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WHO’S WHO: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Volume XIX

Who's Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC UniverseThe Fire and Water Podcast Presents… WHO’S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE PODCAST OF THE DC UNIVERSE, Volume XIX!

The nineteenth episode of our WHO’S WHO podcast is now available — the show that dares to tackle one of DC Comics’ greatest publications! Each episode Rob and I cover a single issue of the legendary 1980s series, Who’s Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe. This time around we chat about WHO’S WHO: Volume XIX, discussing characters such as The Question, Ragman, Ra’s Al Ghul, Red Tornado, The Riddler, Robin, Robotman, Raven, The Rag Doll, Red Bee, and many more! We wrap up the show with Who’s Who Listener Feedback! This episode sponsored in part by!

Be sure to check out our Tumblr site for several pages from this Who’s Who issue:!

Have a question or comment? Send us an e-mail at:

You can find the nineteenth episode of WHO’S WHO: THE DEFINITIVE PODCAST OF THE DC UNIVERSE on iTunes. Each episode is released as part of THE FIRE AND WATER PODCAST feed. While you’re on iTunes, please drop us a review. Alternatively, you may download the podcast by right-clicking here, choosing “Save Target/Link As”, and selecting a location on your computer to save the file (82 MB).

Thanks to my co-host Rob Kelly, Sea King of THE AQUAMAN SHRINE, for doing all the post-production on this episode! Special thanks to Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge with their band The Bad Mamma Jammas for our fantastic Who’s Who theme song!

One of the coolest aspects of each Who’s Who issue was the amazing wrap-around cover! Check out this Ernie Colon cover for Volume XIX! Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #19

Here are your Firestorm-related Who’s Who entries from this issue…

First up is fellow Satellite-era Justice Leaguer, Red Tornado by Joe Brozowski (Firestorm artist) & Greg Theakston! Firestorm and Red Tornado fought side-by-side several times, however, the adventure connecting them closest is probably Justice League of America #192-193. Red Tornado’s origin is revealed and only Firestorm is privy to all the details. Click the image to enlarge.

Who's Who Red Tornado by Joe Brozowski & Greg Theakston

Next up is the Royal Flush Gang by Tom Mandrake (Firestorm artist)! Firestorm has battled these folks a few times. Just to name a couple: Justice League of America (vol 1) #203-205 and Firestorm (vol 3) #17. JLA #205 wraps-up with a great battle between Hector Hammond and Professor Martin Stein! Click the image to enlarge.

Royal Flush Gang Who's Who by Tom Mandrake

Finally, a tangentially related character, Roy Raymond TV Detective by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Praise Be His Name). Writer/artist Dan Jurgens recently established during his run on Firestorm that Ronnie Raymond is the nephew of Roy Raymond! While we haven’t seen them together yet, we do have this scene from The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #14. This works in the New 52, but wouldn’t have worked in the Pre-Flashpoint continuity (since Ronnie’s real family name wasn’t Raymond). Click the image to enlarge. So… anyone get my subtle Tangent reference in the same paragraph as Dan Jurgens?

Roy Raymond Who's Who by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (Praise Be His Name)

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  1. Frank says:

    Ernie Colón is not George Pérez, but I think I like his cover better than the average Paris Cullins. Maybe. You know what? I take that back. I just looked over Cullins’ covers, and while I don’t like how dark they tended to be, there was a greater sense of overall design. I like some of Colón’s flourishes, but this looks more like an elaborate sketchbook page with mounting warm-up drawings. Colón’s breaking from the star character format on Robin’s cover bums me out, since Robin was so clearly and obviously the most important feature in this issue, with a bunch of minor trifling characters obscuring his radiance. In 1986, Robin was one of the top five most globally recognizable super-heroes of all time, right behind Superman and Batman, arguably ahead of Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, the Hulk and Captain America. Not only is it a no-brainer, but it’s kind of galling how DC Entertainment has allowed his star to fade further into the top ten or worse. I’m also thinking lumping three yellow costumed characters together in flight wasn’t the best idea. I do like Roving Ranger (WHO?!?!) shooting the DC bullet, Ra’s al Ghul, and the original Robotman, but the Jerry Ordway cover is so immensely better that its lack of use is a criminal offense.

    I like the idea of a Revenge Squad, but the various iterations have been weak. Cyborg’s was the best, which is telling.

    A) 28 minutes to get to the first entry. And it’s the Puzzler. Sigh. Based on his logo, did he eventually go to work for Scholastic Press constructing brain-twisters for Bananas and Dynamite? Oh, and Shag, of all the times Lois Lane has been sexy, this was not at all one of those times at all. What, was the bow provocatively placed to your mind, or something?

    B) Don Drake has to be a pseudonym, and was probably a mobster that fought Darkwing Duck. This is a nice looking piece that recalls Stan Woch. Quakemaster even got a solid logo. Why this tool got so much effort, idunno.

    C) It’s always fun for me to see Steve Dillon draw mainstream DC characters, because I always assume they’re secretly deviants being outed by their association with the Hellblazer/Preacher artist. He’s quite good at doing the more staid, Silver Agey types, though. I’m still waiting for a great Queen Bee story, though I dug the Zazzala redesign. I highly recommend folks check out the 2005 Justice League of America #60 cover recreation by Arthur “Art” Adams.

    D) Steve Ditko was well past his prime in ’86, and I much preferred the Post-Crisis revision, but this was a quaint callback to the ’60s series. The Question was an interesting visual swiped from Chester Gould’s “The Blank,” whose premise was essentially a lightweight, speechifying Mr. A prototype. Ditko’s Question was too full of answers for my taste, and to be frank, Rorschach fans give me the creeps. Captain Atom was a better fit for Ditko’s visual talents.

    E) Not much to say about the Golden Age Quicksilver, except that Mark Waid handled Max Mercury well. Murphy Anderson is the man, which helps me get past another boring speedster character. Pretty LaRocque drawing of Quislet in the foreground, which I don’t think even Lightle could improve upon. Qwardians : Green Lantern Corps : : Klingons : Federation. The Rag Doll was a total goof Pre-Crisis, and for once I dug the dark revamp under James Robinson. I feel like I’ve already talked about Ragman a lot, a character endeared to me by a Haney/Aparo Batman team-up, but I like the Kubert stuff too.

