Who's Crisis Part 5: Black and Blue

Category: Crisis
Last article published: 13 April 2019
This is the 74th post under this label

I've been getting requests for this so our exploration of whether or not Who's Who was actually a spotter's guide for the Crisis on Infinite Earths (go back one, to Part 4). In other words, did all the entries in Who's Who feature in either the Crisis series or one of its tie-ins? As we embark on Who's Who #3, let's try not to come out of it all black and blue...
Black Lightning: Jefferson Pierce was starring in Batman and the Outsiders at the time, so of course he's invited to the Crisis. Mostly a background player, he does his thing fighting Shadow-Demons, as you do in those circumstances.
Black Manta: Aquaman's most famous foe had not appeared since the King of Atlantis' Adventure Comics run in 1980 when he did the Who's Who/Crisis double-whammy, but he's one of the villains assembled in issue 9. He gets into a fight with Aqualad, while Aquagirl is killed by the Shark.
Black Orchid: Previous last appearance in the Super-Friends comic back in 1980, but Crisis was her come-back, along with that famous Blue Devil Annual. Not unlike Black Lightning, she's in the background, either as part of larger groups, or fighting those pesky Shadow-Demons (or alternatively, the anti-matter wave itself). Exposure from WW/CoIE would land her a gig in Ostrander's Suicide Squad before Neil Gaiman revamped the character for a proto-Vertigo audience (where it's really a very different Black Orchid).
Black Pirate: Crisis is perfect for heroes operating outside the normal time frames, and Black Pirate maybe makes an appearance in Crisis #5 (or at least his ship does). He is more prominently featured in All-Star Squadron's historical heroes team at Cape Canaveral (with his son!). His last appearance had been a DC Comics Presents a few years prior, but it's his future that was murky. No one would find a way to use him again until the mid-90s when James Robinson featured his ghost in the pages of Starman.
Black Racer: Whole universes are dying and the New Gods' angel of death doesn't show up?! I call shenanigans. Even if Darkseid has taken Apokolips out of the fight, it doesn't stand to reason a free agent like the Black Racer would be affected by such a move. Like most New Gods, his last appearance had been in the late 70s; his next stop would be in Captain Atom #17, two years after Crisis, by which point we'd had Legends and their (re)introduction into the DC Universe.
Blackrock: Last appeared in Superman Family 212-213 in 1981. Would next be mocked in Justice League America #43-44 in 1990 when the Great Tortolini wins his rock at cards. Absolutely no mention in Crisis or any tie-in.
Black Spider: Admittedly not the most famous of Batman's rogues, Black Spider had nevertheless appeared as recently as 1983's Detective #526, so he's part of the villain force trying to take advantage of the Crisis in the main series' ninth issue. He gets his block knocked off for his trouble. He would continue to make appearances through the end of the decade and beyond.
Blackstarr: A relatively recent character, she was in Supergirl #13-15 (1893) and that was it. With Supergirl's star waning, you might expect Blackstarr NOT to make an appearance, but she does. Not just as part of issue 9's villain force, but indeed, as the villain of DC Comics Presents #86's Crisis tie-in! In that issue, Superman and Supergirl fly to a region of space collapsing in on itself. Blackstarr comes out of a black hole there and explains none of this is her doing. She helps the Kryptonians stop the catastrophe, but it's just a band-aid as the Crisis proceeds apace. After that, 17 years of silence. Keith Giffen will use her again in his 2002 Suicide Squad series.
Blockbuster: Speaking of Suicide Squad, Blockbuster will soon become infamous for being the first super-villain member to die on a mission in Legends, before being replaced by his most interesting brother. But does he show up in Crisis? Yes, three years after his last appearance (in an issue of Wonder Woman, not Batman, huh), he will become part of the villains involved. (Gets hit by the Golden Age Hawkman; later helps try to stop Krona from opening his temporal portal to the origin of the universe.)
Blok: A member of the Legion at the time of Crisis, he's gotta make an appearance. A background player, even in the Legion tie-in issues, so I guess his biggest moment is getting saved by Jay Garrick when the Monitor's HQ is attacked. I wonder how he pulled up his massive 975 lbs...
Blue Beetle: Famously, Ted Kord made his DC Universe debut along with other "Earth-4" heroes in the pages of Crisis (he's even on that first, awesome, wrap-around cover). In an effort to integrate the Charlton heroes into the DCU, he would soon be gifted his own monthly series, but for now, he's a hero on a world that's about to be eaten by anti-matter.
Blue Devil: Dan Cassidy had his own title during Crisis, so of course he appears and ties in. Issue 18 of his own book is called "The Last Parallel World Story", acknowledging the end of an era. This is on the back of Crisis #8 where he's present when Red Tornado explodes, and where he is sucked into an interdimensional warp. He's back in our universe (such as it is) in time to participate in the climax.
Bolt: This generic hero fodder was born in the pages of Blue Devil the year before Crisis, and so was easy to slot into the villain group participating in the event. That's him in the background there getting zapped by Jade. He would later be on the task force trying to stop Krona from carrying out his plans on Oa. Right after Crisis, he would show up in Fury of Firestorm, and this jobber hasn't really been out of work since.
Bouncing Boy: I was afraid Chuck wouldn't be in Crisis because he wasn't an active member of the Legion in the mid-80s, but phew! He's wayyy in the back in a shot of the Legion (issue 10) and part of the assembled group of heroes from issue 5 (with Duo Damsel, whoo!).
Boy Commandos: As I intimated before, History of the DC Universe, though an epilogue to Crisis, DOES NOT COUNT (no Crisis banner). So while they do appear there, they are nowhere to be seen during the event. A mainstay of DC Comics during the 40s, the Boys had a brief and unsuccessful revival in the early 70s and were then not seen until, what, Guardians of Metropolis in the wake of Superman's death? I am becoming more and more convinced that Wolfman and Perez had something against Jack Kirby's creations. Sure, Kamandi shows up, but a lot of his characters either get sidelined (like the New Gods) or don't appear at all despite being fodder for a time-crossed adventure like this one. Sigh.

But relatively few omissions in the first half of volume 3, wouldn't you agree? 3 out of 15 ain't bad (compare to last time where 8 out of 17 were missing). So after 2½ issues, the score stands at 51/76, so the average is growing.

2 comments:

Rafael Bisono said...

finally thanks.
you should do more of these.😂

Rafael Bisono said...

by "very different" you mean that they give her an identity (the character was based on not knowing who she is) they killed her and replaced her with clones until the new 52 where she was a magical being and gave her another identity.

 

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