is finally growing to live up to its potential.

Supergirl & the Legion of Super-Heroes – Kitson’s art felt kind of rushed, but this was a very good issue. It reminded me of some of the 5YG stuff. Seeing the teams fight on different fronts was great. But the stuff with Ultra Boy trying to switch powers really showed how dire things were.

Supergirl #15 & #16 – Man, I really hope that Power Boy sticks around at least in the DCU if not this title. #15 was just great stuff all around. #16 was cool in providing insight into Zor-El’s motivation. It did a great job of making Jor-El a jerk and showing how those two really were brothers. I’m still amazed at how much I’m enjoying this title.

Aaron is considering a West Coast vacation

Can you give a brutha some info on Coast City? During “Reign of Supermen” it was destroyed, right? Now, I read Hal Jordan reference it recently, so I’m assuming it’s, uh, “back”. Was the rebuilding captured in a particular storyline or arc? Was it over the course of several years? And, how did Hal come to terms with this “new” Coast City? Talk about bad memories…

Coast City ends an era.

Aaron you’ve got to get out more. Perhaps take a road trip DCU style, it’d be great for the fam!

Coast City did return both in a storyline and over the course of years.

For those unfamiliar, Coast City was destroyed as part of the Cyborg Superman and Mongul’s plot to, um, do something evil. Hal Jordan took it the hardest (save the millions who actually died as a result of the bad guys actions) and went on a loony maiming rampage, eventually becoming Parallax, the greatest character ever!


Wait…are you being sarcastic?

But during Green Lantern: Rebirth, while there was all the turmoil and wrestling over Hal Jordan and the Spectre, the groundwork for Coast City was laid, literally. Roadways, street signs and even Hal’s apartment returned to the where Coast City used to exist.

The city has since been rebuilt, but it was tough getting people to return to the site of such destruction, so it was a ghost town for a spell. However, more and more people are moving there and perhaps one day it’ll return to its rightful role in the DCU as the perfect place to destroy in a misguided attempt to get back at Superman.

Tim, do you think that the DCU really needs Coast City?

Personally? Not really. I thought it was a great symbol as a big monument in California to this horrific (fictional) disaster. But I don’t think that’s something the DCU “needs” either.

The only reason that the return of Coast City bothers me is this: when Emerald Twilight began, Hal got dinged for trying to restore the city to its past glory (granted, that including resurrecting the residents as green tinged constructs). His entire time as Parallax was, more or less, designated to restoring the “mistakes” of the past. All that was “bad.”

Hal Jordan discovers a new (sadly temporary) career path.

On the other hand, he kicks off his “rebirth” by completing rebuilding Coast City. That, for some reason, is “good” or, at the least, “acceptable.” How about some moral consistency DC?

Otherwise though, Coast City existing as a city or a memorial or a smoking crater in the ground matters little to me.

The Shade is trying to pry a pun out of us

What is your opinion on Renee Montoya as A Question?

I guess I should begin with a disclaimer; I’m not the biggest fan of the Question. And it’s not “not the biggest fan” in the sarcastic “I hate the character” sense, but more of “I’ve never really read anything with the character that stuck out in my mind, though his books were on myone day I’d like to read that list” way.

With that out of the way, I don’t really have a problem with it. I wasn’t attached to the original, and I dig Renee. Actually I don’t just dig Renee, she’s one of the parts of the DCU that I really enjoy. I mean she can hobnob with both the working stiffs and the spandex bunch. That’s why I dig her character.

Now maybe if she was going to be the new Green Lantern or Flash, I’d be more invested in this. But, she’s not.

Do I think she’s going to do a good job as the Question? I don’t know. I think she’ll certainly be a different kind of Question. She’s going to ask different questions given she’s a detective not a reporter. But just because she’s asking different questions doesn’t mean she won’t get to the same answer.

Also I’d have to assume that Greg Rucka will eventually be writing her again, so I’ve got faith that he’ll handle her evolution with the skill and love that he’s shown the character thus far.

Tim, where do you weigh in on Renee as the Question?

The only reason I’m not thrilled with this idea is because of what I’ve stated previously. Originally, there was the Question and there was Renee Montoya and both were great characters. Now there is only Renee Montoya/Question and the DCU is poorer for it. By combining two great characters you don’t, typically, get an even better result. You get one less great character. And that’s too bad.

That’s the only reason I don’t love the change.

Actually, there is another. Throughout 52 this has been rumored and Rucka (perhaps the other writers, but definitely Rucka) has always said that Montoya wasn’t a costumed hero (or something similar) and thus wouldn’t become Question. Now that she is, it reveals that that was just a semantic answer. I HATE SEMANTIC ANSWERS!

But, of course, that has nothing, really, to do with the validity of Renee’s change.

