Who's Who in the DCU

Welcome back for another edition of the column! This week we’ve got forgotten supporting characters, the Wally West conundrum and (oy) political/superhero analogies. Just pretend it’s three months ago and soak up the slightly stale awesomeness!

Tim, I just discovered the podcasts for Pardon the Interruption, Real Time with Bill Maher and This American Life. Radio is cool again? Maybe Dennis “The Beeper King” Duffy was right; technology is cyclical!

Mathan from the (relative) future here, and wow, was it only three months ago that I discovered Nuevo radio? Man, now I can’t remember a time before it. I tell you, there’s nothing like getting your sports two days late and your political news at least five days after it’s relevant. Give it up for technology!

Links

Diehard GameFAN

The DVD Lounge

Inside Fights

MachineGunFunk

Moodspins

Radio Exile

Popcorn Junkies

Primetime Pulse

Tailgate Crashers

Our DC Boards has people bemoaning the end of R.I.P. and someone else reads Unknown Soldier?

Tim, are you linking anything this week?

Sadly Tim, Ritchie Cunningham’s basketball older brother went off to college never to be heard from again.

What I Read Last Week

The Spirit #20 – This book is re-growing on me. I’m digging its tone and the current creators involved. I mean it’s not Cooke & Bone, but it’s coming back into it’s one again.

Even with that praise this title usually ends in my “eventually” pile.

Supergirl #33 – Hooray for an Empress appearance. Double hooray for an appearance by her toddler parents. Boo for making Empress a pawn.

That was a good issue. Sadly this title won’t be taking any risks for the conceivable future.

House of Mystery #5 – I totally loved the art this issue. Rossi always rocks, but Sean Murphy’s work looked stupendous. Sturges also did a fine job writing. Even his prose piece was interesting and I hate prose.

Legion of Super-heroes #45 – This issue wasn’t really that bad. I mean compared to the previous few. I didn’t hate this one.

Man, if only Tim were here to see my love affair with the Legion end.

Trinity #14 – Wow, this weekly doesn’t suck. I’m digging the melding of the trinity. I’m also digging Jim Lee’s covers. And the backup’s lately have had some great Robin/Nightwing action. This book has become, reliable?

And it’s still the most consistent of the weeklies. Wait, that’s not right, Countdown was consistently bad.

El Diablo #1 – Wow, Chato is unlikable. He’s a really bad guy. I’m curious to see where he goes as a character. I liked the hospital stuff and the feds trying to break him, but character wise, Chato’s unsympathetic. He feels real though.

Green Lantern #34 – What do you mean this arc isn’t over yet? I really don’t like tying everything into Hal’s origin. Sinestro’s appearance makes sense (and was established) and Hammond’s ok. But Black Hand just feels forced. And why isn’t this arc over?!

I never thought I’d see the day, but that arc did finally end. Of course it was so close to hell freezing over that shortly thereafter we had a Black President and both Chinese Democracy and Q-Tip’s sophomore album were released.

Titans #4 – Wow, what an anticlimax. I don’t hate Judd, but he really stunk up the joint on this outing.

I still don’t hate Judd, but that issue still leaves a bad taste in my mouth, even if it wasn’t the ending.

Secret Six #1 – Congrats to Gail for making the death of a New God poignant. Shame on Gail for making the one Six appearance that I missed matter in this tale. I did like Aaron and Tig. And Deadshot was entertaining. I kinda liked how Bane was almost reluctant to be there, like he had better things to do. I’d still like a rationale for the team being, y’know, a team.

Months later and I’ve still got no reason why this group of villains has forged an alliance.

Manhunter #34 – Yipee for this book set completely in the DCU. Liked the Squad appearance and the stuff with Ramsey and his family roots. Plus we got Dylan and Mark Shaw action. But the Damon/Todd action was the true highlight of the book! Take that Alex Ross!

And that Alex Ross had this book cancelled. Damn.

Nightwing #148 – Wait, we’re almost at #150? Man, I’m excited! I loved the stuff with Alfred and Dick this issue. A close second was the phone call with Two-Face. I’m anxious to see what he’s got planned. Good read.

I’m going to miss this book when it ends.

Detective Comics #848 – I just realized that I really like seeing Tommy and Bruce when they were younger. It makes me believe that Tommy’s a character that’s been around longer than five years. And man, that last page couldn’t have been more appropriate since I felt like I had my heart ripped out when Catwoman was cancelled.

WHY? Why do I keep reminding myself that that book was cancelled? Damn me!

Jag wonders if Wally’s moved too fast.

Wally West’s current situation as a family man. To me, Wally will always be “The Flash” as one of the first comic book issues I ever read was one of his early adventures after Barry’s death. However, with Wally being a dad and husband now, could you see DC maybe taking a “One More Day/Brand New Day” approach with him to freshen him up, especially with a flick coming and new potential readers on the horizon? I kind of look at Wally as DC’s Peter Parker in a lot of ways (especially based on the Justice League cartoon portrayal). Do you think DC would do something so radical and if so, how do you think it would be received? Would anyone really even care based on Flash’s low-profile right now?