    F) During the few months I attempted to GM Marfair campaigns, one of my players accidentally killed the hell out of Rainbow Raider with one extremely well rolled punch. We kept trying to find ways to save Roy Bivolo, not limited to flying into a pile of mattresses, but the dice gods had decreed his brutal end and subsequent disposal in a shallow grave. It was exciting and funny at the time, and remains the only thing about Rainbow Raider that does anything for me.

    G) I’m going to have to side with Scipio Garling on the uselessness of Rannians. When an entire planet calls out “Save us, modestly clever but otherwise unexceptional Flash Gordon riff,” you have to figure Bill O’Reilly’s a fan.

    H) O’Neill & Adams are so associated with Ra’s al Ghul, but I grew up with Mike Barr and Von Eeden/Jerry Bingham, so this is my Demon’s Head. He’s Batman’s Bond villain, and worked very well in that capacity as an occasional grand scope mastermind who lost power through smaller schemes and over use. I like him better with eyebrows.

    I) Raven is a character that Wolfman and Perez clearly love which they are largely unable to convey onto their readers. She’s the one who was always whining about the pain and her responsibilities and wah wah wah. Visually, I liked her distinctive Indian features and svelte frame, but emotionally she never connected. However, the snarky goth Raven from the cartoon has a strong fan base.

    J) Murphy Anderson makes even a monochromatic yellow dude with a fin and booties work. Happy Terrill got a lot of play in the ’90s Ray series, another under-loved gem by Christopher Priest and Howard Porter. Reactron was a sorta silly/sorta nifty creation who could have helped out the Firestorm rogues gallery more than Supergirl. Valerie D’Orazio once pointed out how often DC received proposals for Red Bee revamps that DC Comics wanted absolutely nothing to do with publishing.

    K) I’ve never much liked Eduardo Barreto’s super-hero work, but something about that stoic commie Red Star suits his style. That running dog capitalist Wally West should have been in the surprint. His powers were amped up a few years later following “Titans Hunt.”

    L) Ma Hunkel may have been a humor character, but she was still a rare female super-hero, and I always wanted her to have a legacy. One of the many reasons I hate the John Smith Red Tornado is that role belongs to a girl. Besides the weaksauce Lois Lane angle, I’ve quite enjoyed seeing the gynoid version in Earth 2. The JoBro art adequately conveys what a slouch the Smith incarnation was.

    M) I think DC made an effort to rebrand Professor Zoom as the Reverse-Flash Post-Crisis. Another guy I was perfectly content with having his moment in the ’70s then being killed and staying that way. Allow him to be a legend instead of another continuity casualty. Wait– Shag still has a modem?

    N) Rex the Wonder Dog was a member of the proto-JLA formed to push back Commander Blanx’s incursion on Earth. He could have taken Hal Jordan’s spot in a better world. Worth noting: Rex and his animal friends damned near got Mark Waid and Gerard Jones fired off Flash & Green Lantern during a minor crossover for daring to tread such silly ground in a modern, self-serious DCU.

    O) Bill Wray needed to stick to inking at this point, because Richard Dragon had one of the worst illustrated entries in the entirety of Who’s Who. It is ugly as sin, amateurish, awkward, and the characters rendered unrecognizable. Richard Dragon gained a rep in Batman comics based on his easy handling of the Caped Crusader in a Brave & the Bold story, as well as his usage in the Question and relative skill compared to Bronze Tiger and Lady Shiva. I have most of his 1970s run, which was fun and funky. I made it six issues into the Dixon/McDaniel revival, which I hated with a passion.

    P) Gorgeous David Mazzucchelli Riddler. I want to read this interpretation so much, and it doesn’t exist anywhere. Riddler was my favorite of the TV show villains, and I’m happy when creators try to do something with him instead of the umpteenth Joker yarn.

    Q) Rip Hunter is a solid comic book universe functionary. He’s the time guy. It was dumb when he became Cable for a while. Tim Truman was a cute choice for art. There’s a Showcase Presents available.

    R) Earth-2 Robin’s costume was gross, and I never appreciated his being around after Batman died and Huntress replaced him. Why are you still here? Go be an ambassador or something! They teased a Dick/Helena romance, which makes me wonder how such a great detective could botch math as simple as “half your age plus seven.” You’re Uncle Dick, you sleezebag! You were at least a teenager when Catwoman reformed and Helena was conceived! Agree that Ken Steacy was an odd choice.

    S) Perhaps Rob is reacting to Tom Mandrake’s dark, grim style being applied to what should be one of DC’s brightest, most optimistic characters. I did not care for Participation Prize Not Grayson, and think Grant/Dixon were wise to make Tim Drake a great detective who needed to work on his physique rather than a dull-witted acrobat.

    T) I was introduced to Robotman through All-Star Squadron, and thought he was a lot cooler than the Doom Patrol’s version of Falls-Apart Man (see also: Red Tornado II, The Vision, Cyborg, NoMan, Spartan, etc.) I dug that Robert Crane was a scientist who looked like functional metal, instead of a soft gold/brass gripey jock Ben Grimm wannabe who owes his continued existence to someone else. When Cliff Steele went punk under Morrison? Blech! Plus, Crane had his own strip and a robot dog sidekick! Even Howard Bender’s entry was more dynamic than John Byrne’s.

    U) I don’t feel strongly about McFarlane one way or another, nor the Golden Age Thorn, so I’m fine with this entry. I actually find Jurgens & Giordano’s modern Thorn more objectionably drab. That is exactly the sort of entry I would fly right past without recalling it afterward. More objectively correct does not mean more interesting, otherwise known as Liefeld Theory.

    V) Rostov meant little to me as a comic book character, but Mikola is my favorite He-Man style action figure, and I still have the one I bought at K-Mart in 1982. He looked like a cross between Conan and Wolverine, so he was my long resident berserker badass. His packaging had a much better logo that hinted at his lupine inclinations, as opposed to the one hear, which openly cops to an absence of imagination.

