Friday, February 23, 2018 • Morning Edition • "Hope you survive the experience!"

Your Top DC Heroes part 2

Written by Chris Mitchell on Monday, January 04 2010 and posted in Features
Oh, we have ourselves a 5way tie here...


179. V/Riddler/Shining Knight/Hanged Man/Delirium (3 points each)


v.jpgI really like this movie.

V is an expert marksman and has a passion for bladed weaponry. His preferred style of swordsmanship is fencing but, he primarily utilizes multiple daggers of identical design. He uses these daggers in a variety of ways; defensively, offensively, in either / both hands, in direct combat, thrown, and with / without the intent to kill. Regardless, he is an expert in unarmed combat again single and multiple targets. V is also highly adept in the use of large scale and small scale explosives and pyrotechnics. When necessary, he is known to use a variety of means to achieve his goals. These include hijacked audio PA systems, weaponizing prescription drugs, the use of specified injectionable poisons, the filming and broadcasting of prerecorded video messages, laying and utilizing underground railway tracks as a delivery system, elaborate disguises, and everything from door sealants to batons as needed.

Due to side effects of a pituarin / pinearin compound called "Batch 5", vast cellular anomalies are believed to have increased V's natural abilities (i.e. reflexes, reaction times, agility, strength, pain tolerance, mental processes) however the comic never out right states him being more than human. Chemical exposure may also account for his eccentrically theatrical manner. He is also a quick runner with athletic levels of endurance and stamina.

A master of deduction and personal profiling, V displays great skill in his ability to predict the responses of others. Through this skill he is able to position those around him in ways which leave them either secure, vulnerable, or acting in ways which benefit him without their knowledge. This includes creating opportunities to kill his targets or have others kill them (while believing it to be their own decision). His understanding of human nature is so distinct, he is able to recreate the situations, which caused his own personality to be reinforced through resiliency, in order to 'teach' Evey how to overcome her fears. In essence, he augmented her personality through conditioning to make her stronger.

No one knows what V really looks like , as any one who could possibly know were either killed by the government or by V himself. All that is shown in the comics is that he was white, before he apparently allowed his body to be scarred by burns in the explosion he started. This is V's greatest 'power'.

He becomes a symbol, representing the ideal of political revolution and vigilante justice. With no personal identity, he has no isolating human characteristics. He literally chooses to become the personification of the repressed beliefs of a repressed population. By appealing to the spirit of civil unrest within people while embodying that spirit, he connects with them. By committing his acts of justified terror, he boosts their confidence. By providing them all with costumes identical to his own, he binds them to his actions and to each other. In essence, he allows them to become the spirit of unrest. Since they appear in mass, and as each person is disguised the same way, everyone / no one can be linked to the various crimes being committed. A government cannot declare all its people criminals as it is supposed to represent the common good of its citizens.

In similar fashion, V has created a anonymous champion of the people. The 'main V' becomes a legend and his persona is one that is able to be passed down and picked up by anyone who sees themselves as worthy (i.e. Zorro). After his passing, V's identity is taken up by Evey with the intent to pass it on to Dominic.

The Reformed Riddler

riddler.jpgIn Detective Comics #822, The Riddler returns, having spent much of the previous year in a coma due to the one-sided fight against the Knight. He has seemingly reformed, and is now a private consultant on the murder of a wealthy socialite. Hired by the socialite's father, he proves that a photo of Bruce Wayne apparently implicating him in the crime depicts an impostor and briefly works with Batman to investigate the crime. As a result of his coma, The Riddler has apparently cured his compulsion for riddles, although still enjoying them in an abstract sense, but he retains both his intellect and his mammoth ego. Furthermore, he suffered severe memory loss while unconscious; upon emerging from his coma, he barely remembers his own name. He does not appear to remember that Bruce Wayne and Batman are one and the same, although he does harbor some suspicions of once knowing something amazing about Bruce Wayne.

