Who's Who in the DCU

This week in Who’s Who in the DCU we single out sidekick, good and bad, play catch with Booster Gold’s supporting cast, and debate the merits of John Stewart…MARINE.

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Tim, after watching Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch I’m 100% convinced that we at the Nexus need to put a crew together and get to crabbing. You down?

Absolutely! What better way to exert my masculinity than to risk my life doing something I am entirely unqualified for. It’ll be like Michael Dukakis driving a tank. Or Hillary Clinton drinking a boilermaker. Or Barack Obama bowling.

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Our DC Boards are full of speculation who dies in Final Crisis and people gawking about the cover to DC Universe #0 as well as tons of hate for Titans #1.

Tim, you linking anything this week?

Well, last week I mentioned my upcoming wedding so it only seems fair that I link the wedding website here. It should be noted that this is not me begging for gifts. I mean, yes, if one wished to buy Janelle and I a gift, they could find the links to the registries right there on line. But it is not like I’m asking you to do that. It is a purely coincidental same place, same time sort of thing, I assure you.

What I Read Last Week

Wonder Woman #19– Ok, I liked the art. I liked the fighting. But I didn’t dig the actual story, nor did I like the resolution. I was hoping for something with more impact.

Simon Dark #7 – …and that is why I take as few showers as possible.

Hmmm…interesting.

Titans #1 – I don’t get all of the hate that this issue has received. Obviously this was going to be a “part two” or else everyone would be complaining. I don’t need airtight continuity in regards to Teen Titan membership, nor do I need so see how every fight ends. In fact I’m kinda glad that I was spared pointless fights that I already know the outcome of. I really didn’t hate this issue at all.

Hating this book would’ve required me to have some sort of emotional reaction to it one way or another. I didn’t though because, largely, it was just useless. Nothing about it made me care one iota about looking #2.

Green Arrow & Black Canary #7 – I really appreciated Norton and Faucher art. It make the lack of Chiang that much more tolerable. In fact I’m loving this tandem of artists. Oh and I liked the story too. Why did all of those Judd bashers take the alien bait?

I’m not a Winick hater and I fell for it, so there you go. Maybe the guy is just that convincing.

Booster Gold #8 – Apart from Anthro, this book really wasn’t all that magical for me. In fact, for me this book has kind of been losing steam, I’m almost looking forward for the new creative team.

But…but…WILD DOG?!Okay, fine. It was pretty eh. But I love tragic flash forward stories like this so my tolerance for them is a bit higher.

Green Lantern Corps #23 – Oh my god, this issue is a “part two” yet part one didn’t immediately precede it! I liked seeing the various GL’s get called to work. I really liked everything with Mongul. And I loved having Tomasi, Gleason and Rollins back.

I have to admit…this is a good book. That is something that is consistently surprising to me.

Batman Confidential #16 – I’m so glad that Wrath survived this storyline. And he totally wouldn’t have lost if Nightwing and Batman hadn’t teamed up against him. I mean it was two on one. That’s so clearly cheating.

Not cheating…winning.

Countdown #3 – Yes! Beatty and Mahnke on Amazo!

Way to look on the bright side!

Justice Society of America #14 – Oh Sand, the Cyborg of the JSA. Glad we got a clearer glimpse at who Gog is. And the stuff at the table was pretty good. But the issue didn’t impress me as much as I wanted it to.

I was so excited to see Sand. SO EXCITED! But then…why you got to play me like that DC?

Supergirl #28 – So I picked this title back up because this issue got rave reviews. And I’m sold. I’m back for a spell. I mean you’ve got to support Mitch Shelley, the Resurrection Man!

Wha?!

The Shade has some odd curiousities

After rereading Showcase Presents Booster Gold I was curious did any of the remaining supporting cast members make any appearances after the series was over?

So wait, you read Booster’s Showcase. Then you read it again and you’re still interested in those supporting characters? Wow. Just wow.

The Shade is a man apart.

Well the Dirk Davis, who not only managed Booster’s business affairs, but also turned out to be a Manhunter agent, appeared in Extreme Justice #6. In that issue Booster finally decides to track down his former business manager.

He gets a face to face with Dirk. Booster then “convinces” Dirk to sign his new company over to him. After that happens Booster has Dirk tossed off the property.