    W) The Royal Flush Gang are the whipping dogs of super-villain teams. They are the guys who get beaten to provide action while the writer focuses on the A-story. I refuse to believe Tom Mandrake drew Professor Amos Fortune in the surprint.

    X) Roy Raymond was a snooze, but it’s okay when he shows up here and there, including helping to pull together Rex’s proto-JLA.

  2. Anj says:

    Another great episode and thorough review of the characters here.

    A few thoughts on some of the entries:

    1) I really like the Question. His first DC appearance outside of Crisis was in Blue Beetle and he was sort of a wise cracker. But the Denny ONeil and Denys Cowans did a great Question series, mixing in politics, mysticism, and philopsophy. I thought that series was great! I didn’t mind Montoya as the Question. I certainly like her more than the current Trinity of Sin version.

    I always thought that Mr. A. was the Charlton analogue of Rorschach, not The Question. There is an issue in the series above where Vic Sage reads Watchmen!

    2) Reactron is one of the few villains that can truly be called a Supergirl rogue. He does return in the New Krypton story line from a few years back. He kills Zor-El in battle and then self-destructs, blowing up the whole New Krypton world! He ends up becoming a Power Girl and Doom Patrol foe in the immediate post-Crisis DCU.

    3) Ra’s Al Ghul – I am surprised who brief the text is here. I think he is a bigger presence in the DCU now but even then I thought he was considered a big deal. I do love the Bingham art. I can’t believe Shag doesn’t like him more!

    4) Raven – You guys mentioned her body type being somewhat unique or underrepresented in comics. It is one of the reasons I loved Perez’ Titans. Kory, Donna, and Raven all had different body types … from thin to voluptuous.

    5) Richard Dragon – going back to the Question, Dragon appears in that book and initially seems to be wheelchair bound. He teaches Vic kung fu and zen buddhism while Vic recovers from a huge beating. Later he stands up showing he isn’t stuck there. He was using that disability as a ruse to help teaching.

    I like that Dragon is still (or at least pre New 52) held up as a the best martial artist in the DCU. He has bested Shiva and is feared by everyone.

    6) Riddler – best page in the book

    7) Robotman 2 – as a big Doom Patrol fan, I am sort of underwhelmed by the docile pose Byrne puts him in. I do find it interesting that the cover of him being put through the press finds its way into everything. Supposedly the design of the ‘New Robotman’ drawn by Joe Staton in Showcase was a ripoff of a Byrne robot so not surprised he didn’t put it in the surprint.

    Thanks again and thanks for posting the Reverse Flash sheet on the Tumblr.

  3. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    Cover: Horrible, horrible cover. Ernie Colon should have stuck to stuff like Arak,
    Son of Thunder and Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld because he clearly
    has no business doing straight super-heroes.

    Who deserves the lead spot on the cover? Under normal circumstances
    it should be Robin. Hands down, one of DC’s Top 10 iconic heroes. But
    unfortunately, this is the Jason Todd version and he really doesn’t have
    the history of a Dick Grayson. But then again, from a sheer marketing
    standpoint, Robin it is, regardless of who is wearing that infamous

    I would lobby for The Red Tornado as a cover co-star simply
    because he’s a member of the Satellite Era JLA. But others such
    as Ra’s Al Ghul or Ragman or (shudder) Quakermaster simply are not
    worthy enough to share such a space with the Boy Wonder…

    The Puzzler: I kinda of like this character. He’s representative of the type of
    foe that 40s and 50s Superman would encounter (The Toyman, The
    Prankster, fat gangster Lex Luthor, Mr. Mxyztplk). And the artwork by
    Boring and Schaffenberger is perfect.

    Quakemaster: As much as I love loser Batman villains (ala The Calendar Man,
    Killer Moth, etc.)…Ugh! This jobber was created by Bob Rozakis for the
    “Earth Shattering Disaster” issue of DC Special #28. Which may explain
    why he was referenced in that issue of SSOSV that Rob mentioned along
    with the Sizematic Twins (also created by Rozakis in Teen Titans).

    The Question: Great piece…I wish Ditko did more work for Who’s Who on
    the characters he created. It seems like there was some type of embargo that
    wasn’t lifted until this issue, toward the end of the series.

    Quicksilver: Murphy Anderson is under-rated IMO and really nails these
    Golden Age characters. It’s interesting to see that he still had the chops
    while his contemporaries like Carmine Infantino and Gil Kane were
    phoning it in.

    Quislet: Did he deserve a full page? No.

    Qward: Why DID a lot of the Green Lantern characters have large craniums?
    Sinestro, Krona, The Guardians of the Universe, Hector Hammond,

    Rag Doll: Living in a movie, hot tramp, daddy’s little cutie…
    Yes, James Robinson made this character even more “twisted” in Starman.

    Ragman: One of the best entries of this issue…

    Rainbow Raider: Did he ever team up with Crazy Quilt? Seems like a natural.

    Rann: Once again, considering what didn’t make the cut for Who’s Who I can’t
    believe this rates a page…

    Ra’s Al Ghul: I like the initial O’Neil/Adams stories but feel like he’s been over-exposed thru
    the years. But then again, a character with a built in deus ex machina like The Lazarus Pit
    is bound to be used by every writer under the sun.

    Raven: I remember reading an interview where Perez said he intentionally gave
    Raven the body of a dancer.

    Red Bee: Were Quality Comics REALLY “quality” comics? Hmmmmmm……

    Red Star: When he was first introduced in Teen Titans #18 in 1968 (created
    by Len Wein and Marv Wolfman) he was indeed called Starfire. When
    he was reintroduced in New Teen Titans #18 (coincidental numbering?)
    he was renamed in order to avoid conflict with the alien from Tamaran.

    Red Tornado II: One of my favorite hideous costume designs ever…

    The Reverse-Flash: Very static pose for a speedster…What th’ Flash?

