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 lively Community to state your case, which I will address in turn to the best of my ability. The world is a scary place right now, but I remain your vigilant detective through the comic book cosmos to discover the answers you crave. Let’s see what secrets are ripe for unveiling in this week’s column.
TASTE THE RAINBOW
“Have two or more forms of Kryptonite ever been used against a character at the same time? If so, are they depicted as having any sort of interactions with each other, or is it simply a matter of each form’s effect happening simultaneously?”
Not very often, but it has happened. While there are many instances of one type of Kryptonite radiation being transmuted into another, it’s something of a rarity for two unique sources of Kryptonite radiation to be present at once. One instance I can think of is in the 4th season Lois & Clark episode “Lethal Weapon,” where Green Kryptonite exposure is shown to reverse the effects of Red Kryptonite. That idea carries over to the 9th season Smallville episode “Persuasion,” where Green Kryptonite is shown to override the effects of other forms of Kryptonite as well.
Silver Age comics, however, tell a different story. In 1961’s Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #29, Lois smuggles Red Kryptonite to Superman through her lipstick, allowing him a temporary immunity to Green Kryptonite as he undergoes the Red-K’s effects.
In 1962, a number of stories in Action Comics, Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen, and World’s Finest all countermand this earlier idea. Under the effects of Red Kryptonite, those with Kryptonian abilities are still shown to be vulnerable to Green Kryptonite in the same way.
1964’s Superboy #111, however, seems to corroborate the Lois Lane effect, when Krypto is transformed by Red Kryptonite into a Super Llama -- and finds, while protecting Clark from a Green Kryptonite meteor, that those under the influence of Red Kryptonite are temporarily immunized to the effects of Green.
1965’s Superboy #121 expounds upon that, but with an interesting twist. Although a Red K-affected Clark is shown to be immunized to the effects of Green K, Jax-Ur and his Phantom Zone cronies devise a mixture of Red and Green Kryptonite radiation to form “Red-Green Kryptonite rays” -- the effect of which, in theory, would cause the temporary changes of Red Kryptonite to Kryptonian physiology to become permanent. Prior to that, in 1961’s Action Comics #275, Brainiac exposes Superman to a Red-Green Kryptonite alloy which causes him to sprout an eye in the back of his head. How this is significantly different from any other sole Red Kryptonite effect is anyone’s guess.
Curiously, 1960’s Superman #139 demonstrates that while a lead suit may protect Superman from Green Kryptonite radiation, at least certain types of Red-K radiation are capable of permeating that protective layer. In an “imaginary story” told in 1967’s Superman #192, an alloy of Red, Green, and Gold Kryptonite takes Superman’s powers away from him permanently and instantaneously -- suggesting, perhaps, that the presence of the Red and Green Kryptonite may have catalyzed the effects of the Gold.
2009’s Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade #3 presents an altogether different effect of Red Kryptonite, one which bestows humans, not Kryptonians, with strange new powers. Only in mixing the radiation of Green and Red Kryptonite is Supergirl able to replicate the same effects on herself.
In regards, specifically, to Bizarros, 2012’s Superman Family Adventures #2 shows Bizarro exposed to all forms of Kryptonite at once -- but he is only affected by Blue Kryptonite.
Through all this, one thing is certain: the effects of mixing different kinds of Kryptonite can often be just as unpredictable as Kryptonite itself.
WE DIDN'T START THE FYERS
“Another spelling-related query that’s been driving me a little nuts: Eddie Fyers or Eddie Fyres? Every secondary source I can find spells it Fyers, but the comics I’ve read seem to use both spellings about equally.”
Your secondary sources are most likely correct, BatJamags. Created by Mike Grell, this mercenary frenemy to Green Arrow first appears in 1988’s Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters, but isn’t named until issue #3 of his ongoing Green Arrow run.
The spelling discrepancy first pops up the moment a second writer takes over the character, however, in Sharon Wright’s Black Canary stories running in 1988’s Action Comics.
However, this may be a simple mistake. In the ongoing, concurrent Green Arrow stories by Grell himself, the “Fyers” spelling is consistently used.
The next writer to use the character, Sarah Byam in the 1993 Black Canary limited series, also proffers the “Fyres” spelling.
It’s easy enough to conclude that Byam was drawing on those previous Black Canary solo stories with the “Fyres” error for her source material, as opposed to the original Grell work.
Not too long after Grell’s last Green Arrow issue, Kelley Puckett and Chuck Dixon took over writing duties, reintroducing Eddie as part of their own run’s supporting cast. In these stories, Puckett and Dixon maintain Grell’s original spelling:
As the two most prolific writers of the character, Grell and Dixon can probably be considered the combined authorities on the character. Therefore, we may conclude that despite common errors to the contrary, “Fyers” is the right and proper spelling. Even if you subscribe to the opinion that the most recent spelling being the correct one, never mind origins, then the ball still falls in the “Fyers” court. Eddie’s last role in the DC Universe was during Benjamin Percy’s 2016 run on Green Arrow, where he introduces himself as such:
It goes beyond the comics, as well: appearing in Season 1 of TV’s Arrow, Sebastian Dunn is credited as “Edward Fyers.” So, there you have it. While both spellings have been used, the rule may be as such: “R after E, except with Cana-ry.”
SPEED FORCE MAJEURE
“How fast are the speedsters? Starting with Jay/Flash, and running through all DC owned characters across the decades-- right up to whoever is newest in the pages of modern comics— where does everyone place in the race?”
