Who's Who in the DCU

Starman's SymbolWho’s Who looks back (with some anger) at the 80’s and Kingdom Come. And, with any luck, will manage to insult a whole group of people based on thin evidence from a comic book. It’ll be good times and, if you miss it, you’ll regret it.

Forever.

Seriously.

Ok Tim, now that it’s all over what did you think about the final season of The Wire? Favorite moments? Things you didn’t like? Thoughts on the actual finale?

I don’t necessarily have a favorite moment from the season, but, for me, the portion of the plot that kicks off with the torture-murder of Butchie and ends with Omar Little attempting to buy cigarettes is the standout. From the brutal start to the shockingly simple end, it sold me the whole parcel and didn’t cheat one moment to do it. Bravo to all involved.

As for the finale…that was one hell of a ninety minutes. My only disappointment was Templeton. I know people get away with things all the time, but…I really thought there would be a bit more for him.

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Our DC Boards has thoughts on Final Crisis running behind schedule, defecting creators and Manhunter returning to the shelves?!

Tim, what are you linking this week?

Why, a New York Times article about the Dark Knight, of course.

And if you prefer your news a little less…fluffy, here’s a clip of an FCC employee explaining new restrictions, particularly as they relate to Allison Hannigan. It is nice to see that sometimes even an FCC bureaucrat and I can agree on something.

What I Read Last Week

Raven #1 – I’m astounded; not only do I kind of sort of care about Raven, but Wolfman wrote a story in this decade that I’m not bashing. Wow.

That is impressive. Almost impressive enough to persuade me to go out and buy this book. Almost.

The Exterminators #27 – Interesting issue. I dug the issue of cultural identity and the mystery dude. It was a nice stand alone issue that also progressed things.

Detective Comics #842 – Liked the art. I even kind of dug the story, if only because it referenced the Order of St. Dumas. It was another nice stand alone issue.

I had such a dislike for Resurrection of Ras Al Ghul that I couldn’t even bring myself to look at this book. Was it really worth reading?

The Atom #21 – Wow, what a jarring departure. I’ve got to say that I don’t think Rememder has Ryan’s voice at all. The internal monologue was just off and arduous to read. Things got better when Panda and Head appeared, but this isn’t the book I know and love.

Seconded, sadly.

Black Panther Annual #1 – Usually I don’t have a problem with imaginary tales, but this one just felt to empty. Still, it was good to see Stroman’s art again.

Faker #5 & 6 – Wow, this mini was trippy, sad, creepy and great. Jock needs to do more interiors, not that I don’t enjoy his cover work, but it’s just not enough for me. But yeah, this mini was highly enjoyable.

Teen Titans #3 – Poor Amy Wolfram, bumped from the cover. But I really liked the issue. The art is bowling me over every month. I liked how the Titans got together and beat the mentors. I loved how Batman was cold and distant. This mini is just some fun goodness.

Logan #1 – Yup, it took a Vaughan/Risso collaboration to get me to pick up a Wolverine title. Risso’s art is great as always, but it was weird seeing them with White’s coloring. I wasn’t overly impressed with the issue, but I wasn’t disappointed either.

Congratulations, you’ve now officially bought more Wolverine comics than me.

Scalped #15 – Mr. Brass is no joke. I like the notion of the two cultures dueling for power. I’m really loving how Dash in keeping everything in, but I’m afraid to see what happens when he lets it out.

I think a certain truck can tell you what Dash is like when he lets it out.

As for Brass, it looks like you were right. Scary dude.

Although, in fairness, I can totally see Grandma Guyette doing that too.

The New Frontier Special – Total goodness! The intro by Rip Hunter was just great. The missing chapter was icing on the cake of the original series. The Wonder Woman/Black Canary team up was both refreshing and cute. I wish the current Wonder Woman had that attitude. I only wish that The Legend of John Henry was an actual book. Yeah, this book was great.

Countdown #8 – On the other hand…

…was an incredible book?