Davis also gets referenced in Chase #4. There is a publicity event with the Teen Titans was put together by “Davis P.R.” If it is indeed Dirk Davis behind the event, it explains why Booster Gold appears in that issue.

Trixie Collins is really the only other character who has appeared since the demise of Booster’s first title. She also appeared in the aforementioned issue of Chase. It’s an issue that you should really pick up. In fact you should rush to collect Chase’s entire run.

Truth!

But back to Booster’s supporting cast. Jack Soo went on to star memorably on Barney Miller. I tell you, that Nick was one memorable character.

Wait, that was the wrong Jack Soo. Booster’s Jack Soo was never seen again.

And that about does it for Booster’s supporting cast.

Tim, are there any supporting characters that you’d like to catch up on?

You know Bruce Wayne’s parents? I always wondered what happened to them. I mean, Wayne mentions them all the time, but you never see them in the present day. It is like they disappeared or something. Weird, right?

That’s right, Jag said hooey

I recently read Kingdom Come again and I have to say that the scene with Superman telling Captain Marvel about how he steps in both worlds as a superhero and a human still gives me goose bumps. Anyway, I think of Captain Marvel and how DC has really dropped the ball on the concept of the character. If you look at that Superman/Shazam mini-series (I believe it was called First Thunder or something) and how DC played up the adolescent kid with superpowers angle was great and how the Captain Marvel character SHOULD be played, instead of being relegated to this hooey (that’s right, I said hooey) that’s going on where Captain Marvel Junior is the main player in the Marvel pantheon and Billy Batson is this old guy in a cave.If you look at the trends in the comic industry, you might say that younger fans and mindsets are coming back. Books like Invincible, Runaways, Teen Titans, Blue Beetle, Kick Ass and Robin (I’m sure I’m missing a few here) are doing well because of the introduction of younger characters. Heck, Marvel just wiped out decades of continuity because they wanted Spider-man to be younger! I just think that the old-school idea of Billy Batson as a boy as well as arguably the most powerful superhero in the world is a concept a good writer can really play with and that DC has really missed the boat with. What do you think?

You bring up plenty of good issues in regards to Captain Marvel and his treatment.

(But I do find it kind of funny that you reference First Thunder and Trials of Shazam. both of which were written by Judd Winick.)

First off I don’t know if you can really say that DC is “missing the boat” when it comes to the adolescent craze. I mean Billy had his own title way back in 1995 and that title ended it’s run almost ten years ago. So that’s a ton of experience right there. And that’s not even factoring in his time with the JLA or JSA. Basically I’d find it kind of hard to believe in a naïve Billy Batson at this point in his career.

Billy’s experienced way too much as a hero to make the “boy” angle really work. For every mythical “new reader” who jumps on the book, you’ll have a bitter fanboy posting about the character inconsistencies on the net after an issue comes out. The bad buzz wouldn’t be a good thing.

Now perhaps if the power of Shazam were to get transferred to another youth, I’d say that you had a viable point. And maybe that’s the direction that DC needs to go. I could certainly see something like that being a surprise hit for DC.

But I don’t really have a problem with how things are currently. I like the new status quo. I liked seeing Freddy go through his trials (and I loved the art). I liked the notion that the abilities of the gods have to be earned. And I really liked seeing an actual effect of the much vaulted new rules of magic.

Even if they brought Billy back as Captain Marvel, I suppose that DC could play up his youth if they wanted to. One of the best things that Geoff Johns did with Billy in JSA was his relationship with Stargirl. That was a stroke of genius. So if DC had Billy gravitate toward younger heroes because their shared interests it could be interesting. Especially if you’ve got suspicious heroes like Jay Garrick sticking their nose in his business.

My basic point is that I think it would be difficult for DC to try to capture the magic found in Runaways, Blue Beetle or Invincible with a character as established as Billy Batson.

Tim, do you think that DC is dropping the ball on Captain Marvel?

I’m still a bit stuck on the idea that Kick Ass is something for younger audiences. I just wouldn’t have put it in that category.As far as Captain Marvel goes, of course DC is dropping the ball with him. That, by in large, is what you do with Captain Marvel. If they were getting him right, then I’d be nervous.

Apparently, Glen’s never heard what war is good for.

What’s so wrong with John Stewart being a Marine?

For me, a lot.

I mean I can completely get why, for the John Stewart he wanted to build up for the last few years, Geoff Johns would want someone with nerves of steel and a mind like a steel trap. For as little as he’s been used by Johns, John is always cool as a cucumber. For Sinestro Corps War, you need sharpshooter John.

