Who’s Who in the DC Universe Update ’93 #1

WHO'S WHO is back! Shag and Rob tackle the first issue of UPDATE '93, featuring Abra Kadabra, Azrael, Black Condor, Black Mask, Eclipso, The Heckler, Legionnaires, Timber Wolf, Valor, White Dragon, and more! Plus Listener Feedback!

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68 responses to “Who’s Who in the DC Universe Update ’93 #1

  1. Gentlemen, have you forgotten already that I jovially called out Shagg’s pronunciation issues in my VERY first email to the network? I specifically mentioned him saying Monsignor Mallah because, not only was it like nails on a chalkboard to my teacher ears, it also conjured up uncomfortable images of a gorilla in priest robes serving communion with his feet. What can I say? It was at the height of the Covid-19 shutdown, and my mind was playing strange tricks on me.

    Coincidentally, I recently got tutored on how to pronounce monsieur the real Frenchy way by Siskoid in an appearance I make on his Who’s Editing show. Do I ever give it an acceptable French pronunciation? Or does Siskoid scream and cry to hear me murdering his mother tongue? You’ll have to listen to the episode to find out.

    As for this show, you guys have now ventured into an era of Who’s Who with which I am not familiar. I don’t even remember seeing this update series at my LCS back then. Admittedly, my comic book reading became very sporadic during this time as I was graduating high school and heading into my first year at college. I also just didn’t have as strong an affinity for the loose leaf editions as I did for the original series. The loose leaf Who’s Who always felt too rigid and formulaic with its entries, more like a gaming manual. The original series, on the other hand, had idiosyncrasies that were charming and made the issues a joy to read.

    Anyway, another great (albeit long) episode, guys! Thanks for keeping at it.

  2. Eliclipso and ROB’S mixed feelings
    1. i love the company wide crossover. I think it’s the best company wide crossover ever! Why? Cuz built into the plot is a reason for all the heroes to fight people on their own level. You did’nt end up with “WHY THE HELL IS Robin fighting Darksied/Iron Fist fighting Hulk?
    2. THe monthly book was just BAD. He takes over a country in like two panels and for the next 12 months you got the comic you’d expect from a bad guy that does more in one comic than Doctor Doom in 30 years.
    3 HE KILLED THE CREEPER i HATE THAT SO MUCH! Creeper being my fouth fave dc charcter (superman,Batman Firestorm Creeper)
    4. Making eclipso THAT POWERFUL seemed wastefull Does’nt Batgirl or Green arrow or (sob) the Creeper need a bad guy?

  3. I hope this podcast lives forever! Eclipso killed my 80’s Wildcat and Dr Midnight. But they back now and on TV so s*** it, Eclipso

    Office of Research and Graduate Studies
    Thesis on the !mpact of Ending The Fire and Water Podcast Presents WHO’S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE DIRECTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE Expanded Universe of Podcasts by covering the MLJ/Archie/Red Circle publishing group’s assorted heroes as part of a short-lived failed licensed imprint spanning less than two full years.
    (rev. 04/10/22)

    I. How these characters aren’t even DC, on a DC-themed podcasting network.
    II. The George R.R. Martin level of protracted investment and subsequent mild contempt/angst/anxiety related to the completion of an indexing show dedicated to a continuum of DC characters that hundreds (thousands?) of listeners have dedicated decades of their lives and a substantial portion of their thoughts and monies into.
    III. How an !mpact podcast only covers a thin slice of continuity amid a Trumpian multitude of failures to launch spanning nearly the entirety of the existence of super-hero comics.
    IV. How the !mpact concepts at their peak were commercially abandoned in favor of an inexplicably thirst-inducing Jimmy Olsen prototype.
    V. The prospect of three continuous episodes of Rob and Shag approaching every entry with a New Guardians level of bewilderment and disinterest.
    VI. “The Two Jakes of Podcasting.”
    VII. “From Captain America to The Punisher: How Every Single MLJ Character was Inevitably Bettered by Other Companies’ Superior Creators.”
    VIII. “…Yes, even Charlton and Tower. But better than Continuity or Atlas/Seaboard, given.”
    !X. Egregious abuses of misspellings and punctuation in ’90s comics.
    X. The differences between the quality of the DC and !mpact binders as metaphor.
    XI. The Mighty Crusaders: Worst Superhero Toy Line Ever?

    ABSTRACT: Begins on next page following…

    1) No seriously, just look at those goobers. Excuse me: !n€p+¡

    2) The second Who’s Who Omnibus was cancelled by the publisher and pushed back to September related to paper shortages.

    3) I’m way behind on pathological Who’s Editing comments for this Tuesday and my recording plans with the guys yesterday didn’t pan out, so I also have to scrape together a podcast for Wednesday. Yet here I am typing an !mpact thesis for your 3 and one quarter hours show. I should call in to work tomorrow with a feverish case of fanboy.

    A) The joke is that it takes a few years into a decade before it starts, like how Perry Como was still charting in the early ’60s. This material mostly covers the period prior to my full arrival at DC with Zero Hour. I actually wish there was a Who’s Who with the full Chromium trim Rob bemoans. Sadly, there is no definitive printed reference of New Bloods. I will agree that it was very ’90s to give Abra Kadabra burn scars and figure “updated for contemporary tastes.” They should have redubbed him Abra Kadaver and given him a Killing Curse (yeah yeah, four years early.) Go full Herschell Gordon Lewis Wizard of Gore. Greg LaRoque tries to bring the feathering, but there is a severe lack of crosshatching and Rob Liefeld crotch wrinkles to put him over with the kids boosting Thrasher Magazine from Sam Goody.

    B) Agent Liberty is no Captain Commando (see: the upcoming Who’s Who in the !mpact Universe Podcast.) I considered buying the one-shot back in the day, but the silver ink cover enhancement was too weak-sauce for the money. Still confuse him with Codename: Assassin, who I also confuse with Atlas/Seaboard’s John Targitt: Man-Stalker. Because they’re all similarly irrelevant.

    C) I 100% agree with Rob on the Azrael circle. The editor who slapped that logo at the top could have resized the Xerox, but no. Almost like just slapping an !mpact reference series onto the tail end of a DC one. I wanted to be a bigger fan of Joe Quesada than I was, but he never stayed anywhere for long and his choice of projects wasn’t mine. I fished an issue of Sword of Azrael out of a dinged & dented bin and thought “that was alright.” Looked good, Bondian vibe, but no compulsion to seek out more. Then I suffered through Knightfall until the end of the first act with Batman #500, thought AzBat looked too much like an !mpact character, and have more or less barely tolerated his existence ever since. Stunning visuals under the original artists, but Kitson was a mismatch on the interminable solo series that played like a thimble of O’Neil/Cowan Question in a glass full of O’Neil/Estrada Kung Fu Fighter. The concept held promise but the contortions of the crossover events rendered Azrael radioactive.

    D) Black Condor sufferers from Hawkmanism. I always approached Hawkman from the outside as DC’s Wolverine, when he was obviously a more staid Fox/Schwartz sci-fi space cop. Even the Hawkworld and post-Zero Hour incarnations were never “savage” as I would have assumed from the visuals. Then the new ’90s Black Condor is solicited brandishing a knife in taloned hands while topless wearing leather. The intense art recalling the ’70s Filipino wave crossed with The Studio was very appealing, and I made a point of buying the first issue. There’s a cult involved, but nothing as crazy as Azrael’s gestating inside a cow. Turns out he’s a jumped-up park ranger. He just flies around solving minor problems in rural Pennsylvania, in a fairly gentle Silver Age pastiche. Selling me the Lizard King and delivering John Denver. DC’s dime bag of oregano.

    1. I have the suspicion that Uncle Frank does not believe Uncles Rob and Shag’s claim that they will not end this podcast series with the Impact! edition — even without the mounting evidence of multiple postings (that can fill a dozen of Uncle Frank’s dissertations) suggesting that.

      On a related note, I liked the Impact! Jaguar series, and look forward to Uncles Rob and Shag’s coverage of her entry.

