Who's Who in the DCU

Happy New Year everyone! Though given that comics didn’t arrive until Friday, the dawn of the New Year kind of disrupted things. And from what I hear Dick Clark’s appearance was rather unsettling. In fact let’s just get to the column.

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Our DC Boards has some thoughts on Green Lantern, Manhunter and Batman. Go, run and participate.

What I’ve Read Recently

Ex Machina #40 – Interesting issue. I really liked Vaughan not wanting to get Grant Morrison, while looking just like him. Pretty funny book. That said, I really wish this book would gain some momentum. It feels like it’s been spinning wheels for the longest.

Air #5 – Not nearly enough people are raving about this book. Perker’s art is stunningly detailed. Wilson’s characters and intrigue are captivating. This is one of those books that I rush to read when it comes out.

DCU Holiday Special #1 – How, that Aquaman story was pretty heavy handed. The Huntress story was well done, as was the Nightwing one. Dr Light’s story was equally enjoyable. I wanted to like the Blue Beetle tale, but it seem to have a flawed execution.

Robin #181 – Wait a minute, what happened to Anarky? I’m completely irked that he’s in an iron lung. I mean I dig the General and all, but I’m much more partial to Anarky.

Final Crisis Secret Files – Great art. Good reading. Informative without being too revealing. Good stuff.

Fallen Angel #32 – I completely dig how laughter breaks the boundaries of language. But the stuff in Bete Noire is getting tense.

Superman #683 – I love the stand off. I love the thoughts of all of the characters. I dig Supergirl being torn between her mom and her cousin. This was a strong issue and surprise, it was written by Robinson.

Green Lantern #36 – Um how can John reunite with is dead wife? Oh, that’s right, by dying. I did the Blue Lantern Corps and the stuff with Sinestro. Really good issue. But considering that it followed “Secret Origin” how could it not rock?

Scalped #24 – I’m sad that Red Crow doesn’t appear to be trying to be a good guy any more. I liked his internal conflict. But really good issue. I’m just scared that the next time we see Dash he’ll be completely under the spell of meth.

Ferryman #4 – I’m completely loving this mini. I like how Outcast has added a new wrinkle to the playing field. I also like that cliffhanger. Seriously, why aren’t more people raving about this mini?

Wonder Woman #27 – Man, this book is getting better and better. I like seeing how Diana’s defeat ripples across the supporting cast. I’m really invested in this arc.

Unknown Soldier #3 – This book is such a downer. It’s a great read, but just knowing that this story is taking place in the world is a real bummer. Still, this book is one that everyone should be reading.

Greatest Hits #4 – I’m enjoying this mini a ton. Is it too early to ask for a sequel?

Blue Beetle #34 – The high points for me were the scene with the former Hellhounds and the scenes between Paco and Brenda. There’s a chance that I’ll miss Paco and Brenda the most when this book goes adios.

Manhunter #37 – Um, can you say “jarring?” I don’t even know how I feel about this issue, it’s such a jump. But I guess that Marc knows how he wants the book to end.

Kirk M, do you have a question that requires a bit of background?

There’s a great comic book shop in my city called the Silver Snail. During the 90’s, they painted up a big mural on the front with all of the big characters. It’s got all the Marvel and DC mainstays but the one piece of art that always grabs my attention is that Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan are both featured. Kyle is in his early “crabface” duds while Hal is in full Spectre mode.

Now the Snail has been in the business forever so I would assume the people who commissioned the painting would know enough to avoid the “everything changes forever” type mistakes, but I guess that somebody thought the Hal/Kyle change would be forever.

So my question is, with Barry Allen and Jason Todd back from the dead, 52 earths instead of one, Power Girl running around on Earth 2 on one side and Batman RIP, the death of the Martian Manhunter and Wally West and the Kents having kids on the other side, what are the biggest changes in the DCU that have actually stuck and which recent big changes do you think have the best chance of sticking? Let’s say that the “big change” has to have happened 5/10 years ago at least, as it took about 5 years for people to believe Kyle was sticking around and ten years for Hal to be pushed back into the spotlight.

That’s a really good question. First let’s look back at 1999. It might sound crazy but ten years ago you could find Mark Millar scripting both Action Comics and JLA. That was also the year that Christopher Chance, The Human Target made his Vertigo debut. Hourman JSA and Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. made their debuts.

But in terms of any major changes not too much happened around ten years ago. Wally West got married. 1999 is when Hal Jordan became the Spectre, but clearly we know how that turned out.