But part of being a comic writer and doing a retcon means respecting what has gone before. If John had been a Marine, would he unemployed like he was when he made his debut? If John was a Marine, would he have faltered during Cosmic Odyssey?

Sure he would have. His mistake was not borne of a lack of training but rather arrogance. Marines, like any other group of people, can be arrogant. As far as almost committing suicide from the guilt…check the stats on soldiers that kill themselves after they got home. It is disheartening to say the least.

I mean if you draw a straight line between John the Marine and John written by Johns, everything seems kosher. But that straight line complete skips over the growing that John Stewart did when he took over for Hal full-time and when he had his own title with Green Lantern: Mosaic. Those were two periods that really shaped the character, and two periods that appear to have been completely written out of continuity as we’ve not seen a mention of them for years.

Would John Stewart the Marine have endured what happened in Green Lantern Special #1? If John had been in the Marines it completely causes you to rethink every comic you’ve ever read with him in it. Every time he bucks authority you’ve got to wonder if that fits the character of a Marine.

Putting Hal in the military seems like a logical path to take. He was a pilot in the Silver Age, so it makes sense that he’d be flying planes for the government with his tweaked origin. It’s like making Ted Knight a scientist for the government.

But putting John in the military has no basis in anything that’s been established with the character. And not only does it not add anything to the character, it detracts from what’s gone before. It’d be like Black Lightning having two kids. Wait, bad example.

Ha! Take that Black Lightning!

And now we’ve got to figure out why John joined the Marines. He didn’t do it because his father was one, because he had a bad relationship with his father. And if he did it to pay for college then he really wouldn’t have unemployed when he debuted. An engineer with a military background? And the “angry Black male” stereotype that John was when he made his debut probably wouldn’t have wanted anything to do with the US military at all.

I don’t know. A Marine from the Vietnam era (which would’ve been roughly John’s time of service) would have plenty of reason to be mad. Plenty of returning vets were. Add in the fact that he was a Black vet during that period and, movies like Dead Presidents and The Walking Dead are to be believed, he has even more of a reason to be.As for being unemployed, military trained engineer or not, racism could’ve still held him back. Additionally, if he came back angry or riddled by PTSD, as many of his brothers-in-arms did, he might have had a very difficult time holding a job for any period of time.

So John the Marine makes no sense unless you want to completely rewrite the character, in which case you just make him Hal Jordan with a deep tan.

So, that’s my problem with John Stewart being in the Marines.

Tim, how do you feel about John being a Marine?

Actually, despite me raining on your parade a bit there, I actually agree with you in disliking the choice. A retcon of that type had damn well be done for more reason than a whim and there is nothing so far that indicates this was. Nothing about John being a Marine, thus far, adds to him as character. If anything, it detracts from moments like him taking out the Sinestro Corps sniper because it is something he was trained to do years ago, not something he willed himself into as a GL in the moment.So while I do not agree with many of your premises for finding fault with making him a Marine, I still do not care for it as it is change that adds nothing.

Juan Francisco Gutiérrez Santiago wonders which family business is the most deadly

I was remembering Yolanda Montez and wondered, which is the legacy hero/villain/name with the most deaths? I mean, for example, Flash (Barry Allen, Bart Allen), Wildcat (Yolanda Montez), the Manhunters, Chronos, etc…

Wow, what a depressing legacy question. But it’s one I can’t wait to answer.

You probably don’t want to be a Blue Beetle. The first two have died.

Both heroes named Air Wave are dead. So technically that’s 100%.

Firebrand has a 75% fatality rate, as three of the four heroes who’ve gone by that name are dead.

And I’m pulling for it to go to 4-for-4.

Blockbuster is another 100% as both Desmond brothers have passed on.

Four heroes who’ve gone by the name Dr. Fate are dead.

66% of heroes named Dove are dead.

It is actually 66.6666 repeating, if you want to get technical.

Manhunter is a tough one to figure out. If you count clones as separate entities than six who’ve gone by the name Manhunter have died. But if they don’t count than only four have been killed. Not that four isn’t a huge number, but it’s not six.

Three Red Panzer’s have been knocked off.

Four Starmen have died, but then again, is that the right way to count that? I mean did Gavyn technically die and was Will technically a Starman? Deep questions.

