Who's Who in the DCU

[Editor’s Note: Apologies for the lateness of the latest Who’s Who, you can divert your hatemail to yours truly for messing up the article queue. Over to you, Mathan!]

Welcome back to another adventure though the tangled mess that it the DCU. Seriously “Deathtrap” was so bad that it’s got me considering dropping three titles. That’s not what a crossover is supposed to do. That’s scary.

Let’s get into it.

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What I’ve Read Recently

Green Lantern Corps #36 – Ok, so the talk between Sinestro and his daughter wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be. I really dug the use of narration in on the Oa sequence. It gave the scene a real sense of drama. And the cliffhanger with Sodam was pretty strong.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #4 – Bedard did a nice job of fleshing out the DCU this issue with appearances by Psion, Durlans, Dominators and Khunds. The art didn’t suffer by having a fill-in. Plus the Omega Men didn’t suck. I am curious how they’ll play into the series as a whole though.

Seaguy #2 – Man this is just more Morrison goodness. Bull Dressing? Awesome!

Ex Machina #42 – Dude, all of the stuff with the rats was creepy! The rats in the baby carriage was just horrific. I am glad that we’ve got another sewernaght in the mix. And I loved how the political convo was rendered.

Irredeemable #2 – I’m not trying to justify Plutonian’s actions, but Alana did sort of overreact. I mean has she never read a comic?

Outsiders #18 – I’m really hoping for this cursed book to get good. I want Tomasi to find his footing asap. It feels like he’s so close, but this book just isn’t there yet.

Vigilante #6 – I’ve got to say; that was a pretty strong ending. And by ending I mean “last couple of pages.” It didn’t redeem the horrible garbage that was “Deathtrap” nor did it justify a crossover. But I didn’t see that ending coming. I don’t think anyone did.

Supergirl #41 – I’m really looking forward to seeing how the fallout from this issue plays out. I want to see how Kara deals with the repercussions of her actions. This book just got interesting again.

Air #9 – I’m glad that we finally see who Zayn works for. I also enjoyed the reunion at the airport. I’m a fan of airports, so this issue struck a chord with me.

World of New Krypton #3 – Um, that cover scene never appeared in the issue at all. Boo.

Astro City: Dark Age Vol 3 #1 – Ok, I’ve got to find a way to abbreviate that title. Still, it’s good to be back in Astro City. I liked how the jadedness of the era is reflected in the title. Busiek at his best.

Unwritten #1 – Ugh, I’m not literate nor a reader, so I feel like this book is going to be daunting and mocking me. But the first issue was very strong. I’m very intrigued by the concept and can’t wait to see where it goes.

Escape #1 – Excellent first issue. If this mini holds up, it’ll be in the running for mini of the year. The read was jarring and disorienting, but in a mood capturing way, not off-putting. I can’t remember the last time I was this impressed with a book.

Secret Six #9 – Completely unnecessary, but some interesting characterization happened.

House of Mystery #13 – Decent one-off issue. I liked the first and second stories the best. The final one just felt “off.” Can’t wait to get back to resolving the last ish’s cliffhanger though.

Unknown Soldier #7 – Great cover. Strong writing and art. I’m thoroughly engaged in this title.

Dance #1 – While I’m lamenting the demise of Velocity, I’m glad we get the same creators on this book. Loved the use of Twitter for narration. Liked the unique perspective. Had no real faults with the issue.

Olympus #1 – Really good read. I loved the art and the story kept my attention rapt. I’m sad it’s only a mini, but I can’t wait to read more.

Run #1 – Wow, that’s some interesting language. Mike is a total scumbag, but it’s rare that you get a scumbag lead, which makes the book unique. I’m interested in where this goes.

Viking #1 – I loved this issue. I loved seeing how every character was introduced and getting to know them a bit at a time. That ending was tragic and I’m eager to see how things progress from there. Really good book.

The Mighty #4 – I’m totally sucked into this book. I want to know more about Alpha and what he’s hiding and what his motivations are. This is such a good read.

