Who's Who in the DCU

Tim, the Fall TV Season is upon is! Are there any shows that you’re really looking forward to, new or old?

I’m sure there are. Unfortunately, my Entertainment Weekly was delivered missing random pages from the fall TV preview so I have no idea what’s on and when!!!!!!! DAMN YOU EW AND US POSTAL SERVICE!!!!!!


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 are full of buzz about Titans East the latest issue of Y and the greatness that is Starman.

What I Read Last Week

The Atom #15 – I love Ladronn’s covers. I enjoyed this issue, though I do kind of wonder why Ryan was pulled into the mess that is Countdown. Fortunately the wackiness has returned.

I realized with this that Countdown has really killed my interest in this title. Here I was, with a book that feature Head-related hilarity and two giant monsters kissing and all I could feel was…eh. I hope this Countdown induced lethargy dissipates soon.

The Exterminators #21 – Eh, I’m just not loving this book like I used to. Things are clearly coming to a head. Perhaps this book ends at #25?

Y the Last Man #58 – Wow. This is how I thought things would end when Yorick finally got back with Beth. I’m glad I was wrong and still got my moment. But seriously, wow.

Countdown #34 – Dug the Rogues. Dug Mary. Even dug Jimmy. But I hated Lex’s bio. Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Outsiders #50 – I’m torn over whether I’m jumping off the book, which probably means I’m not. I dig their place in the DCU, but I’m not completely sold on the team. I’ll pretty much be on this book on an issue by issue basis, but I’m mainly staying for Grace and Thunder.

Infinity Inc #1 – I really enjoyed the issue. In typical Milligan fashion, I’m going to have to reread the issue, but I like his set up. And I’m anxious to see how things progress. But I’m really interested in Tim’s thoughts on the “head doctors” in the issue.

Actually, I was rather pleased with it. I mean, there were only brief sort of therapy related interludes, but they were somewhat accurate which is almost astonishing when it comes to comics. There are little issues (most psychologists don’t wear white lab coats and counsel people in what is obviously a physician’s room, for instance) that I caught, but they more made me chuckle then rage so that is a good measure of my ok-ness with it.

That said, I’m still sort of split on the issue. There are some intriguing ideas, but…nothing pulled me in on an emotional level yet and the ideas were so sweeping that I was unconcerned about the characters. Also, the “villain”…just an awful design.

Metal Men #2 – Rouleau is amazing. This mini is so fun and interesting and engaging. I wish it wasn’t a mini. I really hope that Rouleau gets an ongoing gig soon. This book is literally overflowing with concepts. I hope everyone is reading this title.

This book upped the confusion to the nth degree but I still liked it so it must’ve been doing something right.

Hellblazer #230-232 – I’m playing catch up, but I’m loving Diggle’s run. Diggle makes John approachable. For the first time in a long time, I can almost relate to John. And Manco’s art is flawless as usual.

Wonder Woman & Grace – Boo. With the creative team I expected much more from this issue. But part of it is that it’s an Amazons Attack clean up issue. Boo.

Supergirl #21 – This book needs a stable creative team fast, before I drop it. These filler issues stink. I used to hate this book. Then I grew to love it. Now I don’t love it anymore. I need some stability.

Perhaps one should not look for such things in a Supergirl comic?

Nightwing #136 – This whole “missing year” story has been a bust. And falsely advertised. What’s worse is that Wolfman is playing with characters (Vigilante, JJ) from a title that’s been gone nearly 20 years. No one cares about Adrian and the subplot is boring people to death. Nightwing should have died in IC.

As usual I don’t quite follow the “this writer is no good, the character should’ve died before this” logic that you employ, but I’ll agree that I’m not feeling this story. My solution, though, involves a return of the disco collar costume and a whole lot of exposed Dick Grayson chest. The story doesn’t even matter after that, everyone will just be too enraptured of that sweet man flesh.

Scalped #9 – This is the first of the stand alones that I didn’t completely love. But Guera’s art is still impressive.

