Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, you’ve lived in New Jersey, what was the reaction to the Sopranos finale like?

A cacophonous uproar of disappointment. I can’t say for sure, but it appears that David Chase personally visited every viewer’s childhood home and punched their mothers in the face. At least, I think that’s what all the outrage was about.


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, where things have been kind of quiet lately.

I’ll take partial blame for that. But with the move New England’s Rising Star all but over and the process of settling into Valhalla (that’s what we’re calling the new place) I’ll be hitting the boards again…HARD! You won’t want to miss it.

What I Read Last Week

Outsiders #48 – I’m equally dreading and anticipating the inclusion of Batman in this book. I love how things are now, but I’m curious what changes Batman will bring. But I really enjoyed this issue. The tension was pretty high and the cliffhanger is very solid.

It was good, not great. I think Winick’s dialogue is the problem here. When did he start to right so…preciously? It is trying so hard to be cute it kills me.

Also, after initially being excited about the idea of Sasha and Nightwing meeting I am now bored to tears with their constant, “Well he [Batman] sure does blah blah blah.” The observations are not astute enough to make me want to read at least one person issue.

Action Comics #850 – Eh, I’m tired of rereading Superman’s origin every fifty issues. I was disappointed that he had powers as a kid and that Lex was in Smallville. And, honestly, that Black Pete Ross has yet to become a reality. But I liked seeing the Legion and that the idea of the Legion that I grew up with will return. I can’t wait for that.

Did Conduit show up at all? Because, you know, he grew up in Smallville. And, he’s awesome. So…I don’t see why he couldn’t show up this issue. And, you know, be awesome all over the place.

Sandman Mystery Theatre #4 – I said I was going to finish this mini this weekend, but I didn’t make it all the way there. This was a good issue with a heartbreaking ending. Those kids are so powerful. Really good issue.

Countdown #47 – Great cover. I liked this issue a ton. The Black Adam stuff was neat, and the Rogues stuff was touching. Of course I liked the stuff with Holly and even the Monitor Meeting was enjoyable.

Did the Holly thing have a purpose at all or was it just a “look at how cohesive our universe is” moment? Because it struck me as the latter and I have no time for that.

By the by, officially done buying this book week to week. I’ll borrow from others and maybe, MAYBE, buy the trades if it gets its act together.

Supergirl #18 – I really liked seeing Dark Angel again. She’s a character that most would like to forget, but I appreciated her inclusion. I’m really curious about the cliffhanger, but I liked the explanation given for the previous issue.

The Spirit #6 – I was really sad to see Blue go. The entire issue was devoted to him and he dies? What’s up with that? The issue was slow at first, but it got stronger at it went on. I liked that the lead was the guest in his own book.

Scalped #6 – I like the way the relationships are shaping up. I’m anxious to see who the other undercover agent is and how far Nitz is willing to take his vendetta.

The Exterminator #18 – Man, really good issue. I’m really hoping that the character introduced in this arc will remain supporting characters. Seeing the glimpse into Stretch’s life was just great. I’m sorry the trip had to end.

Welcome to Tranquility #7 – Gail manages to keep the momentum going. The first arc is over but the ripples continue. The peek behind Emo’s mask was way creepy.

Detective Comics #833 – Great reveal. Great reveal! Dini did some amazing things this issue. Yeah, this issue really knocked my socks off. And again, how did Bianchi, who’s been Marvel Exclusive forever get this far ahead with covers?

I too liked the twist although, in retrospect, I probably should’ve been smarter about it coming. And how nice was it to have that character who’s popped up several places in the last few months used in a way that actually made him interesting.

Nightwing #133 – Speaking of covers Sook’s cover for this issue is fantastic. Sadly the issue is disappointing. This arc has been hyped as a look into Dick’s past. Six panels does not constitute a “look.” Get me away from the boring present and take me back to the past when Wolfman was an inspiring name. Like I said, the only way this arc could be any more disappointing is if he’s using Bruce Jones’ Vigilante.

Wow…that good, huh?

The Shade is feeling you.

Who is Sensor Girl (you just knew that was coming!)