Justice League of America #33 – I loved the banter in this issue. That’s one of the things I’ll miss most about McDuffie getting the boot.

Ink #1 – I’m very interested in the continuing adventures of Mark Richards. I love the logo and the story thus far.

Trinity #52 – This weekly was a nice middle ground between 52 and Countdown. I’m intrigued by future of the Dreambound and Tomorrow Woman. All in all this was a pretty good event.

Neil worries about Dakota’s future;

Also, what are your thoughts on Dakota being a part of New Earth? I know fans have been clamoring for Static to join the Titans for a while, but with 52 Earths in the Multiverse, wouldn’t a separate Earth for the Milestone heroes make sense? Then, you could always have a character or two come over to our Earth (like Black Canary II did way back when). That way, their history could remain intact.

I can completely understand why people would want a separate universe with Dakota on it’s own Earth. There’s definitely part of me that wants that myself.

But the reality of the situation is that it’d be a hard sell. Milestone struggled though the industry crash of the 90’s and while the industry isn’t “crashing” it’s not really thriving right now either.

Look at another separate universe, the Wildstorm U. Is anyone still reading those books? They’ve pretty much been published continually since their inception in the mid 90’s, and they’ve certainly seen better days. It’d be foolish for think that a company that took over a decade off could come back and succeed on it’s own.

Look even more recently at the Focus line, (which I absolutely loved) it struggled and it had adequate promotion. Even DCU books like Manhunter and Blue Beetle, which had some pretty vocal fans and still got the axe. It’s a tough time to start something relatively new.

Like it or not, the way for Milestone characters to be most viable is to bring them into the DCU. They interact with the JLA and Teen Titans and hopefully those books see a boost. Brave & the Bold is now going to be showcasing Milestone characters so that titles sales figures will be a decent way to gauge interest in the properties.

Again, I’m a fan of the Milestone U and I loved the history. But I really don’t have a problem sacrificing history for the opportunity to see the characters on a regular basis. The characters have been on hiatus for over a decade and fairness there are probably about a dozen comic fans still reading who were actually invested in the history of Dakota.

I’m happy to have Milestone characters get a chance to shine and build a bigger fan base, who then decide to buy up the Milestone trades and discover what the missed the first time around. I think that’s the best option to take.

Toast can’t figure out what Aquaman’s problem is;

What’s the deal with Aquaman? Why do people think he sucks so bad? Sure, he talks to fish and such, but surely he isn’t as bad as Bouncing Boy.

First off Bouncing Boy isn’t bad, he’s a bloody Legionnaire! He’s got a flight ring and he might marry every guy’s fantasy.

People think that Aquaman sucks so bad for several reasons. First and foremost it’s because they’ve never read Peter David’s run on Aquaman, which was supremely awesome!

It also goes back to the Superfriends cartoon, which is where a ton of people were exposed to Aquaman. Compared to Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern and everyone else, Aquaman doesn’t quite measure up.

I mean Aquaman’s at his best when he’s in water and there aren’t too many serious threats happening in the water. Everyone else can find crime pretty easily, but not Aquaman.

Aquaman’s also got that pretty crippling weakness of not being able to be out of the water for too long. That is a pretty lame weakness, but only in the cartoons. In the comics it’s used pretty effectively.

Aquaman’s rogues don’t seem that impressive, again if you don’t read the comics.

Aquaman’s lameness is just about the misconception the public has about the character. And that misconception is why what drags down the character. It’s a hurdle that every writer seems to try to overcome, even though the target audience of fanboys doesn’t really think that Aquaman’s lame.

If everyone picked up Peter David’s run on Aquaman they’d understand that Aquaman isn’t lame. It’s sad but true.

Glen is curious about co-features;

What do you think of DCs new back up stories?

Look, comics cover prices will rise. I remember when comics cost seventy-five cents and I wish you kids would get off my lawn!

But prices will rise and DC is offering up something to go along with the price bump. I sort of applaud it.