      1. Yeah, Jaguar was good, and I understand that it’s what led to William Messner-Loebs being hired to script Wonder Woman after Perez’s departure. I read a fair few of the early !mpact titles. I don’t actually hate the MLJ characters, but it’s a different thing from Who’s Who, which effectively ends with Who’s Who in the DC Universe Update 1993 #2. Even if they progressed to Secret Files, that’s more of an OHOTMU thing. These two guys sitting down to look at a reference book featuring original art from established creators during a specific period running chronologically from 1985-1993 in the format of Who’s Who featuring the beloved DC characters ends with the next edition. I thought the interview with Bob Greenberger was great, but it’s not the Who’s Who Podcast.

    2. Your thesis makes certain assumptions, that
      1. The very last episode will be !mpact. I don’t think it will.
      2. That !mpact will be covered in a NUMBER of episodes. I wouldn’t bank on it.
      3. That the Who’s Who show has only covered DC Universe characters, at which point I remind the listenership of the two Who’s Who in Star Trek episodes.

      1. Interesting that your numbered points match your varied stages of Kübler-Ross.
        1. The last episode will be Update ’93 #2. The rest is addendum.
        2. Why would it be better to shotgun three volumes of !mpact in a single episode? Another journey to the heart of darkness ala DC Sampler?
        3. Who’s Who is Rob & Shag doing DC. That Star Trek thing was heresy. I downloaded the MP3s onto a flash drive and burned it in a Wicker ‘Mazing Man to protect you from The Spectre’s righteous fury at the sacrilege. Recant!

        1. 1. Addenda are still episodes. If they aren’t, what’s with all this editing?
          2. I’m an expert at making things that shouldn’t work, work after all. But I’m not producing Who’s Who, so Who Knows?
          3. I was on those episodes, so I can’t forget them as easily. There’s the show you want this to be, and then there’s the show it actually is. The Multiversal Fire and Water Network’s motto: Find your Earth!

    3. I had to press the “like” button about eight times to get it to take. I was afraid Rob had disabled it for Frank’s comments.

  5. Agent Liberty – I loved this character at the time and continue to have a real fondness for the character. Jurgens tied the origin of the character into the Iran hostage crisis of the late seventies, which I found fascinating. Rob mentioned that he was surprised there were so many supporting heroes (as I call them) in the Superman books during the nineties. I was and still am a fan of that concept. The different heroes took care of things that Superman didn’t normally deal with, so it made Metropolis feel like this huge city with all kinds of characters populating it.

    They brought Agent Liberty back during New Krypton and killed him off. Jeff and I asked Dan about this and he was more candid than he usually was, which surprised me at the time. And don’t get me started about the version that appeared on Supergirl. One of the few times the CW shows actually pissed me off with a change they brought to a character. Ben Lockwood was complicated, but he wasn’t a xenophobic hardliner. Sam Witwer did fine with the material they gave him, but this was a bad call, Ripley. A bad call!

    More to follow…

    1. Cereberus – I realize that I have something of a reputation for defending all things Superman, but this one is tough for me. I love Weezie and Bogs to death and I will defend their Superman work with every fiber of my being, but the first villains they brought to the table were not my favorites. It was an interesting concept but it just didn’t click with me.

      1. Mister Z – Rob’s reaction to these Superman characters is cracking me up because to me this all makes perfect sense but I can see to someone on the outside it looks insane. Mister Z was a cool supernatural type villain that has a first appearance which is important to this era of Superman. Superman #51 was the first book that had the Triangle numbering system on it. 1991/1. That numbering would continue until early 2002 and for fans of the era it’s a big deal.

        1. Lord Satanus- I was today years old when I realized that the Pre and Post Crisis Satanis/Satanus had different spellings to their names. So…yeah. This isn’t the worst oversight I’ve made regarding this era of Superman but it’s close.

          I took to Twitter to figure out the reason for this. Jerry Ordway was nice enough to give this nerdy question some thought and wrote, “ I know we were not doing a continuation of the previous one, as it was treated as a new character, so it’s possible the spelling using a “u” just seemed cooler. Like “Janus” versus Janis:) One had two faces.”

          For the record, I was a fan of this character. Shocking. I know. I’ll let everyone sit down to recover from that startling statement. Colin Thornton was a neat character and tying him into Satanus and tying Satanus into Blaze was so much fun. Good times.

  6. Hey guys! Great episode
    Interesting thing about Abra Kadabra. Wally ran into him shortly after Invasion (in issue 23) and described him as a stage magician who THOUGHT he was from the 64th century. (Implying that Kadabra wasn’t just crazy as a bed bug… he was actually delusional about his own origins.) I wonder if this was an attempt to keep Flash somewhat grounded by limiting his involvement with things like time travel.

  7. Did this episode prompt me to buy all 12 issues of The Hacker Files? Yes, it did.

    Am I a moron? Yes, I am.

    Great episode as always!


    1. Sean! I did the same thing! I bought all 12 issues before I even finished listening to the episode, lol! Some GPA analyst types are wondering what’s going on and going to list Hacker Files as this week’s hot book and speculate about an HBO Max series!

  8. 4) I missed Rob’s criticism of the Black Condor logo earlier. I like it overall, but now that he’s pointed out the two different fonts, I agree that they need to pick one.

    E) I never had a use for Black Mask. Aside from the Bogey allusion in the art here, he just seemed like a generic mobster in Batman terms. I really disliked Mandrake on Batman. When they brought him back as Red Skull crossed with Kingpin, that’s all I saw.

    F) Cerberus? So… Homeopathic Arnim Zola?

    G) I was a big Tim Truman fan after discovering GrimJack in my teens, and the Count Viper entry feels very much of that vibe in a way his earlier Who’s Who offerings did not. I think the concept works well for a Hawkman villain, and they should have brought him back by now. He could have been another one of those immortal threats that turn up in historical settings against guys like Tomahawk or The Shade.

    H) In Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, they introduced a mysterious figure in a trenchcoat with silver-tipped boots that frees the serial killer from jail at the end of the movie. It was a cliffhanger that I was into, but was whiffed in the belated sequel. The redesigned Eclipso came along in between those two installments, and I immediately imprinted my desire for resolution onto him. The classic costume seen in The Darkness Within was pretty corny, and though I like it, I can see the value in spiffing the guy up. I love that logo, and the revised character has a pettiness and brutality that I think helped him stand apart. The first couple issues of the ongoing series were off-putting, but it started to turn around with Sears’ last issue. Maybe Giffen was struggling to find his way, or maybe they were having to write around Sears’ favoring page design over clear storytelling? Luke McDonnell at his nadir took over for #4-6, and while it was ugly as sin, the plot finally got some traction. There was a two-parter tying into the flashback sequences from the mini-series involving Sherlock Holmes and drawn by Ted McKeever that I dug. There was a great one-off establishing a long term rivalry with Darkseid (and how much of a dum-dum Eclipso is by comparison) drawn by Colleen Doran. Audwynn Jermaine Newman takes over art chores for the rest of the series, starting off as the worst Sears wannabe and getting progressively worse. He only drew one other comic book issue ever. I appreciated the audacity of the Diablo Island massacre, but mourned a number of those characters. Also, by this point Giffen had left and Robert Loren Fleming was not the man for the job. Those last five issues are in contention for the overall worst comics DC ever produced, and they didn’t even really resolve the story. They did this thing where Eclipso was basically the dark mirror of the Spectre, and that was addressed the same month in his own book. All this is to say that like the guy from Halloween 5, I’m very into the promise of Eclipso, but the execution is rather dodgy.

    I) I very much loved Travis Charest in his Jim Lee clone days. I really don’t care much for Jim Lee anymore, because he became so formulaic, and never evolved after about 1991. I felt like Charest outdid the extraneous detail when that was my heroin, and his having a stronger Kevin Nowlan influence was endearing. He couldn’t hit a deadline with a guided missile, but I adored what he managed to get done during Alan Moore’s WildC.A.T.s run. Also, he progressed over time, taking on a lot of European influences, and got much more technically proficient. I prefer the earlier stylized stuff, but he’s become a more proper artist at Humanoids than Lee ever managed. Shag has Charest confused with another Lee clone with a weird Franco-Canuck name, Art Thibert. He was a swell inker, but never bettered Lee, though I would have happily bought his aborted Nightwing mini-series. What? Oh. Evil Star? Mort.

