Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two Steps Forward Three Steps Back

Yeahhh...about that characters evolving and passing the torch to the next generation. I remember when I believed that, years and years ago.

Hal Jordan was dead, and the Last Ring was taken up by Kyle Rayner. "You will surpass him," the King of Dreams told Kyle, in Morrison's JLA.

Oliver Queen was dead, and the mantle of Green Arrow was taken up by his lost son Connor Hawke.

Barry Allen was dead, and Kid Flash had to live up to his legacy.

Jason Todd was dead, and Tim Drake was determined to prove himself a better partner for the Batman.

Superman was dead (briefly) and it took 4 people to fill in for him. I could go on.

Where are they now?

Kyle Rayner, off in space somewhere, while Hal Jordan, back from the dead, is the focal point of the GL mythos again.

Connor Hawke, no longer able to shoot an arrow but now gifted with a healing factor he got from being spliced with DNA from Plastic Man. Meanwhile, Oliver Queen, back from the grave, married the girlfriend he had in the 70s and is the one true Green Arrow.

Wally West, aka Kid Flash, had his book cancelled, was replaced by Bart Allen, who died, replaced by Wally again only to have his book cancelled a second time. Barry Allen, back from Speedster Heaven, is the one true Flash back in Central City.

Tim Drake was replaced by his girlfriend who was capriciously killed and later unkilled. Jason Todd, who was capriciously killed in the 80s, is now unkilled.

John Henry Irons spends less time as a superhero and more time as a replacement for Professor Emil Hamilton. Kon-El Kent was killed off and thanks to a lawsuit couldn't even be called Superboy when it happened, the Eradicator only shows up on Kryptonian High Holy Days, and the Cyborg Superman, something happened to him in the Sinestro Corps War but I can't be bothered to remember what.

I could bring up Thunderstrike, Ben Reilly, Danny Ketch, whatever the hell Rhodey is now, The Manhattan Guardian, the v3 and v4 Legions, and whichever Doom Patrol is in continuity this year, but it's late.

The shared universe of Marvel and DC have gotten very good at the illusion of change, but in the end it all boils down to what the writer liked reading when he was 12. Because that's what you're going to get on the page. Marvel's brought back every 70s character from Angar the Screamer to Zzaxx, and all the Superfriends killed off in the 80s and 90s are running around again. I can see the 90s revival coming on the horizon--Darkhawk has had TWO #1 issues this year and it's only April.

Darkhawk. Sheesh.

The "growth" you're talking about is nice while it lasts, but it doesn't stick. Only Dick Grayson seems immune, but the year's not over yet.

Meanwhile I eagerly await Charles McNider/Vic Sage/Karate Kid/Ted Kord: Rebirth, The Kraven Clone Saga, and the All New All Deadly Brother Power the Geek.

Oh shit they did that one.


Dan said...

As I commented earlier today at my LCS, the only people who'll "never" come back who haven't come back yet are Uncle Ben and Thomas & Martha Wayne. (I know, Ben came back but was revealed to be an alt-Earth Ben or something, and I'm sure the Waynes have shown up a time or three, but none of them are in current continuity.)

Unknown said...

Well the Waynes come back the same way Jor-El comes back. In dream sequences and flashbacks.

Now I'm a bit surprised that it took this long for the Jason Todds, Buckys, Barry Allens and others to come back. Technically some of these characters have been dead for so long that they may as well be new characters. Bucky was effectively an urban legend. The current comic book readership never read any stories with him that didn't take place during WWII.

Jason Todd died when a lot of comic book readers hadn't moved out of their parent homes yet and before many batman fans were even born. He was dead before Michael Keaton was Batman.

Uncle Ben CAN come back. It's as easy as making sure Mary Jane isn't married to Spiderman. In time, there will be next generation of fans who won't understand what all the fuss would be about too.