Who's Who in the DCU

Who’s Who’s back and oh-so-sorry for having been gone. Won’t you let them apologize to you and revel in their return? That would be sweet!

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[EDITOR’S NOTE!: The delay in Who’s Who is mostly my fault. Between the end of the semester, wedding planning, my own stupidity (I’ve deleted this column once already), and my uncle recently going into the hospital, I’ve been all over the place and neglected my responsibilities. Thus, you have this column here, another in a few days, another shortly after that, and, with any luck, we’ll be back on a normal schedule after that. Enjoy and sorry again.}

Tim, what did you think about Iron Man?

Despite its savaging review in the New Yorker (seriously, the guy just decimated it) I quite liked it. As everyone on down the line has mentioned, Robert Downey Jr was note perfect. Unlike many reviewers, I also though the supporting cast turned in some strong work, especially Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow. The script was a crackling bit of work that knew when to be serious and when to plant its tongue firmly in its cheek. I would highly recommend it.

On the other hand, we have Speed Racer, which I took some folks to as part of my job. The best I can say for this film is a.) it was bright and b.) Christina Ricci seemed to have a good time with a waaaaaay limited part. Otherwise…blah. As another reviewer mentioned it was paradoxically too fast (which at least makes sense give its subject matter) and too slow (almost 2 and a quarter hours for what is, ostensibly, a live action cartoon that set its appeal level on ages 6-10 makes little to no sense). By in large the acting was drained of all emotion with actors, for the most part, delivering their lines in “this is important” voices with almost no power behind the tone. It was like watching a team of Keanu Reeves negotiate the Walk in the Cloud script all over again.

Still, did it deserve the label “insidious” as it received from the New Yorker? Nah, probably not. But how often do you get to call anything insidious? I don’t begrudge the guy for taking his shot when he had the chance.

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What I Read Recently

Batman Year 100 – I never used to like Paul Pope’s art, but I’m a fan now. I love his version of the future. I like how dark it is. I loved how the action moved. I loved the characters. I’m so glad I picked this trade up.

Gotham Central #11 – Such a good issue. I loved seeing things from Stacy’s perspective. I’ve been a fan of Brubaker’s since Scene of the Crime, but this issue reminded me of why I like him.

Global Frequency #1-8 – I’m beginning to accept that I like Warren Ellis. I never wanted to buy into the hype, but I’m almost there. This series is so good. I can’t wait to get to the end. I’m really irked that the TV show never came about.

Hellblazer #237-238 – I’m so far behind on this title it’s not funny. But I’m digging myself out. I do know that Zezelj needs more work.

JLA Classified #37-41 – Kid Amazo reads a ton better in one sitting than issue by issue. And all of that bickering in the beginning really pays off in the end.

I’ll have to give that approach a shot because reading it month to month I found it only to be so-so.

Green Lantern #30 – I think I’m ok with retelling an origin when it needs an update. But retelling an origin just to lay the groundwork for an epic feels kind of cheap to me.

Teen Titans Year One #4 – I’ll never get tired of reading stories about teams who learn that they need to work together. And I still love the art on this mini.

Legion of Super-heroes #41 – This run is slow and meandering. I don’t even know if there can be a payoff, because there’s no real build. Boooo!

After the Cape II #3 – Huh? That’s how it ends? Pretty anticlimactic. I used to love this storyline, but man, that ending stinks.

Agreed.

Teen Titans #58 – I am a fan of inner turmoil, so I liked this issue. Boy is that a cliffhanger.

Poor Miss Martian. Her bad luck might contribute to another good TT issue from McKeever, but I’m not sure I like the price. Things still feel a bit forced to me, like we are rushing through the beats, but this arc is still unfolding nicely.

Ex Machina #35 – Eh, this issue fell kind of flat for me. I didn’t really get any sense of drama or anything.

Hmm…I can kind of understand your complaint, but it was nothing that occurred to me until you mentioned it. I appreciate Mitchell and his chief of staff playing long ball by considering the National Convention address to shore up his own eventual third party run. Very crafty.

Action Comics #864 – I love the Time Trapper so I really enjoyed this issue. I like the tension between Garth and Bats. I liked picking up the pieces of Countdown. I liked how this was a set up issue. Really good business.