  9. Ahhh the twice-annual comment-fest. Let me add to the pile.

    Agent Liberty: Shagg having trouble talking about costuming in this episode. I get it, the Hot Squad is always teaching me new terms in that respect. In English, that criss-cross is just called “straps”, that’s it. I thought it would be more involved because in French, it’s the much fancier “bandoulières”. If anyone knows of a more technical term, let us know.

    Black Condor: There IS a connection between this BC and the Golden Age character, who appeared as a ghost in some issues of the series, indirectly encouraging Ryan Kendall to become a crime fighter.

    Heckler: I loved Heckler. As for Vext, it indeed WAS published at DC. I read and reviewed it here: https://siskoid.blogspot.com/2011/10/old52-vext.html

    Valor: He did indeed seed Bismoll, I believe the power set and matching planet environment was specifically referenced in LSH Annual #2. For more on Valor during this era, Bass and I covered the whole thing in the very last episode of Invasion, as a bridge to Zero Hour.< White Dragon: When Ostrander came back to do a Suicide Squad mini-series in 2008, he included White Dragon in the line-up, although not the original White Dragon. Rather, it was the equally racist William Hell from original series #4 in the armor. He got his ass killed by Plastique. The original went on to become a JSA villain (because: Nazi), I believe. Anyway, Gunn gets WD because he was poaching all things Suicide Squad.

    1. I completely forgot that I intended to comment that those straps are referred to as bandoliers when we’re describing them in the fashion industry. Military becomes a trend every few years. I guess it’s one of those French words that we’ve Anglicized. Sorry.

  10. Always happy to have a new episode of WHO’s Who to listen to. I’ve. Preordered my copy of the upcoming Omnibus vol 2, so I can listen once again with actual book in my hands.
    Here’s a suggestion for Rob, FW Presents: Tales From The Joe Kubert School! You can end every episode with the disclaimer “The story you’ve just heard is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent. The guilty can twist in the wind!”

  11. Listening now, and since there is already 50 pages of comments, I thought I should go ahead and comment. I believe that Denny did indeed plan for Jean Paul Valley/Azrael to replace Batman when he was introduced. They set up Azrael in his mini, and Bane in his one shot, and they kept saying “These books will be VERY important for Batman”, but my understanding was most people didn’t get it with Bane. Quesada sold the Azrael book, however.

    Black Mask was basically erased from continuity, Post-Crisis until co-creator Doug Moench came back to the Bat-Titles under Denny O’Neil. His initial storyline from the 80s was quite a bit darker than most Batman tales at the time, so it makes sense that he flourished in the 90s and onward.
    One thing about this entry that always bothered me was Mandrake drawing Robin’s sleeves as little shoulder points.

    1. Agree Chris – I am pretty sure I read an interview with Denny years ago where they were complaining about people wanting a more Punisher like Batman (Snyder Bros of the day?) and he said well let’s give it to them and see if they really like it. I always thought it was effective use of the replacement hero trope – much better than trying to pretend that the original is never coming back.

  12. My show is back! Thank you so much for that. And thanks for covering an issue I never picked up. It was released during my separation from comics, so I didn’t even know of its existence for ages.

    Methinks the next time we get a show, Rob will be officially be a K2.

    Thank you again. Great episode as always.

  13. Miss Robs political jokes. So many missed opportunities this episode. Did I miss the episode about the PG era starting? How many years will Shagg beat a dead joke? Looking forward to the next episode in October!

  14. I’m not sure when I first read this, but I knew Yankee Doodle Dandy was actually an old , unpublished Silver Age DC Concept that Morrison dug up and revived. If the character had debuted in Showcase #50, May/June 1964 as planned, he would have beat The Question to print by about 3 years. Check out more at Tom Brevoort’s blog: https://tombrevoort.com/2021/11/25/showcase-50-and-the-non-history-of-yankee-doodle-dandy/

    I was totaly flummoxed when the White Dragon armor showed up in Peacemaker, let alone when it actually appeared in use on screen toward the end of the series! I think Gunn just merged Peacemaker’s Nazi general father (as established by Paul Kupperberg) with a more high-profile DC racist, with a cool look. That’d be my guess. He definitely merged the two characters more toward the very end of the series.

    Can I be honest and admit I’ve never much cared for Mark (M.D.) Bright’s artwork? I hate to say that, because he’s one of the few African-American artists working in mainstream comics during this period, but his style never clicked with me. I think Black Lightning is the last entry he did with a massive flat head. Maybe he should do a Hammerhead ongoing series at Marvel?

    1. I can’t say much about Bright in general, as I’m just not as well-versed in comics lore as most of you guys. I do have my niche in The Transformers, though, and while he didn’t do much *else* in the franchise (just a few covers, really), his cover for issue #5 (of Marvel’s run that started in 1984) is arguably the most iconic cover of the entire franchise.

      Here’s a link. Judge for yourself.


      1. That is an iconic cover, and it’s so unlike every other piece of work Bright has done that I’ve seen, I always forget it’s his. Maybe he missed a trick by not sticking with that franchise. And I know he’s a fan favorite of some, and certainly has had a very solid career in comics. His line art just isn’t quite to my taste on most days.

  15. Well, I’m just about done with the episode and scrolling through the comments, so I don’t have much to add except for my dumbass story about the Evil Star entry.

    So I first spotted Travis Charest’s art in the Flash annual that tied into Eclipso: The Darkness Within. Like Frank, I loved the Jim Lee of it all, and I decided to hype up the guy to my friend in Florida by photocopying the Evil Star entry at my local library and mailing it to him along with my latest letter. Unfortunately, I left the entry sitting in the photocopier and didn’t realize it until I got home and went to put it back in my binder. I raced back to the library on my bike, but it was gone. So … I have every issue of the DC Who’s Who loose leaf and updates EXCEPT for the Evil Star entry.

    Told you it was a dumbass story.

    Great show as always!

  16. 5) You can tell the end is near because you guys pushed the boundaries of PG-13 with the language this episode.

    6) Is no one going to mention bandoliers? Chewbacca had one. Siskoid said it in French.

    J) I can’t believe it either, but I’m going to agree with Rob again on the Green Lantern Corps. I respect the premise and enjoy the anthology style short stories with the Lanterns, but it’s a lousy team book. Every member has a magical sci-fi wish ring that can do anything, but as a unit they always default to point & shoot energy blasts. That’s ahhh… that’s a lot of green, black, and white. If they’re guarding these vast expanses of outer space, why are they all on Oa every Thursday, or gathered into one place to be annihilated twice a decade? Every Green Lantern should be their own Star Trek series, with most crossover interactions being rare and brief. Doc Bright was never a fan favorite, or this fan’s favorite, but I’ve grown to respect journeymen over the years. One of my old customers used to commission sprawling custom pieces of dozens of characters from guys like Bright and the late Paul Ryan. They always gave it their all, like this anonymous patron was a big publisher. Maybe they aren’t as pretty or detailed as George Perez, but they get the job you ask for done all the way. But also, I’m turning back to the Charest page so I don’t have to look at this profile while defending it on principle.

    K) I wanted to like The Heckler so much– I went into that book with such high hopes. Unlike the profile here, which is done in his squirrely Trencher thing, this was the last book Keith Giffen did in his beloved-by-me Munoz style… at least in part, with obvious Legion-era Bart Sears and Kevin Maguire influences. I thought
    that it was going to be a return to the early Ambush Bug stories, when he was played slightly more straight and less meta. I wasn’t yet aware that the Bierbaums had no capacity for writing comedy. In retrospect, I realize that this was actually a Steve Ditko pastiche, probably recycling elements from Giffen’s aborted Creepy relaunch, but with clear design cues from the obscure Killjoy (whom Giffen improved greatly upon.) I love the costume, and think the recent appearances in a sort of Riddler suit would be ruinous if this book hadn’t sucked to begin with. Unfunny and not at all clever, plus this was the period where Giffen created his villains out of Garbage Pail Kids grossout puns. For most of the ’90s, Giffen had a reverse Midas touch, and I suffered through too many of his works in these years. Before Giffen left for Image, DC offered him his own boutique imprint to stay. I wonder if Heckler was meant to be a part of that, as it was a creator owned property? At least it used to be, as DC’s occasional usage seems to indicate that they own him now. Giffen really loved this book, and I think its failure broke his heart.