I’d prefer the definition of “speedster” to be a little narrower before I answer this. There are, after all, literally thousands of characters in the history of the DC Universe with superhuman speed. Let’s consider “speedster” to mean anyone with speed comparable to The Flash, then, and where super speed is their main deal. The subject of this is a matter of personal opinion, and one that can and will be overturned by any writer, depending on their particular preference. Two Flash Facts, however, are immutable:
FACT #1: Barry Allen is the fastest man alive.
FACT #2: Except for Wally West.
After Infinite Crisis, Bart Allen was said to have the potential to someday surpass Barry’s speed -- but even with a turn as The Flash himself, he has yet to realize that potential. The newest generation of Flashes, like Wallace West and Avery Ho, also have plenty of potential, but are even less experienced in using the Speed Force than Bart, putting them behind the original Impulse. Wallace may have a bit of an edge on Avery, though, thanks to his more extensive training with more advanced Flashes. Behind them still would be Jai and Iris West, Wally’s twin kids.
The “evil counterpart” Flashes- Eobard Thawne, Hunter Zolomon, Inertia, Meena Dhawan, Godspeed- can all be said to be more or less matched by their heroic counterparts, if a smidge behind for the determination that comes with a heroic narrative. We’ll also put Black Flash slightly below Barry, who barely outpaced him for years between Crisis on Infinite Earths and Final Crisis. There’s also Savitar, I guess, the so-called “God of Speed” who frankly sounds a lot more impressive than he is. I’d generously place him above Inertia, but below the more serious evil Speedsters.
Jay Garrick, who was never connected to the Speed Force the same way Barry and his family have been, trails considerably behind the others. He’s outpaced by Max Mercury as well, who has a mystical bend to his speed. I’ll confess I’m not entirely sure where Johnny Quick ranks, with his purely scientific relationship to the Speed Force, but I will say that his daughter is faster, and that magic tends to outpace science. XS, the Flash of the 31st Century, doesn’t technically connect directly to the Speed Force either, and was given her power by aliens.
So: with all that in mind, in the grand Speed Force race between all of DC’s greatest speedsters, the flash finish might go something like this—though keep in mind that in many of these cases, the difference in places may be so infinitesimal that we’ve yet to invent a small enough unit of time to measure it.
#19. Jay Garrick
#18. Jai & Iris West
#17. Reverse-Flash (Daniel West)
#16. Avery Ho
#15. Wallace West
#14. Johnny Quick
#13. Jesse Quick
#12. Max Mercury
#11. Negative Flash (Meena Dhawan)
#7. Reverse-Flash (Eobard Thawne)
#6. Zoom (Hunter Zolomon)
#5. Black Flash
#4. Bart Allen
#3. Barry Allen
#2. Wally West
#1. John Fox
Oh, shoot. Did I forget to mention John Fox? Yeah, he’s The Flash of the 27th and 853rd centuries (you know, time travel), and Wally’s distant descendant who’s even faster than he is. The only reason he’s not the Fastest Man Alive, you see, is because he won’t be born for 600 years.
FLUSH WITH VICTORY
“Every time I’ve seen the Royal Flush Gang, they’ve been a joke and easily defeated. Have they ever been presented as a serious threat? Or even won just one fight?”
Not for a long time now, Six of Ralphs… but that wasn’t always the case. Life for these card-themed criminals started out pretty sweet. In their first two appearances, 1966’s Justice League of America #43 and 1967’s Justice League of America #54, the emergence of the Royal Flush Gang was indeed one which warranted a League-worthy response. The reason? Their original Ace, Amos Fortune: a man whose abilities of “stellaration” allowed him to control the forces of luck. The cards were always on his side, with the deck stacked against the JLA. After their first two hands against each other, Fortune left the Flush Gang behind for new pursuits, and ever since they’ve been the jobbers we know them to be today.
Well, if there’s one thing we can learn from Amos, it’s this: you gotta know when to hold ‘em...
“When did Darkseid first interact with the mainstream DC heroes and villains? I picked up Legends recently and Darkseid seems to already know the heroes of Earth well, but I can’t find stories of their interactions before 1986, any clue?”
Thanks to the efforts of Darkseid’s Intergang representatives, the God of Evil has been well aware of metahuman activity on Earth from his very first appearance. Before The New Gods hit shelves in 1971, Darkseid was already making appearances in Jack Kirby’s Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, observing the superheroics of Metropolis from far behind the scenes. In Forever People #1, Superman encounters the New Gods directly for the first time, and even bears witness to the machinations of Darkseid -- though they have little chance to talk with one another before Darkseid departs.
However, it was not Earth’s greatest heroes as a whole who first became familiar with Darkseid, but its villains. It was Darkseid who organized the first iteration of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, in the 1977 series of the same name. Ultimately, Darkseid and his society were defeated by the self-sacrifice of Manhunter, who had infiltrated the group as a villain.
The first proper encounter between Darkseid and the Justice League as a whole occurred nearly a decade after the New God’s first appearance, in “Crisis Between Two Earths” -- a three-part storyline running in 1980’s Justice League of America #183-185. Part of an annual tradition in the title of Justice League and Justice Society team-ups, this story raised the stakes by converging the heroes of three worlds- Earth-One, Earth-Two, and Fourth World- against the re-emerging threat of Darkseid. It’s only through Metron’s last moment, reluctant interference that Darkseid is defeated. And although the multiverse was condensed subsequent to the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Post-Crisis continuity still points to a revised version of this encounter as the first time the Justice League encountered Darkseid.
But for my part, it’s much easier to arrange an encounter with HubCityQuestion. Simply stop by my designated thread in the DC Universe community, and pose your inquiries there. I’ll be back every week to solve the most vexatious conundra that our world of comics and heroes has to offer. All you ever need is ASK… THE QUESTION.