Blue Beetle #26 – Despite the lack of the regular team, I enjoyed this issue a bunch. But I thought this issue was supposed to be about Traci being lost in Jamie’s neighborhood. Still Jamie’s abuela was great. I really like the idea of Jamie taking care of his community. The heart of this book still beats.

Mi español está oxidado. (My Spanish is rusty.)

Especially as evidenced by the fact that the above is an expression that would never occur in Spanish, as it is an English colloquial expression.

But anyway, besides exposes how bad my Spanish has devolved, I dug it.

Supergirl #29 – Johnson and Snyder make a great team. I just wanted to get that out of the way. The shot of Supes using his x-ray vision was haunting. I really like how Kara is portrayed as borderline naïve. She’s got such a good innocence to her.

Metal Men #7-8 – I loved this mini. Duncan Rouleau is now one of my favorite creators. This mini was one of the best minis I’ve read in awhile. I loved all of the leaps in time and the fleshing out of characters. Such a good mini, and visually stimulating too.

Absolutely. Rouleau’s style does not typically fit in with what I liked for art, but I really do enjoy it. It is so much fun, it is hard not to get swept up with it.

House of Mystery #1 – I can’t remember were I’ve seen Luca Rossi’s art before but I’m smitten. Rossi needs a DCU gig, stat! Loved the cover and the two stories inside. This is one creepy book. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Logan #3 – Eh. Risso’s art is what kept me going. Vaughan’s story kind of petered out this issue. I don’t regret getting this book, but I could have lived without it.

Lived without a Wolverine book? Perish the thought!

Nightwing #144 – Despite the multiple art teams, I enjoyed this issue. It’s nice to see Dick dating. And it’s great to see Mother of Champions again, and kind of creepy. But I loved Talia’s moment with Dick. Who am I kidding, I loved this issue.

It is nice to have a Nightwing book worth reading again, isn’t it? Nice and surprising.

DC Universe #0 – I totally got my money’s worth.

Sure. But did you like it?

Detective Comics #844 – I dig the origin of the new Ventriloquist. The gangland stuff seemed kind of extra. But the actual origin wasn’t that bad. And the stuff with Zee and Bats was great drama.

Glad to see they didn’t just let the reveal of #843 stand without further explanation. I still don’t feel on the jaw dropping it was trying for, but I liked the way Scarface and his new Ventriloquist became a team. Especially because it connected with Face the Face which seems all but forgotten already.

I concur with your assessment of the Bat/Zat interactions.

Secret Invasion #2 – Pretty solid read. I liked how they tried to avoid a fight, but it happened anyway.

I liked it while I was reading it but it feels slight now thinking about it. Not much happened, right? Some nice moments though and that ending was appropriately pulse pounding.

Flex Mentallo #1-4 – Read this again and it hold up pretty well. It’s really inspiring to see Morrison and Quietly firing on all cylinders. I really hope that DC gets up the courage to put this in trade form some day.

I am so very jealous of the fact that you own this.

Glen thinks we’re Babelfish

How do you translate the white board behind Jann Jones in this week’s DC Nation?

Submit This is one of the Final Crisis one-shots. Since I’ve heard that Superman takes a trip during the mini, I think that book will deal with how various characters in the DCU deal with Supes going MIA, with some of them actually submitting to the evil around them.

That sounds…kind of cool. I’d bet on Wonder Woman being one of them, given that cover with her and evil animal mask (or whatever that is).

100% Alien – My gut wants me to believe this has to do with the xenophobia in the 31st Century. But it could be something else entirely. For instance maybe the Outsiders become a team that’s entirely composed of alien members? Or maybe Superman decides to adopt the mentality of being 100% alien.

I believe your first guess on this one has now been confirmed.

I am Batman – I think that both Damian and Jason Todd will try to fill in for Bruce Wayne in a sort of remix of the Super imposters. There may even be a mystery Batman that many will speculate to be someone with the initials of JPV. Or it maybe various heroes in the DCU patrolling Gotham as Batman, while Bruce is incapacitated, to keep the legend of Batman alive.