Nightwing #142 – First off, I can’t wait to see what Tomasi has in store for #150. Nice to see Dick and Pieter collaborate. And the stuff between Tim and Dick really put a smile on my face. And notice how Tomasi referenced both “The Island of Mister Mayhew” and “The Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul.” Yeah, he’s totally a former editor.

Most improved book of 2008? Well, it is early in the year, but…yeah, I think that’s safe to say.

Green Lantern #28 – I really liked the issue. I liked the inclusion of the Controllers and the introduction of the Red Lanterns. But I kind of expected more Alpha Lantern action in a story called “The Alpha Lanterns.” Oh and I want to say that I’ve never strayed from Sinestro’s side.

I should have seen that recipient of the red ring coming, but I didn’t. And actually, I like that. It was something that was built up to, but still managed to be a surprise.

Shay is concerned about super powered sexual harassment and who can blame him?!

I just saw this on Superdickery.com do you know what issue was this taken from and what was the context, and more importantly what would Wonder Woman or Lois do if they found out?

Superman, Harmless Flirt
The “this” in question.

What a lucky coincidence! I do indeed happen to know which issue that panel is from. It’s from all the way back in 1987. Back when Superman when weekly comics were inconceivable and thrice a month comics were the cool thing to do.

Action Comics #584 was the first issue of that title to come out after Man of Steel. It involved Superman battling the Teen Titans, who were still relatively new. Why would Superman be tussling with those punks? Because he’d swapped bodies with David Gundersen, a disabled scientist.

Duh! Of course!

And that explains why Supes is so bitter and vengeful to Wonder Girl, because all disabled people are bitter, bitter folks.

Umm, Mathan, I’m not sure we should—

In fact I’m pretty sure that Stephen Hawking is constantly cursing and sexually harassing people, but his computer thingee is programmed to convert that stuff into pleasant witty conversation.

Wow…at this point, I would like to let everyone know that the views and opin—

At least that’s the message I got from the issue. I may be misinterpreting it, but ever since that issue I’ve done my best to avoid disabled folks, lest we end up swapping bodies.

Oh, I see now. Sorry. I thought you were being rude. Now I see you were just being sensible.

It’s also the reason why I don’t read X-men or Doom Patrol. All because of Action Comics #584.

I’m not 100% sure how Wonder Woman would respond to how Superman was treating Donna. I mean, at this point I don’t even know if Diana understand how she and Donna are connected. As for Lois’ reaction, as a woman she might be repulsed, but when the issue came out she wasn’t married or even dating Clark, so she couldn’t be offended on those grounds.

Tim, is there a better comic related time killer than Superdickery.com?

Just one. Or one in three parts.

No, I don’t mean the Holy Trinity.

I mean The Nexus’s own comic forums. They’re just great.

soak1313 gets denied! But there’s a consolation prize.

Could you give me some background on Qull from the newest GL issue?

QullWell I can’t give you specific background on Qull, but I can provide some on the Empire of Tears.

Forever ago, back before the Guardians were even “the Guardians” and back when they were still just Oans (but after they were Malthusians), magic freely held sway over some sectors in space. Those sectors were controlled by the Empire of Tears, a group of demons, but not the good kind. They were evil demons.

So anyway the Oans felt that if order were to rule the universe, magic would have to be put in its place. So they went on the offensive. They took out some serious magic brokers and finally they got to the Empire of Tears. That battle took place on Ysmault. It was a crazy battle with casualties on both sides.

When all was over and done with, the Oans were the winners. They imprisoned the demons on Ysmault and made the planet “off limits” to everyone, lest they be tempted by the evil demons. The Oans took the next step and became the Guardians and eventually begat the Green Lantern Corps.

Not that long ago a Green Lantern by the name of Abin Sur broke the rules and ventured to Ysmault in search of a ship from his homeworld which had crashed there. On Ysmault Sur encountered Qull. Qull promised to answer Abin’s questions and asked for nothing in return.

