Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, we finally got some rain here in Vegas the past few days. Of course with rain comes humidity, but man was that rain refreshing. How’s the weather in your neck of the woods?

You know not humidity my friend until you attempt to survive a New England summer. Your “dry heat” cannot possibly prepare you for the fierceness with which a humid Connecticut day descends upon you and sticks with wherever you travel.

But, you know, pretty good. The ridiculous heatwave broke almost a week ago now so it has not been as soul crushingly horrendous.


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

Our DCU Boards is full of speculation about the Rogues working with Amanda Waller and the Y the Last Man movie!

Anything to link this week, Tim?

As I a matter of fact I am. At the risk of being a self aggrandizing hype machine, I should mention that I now have a column on Wizard’s website. It is called Corps Curriculum and provides a summary of the goings on of the current Sinestro Corps War arc in Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, and assorted one shots. Any support you can throw me would be much obliged.

So as to balance out my egotism, and because last week’s link was the first link ever to receive e-mailed comments to me about, here’s another trailer, Siege of Betrayal, from the same team. Watch for shirtless running, a terrible “over when the fat lady sings joke”, and the fate of the poor, poor laptop. Also do your best to figure out what the hell it is about. Are they cops? Are they soldiers? Who knows?

Perhaps “awesome” just can’t be defined.

What I Read Last Week

The Spirit #8 – I really enjoyed this issue. This book is consistently refreshing in that the title character a) doesn’t always have what it takes to save the day b) doesn’t always have a happy ending and c) isn’t always the lead of the issue. I really do love this book.

Brave & the Bold #5 – Once again, I’m with Starman Matt on this one; Bats and his pea shooter rock! I liked seeing Brainy being outsmarted and Bats underestimated. But that scene with the Luck Lords in the book of Destiny was creepy.

Countdown #41 – I love Calero’s art in this issue. I liked his stuff in X-Factor, but Major’s coloring in this issue really made Calero’s art look great. Things are heating up for Mary and Jimmy’s costume looks classy. Tim, this book misses you.

Alas, I do not miss it.

Highwaymen #2 – This was a really fun issue. Anyone interested in a good action issue, pick this up. I really felt like I’d been though a summer blockbuster movie after this issue, and it’s only the second issue. I can’t wait for this to be made into a movie.

All Flash #1 – I loved the multiple artists on this issue. It worked with me, plus I’m a fan of their individual work. And before the reveal of what Wally did to Inertia, I thought that being stationary would probably be a good way to punish a speedster, but you’d have to put him in the Flash museum. The only thing I didn’t see was that he’d have to look at Bart. I can’t wait for Inertia’s escape.

I was feeling it, for the most part. Inertia’s fate seemed a bit unlike Wally to me (although understandable I suppose) and Acuna’s art on the last page left me positively cringing. Otherwise, a strong fill-in issue. Before Waid begins his proper 3-4 issue stint.

Catwoman #69 – This issue didn’t blow me away. I liked the stuff with Batman and Helena. I liked the stuff with Selina and Helena. But the crossover stuff still felt forced, even though Pfeifer is the mastermind behind both this issue and the crossover. It wasn’t a bad issue, it just wasn’t the usual greatness I’d come to expect.

I like that it made a whole lot more sense than Amazons Attack has yet, but since I’m not really onboard with that book, this one sort of went in one ear and out the other. No real staying power.

Checkmate #16 – Now this issue completely impressed me. I’ve been a huge critic of the Sasha and Terrific coupling, because of the lack of explanation. But the explanation given this issue completely answered all of my questions and was plausible. It made sense and worked for me. Really good issue, kudos to Rucka.

SEE! I told you! And you were all, “how could Terrific date a woman and still love his deceased wife?” And then, BAM!, The Rucka brought the knowledge. EXACTLY LIKE I SAID! DEAL WITH MY EXCELLENCE!

Justice League of America #11 – Again, I’m with Starman Matt on this; the Vixen as a damsel in distress disturbed me. Actually her panicking kind of disgusted me. As a writer I’ll concede that it’s a great way to reveal the secret. But as a man I had a real issue with a woman being portrayed in that manner. It was well written, but I guess I had a problem with the characterization. The art was good though.

