Who's Who in the DCU

What a weird week it’s been. I got quite a few texts on Monday from folks in Vegas telling me that it was snowing. Apparently Sin City got three inches of snow, while Baltimore got zero. I’m still content that I made the right move.

Now, on with the column.

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What I’ve Read Recently

The Family Dynamic #2 – Oh man was this issue good. Now I’m really pissed that it’s only got one more issue left. I really want to explore these characters and this universe some more.

The Spirit #21 – Ok the stars of this issue were Hardin and Faucher. They need to stay a team and get a gig as the art team on a book. They’ve got some really solid chemistry going on.

Cyborg #5 – Poor Mr. Orr. He’s awesome when Azzarello’s writing him and ‘orrible when he’s written by anyone else.

Hellblazer #247 – Wow, I’ve been reading this title for 100 issues? It really doesn’t feel that long.

X-Factor #35 – Man, I really don’t care for Longshot.

War Heroes #2 – Boo, to a lame twist. I really liked the boot camp, but that cliffhanger sucked.

Air #2 – I’m loving Perker’s detailed art and the nuance of Wilson’s story. I’m really getting sucked in, this might be my fave of Vertigo’s recent launches.

Greatest Hists #1 – Dope concept and excellent execution. I’m really anxious to see where they go from here.

Batman & the Outsders #11 – Someone really needs to put this book out of it’s misery. Two publicized writers leaving this book before it’s a year old? This book is doomed!

Titans #5 – I dug the Dick and Kory stuff. I don’t really like Raven’s history so I was mostly turned off by the issue.

All-Star Superman #12 – Great ending. Great tale. Loved everything. But, now does All-Star fade into obscurity?

Superman’s Reign #7 – I loved the Tangent Superman’s arrival on New Earth. I loved how he handled everything and how people reacted to him. I also dug the art, a lot. I’m really looking forward to the Power Girls/Supermen throwdown next issue.

The Flash #244 – Interesting. I’m sure that Burnett’s just spinning this title’s wheels until it can end with #250. And once again I’ve got to mourn the loss of the first title I got in on the ground floor of.

Robin #178 – I’m total psyched that the General’s back. I’ve always liked the character and I’m glad he’s being utilized.

DCU Decisions #1 – Wow, this was not good. I’m sure Starman Matt is spinning in his grave after reading (or at least hearing about) this issue.

Brave & the Bold #17 – Marv Wolfman gets 1,000 cool points for this one. Triumph’s son? How awesome is that? Plus seeing Raven and Supergirl interact was fun. And bonus points for evil Zor-El!

Action Comics #869 – Wait a minute, I thought Zor-El was evil. Well despite that glaring lack of editorial oversight, this too was a really strong issue. The new Brainiac is growing on me.

Dreamwar #6 – Wait, it was all a dream? No, wait, the destruction actually happened. Phew, then this book did matter.

Secret Invasion #6 – Eh, at least Captain America and Thor actually showed up this issue.

Ex Machina #38 – Man, the wait between issues has really killed the momentum for this book. Or maybe this is just an off arc. Either way I’m looking forward to things picking up again.

Simon Dark #12 – Creepy stuff, but I liked how everything was resolved. I liked how Simon outsmarted his foe and I like the addition of the monsters. I really, really like them.

Revelations #2 – I totally loved Cris’ reaction to the debut of the Radiant. It’s so real and makes perfect sense. I’m also intrigued by the appearance of Vandal Savage.

Green Lantern Corps #28 – I’m also psyched to see the Scardian, but I really kinda liked how the villain was revealed. I’m also kinda tired of the Sinestro Corps. And I’m really jonesing for Gleason.

Wonder Woman #24 Eh, this issue didn’t really slay me. I dug Tom meeting Wondy’s mom. I dug the gorillas and their briefcases. But I’m really looking forward to the Manazons.

Booster Gold #12 – How nutty is it that the next issue is a fill-in issue? I mean, I wonder if, due to the nature of time travel, they’ll actually try to make it a continuation of this issue?