I did indeed; because I’m psychic. You don’t believe me? Well here are some predictions for you;

Aquaman will be cancelled, neither Bloodwynd nor John Stewart will not star in his own monthly comic book in 2008, and Gunfire will join the JLA. And you can take those to the bank!

You know, I actually did take these to the bank and you know what? My local bank teller? Not all that interested. Well, except for the Gunfire thing. She’s way excited about that.

But enough about my psychic prowess, you’ve got a question that needs to be answered.

In the 30th Century on the planet Orando, there lived a King Voxv. Voxv had one heir, his daughter Projecta. Now Orando’s culture was of a mystic and feudal nature. Projecta was trained in those ways and became quite adept at casting illusions.

Eventually Projecta longed for the company of peers which led to her joining the Legion of Super-Heroes. Two other Legionaires that joined alongside Projecta were Karate Kid and Nemesis Kid. Nemesis Kid turned out to be a mole sent to infiltrate the Legion, while Projecta and Karate Kid fell in love.

Really? With a name like “Nemesis Kid” who would’ve guessed?

Wait…I’ve totally said that before. Well, maybe that all was erased by Crisis. Or Zero Hour. Or Infinite Crisis.

Oddly enough, that would make that joke exactly like the Legion.

When Voxv died, Projecta became Queen of Orando. Karate Kid tagged along, because either a) that’s what you do when you’re in love or b) he wasn’t about to pass up the fame that comes with being a royal consort. Regardless they both left the Legion and got married. And as everyone knows when you get married you have to go on a honeymoon, so they did.

While they were on the honeymoon Orando was overcome by a siege from the Legion of Super-Villains, led by Nemesis Kid. Orando was a planet full of wealth and the villains wanted to move it to a different dimension. And then Projecta and Karate Kid returned from their honeymoon.

There was a battle, the villains were beaten (with an assist from the Legion) but Karate Kid died by Nemesis Kid’s hands. Projecta got her revenge by executing Nemesis Kid. But then she went through with transporting Orando to another dimension in an effort to keep it safe.

End of the story, right? Wrong. Back on Orando Project was stripped of her title and banished from Orando. She returned to the Legion looking to find the comfort and support that she needed, but she chose to adopt a new identity so that she could also hide from the pain she was suffering from her recent losses. Thus she adopted the identity of Sensor Girl.

Now for a bit of “behind the scenes” dirt, Sensor Girl was originally created as a sort of safehaven for bringing back Supergirl after her death in the original Crisis. Paul Levitz came up with the idea for a masked blonde Legionnaire and that she’s eventually be revealed as a Supergirl suffering from memory loss. But Jeanette Kahn, who was running DC at the time was steadfast in her belief that Superman be Krypton’s sole survivor, so Sensor Girl’s identity was switched to Projecta.

Oh Tim, remember the days when Kal-el was Krypton’s last son?

God, do I. I miss it so much. So. Damn. Much.

Andrew wants to meet the Rodney Dangerfield of the tights set

Most disrespected Hero and Villain?

That’s a tough question. I mean how do you quantify “most disrespected”? Is it strictly a fanboy thing, or is it a popular opinion type situation? How does one determine who is “disrespected”?

I mean if we’re talking from a fanboy perspective I’d have to say that Aquaman, Gunfire and Superman are all pretty disrespected.

Fanboys tend to think that Superman is a lame and outdated concept who’s past his expiration date. He might be revered because of his cultural impact, but as a character he’s hardly admired.

Gunfire has, sadly, become a punch line for a variety of reasons. He’s very much an example of what was wrong with the 90’s, in terms of concepts that have aged poorly. He’s also a poster boy for those 90’s events that introduced new characters.

Also, like all truly excellent things, he was simply too cool for the time period. The American Comic Scene was not ready for Gunfire. He’s kind of like Kraftwerk in that way. Or Manbreak, anyway.

Of course no one will admit to being a fan of Aquaman. He’s got the stink of lame all over him. Even fanboys will resort to “he can only talk to fishes” as a way of dismissing him.

