Who's Who in the DCU

Man, it’s this time of year that I miss Tim the most. I toss and turn every night wondering who won the annual Oscar™ battle between Tim and Mrs. Morse. I don’t know where Tim stands on the NCAA bracket. Personally I’m pulling for a Morgan State/Arizona final but that’s mostly because the former is my alma mater and the latter is across the street from my high school.

I’ve rambled enough, let’s get to the column.

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What I’ve Read Recently

Simon Dark #18 – It was time for this book to end and it ended on a good note. The book ran it’s course. It was a quirky book and I’ll miss it.

Legion of Super-Heroes #50 – I’m guessing that Justin Thyme was working with the plot that Jim Shooter handed in. It was a lackluster ending, but again if you’ve only got one issue to tie up Shooter’s loose ends (Brainy & Dreamy, the Intruder Planet and Princess Projecta) it’s going to be a disappointment. I’m looking forward to the inevitable relaunch.

Blue Beetle #36 – Why did this book have to end? It was a great ending and Sturges avoided the lame ending arcs that many cancelled titles have had in recent years. Ironically a new nemesis was created as the book ended. I could have used a bit more Brenda & Paco, but this ending was really well done.

Robin #183 – Nice ending to this title. It was rather low key and but full of good character moments. Nice homage cover too.

Nightwing #153 – This hurts. I’ve been reading this title since #1 and it’s the title that I’ve been reading continuously the longest. I’m really troubled by it’s ending. But Tomasi, Kramer & Leisten did a fantastic send off. Nice quite moments that really highlighted Dick Grayson.

Vixen #5 – Cafu’s art looked great. I’m not that keen about the Intergang zombies, but the story was decent.

Superman’s Reign #12 – Eh, the ending was really lackluster. It seemed like too much was going on and crammed into this issue. I’m really sorry that Harvey wasn’t redeemed as a character. But maybe if Tangent returns it’ll get better.

Teen Titans #6 – That Miss Martian came out of left field. But I’m glad that Clock King is still around to fight another day. I enjoyed this mini, but the ending felt flat.

Batman Cacophony #3 – This book really had some nice moments. I liked how Onomatopoeia escaped. I liked how Jim Gordon questioned Batman. I really liked the moments between Bats and the Joker. It really almost salvaged this mini for me.

Special Forces #4 – I’m not that keen on Kyle Baker’s new style. This issue looked jarringly different from the previous one. This was a really good mini that Kyle put together.

Ex Machina Special #4 – Why did this story get published? It didn’t really seem to add anything to the Ex Machina saga. And really, was the attack on fanboys necessary? Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

Unknown Soldier #5 – This book is so good and everyone should be reading it. Nice to get a peek into Moses’ past. And I can’t wait to see what Sera does next issue.

Scalped #25 – Wow, this was a great issue. Aaron did an amazing job of getting into the leads head. This book was an absolutely riveting read.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #2 – I totally love how Dox completely manipulated Querl’s message to his own means. Bedard’s really firing on all cylinders and Clarke’s art has never looked better. Seriously, this book is the goods.

Bang! Tango #2 – Wow, this is an interesting title. Transgender characters are pretty rare, so to have one be so pivotal is pretty bold. The action is solid and the use of dancing is great. Kelly and Sibar really managed to convey dancing and music very well on the printed page.

The Mighty #1 & 2 – I’m digging the slow burn on these pages. Tomasi, Champagne & Snejbjerg have totally created an interesting story here. The mystery is building. I hope more people try reading this book.

Solomon Grundy #1 – Interesting first issue. I’m not that fond of the Demon, but I dig how Bizarro is getting wedged in. Kolins did a good job writing this ish.

World of New Krypton #1 – I liked the explanation of the various Guilds that managed to incorporate my favorite version of Krypton. I really like the notion of Supes undercover. I think I’ll keep buying this book.

G.I. Joe Origins #1 – Nice to see how Snake Eyes got down with the team and seeing how Scarlet and Duke proved their worth. I do wish that Feister had done the art by himself, but this was a really good issue.

Jag’s worried about the future;

How come no one’s really talking about the REAL travesty if
Nightwing takes over as Batman? How that cowl will conceal that young
man’s glorious mane of hair! Seriously, does anyone in comics have a
better set of locks than Dick Grayson?!

No.

No one character in comics has a better head of hair than Dick Grayson. And I think that you completely hit the nail on the head of why Dick becoming Batman is so troublesome.

Really. Think about it; he’s been wearing a domino for like a dozen years. How’s he going to react to wearing a cowl? Is he going to worry about chaffing? Is he going to deal with cowl-head? It really doesn’t make sense that Dick would transition to being Batman without worrying about all of the ramifications of his decision.

But to be fair, I also worried about Nightwing when he underwent costume changes like the one that removed his glorious collar and took away his amazing man-cleavage. I got used to the change, but it was rocky in the beginning.

Frosty is interested, cautious but interested;

Is the Batman series worth picking up to an old reader/collector?

If you like the character of Batman and his various supporting characters than I’d recommend giving the book a go. I mean Gotham will always be Gotham. The characters haven’t really changed much since the last time that you read them.

If you want to play it safe you might want to wait for the dust to settle after the Battle for the Cowl. Right now things are rocky and all over the place, so if you’re a fan of stability I say hold on.

Plus the Batman books are on a bit of a hiatus at the moment.

