Who’s Who Review #1

It's the debut episode of WHO'S WHO REVIEW! Shag and Rob use the randomizer to dip back into the original Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe series, and take a fresh look at classic entries starring Arion, The Brain, Cyborg, Icicle, The Secret Society of Super-Villains, Vandal Savage, and more!

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43 responses to “Who’s Who Review #1

  1. So a Quick Review of Who’s Who Review.

    I’ve not managed to finish the original Who’s Who shows – I got side tracked by the excellent work by Siskoid’s Who’s Editing and got to the point that I was now almost in Sync with Who’s Who and Who’s Editing. So I’ve not listened to all of the other Who’s Who episodes. I have managed Golden age one and the last episode (update 93 #2) and 1 to 21.

    So now I have a Crisis, do I go back to the CWW (Classic Who’s Who) run and try and complete or do I progress with this new Reboot of Who’s Who? It’s going to be a tough call because the Rebirth version has slightly more of the same energy as the Classic – This time round Rob is more ch’pper. Of course for me Who’s Who #1 is about 15 months old not 15 years or whatever it is. So for this Next Generation I really notice the jump in the tone and sound recording quality that others might have only heard in a gradual transition, for example they might not have even noticed that Rob barely mentions his time in the Kubert School these days and that news flash(point) Shag has focused less on the hotness of the women in recent times it is after all almost a new millennium.

    That this New (52) 13 spotlights per episode allows for more of an in depth discussion plus the updating of history (mostly appearances in other media) is also very appealing. Currently my podcast listening queue is about 10 hours at any one time – it never counts down to Zero Hour – with F&W shows, DCOCD and Waiting for Doom and Sports Podcasts plus all the other shows uncovered by the JLMay experiment. On balance I’ll probably keep going with this new version in the meantime and pop back to the Classics in tandem with Who’s Editing.

    Kudos to both Rob and Shag for doing this show as it is like nostalgia and new info in the same episode. Just surprised it’s not called Who’s Who Revisited (But Shag is probably keeping Revisited for his V review show).

  2. Oh the random selections that could be possible! Forever Omega Morts! Snapper Carr
    and The Nuclear Family! The Composite Superman Corporation! Slipknot, Angle Man Brother Geek and The Plastic Ono Band! Ok that last one isn’t likely but I can dream. Any reason you guys can come up with to get together a talk about Who’s Who I’ll be listening. Looking forward to more episodes and I hope to be around in 2034 for WHO’s Who Review Redux!

  3. may I make a request? Kobra! the entry made me pitch a KOBRA vs BATMAN and 12 year old rob’s version was much coooler than he was in the orginal kobra comics. I didnt read the outsiders. Not cuz I did’nt like the outsiders (quite the opposite I liked the outsiders so much I did’nt WANT TO READ IT cuz it might not be awsome

  4. As soon as I heard the show’s title pronounced out loud, I started humming the “New Zoo Revue” theme song in my head, so Rob going into almost immediately was quite a propos.
    Since II missed most of your original run and find the idea of going back and listening to the entire back-catalog of episodes a bit daunting, so this kind-of, sort-of re-boot seems like a really good idea to me, and I enjoyed the first episode.
    Otherwise, I have to say that while Prince Ra-man may have been popular with the college kids, he was generally considered a bad influence because he’s a bit too salty…

  5. HIGH-JACK IS Jack from royal flush gang (after joker KILLed the orginals. Two problems
    1. i got joker 5 and joker does NOT KILL THE Royal flush gang in Joker 5 He kills ALOT OF people but not them. I tell everybody they should read joker 5 it’s a masterclass in getting around the code
    2. Why the heck would joker kill all but one of a gang?

    1. Joker is not rational. He would leave one alive for laughs, or ’cause he liked his shoes. Or he likes the scared look on his face. That’s my excuse, anyway.

  6. I think that I mentioned in another comment section on the Network that I discovered the Who’s Who Podcast during the madness of early 2020. As a DC fan for the last 45 years or so, it was and is right up my Alley-Kat-Abra. Regarding this episode:

    1. I’d like to think that The Trickster picked up his striped pants and pointy blue shoes from Harlequin’s yard sale.

    2. I remember seeing Captain Comet for the first time in an issue of SSoSV, but never made the connection between his appearance there and the Comics Code. Nice bit of info.

    3. Top JSA villain? I guess Vandal Savage is in the running especially considering his big role in DC Legends of Tomorrow. I would also nominate Per Degaton and my personal favorite, The Ultra-Humanite. I recognize that the Humanite is mainly a Superman for, but the JLA/JSA crossover featuring him leading his own SSoSV is one of my favorite stories ever. And of course, at one point, he was an ape and monkeys rule!

    4. Finally, I laughed out loud at the comment about the disbanding of The Brotherhood of Evil. Good one.

  7. I gotta say 3 Who’s Who shows on the network is awesome! I got a question for y’all , years ago DC put out a bunch of one-shots called Secret Files and Origins, would y’all ever think about doing a show on that?