However if we’re talking popular opinion, it’s clearly Aquaman. Aquaman is considered the biggest joke of the superhero community. He’s known as the guy who talks to fishes. He’s been material for stand up comics for decades and he had a pretty popular series of bumpers during Adult Swim. Aquaman clearly gets no respect at all.

On the villain side, if we’re going by Adult Swim bumpers I’d have to guess that it’d be Brainiac and his never ending desire for long pants.

Personally I think that the most disrespected, and rightfully so, villain is Battle Armor Lex. He was a constant reminder of the nightmarish 80’s. Man that bulky garish armor just gives me the shivers.

Actually I can think of one other criminal that’s equally disrespected and that’s none other than Crazy Quilt. And since I’m sure that everyone could use a primer on the guy here you go;

From the 6/5/03 column
For those of you unfamiliar with Crazy Quilt here is a short run down. This guy, known only as Quilt, was an artist/crime boss who gave instructions to his men through his paintings. As often happens to crime bosses this guy was shot. Fortunately he didn’t die unfortunately he was blind. Desperate to regain his vision he underwent experimental surgery (is there any other kind of surgery in comics? Don’t they have any established surgeries that have been done numerous times, successfully?) Anyhow the surgery was a success, sort of. He could see, but only in vivid, bright colors. Well that sent him over the edge. He took the name Crazy Quilt and began a career of crime. He got locked up and escaped. He got right back into crime again, this time using a helmet to see. But he was no match for Robin who put him back in prison.

Everything was going well Quilt was doing his bid, then right before he was going to be released the prison doctor told him that his condition had worsened and that he would be blind again. Well Crazy wouldn’t hear that so he stole some new fangled technology (in this case a laser) and kidnapped a doctor to fix his peepers. Everything worked out perfectly, and he regained his vision. But then when he was fighting Batman and Robin (Dick Grayson), our favorite boy wonder reflected a laser in Crazy’s eyes, and poof, blindness again.

Well that sent him over a completely different ledge, so he got some guy to make a new helmet that hook up to the optic part of Crazy’s brain, in some wacky attempt to see again. It worked and he sought his revenge against Robin for blinding him. He kicked the snot out of the Jason Todd Robin (guys don’t be so hard on Crazy, he was blind. Even with my contacts in I have a hard time telling the difference between Dick and Jason.) But then Robin defeated him and sent him back to prison. Apparently Crazy’s helmet emitted light that could “bedazzle and befuddle” and had laser that could burn through “a bank vault door.” Nifty.

Now does this guy really fit with the grim and gritty Brucie we all know and love? How this guy survived the Crisis I’ll never know.

Wow, two weeks in a row? I wonder how long I can wedge the guy into the column?

Tim, do you have any thoughts on disrespected heroes and villains?

I’ve got to agree with the Aquaman thing. Poor Orin (or Arthur, whatever) has been the butt of so many jokes for so long, it is a bit of a miracle he can still wake up every morning and catch the shark that stole that nice flounder’s purse.

See, you can’t help but mock the guy.

Villain-wise, I think things are more cyclical. Yesterday’s jokes are today’s Rogues as elevated by Geoff Johns or Calculator as reimagined by Brad Meltzer. Currently my personal pick for villain undeserving of such scorn is Sonar, half metal edition. He’s no great shakes, I’ll grant you, but neither was his predecessor and yet everyone acts like somehow things got worse with the new guy. On that score, I say thee nay!

Killer Moth, by the way, could also be very cool (a anti-Batman who will school villains in how to defeat their heroic counterparts? He’s like DC’s Taskmaster waiting to happen). Instead they turned him into a human sized moth named Charaxes. Great. Now he’s not lame at all, DC. Good job!

That Bootleg Guy sees so much white he thinks he might be snowblind.

During my first run with comics, I found that most minority characters were two-dimensional caricatures. Cyborg was the angry Black teen. Katana was the Asian samurai. And, of course, there was Vibe. I don’t read enough titles to know, but here in 2007; do you think writers are doing a better job of presenting more layered and nuanced minority characters?

Eh, you know it’s a bit better, but I still feel like its lacking. Minority characters are around and they might not be two dimensional stereotypes, but I’d hardly say that their portrayals are full of nuance.