    L) Maybe the Ice Man was saving the porpoise from an oil spill? I happened to pick up one of this guy’s appearances in those days before Lobo was completely overexposed when a fellow might happened to buy a copy of L.E.G.I.O.N. if he was prominent enough on the cover. This was that one where Lobo is caught in a spiked press. The Ice Man really punked Lobo in that story, and if Alan Grant had a more American commercial sensibility, he’d have kept him to serve as a protagonist in the Lobo ongoing. Strikes me a bit as an evil Adam Warlock, but not The Magus.

    M) Ig’nea is from that period when Keith Giffen was gone and Alan Grant was transitioning out, initially replaced by Barry Kitson in the uncommon role of writer. I didn’t have much enthusiasm for this period, which saw an uptick under Waid but really came into its own under Tennessee Tom Peyer. The Hacker Files never interested me in the least, aside from it being another one of those weird period deals where creators shared partial ownership with DC… typically meaning that nobody could use them going forward with financial viability. Pour one out for Chain Gang War. I only know Lady Jane from this entry that I never read.

    N) I was not in the market for Chris Sprouse or a squeaky clean teen Legion in 1993. I did try an issue or two, but no dice. The SW6 batch should have been a cautionary tale against Ben Reilly. I came back a year or so later for the Archie Legion, which as a fresh start with the “real” Legionnaires, soon were taken into my heart. While making poverty wages, I once seriously considered pre-ordering a DC Direct Legion Flight Ring, but I didn’t know how to size my fingers for a proper ring, I hate wearing rings anyway, so it shouldn’t have mattered. I came around on Sprouse later, as well.

  17. So happy to see this show back on the air!

    I won’t bury the lede. I would rather have 10 Danny Chases than 1 Terry Long. Screw that guy.

    Onto the some comments.

    Azrael – I am not a big Batman fan and never went through a Batman phase. But the cover of Sword Of Azrael #1 was so boss I bought it off the shelf. Just loved everything about the costume. My favorite bit are the clunky ‘hockey style’ gloves though. I believe when the mini was promoted it had some tagline like ‘the most important new character introduced in the batman family’ which might have been standard promo or that they actually knew Valley was going to take over. I agree that the page doesn’t do the comic justice. And I will add that the first year or so of his solo book, written by O’Neil with art by Barry Kitson is solid stuff.

    The Heckler – I loved this series and hate the fact that it got lost in one of the ‘parental purges’ in my life. You simply cannot find this book in the wild. I loved everything about it from the bad puns to the looney tunes humor. Villains like ‘Flying Buttress’ and ‘C’est Hay’ (instead of ‘say hey’) were hilarious. I can totally see the Bugs Bunny discussion here but I think if you squint, you could probably morph this into the oft-cited Creeper book Giffen said he wanted to do.

    The Legionnaires – The whole SW6 mystery in the 5YL book was fascinating so I was thrilled when this team got their own book. I felt like DC wanted to have their cake and eat it too here. The main 5YL book was for grizzled Legion vets like me. The bright Legionnaires book was a way to bring new readers into the mythos. How could I not love Laurel Gand! And the streamlining of the costumes worked very well. I am pretty sure it was heavily implied that these were the actual Legionnaires (and that the 5YL crew were the clones) but in the end Zero Hour made them time displaced.

    Timber Wolf – I just couldn’t get behind this more extreme look for the character or the time displacement aspect of it. For one, I think his ‘overalls without the straps’ look is ludicrous. The exxxtreme look didn’t work. But mostly it is the ‘hey, I’m living 1000 years in the past and I’m fine with it’ feel that just doesn’t work. Imagine if you will you being sent back to the year 1022. Would you immediately adapt? Or would you be all ‘wait I have to poop in a hole behind the mud hut and drink germ infested water?’

    Yankee Doodle Dandy – as said above, this was a character which existed prior but never made it to print. I haven’t clicked the link, but I think the cover of Doom Patrol #51 was an homage to that unprinted story. Yes, he is completely bonkers, totally at home in the Morrison Doom Patrol. He ultimately defeats Mr. Nobody by ripping off one of those floating heads in space and throwing it onto Nobody. The face makes Nobody ‘more real’ and thus killable. Dandy does him in.

    Anyways, great to hear more Who’s Who fun and can’t wait to hear more!

  18. Rob and Shag, I was so glad to see this show back on the feed. Regarding the feedback you read on air from Eric of the Fish-Flavored Baseball Bat blog…TwoMorrows’ Back Issue magazine #133, which is the Starmen issue and was headlined by the Jack Knight Starman by James Robinson/Tony Harris, validates much, if not all, of what Eric said about Tony Harris and several of his studio-mates, including Craig Hamilton. I just finished the issue before listening to this episode. It was a fascinating interview with both Robinson and Harris and I highly recommend it. Anyway, keep up the “stellar” work and take care!

  19. Impressive podcast most impresses. The cover to this looks. However cooling their right mind thought abra cadabra was the guy you turned into the edge Lord? I thought it was goofy when they tried it with toy man. This is just something to laugh at him sorry. Maybe if they had put them in vertigo it could work. Like if there had been a limited series with Zatana. And he had been one of the villains, or a minor character that it is helping her out. Now this weird thing. But maybe used on the connection to real magic. Are he works like a con man. Convincing magical creatures that his future tech was actually true magical powers. And was able to create his own little magical kingdom using creatures that were way more powerful than him, but fell for his trickery. That could work. Or maybe in a Mme. Xanadu. Oh great now I’m thinking of bringing back the witching hour fanfiction I used to do with Zed Martin, Mdm. Xanadu and enchantress. Just do something with this guy. It probably won’t happen. I get lazy. But, I can think of way better things off the top of my head to do with this guy. Then to try to turn him into whatever this.

    This looks like something out of the B-movie. This looks like something Roger Corman would look at go back and plus the idea over his shoulder into a trashcan. This looks like something the people who made toxic avenger would look at a go that is just too far-fetched. Moving right along agent liberty was a great character that never really got his due. And a Supergirl appearance was definitely not right. I’m not even going to go into that. But that was just why. He kind of reminds me of a less weird version of super patriot from Savage Dragon. This without the Cybernetics. I’m going to skip az bats. While I did collect his run when he was Batman. And enjoyed watching Batman train up to come back to face him. I just never really got into this character. Black Condor. Rags got a lot better. This is decent arch. But compared to what he did on more recent stuff it’s just not even near to where he got. What Rob went to Joe Kubrick? Are you sure? He never mentioned. Speaking of I started collecting some action force action figures from VLAVERSE. And the guy who makes them Bobby v. Also with two Joe Kubrick before he got into making toys. And at one time he worked for Marvel legends. Granted you have to heat up these action figures before you move them. So the more for the adult collector for kids. Because he’s still using at least

    90 grade plastic. Which is pretty hard plastic. But he was using 95. I think most use 80 which is probably a better mix. But these very good toys. With good articulations instead well. I’ve already mentioned earlier that I did the correspondence course with Joe KuBERT. Which was a lot of fun and very useful. There that’s three people mentioned that went to that school. The black mask it is decent. And while the art does lead you to the typography. The blue typography is just not doing it for me. The font is decent enough. And Batman’s Cape does connect to it as does black masks for it. But, there’s too much blue in this image for me. It’s very good arT. I’m just not loving the blue. And you have to kind of front for the typography. So when you’re looking for his name Yukon have to hunt and peck for it. To search for. Still it’s pretty good art. And that was how black mask looked at the time. He does look a little bit too much like red skull now. Though to be honest mildly familiar nests with the current character. Is from the Batman cartoon. A few DC cartoons. That went straight to video movies. And the death in the family which way DVD. Where you get to choose what happens to Jason Todd.

