Welcome to our coverage of “Who’s Who!” For this summer, we’ll be focusing exclusively on the 26-issue 1985-1987 series, without any of the updates. Those will, hopefully, follow next year.
We are at the end of J and most of the K’s this week – let’s jump right in.
Best Overall Entry: J. Wilbur Wolfingham
I get such joy from this entry. Here is the second most obscure character in this entire issue, and he gets a full page entry, simply because his whole deal is so fun. A guy who tries to do bad, but winds up making all those around him successful is such a great character beat. We need to see him come back!
Best Non-Character Entry: Justice League Headquarters
Y’all are probably sick of me talking about how happy the diagrams of superhero headquarters are, but look at this thing!
Marquee Character: Killer Frost?
The question mark after her name is intentional, because why on Earth was this the choice for the marquee character? Kid Flash is right there, and he’s about to take up the Flash mantle any day now. This was a high point for the Legion, so put Karate Kid out there. The fucking JUSTICE LEAGUE is in this issue. But Killer Frost? Hell, even the JL Satellite would make more sense than an, at this point, undistinguished Firestorm villain.
Most Obscure Character: Kong
It’s rare that the most obscure character has a titular series to their name, but all of Kong’s narrative appearances come in “Kong the Untamed” #1-5. Aside from that, it’s just “Who’s Who” and a panel in “The History of the DC Universe.” He doesn’t even show up in the DC Encyclopedia!
Most Incomprehensible Entry: Kalista
This almost went to Jor-El, but folks know the broad strokes of Jor-El enough to skip past some of the babble. This is just straight Omega Men babble.
Most Bizarre Entry: Kid Eternity
There are two kinds of pre-modern era comics origins: this, incredibly complex story that involves gods, brothers separated at birth, and mystical powers, and those that are like Kid Flash’s below, which amount to “who cares?” I just love all the care taken to make this character that no one has ever really cared about, despite having some amazing powers.
Top 3 Pieces of Art:
3. Kid Eternity by Murphy Anderson
This is mostly included because of Tom Bosley as Mr. Keeper in the background. This looks like the title card for a late 70s sitcom Kid and Keep.
2. Kana by Joe Brozowski and Bob Smith
This piece gives off cool G.I. Joe vibes, and is the rare Asian character from this era that isn’t drawn as a ridiculously over the top caricature. Kana looks like a ninja, and that’s all he needs.
1. Kamandi by Jack Kirby and Greg Theakston
Do I really need to tell you why a Kirby piece is #1?
Best lines/details per entry:
Jonny Double: Originally a plainclothes detective on the San Francisco police force, Double left the force under as-yet-unexplained circumstances to open his own detective agency. Unable to afford anything better, Double took offices on the Embarcadero, the San Francisco waterfront, from what the continues to operate today.
Brian’s Commentary: Ah, yes, waterfront property, that classically bad investment.
Jor-El: After graduation from the Learning Center at 15 (21 in Earth years), For went to work on Krypton’s fledgling space program, headed by General Zod. Here he met, fell in love with, and married Lara Lor-Van, a young astronaut. (All Kryptonian astronauts were female).
Brian’s Commentary: So wait, was Zod a woman? Or is he just a creep that was basically like “Sorry bros, I only hire chicks!”
Judo Master: Jagger then learned tat the island population was made up of Japanese natives who had fled their homes in opposition to the Nippon government’s war plans. They were, however, being subjugated by a small commando force led by the ruthless Major You.
Brian’s Commentary: They will go to any lengths to not make these Japanese folks not nuanced at all.Continued below
Justice League of America: Whether or not this new Justice League will ever attain the legendary status of the original remains to be seen as of this writing.
Brian’s Commentary: [Ron Howard narrator voice] They didn’t.
Justice League of American Headquarters:
Brian’s Commentary: What home is complete without amphibian life support?
Justice Society of America:
Brian’s Commentary: The JSA will never stop telling you how virile they are.
Justice Society Headquarters:
Brian’s Commentary: Yes, DC paid TODD MCFARLANE to draw a brownstone.
J. Wilbur Wolfingham: Full name: No one seems to know what the “J.” stands for.
Brian’s Commentary: I like to believe it is Jumanji.
Kalibak: But Darkeid later resurrected Desaad and Kalibak, the latter through technological means.