I really can’t see DC magically getting rid of Wally’s family. I mean “The Flash” isn’t about tragedy. Jay Garrick isn’t a tragic figure nor is Barry Allen. Wally West, like Dick Grayson, is pretty much the heart and soul of the DCU. And to introduce tragedy into the entire Flash equation isn’t the right thing to do.

I’m not saying that Wally is a happy go lucky character, but the loss of a family, particularly children, would absolutely define Wally from that point on. And that probably wouldn’t match with the tone of the alleged movie. I really can’t imagine how a Wally West story, after the loss of his family, wouldn’t be a dark tale.

And I do think that people would care if Wally lost his family. Linda and the twins were a huge part of “Rogue War.” And while the current title might not be burning up the sales charts, but Wally West has enough fans who would notice him losing his family. Wally’s got some loyal fans, myself included, who really do care about him and by extension his family.

Personally I don’t think that Wally’s in need of “freshening up.” Granted, I’ve been reading since issue #1, so I’ve seen every era of Wally’s tenure as The Flash. I remember when Wally was a guy who got paid to use his powers. I remember when Wally was a lottery winner. I remember when he was the Porcupine Man and when he came out from up Barry’s shadow. This is just the era where Wally’s got a family with super powered kids. It’s a period in the title and it too will pass.

I can completely see a scenario where Wally’s not really saddled with family. I’ve got to believe that Jai and Iris won’t have powers forever. Maybe Barry will “cure” them when he returns for real. Maybe Linda will finally fix them. But they’ll lose their powers, which will leave Wally free to run out with the boys. Linda will fade to the back and play housewife while raising Iris and Jai, and Wally will just be a hero, with a family at home.

Tim, Linda and the kids; pro or con?

I think that for the sake of argument, I’m going to say con. I mean really, do Jai and Iris truly add anything to the title? I’m not even 100% sure how Jai’s powers work and Iris seems to lack any sort of personality.

As for Linda, she was very interesting when Wally was trying to woo her. And while they dated. But every since the wedding (and even before) she’s been his “beacon” and his vulnerability. She used to be a character, but now she’s little more than a plot device.

George M asked a really relevant question, many, many months ago.

Just a quick mental exercise. With Barack being the son of an alien, from Kansas, and moves to a big city to become its protector, he might be considered a parallel to Superman, with an admittedly liberal reading, does Hilary become Lex Luthor, or is she more like Batman and John McCain is Lex Luthor?

Hey! I will not have anyone disparage John McCain in this column. Not only does the guy represent my home state of Arizona, but according to Entertainment Weekly, he’s a fan of The Wire which represents my current home of Baltimore. And you know how some people have single issues that determine how they vote? Well mine is the greatness of The Wire, which means McCain is kinda ahead in my book.

I’ll completely buy your Barack/Superman analogy. For me, I think that John McCain is much more like Hal Jordan. His dad died young. He served his country in the military before he came to power. He’s a fighter who’s kinda reckless and shows no fear. And then there’s that whole willpower thing.

I think of Hilary more as Supergirl. I mean she’s an experienced protector in her own right, but she’s overshadowed by a relative and will probably always be in his shadow. And early in life both she and Kara were playing for one team but ended up joining the other. Both are fighters who never give up even when the odds, nay, even when it’s statistically impossibly to win.

Ok Tim, can you think of better analogies or other analogies for other political figures?

Seriously, can you imagine how this might have seemed topical three months back? And no, I can’t think of any better analogies or other analogies.

Jag wants to get up to date, quickly.

I’m also trying to get back on-board with the Flash in terms of my comic reading. Any recommended storylines/trades/graphic novels?

Well since Barry Allen has returned I’d suggest that you pick up the first time that he came back in The Return of Barry Allen (#74-79). It’s a really good read and sees Mark Waid at the top of his game.

Reckless Youth (#92-94) featured the debut of Bart Allen and was a pretty fun read.

I really thought that Terminal Velocity (#95-100) was the first real Flash epic and it felt like it. It also the speedster family at it’s peak. They also teamed up again for Dead Heat (#108-111 & Impulse #9-11) which featured the Speed Force more heavily.

I also liked the following specials; The Life Story of the Flash, The Flash Secret Files & Origins (all of them), Speed Force, Flash 80-page Giant and Wonder Woman Plus Jesse Quick.

Now I don’t know what you’ve read of what you’re missing, but those are some of the stories that I whole-heartedly endorse.

Tim, I know you’ve got some good Flash reads to recommend, because I specifically left you some.