Charles H has (grand)mother issues

What’s Granny Goodness’ powers, besides being a huge not nice woman? A surprising, recent last page from a DC comic (no names for spoilers, but I am guessing you know what I am talking about it) seemed to indicate that she could do a lot of stuff that I wouldn’t have expected. Any insight?

In fairness, Granny Goodness usually works in tandem with other Apokoliptian agents of Darkseid. Given that, she’s out of her natural element. That is, she is working sans Female Furies.

And dealing with the Olympian Gods isn’t anything new for the denizens of Apokolips; Darkseid was responsible for the Olympian Gods splitting into the Greek Gods and the Roman Gods, thus dividing their power. So perhaps Darkseid is meddling with them again.

But Granny Goodness has your typical New God power, she’s strong, she’s adept at using that evil Apokoliptian technology.

As for her distorting her appearance it’s probably just a Mother (or Father) Box trick. Orion actual visage is horribly scarred, but he uses his Mother Box to make his appearance more appealing to the eye.

More appealing to the eye? Maybe back to the drawing bored on that.

Tim, does Granny Goodness have the ability to…intrigue you?

Would that she could.

The most intriguing Granny’s ever been to me is when she took over and corrupted the Mother Box in Rock of Ages and turned it into the Grandmother Box. I had no clue exactly what that meant (truthfully, I still don’t) but I knew cool when I saw it.

Before and since…nothing.

Juan Francisco Gutierrez Santiago can’t decide who to be afraid of.

Who is the biggest threat right now for the DCU and why? I mean, there are the Monitors, Monarch, The Anti-Monitor, Darkseid, Granny Goodness… I don’t know who is the immediate threat to the DCU

You mean besides an apathetic fanbase?

Ooooooo, you just got served, DC!

I’m not really worried about the Monitors. I’m not an anomaly in the universe, or at least not a reality-altering anomaly. I’m not supposed to be dead. I’ve got nothing to fear about the Monitors.

Uh-oh…I might though. I got in a car accident when I was in high school and everyone said I should’ve died in it so…

The only thing that I really fear about Darkseid and Granny Goodness is the threat of Genesis 2. That would be scary.

Terrifying, really.

I’m not convinced that Monarch is bad. He doesn’t seem to be trying to take over Earth. He seems more concerned with the Bleed and the reality of the Multiverse to actually worry about the Earth he’s from. He might even turn out to be a good guy. He’s Captain Atom after all.

Exactly. So, Monarch is probably just a jerk. But not a bad guy, per se.

I’d put my money on Anti-Monitor. His plans aren’t really known and we know that the last time he was around he was bad news. Plus he’s from the anti-matter universe which is clearly bad. I mean it’s anti-matter!

Tim, who do you think biggest threat to the DCU is?

Look, all you need to know is that threats are everywhere, you should be afraid of everything and we are fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. Repeat that mantra and everything will be all right.

Glen wonders what’ll happen when Papa comes home

What is your reaction to Jim Shooter taking over Legion?

I’ll admit to being interested. As a fan of the Legion, Jim Shooter is a sort of mythic figure that I’ve heard about, but I’m not familiar with any of his stuff.

But you’ve got to be kind of excited that a guy who was writing the Legion when he was 13 is coming back to the concept. And the fact that he’s sticking with Waid version of the team is pretty cool.

And I dig how he’s kind of without ego about his place in Legion lore. Even though he could probably take DC to court for some of the characters he created as a minor, he’s not interested in that. He’s all about adding to the mythology, without ego. Highly respectable.

But I’m not overjoyed about his return. As I said, I’m not a fan, so I haven’t been waiting for this day to finally pass. I mean, I’m not dropping the book, but I’m not eagerly anticipating it either.

Especially considering how Marv Wolfman, Mike Barr and fellow Legion alum Paul Levitz have faired in their return to writing for DC. Given how those former top talents have left a bad taste in my mouth with their returns, I’m kind of leery DC opening up the crypt and dredging out the corpse of another popular writer from a bygone era.