In Detective Comics #828, Riddler is a guest along with Bruce Wayne on board a ship during a party. During the party, an old friend of Bruce's falls overboard and is mauled to death by sharks. The Riddler appears to solve the case with the suicide of the apparent murderer, and quickly takes the credit. However, Batman finds evidence that the suicide was a setup to divert attention away from the real killer. Bruce suspects foul play, and eventually tracks down the killer, whom Riddler is also close to catching before Nigma is bludgeoned over the head by a shark-tooth club. The killer pushes Batman out the window, and is about to drop him to his death, when Nigma wraps his tie around an arrow, lights it on fire, and shoots it into the killer's back. As the assailant rolls around screaming, Nigma taunts him, refusing to douse the flames. Batman extinguishes the flame and responds to Nigma's assertion that they're now allies with hostile dismissal.

In Detective Comics #837, Riddler is hired by Bruce Wayne to track down an experimental drug developed by Wayne Enterprises currently being tested for muscle stamina and cellular regeneration which has been stolen by a lab assistant named Lisa Newman. He discovers that Newman is staying at the same Athenian Women's Help Shelter as Harley Quinn. With Harley's help, he defeats Newman and returns the drug to Wayne Enterprises, earning Batman's trust for the time being.

In Countdown #42, Riddler claims to Mary Marvel that he has gone straight and is now a detective. The two join forces to defeat Clayface, and after witnessing Mary's new malicious approach to crime fighting, suggests that she consider finding a mentor to help her control her powers or at the very least get some anger management.

After a grisly serial killer surfaces on the streets of Gotham City, the Riddler homes in on closing the case, only to find that the killer is actually an old victim of his out for revenge. The young man, whose girlfriend got caught in the crossfire of a gunfight between Nigma's gang and security guards, captured Nigma and attempted to kill him, but Batman intervened just in time and saved his former enemy's life.

In the 2008 miniseries Gotham Underground, Riddler investigates the Penguin's involvement with the events of Salvation Run. He saves Dick Grayson, who was undercover during the Gotham Gang War between Penguin and Tobias Whale and deduces that Grayson is Nightwing.

He appeared in Battle for the Cowl: The Underground, where he was hired by The Penguin to find Black Mask. To that end, he tracks down Selina Kyle, meeting up with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy in the process.

In Gotham City Sirens #1, Poison Ivy is controlling the Riddler, keeping him in a nearly vegetative state so she can move into his house. When a villain named Boneblaster decides to make a name for himself by killing Catwoman, the fight ends up there. The house is severely damaged, but the Riddler is freed from Ivy's control in the process. Seeing his house in shambles, he takes his question mark cane off of the wall and begins to savagely beat the already downed Boneblaster.

In the third issue, Riddler is attempting to solve a duo of unlikely suicides, the first being the second best female tennis player in the world, the second an ace, race car driver. During his re-enactment of one of the deaths, he is visited by both Catwoman and Poison Ivy, seeking his help for locating Harley after her abduction. Due to the events of the first issue, and Harley's mental state, he quickly declines, and brushes off Poison Ivy's threats.

In his efforts, he uncovers that these deaths are in fact homicides orchestrated by a serial killer who leaves subtle clues to the next victim within the body and time of death of the current victim. While attempting to alert the media, he provokes Dick Grayson as Batman. Almost instantly, Riddler deduces that the Batman before him is a new one. Nevertheless, Riddler reveals that the next victim will be the sister of the second victim, a young romance writer, something that Dick needed Alfred and the Batcave computer to figure out.

In the end, Batman goes off to confront the killer, whereas Riddler agrees to look after the intended victim. After a brief, but expected misunderstanding about Riddler's intentions with the young woman, Batman phones in to announce that he has apprehended and questioned not one, but three killers about their intentions, but gets no answers. Riddler almost leaves the woman to her life, when the lights go out unexpectedly. Riddler immediately concludes that Batman has not captured all of the killers, and pulls the woman out of harms way when a bomb goes off in front of her bookstore.

While Riddler and the writer hide as the smoke clears, three costumed assailants enter the wreckage, looking for their victim to mark with their next riddle. The two men are led by a woman going by Conundrum, and their costumes sport black and green color schemes along with disturbingly similar question mark emblazoned on their outfits. As Riddler stealthily disposes of the two grunts via use of his cane, Conundrum manages to take the writer hostage at gunpoint. At which point, Riddler deduces that Conundrum and her men are all college students, who specialize in Police Sciences. Due to his famous rehabilitation, Conundrum's group decided to fill the void with their debut murders. Conundrum even admits that Riddler was her idol, and that it would be a shame to kill him.