    Richard Dragon, Kung-Fu Fighter: I have always hated everything about
    this entry…

    The Riddler: Frank Gorshin and the ’66 TV series really put this character on
    the map. Prior to that, he only had two appearances in 1948, and one in

    Robin (Earth-2) and Robin III: Both artists were the wrong choices for Robin IMO…

    Rose and the Thorn I: You know…there’s a LOT of character duplication in this

    Rose and the Thorn II: It always bothered me that this entry features her with a leg
    brace which was a very small incident in her overall history…I’m assuming
    it got better.

    Royal Flush Gang: The Joker was never a member, but a rival (Joker #5). And he
    apparently single-handedly defeated them during an issue of Infinite Crisis.

    Roy Raymond, TV Detective: Sooo….we take Roy Thomas to task for making all
    Graysons related but have no issue with Dan Jurgens making all Raymonds

    Feedback: YES! The Gods (not the New Gods) have listened and we finally
    had an issue without any of Kirby’s Fourth World nonsense!

  4. Anthony Durso/The Toyroom says:

    Looking at the alternate Ordway cover…which came first indeed? This or Colon’s?
    Interestingly both:
    1) Feature characters that are disproportionate to one another
    2) Feature similar placement
    a) The Ray, Reactron, Reverse Flash
    b) Robotman vs Red Star

    Ordway’s characters are definitely more on model than Colon’s.

  5. Jeff R. says:

    (Yes, it is the Flying Dutchman of Time I was thinking about.)

    I’m surprised neither of you mention Roy Raymond’s rather ignominious (pre-Flashpoint) fate in Rich Veitch’s Swamp Thing run…

    This month’s Egregious Omission of the Month is another obvious one: Qwsp. (Maybe next year on the Ambush Bug #3 April 1 edition? Apart from Mopee, is there a single character in that book who hasn’t had a high-profile comeback between then and now?)

    Honorable mentions go to two gods who failed to get any respect this time: Rama Kushna and Rao, and the first honorable mention (and likely award winner had you done AB3 this year) goes to Rick Flag. Senior, that is. He’s exactly the kind of golden age character who would have made a great Who’s Who subject, but instead his entire story gets mushed together with the modern Suicide Squad a few issues down the line, creating an entry far more muddled than it should have been.

  6. Anj says:

    Forgot about Red Bee.

    He has a great moment in Grant Morrison’s Animal Man, stuck in comics limbo, his bees dead in his belt, begging Buddy to lead him back into continuity.

  7. Hey guys,

    Why is it so surprising I’m married? I told you I found that clip online. It’s not like I took several hours out of my life to make it up or anything. That would be pathetic cry for help. Did I mention I have kids too?

    The cover: Yeah, it’s a mess. Colon is fine artist, but this is a rush job. I had forgotten about the Ordway cover sketch. I have that Modern Masters volume! It’s much better. Raven and Earth-Two Robin wasn’t a bad way to go, seeing as Ordway did just draw him over in Infinity, Inc., and Raven was a star in DC’s best-selling book.
    A few comments:

    -Quicksilver: I think that villain is The Wasp. He appeared in what I believe was DC’s only reprint of Quality’s Quicksilver run, in a Flash 100 pager back in the 70s. I remember when Waid brought him into the Flash title I pulled a Shag and said “Hey, I know that guy!”.

    -Rag Doll: Oh yes, Robinson did some creepy stuff with that guy. Planted the seeds way early in his run, too. Man, I loved that series.

    -Ra’s Al Ghul: Yeah, Ra’s shouldn’t have eyebrows. Adams created a distinctive face that should be followed at all times, IMHO.

    -Raven: I will admit I like the cartoon characterization of Raven better than the comic one. She was always a wet blanket in the comics. The only NTT member I never warmed too. I also admired Perez’s ability to draw different body types. He even worked his slowly evolving Raven face into the final Trigon storyline.

    – Red Bee: Robinson did use him in the Golden Age, and in Starman. The guy got around, despite his lameness! Love those fruit-stripe pants.

    -Marv Wolfman and Len Wein created Red Star/Starfire I in Teen Titans #18. When he first reappeared in NTT #18, he was still Starfire, but I guess Marv thought better than confuse folks. I noticed the similarities between him and Booster as well, Shag. Probably why Grummet redesigned him years later.

    -Red Tornado: It was a disappointing entry. Rob’s Back Issue article was great, though. Really crappy how the built him up and tore him down at the same time. Maybe it sat in inventory for a while, and DC decided to dump it before it was totally useless, continuity-wise?

    -Rex, The Wonder Dog: Why wasn’t he related to Streak, Alan Scott’s dog who took over his own title? I think both were drawn by Alex Toth in their early appearances.

    -The Riddler: I love this entry. Mazzuchelli did Gordon’s entry in one of the updates, but I think that was about all the Batman we got out of him, other than Year One. A shame.

    – Robin I: I really like the artwork, although Steacy goofs on Batman’s oval emblem (the Earth-Two Batman never had it) and Dick’s teenage parted hair. Aparo on art would have been awesome, as I LOVE B&B #182. Or maybe Ordway due to the aforementioned Infinity, Inc. connection. He and Helena did have a slightly disturbing romantic attraction they never acted on. This was explored a bit in the Huntress back-up in Wonder Woman.

    – Robin III: I like Mandrake, but he wasn’t suited for this one. Where’s Jason’s proto-Robin costume he wore a few times (beginning in Tec #526)? And Shag is right, his hair was strawberry-blonde in his early appearances, although he voluntarily dyed it black to appear as Robin in Batman #366. See my Back Issue article on the two Jasons Todd in Back Issue #48 if you are interested in learning more.

    – Robotman I: Looking villainous? Again, have you read “The Golden Age” by Robinson? Maybe Howard Bender drawing a Robotman literally bending a girder was prophetic. Maybe he’s saying “Bite My Shiny Metal @$$!”.

    – Robotman II: I think Anj is right. I read Byrne wasn’t too happy with Joe Staton giving Cliff a body swiped from Byrne’s Rog 2000 character.