Abin was skeptical. First he asked about the whereabouts of the ship. Qull provided the answer and Abin found the sole survivor. Next Abin asked about his own fate. Qull told him that he would die when his ring failed him. Furthermore Qull stated that Abin’s successor would prove to be an even heroic figure and be dubbed the greatest Green Lantern.

Finally Abin asked about the final battle of the Green Lantern Corps. Qull detailed the final battle: Ranx the Sentient City, Children of the White Lobe, blinx bombs and Sodam Yat were all name checked.

Abin didn’t believe Qull. Still, Abin decided to travel by starship from then on, as a means of preserving his rings energy. And it was the traveling by starship that proved to be his undoing.

You can read the actual story in Green Lantern Corps Annual #2. And surprise: it’s from 1987. You can also find that tale in either of the “Alan Moore writes DCU” trades. I recommend it.

Tim, do you have a favorite Alan Moore tale?

It’s tough to choose because, well, he’s Alan Moore. I guess it would be a toss up between For the Man Who Has Everything, which is a great story that has the Trinity acting in perfect character complimenting ways, possibly Jason Todd’s finest moment, and the excellent throwaway line, “Think clean thoughts, chum” and Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, which is absolutely brutal, devastating, and, yet, oddly hopeful in the end.

For those of you less familiar with Moore, do check out the Onion AV Club’s Primer on comic’s hairiest genius.

UnGajje is in the way back machine

What’s the deal with the purple and yellow wearing Starman? I figure he’s the same guy who also wore blue and red in the same costume design but I still know nothing about him? Is his series worth reading?

The guy you’re talking about is Will Payton. Now in the interest of full disclosure I’ve got to say something: I’m from Tucson, Arizona. Now if you’re from Tucson that means a few things are true; you know the glory that is Eegee’s, you’ll never understand daylight savings time and you have an inherent hatred of all things Phoenix.

So how would Janelle fit into your view of the world. She spent her years between 2 and 13 in Scottsdale and her father now lives in Tempe. Hate or no hate?

Oh and if it influences your decision at all, let it be known that she says if she moved back to Arizona now, Tucson would be the way to go.

Also, Eegee’s is way overrated. Way WAY WAAAAAAAAY!

(That’s for bagging Red Robin, thank you very much).

Anyway, Mathan, give it some thought and get back to me next week about whether or not you hate my fiancée.

It’s a state rivalry thing. Because we have the University of Arizona, we hate Phoenix because of the ASU Scumdevils. It’s even hard to cheer for Arizona Cardinals, much less the Phoenix Suns. As a result, I’m not really a fan of the Will Payton Starman, because he’s from Phoenix.

That said, you’ve really got to credit that book for planting the seeds that eventually became James Robinson’s much superior Starman.

Anyway, Will Payton was just you’re average 25-year old hiker who was hit by a cosmic beam in the Rockies. The paramedics try to bring him back, but he’s dead. Then suddenly he’s not. Will discovers that a) he’s got a beard b) he’s lost a month of his life and c) he’s got super powers and a wicked tan. He goes back home to Phoenix and bonds with his sister over his new abilities.

Starman was cool for the “rookie hero” angle. It also dealt with other issues like being more than human or not quite alive. Plus there was the mystery of where his powers came from.

But the most important aspect of the title was that it introduced David Knight as a character. David Knight, the son of Ted Knight the original Starman made his debut in Starman #26 as a bitter guy who felt cheated out of his legacy by Will. Oh and he was being manipulated by The Mist. The two-part story is easily the best thing about that title.

But again, I’m biased in nearly every regard.

Tim, why are you so curious about that Starman?

Well, at work, recently, some changes have come about that have left with very little time to do my actual job, but plenty of time to read. And because of this, I’ve been grabbing random books off my shelves and devouring them. Recently, that included a Starman trade, Infernal Devices, because I love me both the Bobo story and the end of Good Solomon Grundy.

