Who's Who in the DCU

Superman gets a biography! Shilo Norman gets a once over! The Witch Queen is discussed!

WHO’S WHO!

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Tim, are there any summer flicks that have piqued your interest?

Plenty! Some of them are: Iron Man (which was good enough that I’m still excited to see it), Red Belt, The Fall, The Incredible Hulk, The Happening, Wall-E, Trumbo, The X-Files: I Want to Believe, Hancock, The Dark Knight, Hellboy II, Boy A, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder (God help me, it is true), Hamlet 2, The Bunny House, Choke, Swing Vote, and Bangkok Dangerous (Nic Cage can do no wrong. He is practically Val Kilmer he’s so great). Also, I hear there’s a New Indiana Jones movie, so maybe I’ll catch that at a matinee. If I find the time.

Did I mention that I’m a big movie fan?

Links

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Our DC Boards are full of talk about Final Crisis spoilers and New York Con news!

Tim, are you linking anything this week?

I am. And for two weeks in a row, I am being self-aggrandizing about the whole thing. On the sly, I’ve been working for a little something called Marvel.com and my editor—One Ben Morse—gave me permission (or rather demanded) to link them here. So, here’s my personal favorite thus far, a psychological evaluation of one Norman Osborn. Enjoy!

What I Read Last Week

Batman & the Outsiders #6 – I liked this issue. I liked Anissa hiding from Batman. I liked the conversation in the jet about flying and arrowplanes. I even liked Geo-Force. I know, I’m as surprised as anyone.

The Flash #239 – I love Williams’ JLA. I’m interested in Mike Virgil. I dug evil Jay. But I feel so sorry for poor Edwar. He’s so gross looking.

And kinky! I mean, a ball gag? Really? Superman’s Reign #2 – I’m still not happy about Superman’s turn, but at least it’s explained in this issue. I really dug the backup story that further fleshes out Tangent U with more namesakes. I really, really hope that this universe makes it out ok and my faves survive.

Dreamwar #1 – Interesting. The Teen Titans/Majestic match up was pretty entertaining as was Jay, Ted and Alan visiting Tranquility. I’m really curious about how the Legion got into the mix and why folks are coming from different eras. I’m also glad that Garbett got a higher profile assignment.

X-Factor #30 – I don’t quite get “Divided We Stand” but I liked the issue. Great dialogue and great art. And Madrox’s inner monologue was very insightful. This book is getting back on track.

See? I told you so.

The Programme #9 – First off Smith’s art didn’t look as smooth as it has in the past. Still the story’s moving along nicely and I’m as invested as I’ve ever been. I do wonder what role Joe’s going to play. I mean he can’t sit the whole thing out, can he?

I actually noticed the art as well, but not in the same way you did. What I noticed is how the coloring has gotten cleaner and more “realistic” in some places in the book. I most noticed this with Senator Joe who is now clearly a Black man. Now, this could be because they got the feedback that no one could tell Joe’s skin tone, but I choose to believe that this was, in fact, a knowing decision to demonstrate how the veil of secrecy is being pulled back in some places of this book. Joe, for the first time, knows who he was and thus we, the readers, can see his true skin tone. That’s why, in the scenes involving the government’s plan to reprogram Max, the almost psychedelic, muddy coloring is still present. Especially notice it with Max’s girlfriend, who is more obscured than ever in this issue.Wow…can you tell I’ve had a few film and literature criticism classes in my time?

Brave & the Bold #12 – This issue was slam packed full of characters, there was almost too much going on, but it worked out fine. I didn’t really care about June or the Challs, but seeing all the other stars on this book return was a nice touch. And I guess this Final Crisis is going to be something big.

Suicide Squad #8 – Gah! Ostrander builds up these forgotten villains and then kills them off, that’s dirty pool. The stuff with Deadshot was dope. I really liked now the stuff with the General was resolved. And it was cool seeing Nightshade again. I’m kinda sad I won’t get any more Squad goodness for a while.

Just excellent. That is what it was.

Gotham Underground #7 – I’m completely digging Penguin’s new rogues. I want all of these rookies to get a mini where I can seem them bumble around trying to commit crimes. I’m intrigued by Penguin’s offer to Tobias. And I’m glad that that annoying Vigilante is about to get a beatdown.