    -Rose & Thorn I: Yeah, I liked McFarlane’s stuff at the time, but I am much more critical of it now. All flash, no substance. Alan Scott not being afraid of all wood made me laugh Rob, but it takes on a different connotation in the New 52.

    – I have no idea who “Earth 3 Crank” is, but it ain’t me.

    Another fun one, and thanks for asking me to contribute. I had a blast listening to the “great debate”!


  8. Big ups to all of the co-contributors for arguing cases for Robin or Red Tornado. They all made solid cases, but sorry Dave and Doug, there aren’t always two sides to every story. Somethings aren’t open for debate and Robin’s prominence as one of the greatest, most iconic characters in popular fiction is one of them. It doesn’t matter which Robin was swinging at this time; Robin as a symbol is bigger than any DC character but Batman, Superman and maybe–maaaaybeee–Wonder Woman.

    And if Robin wasn’t in this issue, the Riddler would deserve top billing. And if the Riddler wasn’t there, then I guess Raven if for no other reason than the popularity of the New Teen Titans.

    1. This is an awful cover because there is NO FOCAL CHARACTER! All of the action and character positions lead the reader’s eye to one vaguely central splotch of white space above Rex the Wonder Dog. Ernie Colon did some amazing work, but Holy $#@%! he deserved to be pimp-slapped by George Perez after submitting this cover.

    2. The Extraordinary Jerry Ordway’s cover is beautiful.

    3. Steve Leialoha did the finished work for Larry Hama’s pencils on G.I.JOE #21, the famous “Silent Issue”. Hama used his last name for the scuba-clad Joe character, Torpedo, whose file name was “Edward Leialoha”. (Now you know…)

    4. I kind of have to side with Shag regarding Ra’s al Ghul. I don’t hate him, but he wouldn’t make my Top 10 Favorite Batman villains. I’ve read as many bad or underwhelming Ra’s al Ghul stories as good ones, and I didn’t care for either actor’s depiction of the character in BATMAN BEGINS.

    5. I never got into New Teen Titans and I’ve always found Raven, Starfire and Cyborg to be pretty boring characters. Cyborg, at least, grew much more interesting and readable in the New 52. A rare victory for modern DC.

    6. Like Frank, I really enjoyed THE RAY series by Chris Priest in the ’90s. I discovered him first through the #0 issue during the Zero Hour event and liked the character more than any other DC hero for a couple years–years in which I was not reading much DC. Ray Terrill gave me hope for the future and my love life when he wore down Black Canary to the point she gave him pity-sex. A great moment for a Gen-X hero.

    7. I got a D+ in art in high school and I’m pretty sure I could draw a better Reverse-Flash than Carmine Infantino does in this page. The man is a legend, of course, but his Who’s Who entries are lifeless, and this one is just god-awful!

    8. As much as I would love DC to bring Rex the Wonder Dog back, I’m sure that, given the current editorial direction, his origin would be tied to illegal dog fighting and depraved violence against animals. #BetterOffDead

    9. That David Mazzucchelli Riddler page is as breathtaking as Dave Stevens’ Catwoman.

    10. Mmm… Dave Stevens’ Catwoman…

    11. I never cared for the Earth-2 Robin look. The only real Robin costume is the original–skinny legs and all. I love me some Tim Drake, but Robin-with-pants has always felt like a knockoff replacement and a weird concession to Dr. Wertham’s most base and lazy accusations.

  9. Frank says:

    “I always thought that Mr. A. was the Charlton analogue of Rorschach, not The Question. There is an issue in the series above where Vic Sage reads Watchmen!”

    Anj, Mr. A was creator owned and published, though I’m sure he informed Rorschach as much as the Question did. At Charlton, the Question was much more of a rigid libertarian sort than DC’s take, which Mr. A took to the extremes of objectivism.

    I kind of hate Richard Dragon, as a typical 20-40 year old white male who is the finest practitioner of Asian martial arts in the DCU. I always wanted someone to unseat him, most likely Cassandra Caine, but other prospects included Ben Turner, Shiva, and Connor Hawke.

    The New Doom Patrol Robotman looked like Rog 2000. I liked the cover where Cliff’s face was melting off better, but that’s me.

    “Ernie Colon… clearly has no business doing straight super-heroes.”

    Anthony, he could do sci-fi super-heroes quite well though, as seen in Legion and Magnus comics.

    Gil Kane’s work may have been of inconsistent quality, but I wouldn’t say that he ever phoned anything in, especially his ’80s & ’90s offerings. He was still an inviable talent right up to the very end.

  10. Siskoid says:

    Sorry I’m late…

    Quislet: He’s not the Terra of the Legion, he’s the Jericho. Except without everything that’s wrong with Jericho. The central image is excellent, but the surprint is really wonky. I’m wondering if we’re meant to be seeing the Legion through Quislet’s eyes, which would explain the distortion. Because that’s really not up to Larocque’s usual quality.

    Riddler: It’s a great-looking entry, no argument there… BUT where’s the riddling? Makes the character very physical – it’s all fight scenes – when he’s essentially a cerebral character.

    Rip Hunter: Rob’s disinterest in Rip is disturbing. Time Masters was awesome. His role in Booster Gold’s second series was awesome. I love time travel. I love Rip Hunter.

    Robin: Golden Age stories to discover – the original Robin’s solo tales in Star Spangled Comics. And they say Tim Drake had the first solo series. Pfff.

    Robotman I: Such a dynamic front piece. Love this entry. Robotman was one of my favorite members of All-Star Squadron. If you’ve ever seen the original Golden Age stories, they were really cartoony. They’re weird. More Plastic Man than JSA.

    Rose and the Thorn I: What’s really really really bad about the character is the way her twiggy arms connect to her body. Once seen, it cannot be unseen. Those arms give me nightmares.

    Roy Raymond: I didn’t know Doc Magnus had a TV show.

    Beyond the issue…

    Hero Points podcast: It’s been so long, my accent’s changed. But seriously, folks… You can type in .com and probably .uk or whatever, Blogger will adjust for your area.

