Like most of the non-mainstream DC superheroes, I was exposed to The Question in the Justice League Unlimited series. He was created by Steve Ditko and first appeared in 1985. He was later revamped by Dennis O’Neil and Denys Cowan in 1987. He was once again changed by Sean Ryan and Jeremy Roberts. In the Justice League, he first makes an appearance in the episode “Fearful Symmetry.” In that episode, the Question, along with Supergirl and Green Arrow, investigates the odd dreams of Supergirl. The Question doesn’t have any superhuman powers, but he’s highly intelligent.
He wore a Pseudoderm mask, that was bonded to his skin and could change the color of his hair and clothing. He’s characterized in Justice League as a self aware, conspiracy theorist with a sense of humor. In the episode, “Question Authority,” he shows that he’s willing to kill Lex Luther in order to protect Superman’s legacy. In the same episode, he’s proves highly resistant to torture. He’s the inspiration for the more famous Rorschach from the Watchmen series. The Question is an odd character but one that I think worthy of his own series.
Universe: Prime Earth Creators: John Byrne First App: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20 (April, 2018)
To be honest the villains in DC comics can be underwhelming. Sure they great ones like, The Joker, Darkseid, Lex Luther or Doomsday. However, they are many ridiculous villains in the DC Universe, like, Double Down, a former gambler with playing cards sealed to his skin. There’s Orca, a villain that once Grace Balin, a marine biologists. She was paralyzed in a car accident, experimented with Orca tissue. She transformed into a whale like human (with human-whale breasts to boot). She wasn’t even a great villain, as her biggest crime was stealing a diamond to fund projects for the poor. She was killed by another part human, part animal villain, Killer Croc.
However, none of these villain can hold a candle to Sleez. Not a often utilize villain, he was first introduced in Action Comics Vol. 1 #592, A Walk on the Darkside!(1987). In the issue he encounters and kidnaps Big Barda. He forces her to dance for him while he films it. Created by John Byrne, Sleez is an alien from Apokolips. He’s an empath that feeds on the ” baser emotions of the average person and use that energy to bolster his own life force.” He also has the ability to inflame desires. He was so depraved that even Darkseid was disgusted by him and banished him to Earth.
After capturing Superman and Big Barda, he tries to force them into making a sex tape. The only thing that prevents it is Superman’s high morality and intervention from Barda’s husband, Mister Miracle. His hope is to generate enough money to build an army to defeat Darkseid. He makes a return in New Super-Man and the Justice League of China Vol 1 #20 (2018). He attacks Wonder Woman, asking “what’s your deepest darkest desire, baby.” He able to “taste” her sexual desire for Batman. He refers to himself as “uncle Sleez,” and his ability to manipulate results in Superman and the Flash (a female version) kissing. I know that sometimes you run out of ideas, but a perverted villain that forces people into sexual situations is not a good idea.
In my opinion most of the heroes in DC are probably underrated. Generally, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman are largely relied upon for “saving the day.” That said, the MOST underrated superhero is the Martian Manhunter (J’onn J’onnz/John Jones). The last survivor of the martian race, John came to Earth. He would join the Justice League under the name of Martian Manhunter. I’m mostly familiar with John from the Justice League animated series where he largely remained in the Watchtower. This is where he’s the most underrated.
From the Watchtower, John is responsible for manning the Watchtower and serving as mission coordinator. He is able to determine which heroes go to which conflict, based on how effective their abilities are. This is a passive but very important job that he’s been given. Obviously, this isn’t the most gratifying and admittedly “heroic” thing for a hero to do or at least that’s how it will be received. John himself is quite powerful. He possess the standard group of powers. superhuman strength, durability, flight, regeneration, shape-shifting, invisibility, telepathy and telekinesis. The grouping of these powers are somewhat different, but they’re among the most common powers for superheroes.
He is the most powerful telepath on Earth, he can link minds of all superheroes at once from the “distance of the Moon to all corners of Earth.” He can even read all inhabitants of Earth simultaneously. His mind control abilities is so profound, he was apparently able to temporarily make the Joker sane. John can see across the electromagnetic spectrum, has X-ray vision, project energy beams and according to Batman he’s an “amalgam of Superman and Batman.” If this doesn’t convince you that he’s underrated I don’t know what will. While, he’s underrated he’s not ignored. He has had a number of series to his name. However, unlike, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, he’s mostly known by comic book fans.
