Obscurity of DC Presents: Obscure Book Club, Week 105 (April 14-April 20) --- LAZARIUM!

Why hello there, @ObscurityofDCClub and other members of the DC Community! Welcome to Week 105 of Obscurity of DC’s Obscure Book Club! This week, we’ll be focusing on…


Number of Issues: 6

Description from dc.fandom.com: Lazarium is an enemy of the Team Titans

Now that that’s over with, here are some discussion questions:

  1. What cultural or historical influences can be seen in Lazarium’s character design, powers, or storyline? What impact do they have?
  2. Which aspect of Lazarium’s backstory do you find most compelling, and how does it add depth to their character? Do you think it’s effectively utilized in the storytelling?
  3. Why do you think Lazarium decided to impersonate a Titan? Did you appreciate his sneakiness? Explain.
  4. Did you expect Lazarium to be who he was revealed to be? If so, what gave it away? If not, how did you react?
  5. What do you think the emblem on Lazarium’s chest represents? Explain.

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I see inspiration from golden age heroes. Maybe Legion of Super-Heroes, but turn to something darker like a Doom Patrol character.

Definitely would be those lost years, between his more kind nature replace by his quieter and angrier personality. Knowing what happens to the character in the present, did he snap, or was he always like this? That’s certainly what made me interested.

He was hoping to take the powers and identity of Killowattt to live longer. In my opinion, he wasn’t clever, he was reckless, but it is interesting to see what could have happened if he was more successful like Terra once was in being a villain hiding among the team.

Took me to double read the arc to understand what happened there. Anything involving time travel can get wonky, but discovering Lazarium older was both expected but odd. No, I wasn’t expecting it, but I guess I didn’t appreciate it. It was different and interesting how cruel he becomes as an older man, though.

His emblem I thought meant light or something cosmic. It didn’t mount too much to assume by looking at Joshua, but I like to think while from the future, he adopted a classical superhero look that was different from the rest of his team and was likely done to hide his true nefarious nature from Sylvie.


Great answers!


Hoooooo doggy. That was a hell of a story to start midstream with no clue who any of the characters were. (Recognized Clock King and Calendar Man, but honestly didn’t even realize Donna Long was Donna Troy until the later issues!)

Context; this is prime high school Keath’s era, but I didn’t read much DC outside of the Bat family at the time. I did, however, read Zero Hour, so now I clearly need to go back and reread, as I suspect my lack of universe-wide knowledge at the time made me miss a lot. (And should probably read Armageddon 2001 as well.)

Character design as in “costume” or personality? Both felt very generic to me, which I think was the point. Personality-wise, he’s a disposable nobody that uses time travel to his advantage. We eventually learn that he’s also a terrible person from before he was stranded, but that hardly seems relevant unless there’s some later story where he was revealed to be the real hero all along. (But Nightrider and eventually Zero Hour make that impossible, right?)

Costume is pretty generic, other than the cowboy style shirt, reminiscent of John Tane or Greg Saunders. Color scheme is kind of an inverse Major Force, who was about to become a landmark terrible character for story, not in-story reasons, but that hardly seems something to telegraph with an unrelated villain. Symbol feels very Doctor Light evocative, but not so much that I presumed light manipulation powers prior to him revealing that. Would have sooner guessed ice powers.

I don’t think he has much depth. He’s a creep from the future who infiltrated a team of purported heroes that behave like villains and was sent to the past to die, but didn’t. We get no explanation of how or why Billy, Shelly, and The Funny Lady phase back to 2001 but he doesn’t, nor why he was “yanked back to reality” at whatever point in time after 1970 he started to fade away. We get no explanation of why he left his communicator behind when he left Sylvie.

Maybe some of this was in the prior arc with Lord Chaos, and we’re supposed to read into his motivations and apply them to Lazarium, but to me it wasn’t clear why he was even infiltrating 2001 Titans in the first place. (Was that in Armageddon?) The concept about sending “heroes” back in time and creating a world with “Hitlers, Stalins, and Ho Chi Minhs” seems a strong motivation for him to try and destroy them, but having started in 1938 he didn’t have the opportunity to prevent the changes that came before WWII. But within this arc, he (and everyone save Terra) believes that he’s in an alternate reality, not a modified timeline, so this motivation is never explored.