What about poor Eddie? That just about broke my heart.

Catwoman #78 – Really DC? You’re going to cancel your most consistent title? Shame on you! Still this issue was full of goodness. Selina scheming. Sam sleuthing. Seriously, this issue was solid and left with quite a cliffhanger.

Shame on them, indeed.

Salvation Run #6 – I kinda enjoyed the Lex/Joker fight. Seeing those two go toe-to-toe was much better than I expected. I’m really anxious to see how this mini ends up.

100 Bullets #90 – Such a great and graphic issue. The stuff with Pip is so grim, but I wonder how it’ll tie together. Benito and Lono’s conversation was pretty eye-opening. As was Jack’s conversation with Cole. But man, that cliffhanger, what’s Loop going to do? Such an awesome read.

Countdown #2 – On the other hand. At least we got some good Sook on Darkseid art.

Jag is consulting a travel agent

My question has to do with Nanda Parbat. What is the history of this place? Lots of martial artists in the DCU have ended up there at one point but I can’t recall a definitive description of what this place really is.

Nanda Parbat is basically the mystical city in the DCU. It’s the DCU version of Shangri La, a mystical city that’s isolated from the rest of the world, populated by wise long living folks.

Nanda Parbat first popped up in the DCU in Strange Adventures #205 the inaugural appearance of Deadman, the character most associated with it. Rama Kushna, the goddess who looked out for Boston Brand, also keeps an eye on Nanda Parbat.

The reason why Nanda Parbat is such a popular locale for martial artists to visit is because it’s a spot that’s very conducive to spiritual enlightenment. Judomaster famously spent some time in Nanda Parbat.

But it’s not just martial artists who manage to get away to Nanda Parbat. In Golden Age Secret Files & Origins (in a story featuring the art of Cliff Chiang) we find out that the Crimson Avenger, the first costumed hero of the Golden Age, also visited the place.

In that story Lee Travis, emotionally scarred from serving in WWI, decided to go to the Himalayas to die. But instead he found Nanda Parbat, which healed his mind and spirit. While there he had a vision of the future; the death of Superman. He saw how Superman, a man with great abilities had sacrificed himself for the greater good. It inspired Lee Travis to don a costume and become the Crimson Avenger, avenging Superman death decades before it happened.

Of course, thanks to 52 and recent issues of Batman Nanda Parbat has gotten an increased profile in the DCU. Who knows maybe Nanda Parbat will play a role in Final Crisis?

Tim, you should really consider Nanda Parbat as the honeymoon destination.

I picked it, I did. But Janelle insists that California wine country is just as good. I don’t anyone who became a soul able to take over bodies for short periods of time and uses that ability to fight injustice by going to California, but what can you do?

Glen is more up on current events then we are

What, in your opinion was the best news to come out of New York this weekend?

There was tons of good news.

I mean I’m really kind of pumped about the Power Girl monthly by Gray, Palmiotti and Connor, especially consider the amazing job they did with the Terra miniseries.

Ahh, sweet, sweet sarcasm.

I’m kind of looking forward to the return of Hush. Again.

All of the Vertigo news made me smile, except that Loveless got the axe.

I’m kinda curious about the Wildstorm stuff, particularly the Authority book.

I’m pretty intrigued by the idea of a potential JSA spin-off. I didn’t dig hearing that Catwoman is no more.

I’m oddly interested in the new Secret Six title though.

But I think the news that I liked the most was reading Morrison’s descriptions of Superman escaping the DCU. I really dig reading stuff like that because it blows my mind a little bit and expands my horizons.

Tim, what was your favorite bit of info?

SECRET SIX!SUCK IT MATHAN!

Actually, I was sort of underwhelmed by all the announcements this year. I still love comics, so don’t worry about that, but I think I’ve been a little convention jaded.

Hank P. forgets the obvious

What is the difference between Scott Free – Mister Miracle and Shilo Norman – Mister Miracle? (other then the cape)

What isn’t the difference between the two characters?

Sure they’ve got quite a few similarities. Both characters were given up by the parents and raised in orphanages. Both escaped those orphanages and later came to be the understudy of a Mister Miracle. Both are six feet tall.

But Scott Free weighs 185 lbs and has blue eyes and black hair. Meanwhile Shilo Norman has brown hair and eyes and weighs 179 lbs.