Aaron loathes the linking of color and weapon

Dude, Red Arrow? I mean, seriously, I thought this was a joke. But, this is really Roy Harper’s new hero name? Terrible…and worse than “Arsenal”, if that’s possible.

I really don’t have a problem with Roy as Red Arrow. Honestly.

It’s not like he picked name, it came out of the story; Hal kept wanting to call him “Roy” and had to come up with a codename that began with “R.” That was it. That’s all.

That moment felt true to me. I believed that Hal would be so comfortable with Roy that he’s slip up in battle. And I believe that Hal would try to clean things up like that.

Furthermore I believe that Roy’d have no problem with the name. He got it from Hal and it’s an homage to Ollie. Plus he’s got red hair! It makes sense.

Oh and it’s better than “Arsenal.” What the hell is “Arsenal?” Because he can throw things with precision? Give me a break. “Red Arrow” that’s a name that says something. It’s a nice DCU name. It’s a great name for former sidekick.

No one in the JLA would be able to call him “Arsenal.” Even Donna Troy couldn’t call him that with a straight face, and she went by “Troia.” Only the kids in the Titans or the Outsiders would accept him as “Arsenal.”

Let’s look at it like this; he can’t be “Speedy” anymore, just based on his issues with substance abuse. “Arsenal” wasn’t going to cut it in the JLA, so he needed a new name. I’ve got no problem with “Red Arrow” but you do, so why don’t you suggest something better?

Roy could not make eye contact with the audience as he was so shamed by his name and sartorial sense.

You’ve also got a problem with “Red Arrow” Tim, explain yourself.

First, Arsenal doesn’t bother me at all. It’s not great, but it’s better than Speedy or Red Arrow.

I have a few issues with the name change. One, as I’ve written in my column and others have commented on around the net, this is Roy’s coming out party, his ticket to the big leagues. He’s finally stepping out of Ollie’s shadow and getting his own shot. So how does he celebrate? By further linking himself more to his mentor? That’s just dumb. Especially with adding the costume too. It would be like me graduating from college and immediately changing my name to Jonathan Stevens Jr. and beginning to wear the same cut of suit my dad does. I love my father and I definitely try to make him proud, but I understand that pretending to be him does nothing to help me come into my own.

Two, the why of it. Hal accidentally calls him “Roy” in a fight and covers it up by saying “Red Arrow” instead. Fine. But now Roy has to go by that name? That too is just dumb.

Finally, the Kingdom Come thing. Yes, we all love Kingdom Come. It’s a great story. There is no need for the current DCU to emulate that story though. Honest.

Glen apparently thinks something is broken

How would you fix the Green Arrow series?

Um, by calling it Red Arrow?

By not ending the series?

I’ve got no problem with Green Arrow, and if I didn’t personally know that you and Starman Matt were different people, I’d seriously guess that y’all were the same.

But I really don’t have a problem with Green Arrow. I dig Ollie’s supporting cast. I dig Ollie taking over the city, politically. I really enjoy Brick. I’ve enjoyed Red Hood’s appearance.

Um, so, yeah, the only way Green Arrow could rock more as a title would be if it was named Red Arrow.

Tim, can you think of anything you’d tinker with the title?

Add an adjective? Like instead of just “Green Arrow” it would be “The Great Green Arrow”, “The Grand Green Arrow”, “The Gracious Green Arrow” or “The Gregarious Green Arrow”. Heck, we don’t even need alliteration. We could just call the book: “The Womanizing Cheater who Can’t Keep It in His Pants and Totally Cheated on Black Canary All the Time Green Arrow” (yes, that was for you Starman). I’d buy that title!

Glen is off on a wing and a prayer.

How about the Hawkgirl/man series?

Well since I dropped the book around the time the first OYL arc ended, I don’t know if any of these things have actually be implemented but here are a few things that I’d do to make the book better:

Get Will Pfeifer as a Writer – I’m a fan of Pfeifer and he made Aquaman into a book that I really enjoyed. He’s also revitalized villains on the pages of Catwoman. The guy has a knack for working magic on characters that others don’t want to tackle. Give him this title and watch it soar.

I could get behind this.

Either flesh out St. Roch or abandon it – St. Roch could have been the next Opal, but it ended up being the next Star City; a generic place with no identity outside of its hero. When Robinson and Johns were on the title, St. Roch was on the verge of becoming a unique place in the DCU, but at this point if it doesn’t get developed, Hawkgirl might as well fly off to a more established city in the DCU.

I’d like to see St. Roch not be abandoned, but yes, it does need to evolve into its own place.

Get another artist – Chaykin made me sad. I dig his art, most of the time, but on this book it just brought me down. I think that Darryl Banks would probably be a good fit and I don’t think he’s doing anything right now.

I love Darryl Banks! I don’t think I’ve seen anything from him since Green Lantern and he was excellent on that.

Is Chaykin really still drawing it?

