Saturday, August 29, 2015

Ralph and Sue's legend is still strong 1000 years later!

... In the form of a themed Grill & Bar.

There are many interesting things going on with the above image from the fantastic third issue of  Justice League 3001. I'm sure Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis were just having fun, but that's what happens when you have talented craftsmen on the job.

Among the extras we can see the somebody looking like Ambush Bug, a creation of Keith, and another guy resembling the Shadow (perhaps an homage to Andy Helfer?). The Chrysler Building seems to be on the background, which would mean we are seeing the New York City of 3001 AD, when Earth is a dumpster called Takron-Galtos, a place for criminals and low lives.

The restaurant sign alone reveals that there is a Ralph and Sue themed bar and grill, which might lead us to assume a number of things. Until we see the next panel!

You are thinking "is that Wolverine next ot Clark?", but in this picture,
there are a couple of DC regulars hidden in plain sight as well.

There's something funny going on. Let's take a closer look.

Those are freaking Ralph and Sue!! 

I won't get ahead of myself. We have two great options. In the worst case, those are not resurrected Ralph and Sue, which means their legend was so strong it lived as a franchise for almost 1000 years. But let's be practical, if Barry was resurrected for the 3rd time, and we know Firestorm (in control of Cadmus) is now reviving even guys like Gardner, odds are those are resurrected Ralph and Sue and they own a place now. Only Keith and J.M. know the answer and future plans for the characters.

This is a great year for Dibny fans.

By the way. I cannot recommend enough to buy this series. The creative team is a guarantee, and, after a great start, it has been getting more and more entertaining with every issue. The art is fantastic, the story is great and it's impossible not to care about these characters. Not because they are beloved DC icons, but because the compelling way they are written. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


It took four years, but Ralph and Sue Dibny are finally revealed as part of The Secret Six title. 

Secret Six, vol. 4, #5.

This is all thanks to Gail Simone. I'm really glad she did this. Detectives are always a perfect fit for a title like Secret Six, I think Ralph and Sue can work great with the team and are perfect enemies for the Riddler.

Part of the charm of Catman was the way he worked when paired with Deadshot. Both of them are tough alpha men. With his partner gone, I think Ralph is a great replacement. It's different: Ralph is a bit of a geek, always optimistic and assertive, and while he never misses a thing, he can be quite laid back and a bit of a class clown. That's nothing like Deadshot, but changing dance partners is always interesting (it's what keeps so many people hooked to Game of Thrones). So, the switch is interesting and I think along with Sue, Ralph can be key in moving Catman forward on his way to become a full hero.

Sure, with Scandal and Rag Doll outside the roster it's possible to speculate that Big Shot and Black Alice won't stay. Then again, without Deadshot, the book needs high profile characters, and  detectives Ralph and Sue fit the part just fine.

I borrowed this pic from Bleeding Cool, which borrowed it from Secret Six, vol. 4, #5. 
The background story of the Dibnys seems a little changed. I hope they figure out a way to tie it with Barry Allen again. However, as long as the characters remain true at the core, I think this is a good thing. This is not classic DCU, just the New 52 (I don't know about my kind readers, but it's not one of my favorite continuities, anyway), and stories are different.

The Flash # 138
It's possible that the story is going to have Sue brainwashed to become the Riddler's girlfriend or lover and it might elongate the drama for a while. I guess that might get kind of rapey (it depends), which is not precisely cool with Dibny fans, but at least is not Identity Crisis rape, and, again, it's the new 52, so, I take it with a grain of salt. A writer has to take some risks in order to make a good story and Gail has a lot of talent.

Something that is worth noticing is that "the Star of India" is an obscure and classic plot device from Flash #138, in which the Pied Piper stole it and Ralph and the Flash had to recover it. I love that Gail included it in this story. It means that she knows her Elongated Man. I'd love to see revivals of any of the other classic elements like the birthday mysteries, Billy Warner (president of the Elongated Man fan club), the visits to France (Ralph is even more popular there), the Batman and Flash crossovers, Amos Hurd "the Cowboy Millionaire", the Elongated Evildoer, the circus performances, the nods to Doyle, Christie, Poe and everything about the Thin Man and I think this list went on for too long.

