Friday, September 22, 2006

The Replacements

I'll come right out and say it, even though most DC fans prefer to ignore it as the elephant in our living room:

Replacements do not work.

When writers/editors get lazy or desperate, they resort to scrapping the person who's currently "Heroman" and creating a new character to become Heroman.

And it never works. Not really.

They tried to replace Wonder Woman with Artemis. They tried to replace Batman with Azrael. They tried to replace Superman with Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian.

Fans were not happy. The original were back within a year or so. "Oh, that's not fair," you object. "DC never really intended to replace those heroes." As you say, then. But does that counter my point or help make it?

They tried to replace Flash and Green Lantern. The real ones, I mean: Jay Garrick and Alan Scott.

Those replacements were so-called successes, but in the longer run they are merely examples of the original concept becoming fractured. We keep burning through our Flashes and Green Lanterns now grow like mushrooms. Oh, and who's still around, smiling, and more popular than their successors? Jay Garrick and Alan Scott, the real Flash and Green Lantern.

Maybe that's not fair to Hal Jordan. Perhaps (unlike the Silver Age Flash) he's sufficiently different from his Golden Age namesake to be considered the original "space policeman with power ring weapon". But then that brings us to his replacements. When some editor finally said, "Yeesh, better send Hal to the Head Trauma Center for a couple decades!", they tried to replace him with likeable John Stewart, unlikeable Guy Gardner, and pretty but pitiable Kyle Rayner. Oh, and an anthromophic comic relief dog. Then the Head Trauma Center withdrew Hal's meds, so he went crazy, became evil, died, came back as a replacement for a different hero. Who's starring in the Green Lantern series now....?

His hard-travelling companion, Green Arrow, they blew up and tried to replace with a convenient illegitimate son who apparently grew up at the same Camp for Accelerated Childhood & Adolescence that the babies on soap operas get sent to. Even though GA-II was 90 times more likeable and interesting than his dad (but then again, so is Marsha Mallow), GA-II is gone, mostly unnoticed and his jackass father is back from the dead and mayor of his city.

Hawkman, anyone? Fortunately, Carter Hall is back and busy posing for his new Heroclix figure.

The only possible exception to this rule is the current Atom; maybe that's possible because the Golden and Silver Age versions never worked that well to start with?

I think it's just because he's so cute, actually.

I mean, who are they going to try foolishly replace next...


Nah; not even DC's that crazy!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

DC Heroclix: Origins!

Hooray! The new DC Heroclix set has been announced!

I actually know more about this set than I am supposed to, but I'll confine my remarks to what's officially known.

Wizkids (the maker of Heroclix) has stated in no uncertain terms that the set will contain the first Heroclix figure of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern.

Finally, a figure for Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark)! Her absence has been keenly felt by those trying to make teams of the Wonder Woman dynasty and the Teen Titans (the good ones, I mean; not the Wolfman titans).

Golden Age versions of Batman and Superman! We all know how they will look (roughly); but how will they play?

I'm picturing a Superman with no Flight, but Leap/Climb. No range, I imagine; originally Superman had no heat vision, which is the basis for his having a ranged attack. No Hypersonic Speed, but Charge instead.

Batman's a little harder to guess. No Outwit, I bet; maybe Perplex instead to represent the "What the heck is THAT?" reaction to an unknown guy dressed up in a batsuit.

A new Supergirl clix; that's good. The first Supergirl heroclix was interesting because it was one of the first DC figures with the tactically powerfully "Running Shot" ability. But her defense is crappy; after the first hit she's a sitting duck.

A new Hawkman is a cause for much rejoicing (when Devon heard, he wept, then bit the head off a live chicken and sacrificed it to Horus; I don't care, as long as he mops up the store afterwards). The first Hawkman clix was in the original DC Set (called "Hypertime"); his dial became outdated rather quickly. For Hawkman fans, it's been sad and ironic to have him be "the sissy" on any team. I want the new Hawkman to have lots of Regeneration on his dial to represent the healing properties of Nth metal; that way, you either knock him out right away or he'll just keep healing up and coming back at you ... as Hawkman should. I also hope they give him some range fighting, to represent using a sling or spear.