So, no, I don’t think his backstory is effectively used in the the story telling, nor is it compelling. The way it was told leaves huge timeline gaps that are never explored. Most overtly, Lazarium asks where Battalion is when watching “the mall footage,” and Cokie mentions that he’s visiting a clock expert, but the clock doesn’t break until days later, and the visit to Sylvie is shown as being 13 years prior (1980, maybe 81) than the “now” that the main story is taking place in. So how/why does Battalion time travel with the clock, and why doesn’t he know who Lazarium is by that time? What is Battalion doing with Sylvia in 1993? Why don’t we see that scene?

Why do we even have the scene with Gunsmoke being pursued by Marshalls in 1885? Why was he being pursued? Did he create some time anomaly that allows a terrible person to gain power? This adds nothing to the story other than for Agent Schneider being able to throw down the Sawnee Indian photo from Ohio. And that, in turn, leaves the gaping hole of why there was one found in Greek ruins near Turkey. This all leaves potential breadcrumbs of the chaos the “Titans” have created throughout history, but does nothing to add to Lazarium’s motivations, as we have no evidence he knew about them or was in cahoots with the CIA in any way.

(Nor do we actually know that the “US armed forces” who showed up in NYC were in any way connected to the Titans’ arrest by and subsequent escape from the CIA. They appeared to be attacking Titans and Lazarium Killo-goons equally. Did the CIA just give up?)

It is implied that when he’s first stranded in 1938, Lazarium hooks up with Sylvia to get her to fix his communicator so that he can time travel again. However, when he does his whole villain monologue, he describes his goon squad as “genetically engineered time travelers” based on Killowat. Where did he get ahold of “Killowat’s powers”? How did he make them time travelable? Why don’t we ever see them actually time travel? (Like back in time to prevent the Titans’ initial creation of anomalies?) Why didn’t he ever use this power to time travel himself? Why does he still need Spectrum’s time travel device? Why specifically Spectrum’s if all communicators can time travel? (Can they?) While we’re at it, why were Jews and gentiles alike saluting him (and children avoiding him) in 1938 if he had just arrived there? Did his “light powers” kill the Nazis or does Sylvie have power?

No clue. We have zero hints into his motivation other than “waaaa, the Titans beat up my Lord/God, so I want to hurt them.” (See above gripes about lack of character depth or motivation.) It seemed that he initially had no means of time travel on his own, but it also appears that he didn’t know that he would be sent back in time when he enlisted.

I would presume that somewhere we learn that Monarch manipulated him into infiltrating so that he could disrupt the timeline, so both Lord Chaos and Lazarium are just puppets on a string, but that is not made clear within this arc.

I don’t think we ever really got a reveal? I’m assuming he’s Mirage’s son, but that’s only implied, never confirmed. (Assuming a father with “light powers”?) I’m assuming that both Joshua Kyle and Joshua Clay are aliases, and we’re not supposed to read in any relation to Catwoman nor Tempest. (Though he’s illustrated as presenting as white, if Tempest were his father it would explain how Sylvie knew he was “obviously not Jewish” and be a reasonable manifestation of inherited energy powers as “light powers.” However, it seems highly unlikely that Nazis would salute him.)

Like most symbols in the future-Titans worlds, I think its completely random and irrelevant. It could represent the “light powers” we never see him use, and is evocative of Doctor Light’s symbol (Kimiyo), which was first introduced during Crisis on Infinite Earths, as a harbinger of the Crisis in Time about to befall us. (Even though I don’t think Lazarium gets resurrected or even referenced in Zero Hour…)

Honestly, the best part about this series was the brief glimpses of early 90s Vincent Velcoro/Velcro. I thought he was completely lost to the void between COIE and the Commandos miniseries in 2000. That brought be a happy in an otherwise confusing read. The Sarah Charles tease, however, was very much not appreciated.
I know she pops up periodically in The New Titans around that time, and was in the first couple of issues of Showcase '93, so I’ll need to seek those out as therapy… :wink:


What did I miss? When did they reveal who he is? (Is it just a character I don’t know?)


Great answers!


The evil businessman is revealed to be Lazarium in Issue 17.

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Spoiler alert :rofl:

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Whoops, sorry about that. :sweat_smile:

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Oh, I didn’t realize that was a reveal. I thought that was clearly established in 15 when we go directly from “Sylvie. Her name is Sylvie. […] Once upon a time I knew her well… Quite well.” into the flashback-within-a-flashback of Sylvie telling us of Lazarium’s entry into her life.

I thought we were looking for some reveal on who he was from the 2001 possible future in relation to the Titans or established characters. i.e. why he joined up with Lord Chaos and/or infiltrated the Titans in the first place. The reveal in 17 was just that he can shapeshift, which is why I presumed him to be Mirage’s child, but they never followed up on that.