Really I’m just happy that Blue Beetle and Manhunter live on in another form. I loved both of those books and lamented their passing, so the fact that I’ll still get to read the characters is good news to me.

In terms of the books the titles and co-features that I’m looking forward to I’ll break them down for you.

Detective Comics co-featuring The Question is the book that I’m looking forward to the most. It’s got Rucka writing and art by J.H. Williams III and Cully Hamner. Seriously, I think that this book is going to be amazing.

Streets of Gotham co-featuring Manhunter. C’mon, it’s Gotham. It’s Dini & Andreyko. What more can you ask for?

Booster Gold co-featuring Blue Beetle. I’m reading Booster, but I’m not loving it. Still if Sturges gets to continue his stellar Blue Beetle run it’ll be worth the price bump. I loved that book.

Action Comics co-featuring Captain Atom sounds interesting. I’m very intrigued what Captain Atom’s story is going to lead to. This book has piqued my curiosity.

Doom Patrol co-featuring Metal Men, is brand new. The creative teams are very promising. I’m a fan of a couple of the incarnations of the Doom Patrol and the most recent Metal Men mini.

Teen Titans featuring Ravager. The only reason this book isn’t dropped is because of Static. I’ve got support him. But it’s a recession and this book just isn’t enjoyable anymore.

Green Arrow/Black Canary featuring Black Canary/Green Arrow is something I’m not interested in. I want to drop this book. I think today I might.

Jag want to know about a certain baby snatcher;

Got a Green Lantern question for you. I haven’t read the Sinestro Corps War in full yet but I remember a back-up/preview story running in some DC issues about a Sinestro Corps member who would steal Green Lanterns’ children? This was pretty chilling. Can you tell me more about this?

Dude, you completely missed out. The stuff in Sinestro Corps War is cool, but if you really want to see Kryb, the SC member you’re referring to, you need to check out the “Sins of the Star Sapphire” trade that should be coming out any day now.

That’s where you really to see Kryb shine in all of her creepiness. She is by far the most disturbing member of the Sinestro Corps. She kills GLs, kidnaps their babies and carries them away on her back. It gets even more creepy but I don’t want to spoil it.

Seriously, you need to check out that trade when it comes out.

Neil ponders alien evolution;

That ever dubious reference site Wikipedia says the Eradicator was responsible for creating the Daxamites, by altering the birthing chambers of some Kryptonians who headed off world. Is this true and if so, where was it first mentioned?

This is a very interesting topic. In the Silver Age there was tons of debate about which planet spawned the other. Mon-El believed that Krypton was Daxam’s colony and fanboy’s believed debated the issue relentlessly.

Krypton eventually did get an origin tale in which two aliens Krypp and Tonn met up on a planet, fell in love and spawned the entire Kryptonian race. Yet some fanboys insisted that either Krypp or Tonn was a Daxamite.

Now in terms of the Eradicator’s role in Kryptonian evolution you have to go back to Action Comics Annual #2, which Kal is in gladiator mode and meets up with the Cleric. The Cleric tells the tale of the events leading up to the World of Krypton miniseries and how one of Kal’s ancestors tried to preserve the sanctity of Krypton by keeping it pure. Thus the Eradicator, when it was still a device, wrote a bit into the Kryptonian DNA that killed Kryptonians when the left the planet Krypton.

Kurt Busiek’s run on Superman dealt with Daxam a bit and expanded on that. That’s where the notion of Daxam being Krypon’s colony was introduced. Apparently a batch of Kryptonians left Krypton with their DNA tinkered with just a pinch, so that they’d be fatally allergic to lead, thus if they wandered too far from Krypton they’d find themselves dead.

The upcoming Superman Annual #14 promises to expand on Daxam’s past. I can’t wait to read it.

Glen questions my taste;

Did you like the Power girl preview?

Honestly I didn’t dig it. Maybe I’m still bitter about how the Terra mini, by the same creative team, turned out. Maybe I’ve reached my Kryptonian saturation point. But I didn’t pick up the debut issue of Power Girl and when I don’t pick up a DC first issue it’s kind of a big deal.