    1. We should switch to an all-Who’s Who format. TreasuryCast? How about Who’s Who OmnibusCast? Panel by Panel? Surprint by surprint. Fade Out? What do you think those yellow dots do?

  8. I’ve found the huge archive of past Who’s Who episodes a bit daunting, but the very good Who’s That? Nightshade episode encouraged me to go back and search for commentary on my favourite characters. This new show sounds like a great alternative!

    – I really like Paul Kupperberg’s Checkmate! and Jan Duursema’s Star Wars work, but I only know Arion from Crisis and Power Girl’s backstory. Fantasy comics don’t really appeal to me, but I do like that DC fleshed out Atlantis with characters that weren’t directly linked to Aquaman.
    – The same Brothers of Evil who killed the Doom Patrol also betrayed Mallah and the Brain, so their New Brotherhood actually teamed up with the Titans against the DP killers in their first appearance. The issue introducing Mallah and the Brain’s relationship was the only time they showed up in Grant Morrison’s run, but it completely changed the way they were portrayed. Apparently they aren’t even villains in the new Superman show, just a couple of outcasts in love.
    – I know Cyborg best from the Doom Patrol show. I thought his deal might be too similar to Robotman’s to fit on that team, but they have a really nice dynamic there. As far as DP/Titans crossover characters go, he’s a big improvement over Beast Boy.
    – I remember seeing Alan Scott’s dynamic with Harlequin brought up in a discussion of potential retroactive support for his being gay. Coincidentally, her son was also intended to be gay long before Alan’s coming out.
    – So many of the Golden Age villains were made into bigger deals in later years than they were at the time. Icicle might only be fourth or fifth in the DC ice villain rankings, but I think he might have been the original.
    – Giving a Batman villain like Maxie Zeus his own team to go up against the Outsiders seems like a nice parallel, even if these ones in particular sound pretty lame.
    – Maybe Prince Ra-Man’s short life was because of his new name, Mark Merlin’s much cooler (and more superheroic, actually).
    – I only know the DC OSS from their role in John Ostrander’s Suicide Squad, where the sinister vibe and puppet theme of Control is definitely appropriate, though he might be on the wrong end of the strings.
    – The Society are sort of predecessors to Suicide Squad as a team of villains with their own book. There’s some overlap in members, too, and the Squad had their own solution to the villain protagonist issue.
    – I don’t think I ever realised Ultraa and Ultra the Multi-Alien were different characters.
    – The version of the Vandal Savage\Lex Luthor story I’ve heard is that Marv Wolfman’s pitch for Luthor as an evil businessman was passed over for the power armour redesign so he repurposed it for Savage, only for the post-Crisis Luthor to use his idea.
    – I really don’t know the first thing about the Legion characters, but it’s kind of funny that both of them in this episode are evil Legionnaire knockoffs.

      1. Oh, my bad. I really am unfamiliar with the Legion, and her entry gave about as much room to “The Hag” as it did to her being a Legionnaire.

  9. Well done, gentlemen. A great premise to keep the series going, and using this review as a way to gauge your individual growth over the last decade or so will make for a far more interesting and personalized re-examination of the Who’s Who entries. I encourage you to not only maintain but also build upon the reflective component inherent in what you’re doing. Hell, you two have been doing ersatz psychoanalyses of each other all these years anyway. Might as well completely lean into it.

    As for the episode, with Perez art up for consideration, it would be difficult to not pick that as the best entry of the thirteen. But, Cyborg’s entry has always been a stand-out and is definitely the best of the bunch discussed on the show with perhaps Jan Duursema’s Arion being a close second. Although some might call it dated, I’ve always missed this version of Vic and lamented him becoming essentially a Transformer with a human head in later incarnations. Recent depictions of him have gone back to a more classic version where he is a true cyborg: 50% human, 50% machine. That look always suited Vic best, I think, as it provides a clear visual representation of the inner turmoil he is suffering.

    Well, that’s all I have for now, guys. Thanks for a great show.

  10. I gotta that’s some cast of character prince Raman sounds like the name for a pro wrestler who’s finisher is the Texas clover leaf renamed instant Raman just add pain . Gotta ask had any one read the big Trouble in little china comic series or old jack brogan comic series ?

  11. I like your randomizer sound better than mine.

    Fun sub-show, guys!

    Some Prince Ra-Man info courtesy of when I Who’s Thised him: Mark Merlin was an investigator of the supernatural who appeared in a regular strip in House of Secrets for 50 issues starting with #23 (1959). And then in 1965, DC decided they needed to superhero him up and with issue #73, they turned him into Prince Ra-Man. It’s a convoluted tale, some of which is recapped in the article, but the bottom line is that Ra-Man is a completely different character in terms of looks and abilities, but they kept his HQ in the fictional town of Cloister, and all of Mark Merlin’s supporting cast. The strip was put out of its misery with issue #80, when House of Secrets was effectively cancelled. The book returned 3 years later as a horror anthology hosted by Abel. Ra-Man would not appear again until a “Whatever happened to…” feature in DC Comics Presents #32 (1981), and then he would die in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12. He’s appeared since but it’s just as convoluted.