I was thinking that it (along with the later “I am Bruce Wayne?”) was a reference to the shattering of Batman’s mind (as is being hinted at in Batman: RIP right now), but I do like your idea.

Girlfight – Maybe this has to do with Power Girl and Supergirl having solo titles. They’re both “girls.” Or maybe Wonder Girl and Supergirl will have a serious falling out.

I’m pretty sure this is the Supergirl v. Black Mary Marvel fight that Morrison has been talking about it.

There is no one…yet – I’ve struggled with this one and I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re talking about Earths, as in there’s no Earth-one…yet.

Oooooo!

1,000 divided by 3 = 1 – This is the Legion of Three Worlds miniseries. Which promises to be so spectacular even Tim’ll love it. It’ll probably feature three different versions of the Legion fighting as one and might end up with a single version before all is said and done.

And now I present…my shrug of indifference.

52 – 1 = 0 – Once again I’m going with Earths and that the multiverse will crumble if one pivotal Earth is lost.

Again, I point out, there will be no multiverse when Final Crisis is done…you have been warned.

Evil Won – This is another of the Final Crisis taglines. It even shows up in DC Universe 0. Barry talks about a war in heaven and says, “evil won.”

It’s gotta be a New Gods thing, right? (old school) Darkseid’s eyes are featured in the add and (new school) Darkseid references winning a battle so…

A Traitor Among Us – Rumor has it a hero turns rogue during Final Crisis. If I had to bet on someone, I’d say Geo-Force, if only to explain his increased profile in the DCU. Still, I’m digging the Barry Allen/Libra connection; both characters became part of something larger in the universe. Both characters have returned recently. So perhaps Libra is really Barry and the traitor is within the Society?

Hmm…hadn’t considered that. I’m no fan of Barry Allen’s return, but your idea is at all part of the “big” plan, I could warm up to it.

Perhaps the Traitor is amongst the villains though and is J’onn. I’m totally not convinced he is actually dead.

Who is Wonder Dog – I know of Rex the Wonder Dog, but

Oh goody! More super animals!

He is the Force – I want to say this is Barry Allen. He’s been part of the Speed Force for so long perhaps he’s more than human?

Makes sense. But that would throw a wrench in the whole “Traitor” thing, I’d expect. Or would it?

Mercy Ruling – I’m guessing that Hal Jordan has to put someone out of their misery, which places him on trial with the Alpha Lanterns. The Guardians invoke a Mercy Ruling, which allows Hal to keep being a GL.

Really? That never even occurred to me. I was thinking more along the lines of the other Green Lantern book, the Corps and the current Black Mercy storyline.

The Dead Shall Rise – This is obviously the Blackest Night.

EXCITED!

Rockin’ Robins – This is going to be a tussle between Jason, Damian, Dick and Tim when Bats goes RIP.

Tim v. Damian at least, right?

The Son Rises – So many sons that could rise. Connor Hawke seems likely. But Darkseid’s got some sons as well.

Though I love him, Connor Hawke did not occur to me at all. It could be though; I know Morrison has some affection for him. Still, I’m thinking Orion for this.

Sightings All Around Us – Batman and Superman are supposed to take leaves of absences, so perhaps this refers to them. Or maybe this is a reference to Barry again, in that he returns but tries to maintain a low profile and doesn’t contact anyone.

“Sightings” usually denotes something alien related, but I’m actually thinking this concerns long thought dead (or eliminated by Crisis on Infinite Earths) characters from other Earths showing up like grown up but still Robin Dick Grayson, daughter of Batman and Catwoman Huntress, and Charlton The Question.

You Can Go Home Again – I’m going with the JSA Annual, which is supposed to feature Power Girl chumming around with her Earth-2 pals.

This is probably the closest to a sure thing of any of our guesses.

Who Questions the Question – I’m pretty sure that I read that the Question will pop up in the Revelations mini with the Spectre. So I’m guessing that there’s a confrontation between the two former partners.

They’ve announced that project, so you look to be right. However, I’m going with a dark horse choice. Vic Sage Question questions Renee Montoya Question. Maybe?

