Who’s Who in the DCU: Blackest Night Prologue Special

So, Michael Jackson’s dead. And apparently he was a pretty big comic fan. So big that at a point in the 90’s he looked into purchasing Marvel Comics. Wow. Let’s get into the column.

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What I’ve Read Recently

Viking #2 – Man, this book is great. The cover is great. The interior art is glorious. Klein and Brandon are a great blend. And they way the story evolves and follows up the debut is perfect.

The Unwritten #2 – I love this mystery. The unfolding of the back story, the fleshing out of the mythology. This book’s got some promise.

Olympus #2 – It’s great to see the villain actually do some damage and get some motivation. It’s also pretty funny to see romantic entanglements come into play.

Ink #2 – Great cover. I love the concept of the tattoos getting a life of their own. The family stuff is good too. And the art has really grown on me.

Escape #2 – This book is so trippy. The cliffhanger is sick and the story is so off kilter it’s really hard not to empathize with Tom. I really hope this mini delivers on the first two issues of promise.

Last Days of Animal Man #2 – I love Earth’s new GL. At first I thought it was odd how the antagonist totally hijacked the issue, but the more I thought about it the more I didn’t mind. Also; a brown Flash? About damn time!

Unknown Soldier #9 – This book is so good that it’s making me feel guilty for enjoying it and looking forward to it every month. Ponticelli’s art is the best it’s ever been with this issue and Dysart’s script is marvelous.

Detective Comics #854 – Wow. This book is just wow. J.H. Williams III’s art is flawless. His attention to detail, his storytelling. Plus you add Hamner’s co-feature and you’ve got DC’s best looking book. And Rucka’s writing is superb as always, but even that’s overshadowed by the art. Just wow.

Batman & Robin #1 – Speaking of art Quitely art just keeps getting better. Eveyr collaboration between Grant and Frank is wonderful and this keeps the batting average up. Great first issue.

Red Robin #1 – I liked the introduction to Tim Wayne. I liked the rationale for the new identity. I liked seeing Tim lose control both in terms of fighting and in terms of mental stability. Great new chapter in Tim’s life.

Gotham City Sirens #1 – I loved the completely logical cliffhanger. I really liked the reasoning for the team up. I enjoyed Eddie’s role in the book. I even enjoyed March’s art, and I didn’t think I would. Good stuff.

Outsiders #19 – Tomasi’s story is really beginning to gel. The stuff with Slade was fun to read as was the stuff with Ra’s. Wait, is it bad when I enjoy the villains more than the heroes?

Batman #687 – Pretty good issue. I thought that Judd hit all of the right emotional notes, but I don’t know if Benes was the artist for it. The story wasn’t really dynamic enough and Benes’ art excels at action.

Streets of Gotham #1 – It was great seeing Dini tackle Gotham from various points of view. I do sort of wish that Batman & Robin would take a backseat in this title. Also the Manhunter co-feature was perfect. The new art team fits the character like a glove.

Booster Gold #21 – Nice to see the return of the Black Beetle. But more importantly I enjoyed the return of Blue Beetle. It’s so good have Jaime back.

Supergirl #42 – I fully believe Lois’ reaction to Kara’s story. It’s 100% believable and I’m very anxious to see how things play out once Clark gets involved.

Ex Machina #43 – It appears as though Vaughan is ramping things up for the big finish. Seeing Mitch in costume again was pretty cool. And the seraphim seem pretty creepy.

Action Comics Annual #12 – I liked how issue contained mostly narrative. I liked that we finally got the story and the fleshing out of the Krypton belief and culture. I’m even glad that DC’s getting back into the Annual business. But this one didn’t really seem necessary.

The Flash Rebirth #3 – Eh. Just “eh.”

Green Lantern Corps #37 – I’m really diggin’ the battle on various fronts. Seeing Sodam’s “last” moments were pretty poignant. And the battle scenes on Oa were very well done. Scar’s GL’s also had a good moment.

Action Comics #878 – I love the evil Kryptonians. They’re such great villains. I almost don’t want them to get caught.

Scalped #29 – Great conclusion, and while I get what ties the issues together, the middle three chapters didn’t really connect with the first and final ones. In terms of theme it does, but not in terms of story. Still, the conclusion was so riveting.

Irredeemable #3 – This was great. The way Plutonian maneuvered everything and how the twins got played. Man, this book is great. I’m really wondering how many issues Waid thinks it can run.

The Mighty #5 – Wow, I love where this book is going. The conspiracy grows and Alpha gets more vicious. This book is criminally slept on.

Ok, so here’s the email that I got from Manolis

DC has just released this image o’ spoilers [taken from this week’s issue of Green Lantern #43 ]

GL #43.final.qxp

How about filling us in on who they are, where they appeared, where and how they died and some comments?

