Who's Who in the DCU

Manhunter (Kate Spencer) Headshot Pass up an opportunity to show you a Manhunter picture? Never! But, it is relevant to Who’s Who this week…honest.

Besides Kate, Mr. Terrific gets some bad news, we fail an international quiz, and Black Adam is given much love.

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Tim, new shows are returning! Which programs are you looking forward to the most?

THE OFFICE! 30 ROCK! SCRUBS! LOST! HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER! The rest of my shows either aren’t coming back until next year (Life, for example) or just don’t get me all that excited anymore (I like Bones, I do, but living without it has helped me to realize it just ain’t all that great.)

Links!

Diehard GameFAN

The DVD Lounge

Inside Fights

MachineGunFunk

Moodspins

Radio Exile

Popcorn Junkies

Primetime Pulse

Tailgate Crashers

Our DC Boards are full of speculation about Johns’ on the Legion, The Blackest Night and thoughts on Mary Marvel.

Tim, you linking anything this week?

Probably… this. See how long it takes you to figure it out.

What I Read Last Week

Detective Comics #843 – I like the fleshing out of the Gotham landscape, but that’s also why I like Gotham Underground. I liked seeing Zee again. I also liked the art and the cliffhanger. How is Bruce Wayne going to get out of that?

Was the Ventriloquist revelation supposed to knock my socks off? Because, if that was the goal, the whole thing was a bit of a fail in that department.Overall though, another good Dini Detective issue. Now if only would could get non-crossover Dini Detective issues more often. Yeah, that’d be nice.

JSA Classified #36 – First off I really, really love Ramon Perez’s art. It reminds me of the late and much missed Mike Parobeck. I also liked how the flashbacks were illustrated. I’ve got to say for an arc on Classified, it’s not that bad.

Project Superpowers #2 – I’ve yet to find anything to really get me attached to this book. I’m basically reading because of the names attached and the notion of dusting off forgotten characters for the modern age. That’s right, one of the Watchmen’s less well known influences is that it caused fans to anticipate greatness with every reimagining.

Scalped #16 – I like Sheriff Karnow, as a character and thorn in Dash’s side. I really liked the confrontation between Red Crow and Nitz. And I liked seeing Red Crow explode. But man, I’m guessing this arc isn’t going to have a happy ending.

With Y gone is this Vertigo’s best book? It’s top 3 certainly.

Logan #2 – The art is great as usual. But I’m not sure how I feel about Logan being Forrest Gump.

Nightwing #143 – Kramer needs a regular title to do the art on. He’s way too talented to be used on fill-in work. And is it wrong that I kinda want a Robin/Nightwing team up book? I love the chemistry between those two characters. It’s nothing but pure goodness. Tomasi has yet to hit a bad note with me.

So much fun! I have to point out though that, plot wise, I couldn’t care less about what’s going on in the book. It is all character interactions for me. Still enjoy tons though.

Secret Invasion #1 – Eh, kinda interesting. I was a bit underwhelmed by the reveals, and the Skrull cover did very little for me. Still, I’m pretty interested in finding out about those folks who came out of the ship. Gee, I hope I don’t have to read any other titles to enjoy this mini.

Hey, anything could happen.As a guy more into Marvel than you, I have to say I’m pleased with this first issue. There are lapses of logic, of course, but that’s the nature of large company events, as far as I’m concerned. Taking that into consideration, I don’t have any ill words for it.

Countdown #4 – I don’t care what anyone says; there’s nothing scarier than Darkseid, in his short pants, sitting on your couch. Nothing scarier! Plus we get Jason Todd returning to form. But best of all we get Ra’s al Ghul by Cliff Chiang! It’s a work of art.

Of course! It is Chiang, after all.

Legion of Super-Heroes #40 – Seriously? Was Shooter brought to this title to make it unreadable so when it get cancelled no one mourns it? This is the most boring Legion ever! Losing Waid and Kitson was horrible and getting rid of Bedard & Calero was worse, but putting Shooter on this book is the worst thing ever!

Excellent. Everything is going according to plan.

Action Comics #863 – At least I got one readable Legion tale this week. Great art, plus we got that great teaser! I’m so glad that I’ve got something Legion oriented to look forward to.

Atom #22 – Check please!

Glen’s got an update in response to the recent reader’s response column;

I always enjoy the readers’ response columns. Brings back memories of the old letter columns.I ended up not buying any issues of Countdown.

I’m not getting Trinity either. The whole concept of the Trinity never appealed to me since its introduction a few years ago. I think it’s a logical progression of Grant Morrison’s pantheon of heroes/gods theory of JLA. But Grant was, I think, overstating his case.