Focus More on the DCU – Not necessarily the actual “U” because I didn’t really dig the Rann/Thanagar stuff, but that first OYL arc really stunk. There was very little in that tale that reeked of a tale set in the DCU. The book needs to be tied to the universe that it’s set in and seem a vital part of it.

Eh…I could either way on this. I fully believe you can write a very good Hawkperson story that happens in the DCU but doesn’t necessarily feel tied to it. Bad stories are bad stories and they rarely have to do with universe interconnectedness.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, and you’ve probably need at least two of these things implemented before I returned to this title.

How would you fix this book Tim?

My fixes are simple:

All New Creative Team– I’m not going to get as specific as Mathan (although, as mentioned, I like his choices) but its clear that the current team is not getting it done.

A Clear Mission– Hawkpeople titles hold a precarious place in the DCU. People always love the characters until they actually get a book and then, “suddenly”, all those fans sort of fade away. Thus, a Hawkperson title needs a clear direction to draw readers in and keep them buying. It has to be a mega arc of sorts. A simple single or few issue arcs type approach that works for a character like Batman cannot and will not work here.

Personality– Hawkgirl is complicated. Use that. Don’t fear it or dumb it down because you’re scared of “losing the audience”. Same with Hawkman. Clearly, this book is never going to be a “big audience” book so you might as well go complicated and give those that would read it something to sink their teeth into and stick with.

Number one way to improve the Hawk_____ comic? More space vagina!

Aaron is looking for a twelve step program

I was reminded of your continual Nightwing displeasure when my local “comic book guy” even asked why I’m still reading it. I’m wondering at what point Math has enough and decides to drop a title. What’s it take for you to turn your back on a title? You seem awfully patient, so I’m wondering if you’re that way with every title or is it just that you’ve invested so much time into Nightwing that you think a turnaround is right around the corner?

Wow, you’re still reading Nightwing? Aaron, I can keep throwing money away on that book; I don’t have a mortgage or a family to feed. But you, Aaron, you’ve got responsibilities. For shame.

When do I know it’s time to drop a book? Well, let’s use Aquaman, Hawkgirl and Nightwing as examples of what I need to keep reading.

I dropped Hawkgirl because it was devoid of development. That first OYL arc was horrible and I didn’t really see any seeds being planted for the future. The story sucked and it didn’t appear to be getting better.

Nightwing on the other hand had an equally horrible opening OYL arc. However, there was a change in writers announced. And even though Wolfman didn’t impress much with his first arc he at least introduced some characters to the supporting cast and reintroduced a character to the DCU. I’ve got faith that Nightwing is headed in the right direction.

Want more reasons why I’m more forgiving for Nightwing? I’m willing to chalk up that first OYL arc as “Well we were going to kill the character but now we’re not so we need rush out a story to keep the book going.” I’ve also been with the book since #1 and I’ve even got the ½ issue. I’m not ready to give up on the book yet.

Aquaman got dropped because a) wasn’t enjoying the book, b) it wasn’t shipping on schedule and c) of that series I’d probably only enjoyed half of the issues. Oh and I didn’t like the direction it was going in.

But just like Nightwing, I’ll stick with The Flash and Green Lantern out of loyalty. Some characters get that pass. Others don’t.

I used to suffer through books, but now that my pull list is pretty vast and I’ve got a stack of unread comics, I just don’t have the time to spend reading books that don’t seem to have a future. Oh and the money, I could be saving money.

Tim, how do you determine which book gets the plug pulled and which ones get the stay of execution?

Obviously, the biggest factor is enjoyment. Am I enjoying the book? If I am, it’s easy to leave it in the pile. If I’m not then we enter the second stage.

First I consider how long I haven’t been enjoying it versus how long I enjoyed it before hand. If I loved the book for two years and it’s the same creative team but the last two issues have been lousy, I’m willing to tough it out for another arc or so. If I’ve been sort of okay with the title for awhile and now it’s tipped into bad, it gets dropped quicker.

Second, I consider the creative team. Has this writer or this artist or the whole team done things prior that I’ve enjoyed? Then I probably give them the doubt at first. Don’t know them or have been disappointed by them in the past? Off I go.

Third is the character. Much like Mathan, if it’s a character I like, I’ll give the title a longer shake than I would for a character I don’t really know or have not particularly liked in the first place.

Those are my general parameters, but there are things to muddy it up. Is the book lousy but ending soon and I have an almost full run? Then, I’ll stick it out for a few more issues. And so on.

At the end of the day, there is no hard fast rule. I find, personally, I give new Vertigo titles more of a chance than new superhero titles that I’m not familiar with. On other hand, superhero titles with familiar characters probably last longer than Vertigo titles (yes, I’m part of the problem). However, characters with multiple titles (like Batman and the Bat family or Superman) get dropped easiest because there is, seemingly, always another title to read.