Let’s take a look at some of the minority characters in some of the books that I read.

Outsiders – This book features Katana, Grace and Thunder. I’d hardly call any of them truly developed. The relationship between Grace and Thunder is certainly interesting, if a Judd cliché, but the characters could be shaded lighter without missing a beat.

I think that’s a different question though, whether or not minority characters “read” as minorities. I understand where you are coming from on this, but I don’t think we see eye to eye on it. I think a minority character can be layered and nuanced and still fail the test of “reading” as a minority. Of course, I’d argue that test isn’t really all that valid, but that’s a different discussion to.

All that said, Grace in particular is not well layered. However, she is not a stereotypical minority character. She just lacks depth.

The Atom – This book is actually a pretty good portrayal. I don’t know if Ryan “reads” Chinese, but he certainly reads as someone from another culture.

I know Simone’s gotten a little battered on this one but I’d agree with Mathan. Ryan nicely skates the line of being an other while not degrading into Jerry Lewis-esque slapstick.

Teen Titans – Cyborg is present and is basically wall paper. He sticks to the background and he’s not even angry any more. He’s both ignored and wasted in this book. In fact I doubt he’s got a second dimension.

Yeah, Cyborg has it rough in this book. But, I’d argue, most characters have for some time. Beyond Robin, Wonder Girl, and Kid Devil, when’s the last time anyone was given any depth in a Titans book.

Justice League of America – This squad features Vixen and Black Lightning. It’s early yet (the books not even a year old) but I’ve yet to be disappointed. Meltzer has stayed pretty true to both characters. Granted they’re both established characters so he’s pretty much just got to stay within the lines, but he does a good job of doing that.

When I see them, they seem to be well handled. But their chances in the spotlight are so few and far between, so that’s disappointing.

Justice Society of America – On the other end of the spectrum is Mr. Terrific. You’d think that a guy who’s trying to inspire and even set up a youth center would, I don’t know, actually spend some time in the community? He’s had numerous spotlights but they mostly focus on him being an atheist.

Here’s a character that could have been the like the Superman or Batman to a community and we never see him there. He’s just wasted potential as far as I’m concerned.

Again, I think this is a muddying of the question. Mr. Terrific is a well layered Black character. Now you disagree with how he spends his time given his “origin” which is a perfectly valid critique. However, that speaks more how the character is utilized and less to how well rounded he is.

Of course, I like Terrific a lot so this might be my personal bias showing through. However, I’ve gotta say I think your criticisms here, Mathan, are more to do with your dislike of the direction the character has gone in then how multi faceted and layered the character is allowed to be.

On another note, gay Society member Obsidian has said a line, I think, since this book was launched. That’s not a good sign.

Checkmate – And other thing, part of Mr. Terrific’s character has been that he’s mourning his dead wife, but in this title, where he also stars, he’s shacking up with Sasha? Sasha, a killer who his wife probably wouldn’t approve of, and I’m sure that’s something that he’d take into consideration.

On the Sasha thing, tough as it is, people are allowed to get over the loss of a spouse and move on. I can’t speak to whether or not his wife would be okay with it, but again, I don’t see how that counts for or against him as well rounded minority character.

But there are tons of minorities in this book. They aren’t really three dimensional, in that we don’t know much about them, but they do read like members of a covert government agency.

Blue Beetle – This is another one of my faves. Jamie Reyes and his family and supporting cast feel so real. They remind me of people that I grew up with in Tucson. I really believe that Jamie is Latino kid.

I can’t speak to Jamie as being a representative of the Latino community, but I do think he feels like a real teen (which comics sometimes have a hard time making work) and that he does possess depth.

Green Lantern – I remember there used to be a GL named John Stewart. Sometimes I wonder what happened to him.

No kidding. My choice for most grievous dropping of the ball. This guy goes from being the JLA’s Green Lantern to basically being the only earth GL with nothing to do. Why? I guess because Hal came back.

So there you have it. If you’re lucky enough to star in a solo book and you’re a minority, you’re luck. But if you’re on a team chances are you’re going to be neglected and little more than window dressing.