Huh…that didn’t even occur to me. I guess you are right though. I was mentally just chalking it all up to a Roy’s-eye view of the story and thus we don’t see what’s going inside Vixen’s head. However, it does have the effect, intended or not, of reducing her to a plot device, not a character.

Still, all in all, I’d say it is Meltzer’s best effort on that title to date.

The Programme #1 – It took me forever to realize that “Talibstan” was referring to a fictitious Middle Eastern country. But apart from that I really enjoyed the issue. Milligan is fleshing out his world and Smith’s art has really impressed me.

Strong first issue. I’ll be back for the rest.

And damn if Smith hasn’t come a long way.

Julian L. Smith’s eyes are being filled with double vision

After reading 52, I must now ask, is there a Crime Syndicate from the Anti-Matter Universe AND Earth-3?

Well it does appear that way. The Crime Syndicate are firmly established as existing on the Earth in the antimatter universe, yet in 52 #52 we see some characters on Earth-3 who look suspiciously like they could belong to a syndicate of criminals.

This probably goes back to Grant Morrison. Grant Morrison, being the silver age fanboy he is really wanted to play with the Crime Syndicate of his youth. So he came up with the concept of an Earth in the antimatter universe where he could have fun with the concept. Thus we got JLA: Earth-2.

(And I do know that notion of an antimatter Crime Syndicate first appeared in Justice League Quarterly #8, but those were genuine Qwardians complete with bulging eyes. Plus that issue also introduced Norman the Doorman, and no one remembers him either.)

Sigh…Norman…I barely knew him, but he so touched my life.

Anyway, the Crime Syndicate that most of us are familiar with, either from the pages of Superman/Batman, Superman or JLA are those from the Earth in the antimatter universe.

However, it does seem that we’ve got a new Crime Syndicate and perhaps they can coexist in the same universe with our JLA, unlike their antimatter counterparts. Or possibly the characters on Earth-3 aren’t from a universe where “good” and “bad” are reversed, but rather where the heroes took different paths which lead them to villainy,

I honestly don’t know who those folks on Earth-3 are, but I’d have to guess that we’ll find out in one of the myriad of universe spanning books that feature either Booster Gold, the Extremists or Bob the Monitor.

Even when it comes to evil dopplegangers, Aquaman is left out.

Tim, you’re a fan of Morrison’s JLA are you afraid for your precious Crime Syndicate?

Of course I am. This is the only new DCU we are talking about where the multiverse is back and everything can be a construed as an attempt to hurt me!

Or to speak a little less paranoid-y, how scared can I be since Morrison’s Syndicate was already more or less dragged through the mud by that subpar Busiek JLA story. Sure, it could get worse, but not by much.

Babos just ain’t feeling it.

No Impact Earth in the new Multiverse?

It’s funny that you should ask this question. I recently picked up the Impact Comics Who’s Who and refreshed my memory of this universe and its characters. That’s 84 entries on characters that haven’t appeared for over a decade. Man, such bittersweet memories.

The short answer to your question is “no, no Impact Earth in the new Multiverse.”

The Impact characters (The Fly, The Shield, The Web, Jaguar, The Comet and the Black Hood) were all licensed from Archie Comics.

I’ll give you a brief rundown on the history of the line (though for a more detailed history right over here.)

Basically many of the characters, The Shield and Black Hood, have Golden Age origins. MLJ Magazines, who eventually found success with one hugely popular character, who they eventually named their company after, was the home of the character who eventually became the Impact heroes. That character that the company took its name from? Archie.

The MLJ heroes faded from popularity, though they were occasionally trotted out for revamp. ( Check out the all-star talent on the 80’s attempt.)

So when the 90’s rolled around DC was looking to create a line of kid-friendly super-hero comics and they eyed the MLJ heroes. They entered a licensing agreement with Archie and the Impact line was born.

And while those in editorial steering the Impact ship had a clear plan on how to market the books (one example: an emphasis on newsstands), others at DC, at best, didn’t support the line and at worst undercut it.