Daunting task, but I’m up for it. I’ve got to admit that I’m sort of shocked to be doing this before the issue in question actually hits the stands. I mean usually I’ve got to wait for the issue to come out and Soak to ask me who everyone was and why their important.

But let’s get into it.

tula aquagirl

First up is Tula better known as the third Aquagirl. She was the main squeeze of Aqualad. She met her end in Crisis on Infinite Earths #10 after being poisoned by Chemo in #9. She also played a role in the Tempest miniseries where Garth assumed his new mantle. Tula has the significance of being one of the few characters who died in the original Crisis and stayed dead.

alpratt

Next we’ve got Al Pratt who you probably know better as The Atom. This original JSAer was killed by Extant during Zero Hour. Zero Hour wasn’t kind to the JSA but ironically it actually set them on the path to their revival. Y’see Zero Hour launched Starman which proved to be pivotal in establishing the JSA as one of the mainstay teams of the DCU. Pratt’s death wasn’t all that notable, though it did play a rather important role in the growth of Atom Smasher’s character.

suedibny

Sue Dibny isn’t a death that I should really have to go over, but I guess I will. Sue was a member of the JLI alongside her husband Ralph “Elongated Man” Dibny. Sue was killed in Identity Crisis and on the off chance that you’ve not read that story I won’t spoil it for you. While she’s got no powers her death was important in that it was the beginning of what many comic fans view as the darkening of the DCU. .

ronnieraymond

Ronnie Raymond was once the hero known as Firestorm. Initially he was half of the composite hero, while Professor Stein provided the other half. But they broke up and Ronnie became able to transform to Firestorm by his lonesome. He was also killed during Identity Crisis. Upon his death Jason Rusch became Firestorm.

diggerharkness

Digger Harkness was the Flash Rogue known as Captain Boomerang. He died (for the second time) during Identity Crisis when he was killed by Jack Drake the father of Tim Drake at the time known as Robin. Actually Jack and Digger killed each other. Digger is the father of Captain Boomerang Jr who happens to be the half-brother of Kid Flash.

bluebeetle

Ted Kord was the second Blue Beetle. He was a third string hero for most of his career which included a high note of joining the JLI. He was killed while uncovering a huge conspiracy that engulfed the DCU. He met his end in Countdown to Infinite Crisis at the hands of his former teammate Max Lord.


maxwell lord

The aforementioned Max Lord was once a businessman who funded the Justice League and helped them become the Justice League International. He was also part of a huge conspiracy (are there any other kind?) that pulled the strings behind the DCU. He was killed by Wonder Woman in The OMAC Project.

black condorphantom ladyhumanbomb

Ryan Kendall, Dee Tyler, and Roy Lincoln were part of the Freedom Fighters in their super hero guises as Black Condor, Phantom Lady and Human Bomb respectively. They were killed in an all out assault by members of the criminal Society which included Bizarro, Deathstroke, Black Adam and Cheetah.

psychopirate

Roger Hayden better known as Psycho Pirate was once the only person in the DCU who remembered that there had been a multiverse and the entirety of the original Crisis. As a pawn of the Anti-Monitor he had watched it unfold. But that knowledge drive him crazy. Eventually he returned to his criminal career only to be killed by Black Adam during 52.

question

Vic Sage was once the hero known as The Question. A lifetime of smoking caught up with him and he succumbed to lung cancer on the pages of 52. His heroic mantle was passed on to Renee Montoya.

ralphdibny

The aforementioned Ralph Dibny was distraught over the death of his wife and fell into a downward spiral. He also met his end in 52.

jeanloring

Jean Loring was the ex wife of Ray Palmer and had become the villain Eclipso.

arthurlight

Arthur Light was the villain known as Dr. Light. Light had become a joke to the hero community only to discover that he’d been magically lobotomized to make him an inferior foe. Once he found this out he vowed vengeance. He was killed by the Spectre during the recent Final Crisis Revelation.

martianmanhunter

J’onn J’onzz is, y’know the Martian Manhunter. Some say he was the first hero of the Silver Age and he was a mainstay of the JLA and had his own title for a minute. He was killed by Libra on the pages of Final Crisis.

bostonbrand

Boston Brand is the ghostly spirit known as Deadman. He was an acrobat and killed by the League of Assassins at which point he became the hero known as Deadman.

taramarkov

Tara Markov used to be the hero/villain Terra. She’s Geo-Force’s sister, Beast Boy’s romantic interest and Deathstroke’s mole. She was killed way way back during the Judas Contract.