    What’s This’ potential targets: Puzzler, Quakemaster, Quicksilver (what were the Golden Age stories like?), Red Bee (it’s who I consistentely get requests for), Roving Ranger, Roy Raymond (maybe?).

  11. Phylemon says:

    Due to a sick day, I’m actually posting fairly early. Yay for explosive diarrhea I guess. A couple of thoughts:

    1. Clearly the dominant spot on the cover ought to go to . . . Rex the Wonder Dog! At this point, he had 46 issues of his own series. Who else in this issue could say that?

    2. No surprise, I disagree about the cover. Composition aside, I like the cover. Always love me some Ernie Colon.

    3. That being said, I’m intrigued by talk of an Ordway cover. Anyone have scans?

    4. Did the Question become cooler post crisis, or does he seem cooler as he reflects the coolness of Rorschach. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer the original, but I don’t think DC really knew what do with him until Watchmen came along.

    5. The Murphy Anderson art on Quicksilver is beautiful. I’m fascinated by pudgy insect villain guy..

    6. I’m sooooo down for a Quislet / Skeets team up. Of course, I’m down for anything with Skeets.

    7. The Qward entry is weird, since the entry is for the dimension / planet, but all you see is one Weaponer and a chunk of rock. I would have preferred something more global like was done for Krypton or Apokolips.

    8. Rainbow Raider: Rob, you are the only man ever who would think a man with this much color is boring. He has a great battle with Booster Gold towards the end of Booster’s first series.

    9. Ra’s Al Ghul: Completely agree with Shag about lack of interest. Being part of the Nolan trilogy is no mark of greatness. Unless you fought Adam West, you are no true Batman villain.

    10. Wrong again, Shag! I love, love, love Raven! She is my second favorite Titan (after Jericho, of course). She does have a lot of powers. One of the powers she does NOT have, however, is the ability to levitate things after saying magic words. The fact that she does exactly that on Teen Titans Go is the number one reason why I can’t watch that show and, I swear, will be the reason one day that I have an embolism from contemplating the sheer stupidity of that decision.

    11. I’m with Shag in loving Red Bee. Great art on this tiny piece.

    12. I told you Rex the Wonder Dog was the star of this book. I would love to get my hands on his adventures!

    13. The second Rose and Thorn had some great appearances with Booster Gold, but then just disappeared.

    14. I find it hard to believe that you can do a three issue story on The Royal Flush Gang. Their best appearance was in the early Giffin JLI, where Booster Gold defeated them to prove himself and gain admittance to the League

    “I never cared for the Earth-2 Robin look. The only real Robin costume is the original-skinny legs and all. I love me some Tim Drake, but Robin-with-pants has always felt like a knockoff replacement and a weird concession to Dr. Werthams most base and lazy accusations.”

    15. Couldn’t agree more, Count.

  12. rob! says:

    @Phylemon–The Ordway cover can be seen on the Fire and Water Tumblr, which we plug approximately fifteen times per episode.

  13. Phylemon says:

    Hard to argue that the Ordway cover isn’t the superior of the two although I’m not fond of the weird scale and disembodied heads. Still, i like the Ordway version, particularly the fight scenes between Dragon and Quakemaster and Robin and Rag Doll.

  14. Phylemon says:

    It is funny, and somewhat telling, that Ordway thought “Red Tornado I” was John Smith’s original body and not Ma Hunkle.

    On an only slightly unrelated note, if I had the money to buy original art work, Who’s Who covers would be high on my list of wants.

  15. rob! says:

    You know, on the show I was vehemently against starting the WW podcast numbering over with each new series. Now I’m not so sure. What does everyone thing? Would it be better for the show to be Who’s Who Ep 27 or Who’s Who Update 87 Ep 1?

  16. I’d honestly start over. It’s going to get confusing when you get into the next update, and Star Trek, and Legion, and loose-leaf, etc, if you don’t. That’s my take.


  17. Phylemon says:

    I think you should do it all. I say the official title should be:

    Who’s Who: the Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe, Volume XXVII (Update ’87 Ep. 1). As long as you are doing three hour podcasts, you have time to say as long a title as you would like.

    This raises a question, though. In what order are you doing the ancillary materials? If you were going chronologically, I don’t think the ’87 update is next, and Ambush Bug #3 is certainly overdue.

  18. Siskoid says:

    @Phylemon: The Thorn made a number of appearances after that in the Superman books.

  19. Phylemon says:

    @Siskoid: Thanks! I am woefully under educated in post crisis Superman. I have a number of the issues of the Byrne run,but I haven’t read them yet.

  20. Martin Stein Returns says:

    I’m not sure why you guys were so squeamish about reading my comment on the last issue. I thought you guys wanted deeply personal testimonials.

  21. marksweeneyjr says:

    Re: Rainbow Raider

    Ol’ Roy has had a bit of a lame-o career, and a Don Heck Who’s Who entry doesn’t do anyone any favors, but my introduction to the character was Booster Gold #19. This comic falsely led me to believe that the Raider was a heavyweight villain in the DCU as he delivers a serious beatdown to BG. Really makes him look like a chump in his own title. Great cliffhanger, too, with Booster screaming “I’m blind!” (or something like that).
    It wasn’t until years later that I found the second part of this story, and I don’t even remember how it was resolved – it’s funny how as a kid I’d be satisfied with just half a story – those are some of the comics that I remember best. Anyway, they could reprint that 1st issue as the slimmest TPB ever and call it THE GREATEST RAINBOW RAIDER STORY EVER TOLD.

  22. Jeff R. says:

    I personally say you should go to “Season 2, Volume 1″ (or Volume I; follow the way they numbered the original issues.” With AB3 and any other one-shots being a Special.


  24. Call it Who’s Who: The Next Generation. You guys can add a teenage whiz kid whom everyone hates, and rip off your old episodes for about 2 years, then jettison the kid and get good again.

    Just a thought.