    And oh boy does that get weird. But some of it was pretty good. And here all I can do is comment visually how it looks. Dizzy from his outfit the gangster persona they give him in the new series would work with this look as well. Moving right a long. I have to agree with Rob on this one this character looks great. They even have it to where he draws you to the typography with the way he’s holding up two heads near his name. And the font and color choice for the latter works way better than he did for the black mask entry. This character looks great, but he would definitely fit better in a Batman comic. Or maybe a Martian man Hunter one. Our something from vertigo. He’s a little weird to be facing the man of steel. Maybe if he reappeared in Swamp thing or something like that. Can’t really say much about him. I thought this was the son of Clay face four and Lady Clay face. I think that’s the number I don’t know this to be Clay face. Still interesting looking character. Moving along

    In the category of trying to hard the award goes to edge Lord of the decade this version of the Eclipso. I have no idea what to say about this. How he was used in the cartoon was great. This I’m just glad this didn’t last long. This looks like a very edgy got kid worked out really really hard till he was like 18 years old. Threw together this costume for a cosplay of theEclipso but wanted to be KWEL. wELL COOL OR KOOL. And to get way too for. Doesn’t he have all sorts of powers with the stone? Why does he have a sword and a dagger? And for all this Gothic punk stuff he’s wearing. Why is he wearing spurs? I don’t know much about eclipse so to be honest. I read the one issue where he killed wildcat everyone and only the creeper got away because of his healing factor. But, other than that I was just glad with miniseries was over. He seemed interesting enough in the justice league cartoon. But, other than that not my bag.

    The Heckler. The artwork is good. But, the story was I’ve only seen reviews of it but it sounds like he basically was Spiderman without powers. He just ran around and said very sarcastic things criminals. From what I can tell the news he went that good of a fighter. I liked Keith Giften’s image run on trencher. And I definitely liked his work on Lobo. As well as his run on justice league. Though that was mostly writing. And I did the collective few of his issues of Pun X. where he was basically making fun of the X-Men. Well mostly Generation X. And some other 90 strokes where he was taking the piss out of them. I think the issue most people remember from that run is the one where one of the guys is dating this girl. Whose father is a thinly veiled joke on Ultra Man… The Japanese one. And he’s there to fight a giant Kiju that’s kind of a Godzilla joke. But, everyone laughs at the monster’s name. This alternate has never been successful as a crime fighter. And on top of that he gets drunk and passes out. But, it’s up to this member of Pun -X and the girl he’s dating to come up with a way to have the defeat the giant monster.

    And they kind of usage growth powers in a hilarious way. Though that was the one issue he did not draw. I think it was part of Valiant Comics. It was a pretty good comic. But he doesn’t even get a Wikipedia entry. Oh well. The jokes in this entry are kind of funny. But, not his best work. Oh did I mention that as a doctor RPG that he does on Facebook. What about Clark Kent and Superman? I have no idea. Not important.
    All the legionnaires. I remember picking up a few issues of this comic in a grocery store. I was 16 years old and surprised they still had comics in grocery stores. I think this was under the Mark Waid. I definitely bought it. I was a small town of the time. So it was difficult to find comics. Though this is one of the better costumes that cosmic boy has warned. It said this run was more popular. It was pretty good. They even made fun of the short West Coast avengers becoming force works. With work force. That was led by of all people lightning lad. The artwork was very good and still looks pretty good even to this day. There was definitely good to see the Legion get out of the grim and gritty. Yep Andromeda was there Supergirl. Though at one point sensor girl was supposed to be Kara. But, because of crisis they weren’t allowed to use that Supergirl. So we had this one instead. She wasn’t bad. Though brainy, triplicate lass and apparition had become the standout characters for this run. Along with lightning lad becoming a jerk.

    It was even a likable jerk like Guy Gardner he was just a jerk. I’m pretty sure the cartoon was inspired by this run. Though apparition was not a Goth girl as she was in the cartoon. It is sad that cartoon only rent two seasons. Even with Superboy in it. And a grim and gritty girl porridge version of Superboy as a clone. Which is odd because season one looks like they were going to bring in Val Or. As a villain and have him join the team. Were they even had him in the Phantom zone thinking is odd was his father. But, nothing actually came. Valor was decent enough in this timeframe. And he does work as an inspiration for what became the Legion. This and Mark Waid second run did help the Legion a lot and were both great. Just whatever reason they did hit a big popularity streak like the run Giffen or when Geof wrote the book. Ah well.
    At any rate this is everyone’s favorite madwoman signing off. Can’t wait to hear the next pod Cast.

  20. Oh, happy day, the return of Who’s Who. Okay…

    — Yes, Azrael was always a Bat-character: Despite what this entry says, the miniseries was titled “Batman: Sword of Azrael,” and Bats was the protagonist (with Az as sort of an antihero supporting character). And while I don’t know for sure if O’Neil planned from the start for Jean-Paul to become AzBats, I did recently listen to the mid-’90s full-cast audiobook version of Knightfall, and it even starts with a condensed version of the Sword of Azrael miniseries. (Listen to it—the whole thing is ridiculous, but a real treat for Bat-fans like us; you can find the entire three hours on YouTube.)

    — So Shagg had never heard of New Jersey’s Pine Barrens? Clearly he’s never watched “The Sopranos” (whose by-consensus greatest episode is titled “Pine Barrens,” and mostly takes place in said woodsy expanse). As for his similar lack of knowledge about the Jersey Devil, clearly he’s not an NHL fan either. But while I, like Rob, spent my formative years in New Jersey, and even recall learning about the Devil in elementary school, I’ve encountered two fellow NJ natives who somehow have never heard of the creature. For shame. (I spent years looking for that thing—well, years staring out the window of the car as my family drove down the highways of NJ. No luck.)

    — This Evil Star picture is okay, though that makes it the best Travis Charest work I’ve ever seen. My main memory of his style is from the handful of covers he was doing for the Bat-titles in this era, when he seemed to represent to me the peak KEEEWWWLLL aesthetic that I associated with all those Image guys—faces that look like they’re being inflated by an industrial tire pump, giant crests of hair bangs tumbling down to characters’ chins, and women with volleyball breasts and seven-foot-long legs. Not for me.

    — The forthcoming Impact episode(s): I mentioned this to Rob once, but I think it would be interesting to use it as an opportunity to trace the twisted history of the MLJ heroes including the little-known fact that Alan Moore originally wanted to use them for the project that became Watchmen (yes, before the Charlton characters). He mentions that in passing in the intro text found in DC’s Absolute Watchmen hardcover, but I’d love to learn more (or speculate what might have been).

    — My main memory of Valor is from when he guest-starred in an issue of the Will Payton Starman series, in what was essentially a comedy issue: They encounter each other, and through a series of misunderstandings, end up fighting. I still recall what sets it off: Payton says something innocuous in English, but whatever it is, it sounds just like Valor-language for “Your mother lusts for my throbbing studliness.” High jinks and battle ensue.

    Forgive me if some of this has been covered in the previous comments; I refuse to read Frank’s screeds/treatises/etc.

  21. O) As someone who has visited The Satanic Temple and took home the t-shirt, I of course have a passing interest in Lord Satanus. Unfortunately, most Superman comics never come within a country mile of metal, so my interest continued along the passing lane. If Reign in Hell had come out a few years earlier, I might have been game, but I was all but done with DC by 2008.

    P) Mister Z is no Count Viper. And I join the chorus in giving The Netherworld a Drake Hotline Bling nope.

    Q) While fully recognizing that Starbreaker is a corny Bronze Age throwaway Galactus lift, you had me at cosmic vampire. “Eats planets” is definitely a JLA scale threat, but still at a punchable scale.

    R) I do think the problem with 5YL Timber Wolf begins at Furball and ends at the essential nonthreatening quality of Joe Phillips’ art. I don’t care how big you draw the claws if the guy wielding them carries all the menace of Wayne Brady. I don’t necessarily mind the gander fluid costume, but I felt they really nailed it with the mid-80s design. Too few Legionnaires adequately dress to their power set, but that giant wolfhead icon on his chest was all you needed to know. Going full feral is such a cliche, and Brin Londo was already his best self. He’s the Legion’s Wolverine. That’s enough. The Legion isn’t the X-Men. They’re from a utopian future, so they should be cleaner and safer. Timber Wolf is the Lancer, the Horatio, Joe Asakura/Condor, Dylan McKay– a little too cool for school, but still makes it to graduation with the other 90210 kids. This mopey misfit ain’t that.