Nalydpsycho keeps with the Kryptonian theme;

How exactly was Krypton destroyed. Such a famous origin story, and I don’t know that key detail.

It’s really a sad story. Y’see Krypton took his wife and kid to the movies. They went to see the Mark of Zorro. After the movie they decided to take a shortcut though the alley. There was a mugger. Krypton took a bullet trying to save his wife, who was equally shot and killed. Their son, Kal-El went on to avenge them as Superman.

Glen peered into another dimension and got curious;

In JSA # 25, while Jay Garrick and CC Batson are travelling through the under dimesnions, there is a picture of a guy with a purple helmet. Who is that?

That guy is none other than Prometheus. Poor Prometheus. He had such a promising start, then was squandered as a character. And now he’s back, though tainted by the less than good writing of his comeback special.

Y’see Prometheus has a Cosmic Key that allows him access to various dimensions, but one in particular; the Ghost Zone. It’s where he set up his headquarters, which is the house that you see in that panel.

Anyway, Sterling Gates is the guy who wrote the recent Faces of Evil Prometheus one-shot. Sterling Gates also happens to be Geoff Johns writing assistant. Geoff Johns is the guy who wrote that issue of JSA. See how everything works together?

Prometheus is supposed to be a major player in the DCU this year. I hope that it’s worth the hype.

Neil seems uneasy about being all inclusive;

do you agree with DC’s recent push to include everything from a character’s backstory and “explain it away” like Geoff Johns did recently with Brainiac or Grant Morrison did by explaining it as stuff that went into Batman’s “Black Casebook”?

Y’know I can’t really say that I’m a fan. I’ve read them both attempts and while I liked one, I disliked the other so much that it’s tainted my view on the whole movement.

Let’s start with Morrison. I really liked what he was trying to do. He wasn’t so much trying to make those stories canon as he was exploring what experiencing those exploits would do to Batman. He wasn’t trying to be all inclusive, he was just trying something new with the character. I dug it and appreciated it.

Johns on the other hand is trying to be everything to everyone. He wants everyone’s favorite version of Brainiac and Toyman to have existed. I don’t dig it.

I like the Milton Fine version of Brainiac not Brainiac the city collector. I’m deeply invested in my version of Brainiac and I don’t really dig the hokey Silver Age concept of bottle cities.

I didn’t find the Toyman version that offensive mostly because I’m not that big a fan of Toyman, but also because I accept that that “Toyman” did need some cleaning up as a character. Still it’s sort of preposterous that Toyman could create “toys” so lifelike that they’d fool Superman. Whatever.

So yeah, I think that Morrison pulls it off and Johns bungles it, so I don’t think that anyone should attempt it.

Doc Booty exposes my greatest flaw;

Have you watched the Wonder Woman DVD? Highest recommendation, the tone was nailed, and it was well written. (Gail Simone had a hand in it, I think.) This is the best DC Animated film yet, my opinion.

I haven’t checked it out. In fact that only current DC animated feature that I’ve seen was New Frontier and that’s mostly because I’m such a huge fan of the original work.

I know that one day I’ll get around to checking out Gotham Knight for a couple reasons. My best friend says it’s awesome. Also, I’m a fan of Brian Azzarello and he wrote one of the pieces.

Death of Superman is something I probably won’t watch. I’ve read the story, but I’m just not that interested in seeing it on the small screen.

And I’ve got about the same interest in Wonder Woman. I’m just not that invested in the character. I read the monthly adventures, but I haven’t been waiting on the edge of my seat for her to make the jump to an animated movie.

Green Lantern First Flight on the other hand is something I can’t wait for.

Sorry to disappoint.

That’s going to do it for another edition of the column. Hopefully it won’t be a long wait for the next installment which should feature Barbara Gordon, Frank Rock, Superboy supporting cast, Secret Six stuff and maybe some under appreciated gems.

Before I go here’s my question to you; what are your thoughts on the Final Crisis Aftermath minis?

“I was waiting for a cross-town train in the London underground when it struck me.”

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