    Definitely made some ramen jokes when we reinvented him on Who’s Editing.

  12. First off, I enjoyed Uncle Rob’s rendition of part of the theme from “The New Zoo Revue”. And yes, that children’s show was way before my time. The first time I saw a clip of it was on TikTok in a scene where Freddy the Frog told Charlie the Owl to go f— himself, which I was pretty sure was faked. That prompted me to look up an episode of the original 1972 show on YouTube to compare, and if that bit I saw was faked, the voice impressions were really spot on. (I would later learn this was an actual outtake clip of the animal suit actors joking around on the set.)

    Anyway, Rob’s use of the theme prompted me to rewatch the opening theme from “The New Zoo Revue” on YouTube, and now I have thoughts…

    So is Uncle Shag the one wearing the miniskirt and the go-go boots? Good thing we can’t see him stretching in that! At least he’s covering up those beach feet. I defer to experts Uncle Siskoid and the Hot Squad Aunties to determine whether Uncle Shag would be hot or not.

    Maybe Uncles Rob and Shag should be the animal friends instead of Doug and Emmy Jo. But which ones?

    Freddy the Frog is goodhearted, but very dimwitted. No match there.

    Charley the Owl and Henrietta Hippo are both pretty snarky, but Henrietta still tries to be prim and proper while doing it. Since Uncle Rob is trying to tone down the snark and be more professional, I suppose that means he would be Henrietta. He’ll just need to record the show in a fake Southern accent. I’m sure Uncle Siskoid knows of a disappointing Star Trek Lower Decks B plot that Uncle Rob can use as a guide…

    That would also mean that Uncle Shag would be Charley the Owl, who usually “brings the knowledge” just like Uncle Shag tends to do on the podcast since he was supposedly the only one reading the entries (though we all know that is not true)…

    “Lots of spark with much less snark… AquaRob Kelly!
    Quite profound yet mispronounces… FireShag Matthews!
    Not so smart but lots of heart… Freddie the Frog!

    They dread the moment when
    They cover Omega Men
    That the randomizer chose
    In this whole new podcast show!

    It’s the Who’s Who Review
    Coming right at you.
    It’s the Who’s Who Review
    Coming right at you!”

  13. I was interested to hear what this show was going to be. Having heard it, I like the idea a lot. As you say, tastes and thoughts change over time so looking back at these again is a pretty cool idea. A few comments:

    Arion: the symbol is sort of 4 triangles overlapping each other. Must have been a big pain to draw. Duuresma gives such great art.

    The Brain: yes … Sienkiewicz brings the fire here and in every entry he does. And he got tagged for some B or C listers. Yes, it is my mandatory comment lauding his work on the Dr. Tzin-Tzin entry. But his Silver Swan is also crazy. I like how part of this show is listing all the other media we have seen these characters in. The Brain is everywhere!

    Icicle: while not a team, all the ice villains were put together on one of the 5 remaining earths in Crisis on Infinite Earths, putting that world in a deep freeze. Hoping my memory is right that it was Earth S.

    SSV: man, that’s a lot of characters. I was always struck by Rag Doll front and center and giving us a ‘I’m scary’ pose. Dude .. you’re ragdoll. A reminder that it was SSV that was where I discovered the Creeper!

    Ultraa: few characters made young Anj say ‘OH MY GOD SHUTTTTT UPPPP’ more than Ultraa who was just a whiner. Crazy that up and comer Larsen was given the assignment.

    Vandal Savage: at some point I think they made him a cannibal which made it a little hard to like him even as a villain.

    White Witch: I think the fact she was Dream Girl’s sister was a fun part of the character. Nura is a super-flirty extrovert. Mysa is a mega-shy introvert. She has had her ups and downs. In 5YL, she is a trauma victim who can barely hold it together. In the retroboot, she houses Mordru’s power as the Black Witch. I have always liked her as a Legionnaire, even carving a jack-o-lantern of her last year.

    Hoping the randomizer hits Reactron, the Council, and the Gang all on the same show!

  14. I recently purchased both volumes of the Who’s Who omnibus collections for the Browne Popular Culture Library at BGSU. They are now in the reference section of the library’s reading room.

    These collections & your Who’s Who podcasts bring me much needed joy as I find most of DC’s current comics so disheartening. The sense of fun captured within the pages of Who’s Who seems missing from today’s DCU.

    1. Really? I find a lot of fun stuff in “Dawn of DC” compared to the previous decade, myself. Fire and Ice, Green Arrow, Shazam, World’s Finest Titans, Superman, Peacemaker Tries Hard, Doom Patrol, have joined Nightwing and World’s Finest as some of DC’s most fun books in a long while. The Flash, Cyborg, Blue Beetle and Birds of Prey all have potential to join them. I’m not saying there aren’t things to avoid, but generally, I haven’t had this much fun at DC since before the New52.

