Hello. I’m Alex Jaffe, better known in our Community as HubCityQuestion. My personal mission: to take on any question you have about the DC Universe -- no matter how strange, granular, or obscure -- and present you with an answer. As a faithful steward of the truth, I offer my time in this weekly column to address these inquiries. If you’d like to submit one of your own, you can stop by my office at any time in our Community to state your case, which I will address in turn to the best of my ability. Let’s discover what mysteries await us this week.
THEY'RE A FANTASTIC TRIO
“Have Elasti-Girl, Elongated Man, and Plastic Man ever teamed up? Seems their serving of justice wouldn’t be too much of a… stretch…” -ajm08g
Not all three at once, no. But that isn’t too strange--as a member of the Doom Patrol, Elasti-Girl is usually kept in her own weird little corner of the DC Universe. However, it’s worth noting that Elongated Man has been a member of both the Doom Patrol and the Justice League of America, which usually featured Plastic Man around the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. However, it should be noted that when Ralph did serve on these teams, it was never at the same time as Eel or Rita. As Green Lantern tells Ralph in “The Greatest Story Never Told,” “We don’t need two stretchy guys.” One might imagine that three is right out.
WHAT A TRULY MAGICAL PLACE
“Hi Q, after reading Esper Quinn’s article on DCU queer hotspots, particularly about Themyscira, I had a question. Everyone knows it’s a woman’s only paradise and technically men aren’t allowed, but has it ever been brought up either in or out of continuity whether transgender characters super or not are allowed to reside there?” -JRussell5874
It has, JRussell5874, and the answer is yes: absolutely and unequivocally. While Wonder Woman alludes to her acceptance of gender fluidity in the film Justice League: War, Diana is asked this question directly in 2018’s Wonder Woman: Earth One, Vol. 2. Wonder Woman explains that just like our own moral code, and each subsequent wave of feminism in Western society, Amazon civilization has evolved over generations to encompass greater awareness and acceptance in a world view which allows as many people as possible to benefit and coexist. Trans issues have yet to be addressed directly by Wonder Woman in main continuity. But with Amazon acceptance of complex gender identity on the cutting edge of new adaptations of the mythos, it’s only natural that Amazon society should evolve in the comics as a reflection of the feminism it was designed to showcase all the way back in the 1940s, alongside the long overdue rise of intersectional representation.
THE CHICAGO WAY
“Jim Gordon has often been depicted as the first cop on the scene of the Wayne murders (or a cop on the scene anyways). However, in Year One and several other modern stories he is depicted as a newly transferred cop from Chicago. Is there an explanation that satisfies both and, if not, which is canon this side of Rebirth?” -TheBatmanofNML
As DC’s most popular character, there have been a myriad of retellings over the years of Batman’s origins. In the comics, the touchstone origin story of the modern age has been 1987’s “Batman: Year One,” all told from the perspective of Captain James Gordon--an incorruptible cop newly arrived in Gotham City from the mean streets of Chicago.
But as influential as “Batman: Year One” has been on the Bat-Mythology, Gordon’s transfer to Gotham was an invention at the time of writer Frank Miller. Years earlier, 1980’s The Untold Legend of the Batman offered an alternative viewpoint on Gordon’s formative years in Gotham, placing him directly on the murder case of Thomas and Martha Wayne.
Though “Batman: Year One” remains a foundational work on Batman’s origin to this day, Gordon’s history has gone back and forth. Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy depicts Gordon on the scene of the Wayne murders, consoling a young Bruce, as does TV’s Gotham. However, most comics over the next twenty-five years since “Year One” presented Gordon as having arrived in Gotham the same year as Batman’s debut.
In the New 52, Scott Snyder presented us with a compromise between these two conflicting stories during the “Zero Year” arc of his Batman run. In modern continuity, Gordon still began his career in Chicago, but transferred to Gotham with a very young Barbara in tow just in time to work on the Wayne murders. By the time Batman made his first appearance in Gotham, Gordon had ascended through the ranks to lieutenant--but only by working with Batman would he rise to Commissioner.
LET'S PUT A KYLE ON THAT FACE
“Hey Q, I’ve always been a huge Kyle Rayner fan and was curious as to his current standing in the continuity. Specifically, was he still the last of the Green Lanterns; was he Ion? How much of Ron Marz’s incredible run is still canon? Thanks for the help.” -TheLastGL
For many Green Lantern fans who followed the series through the ‘90s, Kyle Rayner is THE Green Lantern. And from 1994-2004, writer Ron Marz was to Kyle what Geoff Johns has since become to Hal Jordan today--the ultimate champion of his Green Lantern as the greatest to ever wear the ring. As I’ve written about the Green Lantern series in a previous column, 2011’s “Flashpoint” altered the majority of the DC Universe continuity with two significant exceptions: Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated storyline, and the ongoing Green Lantern saga as told by Marz’s successor on the title, Geoff Johns. While a truncated version of Kyle’s origin story was retold in his own Post-Flashpoint New 52 series, Green Lantern: New Guardians, the full extent of his decade of adventures under Ron Marz was unaffirmed. In the post-2016 era of DC Universe: Rebirth, much of the unaffirmed or contradicted continuity of the DC Universe prior to 2011 gradually began to return to the fold. Rebirth’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series returned Kyle from his position as the White Lantern to his classic, Marz-era Green Lantern costume, and Kyle often spoke to Hal about his time with the Green Lanterns--alluding to, if not directly affirming, the events of the Ron Marz series.
Just last week, however, Kyle’s prior escapades as Earth’s sole Green Lantern were cemented in the current state of continuity by Ron Marz himself, in a reflective story written for the Green Lantern 80th Anniversary 100-Page Spectacular. In this special issue, the current status and history of EVERY Green Lantern is recanonized, and Kyle is no exception. Which is all to say that Ron Marz’s run is all still part of the story.
As for my own story, you can watch it unfold every week as the fruits of my labor blossom from the seeds you plant with the cases you bring to my chambers in the DC Universe community. To be part of the next thrilling installment, all you need to do is ASK… THE QUESTION.