I’ll admit that I haven’t always had the highest respect for the Green Lantern Corps. Particularly, their weakness to yellow. I spent a lot of my childhood superhero conversations, making jokes about Green Lanterns being defeated by yellow crayons or pee. Juvenile jokes aside, a weakness to the color yellow is ridiculous and deserves to be mocked. Regardless, this is about which Green Lantern is my favorite. They one thing that I like about the Green Lantern Corps is that they don’t discriminate. I mean they REALLY don’t discriminate.
They are willing to recruit just about anyone. Gender, race or species doesn’t matter. There’s, B’DG (pronounced Badge), a squirrel-like being and Mogo, the sentient planet. There are probably too many Green Lantern to really care too much about many of them. The Guardians were surprisingly terrible for “good guys.” Positioning themselves as Guardians of the Universe they have no one to answer to. They decided that they should destroy all magic and magical beings, left Darkseid alone because he’s too strong, and exiled Hal Jordan for protecting the Earth “too much.”
Anyway, there have been a few human Green Lanterns that I’ve liked. I’m torn between John Stewart and Kyle Rayner. I liked Rayner because he was funny and he was an artist that was more creative with the ring. John Stewart was one of the first black superheroes, that also didn’t have “black” in his name. The third human Lantern, he was introduced in 1971. Unlike Kyle, John was featured in the DC animated series. He was a bit uptight but had a since of humor. I liked his romantic relationships with Hawkgirl and later Vixen. He would become the first human Guardian of the Universe. When the Guardians were absent he became the leader of the Green Lantern Corps.
After choosing a newer DC character for my favorite female villain, I’m back to my clique path. The Justice League is hands down the best DC team. How could it not be. It features the most iconic and important superheroes in the DC Universe. It’s almost unfair. If Justice League Unlimited the animated series is to be believe eventually almost every hero joins the League. Regardless, I’m focusing on the founding members of the Justice League. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, The Flash, and Green Lantern (the animated series added Martian Manhunter).
I’ll admit I’m neutral on Cyborg, and have made fun of Green Lantern for his weakness to yellow and Aquaman for his somewhat useless ability to talk to fish. However, watching the Justice League animated series and becoming more familiar with the Justice League changed that. Together the Justice League acts as the first line of defense against inter-dimensional and extra-terrestrial threats. The often came into conflict with Legion of Doom and the many forces of Darkseid.
“C’mon Bats, get crazy. It’s the only way to beat me!”
Batman: Arkham Asylum, 2009
I can’t tell you how much I love the Joker. He’s a terrible monster that is a criminal mastermind with a sadistic sense of humor. I love him. I can’t quite put my finger on why. There are probably worst villains in DC (in terms of murders) but the Joker stands out. He loves to create chaos. Unlike most villains, the Joker likes to kill in the “funny” ways. His pasts is as unclear as his mental state. Was he a failed comedian. A mob enforcer. How did he get his skin. The most common story suggests that he fell into a ” tank of chemical waste which bleaches his skin white and turns his hair green and lips bright red; the resulting disfigurement drives him insane.” Regardless, the Joker likes to strike at the mind of his victims, at least before he murders them.
The Joker is considered to be the antithesis of Batman. He believes that Batman hasn’t killed him because he “makes Batman better.” They’re polar opposites, the extroverted, loud, colorfully dressed and chaotic Joker, compared to the introverted, silent, and disciplined Batman. Both are highly intelligent and like Batman, the Joker doesn’t possess any superpowers. He defines himself through conflict between him and Batman. When he believed Batman died he tried to lead a normal like, but returned to his normal self when Batman reappeared. He has expertise in chemical engineering, that he uses to develop his many toxins. The most important characteristic of the Joker is his insanity. He lacks empathy and the ability to determine right from wrong.
