Monday, February 26, 2007

Just Imagine... Civil War in the DCU

I'm not a huge fan of Marvel comics, as anyone who's been hanging around here for any length of time knows. I don't understand them, and they don't understand me. I think we can both accept that relationship and move on.

Still, I've thought a bit about the ending of Civil War (arguably the biggest comic event of 2006). When you consider the sales, it seems to me that Civil War has largely been accepted -- if not enjoyed -- by the average "Marvel Zombie."

Which makes me wonder. As the "DC Drone" that I am, would I accept a story like Civil War set in the DC Universe? Let's consider what that story might look like, and I'll let you judge for yourself.

Imagine a DC Universe where Wonder Woman has been killed, and there are tensions existing between normal people and meta-humans. A lesser super-team -- oh, we'll say some sort of lame iteration of Infinity Inc. -- mucks up a mission and blows up a school, killing a bunch of kids.

This is obviously bad, and the government decides that they should start registering all meta-humans. Even guys like Superman. For some reason Batman agrees with this, so he hooks up with Checkmate and they start marking people off the list. Superman isn't too keen on the whole thing, so he says no.

Of course, Batman doesn't take no for an answer. He takes the initiative, reveals that he's industrialist Bruce Wayne, and then forces Robin to do the same:

"My name is Tim Drake and I've been Robin since I was thirteen years old."

Lines are drawn and the various sides do battle. Some guys (like Aquaman and Doctor Fate) initially decide to stay out of the fight. Now imagine for a moment that Batman, Will Magnus, and Ray Palmer get together to build a robot murderclone of Wonder Woman.

Holy crap, that's insane. But it doesn't end there. A bunch more people get killed, and then Batman assembles a team of supervillains -- including guys like Bane and Gorilla Grodd -- to do his bidding.

Things get weirder as a desperate and underground Superman recruits Wild Dog to aid in his fight against the forces of registration. Wild Dog promptly shoots some guys, and then Superman acts shocked that Wild Dog did what Wild Dog does.

Then there's a big ass fight in the middle of Metropolis between both sides, with Superman and Batman (decked out in anti-Superman armor a la Dark Knight Returns) beating each other up. Some people tackle Superman -- freakin' Superman -- because they don't want him to beat up Batman. So Superman -- freakin' Superman -- up and gives up.

So Superman gets carted off to some crazy red sun jail (a la Superboy Prime) and Batman chills with his new honey aboard some sort of weird Checkmate flying helicopter thingy. I don't even know.

Can you imagine how that story would have been received by DC fans? They would have thought it was batshit insane. Which -- when set in the DC Universe -- it is. So my question is: does it make any more sense in the Marvel Universe? Is it logical that Tony Stark would make a robot murderclone of Thor? Does it make sense that Captain America -- freakin' Captain America -- would ever give up?

As an outsider, it seems strange to me. For one, I can't understand why people in the Marvel Universe continue to "hate and fear" people with special powers. I mean, Jesus Christ, people. How many times have the Avengers saved your planet from the Skree or the Krulls or whatever they're called? Why do you still have trouble telling the difference between the X-Men and Magneto?

In the DC Universe ordinary people don't have this problem. They recognize that people like Superman are good because they save lives while people like Baron Blitzkrieg are bad because they're always trying to take over the world.

So what's the big difference between the DCU and the Marvel U? What is the thing that makes a story like Civil War work -- at least nominally -- in its universe when it would never even get off the ground in the DC Universe?

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Oh Yeah...

I know I'm a little late to party (being that I spent the last few day on an island with no Internet access). But I just have to say: how incredibly hardcore awesome is it that Manhunter has been uncancelled again?

It is, without a doubt, the best news to come out of DC in like a billion years. One of the best books on the stands is finally getting its due. And I for one couldn't be happier. I'm so happy to see that a genuinely awesome book -- even one that doesn't sell great -- is being given the chance to shine.