But I’ll try to be optimistic.

Tim, with Shooter signing on, you’re adding the title to your pull list, right?

Oh Mathan, you are a card.

Josh G. never learned the cardinal rule of comics: Hawkman never makes sense

When I was younger, two of my favorite comic book characters where Hawkman and Hawkgirl/Hawkwoman. I know that they were aliens from Thanagar who wound up on Earth and in the JLA, and I was aware that the Golden Age version was completely different.

I drifted away from comics and came back – and I can’t figure out where the current Hawkman and Hawkgirl came from. They seem to be too young to be the Golden Age version (compared to Wildcat, Alan Scott, golden age Flash, etc.), and they don’t appear to be aliens from Thannagar. Where did they come from? Did the Thanagar ones I grew up on get retconned out of existence? And what happened that they’re on different teams and not a couple? And is this going to be one of those continuity messes that I’m going to regret ever asking?

Which question to tackle first?

How about the last one: this is going to be one of those continuity messes that is so bad, you will regret having asked the question. That’s a certainty.

Perhaps a visual representation is in order?

I guess the best way to tell the confusing tale of Hawkman and his messy continuity is to explain how he got messed up in the first place.

In the pre-Crisis DC Multiverse everything was clear-cut. Golden Age characters were on Earth-2 and Silver agers were on Earth-1. Thus Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkwoman were on Earth-1, while old school Hawkman and Hawkgirl were on Earth-2.

But then the Crisis hit and when it was over there was but a singular DCU. Even that in and of itself didn’t make thing particularly messy or confusing. The original Hawks operated with the JSA and were in limbo the current Hawks were from Thanagar, Everything was pretty kosher.

Then Hawkworld happened.

Y’see DC was having reboot fever. Batman got Year One, Superman got Man of Steel, both of which were set in the past. Wonder Woman’s reboot was set in the present. And unfortunately for the character, so was Hawkman’s. As opposed to setting Hawkman’s new gritty origin “ten years ago”, Hawkworld was set in the present, thus Katar Hol and Shayera Thall weren’t the same Hawkman and Hawkwoman who were associated with the JLA (and later the JLI.)

So DC had to do some retconning and introduced Fel Andar.

Fel Andar was a Thanagarian who was sent to Earth to spy and gather intel for Invasion!. He established himself as “Carter Hall Jr” the son of Carter and Shiera Hall, the original Hawks sent to Thanagar as a child to study their ways. Since they were in limbo, his claim went unchallenged and he was accepted by Earth’s heroes and eventually joined the JLA and JLI, with his wife an Earth woman Sharon Hall.

Thus the Thanagarian Hawks who joined the Justice League were actually a spy and his duped wife.

Eventually the Hawkman and Hawkwoman introduced in Hawkworld came to Earth and became heroes. But before long Katar Hol got very confusing with the introduction with the Hawk Avatar, Hawkgod and the Hawk Spirits. I’ll spare everyone the ugliness.

Needless to say Katar was died.

But Carter Hall returned in a youthful body as is his fate because of an ancient curse. Y’see Carter is actually the reincarnated spirit of Egyptian Prince Khufu Kha-Tarr, a soul which is destined to die tragically, reincarnate and never find peace. Sharing that curse with him is Chay-Ara who was reincarnated as Shiera Saunders.

The current Hawkgirl is Shiera’s grand niece, Kendra Saunders, who attempted suicide and received the soul of Chay-Ara. Here grand uncle and peer of Carter Hall, Speed Saunders trained her to become the next Hawkgirl.

And I think that answers every question that you asked.

Tim, is there anything positive about the Hawks?


Okay. Despite the problems it caused, Hawkworld was a pretty darn good mini. Hawkgirl was a cool character until OYL happened. And…Hawkman sure can swing a mean mace.

Is that enough?

Glen is revisiting past glories

How about Chuck Dixon back on Robin?