No 2 For You – Earth-2? Barry Allen? Second Legion? What if Barry isn’t really Barry but Libra? Or maybe it just means that the second Superman, the KC version, will be leaving the DCU.

I’m thinking Power Girl is ultimately denied the chance to stay on Earth-2 when the multiverse crashes and burns once more.

First Boy Last Boy– Is Anthro and Kamandi too obvious?

Nope. Just the right amount of obvious.

TT Have No Reception – “TT” could mean so many things. I immediately thought of the Teen Titans. But then again, the Time Trapper is back in play (though the tense is off.) Of course it could also stand for The Trinity, as in the next big weekly. I guess I’ll go for the Titans on this one, but I don’t know what it’s referring to.

The Teen Titans isolated without means of communication? The Teen Titans showing up somewhere with no one to meet them (perhaps a different Earth or a post-apocalyptic future?)? Color me clueless.

4 Times as Red – I want to say this is about the Decide event.

What is “Decide”? I don’t remember that one at all. I am thinking this one concerns the gathering of the Red Lanterns and that their ranks will quadruple.

Just read about Decide. Really? I mean…I love politics, but really? Horrifying.

Murder/Suicide Father/Son – There are so many men in the DCU whose fathers were murdered. You’ve got the Bat fam. You’ve also got Captain Boomerang Jr. But what if it’s a murder/suicide involving a father and a son? This could be Jericho and Deathstroke. Or maybe it’s describing Ra’s al Ghul, who was murdered but lived again from his son’s sacrifice? Or maybe Damian kills himself, when Batman gets murdered?

I find this one too depressing to even guess. Okay, one guess. Darkseid/Orion. Darkseid thinks he murdered Orion for the victory but it is part of Orion’s long term plan and thus, a suicide.

Kings Reborn – I want to believe that this means Aquaman’s returning, but it’s plural. I can’t think of what other Kings might be reborn.

Aquaman for sure. And King Kull, perhaps?!

He Never Left Hell – I’m drawing a complete blank here.

Neron? There is this battle for his throne while he’s there the whole time, seeing the treachery of these demons?

Resist – This is the other Final Crisis one-shot. I think we’ll be seeing the heroes regroup to rise up against the evil.

Submit’s companion piece then?

Superman: Red or Blue – This is tied to that already regrettable Decide miniseries. Ugh.

I thought this was just a marketing thing with the latest line DC toys, but your guess actually makes sense. As opposed to mine.

I am Bruce Wayne? – I’m guessing that Bats gets some head trauma and forgets he’s Bruce Wayne. I think it may involve getting hit on the head with a coconut.

See above for my guess.

3 Reborn – We know that Darkseid is returning, so maybe this refers to three New Gods who are reborn. But then again Barry Allen is also back so perhaps the three are just three major characters, in which case I’m saying Aquaman rounds things out.

I’m wondering if the use of “3″ as opposed to “three” is significant. As in Earth-3? But that’s already happened, right?

Going with your guesses, if it is the former (Darkseid) I’d say it is three New Gods. If it is the latter, I would say that Darkseid will not be one of the three meaning Barry Allen, Aquaman, and…the only recently dead J’onn?

Post no Bills – This makes no sense to me whatsoever.

Who’s named Bill in the DCU?

Rocket vs Satellite – I’m really hoping that this is about a LSH vs JLA battle, since they both headquartered in the respective space ships.

Best Woman for Job a Man – This is the Wonder Woman event involving the Gods deciding that the Amazons didn’t do their job and trying things out with the Manazons.

Totally.

He Wakes the World Ends – Connor Hawke maybe? Or perhaps it’s Darkseid. Or even the god that Gog worships.

Orion? Maybe. Me though, I’ve got one guess.

AZTEK!!

Paper no Plastic – I can’t see a connection to anything with this one.

Plastic man? But what it means…nothing.

No Glory No Gold – I think this has to do with the end of Booster Gold being the greatest hero you’ve never heard of and the return to the old Booster.

Agreed.

JSA divided by 1 = 2 – I’d really like it if the huge unmanageable JSA team were divided into two teams, but I’m pretty sure this is about a JSA spin-off title.

Seems sensible.