      Maybe the show will highlight some of those developments when certain characters get randomized back into play!

  15. Hurrah, more Who’s Who nerd-nip…

    “Who Doesn’t Love a Brain in a Jar?” is a slogan for the ages. Shag, tell me what size T-shirt you wear; I thought of the perfect birthday present for you…

    Yes, Rob, I can think of two instances of DC teaming up their cold villains to create chilly supergroups. One was in the rare backup story in a ’70s issue of JLA, in which Captain Cold, the Icicle, and Minister Blizzard (an obscure Wonder Woman foe) joined forces in some scheme, only to be overshadowed (heh) by the Shadow Thief.

    The other was an issue of the early-2000s Super Friends series, which featured a group called something like the Ice Pack. If memory served, you had Captain Cold and the Icicle again, now with Mr. Freeze, Killer Frost, and another deep-cut Wonder Woman foe, the Blue Snowman. (Actually a woman in male identity; the character was later brought into modern continuity as a genderfluid person—perhaps ironic for a villain whose M.O. centers on frozen water.)

    Relating to Maxie Zeus being kept in Arkham’s minimum-security wing, in “The Last Arkham” (the fantastic Grant/Breyfogle story arc that kicked off the Shadow of the Bat series and introduced the Zsasz character), Maxie is shown as being docile enough to handle various tasks around the prison. Apparently, Jeremiah Arkham keeps him in check by threatening him with some kind of holy hellfire, much appropriate to Maxie’s delusion.

    Your discussion of Bill Sienkewicz led me down a mental rabbit-hole of trying to name all of his entries in the original Who’s Who series. You got the Brain, Monsignor Mallah (as the cool kids call him), Silver Swan, Mad Hatter, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, and Mirage. I’m sure I’m missing plenty. Another fun mental game to keep me from falling asleep at night.

  16. Rob & Shag, I have to say, this was great. Listening to you talk about the same stuff all over again was even better than I expected. And I was looking forward to it as soon as I heard what you were doing!

    Thanks for mentioning Maxie Zeus’s first appearance in Detective Comics #483. As it happens, the next episode of Batman Family Reunion covers that very issue! And the episode after that covers Maxie’s second appearance! In fact, those two stories might be Maxie’s best. (The randomized is clearly in tune with the FaWU (Fire & Water Universe)). So everybody please check out Batman Family Reunion. Bat-Cousins Shawn and Paul are always terrific, and you never know what other Bat-Cousins might show up. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get this potato salad off my shirt…

  17. Great show, Rob and Shag! Great idea to bring the show back, play the hits! In honor of the O.G. Who’s Who return, I dug out some drawings I did when I was 14 of some of the Who’s Who covers. Looking at them now, I’m horrified by some of the facial structures and poses, but you can’t fault the commitment!

  18. It was great to hear the “Boys in Who” back together. Alas, it did remind me of a The Smiths’ song, “Paint a Vulgar Picture” with the line:

    Re-issue! Re-package! Re-package!
    Re-evaluate the songs
    Double-pack with a photograph
    Extra track (and a tacky badge)

    You know what the best thing about the Who’s Who Review? — “Nice Rob.”

    I am sure some industrious couch potato will go back and compare Rob’s words on a character the first time around versus now, catalogue it three ways, and create some kind of chi-squared analysis on his different takes on the same entries over time, but it simply comes down to what Rob said toward the beginning of the show… that he’s simply a happier person.

    Three cheers to happiness, Rob! I am so happy for you! (I am being sincere).

    And Three Cheers to Re-Issuing and Re-Packaging! I am glad this will go on for another ten years thanks to the BEEP-BOP-BOOP RANDOMIZER!!!

  19. Who’s Who was the podcast that brought me to the site, so another chance to go through these characters is a good thing in my opinion!

    I recently read the pre-crisis Action Comic and Vandel shows up in a mini-reboot that gives us both power armour Lex and robot Brianiac and his cool skull ship! Vandal, basically fed up with losing to the JSA so moves from Earth-2 to Earth-1 and sets up a company, using a series of ploys to make Superman look like he has a crazy hate on for perfectly innocent Vandal whilst he puts into play a rather elaborate ploy to conquer the world! It’s so proto-Lex that it hurts. I’ll also mention he turns up in All-Star #64, playing King Arther in ye olde times! It’s also the issue after they figured out Wally Wood’s shenanigans so Pee Gee suddenly loses her boob window with no explanation!

    And whilst it’s not my best work I’ve covered all of the ’70s All-Star Comics and a reasonable chunk of Infinity Inc, if people want to take a peek at what I think.