The Impact line folded in 1993, two years after it began publishing.

Since that time some characters have appeared in Archie comics while others have had their rights restored to their creators.

So while it would be cool, and I’d personally love it, for there to be an Impact Earth among the 52, I doubt that DC believes it would be worth the hassle.

At least we have those Impact issues, right?

Tim, do you have any departed lines or universes that you miss?

I actually kind of miss Impact, now that you mention it. My first comic ever was an issue of Web of Spider-Man (see picture below).

My second however was…


And you know what? It was pretty darn good, even though I knew next to nothing about the characters (Spider-Man had a cartoon, these folks did not). But, by the time I actually collected comics Impact was long gone. So, sadly, I never got a chance to truly involve myself in those heroes’ adventures.

Similarly, Milestone came and went largely without me and I’ve always wondered what I’ve missed there.

The one universe that I read and went away, breaking my heart, though was Gorilla. Sure we got a completion to the Empire miniseries from Mark Waid, but what of Shockrockets? Of Superstar? When will someone pick up their banners and run with them. When Lord, when?!

Ahem…so, yeah, that was disappointing.

The one good thing about the end of Gorilla? The end of Crimson Plague. Man, what was Comic Book Legend George Perez thinking with that?

Julian L Smith is looking for a little diversity in his multiverse.

Back to 52. I didn’t see a Milestone Universe complete with Icon, Static and Hardware. Is this a dead line of characters or are there plans for someone to pick these characters up?

I’ll happily answer your question, but first let’s give an overview for the universe.

Many characters, heroes and villains gained their powers during the Big Bang which was basically a huge gang brawl. The gangs of Dakota, the fictional city where Milestone titles took place, had grown tired of minor fights and wanted to settle things once and for all. In a weird almost Bizarro The Warriors way, the gangs decided to have a huge fight to decide which gang would rule supreme.

As all of the gangs received their monogrammed RVSP’s, the police department also inevitably heard about it. The Mayor decided that this was a chance to prove that she was “tough on crime” so she ok’d a controversial plan; once the gangs arrived at the site of the fight, the police would deploy a tear gas that would disperse the groups before things got out of hand. Not only would the gas break things up, but it contained a radioactive marker that could be used as a later date to identify gang members. But that’s not all it contained. It also had quantum juice, a type of compound with mutagentic properties.

The fight went down and the police deployed the gas. And then things went horribly wrong. Many of the people that the gas was used on (including some cops) were killed instantly. Those who survived were mutated or received powers. Among those who were present at the Big Bang were Static and most of the Blood Syndicate.

Icon is a different story altogether.

Way back in 1839 there was a spaceliner (kind of like a cruise ship but in space) that had some problems and it sort of exploded. But before it exploded life pods escaped the ship. One of those life pods landed on Earth, in the Deep South of the United States.

Now this was an escape pod in every way and fashion. Since it was a “worst case scenario” type of affair, the pod was equipped to alter the inhabitant’s genetic structure to mirror those of the first life form it encountered. Unfortunately for the alien inside the pod it was found by a slave named Miriam. When it opened she saw a beautiful Black baby inside.

Flash forward to the early 1990’s and the alien was still stuck on Earth. While he was waiting for the technology on Earth to catch up so he could repair his pod, he acclimated to being a Black man in the United States. He’d adopted the name of Augustus Freeman IV, though he’d been Augustus Freeman I-III as well (he’d stopped showing age and would periodically assume the identity of his “son.”)

Even though he had abilities, he never really used them outside of the occasional charitable act. In fact he was very much a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” type of guy until Raquel Ervin witnessed him using his powers and persuaded him to become a hero (with her has his sidekick Rocket.) And they had tons of adventures.

And now for Hardware

Curtis Metcalf was a child genius. As a result he benefited from Edwin Alva Sr’s “A Better Chance” program to help minority kids get a better education. Curtis excelled. Alva offered to pay for Curtis’ college in exchange for his coming to work for Alva after college.