This coupled with flipping through the fifty cent boxes and coming across a few issues of the Will Payton era Starman title led me to realize that I know nothing about him. So I figured, “who better to ask than Mathan.” And then I thought, “Plus, it gives us content!” So, it was a win-win all along.

Also, check the guy’s hair.

Starman's Sweet Sweet Hair
This was the moment when Superman decided that someday, he would totally steal Starman’s hairstyle, but rock that much harder. Because he was Superman.

You just don’t see mullets that aggressive in my part of the country these days so it made me nostalgic.

Glen D. smells inequity and he doesn’t like it!

Why is the Kingdom Come Superman so much stronger than the one on our world?

I’m sure there are lots of reasons. First off we don’t know if perhaps gravity is weaker on his Earth or maybe the DCU sun shines brighter? When you’re dealing with variables between different Earths in the multiverse the reasons could be anything.

Personally I’m going with the “been on Earth and exposed to yellow radiation longer” theory. You’ve got to think that KC Supes has been around at least 15 years longer than the DCU Supes, so that’s a ton more solar radiation he’s been exposed to.

Lex Luthor says pretty much that in Kingdom Come when he talks about Kryptonite just not having the same sort of pop at that point when it came to the Man of Steel.

Plus when he retired from the hero gig he went back to working in the field, which meant a lack of sleeves and more skin on sun action.

Of course that means that the KC Superman is more like the Man of Steel Superman in that he gets stronger the more sun he gets, as opposed to the DCU Superman who’s been lifting farm machinery since he could walk. That automatically makes the KC Superman better than the DCU Superman.

But wait, I forgot about the pony tail. They both suck.

Tim, which of those two Supermen do you think is better?

The main DCU version. Because if Hollywood’s taught me anything, it is that younger is always better.

For instance:

Lindsay > Michelle
Miley > Madonna
Jessica > Diane
Shia > The Greatest

Alright, that last one is just too silly to believe. Everyone knows Val Kilmer is the best! Otherwise, though, my point is made.

Superman, where are you now? Can’t you see that The Shade is in the land of confusion?

I am completely confused by this whole Gog business. Does the one who has been offing false gods have anything to do with the Kingdom version?

Define “anything to do.” They are both adversaries of Superman. Both survived catastrophic events in Kansas and both have the same sense in fashion.

But there are differences too. The Gog from The Kingdom got his abilities from the Quintessence (Ganthet, Shazam, Highfather, Zeus and the Phantom Stranger), whereas the current Gog is a self made man.

The Gog from The Kingdom is a character named William who survived the Kansas disaster in the timeline and grew up worshiping Superman. Superman burst his bubble, claiming not to be worthy of worship. Will lost it a bit. Then the Quintessence bestowed him a smidge of their combined abilities, which only made his mental state worse.

The current Gog survived the devastation in Kansas caused by the Imperiex probe. He got fixated about saving his parents and focused on time travel and making himself stronger and eventually on killing Superman.

Geoff Johns his currently using Gog in JSA with an emphasis on “The Third World” so perhaps his Gog is getting the retcon treatment. Actually I kind of hope that Gog is getting retconned. I mean it was bad enough that Gog was linked to Hypertime, but then Chuck Austen got his hands on him mucking him up worse. What Gog needs right now is Geoff Johns sturdy hand to guide him to the head of the super villain class.

Tim, do you have a favorite Gog and which is worse; Hypertime or Chuck Austen?

A favorite Gog? Isn’t that a bit like choosing your favorite way to be impaled? “I know the metal spike with hurt, but that wood spear is just bound to leave splinters.”

For lack of options, I’ll choose the first one because of the whole killing Supermen over time and universe angle.

As for the second part of your question, please refer to the Third Principle of Stevens: “Nothing is worse than Hypertime”. If ever you think something is worse than Hypertime (say, Countdown) please refer to the Third Principle.