Snark is getting the wife hooked on his drug of choice

I’ve been getting my soon-to-be-wife into comics so we’ve been reading trades and stuff. We last read Zero Hour, I was wondering who was on the very last page, I didn’t recognize her or her significance.

Ooh, I’m at a disadvantage here because I don’t have the issues in front of me. It’s a dirty little secret but, I don’t have my entire collection with me. I’ve only got about half, definitely everything from the past two years and most of the stuff that I couldn’t part with from the past eight years.

Ooo, that is a dirty secret. Almost as dirty as my secret need to kill…umm…nevermind that part.

The rest of my collection, including Zero Hour is back at my childhood home, in Tucson, Arizona.

Still I did some research and I found a description of the woman in question; sporting a robe like the Time Trapper and with blond hair. That sounds like Glorith to me.

Glorith was a rival of the Time Trapper and eventually replaced him at the end of time and as a thorn in the side of the Legion. She’s got all of his temporal powers and whatnot.

Personally I’d love to see either Glorith or Time Trapper appear again, as they were huge players in two of the Legion eras that I love the most; the conspiracy to avenge Superboy and the 5YG Legion.

Tim, have you been successful in getting the woman in your life to get into comics?

Yes, but it was never a goal of mine. As long as she’s okay with me enjoying them, I’m not particularly concerned with whether or not she’s interested in them.

That said, it’s cool that she enjoys some of the stuff I do. It’s like me embracing running because of her. Except different because my interests cause her no physical harm. Ahh, but I nitpick.

Anyway, Janelle, as mentioned previously I’m sure, is a huge Human Target fan and mourns the loss of that title almost as much as she does the passing of Arrested Development (the TV show, not the musical group). She also enjoys Fables (in trade, just like me. Again, yes, I’m killing the industry) and Runaways. Single issue or storywise, she’s enjoyed Uncle Sam, Daredevil: Man Without Fear, Unknown Soldier, and, oddly enough, Nightwing: Year One which I once gave her by accident. Apparently, the combined powers of Chuck Dixon and Scott McDaniel know no bounds (except those named “Richard Dragon”).

Again though, this was all a happy accident. She asked me once if there were any comics that I thought she might like, I gave her Uncle Sam, she dug it and the situation repeated itself. It’s fun, I’ll admit. However, even if she didn’t like comics, she’s still great and I wouldn’t trade her for anything. I suggest all comic fans apply the same rules to their dating. DON’T PUSH COMICS! Please. Let people that like them, like them. No need to force others.

Snark is looking so young these days

Also, how were some of the JSA de-aged again after their fight with Extant?

This is kind of tricky because I don’t remember anyone actually getting any youth back.

Atom, Dr. Mid-Nite and Hourman died (though the android Hourman later took the place of Rex Tyler in the fight against Extant and scarified his life so that Rex could live.)

Sandman stayed his proper age until the very end. Wildcat has that whole mystical “9 lives” thing going on, which could explain why he’s to spry considering his age.

The Flash has the Speed Force, which keeps him young, and Green Lantern regained his youth because of the Starheart.

But really for the life of me I can’t remember an epic “JSA regains their youth” storyline. However, Tim and I are pitching a mini to DC. The basic plot is that the JSA does to a spa and gets botox. But when one member decides to get a full facelift and the bill arrives it’s JSA member vs JSA member over who foots the cost. And how much do you tip for a spa treatment?

Tim, can you think of anyone in the JSA who could get some work done?

I think Ma Hunkel could be smokin’ hot with a little tuck and lift. SMOKIN’ HOT!!!!!!!!!

This is image really does not have to do with Zero Hour, but it does depict a younger JSA. However, the real treat of it is in the background…

Yup, that’s Wildcat shoving Wonder Woman. Everyone was paring off and pushing their younger counterpart so he figured, what the heck, I’ll take the broad. How do you think that worked out for him?

Snark is still stuck at zero

Last Zero Hour question, which Flash died in the future?

Oh, that’s Wally West right? Wally was the guy who actually caused the JSA to go into battle. Isn’t that how it went? They were avenging him?

But Wally didn’t really die, he just bounced around the time stream and ended up visiting himself as a kid, which took place in The Flash #0.

Wait a minute; a hero visiting himself in the past? Tim, why does that remind me of something?

I seem to remember nightmares about that sort of thing. Recent nightmares. Like, last week nightmares.

Sadly that’s going to do it for this column. Possible questions for next week; best zingers, mad scientists, famous authors, Green Lanterns and even your question, if you send it my way.

You can either email it to me (mathan_e@hotmail.com) or you can post it on our very own thread. You just register and post, it’s painless.

But before I go here’s my question for you this week; can you come up with a better name for Roy Harper than “Red Arrow”?

“Here we go again, you make it hell and then you pull everybody in.”


Join our newsletter

never miss the latest news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary for Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games!