Curtis invented tons of things that made Alva tons of money. Everything was kosher until one day Curtis politely asked for some royalty points. Alva promptly put him in his place by saying; “Curtis let us dispense with any misconceptions you may be laboring under. You are not ‘family’. You are an employee. Neither are you ‘Heir apparent’. You are a cog in the machine. My machine. You are not ‘respected’, Curtis. You are merely ‘useful’. You may go now.”

Naturally Curtis wanted to quit, but because of his contract he wouldn’t be allowed to work in his field for any competitor. So he tried to bring Alva down by digging up dirt on the guy. But the more he dug the more he found. He realized that Alva had his hands in plenty of criminal enterprises. When he tried to expose Alva he found that Alva was beyond the law.

Thus Curtis decided to adopt the identity of Hardware to thwart Alva’s criminal activities. He uses a suit that’s filled with high tech devices. He’s sort of a midpoint between Batman and Iron Man.

Static is about a good kid who ended up at the Big Bang for the wrong reasons and gained electromagnetic powers. He had to balance his heroic identity with high school and family life.

Blood Syndicate is about a group of bang babies who banded together as a gang, but a heroic gang.

Those were the core Milestone titles.

Only two Milestone trades were released one for the first eight issues of Icon and one which featured the first four issues of Static. Some of the talent who worked on Milestone books were Humberto Ramos, John Paul Leon, Kurt Busiek, ChrisCross, J.H. Williams III, Shawn Martinborough, and future Nightwing artist Jamal Igle.

I’d really honestly recommend all of the core titles. It’s not like you won’t find them for cheap at comic cons or at your local comic shop. My personal faves were Static and Blood Syndicate. I really dug the diverse characters that those books showcased. Icon was also had some great moments.

Sadly, this is pretty much a dead line of books. While DC owns the Trademarks, Milestone Media owns the Copyrights. And DC doesn’t seem to be interested reviving the line in any way shape or form, despite the chance for a resurgence of popularity following the success of the Static Shock cartoon.

Plus since I’m pretty sure that Milestone Media doesn’t exist anymore, I’d imagine that DC would have to track down those involved and get them to sign off before moving ahead with any project planned. Of course an alternative would be to purchase the characters flat out, but that’s equally not likely to happen.

But we can still hope, right?

Tim, do you think the Milestone characters will ever see print again?

I hope so, because clearly Static proved there is money and fans to be had there. But it is not going to happen unless fans get real loud or fans eventually take over (as in people like Didio and Johns leading to the return of A-Number 1 Green Lantern Hal Jordan).

R. Hardin questions are legion…and Legion related.

Some questions about the recently concluded Justice League/Justice Society Crossover So, umm, what exactly was resolved at the end of the JLA/JSA(+LOSH) crossover?

Who is in the lightning rod?

Where does this version of the Legion come from? I admit, this is my favorite incarnation of the Legion, as it is the one I grew up with (“or is it?” I suddenly think as I type this).

Could it be that this legion, or maybe even the Legion that is currently starring with Supergirl in their own book, is the Earth-1, or Earth-2 Legion? As far as I know, none of the other pre-Crisis parallel Earths had a Legion.

Tons of questions! And they’re about the Legion! Tim, you must be so excited!

Why…yes, yes I am. I could not be more…

Oh hell…I can’t do it. No, I’m not excited at all.

What was resolved at the end of the arc? Well two things. Firstly the Legion retrieved whomever they came back to the past to get. For us, it’s not that big a deal, but that’s the whole point of the arc.

But the secondary effect was the return of Wally West. (Just typing that made me think of how neat it would have been if Bart had gone up against the Reverse Flash. But when all was said and done it was actually Wally who was time fried into believing he was the Reverse Flash. Y’know as a twist on “The Return of Barry Allen.” You could even have a scene where the Reverse Flash beats the snot out Zoom so it appears that he’s taking his name back. But enough digression.)

That secondary effect has more impact on us, because it actually affects the present. I know I was pumped.

We don’t yet know who was in the lightning rod. I’m guessing it’s Bart, since he’d only just died. It would make sense that you’d want to get his essence while it was still fresh. Plus with Bart’s ties to the 31st Century it would make sense that they wanted him back.

That said, it may be a character that no one is thinking of, like Duela Dent. She’s recently deceased, right? Maybe it’s her?