In A Serious House on Serious Earth, he is described as “capable of processing outside sensory information only by adapting to it.” This allows him to create new personalities based on what which one would benefit him the most. This has been described as the Joker being “super-sane.” It has been on occasion been speculated that the Joker isn’t actually insane, but simply pretends to be. His alleged “insanity” has made him immune to the Spectre’s judgement. According to Batman it’s impossible for the Spectre to successfully judge him if the Joker doesn’t know right from wrong. Overall, I find the Joker to be hilarious. Maybe it’s how he’s characterized, the tone of his voice and his iconic laugh. He also has a knack for memorable quotes.
A lion doesn’t pass judgement on a gazelle. Cancer doesn’t pass judgement on a brain. I’ve been saying this all along. Evil doesn’t exist. There are only actions. We got to the same place–the top of the food chain–just on different paths. Mine was more fun.
I’ve said this many times before, but I often prefer Japanese Manga to American comic books. This has nothing to do with there countries of origin (I’m American), it’s more about the way comics and manga are made. To be specific, manga series are generally written and drawn by one or two people. Comic books are similar, however, sometimes a new writer or artist can take over a series an change it. There’s also the problem of continuity. Changes to character histories and backstories can be good or bad depending on the series. These changes can become a problem if they feel forced or simply don’t make sense. This inconsistency has largely put me off of reading comics. However, there are series that have a single artist and writer. I’ve decided that I should at least focus on so of those series. One such mini-series is Marvel’s, House of X/Power of X.
House of X is suppose to show how Professor X starts a new beginning for mutants, whereas, Powers of X will focus on “mutantkind’s secret past, present, and future.” Once, House of X/Power of X (pronounced “Powers of Ten”) is over, Marvel will release six new ongoing series. They are X-Men, Marauders, Excalibur, New Mutants, FallenAngels and X-Force. House of X #1 by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Pepe Larraz, was released yesterday. This series has been anticipated for a while, as a reboot for the X-Men, the first issue is a lot to take in.
House of X #1
Story By: Jonathan Hickman
Art By: Pepe Larraz
Colors By: Marte Gracia
Letters By: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
House of X #1 operates as new begin for the X-Men. Xavier frees various X-Men from what looks like a tree. Then when see various X-Men planting flowers around the world. Throughout the comic, Hickman has several explainers for the reader. The first one explains what Flowers of Krakoa are. The “primary economic resource” of Krakoa, these flowers can produce several different things for humans and mutants. From humans three drugs, one to extend “human lives for five years,” one that’s a “super drug,” and finally a drug that cure “diseases of the mind.” Xavier offers these drugs to the nations that recognize Krakoa as a nation.
To this end, Xavier has invited six ambassadors from Israel, China, France, Russia, the U.K., and America. They’re invited into the Krakoan habitat by Esme and Sophie and greeted by Magneto. He will be giving the Ambassador’s the tour. Meanwhile, a group called Orchis, is preparing to take on mutant kind. Hickman explains Orchis protocol. By recruiting assets from the A.I.M., S.H.I.E.L.D., S.W.O.R.D., ALPHA FLIGHT, HYDRA, A.R.M.O.R., and H.A.M.M.E.R., Orchis is preparing for “doomsday.” The problem is that despite earlier predictions, the mutant race is repopulating at a higher rate than anticipated.
During the tour, Magneto explains that “mutants are the evolutionary inheritors of this world,” the island of Krakoa is for mutants only. House of X clarifies what an omega level mutant is. In Marvel, “Omega level” was often used to simply suggest that a particular mutant was powerful but didn’t go into too much detail. Hickman describes an Omega level mutant as “a mutant whose dominant power is deemed to register or reach an undefinable upper limits.” Hickman notes that in mutants with multiple powers, usually only one is omega. It is the priority of the nation of Krakoa to protect it’s “greatest natural resource,” the Omega level mutants. Magneto finally proclaims to the ambassadors that they’re (mutants) are not negotiating, and they (humans) need to understand that they have “new gods now.”