  20. A new show! Well, a new old show. I’d have called it Who’s Who Redo, but that’s just me

    Shag, I thought you said: ‘The image that you’ve got here is Arian in his blue and red and gold, kinda orgy costume…’ I agree the look is a winner, and I usually can’t stand heroes with long hair (hello Ultraa). I love the original Arion, I enjoyed the Nineties reboot, but I do not like the new 52 version, or when the great Kurt Busiek made him an antagonist. Please do not Sargon my mystical heroes

    The Brain
    Excellent, Bill Sienkiewicz work – when isn’t it? – but I did never did like that design of the Brain, it looks like the world’s grimmest coconut shy.

    Shag reflected my sentiments entirely – those pictures across the top really get across the horror of Victor’s mutilation like nothing else, it’s proper body horror. Rob’s thoughts on how we have changed in our treatment of people with metal parts were really smart.

    I love Molly Main, I love this listing, and it breaks my heart to think about what DC is about to do with her relationship with Allan Scott in the retro mini-series. Mind, the original Green Lantern being a little light in the loafers would explain why a stunner like Molly never got his attention! I love her history, it’s so very Golden Age – from pretend mousey secretary to supervillain for the FBI. She could’ve been another Black Canary and taken over Alan’s strip if she’d thought to strangle that stupid Streak. Mart Nodell’s picture is so charming.

    I love his look, it just screams ‘Jack Frost’.

    Surely Rob remembers that a trayload of ice villains appeared in the back-up strip in the first giant JLA, 139 – Captain Cold, Minister Bizzard… and the Icicle. Oh hang on, just checked all the comments, Noah got here first, nice one!

    Maxine Zzzzzeus

    That is the best art by Ric Estrada I have ever seen, so engaging – the picture is just packed, bursting with life.

    Prince Ra-Man
    Does nobody else think ‘noodles’? I really like the costume, with its unusual colour combo. Dr Rob and Dr Husband covered some of the Prince Ra-Man strips on their chequered Past podcast.

    Saturn Queen.
    I love how evil she looked, she always reminded me of Joan Crawford. But it bothered me that the Legion of Super-Villains core team didn’t have the same powers as their heroic inspirations.

    What an epic image from Alex Saviuk, I can’t recall him ever working on a team strip Quakemaster and Sizematic sound like little girl’s cookery toys.

    I was going to say the Maxima thing! Mind, she looks like she’s based visually on an earlier Perez character from the cover of a benefit book, Anything Goes, in 1997, a couple of years before Max debuted. That image wasn’t coloured but there’s an obvious link – check out page 57 of the current 20th Anniversary Back Issue. Oh, you want an opinion on Ultraa? He looks a right pillock.

    Vandal Savage.
    Nice visual. I like the idea that Vandal Savage isn’t a giant caveman type. The first time he became truly scary to me was early on in Mike Baron’s run on the Flash, when he was presented as a relentless, terrifying figure. Always there. Brrrrr.

    White Witch
    Rob’s right, the visual isn’t the most exciting, but it suits her quiet nature. I must say, those armpits are terrifying.

    My three favourites this time are the OSS, Prince Ra-Man and the Harlequin.

  21. Excellent podcast. Very enjoyable. Everything seemed much looser and more relaxed than the original. I’m looking forward to more.

    Shag is only half right. There was A Brain in the Aquaman filmation cartoon, just not THE Brain. The Brain from the cartoon was a Filmation creation, a little brown guy in green robes out to prove his superiority over everyone.

    Keep up the good stuff.

  22. Cyborg should resemble Deathlok, as one of George Perez’s first credits was working on Deathlok. He broke in as Rich Buckler’s assistant back then.

    Cold villains teamed up in JLA #138, with Captain Cold, Icicle, and Minister Blizzard.

    Mark Millar’s Wanted started life as an Elseworlds reboot of Secret Society of Super-Villains. Darkseid had died in either Return of the New Gods or their strip in the dollar Adventure Comics.

    The businessman Vandal Savage was Wolfman’s pitch for Luthor, when they soft-booted him and Brainiac, so hie used Savage instead in Action. Marv finally got to use it for Luthor in the Byrne reboot, and it was his condition to work on the books.

  23. Full disclosure, when Rob and Shag mentioned this in the Top Secret Fire And Water Stronghold of Fortitude, I thought they were joking.

    Turns out, the joke was on me, because this was a lot of fun! A pair of fresh…er…okay, worn-out, sagging eyes can give you a new perspective.

    I think a lot of us our age have lightened up about our fandoms because we’ve seen what the extreme side of that looks like thanks to socials, and it is UGLY. Plus, comic continuity is just a joke nowadays, so it’s easier to just enjoy stories, art and characters for what they are, and not to worry about what they SHOULD be or were. At least for a lot of us. It’s one reason I’m enjoying the heck out of Mark Waid’s new stuff at DC. I have no idea how any of this fits, and I could care less. It’s just entertaining. Just like Who’s Who entries!

    I’m looking forward to more random fun!

  24. As a relative new listener to the network, this show seems perfect for me since Who’s Who is part of the Fire and Water holy trinity and something I have very little experience with. So getting to listen to the both of you revisit the series lets me see what the early days were like without having to dig up a decade-plus of older episodes, which is something i would never do. Or at least, I wouldn’t do it twice. Okay, maybe I did it twice, but three times? Pfft …I mean, sure, I’ve done it three times….but I don’t see how that’s relevant.