Five years ago there was a ton of stuff happening. Crispus Allen was still a cop in Gotham City. Kyle Rayner was meeting Amon Sur for the first time. Impulse had just become Kid Flash. The Human Target monthly was just four issues old. Wally West remembered he was the Flash, with a little help from Batman. Arsenal was critically wounded in Outsiders. Justice League Elite made it’s debut. After Blockbuster blows up Nightwing apartment building, Dick doesn’t lift a finger to prevent Tarantula from killing the villain.

And that’s just setting the tone for the year 2004 also saw Ra’s al Ghul and Spoiler die, though they got better. Orpheus and Sue Dibny also died, but weren’t as lucky as Steph or the Demons Head. Jason Rusch became Firestorm and Kate Spencer became Manhunter. Oh and Kara Zor-El came back to the Man of Steel’s life.

Now in terms of the biggest changes that have stuck around there are a few.

Aquaman’s Hand When Aquaman lost his hand in 1994, it pretty much stayed lost. I’m guessing that when Orin returns, he’ll probably have two hands again, but maybe not.

Wally West’s Family – First Wally got married. Then he became a father. I can’t see DC managing to pull off making Wally a family-free bachelor. Losing a family means horrible tragedy, which is something for Gotham, not the twin cities of Keystone and Central City.

Kara Zor-El – I hated her when she appeared, but the character grew on me. And while she’s currently overwhelmed by being Superman’s cousin, I think that the character has tons of potential and I can’t see her going anywhere.

Jason Rusch as Firestorm – I think that at this point Jason’s got as many fans as Ronnie does, with an equal number of people unable to tell the difference. It’s a change that’s lasted longer than I expected, so I see it going the distance.

Kate Spencer as Manhunter – It lasted five years, but with her book finally receiving the axe, I say it’s only a matter of time before someone comes up a new pitch for the name Manhunter. Hopefully it won’t involve the mantle being passed through death.

Superboy being Dead – I think that the character is certainly stronger in death than he was alive. There’s also that matter of a pesky lawsuit about the rights to the character. That said, I believe that Conner Kent will make a comeback at some point in the future. I mean the guy’s a clone, how hard could it be to recreate him? It’s just a matter of time.

Red Arrow – Sure Roy Harper hasn’t been “Red Arrow” for long but that initial outrage was fierce. I really can’t see Roy sticking with that time for too much longer. I’m betting he’ll abandon it when the League abandons him.

Hal Jordan as Green Lantern – Hal Jordan punked Kyle Rayner out of a good gig, but there’s talk, with all of the multi-hued Corps running around, that Hal might join one of the other Corps. I say “nope.” If anyone’s transcending the GLC it’s Kyle. Hal’s a Green Lantern until the end.

Bruce Wayne not being Batman – I think that it’ll stick, at least until Warner Brothers gears up to release the next Bat-Flick, at which point expect to see Wayne return to the cave.

J’onn Dead – I’m really torn on this one. I could completely see J’onn coming back, maybe getting his life essence back from Mars or something like that. But on the other hand Barry Allen stayed dead for over two decades. So perhaps J’onn is this generations Barry. Nah, J’onn will return before too long.

Ryan Choi as The Atom – Ryan will stick around until someone can come up with a good reason for Ray Palmer to take the mantle back. At which point Ryan will be killed and Ray will be on a mission of vengeance.

Barry Allen alive – This one is sticking. You’d have to get rid of Dan Didio, Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison if you wanted to return Barry Allen to the grave. He’s here. He’s fast. Get used to it.

Jason Todd alive – I dig Jason Todd alive. I hope that it doesn’t change. He brings a new dynamic not only to the Gotham characters but to the DCU as a whole. I think that’s he’s here for the long run.

Um, those are about all of the major changes that I can think of, but if I think of more I’ll dig the question back up.

Glen, is curious about a character making the DC rounds lately.

What is the deal with this “Lady Chronos” showing up in Booster Gold?

Man, this question brings up such hurtful memories. Lost loves. Zombies. Rick Remender’s wrap up arc on The Atom.

Anyway, Ryan Choi the aforementioned Atom had a crush on a girl when he was younger. Her name was Jia. But since Ryan was a geek he and Jia never quite connected romantically. Instead she ended up marrying the bully who plagued young Ryan’s teenage years.

But years later, after Ryan had established himself in Ivy Town, Jia called on him desperate for help. Apparently Jia’s husband was menacing her. The thing was, her husband had been dead for quite some time. Ryan arrived, put the costume on and battled some zombies.

Before winning the battle, the deceased husband informed Ryan that Jia was actually responsible for his death and that her damsel in distress was just an act. She was manipulating Ryan because she knew he still had feelings for her. Once again, Ryan left Hong Kong alone.