UnGajje ruins everything

As I was looking for Plastic Man images for last week’s column, I came across clips from a story where Plastic Man fought his son (Oddball?) and Batman showed up to scold. This wasn’t the Batman/Plas story with Batman crouched on a gargoyle played by Plastic Man. I know this because the artist was different and the son was in that white Kingdom costume of his. I also don’t believe that it was the Kingdom story because Batman appeared to be the age he is now, not old, and I remember that story having a completely different plot. So…what’s the deal with this story and where would one find it (as in what issue of what book)?

First off Tim, I want to thank you for spoiling a story for me.

Always happy to help!

Y’see, I usually buy more books than I can read. Thus I inevitably get books that end up in the “read later” pile. Hellblazer is there. Infinity Inc is there. The Vinyl Underground ends up there. The last two years of Jonah Hex is there. And Countdown to Mystery is there.

For some reason I just can’t read a book that has two continuing stories in the same issue. I’ve still not finished the Spectre tale in Tales of the Unexpected (Don’t!) and I completely fell off of Mystery in Space (Eh…you didn’t miss much.. I grew disinterested in Countdown to Adventure (And rightfully so.). And while I haven’t kept reading Countdown to Mystery I have kept buying it because I really did enjoy what I read of both tales.

Which brings me to the answer to your question. I’m guessing the scene that you’re referring to takes place in Countdown to Mystery #3. It’s the back up tale, which involves Plastic Man getting tempted by Eclipso and returning to crime. I can’t tell you exactly why brought about the tussle between Offspring, Batman and Plastic Man, but I can tell you that I flipped though my issue and that scene seems to appear in that issue.

And even though I’ve only read two complete issues of the mini, I’d recommend it. I like the creators involved.

Tim, are there any comics that you put in a “rainy day” pile?

Mostly trades. I still need to read the most recent Fables trade and the last Doom Patrol trade from Morrison’s era. I just finished reading Zen and Violence, the first O’Neill era Question collection. I also have several Brand New Day issues to read (I’m reading them a storyline at a time at a reduced cost) and Essential Moon Knight Vol. 2. But, as mentioned above, the pile has shrunk considerably as of late with my burgeoning reading time.

Jag is looking for the number to superhero DCF

Why has DC been allowing Batman to beat on Robin so much lately? I mean, in the new Teen Titans mini-series, I’m sure it’s because Bats is an alien imposter or something but in All-Star, his punching of Robin and the kid’s bleeding was…uncomfortable to see, to say the least.

Batman Tells it Like it IsYeah, I noticed that myself. I kind of liked how it was handled in Teen Titans Year One it was oddly cool seeing those mentors diss their sidekicks.

But All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder was just brutal. I guess within the context of the comic and that Batman it made sense. Clearly the guy doesn’t know how to deal with people, much less children. So it’s kind of believable that he’d full on hit Robin like that.

Also, studies have shown that the best way to comfort a child grieving the loss of his parents is to beat the snot out of him.

Of course a behind the scenes reasoning might be that DC is so tired of people decrying how Batman treats his dead Robins (Steph’s lack of a costume case in the cave) that if Batman starts mistreating his living Robin that people will start complaining about that and forget all about Steph.

Tim, what do you think is behind all of the Robin getting punked by Batman business?

Revenge, mostly. Think about how much flack poor Bruce catches from his sidekicks. Whether it is Dick getting too big for his britches and taking on a new identity and finding a new family (Titans) or Tim unraveling his secret identity, demanding to be part of the team, and then abandoning Bruce when his dad finds out, or Steph stealing the War Games plans and executing them terribly or Jason Todd coming back from the end and ruining, in essence, a perfectly good Batcave display that Bruce has spent countless dollars on over the years. You’d be pissed too. You’d have to smack a Robin around every now and again.

What’s truly miraculous is that this hasn’t happened more often.

soak1313 digs up Captain Boomerang Sr (metaphorically, of course)

I was flipping through one of the old Flash issues that took place during the Rogue War. It had kind of dead Capt. Boomerang Sr telling Zoom’s wife about who his son’s mother was and that she should never let anyone know about it. He also said something about a brother. Who exactly is the mother again, why would the Rogues kill him over this, and have we seen anything about this brother?