I never really bought the duality theory of Batman and Superman of a few years ago where “all the heroes walked the path” of one or the other, either. Off the top of my head, Green Lantern, the Flash, Plastic Man, and Aquaman do not follow either “path”, and on further review I’m sure I could come up with more. The DCU isn’t that simple, and for that we should all be thankful.

The Shade shames us.

Have either of you ever read anything that well known British writers (like Moore or Morrison or even *gag* Millar) have done outside of America like 2000ad stories or the like.

I’m really wracking my brain trying to think of something that I’ve read from abroad and I’m coming up short. I think there might have been something I found that was an import back in the day, but whatever its title was has been lost in my mind.

I’ve always wanted to read Marvelman, but for some reason I can’t seem to track anything featuring the character down (damn you judicial system!) But beyond that I can’t say that anything’s really caught my eye. But I grew up in an era when the major Brit export was Judge Dredd.

Plus I’ve still got stacks of comics that I’m months behind on, like Hellblazer. But maybe one day my reading will venture across the pond.

Tim, have you read anything like that?

I’m a bit embarrassed to say that I really haven’t beyond reprints (like V is Vendetta). Unless Mystery Play is British. In which case, I’ve read that.Wow…this is just so sickeningly typical American of us, isn’t it?

Glen wonders is it is Col-bare or Col-bert

Who is this Catherine Colbert in the last ish of Booster Gold? Where has she been?

Oh Catherine, she with the recently popular surname was actually born into a diplomatic household. Her father was a diplomat and Catherine lead a life where she never had to want for anything.

But then pop disappeared and the Colbert family wasn’t quite as well off. Her mom then became a political activist. Catherine excelled in school and worked her way though college by modeling. However after graduating college she followed in the family footsteps of trying to make the world a better place; she began working at the U.N.

Her hard work paid off when Max Lord noticed her. He made the Paris embassy Chief for the Justice League Europe and was eventually promoted to JLE Chief.

Of course since the JLE fell apart she was pretty much relegated to the status of “forgotten character.” I wouldn’t be surprised if she popped up in Checkmate, Manhunter or possibly a politically charged issue of Wonder Woman. But given the character’s background and that she’s associated with the JLE, it’s not likely she’ll be popping up anywhere, unless it’s as a victim.

Tim, is there a supporting character who’s in limbo that you’d like to see return?

Jason BardJason Bard. Remember when Robinson set him up as Batman’s daytime eyes and ears? Remember how no one’s used him since?“Hardback” Bock. Promoted to zero panel time in any Gotham based comic.

Ron Troupe. Is he still around? I haven’t seen him lately. Anyway, he always seemed like the only guy actually earning his keep at the Daily Planet.

Eddie Fryers. Sure he recently showed up in that Connor Hawke miniseries. And sure, it could be said that he’s basically Chuck Dixon in comic form. But whatever. I liked the guy.

Dhaise dwells on disappointment

All righty Mathan, what villain was the biggest missed opportunity of the 90s? Every couple of years in comic books, we get an influx of new characters (i.e Bane,Doomsday) that are supposed to add to the mythos and beef up a stale rogues gallery. Usually nostalgia takes over and the new guys are unceremoniously discarded as the cycle begins anew. The 90s had a slew of these “new threats” built up, but most of them have not lasted the test of time, or were defanged when new creative teams took over.

What villain do you think was the biggest mistake to ignore/discard/write out?

Honestly a few spring to mind. It’s funny because I really had to think about those villains from that era for a minute. Then I had to do some research to try to figure out who was hyped as a big deal. As usual I’ll give provide a list that culminates with my top pick.

Ultimate Clayface Headshot“Ultimate” Clayface – I liked the formation of the “Mud Pack.” I liked that the original Clayface was a bitter old man who wanted some more glory. But I didn’t like how he became “the ultimate Clayface” and barely appeared after that. Severely disappointed.

Grayven HeadshotAny one of Kyle Rayner’s “Rogues” – I was really, really interested in Effigy. I wanted to see more of Grayven. Even Sonar could have made more of an impact. But nothing every happened with these villains. They held promise and then petered out.

Extant HeadshotMonarch/Extant – I’ll say both of them since they’re the same character. I get why DC tried to avoid Monarch, his origin was a debacle. But DC should have done something other than place him in limbo. And while Extant got a bit more mileage than Monarch, he never really lived up to be the villain he should have been.

Parallax HeadshotBut for me Parallax was the biggest wasted opportunity of the 90’s. Part of it had to do with me loving Hal Jordan and wanting to see more of him. Another part was probably that I actually liked Parallax as a character. But DC really did squander the guy.