At this point, Riddler announces that Batman is en route to their very location, something both Conundrum and the writer have difficulty believing. Riddler claims that since his reform, he and Batman have become close, and that his cane now has its own GPS that alerts Batman to his location whenever the question mark is twisted. Still unbelieving of his claim, Riddler calmly asks Conundrum with a smirk "Why is this man smiling?"

After his question has been delivered, Batman shows up and knocks out Conundrum. Riddler then admits that he is completely baffled that Batman is indeed there, since he was only stalling for time until he thought of something, leading him to wonder if there truly is a Batsignal in his cane (a panel during Riddler's "bluff" shows that there is indeed a Batsignal in his cane, as a green question mark alongside a map shows up inside the Batmobile's window).

After the ordeal is over, the young writer hugs Riddler, thanking him for saving her life. After which, she and Riddler go out to dinner at a fancy restaurant, with Batman looking over them. Dick admits that Riddler is indeed on a path of recovery, but must still be watched. After washing up in the men's room, Riddler sees a gossip show on a circuit television, showcasing a plainclothes Harley getting into a car with Hush disguised as Bruce Wayne. He then calls Selina and tells her to turn on her television.

Shining Knight

shiningknight.jpgStill haven't read it, and still do not plan on doing so.

2005, a new Shining Knight debuted in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers mega-series. This new DC Comics version is a creation of Grant Morrison and Simone Bianchi, based on Flessel's Golden Age Shining Knight.

This new Shining Knight is also named Sir Justin (in the story, the knights of Camelot speak Welsh, so sometimes the Welsh equivalent "Ystin" is used) and has a winged horse but is much more out of place in the modern age.

Ystin is clearly a Celtic mythology version of the original Shining Knight (who was based more on the quasi-medieval setting of Sir Thomas Malory). The story explains that Camelot is a recurring archetype. Ystin comes from about 8,000 BC, long before the 6th century Camelot of Sir Justin.

Ystin, a long-haired 'schoolboy' of Camelot, is knighted and dubbed the Shining Knight by Sir Galahad, just before the fall of Camelot. Unbeknownst to Galahad, Ystin is actually a girl who is in love with him. Ystin and her winged horse Vanguard confront Gloriana Tenebrae, the Sheeda-Queen, who takes them to Castle Revolving, the floating fortress of the Sheeda. Gloriana casually informs the young knight that she has stolen the sword Excalibur, one of the Seven Imperishable Treasures. Ystin breaks free, steals Excalibur, and escapes from the Castle - only to fall to earth in modern Los Angeles, some 10,000 years later. There, she is confronted by Guilt, a Sheeda Mood 7 Mind Destroyer, who 'kills with words'.

Guilt informs her that the Sheeda broke Camelot and created a nightmare kingdom in its place, ruled by the undead King Mordredd. Without the goodness of Camelot to inspire them, the kingdoms of Avalon (which took up all the world) committed suicide. Guilt taunts Ystin, saying that if Ystin had not run away, the war might have been won. However, when Ystin saves a homeless man from some thugs, Guilt evaporates. Ystin, newly enlightened, seeks out the police.

The police contact two women: Agent Helen Helligan, a metahuman specialist for the FBI, and Doctor Gloria Friday, an expert on pre-Atlantean civilization. With Friday's uncanny grasp of ancient Welsh, they learn of Ystin's predicament. Suddenly, as the clock strikes midnight, Friday reveals that she is really the Sheeda-Queen, and promptly incapacitates Ystin before poisoning Helligan.

Back at Castle Revolving, Gloriana reveals that Ystin is not the last of the Knights: in the final days of the Age of Camelot, the Sheeda kidnapped Galahad and broke his spirit, remaking him as a degenerate brute. For the Sheeda-Queen's twisted amusement, Ystin and Galahad are made to duel each other. Ystin attempts to reason with Galahad, but he is beyond her reach and mercilessly attacks her. Just then, the Queen gets a whiff of Ystin's menstrual blood and reveals that Ystin is really a girl. Gloriana then leaves Galahad to torture Ystin into joining the Sheeda side. Ystin pleads with Galahad one last time, before resolving that her mentor and the man she loves is truly gone. With one mighty strike, Ystin kills Galahad. With tears in her eyes, Ystin vows to come after Gloriana and exact revenge.

