The iFanboy Letter Column – 10/23/2009

Friday means many things to many people. For some, Friday means it’s searching for the ultimate party where on the way, you and your friends get stuck in a 1980s movie-esque adventure. For others, Friday is the day you curse the goddamn Angels.

At iFanboy, Friday means it’s letter column time.

You write. We answer. Very simple.

As always, if you want to have your e-mail read on the any of our shows or answered here, keep them coming —


Who would win in a fight between the Tiny Titans and the X-Babies?

Sam (Actualbutt) from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

I’m always in the mood for a fun “Who would in a fight…” and the sheer ridiculousness of this question made me want to not worry so much about the reality of a question like this and just have some fun. So shall we give it a try?

In one corner you have: TINY TITANS! The group of sidekicks and other ancillary DC Comics characters as depicted by the Eisner winning team of Art Balthazar and Franco Aureliani. The main core team is made up of Robin, Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Speedy, Terra, Cyborg, Starfire, Aqualad, and Raven. Other characters such as Supergirl have been known to show up, but that’s the core team. You’ve got some pretty strong players there that can pack a punch.

In the other corner you have: X-BABIES! Originally devised by the nefarious Mojo of Mojoworld, the X-Babies were created by Chris Claremont and Art Adams, and are currently kicking butt in their new series from Marvel Comics. The core X-Babies team is made up of the classic X-Men characters, only smaller, such as Wolverine, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Dazzler, Colossus and Rogue.

When it comes to power and abilities, the fact that both these teams are pretty balanced between power and special abilities, it’s darn near close to being a draw. But as I analyze the situation, I have to give the edge to the X-Babies. While their name, “X-Babies” insinuates an inherent childness to them, it’s clear that the X-Babies are anything but “babies.” They’re purely smaller sized versions of their adult counterparts, with all the skill and powers. Also in a comparison, they appear to be slightly older than the Tiny Titans. I would guess the Tiny Titans are in kindergarten, while the X-Babies are in 3rd grade. The Tiny Titans have a lot of ability on their team, such as Beast Boy and Kid Flash, but they lack focus and discipline, getting easily distracted by puppies and flowers. The X-Babies are all about focus and the work, and have the team dynamic that Tiny Titans lacks. They can enter into battle and organize an attack, using Tiny Titan’s age and inexperience to their advantage.

So there you have it Sam, in the battle of the playground, I put my lunch money on the X-Babies, which probably comes as no surprise to you. But you do the math, am I wrong? I doubt it.

Ron Richards

I just read Batgirl #3 and it was an okay issue which let Oracle finally giving Stephanie the thumbs up to approve the mantle being passed. I just have a continuity question. In this issue when Barbara was giving Stephanie the oath, she referred to Batman as Bruce and used Dick’s name also. Since when did Stephanie learn their identities? I thought she only knew of Cassandra Batgirl and Tim Drake as Robin. Is this a continuity screw-up or did I miss something?

Baoky (Smeeeeee)

One of the great things about comics is that they give you, the reader, a lot of credit even if you don’t give it to yourself. A lot of things happen off or between panels that you have to fill in yourself.

I don’t think that what happened in Batgirl #3 (which was a a really good issue; probably the best one yet) was a continuity screw-up and I don’t think you missed anything (although I can’t be 100% certain, there are a lot of comics out there). Sometimes in reading comics you just have to assume things happen.

In this instance you can assume one of two things happened. One, she was told everyone’s identities or two, she figured them out on her own. Both of these scenarios are plausible when you consider that she not only dated Tim Drake, but for a brief time she was the fourth Robin.

Back when she was dating Tim and she knew that he was Robin, if she couldn’t draw a straight line to Batman’s identity then she probably wouldn’t be worth her salt as an investigator. “Boy, you sure do spend an awful lot of time with that super rich guy who lives alone out in the suburbs in that giant mansion and looks like he spends all of his time in the gym…”

If for some reason she didn’t figure out everyone’s identity by the time she became Robin, one would easily assume she was either told or figured it out while she was Robin, considering all the time she spent at the Batcave (not to mention the fact that she broke into the Batcave in the first place, which is how she got the job), she must have picked up on a bunch of clues. If you’re hanging around with a group of inter-related people and you know some of their secret identities it’s not that hard to figure out the rest. Plus, as much as they’ve played lip service to the contrary, the Batfolk have never been completely careful with their secret identities.