    S) The Darkness Within spins-off two series, Eclipso and Valor, by the same scripter, Robert Loren Fleming, announced in a bifurcated house ad. The characters have beef coming out of the event. Both run less than two years, and never have anything to do with one another over that time. Multiple Legionnaires are lost in the 20th Century that year, but aside from a brief dalliance with L.E.G.I.O.N., Lar Gand has no interaction with them. So what was the point? At a time when everything was about “families” of titles, why go it alone? Where was the strategy? What was the perceived appeal in Valor? Did DC feel they needed something to entice the Quasar demographic from Marvel? Who looked at that costume and thought, “yes, this is what the X-Generation want.” I tried an issue in the time period and it clearly wasn’t for me, but I was never mad at it– just befuddled. I understand what you could do with Mon-El in the present day, and James Robinson had a better handle on that premise, but I don’t think either attempt remotely nailed it. Mon-El is only justified as a Superboy stand-in, and I guess that was the angle, but Valor wanted for the vitality Kesel & Grummett afforded “The Metropolis Kid.” Fleming as Keith’s scripter makes sense. Fleming on his own is the Thriller and Underworld guy. What possessed DC to decide this dude could launch ongoing series? I can’t grasp the thought process at all. It’s like that year they tried to make Sam Worthington happen.

    T) The White Dragon is a lot. Unlike M.D. Bright on Valor, Jan Duursema understood the assignment. “Yo dawg, I heard you like the Ku Klux Klan, so we put your Grand Dragon inside your Imperial Wizard. Check the hydraulics in your shoulder pads.” I stalled out on Peacemaker because it was only good enough for when I didn’t have better or more important things to watch, but I’ll eventually get back to it for this nonsense.

    U) Yankee Doodle Dandy was certainly the sort of thing Grant Morrison did in Doom Patrol. As invested as I am in researching the DC Universe, my eyes just glaze over at this stuff. I don’t own The Vertigo Encyclopedia because the whole point was to tell sophisticated, novelistic stories within a single title. You don’t need a reference tome– just read the damned books. I really resent these goons taking up space where they aren’t relevant or welcome. Yeah, do the Doom Patrol, Animal Man, Sandman… but Brotherhood of Dada? Dorothy Spinner? Begone.

    7) Rob’s dismissively sighed “yeah” when Shag erroneously claimed “we love Frank” resonates with a fair portion of the audience, I expect. Just remember kids– we’re only doing this one more time. I’ll still be here for !mpact, probably to a greatly diminished degree, and whatever’s left of Zero Hour Strikes. Afterwards though, I don’t really see any more manifestos in my future. “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.” Individual feelings of relief may vary.

  22. My own little addendum…

    — The initial Black Mask story arc, in 1985 or so, was among the first Batman comics I bought off the stands, and I recall finding it pretty disturbing, in a kind of awesome way. Maybe I’m misremembering, but I feel like Black Mask was mentioned a couple times in letter columns of the original Who’s Who series, alongside Booster Gold, as “Someone we wish we could include here, if only they weren’t so close to the beginning of the alphabet.” (What an elegant description.) When he didn’t show up in Update ’87—indeed, when he didn’t show up in Bat-comics at all for a good five years—I wrote him off as forgotten. So I’m glad he returned, although I much prefer this version to the sarcastic, yelling, Red Skull–looking dude. (He’s easily the worst thing about the “Under the Red Hood” movie, which stands as my all-time favorite animated Bat-film.)

    — Starbreaker: Rob, you’re going to hate this, but in the Dan Jurgens JLA story that brought him back, Superman says something like “the old League first encountered him one of the few times I joined them for a mission.” (Remember, this was back in the days when Superman was retconned into being only an honorary member of the original League.) Starbreaker also said something to the effect of, “This is the Justice League? Where’s your Green Lantern?” I liked that, the idea that the JLA has a certain cachet for intergalactic beings because they have a member of the GL Corps in their ranks. (He could have also said, “Where’s your Thanagarian warrior?” Maybe he did. Or maybe Hawk continuity was too tangled for that at the time.)

    1. I love the George Pérez page in Roger Stern’s Action Comics #650 story that first established the fact that Superman joined the post-Crisis Justice League’s mission to fight Starbreaker.


  23. Oh, how lovely to have this show back, and the back and forth Rob and Shagg talk that’s the backbone of the Fire and Water Nerdwork.

    At one point, Rob uses the phrase ‘1990s Mountain Dew version’… now, I know MD is a soda pop, but what’s the reference. Some TV ad?

    A few random comments.

    AGENT LIBERTY. I never found Agent Liberty particularly interesting – it doesn’t help that his name sounds like a brand of brassiere – but he had a great look… Dan Jurgens doesn’t get nearly enough credit for his design sensibility.

    AZRAEL – I couldn’t describe Azrael’s costume if my life depended on it – what a monstrosity. Rubbish character too.

    COUNT VIPER – I don’t know this guy at all, but he’s sexy as hell. See also YANKEE DOODLE DANDY, a definite Hot.

    RAY KRYSSING – Well, he sounds to have been a stellar fella. Maybe he’s grown up with age.

    THE HECKLER – I’ve never read a Heckler comic, but why did Keith Giffen need to create a Bugs Bunny character when he already had Ambush Bug? The Heckler is indeed currently in One Star Squadron, as is Firehawk, but don’t bother reading it, Shagg. The mini series – not a special – is really depressing and they’re barely in there. Firehawk, in particular, is basically the wallpaper of the DC Universe, pretty, but always in the background.

    THE HACKER FILES – I think Hacker Files writer Lewis Shiner also did some of the Wild Cards short stories. I ordered the Hacker Files series a couple of years ago from eBay, it’s sitting under a bed somewhere, unread.

    LADY JANE – I had completely forgotten about this character, but once you began chatting about her, it all came flooding back. DC should bring her back. Maybe they have, I’m not reading the current Swamp Thing, I tried the first one and didn’t connect to it.

    LEGIONNAIRES – I think the term you were looking for to describe the new Legionnaires’ basic costume design is ‘Cockrum Lightning Lad’. Of all the new Legionnaire names, the worst was Gossamer – over here in the UK that’s a prophylactic.

    LORD SATANUS – Having worked in journalism for a very long time, Lord Satanus being a newspaper publisher made perfect sense. I prefer the original Lord Satanis to the very minor revamp, and his wife Syrene was much more fun – and a far better design – than bony bint Blaze. I liked this better than the pic it was homaging, the Darth Vader image is a tad drab (mind, that’s fitting for such a dull villain).

    MR Z – It’s a Mr Z, oh it’s a MR Z… (sorry). Mr Z and the Time and Time Again storyline was fab. The Superman books also did the ‘haven’t we met before?’ thing with Superman and the Legion post-Crisis.

    THE NETHERWORLD – Low-rent Morlocks, if that’s even possible.

    STARBREAKER – And that’s a Kids From Fame song in my head for the rest of the day! Was Jurgens having a 5YL Giffen moment with that non-face?

    TIMBER WOLF – I hate this version of Timber Wolf, and hate this mini-series. The costume looks ridiculous, with a bondage bodice, and the logo looks like it belongs to an electrical character. Having Legion members in the 20th century is always a waste of time.

    VALOR – I don’t think the ban on non-Superman Kryptonians was the reason DC changed Mon-El to Valor– he was never Kryptonian in the first place. I suppose him never having met Superboy in the new continuity gave them an excuse to do away with the original name. I never got the business about him seeding planets, did he take all the new metagene folk with individual powers from the Invasion event, tell them they had to start a new race on another world, and shag ‘em to provide the other half of the super-seed?

    Shagg, I always thought the way you pronounced ‘Monsieur Mallah’ was akin to the way you make a gag of ‘pronounciations”. Just a bit of fun.

    I agreed with Rob an awful lot this episode, eg the boringness of schematics and the silliness of the idea that Batman would for a second consider murderous minger Talia as a lover, but when he started on the Bates/Weisman/Broderick/Kayanan Captain Atom… that run is brilliant!

    I’m like Shagg, not a Game of Thrones fan – I managed a few episodes, but it was just beards and buggery.

    The best entry, art-wise, was definitely Black Mask. Evil Star is also great, love the goofy design… surely someone has connected that mask to Starro by now? The Legionnaires picture was also beautifully done, I guess the relative smallness of the figures was due to them wanting to include the big L in a circle. I wouldn’t have bothered. The worst entry was Valor, reducing a classically handsome, powerful-looking hero to vague mediocrity.

    Who’s next?