I get that it made sense for him to be a thorn in Kyle’s side, but Hal would have made sense popping up in any other DC book too; he was a hero he’d worked with nearly everyone. Parallax was one of those “villains” who wouldn’t have had to be worked into another title. You’ve got to make an excuse for Green Arrow and Joker to cross paths, but Hal could be stopping by to talk to an old friend.

And that’s the other thing about Parallax, he wouldn’t necessarily have had to be a villain, he was kind of “gray” in that regard. At least until Zero Hour.

Cobalt Blue HeadshotAlright Tim, which villain do you think was a wasted opportunity?

Oh, so many.My top few are Prometheus (of course), Replicant, Cobalt Blue, and Neron. There was promise, but… Especially the last three. They never got a moment to shine, really. At least Prometheus got a couple of good issues under his belt.

Juan Francisco Gutiérrez Santiago needs a minority report

Who are currently the most successful African American heroes in the DCU?

Stone King thinks alike and adds a twist

Who’s the best portrayed black character in the DCU? Best woman? Worst for both?

Not to be outdone, Juan Francisco Gutiérrez Santiago thinks alike as well

Who are currently the most successful female heroes in the DCU?

I figured that I’d lump these together and kill three questions with one answer, despite the questions asking different things.

Still they are tricky questions. I mean who is to say which “portrayal” is best and is “success” determined by popularity or achievement? For instance I was a pretty big fan of JMS’s portrayal of Nighthawk in Supreme Power because I thought it was unique and refreshing. By the same token I’ve been critical of Bendis’ portrayal of Luke Cage because I thought it lacked perspective.

But we’re talking about the DCU, so let’s get things started.

In terms of successful Black heroes in the DCU, I’m going to put John Stewart as the most successful one. He’s part of the JLA and he’s one of the most recognizable Black heroes out there. Sure, you’d be hard pressed to find him in a title under the actual “Green Lantern” banner, but he’s certainly an A-lister now.

Next up, I’ll say Black Lightning. He’s also a JLA member and he seems to be a supporting cast member in JSA at this point. He’s got daughters on two different super teams and any day now he’s due to get his own Year One miniseries.

For my third and final shot at successful, I’ll go with Mr. Terrific because he’s used to being third. He’s part of two team books and he’s a go-to guy in terms of brains in the DCU.

Orpheus HeadshotNow in terms of the best-portrayed Black character, that’s a tough one. Honestly, I’ve got to go with the dead guy. Orpheus was probably the best portrayed Black character the DCU ever had. I really can’t think of any other character in the DCU who seemed to have a sense of “the Black community” like Orpheus did.

One of the things that successful Blacks tend to do, whether they’re actors, rappers or even drug dealers, is give back to the community. There’s a sense of community and a link to the community that Orpheus has that doesn’t seem to exist in other Black characters.

In terms of the worst portrayed would have to be Mr. Terrific. Rumor has it that the guy was supposed to be a role model for inner-city youths. But for the life of me I can’t recall the last time I saw him in a down to Earth setting. He should be like Dr. Ben Carson, but he comes off more like Clarence Thomas.

And now on the female side of things…

When it comes to success I don’t see how any woman can top Wonder Woman. She’s an icon. She’s the icon. She’s part of the trilogy. I shouldn’t have to explain why she’s #1.

Oracle HeadshotNext up, I’d have to say is Barbara Gordon. She’s respected by her peers and a valued source of information in the DCU. She’s also a feared threat. And her character was strong enough to survive the destruction of one person and the creation of another.

Lastly I’ll go with Black Canary. She’s nearly iconic. And while it always seems like she’s working in tandem it has more to do with familiar association rather than need.

When we get to best portrayed I’m going to go with Barbara Gordon with a runner up. I say this because, especially when it comes to Dick Grayson, Barbara is a character who’s allowed to be feminine without becoming weak or resorting to cliché. She’s also allowed to be vulnerable without sacrificing anything.

My runner up would be Supergirl but only when Joe Kelly was writing her. After cleaning up Jeph Loeb’s mess, Kelly did some truly great things with Kara Zor-El. He made her a realistic teenager, which is no small feat.

As for worst portrayed, hmmmm. I guess I’ll have to go with Mary Marvel in Countdown. But that’s pretty much a given, right?

Tim, many questions, many answers, what are your thoughts?

Well, my first thought is that, as always, I’m surprised by how down you are Mr. Terrific. Maybe that’s just because I really like him…I don’t know. In any case, I always have figured the lack of scenes involving him in the community as being a casualty of the Justice Society’s overstuffed nature. It’s the reason we rarely see Doctor Mid-Nite’s Portsmouth operations or Sand’s…anything.Manhunter (Kate Spencer) HeadshotHowever, we can both agree on Orpheus. Is there anything War Games didn’t screw up by touching?