So, yeah, with Convergence, Justive League 3000 and Secret Six, 2015 is the year of the Dibnys. I really hope Gail elevates them both to high profile status, like she has done with many characters in the past.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Elongated Man in Multiversity

According to Grant Morrison's The Multiversity, at least a couple of versions of Ralph are still around in DC's multiverse.

The Multiversity is a limited series that explores multiple universes of the current continuity of DC Comics. In later years, the Elongated Man didn't even make cameos, however, that changed with The Multiversity Guidebook, the sixth issue of the series, which goes into detail of the entire multiverse and shows a list including most of its universes.

On Earth 44, as shown in page 57 of The Multiversity Guidebook, the equivalent of both the Justice League of America and the Metal Men is The Metal League. Created by Dr. Will Tornado, Gold Superman, Iron Batman, Platinum Wonder Woman, Nth Metal Hawkman, Lead Green Arrow, Mercury Flash and, yes, Tin Elongated Man.

They are all robot versions of the Justice League, the fun part is that is that the only human member is the equivalent of the only robot member of the actual league. 

Another version of the Elongated Man can be seen on Earth 26, which is the equivalent of what used to be "Earth C", during the early 80s. A world populated by anthropomorphic animals, including Captain Carrot and his amazing Zoo Crew, a superhero team. They are original characters rather than analogues of the Justice League, but it's worth noticing that one of the most prominent members, Rubberduck, has the exact powers of the Elongated Man and nicknames like "the ductile duck" or "the malleable mallard", equivalent to Ralph's "the ductile detective" and "the malleable marvel". 

In the old stories, the focus of the stories is Captain Carrot, and he is a comic book artist in his civilian identity. The title he draws is Just'a Lotta Animals, which features anthropomorphic animal versions of the Justice League of America. However, as it always happens in the DC multiverse, what is comic book fiction in one universe is reality in another. So, those Justice League parodies turned out to exist in their own universe, called Earth C-, and they even met Captain Carrot and his friends "The Zoo Crew" in some stories. 

In The Multiversity #2, during the crisis across the multiverse, the Zoo Crew is seen fighting Just'a Lotta Animals. Which, again includes a version of the Elongated Man, in this case, the Elon-Gator.

It wasn't specified if the new Just'a Lotta Animals and Zoo Crew live in different universes like they used to do (Earth C, and Earth C-). We only know that they have a fight on Earth-26, which belongs to the Zoo Crew, but no universe was listed as belonging to Just'a Lotta Animals. However, in the Multiversity series, 7 universes were left unknown, including Earth-25 and Earth-27. 

Most of the 52 universes include a version of the Justice League, commonly based on the 3 incarnations: the original "big 7", the new big 7 (with Cyborg replacing Martian Manhunter) and the satellite era. Clearly both the Metal League and Just'a Lotta Animals are based on the satellite era. However, it can also be argued that Elon-Gator was probably included to provide a visually interesting counterpart to the more recognizable Rubberduck.

Oddly enough, I don't remember a single Plastic Man in any Justice League analogue, despite the fact that Morrison himself made him a member. The exception might be Morphin' Man, a parody of the completely obscure Polyman, who is, in turn, a pastiche of both Elongated Man and Plastic Man.

I don't really know if the old realities are back after Convergence, (yet another miniseries in which characters from old or erased time lines get a second chance), but, so far, this year I have seen the return of the classic, pre-Crisis, Elongated Man, as well as the pre-Flashpoint one, the version from the Giffen-DeMatteis stories in Justice League 3000 (another unidentified universe), the Elon-Gator, Rubberduck, and Tin Elongated Man. Plus, on the main universe of DC Comics, Earth-0, there is a mysterious character called Ralph Dibny, despite the fact that he doesn't look anything like the real deal.

Some other universes like Earth-22 (Kingdom Come) are known to have a Ralph Dibny. Due to their connection with Juistice League Unlimited, in which he was a character, Earths 12 and 50 probably have other versions of him. It's also safe to assume that many of the other universes feature him, specially those with versions of all the characters of Earth-0 or Earth-1. 

All of this isn't really a comeback for Ralph Dibny, since he is not really part of a team with an ongoing title. However, at least his existence is acknowledged and he becomes available for any writer who might want to use him in upcoming stories.