The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe” Vol. XI – Multiversity Comics

The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe” Vol. XI – Multiversity Comics


Welcome to our coverage of “Who’s Who!” For this summer, we’ll be focusing exclusively on the 26-issue 1985-1987 series, without any of the updates. Those will, hopefully, follow next year.

We are at I and J this week, with some real evidence on the evidence that John is the most popular boys name of the late 20th century. Let’s get to it!

Best Overall Entry: I…Vampire

A big part of why this entry is so perfect is that the character it is focused on was a relatively silo’d one, and one that was only really active for a brief period of time. So, instead of trying to compress 50 years of Superman into one entry, this can basically tell a complete, limited tale without any fluff. But besides that, this entry hits all the emotional notes you’d hope to get from a love story gone awry, and makes you, more than anything else, want to go back and read this. It is amazing how often “Who’s Who” entries don’t do that, which I would think is more or less the point of the series.

Marquee Entry: The Joker

The Joker, since the beginning was the most well known and celebrated of the Batman villains, and he’s front and center here, and for good reason.

Best Non-Character Entry: Infinity, Inc Headquarters

Everything about the Infinity, Inc HQ rules. I love that Sylvester Pemberton got to keep a film studio in exchange for recruiting a superhero team to Los Angeles, I love that the set, despite being used pretty much only as a superhero base of operations, still has silly genre sections to it. I love that we know exactly when Sylvester sleeps. Pump this into my veins!

Most Obscure Character: Ironwolf

Ironwolf, not counting a reprint or “Who’s Who,” only appears in five titles: the three pieces of his origin story in “Weird Worlds,” an issue of “DC Challenge” (which is a future summer binge for me), and a standalone, prestige one-shot illustrated by Mike Mignola. “Weird Worlds” was from 1973; “DC Challenge” from 1986, and the one-shot is from 1992. What a thoroughly bizarre, perfect history.

Most Incomprehensible Entry: Jemm, Son of Saturn

I know that it feels cheap that I keep tossing space characters into the ‘most incomprehensible’ category, but just try to read this dreck. There are ways to tell this story in a more condensed, streamlined way in a book like this. Why did they insist on not doing so?

Most Bizarre Entry: Johnny Thunder

I love the JSA, and Johnny Thunder is one of those characters that, for reasons quite justified, could never really be done today. This entry does a good job showing just why “Crisis on Infinite Earths” was likely a smart move, and also why the Golden Age is considered both a wonderful and insanely frustrating time for comics. Just look at the dude’s list of occupations.

Most Frustrating Entry: Jonah Hex

OK, so Jonah Hex is sort of the DC western character, at least one that most consistently touches the mainline DCU. There are lots of good and weird Jnah Hex stories to highlight here, especially when he winds up in the future and drops the “Jonah” from his name. That said, why on Earth does it take until the fourth column to even mention his scars? That’s one of three salient points that need to be made about him, and it gets pushed to almost the end of the entry. Plus, the future vigilante Hex gets almost no column space, despite his image sharing half the real estate.

Top 3 Pieces of Art:

3. Immortal Man by Denys Cowan and Eduardo Barreto

While the cross-hatch face isn’t my favorite technique, I love the sea of people behind him, representing his various lives lived over his expansive lifetime. Plus, the debonair white tuxedo jacket gives him a modern, yet classic look. That style never really goes out of fashion; one might say it is…immortal.


2. Infinity Inc by Jerry Ordway

Continued below

Make no mistake: most of the Infinity, Inc costumes are garbo. Jade, Obsidian, and Brainwave Jr. are the only three that aren’t silly or ugly, but this team, taken together, represents DC at its most dedicated to both legacy and adaptation. It’s a legacy team with a new name, new costumes, and a new city. It’s honoring its past and moving things forward.

1. The Joker by Marshall Rogers

I recognize that for younger readers, this Joker looks incredibly anachronistic and garish. That’s the point; I’ve never been a fan of the comics making Joker look like a disheveled madman. His look is part of the performance, and the performance matters almost as much as anything he’s doing. If he just wanted to rob a bank, he wouldn’t be dressed in an elaborate clown costume. The fact that he is says everything about who the character is at his core. Let the man dress up!

The Icicle:

Brian’s Commentary: I have so many questions about this. Did he paint the ice? Did he make sure the body was found within a certain amount of time to prevent thawing/melting? Did no coroner investigate the body and be like “Oh shit, this is just a water face?”