As for woman, I agree with Oracle. Definitely, long term, the best female character in the DCU.

However, I can’t believe you forgot Manhunter, Kate Spencer. For shame, Mathan, for shame.

Babos is doing some stalking related research

What comic conventions will Mathan be going to this year?

Have I ever told you how much I hate that Las Vegas doesn’t have a comic convention? I mean I completely get the logic behind it; Vegas is one big distraction so after the first day attendance drops off. But still, for the convention capital of the world to not have a comic con is pretty heartbreaking.

Fortunately I’m moving back East and will in all likelihood be attending the Baltimore Comic Con. It’s the only con that I’ve ever attended, so it’ll be a blast, hanging out with my best friend, talking to pros, digging through long boxes and occasionally mocking someone dressed in an ill-fitting costume.

So, yeah, for the first time in four years I’ve got a convention in my future.

Tim, will you be hitting any cons this year?

Unfortunately, between my upcoming nuptials, my honeymoon, and the money going to both, I don’t have the funds or the time to really do a con this year. Which is too bad, but I’ll make for it next year.

Glen is looking to jumpship

Are you going to continue to get Booster Gold after Johns and Katz leave with the 12th issue?

Probably. I mean you’re talking to the guy who stuck with Aquaman and Hawkgirl for at least six OYL issues. I’ve yet to fully commit to dropping Checkmate when Bruce Jones takes over. I’ve got every issue of Countdown. Clearly, dropping a title isn’t something that I do on a whim, or even at all.

And honestly, while Booster Gold is fun, I don’t think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m not that much of a fan of the title or the creators that I’d drop it if the ingredients get altered. It’s a nice distraction, but it’s nowhere near my first read of the week.

Now if someone like Chuck Austen is announced as the new writer, I’ll consider dropping it. There aren’t too many writers who could cause me to flee a book that I don’t already hate. And I don’t hate Booster Gold.

Tim, how do you feel about Booster’s impending creative change?

The thing with Booster is that I really had no interest in him as a character and, honestly, I kind of continue to have no interest in him. I don’t hate him, but he’s still not someone likely to get me to pick up a comic.No, what sold me on the series was word of mouth. A lot of people whose opinions I trust were saying to give it a shot so I did. And I liked it. So I kept picking it up.

With a new creative team in the saddle though…I don’t know. Much like Mathan, I don’t think it is a off the charts great and the creators (even though I do like Geoff Johns quite a bit) were not strictly the draw. However, I do associate them now with the book defying my expectations and interests so I’m inclined to think I probably won’t stick around. But, anything can happen.

Jag loves Black Adam. For serious.

I LOVE Black Adam. Since Infinite Crisis, 52 and his mini-series, I think Black Adam is just a wonderful anti-hero character. I mean, DC has its anti-heroes but none so complex (that I can think of). Have you guys ever seen a situation where a superhero’s main villain has surpassed him in terms of profile like this?
Black Adam
First off I can think of a few other characters who could be classified as “anti-heroes” who some would consider complex. I know that Black Adam’s old Society chum Deathstroke has his fans who’d say that he’s mighty complex. Myself, I’m a pretty big fan of Jason Todd and it appears that he’s heading back into a morally gray area after Countdown.

But I’d agree with you about the Black Adam’s profile. Part of it is because, as you mentioned, he’s an anti-hero. Most heroes just have plain villains or possibly archenemies. But Black Adam moved beyond that, which gave him the avenue to surpass Captain Marvel.

And while Major Disaster didn’t surpass Hal Jordan in terms of profile, he certainly moved beyond his origins when he joined the JLA.

Tim, can you think of any villains who got bigger than their heroic counterparts?

Wow…that’s a toughie. The problem is that the most high profile villains (Joker, Lex Luthor, Catwoman) are, typically, opposing the most high profile heroes and thus they cannot get bigger. No one is ever going to be bigger, name recognition wise, than Batman and Superman. Perhaps their villains can hope for a tie, but that’s as good as it would get.Oh wait, got one! Darkseid. WAAAAAAAAY bigger than any of his Fourth World counterparts (good or bad, for that matter). Of course, if you categorize him as a Superman villain…well, no dice for him either.

I guess this is a good a time as any to bring the column to a close. But don’t worry, we’ll be back next week with more Q&A material. Next week might see some Legion typos, fatal legacies and thoughts on how Captain Marvel was bungled. Plus your question, if you send a few my way.

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 this week; Which 90’s villain would you like to see return?

“They took turns…one would beat me while the other was drivin’.”

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