That’s right, I did. I specifically didn’t really mess with Geoff Johns canon of the character, because it’s one that I know Tim loves a whole bunch. I’m sure that he’d recommend Rogues and Blitz. The former showcases Geoff Johns talent for putting the Rogues in the spotlight, while the latter deals with the rise of Zoom.

Manolis dregs up the New Gods.

i was wondering if you could run down the various incarnations of the source wall and its depictions in comics since kirby.

Ok, so the Source Wall is supposed to be the end of the universe. The first reference to the Source Wall was when Metron went to explore the “Final Barrier” in New Gods #5. Metron sees a giant strapped to what’s been described as “Kirby debris” and the head of a female who tried to breach the unknown.

But that’s it. It’s not called “The Source Wall” nor is the actual wall ever shown. It’s just a barrier with The Source on the other side.

The Source Wall actually made it’s debut in the Teen Titans/X-men crossover. That’s the first time readers get to see all of the figures trapped and forming the wall. So, it’s not really a Kirby creation, it’s a Simonson/Claremont creation.

The thing about the Source Wall is that it’s impenetrable, but people have always tried to penetrate it. And trying to penetrate is just ends up getting that person trapped in the wall, a part of it forever. Darkseid’s pop tried it and got stuck and even Darkseid’s been stuck there from time to time.

It’s always depicted as being composed of huge figures who usually look like they’re in agony. They looking kind of like Han Solo in the carbonite. But yeah, the Source Wall never shown to be a fun place to be.

Tim, are you suffering from New God fatigue?

At this point who isn’t? The only good New Gods were the ones who were barely from the 4th World. Knockout and Power Boy were the most interesting of New Gods, because they sort of cut ties to the world of their origin. But apart from that, good riddance.

Jag questions the obscure.

In that first Flash comic book I ever read, there was this big dude named Chunk. Whatever happened to him? (I love obscure DC characters)

You just made me cry Jag, because I loved Chunk. I can remember seeing that Guice cover for The Flash #9 like it was yesterday. I’ll never forget him.

Plus I’m pretty sure that this is the third time that Chester P Runk’s come up in this column. So not only do I remember him, and you remember him, but at least two other people remember him. Even Geoff Johns remembers the guy, he wrote the The Flash #177 which saw Chunk get shot by the Plunderer.

Chuck was once such a huge part of Wally’s life that he even hooked up with one of Wally’s ex-girlfriends.

Sadly no one loves Chunk as much as I do and thus he’s been relegated to limbo just like Bloodwynd and Onyx. Hey, wait a minute!

Tim, who’s your favorite forgotten member of Wally’s supporting cast?

I’ll stick with that era of the title and go with Red Trinity and Blue Trinity. Sure, Red Trinity were barely in the book and Blue Trinity were villains, but I really liked that “cold war” dynamic that they brought to the title. I was sorry when they got killed and/or altered characterwise.

Glen finds Hawkman more confusing than usual.

After the Hawkman special, the character is more confusing than ever? Can you explain the new, new, new NEW Hawkman?

Nah.

I didn’t read the book. So I can’t speak it about it with 100% certainty. However based on what I’ve read about the book in question, it almost seems like it was an attempt to clear things up.

For those not in the know, in the aforementioned Hawkman special, Hawkman is abducted by a being who identifies himself as the Demiurge. The Demiurge tells Hawkman that another entity mixed Hawkman’s reality and history with that of the pre-Crisis Hawkmen. And he emphasizes that everything the current Hawkman remembers may not have actually happened to him. And then to further confuse things, he calls Hawkman Katar Hol.

Now I can completely see how some people would think that Hawkman’s become mucked up again. I mean, we finally got a pretty decent and firm handle on Hawkman courtesy of James Robinson and Geoff Johns. We got a adequately firm timeline of events and Hawkman’s history wasn’t really that convoluted anymore. But now everything seems to have changed.

But what if it’s actually made things more clear? What if now we can disregard the stuff that doesn’t make sense as “stuff forced in for the New Earth”? Doesn’t that make things better? Doesn’t knowing that Hawkman’s a merged being with false memories make him easier to understand, since it makes the stuff that doesn’t make sense, make sense?

I think that this is an opportunity to unravel Hawkman and rid him of the continuity mess once and for all. And depending on who the creator that who’s charged with the task is, I’m all for it.

Tim, is Hawkman more confusing or less confusing?

More. I wrote that above answer and I can barely wrap my head around it. I think what I meant to say was that the special provided an easy out for lazy writers who wanted to tackle Hawkman, but not wanting to deal with all of his baggage. Sort of like how you ask a cute girl for her number so that you can talk to her away from her less than attractive friends?

Did that even make any sense?

Maybe next week we’ll cast Gotham Central. Maybe not. Maybe we’ll answer your question, but only if you send it my way. Or you could post them on our very own thread!

Before I go here’s my question to you What’s your take on Trinity?

“We fight every night, now that’s not kosher. I reminisce with bliss of we was closer.”

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