Scott was from New Genesis, while Shilo was born on Earth. Oh and Shilo’s alive, while Scott is less than alive.

Now in terms of how the character is portrayed, Scott is pretty much portrayed as an expert when it comes to escape and picking locks. Remember he was called in to give the Dibny’s apartment a once over after Sue’s death. Shilo on the other hand is usually portrayed as less sure of himself, particularly when interacting with other heroes.

Scott Free’s had a pretty consistent portrayal over the years, but Shilo’s been all over the place. Shilo showed up in JLI as a fill in for Scott. Then he showed up Last Laugh putting his escape skills as an asset as the Warden of a prison for super villains. Then he got the “reconceived by Grant Morrison” treatment as part of the Seven Soldiers event.

So, while they do have some similarities, they’ve also got noticeable differences. And if Fred Rogers taught me anything, it’s those differences that make them special.

Tim, do you have a favorite Mister Miracle moment?

I love the Scott Free/Big Barda relationship, but I don’t actually have any specific favorite moment concerning them. Looking beyond that, I quickly find there is not much about Mr. Free that I know or have read.Thus, I will focus on Shilo Norman, who’s Seven Soldiers miniseries I liked, something I am fairly sure I am in the minority on.

As far as a favorite moment from that…tough to say. If push came to shove, I guess I’d have to say it is when he first is able to see the New Gods as they are now. But there was plenty of other moments that stick out to me, like his discovering his best friend and later his girlfriend being converted to plastic people, the reveal of his psychotherapist’s forked tongue, the beating he takes after Baron Bedlam assumes his shtick. It is just a good series.

By the way, does anyone else think DC missed a tremendous opportunity by not taking the fallen New Gods concepts and running with it, at least in the short-term. It is a way better way to build interest in them then Death of the New Gods, I should say.

Jag’s quite the detective

I know that the DCU and the DCAU are two different places but something caught my attention. In 52, Vic Sage when he and Montoya got to Nanda Parbat, but in a Justice League episode that involves the place, an old master monk says, “No one dies in Nanda Parbat”. What’s the deal? Could Vic Sage still be alive?

Tis possible.

But I don’t think that it’s likely. The Question didn’t have the best death in the world, but it was an honorable one. It wasn’t a shameful death that had completely outraged. They were upset that he died, not how he died.

And while time flows slower in Nanda Parbat, it does still flow. So I’d imagine that given how the cancer was ravaging Charlie’s body, it was probably more harmful to be in Nanda Parbat. I mean wouldn’t you prefer a quick death to a long, painful and drawn out one?

I think that Renee took Charlie there so that he’d have a peaceful last few days, not so that he’d live forever.

But perhaps Charlie did fake his death and is lying low in Nanda Parbat, recuperating and waiting to make a comeback.

Tim, where do you stand on the Vic Sage dead/alive debate?

I, on the other hand, believe that Vic Sage dwells amongst the living. Why? Stubbornness? Well, yes, probably. But besides that, I have two words for you.Ready…

Danny Boy.

Once before, Vic was assumed dead and it seemed pretty darn open and shut. Yet, he did survive and came back to avenge his almost death. And the song he sang? That’s right, Danny Boy. No coincidence, I should think.

Even if this isn’t true, I’m very convinced that DC will bring him back. If not via the Danny Boy Principle than certainly through the beauty of their multiple earth universe just before it is destroyed again during Final Crisis.

Oh, what, you didn’t know that was happening in Final Crisis? Oops, sorry about that.

Scott Keith tries to make sense of time travel. Poor bastard.

I’ve been reading the Showcase Presents collection of the early Adventure Comics stories with Superboy and Supergirl (back when she was obsessed with no one discovering her existence so that she could be “a secret weapon for Superman” and stuff), and a couple of things bug. First, in their second appearance, they say that they’re actually the children of the Legion who first contacted Superboy in the origin issue. Now, I know this is standard Silver Age “make it up as we along” bunko, but did they ever address that plot point later and try to explain it? Second, the next few stories always describe Super(man/boy/girl) hurtling into “the 21st century” to visit the Legion, which seems like a few hundred years less than they were shooting for. How long did it take them to establish that they were in the THIRTIETH century and not just 100 years in the future?