This Legion, like most Legions, came from the future. If you’re looking for a Legion, the future is the first place to look.

Oh wait, you probably meant “which future.”

Well this is a really tough question. I mean we’ve got to believe that the Legion that’s starring in their own book and the Legion that showed up in the recent JLA/JSA crossover are mutually exclusive Legions.

Now for the sake of keeping things clear here are the terms I’m using and what they mean;

Lightning Saga Legion – The Legion that showed up the JSA/JLA crossover.

Current Legion – The Legion that appears in its own monthly title.

Legion-1 – The Legion of Earth-1, where the DCU we know and love takes place.

Legion-2 – The Legion of another Earth, possibly Earth-2 maybe Earth-45.

(It should be noted here that Mathan’s terminology is now outdated. Because, of course, the DCU we know and love now occurs on New Earth, not Earth-1.)

Now there seems to be plenty of evidence that would point to the Current Legion being the Legion-1. I mean, the book does feature Supergirl, an Earth-1 hero. Plus the current Legion even predates Infinite Crisis. All of this evidence seems to make a case that the Current Legion is the Legion-1.

Plus the Lightning Saga Legion didn’t appear until after 52 which was when the Multiverse was reborn, so that can’t be a coincidence, can it?

That said, I think that the Current Legion is Legion-2 and the Lighting Saga Legion is Legion-1. I mean the Lightning Saga Legion is familiar with Superman and vice versa. Plus Supergirl’s presence with the Current Legion can be explained by the disturbance that sent her to the future also opened up a dimensional rift. I mean if we’re talking about piercing the time barrier is piercing the dimensional barrier that much more of a stretch?

And when you factor in that the Current Legion doesn’t really have any ties to the 21st Century like the Lighting Saga Legion does it makes sense. Oh and the Lightning Saga Legion is due to show up in an upcoming issue of Action Comics.

Regardless, I’m going to support both Legions. I do hope that the 5YG Legion gets their own Earth.

Sure, why not! We only have 52 of them, but why not fill up 4, 5, 6 of ‘em with now defunct versions of the Legion!

Um, and you’re correct no other Pre-Crisis Earth had a Legion in the future.

Tim, with all of these Legions hovering out there in the future, aren’t you going to support one?

The one that doesn’t require me to buy a book starring them? They get my support.

Julian L. Smith is anti-crazy!

Anti-Monitor was seen in the (so freakin’) excellent Sinestro Corps Special #1 (read now!). Does he serve as the mastermind or ‘financer’ behind the whole fear v. will war? Pre-Crisis there was ONE Anti-Monitor and one Monitor. Now we have 52 Monitors and this guy. Are there 51 other AMs we have not seen…along with 51 other anti-matter universes?

Oy. I guess I’ll go with the easy answer first.

I can’t really see the Anti Monitor being an active participant in the whole Sinestro War. He’s probably just a general who sends the troops into battle. Unless the war spills into Qward I don’t think he’s going to have to get his hands dirty. I think his presence is just a hint at how large things loom in the future and how important this storyline is for the entire DCU.

Now onto the number of Anti-Monitors that exist, I’m pretty sure that in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths there was something along the lines of “because there was a Monitor, there had to be an Anti-Monitor.” So using that logic there probably should be 51 other Anti-Monitors.

However the original Monitor and Anti-Monitor were opposite numbers. The Monitor was born on Oa’s moon, at the center of the universe, while Anti-Monitor was born on Qward’s moon. Their origins were linked.

But we don’t really know how the current Monitors came about. Maybe they were cloned from an original Monitor who realized that with 52 universes to patrol it was just too much monitoring for one Monitor to monitor.

However more likely than not, I’m guessing that each universe has its own Monitor. And naturally the Anti-Matter Universe would have an Anti-Monitor.

At least that’s my theory.

Tim, how many Anti-Monitors do you think there are?

Well, since I hate the Monitors and the Anti-Monitor has not worn out his welcome with me yet, I am praying, for his sake of course, that he’s the only one.

I know he’s like the scariest dude in the galaxy but, for some reason,, Anti-Monitor is the complete opposite of intimidating to me in this picture.