Tim, any thoughts on minority characters in comics?

Let me just speak to a few random characters that didn’t make your list that I can are worth noting.

Connor Hawke is made up of so many nationalities he’s like the Tiger Wood of the DCU, with blond hair. Sometimes, he gets a fair shake and he’s quite interesting. Other times…not so much.

Renee Montoya/The Question– In the past several years, Montoya has been rocked by tragedy on all sides. Whether they be domestic (her very traditional minded Hispanic family disowning her after she was revealed to be a lesbian), work related (her partner was killed), or superhero related (her mentor, the first Question, died of cancer in her arms), Montoya has lived through damn near everything. She’s come different than how she started and went through some other changes along the way too. I’d say she’s very well rounded.

Renee’s former/current(?) girlfriend Batwoman, on the other hand, is a rich Jewish lesbian who couldn’t hold a thimble full of water she is so shallowly written.

I touched on Obsidian above, but I have to note that he has it much better in Manhunter and in earlier JSA issues. In the JSA he was a wounded mess who became a stereotypical supervillain but taken in the context of his whole life it sort of worked. In Manhunter, he is funny, kind, a good boyfriend, and a good superhero. And he can crack jokes about being “wallpaper” over in the Justice Society book.

Holly Robinson substituted for Selina Kyle as Catwoman during Selina’s pregnancy and first few months of being a mom. Most of that took place during the OYL flip and therefore wasn’t seen but Holly’s been around for awhile before that. She is well written, interesting, and happens to be a lesbian.

Or were we just talking ethnic minorities? In which case, I apologize for this digression.

Andy wonders what it takes to achieve true justice

When it comes to membership of a team like the Justice League, which formula do you think ends up working out better: putting a bunch of well known heroes, a bunch of unknowns, or a mixture of the two? I am sure that this has also been asked: who would be on your ultimate Justice League lineup?

Y’know the last time I read a Justice League book prior to this current one was back in the days of the JLI. I didn’t even sign on for the Morrison era of the team. I’m really just not that into the team, as a concept.

You didn’t read Morrison’s stuff? I…I…it’s like I don’t even know you Mathan.

However in an attempt to answer your question I’ll explain. Y’see I don’t really dig the idea of stacking the team with heavy hitters because it’s difficult to come up with a legitimate threat for them to face. And really how many times can you face Amazo, Darkseid or Despero? Plus you know Starro’s going to make an appearance. It’s just not that magical for me.

Not that the JLI era had unknowns, but Booster, Beetle, Canary, Dr. Light, Captain Atom, Guy, Mister Miracle, J’onn and Batman is hardly going to be anyone’s A-Team. They may have had solo titles, but they were hardly household names.

And that team faced threats that were believable. They didn’t have the greatest teamwork so there was a danger of them actually losing a battle. Plus back then Batman wasn’t all knowing.

The current team has a mixture of top tier heroes (Bats, Wondy, Supes, GL) and lesser known characters (everyone else). And while I dig the current book, it’s still lacking that sense of danger. It’s hard to believe that there’s a threat they can’t best. Plus there’s too much chemistry on the team.

As for my dream JLA line up here it is, off the top of my head.

Black Lightning – I’ll keep the guy. He’s going to be the oldest person on my team. Maybe. I don’t know, he’s the first guy I thought of, so let’s see.

Nightwing – I love him in Outsiders, but I think that it’s time for him to take leadership on the center stage. Plus, if he can bring that Outsider-y chaos to the JLA it’d be great.

Cyborg – I’m going to rescue him from the Teen Titans. It’s time that he graduated to the big time.

Atom – He’s sort of like the rookie for the team. He’s got the powers and that naivety that almost makes him the point of you perspective.

Supergirl – I figured that the team would need a powerhouse. She’s reckless enough to give the team a bit of unpredictability and she’s probably going to be a bit hard to handle as no one else on the team can really take her down. Oh and she’s got a crush on Nightwing.

