New Superheroes & Villians Are AWESOME! Or Are They?
(Not So) Silent Mike’s View:
In the world of comics there seems to be an unending supply of heroes and villains that we are all used to, but what happens when those characters get stale? What occurs when the universe needs a new breed of hero? Simply enough the powers that be have two choices. Choice one is reboot the characters and hope that the new origin, look, or powers catch on and make everyone happy. Well if we want prim examples of those things not working very well we can all just look at Spider-Man and the clone saga, Superman Red/Blue and that tragic story, and the one that always spring to mind first is Aquaman, that poor guy never even stood a chance. Now there are a few, very few, reboots that work well, but even those don’t hold on long enough without the appropriate amount of work done to them. So what is a studio to do? They create new characters.
Some new characters can not exactly hack it as singles books, but that doesn’t mean that they will ultimately fall into the ranks of “Frog-Man” (I swear he’s real) and ‘Iman” (again he’s real), there is the distinct possibility that within a team book they can add more character to the team itself, and give the writers new angles to work with. Simple examples of this go as far back as the first appearance of Robin in Detective Comics #38 in 1940. Batman needed more challenges as well as someone to confide in that wasn’t his butler, and so the writers gave him a young ward named Dick Grayson. The same goes with most “sidekicks” in the super books, “but what about non-sidekicks” you ask, well for that I give you the characters of Stargirl, whom Geoff Johns created when he took over JSA as a tribute to his sister who passed away in a plane crash, and the villain Onomatopoeia created by Kevin Smith.
Both characters weren’t created with any unreal promises in their futures, and as Courntey Whitmore has had light shed upon who she is within the JSA, and what her role for the team is she has also been matured from a girl to a young woman. She has not only been a foil for a great many stories, but is a cog within the literary workings of the JSA proving time and time again that a fair amount of these stories for the JSA would not have happened without her within the DC Universe.
As for Onomatopoeia, he is one of the newest villains created in the DC Universe and first appeared in Green Arrow #12 and later reappeared in 2008 in Smith’s three issue arch Batman:Cacophony. A villain that is not only something of an oddity, but an very original creation Onomatopoeia has not only faced off with Green Arrow and lived to tell about it, but has faced the Dark Knight and twisted everything he thought around. I would hate to give away what he does, so I say read “Batman: The Widening Gyre” and realize just how insanely cool he is.
Without the creation of new characters there would be lackluster stories, our heroes wouldn’t be so heroic if all they fought were old foes at a constant, and the inspiration for a great comic book would bee much less then what it is now. I am a person who loves to see new creative angles tried, whether they work or not at least the comic book companies are taking the risks. Why refurbish old characters when you can tap into a pool of creation so deep and amazing it would take your breath away?
Comic Canuck’s View
I’m going to be short and to the point with my view today. Contrary to my esteemed colleagues’ thought-provoking View on the introduction of new and inspired characters I stand by the fact that I love heroes and villains when they have been re-imagined or simply evolved to the true potential of what they can be in their respective books. Take the rogues gallery of the Flash. DC and Geoff Johns have done a fantastic job of bringing these villains up to their true potential. Sure their costumes are still pretty lame, but that’s what gives them their charm. Look at Boomerang for instance. The original died and we saw his son take on the mantle. Over the last few years Mirror Master and Captain Cold have both been given the edge in personality they deserve. All it has taken was the writers and artisits to see their true potential.
You may recall that back in 2005 DC launched a storyline titled Identity Crisis. If you never got a chance to read it at the time I suggest you pick it up. It brought back many long-forgotten or even ignored heroes/villains centered around the murder of the Elongated Man’s wife, this series shot new life into the heroes and villains involved. There were many times where a hero or villain would show up and I would finish an issue thinking just how great it was that the writers and artists took time to make these “old” characters live up to their true potential. Or even jump them from their “B” list standing to “A” listers.
Not many of you may recall the Marvel “B” list (Steve Ditko) character Speedbaall (who made his appearance in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #22). In my opinion he was just a throwaway hero. But in recent events (Civil War) his team – New Warriors – were trying to apprehend some super villains in Stamford when Nitro used his power to explode and killed 600 civilians (many of them were children) and this event led to the Super Human Registration Act. Bottom line, Speedball, usually the “class-clown” of the bunch took this disaster so hard that he created a suit that would puncture him every time he used his powers and changed his name to Penance. Now this a great move at evolving a hardly well-known character and getting him noticed again. And in a world filled with thousands of heroes and villains, making a joke character stand out and have relevance again is no small feat.
I’ll agree there are some great new characters out there, but when too many characters are introduced – which seems to happen a lot lately – they just get lost in the shuffle and eventually forgotten about. I say go back to your well of heroes and villains and see how you can re-imagine them or breathe new life into them. I know I have always loved it when old or forgotten characters are re-introduced to kick some major butt, whether they be good or bad. There you go kids, that’s my View on it. Have fun and keep reading!