The new Blue Beetle is getting a clix; well, at least it will look shiny and interesting.

The Question! That's exciting news for many. Smoke cloud, perplex, combat reflexes, stealth; oh yes. I hope they use translucent plastic to create a smoke cloud effect around him; I can't wait to pair him with Dr. Midnite or the Huntress.

The set will feature old Golden Age characters (or versions of characters) and some of characters from 52.

Who do you think we'll be seeing from 52? Lobo? Skeets? Supernova? Batwoman? Isis? Vibe? Egg Fu?

Who would you want?

P.S. Yes, I know Vibe isn't in 52. Yet.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Huntress must go!

It's time for the Huntress to go.

Originally, as most you probably already know, the Huntress was an Earth-2 character, Helena Wayne, daughter of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle. I remember buying the comic in which she was introduced (DC Super-Stars 17) in 1977.

She got a little play over the next nine years, but, like most Earth-2ers, was seen only in occasional crossover stories until being killed in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Despite several post-Crisis attempts to give her new history and raison d'etre, it hasn't seemed to take. I like the original Huntress and I'm tired of seeing her namesake trotted out repeatedly as cannon fodder/loose cannon.

On Earth-2, her best friend was Power Girl, and it's ironic that Power Girl seems to remain popular no matter how she's drawn or what her origin of the week is (Who cares? It's Power Girl!), while Huntress, despite the repeated efforts of good writers and cheesy costumers, doesn't seem to catch the popular imagination. At least, not mine.

Characters often flounder when cut off from their original purpose or context. The Huntress was created to be Batman and Catwoman's daughter. Once she couldn't be that any more, it's been hard for her to find a place. It's certainly not with the Bat-family, where she's been treated like a red-headed stepchild from day one.

She was used, after a fashion, to fill the "Batwoman gap", but the fit was awkward and most readers today don't even remember her heroic role in No Man's Land. And that role is pretty much filled already now ... by Batwoman.

So I say enough is enough. It's time for Huntress to go.

To Star City.

Huntress needs to become part of the "Arrow Family".

Post-Crisis, Huntress has worked best (like many characters) in her role on the JLU series, where she and the Question were friends with Green Arrow and Black Canary (the other "caped couple").

She's a lot like Green Arrow; wealthy background but still considers herself a "woman of the people", rebellious against authority, shoots people with pointy things. Face it, shooting people with a crossbow looks pretty darned out of place in Gotham, but in Star City it's an hourly occurence.

And before one 0f you writes back to say, "But that's why I like her, she stands out so much from the other Batcharacters"... . That's fine, but she's pretty much banished/vanished from all the Batbooks, so rather than letting her go to waste or continually using her as a negative example, I'd rather see her go see somewhere her style fits in.

Besides, I want to see how Helena would deal with a real "woman of the people" like Mia. Or grapple with Ollie's decision to "fight the system" from within. Her possible interplay with Roy and Connor I leave to your imagination. I think putting her in Star City is just the thing the character needs, and a welcome expansion of the Green Arrow Dynasty.

Just don't change her name to "Miss Arrowette".

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Blue Devil Grabs Some Tail

Like a blue moon. Or an alignment of the planets. Or winning the lottery.

That's what this cover is like:

This upcoming Teen Titans cover is the rarest of the rare because it sitteth at the intersection of three of the Absorbascon's Creative Concepts:

PLUS, it stars Blue Devil, Hellboy's Gay Little Brother (TM). We love Blue Devil.

So, we leave in your writing hands this cover an overmuscled horny bald guy in a tight black tee attacking from behind and reaching out to grab the tail of a lithe half-naked long-haired boy, both with their eyes a-glow...
  • Some of you will supply Cover Word Balloons.
  • Some of you will grace us with slash pic.
  • Some of you will put haiku in the Devils' mouths.

But only the most amazing of you will manage to do all three at the same time...

Monday, September 18, 2006

This just in...

Dan Didio Writes In Self As Supervillain!

"Cary Bates was always my idol!" Didio confesses.