Three of the four who’ve tried to be Two-Face have died.

Huh? Perhaps a future column can tell me what the devil you are talking about?

But by my count Vigilante is the one hero that you don’t want to assume the mantle of. Five of the Vigilantes are confirmed dead, with two more possibly dead and a final one still active.

On the villain side, Chillblaine is not a villain you want to associate with. There have been a whopping six Chillblaines.

Tim, did I miss any glaring legacies?

Does Superman count? He died. His Golden Age version died. His clone died. His evil cyborg version’s died several times. If that counts, I think he’s got plenty of people beat.Also, 2 of 4 Robins have died, although one came back and the second seems due to do so any day now.

Glen fails to take “post apocalyptic stress disorder” into effect

Isn’t Wild Dog radically out of character in Booster Gold?

It depends on what you consider out of character. I mean let’s remember that the world in that issue of Booster Gold is a world where Max Lord and his OMAC’s have declared war on heroes. That might be enough to drive anyone grim and gritty.

And let’s not forget that the Wild Dog we remember is a character that’s pre-9/11, pre-Columbine, even pre-Oklahoma City character. Who knows how those events would have affected a down to earth character from the Quad Cities? And that’s not even factoring in DCU events like the death of Superman, Coast City and Qurac.

So let’s not judge an obscure character whose last major appearance was over 19 years ago. Let’s just pretend that the world has changed him.

Tim, clearly Wild Dog should be a candidate for the Revamping, no?

How do you revamp perfection?But for you, Mathan, I shall ponder this.

KyleJordan goes obscurely multicultural

In the Green Lantern plus Ray there was a Japanese heroine who fought Dr. Polaris and turned out to be who Kyle was doing a job for. Whatever happened to her and what was her superhero name as I don’t think it was mentioned in the comic?

I believe the character that you’re asking about is Arashi. She made her first and only appearance in Green Lantern plus Ray.

She’s one of those heroes that we can assume is keeping the rest of the world safe, while the heroes we’re more familiar with spend most of their time in the United States.

You’ve kind of got to applaud Ron Marz for trying to branch out and flesh out the DCU without it being a company wide mandate like Planet DC or something. Sadly, no one every jumped on this tech based hero and she remains an untapped character.

Tim, do you have any favorite one and done characters?

Although it is largely critically reviled, I kind of dug _______ from JLA: Superpowers. I liked how driven he was to help people and how ripped up he was inside when what he thought was doing good turned out so badly. Plus, how can you hate a guy who covers his back with a Superman tattoo? If that man just cut a rap album, I’d be prepared to offer him a NBA contract to play center for a team in a warm weather climate.I also liked Piper from Aztek, but I basically liked everything from Aztek so I don’t know if you can count that.

I’m sure I am forgetting other characters…but I got nothing else.

Juan Francisco Gutiérrez Santiago is screening applicants

Who are the most successful sidekicks and why?

Oh growing pains. Kevin Arnold, Winnie Cooper, Paul Pfeifer and the turbulent 1960’s.

Wait a minute, we’re talking about the sidekicks growing into their own, not one of the greatest shows not on DVD because of stupid music clearances. (ARRGH! No justice!) I don’t know how I got off on that tangent, and so early in the answer too.

Anyway, I’m judging “success” by not only by the strength of the bond between the hero and sidekick but also the ability to step out from the mentor’s shadow.

Thus here are my top ten sidekicks.

Wally West – Clearly Wally is #1. He was the first to assume his mentor’s mantle. He was the first to be embraced as a peer by his mentor’s peer. In fact, it’s safe to say that he’s actually surpassed Barry Allen in regards to being “The Flash.”

I’d concur with this assessment.

Dick Grayson – Dick Grayson went a different route: he became his own hero and he eventually got his mentor’s respect. But he can still do the teamwork thing, even though he’s his own man.

Roy Harper – The fact that Roy, the worst leader in the DCU, ranks so high on this list should tell you how hard it is for a sidekick to succeed. He’s had three names and twice as many costumes, but he’s finally made it to the big time as a member of the JLA, for the time being.

Garth – Poor Tempest. He could have been so cool, but it’s hard to get out from under the shadow of (perceived) lame that is Aquaman. However he totally gets points for knocking up Aquaman’s ex.