Immortal Man: Occupation: Various, usually involving ancient history

Brian’s Commentary: I like how the entry makes clear that he’s been dozens of people, but also that God/the universe/DC editorial always made sure he leapt into someone with a history degree. Thanks, Liberal Arts College!

Inferior Five: The may not be the strangest superheroes around, but they certainly are the most reluctant. That, at least, can be said of the Inferior Five.

Brian’s Commentary: Again, reach that in Donald Trump’s voice and enjoy yourself.

Infinite Man:

Brian’s Commentary: Why is ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ not capitalized? No one would ever type “in the so called second world war,” would they?

Infinity, Inc: The seven young heroes returned to their own time, where the Ultra-Humanite of that period had turned a number of Justice Society members evil through exposure to the waters of the so-called “Stream of Ruthlessness.”

Brian’s Commentary: I believe this stream runs through Philadelphia. [Andrew Dice Clay voice: “Oh!”]

Infinity Inc Headquarters: Infinity Inc’s headquarters actually takes up only a small part of Stellar Studios, and Pemberton intends to begin making films there again.

Brian’s Commentary: This feels like the train table in every dad’s basement that he swears, one day, he’ll finish, once his kids get a little older and appreciate the work he put into it. [music plays] And the cat’s in the cradle with the silver spoon [/music]

Infinity Man: Exactly where Infinity Man comes from is unknown. It is apparently a place, perhaps within a pocket dimension, where the laws of nature are quite different from those on Earth.

Brian’s Commentary: This is a great example of stretching out a piece of nothing to meet a word count, something I would know nothing about, I swear.

Injustice Gang of the World: Originally organized as a common meeting ground for super-villains to exchange strategies, secrets, and other ideas that might aid them against he forces of justice, the Injustice Gang was ultimately revealed to be a front to conceal Libra’s greater scheme.

Brian’s Commentary: I want to get a day pass to work at the IGotW. I bet their cafeteria is devilishly decadent.

Injustice Society of the World: In order to determine who was to be leader, the Wizard suggested the so-called “Patriotic Crimes.” Each member would attempt to steal an object of great historical value, and whoever committed the most spectacular theft would become leader. In the course of these crimes, even the Washington Monument was stolen.

Brian’s Commentary: “Patriotic Crimes” sounds like a bad TV procedural. Also, this did National Treasure bigger and better 25 years before the film.

Insect Queen I: The wings she wears do not allow her to fly; instead she rides giant insects.

Brian’s Commentary: So why the wings then?

Insect Queen II: As an adult, Lana still has her ring but seldom uses it. She no longer bother concealing her identity. On occasion, she has let friends such as Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen use the ring.

Continued below

Brian’s Commentary: Lana, are you ok? You seem to have totally given up on life. Is this a cry for help?

The Invisible Destroyer: Furious, the faceless fiend attempted to destroy he ring-slinger with powerful energy bolts from his fingertips, but GL used his power ring to create a beam of antimatter energy.

Brian’s Commentary: This is some high quality descriptive writing. “Furious, the faceless fiend” is some dope alliteration, and I’ve opined in the past that more professions need ‘slinger’ attached to the end of it. Lawyer: tort slinger. Banker: cash slinger. ER tech: sling slinger.

Invisible Kid I: A particularly lonely Legionnaire, Lyle began a strange romance with a girl named Mya, who was ultimately revealed as a ghost.

Brian’s Commentary: How fucking brutal is this sentence?

Invisible Kid II: Subsequent events have made it clear that the serum has had different effects on Jacques than on its inventor, giving him powers to warp space in a fashion he cannot yet consciously control or understand.

Brian’s Commentary: I know that having any super power is disorienting, but imagine accidentally warping space? I’m surprised he ever left the house, lest he destroy creation.


Brian’s Commentary: I hope that DC is suing the creators of True Blood for stealing their ‘drinking commercially available synthetic blood’ goof.

I.Q.: Having been turned to stone by Chemo, I.Q. was thought gone forever, but the stone effect wore off, and I.Q. returned with a plan to eliminate Superman forever. This time he was beaten by the Batman and Superman’s younger self, Superboy.

Brian’s Commentary: I am trying to imagine how a villain was defeated by the younger version of a character he, himself, is trying to defeat. Comics, everyone!