  25. Kyle Benning says:

    Finally getting a chance to listen to this one. I like Ernie Colon, but this is one of my least favorite covers. He just doesn’t showcase the characters in as dynamic of an arrangement as Paris Cullins or George Perez. Some of his characters look a little wonky. Quakemaster’s right arm looks goofy.

    Red Tornado would’ve been fairly popular at this time, Teen Titans was still selling like hotcakes, so Raven could have a case made for her, but come on, is there really a debate? It’s Robin!! He’s been around since 1940! So whether you think it should be Earth-2 Robin or Jason Todd Robin, Robin is Robin, he’s been around the longest as an iconic figure, and the first Sidekick of the DCU, and he is without a doubt the biggest character on this cover.

    Bahahaha Earth 2 Chris, you rock dude! “Ragman…the dude smells like a dumpster, and Red Tornado was just blowing his stink all over the studio” I’d love to see this behind the scenes interview played out as a Robot Chicken skit. DC Comics Robot Chicken Special #3?


    Parallel Universe hopping without wiping?!?! Que Ridiculo! I hope Earth-X Undies are skidmark resistant!

    I would agree, I think the Riddler entry is the best of the book; it was always my favorite.

    Oh man, I love all of those old Rip Hunter Time Master comics. I scored a bunch of those cheap as a kid and have since been slowly filling in my collection one $2 issue at a time. Some great examples of the Silver Age DC Sci-Fiction comics that are available out there cheap on the back issue market. That Time Masters Mini-series by Dan Jurgens was great, I have that whole 6 issue mini signed by Dan.

    As far as the numbering scheme goes, DC and Marvel restart their numbering non-stop, why not do the same with the podcast? Apparently there are probably listeners out there intimidated by the double digit backlog of episodes, a new #1 could serve as a new jumping on point. New numbering scheme, same ol classic DC Who’s Who goodness.

  26. Martin Gray says:

    Thanks for another splendid episode, and I vote for you two wittering on as long as you like, it’s hugely entertaining. And keep the numbering, it’s good to have a long run, otherwise you’ll wind up competing with yourself on iTunes and the like.

    Roy Raymond’s comeback was in Superman in the Seventies, not DC Comics Presents. When Firestorm debuted I wrote in suggesting a relationship – well, Roy/Ron, two incredibly stuffy names, they HAD to be related in the DCU. That was before we (and probably DC!) knew about Ronnie’s background. Remember Roy Raymond Jr, aka Owlman? Best forgotten!

    And hey, I liked the original Jason Todd. Yeah, his origin was unoriginal, but you could argue that it was the universe providing a second Robin the same way it would make a Batman every 20 years on an alternate Earth. Or you could just go with the coincidence and enjoy the issues as they came out, follow the development of Jason in a series of great stories by Gerry Conway and Don Newton, culminating in the fantastic Detective Comics #426 (I wonder how that would have gone had Killer Croc been a Firestorm baddie, as originally intended). And over the next few years we got such great sequences as the Nocturna business, before Jason was reinvented as a non-ginger tosser. The original definitely deserved the cover position of honour.

    Despite praising the most recent issue of Batman and … guest starring the Atlantean Ace, I’m not what you’d call a Ra’s Al Ghul fan – what use has Batman for a James Bond baddie, someone who doesn’t even live in Gotham? I’d rather see Captain Stingaree, any day.

    Raven should have been exiled the second Trigon was defeated, for her shady ways, making poor, dumb Wally West fall in love with her by force of mind power. Angsty bint.

    Adam Strange: Planet Heist is something I read every issue of, and I’ve no memory of it at all beyond the rubbish new suit he wore. I’ve just looked up the précis and nope, nothing. Still, it can’t have been as awful as the mini-series which killed off Alanna for a bit and immediately had Adam shack up with some Earth floozy. Now that was memorable.

    I had to look up ‘Mac daddy love’ but I’m no better off.

  27. Benton Grey says:

    Thanks again for responding to my comments, gents!

    Nope Shag, not role playing, when I mentioned my “DC mod,” I meant something a bit more complicated than that. I have “modded,” or modified, a game called Freedom Force, which is, undoubtedly, the greatest superhero game ever made. I’ve basically created my ideal DC Comics PC game, using Freedom Force as a base.

    I was referring to a fairly massive project, called the DC Universe According to Grey, which includes a good 80% of the characters y’all have been talking about on this podcast. I actually put together a little demonstration of what I meant when I mentioned that team of characters. you can find it here:

    The mod itself is a collection of campaigns, or series of missions, for the JLA, the JSA, Aquaman, Batman, Hawkman, the Atom, and the Question. I’m going to be adding more to it in the future, too. You can learn about the mod itself here:
    Let me warn any interested folks, though, this is a beta release, and it is so large that it is a bit buggy in spots. I’m starting on a 2.0 release soon-ish.

    This is why I’ve been asking you questions about stories and characters, not for roleplaying purposes, but to create campaigns and missions to add to my already massive mod.

    Now, as for thoughts about this episode:

    I love the Question, and that love comes entirely from JLU, as I’ve never read a single (none JLU) decent comic featuring him. He, like Mr. Freeze and several other characters, truly came into his own only under the hands of Mr. Timm and company. They found the true hearts of those characters. The Timmverse is so close to the perfect version of the DCU (other than its portrayal of Aquaman and a few other points) that this isn’t all that surprising, I suppose. I actually based a lot of my own particular version of DC that I mentioned above on the Timmverse.

    The same is true of R’as Al Ghul, in fact! You’ll have a whole new appreciation for the character, Shag, should you watch the classic Batman: TAS episodes with him, but then TAS is the best of all Bat-worlds.

    I’ve got to say, I have to agree with Alex Ross on his reaction to Prof. Zoom’s murder of Iris. Events like that just don’t have any place in a setting where a man can shrink himself to six inches tall and fight crime, good moral upbringing can make a man out of a demigod, and a half-breed Atlantian is the King of the Sea. I’m not quite so particular on exact dates, since I didn’t read these books as they were coming out, but there are several moments that, collectively, mark the shift in DC Comics from a wondrous, heroic universe to something darker, rougher, and more flawed. The Death of Arthur Jr., the death of Iris, and a few other awful stories push the characters and the setting into the shadows, and they have never really recovered. It’s a source of sorrow for me, especially since comics were just coming into their own when these things happened. DC was telling better, more rational stories, characters were growing, and they were just beginning to achieve a balance between wonder, adventure, drama, and humor. I suppose that’s why I love Alex Ross’ Justice so much. It’s the best elements of that era without the silliest bits and without that shift into darkness.