    Growing up I was mostly a Marvel kid, following Spider-Man from The Electric Company, and I didn’t really get anything from DC until I was about 11 years old, working Saturdays at my local comic shop, and the owner shoved The Dark Knight Returns in my hands and told me I had to keep it.

    After that I started picking up some Batman books, and I didn’t really love them, they were very soap opera-ish. Batman in a love triangle with…I want to say Catwoman and some pale lady, Nekula? And I think Robin was very “ew, girls”. Maybe she was his mom? Its a little fuzzy.

    Anyway, all of that was probably while Crisis was happening, or about to happen. I didnt really dig into DC books until Legends. All of this is a long winded way to say that many of these characters in Who’s Who are brand new to me. So having two experts help me navigate these books is a real treat. Although Shag citing “Head of the Class” as a relatable metaphor does have me question the whole “expert” thing. What’s next week’s obscure sitcom reference going to be? “Dear John”?

  25. Oh, right… there were entries.

    Cyborg: I first encountered him on the Super Powers Team cartoon, though I knew he was in the Teen Titans because he was on the George Pérez New Teen Titans poster Dad had on the wall of his study. I was curious about the “terrible accident [that] damaged most of his body”, which led me to read Tales of the New Teen Titans #1 and eventually all of Dad’s New Teen Titans comics. Interestingly, Firestorm made a comment on the cartoon about Cyborg being the same age, which made me wonder why Firestorm wasn’t a member of the Teen Titans in the comics like Cyborg (and Robin) were.

    Icicle: Five ice villains (Icicle Sr., Icicle Jr., Mr. Freeze, Killer Frost, and Captain Cold) also “teamed up” in the Young Justice cartoon. In the first episode, “Independence Day”, four of them separately fought members of the Justice League and their sidekicks so they would be arrested and eventually sent to Belle Reve prison, where the fifth one (Icicle Sr.) already was. In the episode “Terrors”, the five villains stage a prison breakout that failed, but succeeded in the real purpose of getting warden Amanda Waller replaced by Dr. Hugo Strange, who would let the villains have the run of the place. In the episode “Coldhearted”, the villains created five floating “ice fortresses” that were blanketing the entire continental U.S. in heavy snowstorms, while warden Hugo Strange provided an alibi by telling the Justice League the five villains were in their prison cells the entire time.

    Maxie Zeus: I’ve only read the “Haven” Detective Comics story in which Maxie Zeus first appeared (in one of my dad’s “Year’s Best Comics Stories” digests), and he seemed like a one-off character in that. Nice to see that he carried forward in other stories. I will need to check them out.

    “(see entry for same)”… I should try using that phrase to save space in the Xum’s Who entries whenever I run into a “(see Mister Snuffleupagus)” situation.

    O.S.S.: The art by Ric Estrada is different than what I had seen in other comics. I looks like he is imitating Joe Kubert’s style a bit here. It looks really nice, regardless.

    I wonder if the Showcase issue was a tryout to see if O.S.S. could have their own comic separate from G.I.Combat. Too bad the DC Implosion would have stopped it if the Showcase tryout was a hit.

    Prince Ra-man: Loved Uncle Rob’s “Soup-erhero” joke, but if instant ramen is your only experience with eating ramen, you are really missing out. It also isn’t very healthy compared to the real ramen served in Japanese noodle houses.

    I’ve heard of “Head of the Class”, but his Prince Ra-man transformation reminds me more of a British sitcom my dad and I used to watch called “My Hero”, which was about a super-hero called Thermoman, who came from the planet Ultron, falling in love with a woman he saved, and thus adopted a “secret identity” named George Sunday to woo her. The woman, a nurse named Janet, found out George’s secret in episode 1, though her friends and family were completely fooled and thought George was an idiot and didn’t understand what Janet saw in him.

    In the sixth season, long after George and Janet were married and had kids, the lead Thermoman actor was replaced in the first episode, which involved George going back to Ultron to play a poker game, where he lost his shirt and all of his body parts except for one foot and his soul (which was contained in a tea bag, and yes there was an “accidental brewing” bit). So George’s brother got George a new body from Ultron (the new actor) to house George’s water-soaked soul. Meanwhile Janet’s family and friends found George’s old foot and thought that Janet killed her husband (and they were completely okay with that, because George was an idiot)!

    Perhaps Uncle Martin is the only other commenter here who had seen this show?

    Secret Society of Super-Villains: Hi-Jack joined the Secret Society in issue 2, where he said he left the Royal Flush Gang to be a super crook on his own. No mention of the Joker killing the rest of the gang (I am not sure where that note came from; it wasn’t in the entry, and in Joker #5 the Joker merely helped the police capture them). The Wizard magically sent Hi-Jack to limbo in issue 4, and while the Who’s Who entry for the RFG stated that Hi-Jack “never returned”, he did show up again in prison, in the JLA story which had the Secret Society villains switching bodies with the JLA. Green Lantern, in Professor Zoom’s body, tricked Hi-Jack into telling him where the Secret Society HQ was.