Green Arrow & Black Canary #12 – I usually like Judd’s Sivana, but he fell flat this time out. But at least Connor seems to be getting better, right?

100 Bullets #95 – Man, Minutemen seem to be dropping like flies. If only that 100 Bullets video game would finally drop.

What I Read Recently

Vixen #3 – I love everything about this book. I love the art and the writing. I love the characterization and characters. Ok, I actually don’t really like the Intergang angle, but apart from that I’m loving this book.

Terra #3 – This book looks great, but reads horribly. There’s only one more issue and we still don’t know if Diamond Dude’s going to be a villain or not? Wow, the first two issues were good, but this one disappointed me.

JSA #21 – I liked seeing Gog’s sensitive side. His feelings were hurt by the JSA so he lashed out. I’m sure they’ll be able to patch things up by the end of the next issue. But man, when Gog attacks, he’s not afraid to hit below the belt. I kinda like that.

Batman #682 – I loved seeing Grant give us an overview of Batman’s entire career. It was a bunch of fun. I really liked seeing Alfred’s imagining if Bruce had been inspired by another creature. And it was great not only to see Garbett & Scott do some DCU work, but also to see a Final Crisis tie in.

Terror Titans #3 – Pretty strong issue. I was sad not only to see the end of Bolt but that Terry had indeed become a killer. It really made for a powerful issue. I also liked seeing Infinity Inc again. And I guess I was sort of excited to see Static again too.

Jag, have you observed anything in the Bat mythos that caused your brain to ponder?

One thing I’ve noticed about the Bat family is that tragedy compels them to become who they are but not Barbara Gordon as I couldnt think of why she became Batgirl. What were the reasons for her putting on the cowl?

First off I suggest that you pick up Batgirl: Year One posthaste! It’s an excellent read and really provides tons of fleshing out of a great character.

But I’ll give you a little bit of info, I guess, since you’re asking really nice.

In the current continuity Barbara Gordon was a smart young woman whose desires for a career in the field of law enforcement were thwarted early and often. She tried the F.B.I. and was turned down because she was too short. She tried the GCPD, but again she was too short. Not even her adoptive pop, the top cop, Commissioner Jim Gordon could score her that gig.

Thus Babs decided to turn to vigilantism. And of course she looked for inspiration from none other than…Black Canary. That’s right, she just happened to dressed like a female Batman for a masquerade ball, but her role model was Black Canary.

So basically Babs was just a young woman frustrated by the lack of opportunity for women in her chosen field. She was a genius who graduated early, yet still couldn’t excel where she wanted to. Thus she saw the opportunity to do right and good and she took it, as Batgirl.

Thus it’s not a tragedy in the “my parents got killed” sense, but I’d still call a woman’s dreams being thwarted by sexism, tragic.

Wow, I totally ended that on a downer note.

Anyone need me to settle a debate? Anyone? Dirk?

So here’s a question. I’ve been having a debate with a friend about superheroes with fire and ice abilities. He seems to think that if they got into a fight, that their powers would leave them in a stalemate.

I don’t think so. I always assumed that fire/heat would melt ice and presumably end any kind of fight. He counters with “ice turns into water, so it extinguishes the flame”, but if the fire was hot enough, wouldn’t the water just evaporate?

Please settle this bet. If I win, he buys me a year’s subscription of my choice… if I lose… I buy him a TPB of his choice.

Personally I don’t think that powers end in a stalemate. I too am siding with the fire based character, if only because most ice based characters require a certain degree of moisture in the air to fully use their powers. The more moisture in the air, the more effective their powers are.

Now if we’re talking about a really humid day than the ice based character is going to have the advantage. And if it’s in an arid desert the fire based character is clearly going win. But in neutral conditions, I’m saying that the fire based basically just needed enough fuel (oxygen) to burn hot enough to evaporate whatever is thrown at them.

Of course if there were a severe intellect disparity in favor of the ice based character, they’d be able to figure out a win. But all things being equal, I’d going with the fire character.

Soak1313, have you got dusty fingers from digging in the long boxes?

since i have been going through all my old comics as of late i came across 2 issues of something called the all-star squadron. i came out in the 80’s but dealt with WW2 stories. the one had a nazi controlled captain marvel. are these reprints of old stories?

All Star Squadron wasn’t a series of reprints, but rather it was a series that too place on a different Earth. Y’see back in the 80’s, the Justice Society lived on Earth 2 and the Justice League lived on Earth 1. So most of those heroes who were active during WW2 lived on Earth 2.

All-Star Squadron was a way for DC to utilize all of the various Golden Age characters that they had in their arsenal. This included not only the JSA but also the Fawcett characters (Captain Marvel etc) and the Quality characters (Plastic Man, the Freedom Fighters.) All-Star Squadron was basically a big series designed not only to fold various characters into the DC Multiverse, but also to retcon things. In fact the term “retcon” was coined in the letters page of the book.

The book was basically Roy Thomas dream come true of writing Golden Age characters, but specifically the JSA. And after the first Crisis Roy went back to the All-Star brand of retconning with Young All-Stars a book that set out fill the void left by the lack of the Golden Age Trinity; Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman.

I myself never really got into those particular books. They seemed too congested with characters for my tastes. But I fully appreciate the depth that Thomas gave the characters as he wrote them. And if it wasn’t for the attention that he paid, we might not have a JSA title to fawn over in this day and age.

Think about that.

Dirk is a brave, brave man.

What’s up with Supes…do you think they will ever adapt him and make him a bit more “current”. I know that some people think that messing with Supes is sacrilege, but I think that he really needs an overhaul, and maybe a bit less of the “Boy Scout” stuff. What do you guys think.

I don’t really see how you could get rid of the “Boy Scout” stuff. I mean his idealized Midwestern upbringing is as much a part of the character as him being rocketed from Krypton to Earth. And really it’s a powerful notion that exists to this day. When you’ve got presidential candidates talking about “small town” Americans and other candidates attacking saying that those who live in cities aren’t “real Americans” then clearly it’s a powerful concept and a current one.

His upbringing is a very romantic one. He’s instilled with an old school American work ethic by his adoptive parents. He’s got good core values and knows right from wrong. He’s taught the American way by the consummate Americans. I don’t see how you can really change that. How do you take Smallville, the setting a relatively popular tv program, out of the equation? It’d be like having Bruce Wayne only lose his dad after taking a trip to the movies; it wouldn’t have the same effect.

You can look at anything in pop culture and the further removed from a city the “simple” things become. And using that logic, Superman will always have the “boy scout” quality to some degree.

Now personally I don’t think that Superman needs an overhaul, he just needs someone to write the character who doesn’t see it as a burden. Grant Morrison showed with this All-Star Superman run that the character can be well written. Geoff Johns and James Robinson are doing a pretty good job on Action and Superman respectively. And of course there’s the classic What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way.

I don’t know what to say. There have been times when I never thought I’d pick up another Superman book ever again, but then a writer does something that makes me believe in the character again. Maybe you should try to pick up some of the books that I mentioned and see if you still think his character is need of a revamp.

Legion is confused by the myriad of Gogs.

Can you give a rundown on all the incarnations of Gog? The only version I know a little about was the one that killed Joker in Kingdom Come. But I’ve heard that was Magog and not Gog. If so, then what’s the difference?

Ok, I’ve got this on covered. But first I’ll need a little help from a previous column where I addressed the first two incarnations of Gog.

They are both adversaries of Superman. Both survived catastrophic events in Kansas and both have the same sense in fashion.

But there are differences too. The Gog from The Kingdom got his abilities from the Quintessence (Ganthet, Shazam, Highfather, Zeus and the Phantom Stranger), whereas the current Gog is a self made man.

The Gog from The Kingdom is a character named William who survived the Kansas disaster in the timeline and grew up worshiping Superman. Superman burst his bubble, claiming not to be worthy of worship. Will lost it a bit. Then the Quintessence bestowed him a smidge of their combined abilities, which only made his mental state worse.

The current Gog survived the devastation in Kansas caused by the Imperiex probe. He got fixated about saving his parents and focused on time travel and making himself stronger and eventually on killing Superman.

Geoff Johns his currently using Gog in JSA with an emphasis on “The Third World” so perhaps his Gog is getting the retcon treatment. Actually I kind of hope that Gog is getting retconned. I mean it was bad enough that Gog was linked to Hypertime, but then Chuck Austen got his hands on him mucking him up worse. What Gog needs right now is Geoff Johns sturdy hand to guide him to the head of the super villain class.

Now for me to directly answer your question; Magog is the guy who killed the Joker in Kingdom Come. In the Kingdom Come reality, Magog was Gog’s legacy. Magog was inspired by Gog, thus the coming of Gog was a bad thing.

And as we’ve seen in the current JSA arc again, Gog is bad business. This time around Gog is a parasite who feeds on planets and demands worship. And of course he ends destroying everything. Glad to see that I was right about the sturdy hand of Geoff Johns.
That’s basically Gog and Magog in a nutshell. I’m sure that somewhere down the line Gog and Magog will return because some writer who loves Kingdom Come wants to do something cool with them. But for now that’s it.

Who wasn’t paying attention in class? Soak1313?

so how did match go from being the other superboy clone to the bizarro type guy we saw in teen titans?

C’mon, didn’t you take Cloning 301? Or were you one of those guys who sat in the back of the class and look at other people’s notes? Man, was I the only one playing attention?

Ok, so here’s the deal. Match was a clone of Superboy, Conner Kent. But like most clones Match eventually degraded into the realm of Bizarro. As you will remember the original Bizarro was nothing more than an imperfect clone of Superman. Since the Lexcorp scientists couldn’t unlock Kryptonian DNA, the clone was flawed and the degraded in appearance to what we now associate with a Bizarro.

Match was a clone of a clone and while Conner’s kinks had been worked out, since Match was a second generation he was prone to degrading. Since Conner had 50% human DNA, Match didn’t degrade as quickly as a 100% clone of a kryptonian would, but eventually all of the stresses he placed on his body took it’s toll both physically and mentally. Thus Match became more “Bizarro.”

I mean, really you’ve got to pay more attention in class. I can’t keep explaining the ins and outs of cloning to you.

Glen doesn’t dig the new and improved and instead wants to linger in the past.

Even though the New Gods are dying, there seem to be a number of old gods. Who are they besides Gog?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

No, seriously. If there’s one thing I love it’s New Gods. In fact the only thing that I love more than New Gods are the New Blood characters.

As for the Old Gods, you’ve really got to start with Arzaz. He was one of the good guy Old Gods. Somehow he managed to survive the fall of the Old Gods and hang out with the New Gods. He palled around with Takion, but eventually went up against his evil and opposite number the Nameless One in a conflict during the atrocious Genesis. Both he and Nameless One ended up on the Source Wall.

The aforementioned Nameless One also survived the fall of the Old Gods. I don’t even know why I shared that redundant piece of information.

Another Old God to survive was Thunderer a battle horse. He got the ol’ suspended animation/encased in stone treatment and stayed that way for billions and billions of years. Eventually he was discovered by Lonar, a New God. They became best buddies, sort of like My Little Pony, only with amazing godlike powers.

Wotan and Lokee were two Old Gods who contributed to the war that felled the Old Gods, and they were father and son (scandalous!) But they both died in the war, so they’re pretty much moot at this point.

Sirius was a wolf that lived beneath Apokolips with the Dreggs. The Dreggs were basically Old God zombies, just corpses wandering around. However Metron happened to witness one of them regenerate and then begin to regenerate his peers. Hopefully this plot point will never be addressed ever again.

Those are basically all of the Old Gods that are known. I really, really hope that this knowledge never comes back into play. Man, that would be a dark day.

And that’s going to do it for the column this week. Next week may see some Young Justice and R.E.B.E.L.S., or maybe it’ll be all about Bizarro? Or maybe I’ll answer your question. All you have to do is pose it.

Before I go here’s my question to you Do you think that fire based powers trump ice based powers?

“Can’t you find a clue when your eyes are all pained Sinatra blue.”

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