I can't wait to see what Andreyko's doing with the whole Order of St. Dumas thing and Mark Shaw. I can't wait to find out what happens with Cameron Chase. I look forward to happy domestic bliss and hardcore superhero action for Obsidian. I'm excited about Dylan and his crazy antics. I am giddy beyond all reason about Kate Spencer continuing to be Manhunter in her own title.

This is going to be good.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

It Begins

I am an unabashed DC fanboy. I make no excuses. I make no apologies. I don't care that the other comic readers I work with (100% of whom read pretty much nothing but Marvel) make fun of me. None of that matters to me.

So of course I am totally geeking out over DC's upcoming Countdown. 52, at its mildest could be called a success. And DC's trying to repeat it. Who knows if it'll work? I just know that -- despite my hesitations before the official announcement -- I'm on board for another year.

I love covers with dozens of heroes flying towards the viewer. I love giant fights and over the top explosion. I love monologuing villains. I love comics that take themselves seriously and I love comics that don't. I love it all.

And I have a feeling that DC's going to give me all of that and more in Countdown. Darkseid! Mary Marvel! JIMMY freakin' OLSEN! It's all going to be there, and I can't wait for 52 to end. Here's to another wild and crazy year.

(Oh, and Batgirl is on the cover, too! Woot.)

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Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Oh, wow! Did you guys read the latest Manhunter? I haven't been this happy in, well... I'm not sure I'm actually happy, as I don't know what that feels like.

But know that I was nonetheless very excited about the big return in this month's issue. The return I'm talking about, of course, is me. Did you see? I was there! They mentioned me! This is fantastic. I mean, it's been like seven years since I died, and this is the first time anyone's even brought me up.

Don't get me wrong here... I'm being realistic. The fact that I've been mentioned doesn't mean that I'm coming back or anything (though I'm still hoping I can set up shop on one of those fifty-two). But when you've been in comic book limbo as long as I have, you're happy to even get a mention.

If "happy" is in fact what I'm feeling. Which I think it is. So let's celebrate my latest appearance! Here's hoping I don't have to wait a decade for the next one!

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

On the Trail

Greeting loyal readers. It is I, Doctor Polaris -- your next president. I have been busy these past few weeks spending time in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire.

Oh, how I despise them. I am sickened that so much of our nation's future rests upon these pathetic enclaves. They are so damn cold. I am originally from Southern California! Where the weather is glorious much of the year! The ice and snow those two states is an affront to my sensibilities.

And so, I make the following declaration: should I be elected president I will do everything in my power to accelerat the process of global warming. And don't give me any of that "global warming doesn't exist" crap. I'm a scientist. Global warming is real. An I promise to use it to make places like Iowa and New Hampsire actually livable.

Of course, there is one man who will stand in my way -- should my opportunity come to pass. His powers are formidible, but I do not fear him. He will not prevent me from warming the earth and boiling the seas to create year round warmth for all the people of America.

I do not fear you, Al Gore! So swears Polaris!

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

A Thought

Imagine a city where a single man is the sole arbiter of justice. It is a lawless city, filled with maniacs and crime. And so this man must fight to protect the innocents and bring the guilty to justice.

But he is not alone! He is helped by long suffering detectives -- who have gotten used to this man appearing, collecting a piece of evidence, and then disappearing again. Leaving them to clean up the mess.

And there are his assistants. Young, brash. Some of whom have fallen in the line of duty -- and suffered tragedies of their own.

And they all must face against villains who arrive, escape, and the return again to menace our hero and his city. The villains employ grandiose plans and clever tricks. And they blow up a lot of stuff. More than one of them has become a villain thanks to the hero's own actions.

What do you think I'm talking about here? Surely I must be referring to Batman. But if you happen to watch television, you may realize that I'm referring to CSI: Miami.