    Interestingly, the SSSV entry neglected to mention that Star Sapphire (not Carol Ferris) was one of the first villains gathered by Manhunter in paragraph 2. While the Star Sapphire entry says that this Sapphire’s “origin and whereabouts remain a mystery”, that origin story was supposed to be told in SSSV# 17. That issue, which appeared in Cancelled Comics Cavalcade #2 and the SSSV collection, was only partway drawn, and my Dad told me the unfinished pages were going to feature the origin as well as reveal that Star Sapphire had been portraying the two women that were basically throwing themselves at Captain Comet throughout the SSSV series.

    Ultraa (the multi-vowelled alien): What’s funny is that I see more comparisons visually with the Will Payton Starman than Maxima.

    Vandal Savage: I’ve read Marv Wolfman’s Vandal Savage “businessman” stories in Action Comics and they really informed what I had read of the post-Crisis Luthor. Superman defeated Vandal by tricking him into admitting his wrongdoing on national TV, which as we all know is really effective in stopping crooked businessmen from taking over the country…

    Vandal Savage first became a big burly dude in the Wally West Flash series, harking back to him originally being a caveman. He was a big brute (with brilliant cunning) on the Young Justice cartoon, which was the first time I had encountered him. Also on that show, he was Arion’s grandfather.

    White Witch: So was White Witch the Jan Brady to Dream Girl’s Marsha? (”It’s always Dream Girl, Dream Girl Dream Girl!”)

    I just know I would hurt my wrists if I posed my hands like that.

    I can’t wait for the next episode.

  26. Congrats to Shagg & Rob for starting another journey through the land of Who’s Who! I am so excited to be along for the ride! Since I didn’t discover the podcast/network until just before the start of the Loose Leaf version (6 years ago?!),I am thrilled to be able to provide my (useless?) commentary on the original entries.

    As I’ve mentioned in the past, Who’s Who came along at a very important developmental stage for me. I was 6 years old when my Dad brought issue #9 (the Gs) home. I was hooked! I begged him to find the previous issues for me. Pouring over the series helped teach me to read, and influenced me in ways I didn’t realize at the time (I know it is hard for this crowd to fathom, but “immortal,” “colossal,” and “harbinger” aren’t words a typical 6 year old understand).

    I now have Who’s Who in the following format: my original copies (now more tape than anything else); a second set of the series (in pristine condition); the loose leaf editions; the two omnibus editions; and, digitally. I’ve bought Who’s Who more than any other comic series. Like Rob, when I sold my 6k+ collection last year to move, my Who’s Who were one of the few I hung on to (along with my Sandmans).

    On to the entries:

    Arion, Lord of Atlantis: What an interesting character. I thought he looked cool and I dug the background info about him. Maybe someday I’ll get around to reading this series.

    The Brain: Oh, man! Sienkiewicz! Did he come out of the womb an amazing artist? He had only been in the biz a few years at this point, and look at that entry! It is *chef’s kiss! As for the character, he and Mss. Mallah were just the antagonists in Peacemaker Tries Hard, which also starred Shagg’s favorite – Red Bee!

    Cyborg: Vic was a character I had already known about thanks to the Super Powers Team cartoon and because I had inherited DC Comics Presents #26 from my Dad (had I known how important an issue it was, maybe I wouldn’t have reread it until it fell apart. Nah, I still would have). I always thought Vic was a cool character, though I do think he was mistreated over the years (the less we say about Cyberion the better). I was disheartened when his connection to the Titans was removed during New 52, and much relieved when they reinstated it following Rebirth and Dawn of DC. The Titans and his current mini-series are both good!

    Harlequin: While I am glad they brought Mr. Nodell back to do the pencils, I’m glad Dick Giordano was the inker. There are some spots where you can tell his inking really made this piece sing (especially in the closeup of Molly’s face). I do wonder how they will handle her and Alan’s relationship/marriage now that Alan has become comfortable with his true self. Will they just shuffle it off and say she’s dead (being over 90 years old at this point)? or will they actually address the feelings she had for him, and the mostly unrequited feelings he had for her? I know he loved her and cared for her, but since it was not in that way, I think that could be an interesting storyline to explore.

    Icicle: I don’t think they have ever had a formal team (like the Mudpack or the Killers Elite), but the ice-based villains have worked together from time to time. A memorable one was when they froze basically all of Earth-S during Crisis and another more recent was when The Light coordinated all the ice villains to stage separate heists during the series premiere of Young Justice. I haven’t read much about the character, but I did enjoy the story about his dying and the handling of his will by Messner-Loebs & LaRocque in Flash (v2) #56-57.

    Maxie Zeus: I only knew this character through Who’s Who, as I wasn’t a regular reader of Batman at that point. But I was so psyched when he appeared on Batman: the Animated Series.