    1. Mountain Dew sort of became a byword in the ’90s for a type of advertising that embraced the same EXTREEEME! aesthetic that Rob pointed out about a lot of these entries—since it has a lot more caffeine than Coke, they sort of sold it as an energy drink before energy drinks were a thing. Not going to look them up, but I do remember a TV commercial in which a guy drinks a can of soda as he’s parachuting out of a plane while strapped to a snowbard. (He probably had a green mohawk too.) God, I miss college…

    2. Count Viper and YDD hot? Wrong show!

      Netherworld as lame Morlock riff? That’s a very fair cop!

      Valor: Ok, so to explain that a bit (and you’re right, it’s not the ban on Kryptonians, it’s that his Superboy no longer exists, as Superboy was replaced by Kent Shakespeare not Valor), humanity seems to have certain recurring metagene powers. The Dominators didn’t create ONE magnetic guy or ONE matter-eater, but dozens of each (which is still a very small gene pool, I agree). After freeing them from captivity, he put them on planets that had the right conditions for them to thrive. So the polar people on a super-hot planet, the matter eaters on a planet where everything is poisonous, etc. A 1000 years later (and no doubt, space travel created an influx of visitors to help the gene pool out), they are the worlds represented by the UFP and Legion.

  24. Great episode (of course!) and just awesome to have the show back in general. Now that I’m (kind of) part of a podcast, I look at this glorious three-hour-plus run time and just have to wonder: how long did that take to edit? Of course, it’s likely that neither Rob nor Shagg constantly sniff like a low-rent Scarface as I do, so that probably saves time. There are so many great comments already, that all I have left to say is that this episode left me with a strong desire to re-read the post-Zero Hour Legion! Thanks as always for an excellent show! P.S. I know it’s (mostly) a gag, but I never tire of hearing Rob tell Joe Kubert School stories. 🙂

  25. Left a couple responses above but just want to add that it was great to get another episode of Who’s Who, the podcast that made me a podcast fan, and now a (amateur) podcaster! Thanks guys!

  26. Bandoliers,
    Pauldrons or Spaulders,

    Let’s see you try a remember exactly where they go next time you have an episode?

    More seriously all the netherworld stuff reminds me a lot of the Wild Card book (edited by GRR Martin, whose name has grown on the covers for some reason), as they started in ’87 I wonder if they had some influence?

  27. Hi Guys, I never got around to commenting on issue 16 so I’m back in true crazy form for the updates. Why let Frank have all the fun.

    Abra Kadabra – I’m in that tiny minority who was disappointed when Mark Waid took over from Bill Messner-Loebs on Flash. I did hang on for a bit finally dropping the book halfway through the Abra Kadabra story that led to this entry. Everything about this entry makes me glad that I did. Nonsense.

    Agent Liberty – I was reading the Superman books when Agent Liberty was introduced, I have the Agent Liberty Special and I listened to you two describing the character on the podcast and yet I can tell you nothing about him. It’s like a form of memory loss, I just can’t hold him in my mind. I don’t think my memory is going. I can still recall minute details about comics from decades ago but Agent Liberty is like a black hole, it’s weird.

    Azrael – Coincidentally I was rereading the second Knightfall trade yesterday and I came to two realisations. First, Jim Aparo is an unsung genius. The man could draw anything and do it well. But the second takeaway was that the problem with AzBats is that neither Azrael nor Bane feel real. Everyone around them feels right and gets to shine but they just come across as plot points. Ultimately no matter how great a costume designer Joe Quesada is the costume is empty.

    Black Condor – There was some discussion of the logo having too many elements and it’s interesting to note that Todd Klein agrees with you. He occasionally blogs about logos he designed and shares sketches he made along the way. For his Black Condor entry he shares a far superior alternative that he designed as well as his original sketch for this version which is labelled as a revised version which means it was changed at the instruction of Editorial. This is more evidence of the Agent Liberty problem- I could remember that Todd Klein designed that logo from reading a blog entry in 1996 but I get nada on the Agent.

    Black Mask – I have never read a story featuring Black Mask and I don’t believe they could be anywhere as good as this entry. It’s so good I can almost overlook the lack of a logo. Almost.

    Cerberus – This is a great illustration to go with a pretty lame villain. It is the epitome of Who’s Who. A great entry can make any old mort seem like a great and Jon Bogdanove was really bringing it.

    Count Viper – Next!

    Eclipso – I like to think of Rob as the gossip monger of the Joe Kubert School. Standing in corners trading stories and scandal. You’ll never guess who swiped who during Spring Break. He said he’s going steady with DC but I heard he’s been inking backgrounds at Marvel. He claims to use models but I happen to know he has a subscription to Playboy and a lightbox. Keep the scandal coming.

    Evil Star- I feel a little bad that I prefer the original Gil Kane entry. I shouldn’t really feel bad, Gil drew his version about 35 years into his career in comics. Charest had been a professional for about 35 minutes. Still I feel bad.

    GLC – I never really liked these guys. In fact it was at the expansion of the Corps that I dropped this version of Green Lantern. It always felt to me like they launched that GL series with one idea which they played out in the first 8 issues and then they just trod water until Ron Marz came in with Kyle Rayner. Great image by MD Bright though.

    Heckler – Love the jokes on this entry. Never quite got the series. I preferred Trencher- maybe there weren’t enough nose hair jokes in Heckler.

    Ice Man and Ig’Nea – I can see that these two might not sing in isolation but I will always love any character associated with the LEGION. From about issue 15 to issue 40 (when Alan Grant left) this was one of the great runs. The book was consistently excellent and yet always felt overlooked. I’d put it alongside the DeMatteis/McManus Dr Fate and the Messner-Loebs Flash run as an overlooked gem.

    Hacker Files? – I always just presumed this was outside the DCU. I have never seen an issue of this book on sale. A little bit of me thought it might be apocryphal.

    Lady Jane – I really liked her when she first appeared in Swamp Thing. It’s a nice change to have a character who plays off British history without being an offensive stereotype. Great design by Scot Eaton as well.

    Legionnaires – One of my biggest collecting regrets is that I dropped the Legion when Keith Giffen left and everything went boom. I came back in when Colleen Doran started drawing Valor and started picking up the back issues of both Legion and Legionnaires but never quite got everything. These Chris Sprouse designs are amazing and the Bierbaums were at their best on Legionnaires. Such a shame that this team and set-up was so short lived.

    Lord Satanus – I’ve been rereading a lot of old issues of Action Comics recently and I came across a response in one of the letter columns that they changed the spelling to Satanus as a nod to the ancient god Janus implying that he had two faces. I always thought they just wanted to make a lot of bum jokes. It was great to finally see that Darth Vader page in colour. I only had a Marvel UK reprint of that story which was in black and white. I did colour it in myself but it turns out Tom Palmer is a more talented colourist than child me.

    Mister Z – More like Mr ExtrOrdinary. Amirite? Because he was created by Jerry Ordway. Get it?

    The Netherworld – No!

    Starbreaker – I loved Dan Jurgens’s take on this character in JLA and I’m not just trying to make up for being down on Agent Liberty. He really worked as a foe for the whole team. To my mind a far more successful update than Abra Kadabra.

    Timber Wolf – How did this end up as the most homoerotic entry in the history of Who’s Who? I presume it’s at least in part down to Joe Phillips’s ability to make anything sexy. It’s like a super power. Of course, I’m lying about this being the most homoerotic Who’s Who entry. That is coming next episode from the same creative team. Who needs to write slash fiction when Timber Wolf is fighting Thrust.

    Valor>Mon-El. I know almost no one agrees with me but Mon-El is a terrible name. If you meet someone on a Monday you write a Craig David song you don’t give him a shitty codename. I always felt this costume design was very Tattooine meets TNG. I like a bit of retro-futurism in my Legion designs.

    White Dragon – I’m now wondering if this is the most loved up episode of Who’s Who. References to Rob’s wedding, and three married couples in the gallery post – the Bierbaums (Heckler), Louise (Cerberus) and Walt (Darth Vader) Simonson & Tom Mandrake and Jan Duursema. Am I trying to take my mind off the fact that the qualities that made you a supervillain in 1993 make you a popular political leader in 2022? Yes I am.

    Yankee Doodle Dandy – NOBODY FOR PRESIDENT!!!

