20-Some Things I Learned From DC Comics Absolutely Everything You Need To Know
Review by KC Carlson
DC Comics Absolutely Everything You Need To Know is a brand-new, 200-page book, published by DK, packed with information about the entire DC Universe (and its history). However, unlike previous DC Comics books from DK, it has a somewhat skewed sense of the minutia of the DCU that matches up with mine, so I’m finding it particularly entertaining and quite funny/absurd in places. I suspect the books’ four authors — Liz Marsham, Melanie Scott, Landry Q. Walker, and Steven Wiacek — are responsible for much of that.
So, skipping around and not even having finished the the entire book (how unprofessional!), I’m diving right in so I can share some of this DC weirdness, mostly quoting directly from the book (although I add some personal thoughts from my time as a editor for DC, when appropriate).
In no particular order…
Richard Raleigh, alias the Red Bee, fights alongside his trained pet Michael, a bee who lives in Richard’s belt pouch!
G.I. Zombie’s undead status means he can “survive” bullets to the head and severed body parts. But he does smell a bit!
One of the Doom Patrol’s strangest foes is the Beard Hunter. This sinister villain hunts down people with full, lush beards, kills them, then takes their beards as trophies! (Hey, wait… I have a beard…)
The Team That Never Was! When some magical heroes work together to defeat the demon Nebiros, TV-reporter-turned-superhero the Creeper suggests they form a group named the Spirit Squad. However, no one likes the idea! (I’m guessing it’s because Constantine looks really odd in those flippy little pleated skirts!)
Batman’s Unusual Gadgets #1: Bat-Freeze Pill. Batman can take this to lower his body temperature to evade heat sensors.
Batman’s Unusual Gadgets #2: Projectile Bat-Ears. For a surprise attack, Batman can fire the ears off his cowl!
When Hush steals Batman’s Whirly-Bat, his bandages get caught in the copter’s rotor blades. The villain then crashes into the ceiling of the Batcave and blows himself up!
Speaking of Whirly-Bats, they have crashed into buildings, had their rotor blades frozen by Mister Zero’s ice gun, been destroyed by robots, and been smashed by the Penguin’s airship! So, slightly less reliable than the Batmobile, I guess. (Although not as ridiculous as the Bat-Jet ski — which is described as having “the flexibility of the Batcycle — but on water!” Holy something!)
Top Three High School Goofs by Clark Kent:
- Accidentally setting the school on fire with heat vision when Lana Lang kisses him.
- Accidentally breaking his friend Pete Ross’s arm while playing football.
- Literally seeing through his classmates when his x-ray vision first kicks in!
Other things you might not remember about Superman:
- Lana Lang discovers Superboy is really Clark Kent after he saves her from being chopped up by farm machinery!
- Superboy doesn’t realize that he’s a member of the 31st-century Legion of Super-Heroes. After each adventure in the future, telepath Saturn Girl suppresses his memories!
Way back when, Gorilla Grodd wanted to eat the Flash’s brains! Grodd was also responsible for the Flash weighing 1,000 pounds and therefore being unable to run. Other bizarre things that happened to the Flash over the years: His head was swollen to giant size by the Trickster, and he was transformed into a wooden puppet by Abra Kadabra, turned into an old man by the Top, and both transformed into glass and shrunk to the size of a mouse by Mirror Master.
Over the years, Hawkman’s background (and name) have changed frequently. He’s been a reincarnated Egyptian prince, an intrepid Thanagarian police officer, a disgraced Thanagarian soldier and political rebel, a Thanagarian spy laying plans for an invasion by infiltrating the Justice League, and an amnesiac fugitive and Thanagarian royal consort. I think I had something to do with attempting to resolve all these several lives/years ago when I edited Zero Hour for DC (although Dan Jurgens came up with the actual solution), but it’s as though everything I remembered about that has been seemingly erased from my brain. I blame Blue Slurpees and Dan Didio.
Things you probably forgot about Wonder Woman: Her mom, Hippolyta, becomes Wonder Woman for a time in both the JLA and JSA. Other alternate Wonder Women include Earth-3 Lois Lane, a psychic from Planet Gotham, a Wild West sheriff fighting mechanical gunslingers, an actor in a 19th century UK ruled by Jack the Ripper, and Earth-C-Minus’ Wonder Wabbit — a member of the heroic Just’a Lotta Animals.
And there’s more! An Amazon sorceress created a magical duplicate of Diana, so young Wonder Woman would have a playmate. And you just read (one of) the origin(s) of super-powered Donna Troy, formerly known as Wonder Girl. Even I can’t remember all the changes to her continuity!
And there’s so much more that I haven’t gotten to yet, like the Super-Villains, Super-Teams (both Hero and Villain), Science and Magic, and Locations and Infinite Earths! Much fun! I so love it when DC allows for a nudge or a poke about their Universe(s). I’ll be enjoying the rest of this book this weekend. What a nice surprise!