Brian’s Commentary: I like how they felt the need to tell us that Kalibak was through technological means, but want us to keep guessing how Desaad was brought back.
Kalista: Known relatives: Primus (husband)
Brian’s Commentary: She’s married to Les, Ler, and Herb?
Brian’s Commentary: Man, I wish I was more like Kamandi.
Brian’s Commentary: So, you don’t know how this power works. Cool, just say that, please.
Kandor: What form that government would take was a bone of contention, but the priest of Rao (the Kryptonian name for God), Yu-El, suggested a trial with lightning rods. Each party would set one up, and during a storm, the one not struck by lightning would win for its owners.
Brian’s Commentary: Remember how we were always told that Krypton was so much more advanced than us? Well, at least we didn’t decide our government through a lightning contest!
Kanjar Ro: At certain times in the past, Kanjar Ro has temporarily gained super-powers.
Brian’s Commentary: “Hey hon, did you just fly?” “Yeah, my powers are acting up again.”
Karate Kid: Despite his lack of any true super-powers, he was able to fight Superboy to a standstill using physical powers only…at least for a short period of time.
Brian’s Commentary: If you take that to its furthest possible conclusion, isn’t that true of all of us?
Katana: Her diminutive person often leads opponents to underestimate her prowess.
Brian’s Commentary: This is called the Kevin Hart corollary.
The Key: Obsessed with keys, the Key intended to become the “key” man in the universe by conquering Earth and other inhabited planets.
Brian’s Commentary: So is he obsessed with keys as objects or metaphors?
The Khunds: Humiliated by his inability to combat the Legionnaires’ special powers, Kharlack submitted to exotic surgery and become a cyborg with technological powers in an unsuccessful attempt at revenge.
Brian’s Commentary: Some exotic surgery may be just what the doctor ordered for me.
Kid Devil: At the end of his first series of adventures, Kid Devil’s parents agreed to leave his education and supervision in the hands of a trio of professors from the Institute of Hypernormal Conflict Studies.
Brian’s Commentary: I presume they instantly won the ‘parents of the century’ award for this.
Kid Eternity: [Regarding his death] Another said, “He looked so natural – as if he wasn’t meant to die! Ain’t it strange I should say that…but the kid looks as though he should still be alive.”
He was right!
Brian’s Commentary: I didn’t realize that if you die pretty, it isn’t really your time and you’ll be granted powers. I’ll have to let my kids know to look out for that when I perish in all of my lovely.
Brian’s Commentary: “So wait, how does Kid Flash get the powers?” “Did I fucking stutter, THE SAME WAY AS THE FLASH!”
Killer Frost: She was shocked to learn that Stein was not, and never had been, in love with her.
Brian’s Commentary: Sometimes, your head canon is just so much more powerful.
Brian’s Commentary: Was he always perched in the same spot? Or did they have to walk around Gotham shining a flashlight totally innocently at the sky, hoping that he would see it?
Killer Shark: This Killer Shark looks physically different from his Nazi counterpart, has no super-strength, and apparently no interest in Nazism.Continued below
Brian’s Commentary: This must be what it is like to be named Donald Trump in 2022 – “No, I swear, I’m not related to him at all.”
The King: Occupation: Wealthy man of leisure.
Brian’s Commentary: How can I get that job?
King Faraday: Code Name: I — Spy
Brian’s Commentary: Is he posing as the old Bill Cosby show?
Knights of the Galaxy: The ablest and best known of he Knights is Lyle, who has proved himself a hero on many missions.
Brian’s Commentary: This sounds like it was written by a kid who forgot he had a project due on the Knights of the Galaxy and whipped this up while walking to class.
Kobra: He has recently been seen in the company of a woman whom he calls simply Eve, and who functions as his second-in-command, counselor, and lover.
Brian’s Commentary: Did someone slip a paragraph from Us Weekly in the middle of this issue?
Kole: Although Kole was never officially a member of the Teen Titans, she joined them on many cases, culminating in the devastating crisis on infinite earths, where she ultimately gave her life to protect her fellow citizens.
Brian’s Commentary: Shouldn’t you just say she was a member at this point? It’s like giving someone who dies in college an honorary degree, why are you negging her after she died saving your ass?
Kong, the Untamed: Although most dinosaurs died out millions of years before, some of the great reptiles of that era somehow still survived in a valley Kong once visited.
Brian’s Commentary: This paragraph brought to you by the National Board of Creationists.