Conor Kilpatrick

I’ve recently started to really like Kyle Rayner. And while I love Hal Jordan, ever since Geoff Johns brought him back, Kyle has been pushed aside. I mean recently he’s become one of the (many many) characters in Green Lantern Corps but his role is still a pretty small one. I know he was the star of Green Lantern for like 10 years but that’s a lot of reading, so where should I go to for some good Kyle Rayner story arcs or runs?

Also, this is a totally unrelated question. But for many years I’ve often become interested in films whenever they get nominated for Academy Awards, I mean oftentimes the film will come and go and I had no interest in seeing until I find out they were nominated which will sometimes get me to go back and rent it or see it in theaters. Does this every happen with you guys and comics regarding The Eisner Awards? Maybe there was a comic you paid no attention to until it was nominated, or maybe you read a comic and didn’t think much of it until it was nominated and then went back and read it again.

Cesar (DarkKnightDetective)

Yes, I have allowed you two questions, as I am magnanimous.

I’d like to congratulate you on a new twist to the tired, tired “where do I start with Green Lantern” question. Kyle is a favorite of mine, and truth be told, he’s really the first GL I read. I always liked that he came at it from being an artist which was such a departure from Hal Jordan’s military background, and how the ring can flourish with such a creative wielder. I can tell you the stories I’ve read, that are sort of seminal to the character, and you can go from there. He was the Green Lantern for a long time, and so from the mid to late 90’s, until 2004, he was the character in the main Green Latern book, first appearing in issue #48 volume 3, until the end of that volume’s run. You can read his real first story in A New Dawn, which might be out of print, featuring the famous “woman in refrigerator” controversial story. From there, you can check out Baptism of Fire, for more. Then Judd Winick did a long run with Kyle, and most of that stuff isn’t in print. But I’m sure if you went on a back issue hunt, you’d find plenty. He then went on to become Ion, and there’s a 12 issue series of that that hasn’t be reprinted. But the best thing to get might actually be Grant Morrison’s JLA run, where Kyle was a main character, and even Conor, who refused to even acknowledge Kyle for years, thought he was pretty good in those issues. Plus, as you said, he’s in Green Lantern Corps every month these days.

As to your second question, of course this happens! You’ll find that when the Eisner and Harvey nominations come out, most people haven’t heard of most of the books on that list, which is why it’s so important to get nominations, and even more beneficial to win. In a world where a large percentage of comic readers don’t venture outside of their comfort zone, that little bit of validation that something is worth reading can be a tipping point in sales for indie creators. It gives shop owners a way to pitch lesser known books, and gives creators more clout in pitching projects. As for me, I’m certain I’ve discovered a lot of creators via the awards system. Take a look at any of the nomination lists from the last couple of years, and you’ll find a bunch of names you probably didn’t know at the time, but you know them now. So, yes, that’s why the awards are good, which wasn’t really what you asked. Ha!

Josh Flanagan


  1. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The cutest bloodbath ever. 

  2. The X-bias prevails again. Easily the Tiny Titans.

  3. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Look at Colossus and Wolverine. 

    Now look at Cyborg and Aqualad.   

    The end.  

  4. No way Ron, Tiny Titans all the way!

    @Paul: Colossus looks like he’s about to go in his diaper because he’s so scared. Aqaulad as a kid was a beast! Cyborg……yeah that’s pretty weak there.

  5. @Paul Yes, but the X-Babies don’t have the essential Archer team mate. Also, once Scott saw an attractive red head with flame powers, he’d be useless to the team. 😉

    For the whole Stephanie Brown thing, I’m pretty sure there’s a throw away line when she first came back from the dead in Robin where she name drops Bruce and Tim freaks out and she says something like "Well, I was Robin." As for the X-Babies/Tiny Titans… it’s got to be the Tiny Titans because they withstood the Finals Crisis, which was one of the best event-related jokes ever.

    Getting cheap back issues of Kyle’s tenure as GL (A easy book end of 94-04 from #48 to #180.) is fairly easy at any $1 back issue bin at a con, or usually no more than cover at your LCS. There are a few odd ducks that are hard to get (The Hal funeral one, for instance) but mostly you can fill it out pretty easily. It’s hard to point you to an "arc" per se, because they really didn’t exist before 2000, because comics weren’t written to be collected then, so any "arcs" were usually just a two or three issue affair. Judd Winick’s is the first "trade-length" arc that I recall, started around GL #132, IIRC. Sadly, it’s an under-collected series.