Tim Drake – Tim isn’t quite out of his mentor’s shadow, but what he lacks in independence he more than make up for in sidekickiness.

Elliot Caldwell – Ok, so Wrath’s sidekick just finished his debut in Batman Confidential, but what a debut it was. He completely followed in his mentor’s footsteps and almost succeeded where the original failed. Very impressive. I’m expecting big things from this guy in the future.

Sanderson Hawkins – If I’d answered this question a few weeks ago he wouldn’t have made the list because I’d forgotten he existed. But Geoff Johns decided to dust him off, which reminded me that he was alive. He was the Chairman of the JSA for a spell, like that means anything.

Donna Troy – She actually replaced her mentor for a spell. Which puts her just above…

Harley Quinn – Great sidekick. She had her own title for a minute, but her appearance in Countdown really dragged her down.

Stripsey – Adult sidekicks are kinda lame. But paradoxically being the adult sidekick of not one but two teen heroes totally rocks. Go figure.

Tim, who do you think are some great sidekicks?

Hmm…well, it depends. Am I your sidekick since you do the bulk of the writing for this or are you mine since I’m the editor? Whichever way it goes, one of us is an awesome sidekick.I’d also nominate Max Mercury, as Impulse’s sidekick, for recognition in the Sidekick Hall of Excellency.

Does the Ventriloquist count as Scarface’s sidekick? If so, I’d throw him some love, too. Sure, he’s dead now, but prior to that, he served faithfully and never spoke back to the puppet.

Juan Francisco Gutiérrez Santiago pulls a rope-a-dope

And, who are the worst sidekicks and why?

See, I see what you did there. You hit me with the old one, two. Nice combination attack.

For worst, I’m going with worst case scenario. I’m going for selling out, turning bad, lame or even lame hero. These are just the bottom of the barrel.

Jason Todd – He’s got to be the worst. I mean I love the character to death, but when you take justice into your own hands (as Jason did in Batman #424) you’ve crossed a line. And now he’s decapitating criminals and attacking Tim Drake. He’s just the worst, which makes him so great.

Stephanie Brown – Again, I love the character, but the stunt that she pulled with War Games was a foolish one. You don’t need a sidekick like that.

Snapper Carr – Back when he was the JLA’s sidekick, he sold them out to the Joker. Sure he saved their hides in their first get together, but you can’t fall for the charms of a disguised Joker. He’s bad business.

Kid Devil – Blue Devil sucks and until Kid Devil knocks up Blue Devil’s ex, he’s on the “worst” list.

Jimmy Olsen – I never really liked Jimmy before Countdown, but that book made me hate him. Plus this little cape dangler is always getting into trouble and crying for Supes to bail him out. He’s horrible!

Tim, are there some sidekicks that you consider the worst?

I’d nominate proto-sidekick Dodge for the award. He went from overexcited teen trying to be Robin’s understudy to comatose to villain bent on revenge to pawn used by bigger bads to sacrificial hero. In like a month of DC time.

<a href=http://www.thejulianelement.com/http://www.thejulianelement.com/Julian L. Smith

Please explain WarMonarch. Was this a one-time joke or has he ever been seen again in the DCU?

I’m assuming that you’re talking about the Amalgam character War Monarch who was an amalgam of War Machine and Monarch. Right?

Well it’s kind of tough to explain an Amalgam character. Apparently in the Amalgam U, Diana Prince and Jim Rhodes were a couple in the past, who grew apart. She married Trevor Castle, the Punisher, while Rhodey became War Monarch. Like Monarch, War Monarch was a good guy who became bad.

But also like the current Monarch, he wasn’t 100% evil and appeared to do the right thing from time to time.

If you’d like as close as you’ll get to the full story I suggest you track down Bullets & Bracelets #1. I’m sure you’ll find it for cheap.

Tim, did you ever read any of that Amalgam stuff?

I read one or two but I remember thinking at the time, as I do now, that it was just an incredibly stupid idea. I have this argument all the time with one of my friends who insists it could’ve been cool, but no, it never could have been. It was a bad, dumb idea from jumpstreet.

I think that now would probably be a good time to end the column.

Next week we might get into the blurry continuity of the Legion, Asian heroes and the brainiacs of the DCU. And possibly your question, if you send it my way.

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

But before we go, here’s my question to you; Who do you think is being Requiem’d as part of Final Crisis?

“When you walk though the garden, you gotta watch your back.”

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