Jag questions the Gotham spirit;

Do you think that DC and the Bat Family’s authors kind of over-do
how awful Gotham City is? I know its a terrible crime-infested place
but the way it’s portrayed doesn’t really show why people live there
to begin with. I mean, if it’s such a horrific city, why hasn’t there
been a mass exodus from the place as it just seems that there’s just
crisis after crisis. Earthquakes, No Man’s Land, War Games, Gotham
Underground gang war, Batman RIP Club of Villains siege, Final Crisis
and now the Battle for the Cowl rumble that’s ahead in the next few
months. I understand that they want to showcase it as a place where
the Bat Family’s struggles are continuous but it’s a bit much
sometimes. What do you think?

To be fair there was a bit of an exodus. Way back in the day on the pages of The Flash we met a character who actually did leave Gotham following the events that happened in The Cult. And it was that story that seemed to imply that that the controversial The Cult is actually in continuity.

And I don’t think they’re being too hard on the city. I mean for one thing you’ve got to accept that it’s a comic book so logic doesn’t apply 100%. But even using “real world” examples I can illustrate why Gotham City would still be a popular destination.

Look at the place that I call home; Baltimore, Maryland. It’s the place that inspired two late but great show. Homicide: Life on the Streets which dealt with the city’s murder police and The Wire which basically highlighted the failings of the city’s institutions. Neither of those shows really showcased Baltimore in a particularly favorable light, yet both shows are responsible the two times that I’ve moved across the country to call this city home.

Baltimore is not a perfect city. There are definitely places I’d be afraid to find myself and at times it feels like every other house is a bordered up vacant. But the city’s got some good things too. It’s got two pro sports teams, Johns Hopkins University and Morgan State University which has a team in the Big Dance.

Or look at Washington D.C. It’s the nation’s capital. It’s also a pretty cruddy city. In fact, chances are if you work in D.C. you live in the suburbs. You’d think that the capial would be a grand place to live, and parts of it are. But there are also other parts where crime runs rampant.

And that’s how I imagine Gotham; it’s got urban decay and urban sprawl, with a pinch of gentrification. But I’m betting that Gotham has thriving suburbs, who claim Gotham as home, but don’t really live in the grimy area.

Soak1313 wants to know more about the man in the mirror, master costume;

could i get the history of both people that have been mirror master? from the trades and most of the flash stuff i have read i think i am only familiar with the new one.

The first Mirror Master was a simple crook, Sam Scudder. Sam was such a simple cook that he ended up in prison. While in prison he was working in the prison factory making mirrors. One day a careless mistake lead to Scudder putting the wrong chemical on a mirror during the silvering process. His boss was irked and told him to toss out the ruined mirror. But Scudder realized that the mirror managed to retain his boss’ image so he held on to it.

Scudder stayed in prison for a few years, devising other types of mirrors by fuddling with the silvering process. And by the tiem that he was released from prison he’d developed quite an arsenal. But prison isn’t about punishment or rehabilitation, it’s about making a better criminal and that’s what Scudder was. He used his new skills to create his costumed alter ego, the Mirror Master. He tussled with Barry “The Flash” Allen and became a prominent member of The Rogues.

But Scudder met his end during the Crisis of Infinite Earths.

After Scudder died Captain Boomerang masqueraded as Mirror Master for a brief period before Evan McCulloch was recruited to be the new Mirror Master by the U.S. Government. Eventually McCulloch rebelled against his benefactors and embraced his legacy as a Rogue.

Neil wants to chase down more info on Vigilante;

Also, what can you tell me about Adrian Chase, Vigilante. In the story Alan Moore wrote he seemed somewhat interesting.

Alan Moore’s a gifted writer and Adrian Chase is an interesting character so when the two linked up it was bound to be something special. I won’t tell you too much about Adrian Chase, in case you want to pick up his exploits (something I’d recommend doing.)

Adrian was born the only son of an affluent New York family. His privileged upbringing resulted not only in his becoming an Olympian but also his excelling at Harvard Law School. Once he passed the bar he went to work with his father’s prestigious law firm.

However Adrian quickly grew tired of corporate law and opted to get into legal aid. Adrian became a minor celebrity as a crusading lawyer fighting for just causes. Yet, despite all of the fame his practice closed it’s doors.

Thus Adrian had to find employment elsewhere. Now that he was supporting his own family, Adrian packed up his idealism and went to work for the District Attorney’s office, where he proved to be a rising star. This brought him in conflict with various factions of the New York mob.

In his attempt to strike down the mob Adrian allied himself with Robin, formerly Batman’s partner and at the time working with the Teen Titans. The two of them went after Anthony Scarapelli and ignored a few laws while doing it. Thoroughly intimidated Scarapelli ordered a hit on Adrian Chase.

The good news was that Adrian was killed. The bad news is that his wife and children were. Adrian then made the typical vow of vengeance. He met up with a cult of people seeking justice who trained him in all sorts of combat. Well not “all sorts” just armed combat and unarmed combat.

He went back to New York and became Vigilante.

The end? Not quite. Adrian actually gave up being Vigilante when he became part of the State Supreme Court. But someone else picked up the Vigilante mantle (I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s quite a shock.) And after that someone else picks up the Vigilante mantle before Adrian decides to become Vigilante again.

I will say that Adrian doesn’t get a happy ending and that the end is rather shocking. Seriously, Vigilante was one of those late 80’s books that got comics gave comics some well-deserved respect.

And that’s going to do it for this edition of the column. Next time I might get around to casting a certain tv show and possibly dishing on Enemy Ace. And of course your question could get answered provided you sent it my way.

Before I go here’s my question to you what’d you think of The Watchmen on the big screen?

“Just three words my love; you meant everything.”

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