Oh the wacky Silver Age, when continuity was pretty fluid and it was a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-and-see-what-sticks type mentality. It gave us apes on covers and provided the basis of websites looking to lampoon a much simpler time.

But it really was a different time. So writers and editors were carefree with continuity. It’s how Lightning Boy appears in the first Legion tale, but in the second appearance he’s Lightning Lad, which works better with the “L.L.” motif in Smallville.

Likewise, in the 1960s a hundred years in the future seemed completely outrageous. It would certainly be possible for that to be far enough in the future for the Legion to be a reality. That said, there were only a handful of appearances that state the Legion’s home era is the 21st Century.

As for the Legion who met up with Supergirl being the offspring of the Legion who met with Superboy, it kinda sorta makes sense. I mean, Supergirl and Superman aren’t peers, he’s almost a generation older than she is. So wouldn’t it kind of make sense that the Legion who hung out with Supergirl would be younger than the Legion who hung out with Supberboy? Doesn’t that kind of make sense, if you squint?

No…no it does not.

Obviously common sense came into play at some point and someone pointed out that when it comes to time travel, it’d make more sense if both young heroes encountered the same Legion. But I can also see the logic behind how things originally played out.

Once the popularity of the Legion was accepted, continuity became an issue and the 30th Century became set in stone. Plus, the overwhelming number of early appearances reference the 30th Century, which really cancels out the few 21st Century issues.

Tim, being the huge Legion aficionado that you are, aren’t you excited about the upcoming Legion event?

There’s an event coming up? When is this? What is this? Oh goodness, I’m all a tingle with anticipation.

Soak1313 worries about splitting up the siblings

What is the story on Sinestro’s sister?

Sadly Soak, there’s very little story to be shared.

Witch Queen was pretty much a one-off character. She made her debut and only appearance to date in Green Lantern #82. Now back then Green Lantern was sharing this title with Green Arrow and Black Canary, which made for a crowded title.

Now my theory is that three heroes seemed like an awful lot for Sinestro to handle, so Denny O’Neil created Sinestro’s sister, not only to level out the odds, but also as a nice balance for Black Canary.

This would also explain why there’s never been a reference to it in the past 37 years. You’ve got to wonder why as much as this era is referenced, you’ve never heard of Witch Queen before. This is the same era as “Hard Traveling Heroes” and Speedy the Junkie.” Yet somehow Sinestro’s sister the Witch Queen is lost in the annals of history. Curious, no?

But apparently Tim’s Best Friend Geoff Johns has plans for her in the future. I’m guessing she’ll be part of one of the various hued Corps that are popping up. Maybe she’s dead and she’ll be part of the Death Corps.

Tim, what’s your take on Witch Queen and does she have enough history to be a candidate for the Revamping?

I am all for her returning, but I think you might be right that she just does not have enough history to be revamped. You can basically do anything with her because there is so little to her at this point. Thus, it is not so much a revamping as a defining.I’d love to see her show up as a Corps member. In her original appearance, she wielded a scepter with a red crystal on it, so perhaps she could be a Red Lantern? And maybe it fits because she and her brother had a falling out which is why we haven’t seen her in years?

Or, given she was all pro-lady in her first appearance, perhaps she is a Star Sapphire since they, at least at this point, are an all female Corps.

Overall though, my preference would be for her to be involved in either the compassionate (Indigo) Corps or the greed (Orange) Corps since neither of those have established any members. However, I have no specific ideas on how that would work.

Neil summarizes the life of the Man of Steel

Catching up on a few columns I missed while I was on vacation last week, I thought the “10 TPBs that sum up a character” thread and wanted to give Superman a chance:Superman: The Man of Steel Vol. 1–I am a big fan of the Byrne origin, so naturally I’d start there.

Superman for All Seasons–Taking the basics of the Byrne origin, specifically the parts in Smallville and tells a wonderful story of a young Superman and his struggles to adjust to the big city.

Superman: Exile– Not too long after Byrne left the title, the new team pushed Superman off Earth. It’s an interesting look at Superman in a new context, Superman traveling the universe and it leads to his finding of the Eradicator.

Superman: The Death of Superman–Superman pushes it to the limit and beyond.