What’s all this have to do with Lady Chronos you ask? Well, apparently Jia got a hold of David Clinton (the original Chronos’) designs and became a Chronos herself. She even teamed up with Clinton to make Ryan’s life hell. Not only did they manipulate Ryan Choi into becoming the Atom (by faking correspondence between Ryan and “Ray Palmer”) but they tried to destroy Ivy Town. They attacked the Atom’s reputation and they even kidnapped some of Ivy’s citizens and trapped them in a microverse in Ryan’s bloodstream (that was that awful Remender arc).

But on the plus side that awful arc introduced us to Lady Chronos, which is proof that everything has a silver lining, because she’s a pretty nifty character.

Neil, what times it?

So…question time, who do you think Nightwing and Flamebird are?

For those of you not reading New Krypton there’s a new team of masked heroes in the Super Universe. Nightwing and Flamebird have made their mark. They’re about to become the stars of Action Comics, but we don’t know who they are.

First off, like me just say that I’m really anxious to read Rucka’s take on Nightwing and Flamebird since he was supposed to write Supergirl beginning with the “One Year Later” arc. That failed to materialize, but that arc did involve Nightwing and Flamebird.

Now since Nightwing exhibits some tactile telekinesis, clearly the audience is being lead to believe that it’s Superboy back from the dead. It’s so obvious that I really want to believe that it can’t be true. But I can’t really think of too many other characters who fit Conner’s build and sport tactile telekinesis.

As for Flamebird, I really can’t guess. I’m tempted to say Strange Visitor, but I don’t know if the powers work quite right. I wanted to say Power Girl but, um, she didn’t appear to be drawn in the same dimensions, if you get my drift. It’d be sort of cool if Flamebird was Linda Danvers, but I don’t know how feasible that it.

Soak1313 feels like opening old wounds.

in young justice what was the difference between the young lobo and slo-bo? also whatever happened to secret?

Consider yourself lucky that I happen to be fond of Young Justice because I don’t usually tolerate people trying to slip two questions in at a time.

For your first question about the ‘bos, I’m guessing that by young Lobo you mean Li’l Lobo? Well Li’l Lobo was just a younger version of Lobo thanks to the machinations of Klarion the Witch Boy.

On the other hand Slobo was actually a clone of Li’l Lobo, but not just any clone, he was a clone who was afraid to die. Generally Lobo clones are as bad as the main man himself, but Slobo was the runt of the litter, as such he wasn’t quite a mean. Slobo was actually sort of a good guy, once you got past his posturing.

Sadly being the runt that he was also meant that he was genetically deficient. He started to deteriorate, losing his vision. He decided to go out in a blaze of glory by saving the Secret from Darkseid. But he wasn’t killed. Instead he was transported to the 853rd Century where he was trapped his essence was trapped in a statue at the headquarters of that century’s Young Justice.

And while he’s not dead, isn’t being trapped in a statue almost a fate worse than death?

As for The Secret, for a while she allied herself with Darkseid, but when Robin reminded her that she contained some good within her, Darkseid punished her in the worst way imaginable; he stripped her of her powers making her a normal human. Fortunately that’s all that she wanted to be in the first place, so it wasn’t really a punishment so much as a gift.

And there you have it. I’ve completely spoiled Young Justice for anyone who hasn’t read it. You’re welcome!

Neil wants to rub salt in old wounds.

why wasn’t Bloodwynd in Limbo in Superman Beyond? Is he so disliked by DC that he’s not even cool enough to appear in Limbo?

Um, I think it’s pretty obvious that Bloodwynd is actually the hero who’s going to save the day in the final issue of Final Crisis. So having him appear in limbo in Superman Beyond would completely ruin the surprise. I mean talk about a spoiling something.
Seriously, 2009 is going to be a big year for Bloodwynd.

Dirk is apologetic for no reason.
What about Superman Prime? I know he’s supposedly dead or some such.. but do you think he’ll ever make a comeback? (please forgive me if he already has, but I haven’t read DC comics in ages really)

Forgive you for what? This column exists to inform. If there weren’t people to inform this column would have no reason to be.

And anyway, depending on how you look at it, Superboy-Prime might not have made a comeback. I mean he’s technically one of the main villains for the current Legion of 3 Worlds miniseries, but since that mini takes place in the 31st Century, doesn’t it mean that his comeback is happening in the future, thus it hasn’t happened yet?

I want to apologize for anyone whose head I just caused to explode. This column serves to clear up confusion, not create it. My bad.

Sadly that’s going to do it for this week’s column. Next week’s column might see some info on R.E.B.E.L.S., or maybe Milestone characters, or maybe Zero Hour? Yeah, you never know what’s going to happen next week. I never know what’s going to happen next week.

“An eye for an eye, a man for a man. You kill one of mind I’m taking three of them.”

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