Iron Major: Known relatives: Unnamed mother (deceased)

Brian’s Commentary: This is the easiest thing for the DC editors to include when there’s nothing of note to say about a character. Everyone’s got a mother, right?

Ironwolf: On his home planet, Illium, he owned millions of trees with “anti-gravity wood,” from which starships such as his own, the Limerick Rake, were constructed.

Brian’s Commentary: I don’t know why the phrase ‘owned millions of trees’ strikes me as so strange. I guess people who own pieces of a forrest own many trees, but it just sounds like someone saying “hello, I’m a water baron. I have a private lake.”

Jade: Occupation: Adventurer, aspiring Actress, Model, and Dancer; former Salesgirl

Brian’s Commentary: I like how for some of these entries, the occupation is as vague as possible: “crime fighter.” But other times, it practically has the months of employment like a bad resumé.

Jason Bard: Bard is an average pistol shot and has a permit to carry firearms.

Brian’s Commentary: “Ok, let’s make sure to mention that he’s nothing special with a gun, but that he absolutely has exercised his constitutional right to carry one.”


Brian’s Commentary: You’d think his name would be ‘flying boots,’ as that is easily more useful and interesting than his weapon of choice, a fucking track and field implement.

Jemm Son of Saturn: Jemm’s birthstone enables him to probe the emotions of other living beings. It also allows him to project his own emotions into the minds of others.

Brian’s Commentary: Today, he’d call himself and empath and cry at dinner parties when people talk about their dead cats.

Jennifer Morgan: Jennifer went on an expedition to Skartaris on her boat, the Lady J, and was reunited with her father.

Brian’s Commentary: The Lady J is both an amazing name of a boat and a detail that 100% did not need to be included here.

Jericho: First appearance (back of head only): “Tales of the Teen Titans” #42

Brian’s Commentary: I am loving the scene in my imagination of the argument over whether they needed to credit Jericho’s first appearance as the first time we see his face, or the back of his curly ass head.

The Jester:

Brian’s Commentary: “The Jester used psychological warfare pioneered by Dick Cheney to break his opponents.”

Jinx: First appearance: (silhouette only) “New Teen Titans” #56

Continued below

Brian’s Commentary: Man, Wolfman and Pérez loved to debut people only by shadow or back of the head, eh?

Johnny Cloud: Mack’s dying wish was honored, and Cloud had a brilliant career as leader of the air patrol known first as “the Happy Braves” and later as “C for Cloud Flight.”

Brian’s Commentary: “C for Cloud Flight” is one of the worst names for a group of anything in human history. “Air war team 6” is better than that trash.

Johnny Quick: Saying the formula is not the only factor in giving Johnny Quick his super-powers, but those other factors involved have yet to be revealed.

Brian’s Commentary: I get that this is necessary so that we, the ignorant fools reading this, think that just anyone can say this formula and gain super speed, but again, why is this detail needed in this book?

Johnny Peril: Recently, he returned after a long absence and established a practice as a private investigator, making the professional and personal acquaintance of a renowned psychic, Miss Heather Storm.

Brian’s Commentary: This sounds like a line out of a TV Guide write up of a late 80s Cinemax skin flick.

Johnny Thunder I: Occupation: Various: Window washer, World heavyweight boxing champion, G-Man, rodeo rider, U.S. Naval Seaman, King of Badhnisia, etc: Now Retired

Brian’s Commentary: To be Johnny Thunder, am I right?

Johnny Thunder II:

Brian’s Commentary: Ah, the classic books versus bullets debate. Relatable content, amirite?

The Joker: Though the Joker appeared to mellow for a time, he has recently returned to his murderous ways, becoming once again the most dangerous madman on the face of the Earth.

Brian’s Commentary: This was definitely cooked up by the Joker’s PR team.

Jonah Hex: Not accepting Hex’s claims that Noh-Tante cheated, the chief disowned Hex, burned scars called “the Mark of the Demon” onto his face, and expelled him from the Apache village.

Brian’s Commentary: Again, when it takes until the fourth column to tell about Jonah’s scars, you might have too much backstory!

Jonni Thunder:

Brian’s Commentary: Thank goodness we know Dobbs’s nickname was Sparky. Now I can sleep tonight.


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Jorge Oliveira