  6. I love how indepth Ron got. That was awesome.

  7. The Tiny Titans would SO win that fight. First off, they’re at least in second grade because they have pop quizes and finals (crisis) in school. Second, Batgirl and Supergirl are in the book way more than Speedy, so you have to factor that in with the powers. Lastly, the Tiny Titans are not unfocused – just because they have Pet Club meetings and bake cakes in Cyborg’s belly doesn’t mean they can’t kick your behind!

    AND the Tiny Titans have an Eisner. So nyaaaaah!

  8. There’s definitely a trade that was in print (at least until fairly recently) that I think is called, "Emerald Twilight/Emerald Dawn" which features Ron Marz’s story of the downfall of Hal Jordan, followed immediately by the recruitment of Kyle Rayner (and the fridge story).  I was also able to read Winick’s "Brother’s Keeper" storyline (the one involving one of Kyle’s friends getting gay-bashed) in a trade that I got from the library, but that may well be out of print.  It’s funny that I read both of these not because I was interested in Kyle but because they seemed like ‘sociologically important’ storylines.  For what it’s worth, I liked the Winick stuff a lot, not so much the Marz, though it was certainly interesting to get that perpective on where the character came from.

  9. Supergirl is definitly a part of the team for Tiny Titans.  That pretty much means instant win.  Also, you can’t forget the power of penquins with rocket jet packs.  They are unstoppable.

  10. Holy awesomeness! Josh posted my question. Yeah recently I’ve been reading the early Ron Marz stuff, I even have that issue #51 that was posted there, and just read the refrigerator issue and I’m no mysognist but I thought it was hilarious. I’ll be sure to check out Judd Winnicks run and I totally forgot that Kyle was in Morrisons JLA, Im generally not a Morrison fan but this may be what FINALLY gets me to read his run on JLA.

  11. The fact that that first question wasn’t mocked into oblivion is one of the primary reasons I come to this site.  Thank you, Ron, for playing along and thank you, ActualButt, for asking a fun question.

    Keep in mind that Robin would be the tactical leader of the Tiny Titans while Scott would the the tactical leader of the X-babies.  Given their individual track records as leaders, I think this thing is over before it starts. 

  12. @DKD — Hating to play into the humorless feminist stereotype but it had never crossed my mind that stuffing a woman’s butchered body into an appliance was done *for laughs*.

    @stuclach & because I forgot to say it before, Ron’s answer is brilliant.  And very well thought out.

  13. @ohcaroline –  I would like to point out that Johnny the Homicidal Maniac was written and is read by some for laughs. *shrugs* That’s all I’m gonna say on the matter.

  14. I didn’t even notice that part where the old Batgirl mentions Bruce & Dick to the new Batgirl, but the recent continuity issue I’ve been having is with Blackest Night: Batman #3 where they show Commisioner Gordon down in the bunker with Alfred and Oracle after being rescued from the Black Lanterns. I don’t remember Dick revealing his identity to Gordon.  I don’t remember Bruce ever revealing it to him either.  I wouldn’t doubt it if he has figured it out by now but such a thing should be noted.  That’s just sloppy right there, DC!!  Anybody else notice that???

  15. @OttoBot  That’s possible, I’ve got no doubt there was some humor in the story.  It just wasn’t my primary impression.

  16. Tim could have easily slipped up and blurted out who Dick Grayson was. As we’re seeing on The Office, even cool and quick-witted Jim has been having Michael Scott moments with new found authority, and Jim Halpert’s only a little bit better of a detective than Tim Drake (this past Thrus.’s episode proves my statement to be facetious).

    @robbydzwonar (your name is hard not to copy & paste)
    I think in a situation like that, ya know, zombie superheroes, formalities of secret identity go out the window. Further, just because an old butler is caring to a (probably shaken and woozy) Gordon, doesn’t mean Gordon can (or would) spring out and yell, "I know who Batman is!"