Dr. Light – I think that she deserves a second shot at the Justice League. Plus I think the team needs someone with a ranged attack who can fly (oh me and my Heroclix logic). Oh and she’s been MIA for quite some time, so having her back in the limelight would be cool.

Vixen – Yeah, I’m going to keep her too. I like what she brings to this team. She’s another former member of the JLA who deserves a better team to be associated with.

Oracle – I really want to try to build a love pentagram where she wants Nightwing, but Cyborg is courting her and Supergirl lusts after Nightwing. Wait, that’s only a square. Anyway I want her on the team.

And that’s my team. I’m guessing that the reason they got together is because Nightwing recruited them to fill the void left by the next time the JLA implodes due to another betrayal.

Tim, I’m really curious about type of JLA you enjoy. And I guess you can give the readers your dream JLA.

Well, as I’ve stated so many times even I’m bored of it, Grant Morrison’s JLA was the first book that made me a Wednesday comic sort of guy. Without it I’m not sure I’d still be paying attention to the DCU, editing this column, or even reading comics at all. Thus, I love me the Big Seven plus a few others approach. I think, despite what Mathan argues, that Morrison nicely balanced the team’s power against their threats without being boring or predictable. But…that’s just me.

What I really like, to be honest, is about a 10-12 member team where all the team members are rarely featured in the same storyline. In other words, sometimes, only six Leaguers are present for whatever threat is being dealt with. I like the flexibility of that approach and that it allows for everyone to get spot lit at some point.

As for my perfect league, it changes all the time so it’s hard for me to nail down any one lineup. Currently, I’d probably go Big Seven plus Cyborg (for more or less the same reasons Mathan gives), Ice (a newly resurrected hero who remembers a wildly different JLA as family trying to find her place again), and Libery Belle (get her away from that codependent relationship she’s in right now and let her shine again on her own).

Others who I think would be interesting include Black Lightning, Red Tornado, Triumph (seriously, it could work), Shining Knight (the current, female version), Big Barda and/or Mister Miracle, and Aztek. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

People you’d never see on my team include Nightwing (I like him, but…I just can’t see him on the JLA. There, I said it.), Supergirl (what is this, the Teen Titans? Plus, she shouldn’t even exist.), and Captain Atom (I got flashes of Extreme Justice when I think of him and I refuse to live life that way.)

Juan Francisco Gutierrez Santiago loves homages

Which, in your opinion, are the best pastiches of Superman? To me, Mr. Majestic has stood out and is an incredibly character who is not soft nor truly violent, but more of a warrior who does not hesitate to use his force and intelligence when is needed, while I have never gotten the deal with Apollo, for example.

It’s funny but I kind of don’t like Superman, so characters that are based on him usually don’t interest me. However, lately I’ve been more interested in them.

Mr. Majestic didn’t do too much for me. I picked up the mini when he came to the DCU, but I’ve not followed him since.

Apollo is sort of interesting, but I can’t say that I’ve read anything that focused solely on him. I do dig him as Midnighter’s life partner. Sadly, much like their DCU counterparts, Apollo gets the shaft. (Hey-oooo!)


My personally favorite is Hyperion. Remember when Squadron Supreme was still being published? I really liked this book but I’ve been waiting for #8 forever. Anyway, Hyperion is such an internal take on Superman, and I really enjoy it. The conflict that is present is so great. I mean if we could get just one Superman book with the complexity of Hyperion I’m sure it’d be a big seller.

One guy that I’ve always wanted to get into was Supreme. Sure it’s associated with Rob Liefeld, but Alan Moore wrote the character. It’s like Alan Moore, on Superman, again. Sort of. I keep seeing the trades and telling myself that I’m going to pick one up, but I never do.

Do you have any favorite skim Supermen, Tim?

There was one in Planetary, right? Wait, no…he got killed right after crash landing. Nevermind that then.

I guess it would have to be Hyperion, Squadron Supreme (1980’s miniseries) edition. Great series and a great character.

I also dug Omni Man, a Superman analogue from Invincible (Invincible’s dad, actually) who turned out to be a bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbad man. Both pre- and post-reveal Omni Man were good stuff.

New addition Hyperion is great too, but he feels way far away from a Superman analogue to me by this point.