I’m excited for these mini-series. It combines my to favorite things, a great intriguing story with amazing art. Pepe Larraz art style is beautiful and detailed, with perfect color by Marte Garcia. This may not work for everyone but the use of infographics, to explain the world was really helpful and well done. Many of my favorite X-Men are here and some villains as well. However, Xavier comes across a little creepy to me. He wasn’t feature much in this issue. Maybe it’s that helmet that make’s him seem to detached or the fact that he seems to have abandoned his dream of seeing human and mutant kind live together. Regardless, I’m skeptical of him and his goals. Overall, I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. If your not familiar with what happen recently I don’t think that’s an issue. House of X #1 introduces a lot in explaining the new world, but it’s accessible to everyone.
Like Batman, Wonder Woman is a typical choice. However, I like who I like right. A founding member of the Justice League, she first appeared in All Star Comics #8. Since 1941, a Wonder Woman title has been published except for 1986. Diana is the Princess of Themyscira. She was father less, given life by Zeus. To blend into society she adapts the name Diana Prince. Like most comic book characters, Wonder Woman’s story has changed numerous times.
Powers and Abilities
Diana is a masterful athlete, acrobats, fighting and strategy. She has been trained in several ancient forms of armed and unarmed combat. Of course being blessed by the Gods means that Diana is incredibly powerful. She has superhuman strength, superhuman speed, invulnerability, immortality, flight, healing factor, divine wisdom (basically the ability to learn quickly), agility, and stamina. most of her powers are generic for the most powerful DC characters. I think almost ALL DC characters can fly somehow. However, it is rare for a female superhero to possess this much power, which makes Wonder Woman unique.
Weapons and Equipment
Like Batman, Wonder Woman has many iconic weapons and equipment. Her lasso of truth is the most famous. The lasso forces people to tell the truth, it can “restore people’s lost memories get rid of illusions or cause illusions to those it holds and heal the holder’s body cure insanity and protect people who are in close proximity to it from magical attacks.” Occasionally, the lasso’s powers don’t seem to be taken seriously or it’s not that effective. She also has her “bracelets of victory,” that like the lasso are indestructible and can be used to deflect, “projectiles, blades, punches, or even Darkseid’s Omega Beams).
In animated series, Diana is often presented as stern. However, she can have moments of humor and is always ready for a fight. Wonder Woman is probably more popular today than she was a few years ago, due to the movies. She is often ranked high among the greatest comic book superheroes of all time. Wonder Woman is by far my favorite female hero.
At the risk of being cliche my favorite male hero has to be Batman. He is one of the most storied comic book characters in his story. A billionaire industrialists that became the protector of the city of Gotham, Batman is one of the best superheroes in DC comics. Born to the wealthy doctor Thomas Wayne and his wife Martha, both of whom were murdered by Joe Chill. This experience mark the turning point in his life, Bruce decided that he will spend his life fighting crime.
Bruce is one of the best fighters in DC. He trained with Chu Chin LU and Tsunetomo, two master martial artist from the Far East. In the Himalayas, he trained with Shihan Matsuda, where he learned to use a katana. Bruce also learned “the arts of stunt-driving, invention, and intimidation.” He also numerous abilities:
Genius Level Intellect
Batman also has a number of cool gadgets (he seems to have one for everything) and vehicles. His Batsuit is iconic, made out of Kevlar and minimum titanium. This makes his suit bullet proof and resistant to explosion, impacts, falls and fire. He has a Utility Belt that contains a numerous amount of useful items. From ” plastic explosives, nerve toxins, batarangs, smoke bombs, a fingerprint kit, a cutting tool, a grappling hook gun, torches, and a “re-breather” breathing device.” He also has a ring made out of kryptonite entrusted to him by Superman.
Batman in the hands of different writers can range in his moodiness, his willingness to engage in violence and torture. Some writers believed that he would never kill others like Frank Miller’s Batman did kill if necessary. Overall, the reason I love Batman is his personality. He simply doesn’t care what anyone thinks and does what ever he wants or needs to do. Furthermore, because he’s human his ability to fight against and along side super-powered beings is impressive. He also has to use a combination of his wealth, intellect and strategy.
Two weeks ago I finished the 30 Day Marvel Challenge, I had fun doing it and it was well received by you guys. Anyway, while I prefer Marvel to DC, I still love DC comics. I’ll start the challenge tomorrow. There are several different versions so I picked the questions I found the most interesting and combined them into a list of 30: