Hello, I’m Alex Jaffe, a comic book expert better known to our illustrious DC Community as HubCityQuestion. Welcome back to another edition of ASK…THE QUESTION, our monthly column highlighting the strangest cases and greatest mysteries posed by you, the members of the DC fandom. For years, I’ve had my office doors open in our message board where you could reach me at any time to answer any DC question you needed the answer to.

Going forward, I’m still going to be available to you for the same purposes, and we’ll keep featuring this column as usual, albeit at our new home on the DC Official Discord server. So put in that leg work and we’ll keep getting answers together. For now, though, let’s take a look through some of our latest inquiries. Allons-y


Reaganfan78 asks:

When did Superman first meet the Joker, and when did Batman first meet Lex Luthor?

In terms of publication, the answer to both questions is the same—1957’s World’s Finest Comics #88. It’s here that Luthor and Joker team up for the first time, taking on both their adversaries at once.

Within the fiction of the DC Universe, the first time Superman encounters the Joker is shown in 2014’s Adventures of Superman #40-41. Likewise, the story of Batman’s first encounter with Luthor is the subject of the first story arc of 2006’s Batman Confidential, “Rules of Engagement.”


Jurisdiction asks:

I’m currently reading Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands, and Anissa keeps referring to Jefferson as “cuz.” Are they cousins in this universe? Is this just a case of the writer making a mistake?

It’s certainly not a mistake. The writer of Cold Dead Hands, Tony Isabella, is the creator of Black Lightning, returning here to his creation. The cousin relationship here is an artifact of the New 52 and delays in production for the sake of marketing synergy. According to Isabella himself, publisher Dan DiDio approached him years before this series’ publication to write a new Black Lightning series, in a continuity where every major hero was younger than they once were. Isabella made Jefferson and his former daughters cousins here as his compromise for keeping them in the story while adhering to the dictum to keep Jefferson young.

However, when The CW began developing a Black Lightning TV show, a decision was made to hold off on publishing the comic until the show was underway in order to capitalize on the character’s newfound visibility. This would come to pass in 2017, when the direction of the publishing line had already shifted away from the New 52 policy of younger heroes, embracing the idea of legacy again—leaving the writing of Isabella’s Cold Dead Hands a bit out of step as a holdover from the previous direction. Newer Black Lightning stories since Cold Dead Hands have once again featured Anissa and Jennifer as Jefferson’s daughters.


KushingtonPrimeWhoFraggz asks:

Who’s Smarter​: Bruce Wayne, Ray Palmer, Mr. Terrific, Lex Luthor or Brainiac​?

In real life, intelligence doesn’t work like anime power levels. You can’t really quantify intelligence in any way that really matters, as different people have mental aptitude for different things. As Geoff Johns has it, however, inferring from his Superman, JSA and Doomsday Clock stories, the ranking among those five would go Brainiac, Luthor, Bruce Wayne, Mr. Terrific, Ray Palmer. How exactly that intelligence is relatively measured, I couldn’t tell you.


Idle453.87595 asks:

I recently stumbled across an old Metal Men story where Doc Magnus made a backup team (it included Silver, Zinc, Osmium, Gallium and Iridia for Iridium). I was curious, how many elements have had “metal men” made of them?

You really wanna do this? Okay, let’s do this. I guess the best way would be to go element by element through the periodic table. You asked for it.