Thlayli brings up my favorite super team/family

Could you sum up the background of the Marvel Family? As in, how they are all connected… Captain Marvel, Mary, Billy, Black Adam, Shazam, the bloody tiger… all of ’em, from the beginning to the recent changes and such. Power differences, quick and dirty back-stories for each of them, stuff like that. You willing?

Ok, this should be pretty easy.

Back in the day, like 9000 years ago, Shazam was just a lad. But six forgotten gods decided to make him their champion. Voldar, Lumiun, Arel, Ribalvei, Elbiam and Marsosh gave Shazam a magic word (Vlarem) to say where he’d be bestowed with their powers. He’s the champion for a bit, but then it grows old so he decides to pass the powers on to someone else.

That someone else turned out to be Teth Adam. Teth Adam is given the powers by saying “Shazam.” But Teth Adam got corrupted and Shazam took the powers away and put them in a scarab. That scarab would be used by a descendant of Teth Adam’s, Theo Adam, who you know better as Black Adam.

But before Black Adam, around the 1940’s, Shazam came down off his high horse and went into the mortal world. Sadly he got knocked on his noggin and suffered from a bout of amnesia that lasted 40 years.

Billy Batson’s dad, who had remembered Shazam from his youth, finagled getting Shazam’s memory back. It was a great moment, because Shazam thought that he’d finally found a worthy successor. Sadly Billy’s mom and dad were killed by Theo Adam.

Mary, Billy’s twin was with the Batson’s when they were killed and she was abducted and given to a foster family, where she was raised in a wealthy environment. Meanwhile poor Billy was raised on the streets.

Shazam decides to give Billy access to his powers. And Billy became Captain Marvel. Eventually Billy and Mary reunite (via a Tawky Tawny doll that comes to life, occasionally) and she also gets access to the powers of Captain Marvel. The catch is that they must the share the power. So when they are both using it, they get half of the power.

Theo Adam however realizes that he’s the reincarnation of Teth Adam and says “Shazam” while clutching the scarab that he killed Billy’s parents to get. He’s transformed into Black Adam.

Freddy Freeman was just a happy go lucky kid, fishing with his grandfather, when Captain Nazi crashes their trip after being knocked down by Captain Marvel. Both Freeman’s are injured. Grandpa goes into a coma and Freddy is crippled.

Captain Marvel and Mary decide to share their power with Freddy, which transforms him into Captain Marvel Jr. Grandpa dies.

Wait a sec here! Freddy being crippled and his grandfather dying are collateral damage from a Captain Marvel fight? I thought this guy was happy go-lucky and such? And why didn’t CM3 use that power to beat Cap’s face into a fine paste after that. I mean, jeez, I hate CM3 with the white hot passion of a thousand suns and I still think he got the short end of the stick from Marvel here.

During Day of Vengeance Shazam sacrificed himself to try to stop the Spectre, which forced Billy to take up residence in the Rock of Eternity. Since adopting that it as his home he’s set Freddy on the path to taking up the mantle of Captain Marvel, neglected Mary and changed Black Adam’s magic word.

And that’s pretty much it. Y’know, after writing all of that it strikes me how insular Captain Marvel really is in terms of his origin. He’s got few links to the rest of the DCU and nothing so vital that he couldn’t just be transported to another Earth with serious damage to his origin. But whatever.

Tim, how do you feel about the Marvel Family?

I like Captain Marvel just fine although he rarely gets used well. I’m not thrilled with Mary Marvel because of the reduction of the brand thing but people like her and I don’t really know her all that well so I can deal with her being around. I hate HATE HATE CM3. The reasons should be obvious.

As for that tiger? Well, I’m cool with him. He’s basically a bigger, better dressed Hobbes, right?

Thus we’ve reached the end of another column. But we’ll be back next week, with tales of silverbacks, revamps and subs. And probably your question, so long as you send it my way. You can either email me (mathan_e@hotmail.com) or you can post it on our thread.

Before I go, here’s my question to you; what’s your favorite storyline in Countdown?

“I should’ve stopped you from walking out the door.”