R. Hardin sees multiple dollars when he sees multiple earths

What is the viability of an ongoing title that covers the “megaverse,” “new multiverse,” “52 parallel Earths” (or whatever)? How would you structure such a title?

Hm, the viability of such a title you say?

Well I guess it would all depend on the allure of the main character. Because while I would probably love a book that explores the brand new boundaries of the Multiverse, I doubt that most readers would if it didn’t really feature a likable character or cast.

I think that book could probably be a success provided it was deeper than the gimmick.

If you wanted to go the gimmick route I’d structure the book with rotating creative teams. For example, Grant Morrison supposedly has the Earth where Nazi’s won WWII completely fleshed out, so he’d write the arc where the lead ended up on that Earth. And maybe you’d get Roy Thomas to write the Earth-2 arc.

(One thing, before I get too far, I’ve never read an issue of Exiles, I just know the premise, so forgive me if I mirror any of things that actually happened in that title, I’m just thinking of a book that I think would be cool.)

As far as how I’d set the book in terms of premise I’ve got a few ideas in mind. The one that I like the most, at this very moment, involves character who find out they aren’t supposed to be on Earth-1.

(Or, you know, New Earth.)

For instance suppose Bloodwynd, Vera Black and Triumph all find out that they’re not supposed to be on Earth-1? And that their continued presence there puts the entire universe at risk (kind of like how things were when Walter West was the Flash). So now they’ve got to find their way to their respective homes.

Maybe they get help from Monarch or maybe they’ve got to get in contact with the Monitor of a given universe to move to the next one, I don’t have all of the specifics worked out. But basically they travel from Earth to Earth trying to find the one they belong on.

Oh, and not only can they not really linger on an Earth that they don’t belong on, because of the catastrophic results, but their powers vary in strength from Earth to Earth. So what if Bloodwynd finds the Earth that he belongs on, but he’s powerless there?

Naturally they’d pick up other lost souls along the way, but for every person that joins them that’d make their stay on the “wrong” Earth that much shorter, because an extra person means extra stress on the natural order.

Equally natural, one of the folks who wants to join when they’re reached their team limit, goes to an Earth where he’s uber powerful and becomes a tyrant that they’ve got put down.

I had another idea, but I lost it. I think it was a solo dude who was looking for something. Never mind, it obviously had no legs.

How would you structure a book that explores the brand new Multiverse (of which I know you’re a huge fan), Tim?

I really like your idea, Mathan. It is Exiles-esque, but still unique.

That said, I think DC already has their book for this. It is called Booster Gold and will feature him jumping through times and worlds on errands for Rip Hunter.

Me, I’m still not convinced that Countdown isn’t counting down to a Crisis that collapses the multiverse into one once again. But, I could be deluding myself.

Julian L. Smith puts out one of the many flaws of the multiple earth arrangement

Back to 52. Earth-5 still maintains the classic Shazam Family, but historically, I thought the Rock of Eternity was the focal point of the Shazam-stuff, hence why Earth 1 never had a Captain Marvel pre-Crisis.

Eh, let’s pretend it’s just a magical thing. Let’s say that on Earth-5 the Wizard Shazam never tussled with the Spectre and is still alive and well. And that it’s home to a more “traditional” Marvel Family than this one is.

Oh and I’m also guessing that on Earth-5 the Fawcett Heroes are the major heroes there, with no Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman.

Tim, can we agree on that?

That would be my assumption. I figure if we can have multiple Earths, why can’t we have multiple Rocks of Eternity?

Y’know all this universe hopping has me a bit tuckered out. I think we’ve got to call it a column.

But don’t worry, next week we’ll have new questions and answer a plenty, possibly including the best books from a 15 month span at the end of the last millennium, and some creator questions such as bad runs, overstaying their welcome and who I wouldn’t read with James Spader’s eyes.

And of course you may even get your question answered, so long as you send one (or a few) my way. All you have to do is drop me an email or post it on our thread!

But before I go I’ve got to ask you guys a question; does the plethora of universes make you optimistic or pessimistic?

“Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind.”