How about that? I’m not Dixon’s biggest fan and I’ve never read Robin regularly. But I know that fans of Robin will be excited so that’s a good thing. Plus if anyone can get people pumped about that title again it’ll be Dixon.

I really can’t recall a bad thing said about Dixon’s run on the title, unlike Beecher’s run or Willingham’s run. In fact I think that Dixon’s run is what everyone’s run is measured up against.

And didn’t he leave DC for Crossgen? How’d that work out?

What is this “Crossgen” of which you speak.

That said, this isn’t really a good time for an established writer to be revisiting former glory. As I said earlier, Barr, Levitz and Wolfman didn’t exactly set the world aflame with their returns.

Still, I’m sure that there’s someone who’s excited.

Right Tim?

Yes, but oddly enough that someone isn’t me. I’m surprised you haven’t heard any bad things about Dixon’s run when I have mentioned more than once (and I’d say several times) I think he overstayed his welcome. Much like Waid on Flash, I think it is great that Dixon is returning to a character he defined, but I just wish I could wholeheartedly be excited for it. Instead I’m all sorts of eh because I think the man said all he had to say about Tim the first time around AND ran out of things before he was done.

Hopefully he can prove me wrong though.

Admiral Snackbar mentions the worst film thing ever

Which came first: Nightwing’s costume as it currently appears (blue and black) or the costume he wore in Batman & Robin (black and red)? The movie costume is practically the same, if you lose the cape and the nipples and change the red to blue. In a movie that was so over-the-top in a lot of ways, especially costumes, I always thought that the suit Chris O’Donnel wore was actually pretty cool, but I can’t imagine the folks at DC would willingly change the costume to reflect a movie that was so poorly received. I’m pretty sure the comics had the costume first, but did they see early designs of the movie when they changed it? Sort of like Marvel did with Spider-Man 3? And would Nightwing look cooler with a cape? Or the old disco collar? Or both the cape and collar?

Which came first? Awesome or awful?

Let’s get something established early one; the only costume alteration I want to see on Nightwing is for his plunging neckline to return.

If the collar returns, cool. He can even sport a cape if he wants, but I need that neckline to return.

I can actually remember when the current Nightwing title debuted. It was in 1996. And the final, dreadful chapter of that era of Bat flicks, Batman & Robin was released in 1997.

Now chances are DC might have gotten a peek at some of the preliminary sketches for the flick and decided to incorporate them into Dick’s upcoming ongoing. But I really want to say that Nightwing’s new look was designed by Scott McDaniel. He was the artist on Nightwing back then. However I can’t find anything to substantiate that idea.

On to your proposed fashion tweaks; I’m vehemently anti-cape for Nightwing. The guy’s an acrobat and that cape is just going to get in his way. It’s going to create drag and potentially get tangled in his limbs. He doesn’t need a cape.

I’m also against the return of his old school collar. I didn’t dig it when he donned his vintage suit during IC, so I’m certainly not wanting it to return on a full time basis.

Nightwing looks find just the way he is. He doesn’t need any changes to his costume. Except for that plunging neckline.

How rude of me, Tim, would you make any changes to Nightwing’s costume?

As I alluded to on an earlier question, the disco collar and the plunging neckline will make everything alright.

Kirk is cinematic

Quick one on DC Superhero Movies vs Marvel Superhero movies. If you look at what’s been released in recent years, it appears as if Marvel has a deeper roster of recognizable superheroes. It’s basically Superman and Batman vs Everybody in Marvel (minus Captain America and Thor, but I’m sure they’ll have a movie out soon enough). It got me to thinking about who in the DC is the most recognizable to the general populace. I came up with a Top 10. The list goes:

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Green Arrow

I added Catwoman, Supergirl and Robin to the list because, although they are supporting heroes, they’ve taken on an identity of their own. Anybody under that ten would fall into the “Ghost Rider” territory of somewhat recognizable, but not A-List. So my question to you is who would you say would be the “Next Ten” in the DCU. The ten characters who would be most identifiable to the mainstream populace. One caution – characters like Alfred, Lois Lane can’t be on the list. Neither can villains. Thoughts?

