Monday, May 09, 2005
The Animal Dynasty!
Speaking of formally lame characaters later revamped to greatness...
Let's revisit the Dynastic Centerpiece Model, this time in the company of... Animal Man!
Since Grant Morrison's fame-making revamp, poor Buddy Baker's been confined to walk-ons and cameos in other people's books (although, as the picture above from Hawkman shows, he's still got oomph enough to pronounce his name as logo; logo-mojo is strong DCU juju).
How would Buddy play out as the centerpiece of a heroic dynasty? Pretty darned well, actually!
Dynastic Centerpiece: Bernhard "Buddy" Baker. He never came back from dead, but he did grow his own arm back, which shows considerable sticking power. Actually, wait, he did come back from the dead, after his spirit stopped bouncing around various animals, but no one was reading his comic by then, so I think it doesn't count.
Female Counterpart: Mari McCabe (Vixen), of course. Duh. Like Buddy she can channel the powers of animals, but she relies on a magic totem to do so and doesn't seem as adaptive or creative in the use of her powers.
Junior Counterpart: None other than Gar Logan (Beast Boy). Able to turn into any animal he wants, he's a perfect junior counterpart because his powers are similar but different in how they manifest themselves.
Kid Sidekick: Hm, Beast Boy might have to do double duty. But there's a Charlton character DC might press into service: Nature Boy. They'd have to tone down his powers pretty dramatically so he wouldn't overshadow his mentor. Or simply make him unconfident and incompetent (we call this "Garthification" after a forgotten member of Aquaman's supporting cast, a.k.a. "Swimmy Olsen"). WAIT! Much better choice: Bomba The Jungle Boy, which DC is already culpable for, I mean, created themselves. Oh, yes, "Buddy & Bomba" is even more euphonious than "Batman & Robin"!
Elder Statesman: Jane Goodall? No, I know: Congo Bill (Congorilla)! This wacky "predecessor" to the Man With Animal Powers needs a place in the DCU again.
Black Sheep: B'wana, oops, I mean, Freedom Beast. Morrison already put this in place tidily.
Authority Figure: Clyde Beatty? No, he's dead. How about the mayor of (what remains of) San Diego? YES, it seems DC is ignoring that fact that Animal Man was living in San Diego when half it fell into the ocean to become Sub Diego. Geoff Johns, please fix this during the next commercial break, will ya?
Contextualizing City: Well, it was San Diego because of the zoo, but that's gone now. They say he's living in Montana (which would explain why no one ever sees him). Would you buy... Nashville? Don't laugh; it's got what's becoming the largest zoo in the country.
Civilian Companion: Roger Denning. You know. The guy with the receding hair line who pushed him to do the superhero thing.
Animal Companion. Oh, dear! I don't think that would work, would it?
Denominative Epithet: The Man With Animal Powers is accurate but not very colorful. Any ideas? The Menagerie Man? The Human Zoo? The Ark of Justice? The Red Knight? The Zoonic Avenger?
Signature Exclamation: Leaping Lizards! Taken? Really? Then let's vote on "Noah's Boat!" versus "St. Francis!"
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Since Beast Boy lost his Doom Patrol family, linking him to Animal Man is a good idea.
Would the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man be a good Arch Enemy or Evil Opposite for the dynasty?
OOOoo! I like that idea! Who ELSE would be in Animal Man's rogues gallery?
There's not much wildlife around Nashville, and their river is a sewer. I suggest Memphis. World Class Zoo. The mighty Mississippi. Great BBQ... oops.
They've even been spotting aligators around here again.
"By the Rolling Head of Pantha!"
Unfortunately, Bomba the Jungle Boy was not created by, nor is he owned by DC. He was created for a series of juvenile novels by the same company that churned out Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew.
Although I read that DC reprinted old Bomba stories for Tarzan Super Spectaculars and re-lettered the name as Simba.
Or you could use a jungle boy that DC did create (as Congo Bill's sidekick), Janu.
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