But that’s just me guessing. Tim, how do you feel about all of the teasers that DC have been providing us with?

I think it is a neat device, but one that can breed disappointment sometimes. Sometimes the ideas you dream you fall in love with and seem “better” in comparison to what actually happens. Or, you get it right, but it seems so obvious to you, the story is almost ruined because of it.

Scott Keith revels in tragedy

Recently I’ve been re-reading the questionable saga that is the “Justice League Detroit” era of the JLA, because that was the first series I bought on a regular basis as a kid and you know what they say about the Golden Age of comics being whatever age you read your first comic. Anyway, although it still sucks mightily to see Aquaman being passed off as a leader and all the racial stereotyping and stuff, it makes me wonder: What are some of the most ill-fated “reimaginings” of major titles that you can remember? I’ve heard legends about how bad Wonder Woman in the 70s got but wasn’t a reader at that time, but could it be as disastrous as the JL Detroit experiment, which killed off one of the biggest comics in DC’s catalog? Has DC taken other big names over the years and stomped on them until they were forced to cancel them because of backlash like with JLA?

While I’m not old enough to have read the infamous Kung Fu Wonder Woman, I can kind of understand what all of the fuss was about. I mean Wonder Woman was/is an icon for women. So to strip her of her powers and make her a mortal, it rubbed quite a few women the wrong way. And this was when feminism was in full swing.

Now in terms of what reimaginings I can actually remember I think that Aquaman suffered the most. I was a fan of what Peter David did with the character, but when Erik Larsen took over it was pretty jarringly bad. It went from a solid read to a book with sloppy action and poor characterization.

Was that really a reimagining at that point, though? Couldn’t you argue that while David’s was a reimagining, by the time Larsen took it on it was actually the established portrayal of the character?

And when Dan Jurgens replaced Larsen and took the book in a new direction that leaned too heavily on diplomatic action, I was glad it was cancelled.

Still I enjoyed the character, so I looked forward to the relaunch with Rick Veitch scripting. But mystical water hand Aquaman was a mess. It was a complete debacle. Then things got better when Pfeifer took over followed by Acrudi. Sadly when Busiek jumped onboard with OYL and a new direction I jumped ship.

But that’s the conundrum that is Aquaman; because he’s a lower profile “name” DC is willing to take more chances with his direction, but the chances usually bomb with keep him a lower profile character.

So when I think of failed reimaginings I always think of Aquaman.

Tim, what other reimaginings do you recall bombing?

Would Superman Blue/Red count as a reimagining or just a stunt? If it is the former, count it.

Also, throw the campy Batman on there. Short-term, popular. Long-term, it is still how the media views comics in general (see the abundance of “POW! BIFF!” headlines in newspapers whenever comics come up).

Glen shows an interest in us. Unlike the rest of your jerks.

What did you think of Final Crisis #0?

I liked it. I liked how we got a taste of things to come. Granted I’m biased because I already read (or made up my mind to pick up, in the case of the minis) everything that was showcased in the book. Being a Legion fan I was pumped to see the Legion séance and the Crisis-esque shadows.

I’m also enjoying Morrison’s run on Batman, so that teaser was great. I loved the way number of panels grew. I’m also intrigued by the Wonder Woman stuff.

The Blackest Night stuff is always a treat to get a glimpse of. And I’m very interested in what’s going to happen with the Spectre. And I loved Libra’s preaching.

I also liked the “trailer” aspect of the book. I like stuff like that. I used to watch Coming Attractions on E! all the time.

Me too! Hated the host though. God, I hated him so. Probably shouldn’t use “God” and “hate” in the same sentence though, eh?

The book got me excited for the future. I really dug it.

Tim, what’d you think about the book?

Some parts got me excited, some parts didn’t. But, I think that’s the way it goes. To continue your trailer analogy, not all of them get me excited for the movies in questions. But some do, and I think that if more do than don’t, the goal is achieved.

Sadly that brings us to the end of the latest edition. But don’t fret, we’ll be back next week with more answers to your questions.

Here’s my question to you this week; What’d you think about DC Universe #0?

“It’s Ol’ Dirty, he wants to give you directions home.”

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