I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard of Junior’s brother. Sadly he’s a character who was killed off not that long ago. Does the name Bart Allen ring a bell?

Y’see when Zoom and Flash were fighting one of the side effects was that it stranded Captain Boomerang Sr in the 30th Century. Disoriented, he was found by Meloni Thawne. Apparently they grew close and had a kid.

Now personally I think that Boomer was overreacting when he said the Rogues would kill if this information got out. I mean, when was the last time the Rogues collectively murdered someone?

Oh, right, Bart Allen. Anyway, the Rogues might not really embrace someone who was related to a thorn in their side. If the Rogues found out that Owen’s brother was Bart, it might make Boomer Jr more of an asset than comrade. And then there’s always that chance that Owen might, y’know, be heroic and get a crush on Supergirl or something.

That’s another thing that really stinks about Geoff Johns’exit from The Flash; that reveal was so rushed and left more than a few dangling questions. How did Digger get back to the past? Is Owen older or younger than Bart (did Digger and Meloni hook up before she was married or after she was a widow?) What’s the reason for Owen returning to the past with his criminal father, who clearly gives abandons the kid? I don’t have my own talk show, but clearly you don’t give custody to the criminal who associates with the “Suicide” Squad. And you certainly don’t give it to the Australian.

Still, given that folks are assuming that Bart made his way from the present to the future during “The Lightning Saga” and Johns is writing a Legion mini, it seems like there’s a good chance he’ll try to atone for his sins and maybe even tie up a few loose ends.

Tim, what’s your take on the whole time traveling Boomerangs/custody/half-siblings thing?

I seem to remember, at the time, thinking it was pretty darn cool. Reading it now though, all laid out like that it seems…well, significantly less so. I wouldn’t say I hate it or anything, but it definitely has lost some esteem in my eyes.

Dhaise is SOOOOO concerned with logic. Kill joy.

How does everybody in the DCU know of Jason Todd’s identity as Robin/The Red Hood without it compromising Batman’s secret id? Duela Dent, Jimmy Olsen and Perry White all know about him.

Ok, I honestly don’t think it’s that big a deal. I mean one of those you mention is dead and the other two are boring so no one will listen to them even if they do speak up.

Now with Duela, she was a Titan at some point, which means she’s probably privy to a lot of the Titan secrets. Jason Todd was also, briefly, a Teen Titan. So if she knew Dick Grayson as Robin and then as Nightwing, she’d probably be aware that there was a new kid in the Robin shortpants. That’s a given.

Plus you just know that when Jason Todd came back, as a bad guy, that spread throughout the hero community. They were all gossiping like “did you hear Jason is back? And he’s bad!” Everyone was walking around eggshells whenever Batman was around, not wanting to say the wrong thing and set him off, yet still whispering behind his back. I’m serious, the capes and tights community gossips more than a sorority house.

As for Perry and Jimmy, they’re both trained journalists. And while they’re not in Scoop Scanlon’s league, they know what that they’re doing. And I say that as someone with a degree in English with a concentration in Journalism. Journalists are pretty sharp.

So when Red Hood appeared with a grudge against Bats they probably figured it was personal. And word got out that Red Hood’s name was Jason Todd and they timed Jason’s death with Robin’s absence and bam; there it is.

I really wouldn’t sweat it; it’s not like anyone reads the Daily Planet.

How do you account for Jason Todd’s public identity Tim?

Oh, I don’t know. Bad writing. Bad editing. Bad choices all around. Does it really serve anyone to point fingers at this point? Can’t we all just admit it was a mistake and go home?

On that note we’ll end things for this week. Next week could see such topics as minority heroes, successful sidekicks or even your question, provided you get your question to me.

Feel free to email me your questions (mathan@insidepulse.com) or post them on our thread

Before I go here’s my question to you What’s your favorite story written by Alan Moore?

“This is a life story, so there’s no climax.”

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