Changes that need to be made

30 Jul

The New 52 has been interesting to say the least.  Some books have succeeded beyond my wildest expectations while others disappointed me terribly.  Some characters have received new life, while others languish unused, or worse, used horribly.  DC has, I would say, the greatest characters in the comic book field.  Here are a few characters that could benefit from some work and a look at their pasts. 

1)      The Martian Manhunter is the best example of a character who needs to be used.  The character is full of potential.  For one thing, he has an incredibly diverse set of powers.  For another, he has, until recently, been the “heart of the Justice League.”  For some reason, though, in the new DCU, the powers that be decided to divest him of this important role and shoehorn him into Stormwatch.  I tried it for a while because he was in it.  I liked what Cornell was doing with it, but it lost me when he left. 


So what could be done with Jonn?  Either put him in the League where he needs to be or give him a book done right.  Although I am not a big fan of Morrison, in a rare moment of brilliance, he added an excellent part to the character.  Due to his power set and history, he came up with the notion that Jonn doesn’t have one secret identity, but numerous identities around the world.  Other writers added to it so he had numerous costumed identities also, including one inept villain who screwed up missions to catch other bad guys.  This is the PERFECT set-up for a series, I believe.  Do it!


2)      Hawkman has a similar problem.  Several years ago, Geoff Johns, David Goyer, and James Robinson were all involved in a brilliant rework of the characters.  They took the characters, who revolved around reincarnation, and worked previous DC historical heroes into one coherent history.  Stories were able to be told around the history of the universe.  And then suddenly, Starlin was allowed to come in and confuse the characters in a one-shot that went nowhere.  And with the reboot, Hawkgirl is nowhere to be seen.  They don’t mention the concept of reincarnation.  And finally, “The Rob” got involved. 

To fix this, I believe they should jettison Rob, which I am glad to say, I heard was coming. They need to hire someone who can respect this history of the character and bring in Hawkgirl. Otherwise, they would have been better off using the Thanagarian version. 

3)      Green Arrow and Blue Beetle suffer from similar problems.  Blue Beetle (who should be Ted Kord) and Green Arrow are both wealthy individuals with their own companies.  They are, in a lot of ways, poor men’s Bruce Waynes.  This is ok because they bring in their own quirks to the concept.  Ollie is a knee-jerk liberal. DC, as a company, is most famous for its more conservative characters (Bruce, Clark, and numerous heroes who have a military background).  Ollie being a liberal is what makes him more interesting.  Meanwhile, he also has the “hunter” aspect.  Over the years, he has been a “superhero” but every so often, that part of his character is sidelined, when the “hunter” comes out.  He becomes a vigilante.  This puts him at odds with the rest of the DC superheroes. 

Ted meanwhile is a brilliant inventor and a joker.  He works best on a team basis and currently DC has a plethora of teams that could benefit from a sense of humor and genius.   Unfortunately, DC is convinced that Reyes is the only Blue Beetle. 

4)      Elongated Man and Sue Dibney would be perfect characters for DC right now.  Once again, DC has plenty of teams that need fun characters.  To go a step further, Ralph is brilliant in his own way.  His power set may not be the most amazing, especially in the DC universe, but a stretching character can be used in interest ways.  Also, you get the added benefit of Sue.  Sue is one of the most down to earth characters in any comic book universe.  Bring them back!

 5)      The final character who I think needs some work is Aquaman. Now, I must say, I am loving what Geoff and Ivan are doing in Aquaman.  The character is finally getting some respect.  The “Others” he introduced are fascinating and I hope some live, and even better, stick around somewhere. 

But, Aquaman needs Atlantis.  He needs to be king.  I want to see him interact with the surface, but also with the Atlanteans.  It makes Aquaman bigger in a lot of ways than many characters.  He is the link between two species.  The Trench were a great start.  I would love to see them at war with Atlantis.  You could also have potential conflict with the surface world.  I hope Geoff has plans for Atlantis to be an active, not sidelined, role in the Aquaman series. 

DC has a wealth of characters who deserve a chance to shine.  I am glad to say that they seem to be working on different ways to bring characters in.  Between the “Earth 1” graphic novels, anthology books, and now National Comics spotlights, many characters will get new chances.  The New Gods, the Freedom Fighters, the L.E.G.I.O.N. and the characters already mentioned are far too interesting to be sidelined.  Here’s hoping DC will show respect to their history while paving the future.


One Response to “Changes that need to be made”

  1. wwayne July 30, 2012 at 6:20 pm #

    A blogger described the New 52 Blue Beetle as “an action – horror Spider Man”, and the panels I saw on the Internet confirmed this ( Anyway, I like the idea of telling an old story in a new and weird way, even if this implies the clonation of a character of the other major publisher, so I ordered the Blue Beetle TP EXACTLY because of what that blogger wrote.
    About Liefeld, generally speaking I think he’s a hack as an artist, and a decent but discontinuous writer. Speaking about his most recent works, they were not the worst New 52 comics I read so far, but he committed some unforgivable errors. For example, he gave superpowers to Grifter. A big part of Grifter’s charm was his talent in getting out of troubles despite being a normal person. Now that he’s a superhero, people will think “Too easy, buddy” instead of “How did he do that?”.
    I had already told you how disappointed I was for the characterization of Green Arrow in the New 52 line. His distinguishing mark was his maturity: now he’s just a young hero like (almost) everyone else, from Spider Man to Superboy. I understand they had to link the comic book to the upcoming tv series, but they could have done that in a far smarter way: for example, they could have created a comic series narrating his early days as Green Arrow, like Marvel did with “X – Men: First Class.” When you reboot a character, you can change everything but his spirit: DC didn’t follow this simple but essential rule, so they haven’t been faithful both to their tradition and to their public.

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