  17. I know I’m a nerd, but goddamn, Ron, you’re Titans/X-Babies rant really raises the bar…

  18. The second thing I did after getting back into comics a year and a half ago, after catching up on Batman was to catch up on Kyle Rayner.  I know that the ION story is in trades and as said above there are a few other trades out there.  I would recomend the first few issues with Kyle because he is learning to be GL.  He spends a lot of time learning to be GL and that gets kind of old. I can’t remember if it is the ION story or Rebirth, but I believe Rebirth has him helping to redeem Hal Jordan.

  19. @ohcaroline Male or female, a corpse stuffed into a refrigerator is funny. I mean who does that? ‘Oh crap I can’t just leave this corpse out here where someone will see it, I’ve gotta hide it somewhere, hmm the refrigerator! no one will think to check there’

    I’m definitely not misognystic, if anything I often bash films or other comics for being misogynistic and not portraying more women as strong and independent

  20. @DKD To each his own? But I don’t see how it’s funny. Especially given that the framework you give is not all the one used by Major Force.

  21. I have to say that from what I remember of the x-babies they were too disorganised to actually get anything done. Haven’t seen their latest incarnation though so can’t speak for the current team. As for the body in the refrigerator I never found that especially funny

  22. Seeing a body in a refrigerator is not cool. Unless it’s a horror movie…..

  23. @DKD
    Do you mean it’s funny in a "not supposed to be funny" way? Or that you felt, even within the context of the story it was funny? I didn’t read the fabled "Woman In Refrigerator" story, but I don’t imagine him opening the fridge door, see his best gal all stuffed in there, and then shrug and go, "Geeshucks! Guess my girlfriend’s dead!" and the comic uses the same device as the Halmark cards that play songs to play a slidewhistle when you read that part. BeeeeyouWoop!

  24. The Ion mini was my first real exposure to Kyle and I enjoyed it for the most part, when setup for Countdown wasn’t getting in the way. The first Ion storyline sounds interesting though, and that was a pretty cool suit he had, sorta like Starman from JSA.


  25. I recall it being a ‘look in the refrigerator’ type slasher movie thing — like the ‘look in the box’ moment at the end of ‘Seven’.  The murder was committed to psychologically torture Kyle, and the disposal of the body was part of it.  He wasnt’ trying to hide the body in the hope no one would see it; he wanted it found in the most gruesome way possible.  i’m interested in the idea that there’s another possible interpretation, but the way I’ve stated it seems pretty clear to me.   

  26. @stuclach I do not believe Cyclops is in the X-Babies. I know he was not in the original X-Babies story, as it took place during Scott’s time with X-Factor. The X-Baby team in that issue was (if my memory of a comic I read when it came out like 20 years ago is accurate) Storm, Wolverine, Colossus, Psylocke, Dazzler, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Rogue and in his first meeting with the X-Men, Longshot. Other members may have become X-Babies later, but I believe those were artifical X-Babies created by Mojo, while the ORIGINAL X-Babies were the ACTUAL X-Men, de-aged over the course of the story by Mojo, and then rescued by the New Mutants.

  27. @JohnVFerrigno – I was just basing my argument on the picture Ron provided.  I have no other knowledge of the X-babies.  (How can you have an X-team without Cyclops?  He is their leader!)

    There was a character named Mojo?  Was his last name Jojo? 

  28. @stuclah There was an X-Men team without Cyclops for many years. Marvel had the idea in the 80s to launch X-Factor, which was a team consisting of the original X-Men. They did this despite the fact that Jean grey was dead. So they brought her back to get back with Cyclops, Beast, Angel and Iceman. The flaw in this theory is that the original X-men team wasn’t very popular in the first place, hence the years the book spent in reprints before re-launching with the "All-New, All-Different" X-Men team. So none of the original X-Men were in the X-Men at the time, because they were all in X-Factor. Which at the time, was actually a pretty awesome book. I didn’t really like the X-Men all that much at the time, but i loved me some X-Factor. It was my second favorite book after Invincible Iron Man. 

    To the best of my knowledge, Mojo didn’t have a last name. But if he did, I like to think it would be Jojo, as everything is better with monkeys in it. But he was the ruler of the very creatively named Mojoverse, an entire dimension ruled by television, where Mojo was in charge of providing the programming. This was why he turned the X-Men into little kids, he needed them to star in a TV show.  

    God I miss the 80s.  

  29. @JohnVFerrigno – Is that second paragraph a joke?  I love this sentence "he needed them to star in a TV show."  Holy shit.  Did that actually happen?  Amazing.