    O.S.S.: It’s interesting to hear that Control wasn’t the manipulative puppet master this piece makes him seem. I always thought he was a proto-Amanda Waller – just using everyone for the “greater good.” Beautiful artwork. Is it possible that their appearance in the final issue of Showcase was because they knew the series was ending and they just filled the issue with stock stories they had lying around?

    Prince Ra-Man: Is he the first Soup-er Hero?

    Saturn Queen: I always loved the art for this piece. It’s amazing to think that Jurgens – who had only been in the biz four years when this entry came out – would go on to draw one of the biggest comic book event issues of all time. Saturn Queen always kinda spooked me as a character; I’ve never liked the idea of someone messing with my brain. She was used to great effect in the Superman/Batman: Absolute Power storyline by Loeb/Pacheco and again by Paul Levitz & friends in volume 6 of Legion of Super-Heroes (the Retroboot era).

    Secret Society of Super-Villains: What a spread. I was always fascinated by how many Flash Rogues were part of it (Capt. Boomerang, Capt. Cold, Grodd, Mirror Master, Reverse-Flash, Trickster). I’m surprised when you mentioned the ways the SSoSV was resurrected over the years that you didn’t mention the big one – as The Society in the build-up to Infinite Crisis. I thought that version was brilliant. Not so much a team, but an organization that set out to pool resources when necessary and stay out of each other’s way when not. It kind of fizzled out after Final Crisis, which is too bad. There was more potential there.

    Ultraa: This guy always screamed “Mort” to me. His costume is definitely a relic of the 70s.

    Vandal Savage: What a baddie! Another villain that creeped me out a bit, I’m sorry to say this rendition didn’t do a lot for me. He seems too upstanding (I think it’s the pants). I prefer the version that is a dichotomy of savage and civilized. He has been used to great effect ever since Crisis, starting with his antagonism of Wally West in The Flash (v2) all the way to today where he is manipulating events in Gotham City to his own end in Gotham War. I also loved the idea that because he is so long-lived, a significant proportion of the planet’s population is related to him, including The Guardian (Jim Harper) and Arsenal/Speedy (Roy Harper). Adding his daughter Scandal as an antagonist was a cool move, too.

    White Witch: I love this piece and this character. I loved the idea that she couldn’t just wave her hands and make magic happen: she had to prepare for it. It was a nice juxtaposition to the many Legionnaires who could just point their hands and poof. I also loved her distinct personality (a hallmark of Levitz’s Legion). She never became the White Witch in the Reboot Legion (Earth-247), nor was she related to Nura Nal/Dreamer. I wasn’t thrilled when she became Black Witch in Retroboot’s Legion of Three Worlds (it just seemed derivative). And while there was a White Witch in the most recent Legion incarnation (by Bendis and Sook), she’s not Mysa. Maybe someday we will get aw Legion book that is amazing and able to fire on all cylinders like the Levitz/Giffen/et al run did.

    OK, a little longer than I expected to write, but hopefully not as long as Frank’s. Until next time, keep up the good work!

  27. Shag and Rob,

    After originally covering the Who’s Who entries in order, and now doing them randomly, there is only one logical thing to do in the far future: cover them in reverse order!

    Bradley Glynn

  28. Not directly related to the podcast, but I just discovered a new (to me) Who’s Who entry for Shadow-Thief in Hawkman #1 (1986) with the same text as the one in Who’s Who, but different art!

  29. When I was a kid, I had Super Powers Brainiac, but received a second broken one in a trade with some other Super Powers toys. I proceeded to use the head and used some quick drying clay to place the head on a wooden cylindrical Lincoln Log type think, and that was my ‘The Brain’ action figure. So I found Rob’s comment about how The Brain looked like Super Powers Brainiac particularly on point.

    For ‘THE’ Cyborg story, I’d point to Tales of the New Teen Titans #1.

    Re: Ice Pack, Justice League Adventures #12 is the first thing that comes to mind: http://www.mikesamazingworld.com/mikes/features/comic.php?comicid=17209

  30. Woo-hoo for more Who’s Who! Does this count as NuWho?This is a ton of fun and great to “have the band back together again” to cover one of my favourite series of all time. On to the entries

    Prince Ra-men – the only Soup-erhero until Chunk(y) came along.

    Saturn Queen – I really like the understated pose (despite the back breaking twist of the hips). It shows you can have a dynamic pose without breaking the panel borders. And I agree with Rob, I really like how the black turtleneck turns in Space in surprint. I agree this is a nicely laid out entry.

    The Society of Super-Villains – This entry and other team entries like this are the reason I bought Who’s Who as a kid. I would have poured over this drawing for hours and then given myself a trivia quiz to see if I could name all the characters without looking at the heads. I would have studied all the costumes and looked at all the details the artists put into them. So much fun! Why go outside with friends when all your friends are on four colour paper?!

    This was a ton of fun and I’m looking forward to catching up for the next episode! Keep up the great work!

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