Yeah, I know it's insane. But Kalinara and I (who are both fans of the show) got to talking. And we realized that the show (which is stupid and awesome in a very familiar way) is very much like a comic book. Sure, it doesn't accurately represent law enforcement. Or the city of Miami. But how often do comic book accurately represent anything?

CSI: Miami is as close to a no-holds-barred comic book action extravaganza as you're going to get on TV (keep in mind I haven't seen Heroes). It's over the top, mindless fun.

With one liners.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Justice Society of America #3

So yeah. Maybe I should've gone with my second choice.

Yes, I was completely and totally wrong about who the JSA mystery villain was. Which means you probably should take any further assertions I make with a grain of salt. But here goes anyway.

Vandal Savage -- in retrospect -- makes complete and total sense. He has the necessary knowledge and connections. And there was one thing about the Baron that didn't really fit: what was his motive? Why kill all the descendants of the Justice Society? When you know that the villain is Vandal Savage, that makes perfect sense.

What do we know about Savage, after all? We know that he's been doing the villian thing for, what, 40,000 years? 50,000? He's seen empires rise and fall -- and more often than not he caused both.

This is a man who takes a very long term view of things. He's well aware that any given scheme he has to take over the world may very well fail. He's seen it happen many, many times before. And most of those recent defeats have come at the hands of super-heroes.

So a man who takes a long view of things may think: "sure, I may lose today, but if I kill every possible legacy hero then there will be no one around to stope me tomorrow." And that's what Savage is doing.

Vandal Savage isn't killing the descendants -- and possible descendants -- of the Justice Society so they won't get in his way now. He's doing it on the off chance that they might become heroes and stop him in the future.

Vandal Savage: Unmitigated Evil Since 50,000 B. C.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Love is in the Air

I'm back. As you can imagine, the sheer awesome force of Wild Dog Week nearly destroyed me. So I needed to take a day off (and another day hitting the temples in Kyoto) in order to relax. But now I'm back in the groove. New comics arrive tomorrow, so expect substantative analysis then (especially regarding Justice Society of America #3).

But right now it's Valentine's Day. So I'll just post one of my favorite images of my number one favorite couple in comics:

Happy Valentine's Day.

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

This is... Wild Dog Week, Day 7!

This is the end of Wild Dog Week.

Seventeen years ago Wild Dog disappeared from the pages of comics. He vanished into the ether, and most forgot him. But last year Wild Dog returned. In one panel of Infinite Crisis #7 Wild Dog makes his triumphant reappearance in the DCU.

Leave it to Wild Dog to be the "go-to guy" when it comes to information about mystical happenings at Stonehenge.

And Wild Dog (incorrectly drawn costume and all) then disappeared again. He hasn't been seen since. I won't say that I'm surprised. Wild Dog may be something special, but he's also not what you expect to find at DC Comics. At first glance, he seems more like a Marvel-style hero. But if he were really a Marvel-style hero, I wouldn't be writing about him, would I?

No, Wild Dog represents the vigilante in his most primal form. Like the wild animal whose name he takes, Wild Dog is a force of nature, relentless and unstoppable. He breaks the rules, he breaks the laws. But he kills only so that others may live. He's the Jonah Hex of the modern age.

But maybe the world wasn't ready for that in 1989. Perhaps we're still not ready now. But there will come a day when the world is ready for Wild Dog. And I'll be right here to write about it when the time comes.

Yes, mark my words: Wild Dog will return. And when he does, you better lock your doors and run home to momma.

Especially if you're a terrorist in a Hawaiian shirt.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

This is... Wild Dog Week, Day 6!

Hey, remember that time that Wild Dog shot up a bunch of drug-running Chicago mobsters?

The mobsters certainly do. Which is why their new boss has decided that Wild Dog must pay! So, in the spirit of thematic vengeance he hires a fellow called "The Catcher" to retrieve Wild Dog. A dog catcher, if you will.

But before Wild Dog can be caught by the infamous Catcher he needs to take care of a little something. You see, there's been a rash of brutal bank robberies throughout the Quad Cities. The robbers kill indiscriminately, murdering dozens of police officers and civilians. And despite the combined might of four cities' pollice departments, they can't be caught.

So Wild Dog clears his schedule for the afternoon...

And takes care of things.

With that out of the way, Wild Dog is free to be caught by the catcher. And despite his mad vigilante skills, he is indeed caught.

However, the Catcher only catches guys. It's up to the mobsters themselves to "seal the deal" as it were.

You'd think mobsters would be better at killing people. What with their being mobsters and all.

But no, they really suck at it. Wild Dog, however is very, very good at it.

And so, Wild Dog escapes. And disappears. He will not make another appearance for seventeen years.

Tomorrow: Wild Dog Week concludes!


Friday, February 09, 2007

This is... Wild Dog Week, Day 5!

There's a new group in the Quad Cities. An organization dedicated to wiping evil and depravity from print. And if they're looking for evil and depravity in print, where else do you look but comic books?

But these villains take it a step beyond picketing and petition gathering. They decide to blow up a comic book store. That's on the list of many things that Wild Dog ain't gonna take. So when the terrorists highjack a truck of the most dangerous filth imaginable...

Wild Dog shows up to play.

And in a move right out of the Handbook of Totally Awesome Vigilantism Wild Dog catches a Molotov Cocktail and chucks it back at the guy who threw it. The results are as predictable as they are tragic.

Tragic, of course, because Wild Dog got shot.

Our anti-smut terrorist/crusaders take a moment to consider their astonishing good fortune. Because it obviously isn't going to last. Body armor, suckers!

Whoa. Did he... Did he really just say that? That's... That might be the scariest thing I've ever read in a comic book and the most hardcore. Both at the same time. Uh, let's move along.

The following evening, the terrorists take their roadshow to a local newspaper that's been expressing support for a novel thing called "free speech." They can't have that, can they? Unfortunately for them, Wild Dog's not going to give them a choice.

Shoot him? Yeah, I'm sure that's going to work. It doesn't take long for Wild Dog to get the drop on the leader of the terrorists.

Man, they don't make "true believers" like they used to.

Next stop for the legion of anti-smut? The local art museum, where tasteful nudes are being exhibited. And I've got to say, this time they've gone two far. A local Augustana College student seems to feel the same.

I echo the young lady's sentiments. Ted was a shining star snuffed out too soon. Those responsible must be made to pay.

Luckily Wild Dog's on hand to capture the reverend behind the anti-smut crusaders and through the threat explosion convince him not to destroy the museum. This, in turn, saves the tasteful nudes that Ted gave his life for. He did not die in vain.

Unfortunately, the good reverend escapes. Fortunately for justice, the reverend's been sleeping with Ted's mom. Unfortunately for the reverend, she's really good with a butcher knife.

Tomorrow: someone decides they've had enough of the totally awesome vigilantism and decides to hunt Wild Dog down... like a dog! Be here tomorrow for the penultimate edition of Wild Dog Week!


Thursday, February 08, 2007

This is... Wild Dog Week, Day 4!

Have you ever wondered what Wild Dog thinks about illegal drugs? I know I have.

Well, I'm glad we got that cleared up. Also, I should note that we never actually see what Wild Dog does to those two chaps. So use your imagination.

Yes, Wild Dog has taken his hard-hitting vigilantism and directed it towards drugs. A young lad by the name of Georgie Washington has been brutally cut down in the crossfire. And Wild Dog ain't gonna stand for that. But Wild Dog ain't content to simply deal with small time pushers, either. He's going all the way to the top. And to get to the top, you have to start at the bottom.

Step one: seedy, derelict crack house.

For some reason the residents of said crack house are less than enthused to find Wild Dog knocking on their door. So Wild Dog -- as we've come to expect -- improvises.

Oh, Wild Dog! Your wit can brighten even the darkest crack house. You know what else brightens crack houses? Fire.

As you might imagine, the combination of fire and gasoline convinces those two drug pushers that maybe -- just maybe -- they should run the hell away. It takes a little extra something from Wild Dog to convince the third dealer that he should vacate the premises.

Of course! Fire! Why didn't I think of that? I guess that's why Wild Dog's the vigilante. He knows his stuff.

With the liberal applicatin of fire, it doesn't take long before the three drug dealers finger their boss, a low level goon named "Willie." Wild Dog pays him a visit and -- to show that he's no one trick pony -- uses water to convince Willie to give up his bosses.

Though to be fair, it might have been the gun.

It doesn't take long for Wild Dog to work his way to the top of the chain. It seems that a bunch of lily white gangsters are responsible for flooding the streets of the Quad Cities with drugs. So Wild Dog takes a road trip to Chicago to meet these mobster types. But first, he has to get past their incredibly tight security.

Man, Wild Dog can do anything! All he needs is a single metal attache case and he's ready to go. Of course, it helps that that case is packed with high-powered weaponry.

Wild Dog enters -- guns blazing -- and shows these Chicago mob types how we do it downstate. The results -- though predictable -- are still extremely satisfying.

In the war on drugs there's definitely one winner: Wild Dog.

Tomorrow: Wild Dog does battle with right wing anti-smut crusaders who want to destroy all comic book stores. We can't have that, now can we? Be here as Wild Dog Week continues!


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This is... Wild Dog Week, Day 3!

Wild Dog has been summoned -- in civilian guise -- to Rock Island's Arsenal Island by an old college buddy. But it seems that automobile mechanics aren't the only people who might be interested in the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States.

Yes, those picnickers are really members of the Committee for Social Change. And they're out to steal a weapon prototype, blow up a manufacturing facility, and kill a whole lot of people. I wonder what Wild Dog has to say about that?

Yeah, that sounds about right. Unfortunately for Wild Dog, terrorists don't carry extra magazines, and he's soon out of ammo. To make things worse, the CSC folks are hot on his tail. Wild Dog dashes for safety.

Yeah, I'm sure that's the foremost thing on his mind. I mean, what are the chances that Wild Dog might find something he could use to defend himself in a museum on an island dedicated to making guns.

Terrorists are really stupid. But just because they're stupid doesn't mean Wild Dog is going to go easy on them:

Oh, and remember The Dixie Belle from Wild Dog Week, Day 2? Yeah, that's where the rest of the CSC guys are. I don't think I need to tell you how that turns out...

Tomorrow: Wild Dog moves from terrorists to drug runners! Will he be as succesful? Find out as Wild Dog Week continues!


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

This is... Wild Dog Week, Day 2!

Meet The Committee for Social Change:

The CSC is a group of homegrown terrorists (consisting largely of men in bad suits and women with 80's hair) whose stated philosophy is "founded on the ideal of tearing down all existing institutions and beginning anew." So yeah, they're a little nutty.

But this is supposed to be Wild Dog Week, not Commitee for Social Change Week. So, Committee for Social Change: Meet Wild Dog!

As you can probably imagine, Wild Dog and the CSC don't exactly get along. In fact, they serve as his primary antagonists throughout the first Wild Dog miniseries. Their plans were sinister, clever, and highly effective. Why, there was this one time they took over a junior high school and tried kill a bunch of kids...

Ooh, I guess that one didn't work out so well after all. How about the time they seized control of The Dixie Belle, a Mississippi Riverboat?

Oh, right. I forgot about that. But surely they fared better when they stormed a city council chamber and held the mayor hostage?

I guess not.

So are the CSC really, really bad at the terrorism thing? Or is Wild Dog just really, really good at what he does? Decide for yourself, dear reader, as Wild Dog Week continues!

Tomorrow: Wild Dog gets trapped on an island! And the only thing that stands between him and an army of bloodthirsty terrorists is America's largest weapons' manufacturing facility! Will he survive?


Monday, February 05, 2007

This is... Wild Dog Week!

Wild Dog! The name is enough to make you go: "Huh? Who the hell is Wild Dog?" I will tell you.

Wild Dog is a Midwestern vigilante who combats the surprisingly large number of terrorists that spring up in the Quad Cities. I find this especially noteworthy considering I grew up about a forty-minute drive from said cities.

The Quad Cities -- for those unfamiliar -- are a series of communities that straddle the Mississippi River. On the Iowa side of the river are Bettendorf and Davenport. On the Illinois side, Rock Island and Moline. There are a smattering of additional smaller towns surrounding as well.

One of the most interesting things about Wild Dog is that both the writer and artist of the comic are from that area. Both Max Collins and Terry Beatty are natives of the vast empty plains of the Midwest. Which makes their depiction of masked terrorists slinking through corn fields both terrifying and accurate.

We don't get super-heroes where I'm from. Only big cities get super-heroes. Places like Gotham, Metropolis, and New York. So it was incredibly refreshing to find a story about masked vigilantism set in my old stomping grounds.

Anyway, it's mostly because I get a kick out seeing comic book terrorists seize control of a theater I've actually been to. Also, to see a guy drive a truck into it:

Wild Dog's a guy in a football jersey and a hockey mask who shoots up terrorists. Not your typical DC Comics protagonist. Shouldn't he have a needlessly complicated origin?

Oh wait, he does.

So Wild Dog is Jack Wheeler a former football star who blew out a knee and joined the Marines and was present at the Beirut barracks bombing then went home and worked as a mechanic and then went to night school where he met a girl who turned out to be a Chicago mobster's daughter and she got killed and left him millions which he used to start his own garage and then become Wild Dog!

Oh, and he had a speaking role in Infinite Crisis, too. Seriously.

So prepare yourself for a solid week of mad vigilantism which I swear isn't anything like the Punisher. Because he doesn't wear a hockey mask.


Sunday, February 04, 2007

Heroclix, Round Two

So yesterday I played my second game of Heroclix ever. And this time, I used my own figures! Yes, I was lucky enough to find a brick of the DC set Collateral Damage at the local hobby shop for an obscenely cheap amount. It seems superheroes just don't sell it Japan. Their loss is my gain.

Anyway, my team consisted of Blue Devil, Ragman, Red Tornado, Doctor Mid-Nite, Manhunter, Speedy, and Azrael! This team of mighty heroes was forced to fight... More X-Men. Also, a team of ragtag Justice League rejects led by Green Arrow.

The first few turns went swimmingly for me. Ragman and Azrael hid in the bushes while Blue Devil cut a swathe through the Justice League. He picked up a piece of heavy machinery and whacked Green Arrow over the head. And then, in a fit of poetic justice, Speedy finished him off.

Things went downhill later when the X-Men joined the fray. Storm nearly took out Red Tornado, but Doctor Mid-Nite is actually a doctor and got him all fixed up the very next turn. Then Colossus beat up Azrael.

We had to cut things short, but if it had gone on for the full number of turns I think I would've won. Regardless, I got a few good hits in and enjoyed the heck out of myself.

Today's MVP: There's no question that the Most Valuable Player on my team was Blue Devil. He never took a hit (as my enemies rightly fear the "Mystic" team ability) and delivered more than his fair share of poundings. Go Blue Devil!

Coming tomorrow: Title Undetermined's first ever Theme Week!


Friday, February 02, 2007

Teen Titans #43

Ask and ye shall receive. Inquiring minds want to know what I -- Title Undetermined's resident expert on Cassandra Cain -- thinks of the latest issue of Teen Titans. So here we go. Of spoilers, beware!

Let's skip all the drivel about what happened to the Titans or why and cut straight the core: what has Geoff Johns done with Cassandra Cain? Well, he's come up with an explanation for why Cassandra's gone crazy and joined up with the guy who nuked her city. She's hopped up on goofballs.

I'll admit that it's not a very satisfying explanation. Unfortunately, it's probably as good as we're going to get. The drugs explain away some of her actions (though not all) and leave the door open for a return to grace at some point down the road.

I'm still not completely happy, of course. (what comic fan ever is?) I think back to how easy it was for Rose Wilson to break free of the same drug's influence (Nightwing: "Your daddy doesn't really love you!" Rose: "Waaah! Daddy doesn't love me!") and wonder why a person with Cass's strength of character was susceptible.

But the thing that bothered me the most was the moment where we see Batgirl slitting Bombshell's throat. I winced at that; it was physically painful. Up to this point all of Cass's OYL "kills" (Lynx, Nyssa, Annalea) have all been off panel. That left open the possiblity that she didn't really do it.

But now we've seen Cassandra murder. And it wasn't pretty, and it probably won't be the last. I'm not going to say that it "spoils" the character, because it doesn't. But it will change her. And I'm not sure if the change will be good or bad.

Probably the best thing to come out of all of this will be Robin feeling like a jerk. After all the horrible things he said about her in his solo book, I hope he feels like a complete and total heel for writing her off like he did. Because he should, and he deserves to.

Of course, I can cut Robin some slack; he's a kid. Batman gets no such slack. That, to me, has been one of the most appaling aspects of the entire Cassandra Cain fiasco. Batman (who in Batgirl's solo title seemed to care about her like she were his daughter) has continued to ignore and berate her from afar.

Batman up and left her alone during his trip around the world, didn't bother to take her with him or check on her, and generally hasn't seemed to care. Of course, the negligence on his part is an extension of the negligence on the part of the writers and editors. I hope they both make amends.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mysteries, Cont.

Some have been wondering why I chose Baron Blitzkrieg as the JSA mystery villain over Per Degaton, who seems the obvious choice. There's a few reasons why, and I'll eludicate them here.

1. Per Degaton's not a Nazi. Don't let the armband fool you: Per Degaton isn't really a Nazi. Though Degaton is most certainly a fascist, take another look at that armband: It's got a stilized "D" rather than a swastika. Per Degaton certainly believes in supreme power -- but he's going to be the one to use it.

In that sense Degaton isn't a Nazi "true believer" in the way that Baron Blitzkrieg is. As such, he'd have no reason to employ other true believers like "The Fourth Reich."

2. Per Degaton was just here. It was relatively recently (relatively in comic time, anyway) that Degaton appeared as a JSA villain. He played a major role in a pivotal pre-Infinite Crisis storyline. It seems too "soon" for him to be showing up again. Incidentlally, his modus operandi from that previous appearance doesn't match up with the methods employed by the current mystery villain.

3. Per Degaton doesn't know these guys. I definitely considered Degaton as the mystery villain. He makes a great deal of sense, but there was one moment in the Wizard profiles that made me dismiss him.

The key to me is the profile on Damage. The mystery villain says that he "knows him." As far as I'm aware, there are only two villains with a history of combating the JSA who can claim to know Damage at least slightly well: Vandal Savage and Baron Blitzkrieg.

And though Vandal Savage is still second on my list, Baron Blitzkrieg wins out thanks to the appearance of "The Fourth Reich." The mystery villain has to have Nazi connections. Otherwise, why those particular supervillains?

4. Per Degaton's too obvious. It seems to me that Degaton is just too obvious to be the villain. He's relatively well known (among JSA readers, anyway) and the recent hullabaloo over that multiverse thingy makes him seem likely. But I think that's just what Geoff Johns wants us to think. I hope I'm not giving him too much credit.

Also, I don't think that the Starman dimension hopping stuff is related to the JSA mystery villain. I think that's all a set up for the future arcs that will deal with the Legion and Kingdom Come.

Of course, this is still all my speculation. And there's nothing to say that I'm not wrong. After all, I've been wrong a lot.