  1. Hydrogen: Member of the Gas Gang exclusive to the Batman: The Brave and the Bold animated series.
  2. Helium: Member of the original Gas Gang, later used for the Metal Mammals from the 2019 Metal Men series (a bird).
  3. Lithium: Alternate form of the post-Infinite Crisis Metal Man Copper, transmuted by Dr. Magnus’s brother David Magnus using the Kamarak device in the 2007 Metal Men series. Later, a member of Dr. Chantilly Lace’s All-New Metal Men in 2016’s Legends of Tomorrow.
  1. Beryllium: N/A
  2. Boron: N/A
  3. Carbon: Base component of “Rusty,” Doc Magnus’s canine companion in the 2019 Metal Men.
  4. Nitrogen: Metal Mammal (a bear).
  5. Oxygen: One of the Gas Gang, and later a Metal Mammal (a wolf).
  6. Fluorine: Metal Mammal (a snake).
  7. Neon: Metal Mammal (a tiger).
  8. Sodium: One of the Robots of Terror who appeared in 1963’s Metal Men #2, created by an evil robot duplicate of Doc Magnus. The Robots of Terror would return as the Dark Metal Men in the 2019 Metal Men series.
  1. Magnesium: All-New Metal Man.
  2. Aluminum: Robot of Terror, and later an All-New Metal Man.
  3. Silicon: All-New Metal Man.
  4. Phosphorus: N/A
  5. Sulfur: N/A
  6. Chlorine: Component of Chloroform of the Gas Gang.
  7. Argon: N/A
  8. Potassium: N/A
  9. Calcium: Robot of Terror.
  10. Scandium: N/A
  11. Titanium: N/A
  12. Vanadium: N/A
  13. Chromium: N/A
  14. Manganese: N/A
  1. Iron: Metal Man. Also one of the “Magnetic Men” created by Magneto in 1997’s Amalgam Comics.
  2. Cobalt: One of the “Second-String” Metal Men from 1968’s Metal Men #31 (a substitute for Iron), and later a Magnetic Man.
  3. Nickel: Magnetic Man.
  4. Copper: Post-Infinite Crisis addition to the Metal Men, and later leader of the All-New Metal Men.
  1. Zinc: Second-String Metal Man (Tin’s substitute).
  2. Gallium: Second-String Metal Man (Mercury’s substitute).
  3. Germanium: N/A
  4. Arsenic: N/A
  5. Selenium: N/A
  6. Bromine: N/A
  7. Krypton: N/A (No known connection to Kryptonite.)
  8. Rubidium: N/A
  9. Strontium: Kamarak-transmuted Mercury.
  10. Yttrium: N/A
  11. Zirconium: Robot of Terror and All-New Metal Man.
  1. Niobium: N/A
  2. Molybdenum: N/A
  3. Technetium: N/A
  4. Ruthenium: N/A
  5. Rhodium: N/A
  6. Palladium: N/A
  7. Silver: Second-String Metal Man (Gold’s substitute).
  8. Cadmium: N/A
  9. Indium: N/A
  10. Tin: Metal Man.
  11. Antimony: Magnetic Man.
  12. Tellurium: N/A
  13. Iodine: N/A
  14. Xenon: Metal Mammal (gorilla).
  1. Caesium: N/A
  2. Barium: Robot of Terror.
  3. Lanthanum: N/A
  4. Cerium: N/A
  5. Praseodymium: N/A
  6. Neodymium: N/A
  7. Promethium: N/A (No known connection to Cyborg and Deathstroke’s promethium alloy.)
  8. Samarium: N/A
  9. Europium: N/A
  10. Gadolinium: N/A
  11. Terbium: N/A
  12. Dysprosium: N/A
  13. Holmium: N/A
  14. Erbium: N/A
  15. Thulium: N/A
  16. Ytterbium: N/A
  17. Lutetium: N/A
  18. Hafnium: N/A
  19. Tantalum: N/A
  1. Tungsten: Will Magnus’ non-sentient mechanical assistant in Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol.
  2. Rhenium: N/A
  3. Osmium: Second-String Metal Man (Lead’s substitute).
  4. Iridium: Basis of Iridia, Platinum’s Second-String Metal Men substitute.
  5. Platinum: Metal Man.
  6. Gold: Metal Man.
  7. Mercury: Metal Man.
  8. Thallium: N/A
  9. Lead: Metal Man.
  1. Bismuth: Magnetic Man.
  2. Polonium: Kamarak-transmuted Lead.
  3. Astatine: N/A
  4. Radon: N/A
  5. Francium: N/A
  6. Radium: Kamarak-transmuted Gold.
  7. Actinium: N/A
  8. Thorium: Kamarak-transmuted Platinum.
  9. Protactinium: N/A
  10. Uranium: Dr. Magnus’s original Metal Men prototype, appearing in 1964’s The Brave and the Bold #55. Also the Kamarak-transmuted Iron.
  1. Neptunium: N/A
  2. Plutonium: Robot of Terror.
  3. Americium: N/A
  4. Curium: N/A
  5. Berkelium: N/A
  6. Californium: N/A
  7. Einsteinium: N/A
  8. Fermium: Kamarak-transmuted Tin.
  9. Mendelevium: N/A
  10. Nobelium: N/A
  11. Lawrencium: N/A (Possibly related to Pre-Crisis Doom Patrol villain Mr. 103)
  12. Rutherfordium: N/A (Possibly related to Post-Crisis Doom Patrol villain Mr. 104)
  13. Dubnium: N/A
  14. Seaborgium: N/A
  15. Bohrium: N/A
  16. Hassium: N/A
  17. Meitnerium: N/A
  18. Darmstadtium: N/A
  19. Roentgenium: N/A
  20. Copernecium: N/A
  21. Nihonium: N/A
  22. Flerovium: N/A
  23. Moscovium: N/A
  24. Livemorium: N/A
  25. Tennessine: N/A
  26. Oganesson: N/A

      ???.     Veridium: Fictional basis for Doc Magnus’ own robotic form in the 1993 Metal Men miniseries, later implied to have been hallucinatory.

      ???.     Nth Metal: Basis for Nth Metal Man from the Dark Multiverse introduced in the 2019 Metal Men series.


MisfitCMJ asks:

Once upon a time, Hawkman had the most appearances in JSA stories. But who has it now?

This is one of those questions where you’ll have to take my word that I did a lot more research for a conclusive answer than the briefness of my response might indicate. Hawkman is still holding strong as the third-most frequently featured JSA member, but he’s more recently been edged out by Alan Scott and Jay Garrick as first and second respectively. Wildcat comes fourth, and then you start getting into thorny issues like when and when not to count Wonder Woman.

That’s all we have room to print this time, but this isn’t the only way to reach me. You can continue visiting me in the DC Community through July, and starting July 15th, you can find me holding court in the DC Discord server. You never have to walk the mysteries of the DC Universe alone. Should you seek it, there will always be a way to ASK…THE QUESTION.

Alex Jaffe is the author of our monthly "Ask the Question" column and writes about TV, movies, comics and superhero history for DC.com. Follow him on Bluesky at @AlexJaffe and find him in the DC Community as HubCityQuestion.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC or Warner Bros. Discovery, nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.