    A general point regarding the feedback segment on issue 16. At different points you read out comments about how Jerome K Moore and David A Williams are great artists who never seemed to get the break they needed. I am one of the whitest man on the planet and am far from an expert but is there a possibility that institutional racism within the comics industry may have had a part to play in denying these men the best jobs. It’s a bit of a downer at the end of such a joyous episode, sorry.

  28. EXXXTREEEEEEEEME!!!!! *Ahem*, okay no that I have that out of my system, it’s good to have Who’s Who back! The banter between you two is the best and makes me happy every time you guys get together for an episode. You gentlemen are the reason I started listening to podcasts on the regular. Who’s Who has been with me lo, these many years, and while I’m super excited to see another episode drop, I feel like we are coming to the Breakdowns era of this show….. to mix my podcast metaphors. But until the end, I’ll just enjoy what’s right in front of me.

    Abra Kadabra – I believe the extreme ’90’s magician you were searching for is Criss Angel, Mindfreak!

    The Heckler – I remember buying The Heckler #1 (with Hammerlocke #1!) off the spinner rack. I was very excited for another funny book to replace the newly serious, non-bwa-ha-ha JLI. Groo the Wanderer just wasn’t enough!

    Legionnaires – This is the book that really got me into the Legion, mostly from the Chris Sprouse art (hence why I bought previously mentioned Hammerlocke). This seemed like such a fun book to counter all the dark, gritty, extreme-ness that was going on at the time. While I liked getting the random Legino book before this, it always felt like I was just catches bits of a long running soap opera so I was excited to get in on the ground floor of a new series that wasn’t beholden to the older series so much.

    “Of course I’d buy it. That doesn’t count, I’m an idiot!” My new favourite Rob quote. And one I would apply to me, as well!

    I was intrigued by Rob’s view on prequels, specifically about the New World of Krypton. While I can certainly see his side, to me all that extra content makes the main story MORE interesting to me. It’s why I love reading the Star Wars novels and comics so much, it makes Luke’s journey seem even more special that he overcame all this history to rise above everything else. BUT (big but) I do think it can go too far. One of my few pet peeves about all the extra content is when they keep making stories that are supposed to occur between two very specific points in time. To use the Star Wars analogy again, there’s only so much that can happen between Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back so please stop making stories that occur during that time. It makes it seem like they are having some world altering crisis every 20 minutes.

    As always, you guys are fantastic and I loved every minute (all ~200 minutes) of it! It almost took me the same amount of time going through all the comments as well, mostly because of Frank. I’m looking forward for whatever, or whomever, comes next.

    Keep up the great work!

  29. I was reading so many DC comics during this era, I knew all of these characters. Favorites have to be the Heckler (too short-lived a series) and the Legionnaires (a fantastic era for the LSH).

    Interesting note: I just reached Starbreaker’s debut last week in my 2022 JLA-a-day reading project. Course by the time you read this, I might have finished volume one. 🙂 But still a crazy coincidence for me.

  30. Digging into obscure books that Power Girl has been in she. and the JLI, were in issue eleven of the Hacker Files! I didn’t think I could work in reference to her here, but here we go! 😀 It even seems to remember that she has some computer skills, though let’s not question how she keeps those up to date.

  31. What a delight to see another episode of the show, gents! Rob’s EXTREME sentiment here matches my own, but I really appreciate Shag’s enthusiasm. I didn’t read anything out of DC in the 90s except a Death trade and the Superman Wedding issue, and by that point my friends and I had gone on to reading Impact comics – the dark times, to quote Ben Kenobi. I’m actually looking forward to the Impact issues for that reason as between WildC.A.T.S. and Gen13, my friends and I read a lot coming out of Impact studios.

    A few thoughts on the entries.

    Dear god, poor Abra! The 90s dragged that poor man into a dark alley and drowned him in Mountain Dew, belt buckles and ammo bandoliers! I sympathize with DC for some of their decisions regarding characters, and I think Rob called it out right here – the “magician” type was no longer a very interesting character. But I would rather have seen some fresh faces instead of maimed characters personally. This is said, of course, from the perspective of someone who stopped reading after Flash #350, which featured Abra as the main villain! I was not buying their comics entirely due to the sentiment that the characters felt dated and out of touch, so really – this is all my fault.

    My youngest son loves the Knightfall series and likes Azreal. I’ve put it on my acquisition list to complete his Knightfall collection for him this year, and may even hunt down at least that page of the loose leaf to get for him! Strangely it was Azreal’s appearance in the Arkham City game that got him curious about the character, then lead him to track down the trade, then got him reading.

    I feel like the GL Core is akin to Marvel’s X-Men – a vast, sprawling team of heroes that should properly exist in their own sub-universe, but continue to remain popular enough to persist in the main universe and even gradually infect the rest of that universe with their concepts. I have no dislike of either the GL or the X-Men, but when I get into trying to parse GL Core plots my eyes begin to glaze over.

    Lord Satanus is a character I’m incredibly relieved never came up in issues I owned. My mother was a fanatical Christian when I was young, so things like D&D were banned in the household, as well as any comic that strayed too close to demonic images. A villain named Lord Satanus might have marched my comics right out to the dumpster! He feels like a DC clone of Mephisto of course, but since both are just riffing on the Devil I don’t think it’s fair to call him a copy. I might have to track down these Superman issue now – Superman vs. Satan just sounds awesome.

    I can distinctly recall picking up and flipping through issues of the Legion in my LCS in this era, and Timber Wolf comes to mind as a character that I thought looked interesting. He gives me a bit more of the Sabretooth vibe than Logan, personally – I think in the late 80s and early 90s Logan was firmly into the “he’s a ronin” phase, or I might be misremembering.

    While writing this response, I went to a DC wiki to look up the list of characters in the issue again; I listened to the episode a few days back, and had ideas of the few comments I had wanted to make, but the wiki helps me recall the ideas I had by looking at the characters in the issue. Hilariously, when I got to Yankee Doodle Dandy, I pulled up his wiki page. The entry consist of his name, and this sentence:

    *”Yankee Doodle” Dandy was a deranged government operative.*

    That made me laugh out loud. But back to the comment. There are a number of DC characters that riff on Americana that, as a non-American, just always fall flat. Canada itself is nearly devoid of fictional characters and concepts we cling to, though now I’m picturing making a strapping hero called the Log Driver (who happens to be good at waltzing). This made me think of how in the Reign of the Superman plot-line, the Steel character’s intended similarities to John Henry were completely lost on myself and my friends (but we did think he was cool!). Since then I’ve gone on to be more interested in some of these American folklore heroes thanks to American Gods, as well as a growing interest in history, but Yankee Doodle Dandy is just such a weird character name for a non-American. It would be as if, were he Canadian in origin, this oddball would be named Upper Canada Man or something else referring to the war of 1812.

    Shagg and Rob, love the show and look forward to the next episode!

    1. And here’s where reading ahead in the wiki I was researching Yankee Doodle Dandy in has made me realize that the upcoming Who’s Who comics are for the Impact comics, not Image comics. I guess because DC went and purchased many of the Image characters from the Wildstorm universe, my brain just edited in “Image” when you were saying “Impact”, or I conflated the two.

      I have now looked up Impact comics, and have no idea who these characters are.

      Egg on my face!

    2. As a Canadian, I would love to see Upper Canada Man (and his sidekick Lower Canada Boy) go up against Yankee Doodle Dandy.

  32. Hello Shag and Rob,

    After who knows how many months, I’ve finally caught up on your Who’s Who episodes. Thank you for many hours of listening enjoyment at work. This has been part of my regular rotation, along with a few other shows on the Fire and Water network, plus various outside interests that I won’t bother mentioning. Anyway, your friendly banter, comic life stories, personal perspectives, and infectious enthusiasm of DC comics history is appreciated.

    Here’s my Who’s Who origin story: After starting my comics buying addiction – I mean, “hobby” in 1991, I vaguely remember seeing some of the loose leaf editions as they came out. But I never bought any because of the seemingly ridiculous price and the fact that they featured many characters that were unknown and/or uninteresting to me. Listening to your coverage of the original 26 issue series inspired me to buy the four issues from that run that showcased some of my favorite classic characters: Adam Strange, Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock, and Easy Company. Those issues are welcome additions to my collection, especially since my modern comics buying has been very modest for about the last 15 years. But that’s a separate conversation.

    I look forward to any snarky comments about my story. Thanks!

    Bradley Glynn

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