Superman: World Without a Superman–An interesting look at how the world views Superman and how they try to get along without him.

Superman: The Return of Superman–Four different aspects of Superman come to life, but the story goes to prove there’s only one Superman.

Superman: Up, up, and Away– So much promise that was eroded by some crappy Busiek stories (with the exception of “Camelot Falls”), constant delys on the Action storyline “Last Son of Krypton,” and a reliance on the Silver Age origin, this storyline was pure greatness. It really delved into who Superman is and why he is needed.

DC 1,000,000–I thought about Kingdom Come, but really, Superman is about hope and the idea of Superman alive so many millennium in the future, really shows the lasting legacy of Superman.

So, if I counted right, that’s only 9, which one am I missing or which one(s) should I substitute for ones already on my list?

That’s a pretty good list. I can’t fault it really and that’s what’s fun about this question is that it’s really dependant on who’s answering. And while I can’t fault it, I’m going to switch some things up.

World of Krypton – Right off the bat, I’m cheating a bit. According to Amazon, The World of Krypton is a couple months away from seeing the trade treatment, so I’m including it on my list, as the top pick. This provides tons of background on the plant and culture of Krypton. It’s a must read.

Man of Steel vol 1 – Again, for me this is the definitive origin of Superman. It distills everything down the essence of the character. This was the book that made me a fan of Byrne. Honestly it’s hard not to just put every Man of Steel volume here, because they’re all so great.

Superman: Exile – This is another great pick that I’m poaching. I remember reading this in the monthlies and being so slayed. Superman guilty enough to leave Earth? How heavy is that?

Superman: Time & Time Again – I really liked this story which introduced the Linear Men and saw Superman bouncing around through time. Yeah, I enjoyed the Legion parts most of all, but as a whole the arc was fun.

Death of Superman – What you said.

World Without Superman – Ditto.

Return of Superman – Ditto.

Lex Luthor: Man of Steel – I know that the emphasis on this book is on Lex, but it’s such a revealing portrait that I’m including it.

Superman: For Tomorrow vols 1 &2 – No else would put these two volumes on their list, but for me those are really the only two recent Superman stories that had me caring about the character again. Sure, it’s light on actual action, but I like the story.

Son of Superman – I know it’s an Elseworlds, but all future stories are. It’s an interesting tale with great art by J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray. It was one of those Elseworlds that I’d always wanted to read and when I finally did, it didn’t disappoint. Plus it’s a good look at the legacy of Superman.

And that’s my ten.

Tim, care to share your ten chronological Superman trades?

Well, I’m not nearly as well versed in Supes and I own very few of his trades, but I will give it a roll.I do think any trade history of Superman should begin as Neil did with Man of Steel and Superman for All Seasons. You skip those, you fail to see Big Blue at his finest, you more or less fail in general.

Moving on to the rest.

Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite– It features Clark proposes to Lois and some great machinations by Lex Luthor. A necessary piece to understand modern Supes, I should say.

I’d also choose the Death of Superman, World Without Superman, and Return of Superman trilogy. But that might be a sentimental choice or a lack of options choice…unclear at this time.

It is unclear where exactly it fits into continuity, but I’d but Lex Luthor: Man of Steel here for all Mathan’s reasons.

Superman: The Wedding and Beyond gets the nod due to its biographical importance. I don’t actually recall if it was any good.

JLA Vol 1 Hardcover– I’m not sure if this one is cheating or not. If it is, I’ll settle for JLA: American Dreams. Either way, the reason is the same. Morrison writes a great Superman and manages to show as well as tell why the Last Son of Krypton is the superhero benchmark. To paraphrase the Flash, Superman worries about whether or not he can manage everyone’s faith in him and then, bam, he’s wrestling a renegade angel.

Kingdom Come– I think this is, ultimately, a hopeful story. Also, DC One Million, while great, isn’t really a Superman story. It is a story that is about how great Superman is, but does not really show us him being great. Thus, no dice. This is the best choice for a future Superman story, in my opinion. Except Whatever Happened…which can’t get the nod because it would refer to a bunch of stuff that is no longer biographically true for Superman and thus ruin the whole project.

Alas, that’s got to do it for this column. But don’t worry, we’ll be back next week with more answers to your question. Provided you send some my way.

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

“I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again.”

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