There is a subplot concerning Vincenzo the Undying Don, the leader of the Los Angeles underworld, who acquires Vanguard from the police. He also owns the second of the Seven Imperishable Treasures, the Cauldron of Rebirth and Plenty. Ne-Bu-Loh and Spyder, servants of the Sheeda-Queen, kills Vincenzo in the hopes that he will lead them to the Cauldron. He does, remarking when he emerges that 'These are the end times, when we make peace with what we are'. Vincenzo and his servitors all die, but Vanguard escaped to Gloria’s, to get reinforcements for the final battle.

In Seven Soldiers #1, it is revealed that Ystin's original given name is Justina (or more accurately, Ystina). Following the defeat of the Sheeda, Justina abandons her facade of being a boy and enrolls in a 21st century school. She laments being stranded in our era and failing her king and fellow knights. However, she is informed by the magician Ali Ka-Zoom of sketchy records of a great queen called "Ystina the Good" who helped restore the Sheeda-ravaged world centuries ago. Whether she eventually returns to the past and assumes this role remains to be seen.

Ystina is also seen in the battle for Metropolis in Infinite Crisis #7 attacking The Riddler.

Ystina makes a brief appearance in week 50 of the maxi-series "52", helping dozens of heroes battle the rage-maddened Black Adam. Fellow 'Soldier' Manhattan Guardian assists in the battle.

It would seem Ystina has stayed in the present, as she recently appeared in the "New Deal" arc of the Teen Titans. After losing various members due to events such as Battle for the Cowl and Terror Titans, Cassie Sandsmark tasks Kid Devil with recruiting new heroes for the team. He approaches Ystina with the intent of asking her to join, only to be chased off after she mistakes him for a demon.

The Hanged Man

hangedman.jpgA ghostly figure that protects Shadow Hill, appearing as a floating apparition with a burlap sack over his head and a noose around his neck. Active in Astro City since the 19th century; rumored to have existed since at least the Middle Ages.

I love this book. I really, really wish they made this one of the 52 Earths, though, I know that will never happen because ol' Kurt wants to keep his toys in his own toy box but still. His characters fit so well in with the rest of the DCU characters, they have a classic feel. Hanged Man is a cool ass character, but not my fav. by far.

I know, I really should write more up for this character but I am brain farting and watching Season One of Scrubs so its somewhat distracting. Sorry.

If you haven't read this book go out and pick it up. Why? Because I said so, dammit.

Do it, Rockapella!


delirium.jpgI read somewhere they Neil based this character off of Tori Amos, can someone please verify that for me? Kthx.

Like the rest of her siblings, Delirium is neither a mortal being or a god, she is the personification of delirium (or madness) itself. Her realm is almost completely formless, containing colors, shapes, feelings, smells, thoughts, that mingle freely and without cause. Even she can become lost in it. At it’s center is a sundial with an inscription in Latin translated “Tempus Frangit” (Time Shatters, a pun based on "Tempus Fugit" or Time Flies) on it. Her sigil is a chaotic pattern.

She is one of the most regular of recurring characters throughout the series. It often spoken of that long, long ago, perhaps millions of years, she was once Delight, but why or when that change occurred is not known. Her appearance changes frequently with the only constant being that one of her eyes is blue while the other is green. Even her shadow never reflects her shape, and is tangible, like velvet. She speaks of random topics and it is hard to get her to follow a thread of any conversation. Her childlike appearance and nature makes her seem an innocent, but she is far from it, visiting mortals in their worst moments of madness.

She is closest to Death and Destruction, because they are fond of her and protective, but Delirium finds Dream (Morpheus) "scary".

Wanting to find her prodigal brother Destruction, she first attempted to convince Desire and Despair to help her, but they refused. She then turned to Dream to help her look for Destruction through Destruction’s old friends such as Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and War. (Eventually, this journey would taken them to Dream's son Orpheus, who was the "only Oracle who could tell them of their family", thus setting in motion the events of Morpheus downfall). During an encounter with their eldest brother Destiny, Delirium revealed that she knew why her transformation from Delight into Delirium took place even when Destiny did not and that if necessary, she could pull herself together for short periods to speak with clarity and purpose.

When Destruction left, he hinted the Delirium would go through yet another transformation. He left her with his companion, a German Shepherd dog named Barnabas.

Delirium knows pathways outside of Destiny's garden, which only she may travel.


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