You act as thought that’s a challenge. C’mon, you really posed that as though you were throwing down the gauntlet or something.

Batgirl – C’mon, I’d put her above Green Arrow on your list. In fact I’d probably put my first four above Green Arrow. She’s part of the Bat family and she’s had roles in every Batman cartoon, in the movies and in the TV show. I mean everyone knows Batman & Robin.

Plastic Man – This guy had his own cartoon! And he’s a Golden Age hero. Folks might regard him as “silly” but they know Plas.

Captain Marvel – I’ve been known to my t-shirt sporting Jay Garrick’s logo from time to time. Half of the comments I get on it begin with “Shazam.” I’m polite enough to not correct them.

Hawkman – I’d argue that people would be able to recognize him on his silhouette alone.

Plus those Snickers commercials.

Steel – This guy has his own movie and debuted in the follow up to one of the most sensational comic storylines of all time

Martian Manhunter – He has his own action figure before having your own figure was trendy. He was a centerpiece of the late Justice League cartoon. Plus he’s a bald green half naked chap.

Cyborg – Vic appeared in the old Superfriends cartoon and in the Teen Titans cartoon. Plus he showed up on Smallville.

Beast Boy – He’s green and appeared in the wildly popular Teen Titans cartoon.

Firestorm – He appeared in Superfriends and he had an action figure in the 80’s. He’s also a visually striking character, what with his flaming head and all.

Swamp Thing – He was the star of a movie and had a tv show.

Tim, what do you think of my list? Did I leave anyone off that you’d have put there?

I like it. I think you underestimate Green Arrow’s appeal, what with his recent Smallville appearances and all, but I like it.

My list would include Neil Gaiman’s Sandman (if you include Swamp Thing, you can definitely include Sandman), a character who has proven to draw in a lot of otherwise comic adverse people.

I’d also suggest Superboy but, of course, DC can’t really do that right now. Still, with a TV show (Superboy) and a de facto TV show (Smallville) it is a recognizable property. Hence that lawsuit, I suppose.

If Cyborg makes your list, Mathan, so should Raven for the Teen Titans thing. She doesn’t have that Smallville credit, but I think she’s a much bigger deal on the show than Cyborg is.

Static Shock is another character that DC should have access to that has brand appeal that, sadly, DC probably will not be tapping into any time soon.

And, of course, Gunfire has a huge following that can’t help but translate into boffo bucks.

Admiral Snackbar just won’t let the pain stop

Speaking of Batman & Robin, Bane was in that movie, and it got me thinking: What happened to his trio of Bird, Zombie and Trogg? The last I remember seeing of them was either in the last chapter of Knightfall (Batman #500) where Bane chose not to break them out of jail. Did they ever show up again? Did they break out on their own? Would they still be loyal to Bane? Or out for revenge? Are they even alive any more?

We’ve actually addressed this before, oddly enough.

From the 4/6/05/ column
As for Bane’s henchmen, Bird is missing and kind of presumed dead (but this is comics after all). He was last seen going through Venom withdrawal on the pages of Azrael. Both Zombie and Trogg were also last seen in the same title. Azrael broke all three out of jail to lead him to Bane. Bird was recaptured and Bane later broke him out again to help create a new strain of Venom.

I hope for these guys that a) DC decides to use them soon and b) it’s not another two years before they get mentioned in the column again.

Tim, might Bane’s henchmen be suitable for a Revamping®?

Hell, Trogg is ready for his own title.

Well I guess this is as good a time as any to end the column. But don’t fret; next week we’ll be back with more questions and answers. Maybe we’ll cast some movies or rundown legacy heroes and villains, or possibly we’ll answer your question. Provided you send it in the right direction.

You can either email me your questions or post them on our thread which is always full of lively debate.

Before I go, here’s my question to you: do you think that Black Canary and Green Arrow should be getting married?

“Wait ’til I get my money right.”


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!