    The Riddler is definitely the best entry of those I’ve seen. That’s beautiful, but I really don’t care for that costume. I like the modern one a lot better, as it grants Mr. Nygma a bit more dignity, and, genius that he is, he deserves a bit of dignity.

    Holy Hannah, y’all are right. Roy Raymond is INCREDIBLY boring, and his stories are a slog. He’s the only backup feature in Detective Comics that I just skip outright.

    Hey! What’s with all this hatred of the New Gods! I love the 4th World Stuff! Kirby all the way, man!

    I completely sympathize with Rob on his frustration at Jason Todd’s inclusion as Robin over Dick Grayson. For my money there will only ever be one Robin, and that is Grayson! I love the character, and I hate all the torture they’ve heaped on him over the years. In fact, I really love the E-2 version, who grows into his own man without all the angst and stupidity. I also really like that Neal Adams costume, though a slight update would make it fantastic.

    It sounds as if I’ve missed something of a debate on Arrow, but count me among its detractors. I’ve tried my best to give this show a chance, watching at least half-a-dozen episodes, but it is just so lousy with the stink of CW that I find myself strangling from the cliched TV reek. I feel like I’ve seen every single one of these people and these characters before. The plots are far too much soap opera and far too little daring-do for my taste. I finally gave up on it after an episode that felt as if it was composed entirely of dramatic scenes of people opening doors dramatically to reveal, with great drama, the dramatic surprise visitor on the other side who, dramatically, confessed a dramatic secret! I found myself waiting for someone to admit to being an evil twin. The ANGST! The DRAMA! Ohh, it is trying so hard to be cool and hip that it physically hurts me, as a superhero fan, as a lover of stories, as a professor of literature, it is quite painful. To be fair, there are some really strong elements to it, behind the drama, the angst, and the wide, shallow, and mostly despicable cast of supporting characters, there were occasionally some interesting moments.

    Hyperbole aside, I can understand how, if you took an editing machete to the show, there might be something there folks could like, but it certainly isn’t something I can get in to. None of the characters are likeable, and the protagonists so little resembles the Emerald Archer that, even if I could get past the tone of the show, I don’t know that I could really find much of value in the adventures of this generic bow-toting murderer.

    Finally, and I imagine this is hardly worth saying, but don’t listen to Frank about how long you spend on your entries! 😉 I’m most interested in hearing the characters themselves discussed, and the art/design aspects aren’t as fascinating to me. So, discuss away, gents!

  28. […] WHO: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe is up to Volume XIX, featuring Reverse Flash and Quicksilver (no, not that one!) – Firestorm Fan/Aquaman […]

  29. Xum Yukinori says:

    This is pure speculation on my part, but I do not believe Jerry Ordway’s cover was late but rejected. It appears that Ernie Colon was asked to redo Mr. Ordway’s layout so that it would be more in line with the other Who’s Who covers whereby all of the characters seems to be interacting with each other in the same space. While Jerry’s art is brilliantly impressive (as always), it is deviating from this theme with larger-than-life depictions of Question (and Vic Sage, I think), Robotman I, the Puzzler, Ra’s al Ghul, Ragman, and Raven.

    It appears that Mr. Colon has carried forward some elements of Mr. Ordway’s original cover design (notably the race between Reverse Flash, Reactron, The Ray, and Quislet, as well as the placement of Red Tornado), but it would have been nice if he had also used the Robin I/Rag Doll, Robin III/Riddler, and Richard Dragon/Quakemaster fights as well.

    In any case, Mr. Colon’s cover was undoubtedly rushed.

    Xum (pronounced “Zoom”)

  30. ^That’s a nice observation Xum. You’re right, up to this point, the covers have featured characters all in one space interacting. Ordway’s cover sketch is harbinger of later covers where that is kind of thrown out the window, like issue #25, with it’s giant Vigilanted, and small Wildcats in front of him.


  31. Martin Stein Returns says:

    “Call it Who’s Who: The Next Generation. You guys can add a teenage whiz kid whom everyone hates, and rip off your old episodes for about 2 years, then jettison the kid and get good again.”

    They’d both have to grow beards.

  32. Hey guys, sorry I am so late to the game here, just finished it up today. Pretty low key episode all told, some good character listings but no “knockouts” like in some previous installments. Rob, I was sorry to hear about your Riddler miscue. My nerd heart goes out to you dude.

    I do want to say is that the alternate name for The Red Bee, the “Scarlet Hornet,” sounds a lot like the Charlotte Hornets, who are returning to the NBA next year! #BuzzCity

  33. Oh, one quick thing as well. You guys talked about some Quality characters in this episode, including Quicksilver, The Ray, and Red Bee. But DID YOU KNOW: which of the Quality characters was the longest-lived after DC bought them?

    Answer: Blackhawk, who starred in over a hundred issues of the title at DC. Of course, it was cancelled several times during that run — first in 1968, then again in 1977 (after being revived with the original numbering), and finally in 1984 (after a second original numbering revival), ending with isssue 273.

    Blackhawk had a great run, but, DID YOU KNOW? What is the one Quality book which continued at DC, uninterrupted, for 30 years? Answer: GI Combat, which ran at DC from #44 through #288, spanning from 1954 through 1984.

    (The Romance book Heart Throbs also ran for over 100 issues at DC after coming over from Quality, being cancelled in 1973. But that one does not get as much notice as Young Romance or Young Love, for whatever reason.)

  34. […] sure to check out Episode Nineteen of the amazing Who’s Who: The Definitive Podcast of the DC Universe hosted by Rob Kelly and the […]

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