wesleydodds

Wesley Dodds was the star if Sandman Mystery Theatre as the Golden Age Sandman. He had plenty of memorable adventures, including one with Jack Knight, before passing from the mortal coil trying to prevent the Dark Lord from getting some valuable information. Dodds’ death did lead to the formation of the current incarnation of the JSA.

jade

Jenni-Lynn Hayden was the daughter of Alan Scott and took up the heroic guise of Jade. She was a former Green Lantern and even dated Kyle Rayner for a minute. She died in the Rann-Thanagar War Infinite Crisis Special.

arthurcurry

Arthur Curry, c’mon, you know he’s Aquaman. The butt of many jokes, Aquaman’s actually a good character with tons of cool aspects. But he was transformed into the Dweller and died fixing the mess that was Sub Diego.

jonathankent

Jonathan Kent isn’t a hero. He’s just Superman’s adoptive dad. He died when he had a cardiac arrest. Superman couldn’t save him because he was too distracted by the appearance of Kandor on Earth.

batman

Bruce Wayne technically isn’t dead. He’s just misplaced in time, but everyone in the present thinks that he’s dead. Well except Tim Drake, I mean Wayne. Oh yeah, he’s also Batman and he was “killed” by Darkseid in Final Crisis.

And there you have it. Those are all of the characters mentioned on that spread, who they are how they’re important and how they died.

[Editor’s note: Can I just point out, that grouped by writer (and assigning deaths before, during or right after a Crisis to each Crisis architect), Geoff Johns is the master DC assassin? 10 deaths to his name (in titles he wrote, or in Infinite Crisis related stories), while Morrison (Final Crisis) and Metzler (Identity Crisis) follow with 3 each. Rucka (killing his own characters in other people’s crossovers) ¬†and Wolfman are also in the running with two each. ]

Manolis, you got anything else you’re curious about?

do u have any info on Nekron for the next column?

Ok, so the reason why Manolis is asking about Nekron is because there’s tons of speculation about Nekron being the “Guardian” of the Black Lantern Brigade, I mean Corps. Black Lantern Corps.

nekron

So back in the day Nekron was just a guy living in his own dimension, called the Land of the Unliving. Basically it was a place where souls ended up when en route to wherever they were destined to end up. Sure it wasn’t the best existence, but it was all that he’d known.

But then one day it all changed. That was the day that Krona came to the Land of the Unliving. Y’see Krona was a rebellious Guardian who was transformed into pure energy as a result of his meddling with trying to see the creation of the universe. Once he became pure energy he essentially stopped living, which put him on track to go to the Land of the Unliving. But given that Krona was a Guardian, he was also immortal. And that whole “no longer being alive” conflicted with “being immortal” which caused a rift in the barrier between the Land of the Unliving and the regular universe.

Nekron looked thought the rift and saw what he liked. But sadly it wasn’t big enough for him to get though. So Nekron fixed Krona all up and gave him an army of the undead to go kill more immortals, which would then allow Nekron to widen the rift so he could come over and take over.

Krona tried to kill some Guardians, the Green Lantern Corps got involved. Eventually the GLC saved the day, but not without some casualties including some dead Guardians.

Vanquished Nekron vowed to return again. And he did. First he toyed with Captain Atom in an effort to get access to the Quantum Field. He also showed up in Fate #12.

In Green Lantern Annual #7 Nekron went up against Kyle Rayner using dead Green Lanterns such as Kilowog and Tomar’s Re and Tu to battle. Kyle eventually bested Nekron and his army, but not before he had to kill the fallen Lanterns yet again.

And thus you’ve got a very likely candidate for Guardian of the Black Lantern Corps.

Glen wants me to end on a happy note;

What are your views on the acquisition of Doc Savage and The Avenger by DC? Do you want them incorporated into the DCU, or do think they should be held separate?

I’ve got be real; I was indifferent when I heard about Doc Savage and The Avenger. I’m not really a “pulp hero” type of guy. I like capes, costumes and masks. I never read any of the various Doc Savage projects that DC released in the 80’s and 90’s and I’m still pretty vague on the character as it stands now.

That said, I did enjoy the analogues for the pulp characters when they appeared in Planetary. And the fact that Brian Azzarello will be writing the Doc Savage title has me about as excited as I could be. Getting Cliff Chiang or J.H. Williams III were doing the art is about the only way I could get more excited about the book.

I literally went from zero to sixty when I heard that Azzarello would be writing it. It went from disinterest to “must buy.”

Unfortunately that’s going to do it for this edition. Fortunately next time out we’ll have more than just two questions answered. Including Orpheus, Bizarro, Enemy Ace & Frank Rock. Probably.

Before we got here’s a question for you; with the Blackest Night upon us, are you excited about or ambivalent?

“So listen to them clear, put the box right near your ear. Light your blunts and down your beers.”

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