Babies are many things. They can be cute, gooey, smelly, and the apple of their parents’ eyes. They also tend to be fragile. Babies are the things that we may want to protect the most in any given situation.
So, what if the baby in question actually somehow becomes a superhero? To answer that question, we come to Baby Wildebeest.
Creating a credible kid sidekick isn’t an easy task. The basic concept is always to give the younger readers a character they can personally identify with. The problems there are legion. For starters, readers want to be Batman, not Robin. Furthermore, the sidekick has to have the correct amount of competence. Too much and the character can outshine the hero and readers don’t like that. Not enough and the sidekick will need too much constant rescuing. And then there’s the issue of older writers trying to write “hip” dialogue for a character much younger than themselves, as was the disastrous case of Snapper Carr when he first arrived on the scene as the Justice League’s sidekick.
Good sidekicks and younger characters can be done. But for every successful Robin, there’s probably three or four (at least) Danny Chases.
Over the years, DC’s Teen Titans group has been one of those perennial books that’s always around. At one time, The New Teen Titans, as written by Marv Wolfman and drawn by George Perez, was one of it not the hottest comic around, rivaling The Uncanny X-Men for popularity. The classic line-up that included Nightwing, Raven, Starfire, Cyborg, Changeling, Wonder Girl, and some others was all the rage. Other Titans came and went, such as Kid Flash, Speedy, Aqualad, Red Star, Pantha, and Wildebeest, but the core group was what the fan remembered.
Then, after the Zero Hour storyline, a new line-up appeared. Gone were most of the classic Titans, possibly due to no longer technically being “teens”. In its place was a line-up that at least looked interesting. There was former Speedy Roy Harper, now going by Arsenal. Donna Troy went by her real name and was, at the time, a member of the spacefaring police force, the Darkstars. Former Team Titans from a collapsed future timeline Mirage and Terra were there. So was the at-the-time only Green Lantern, Kyle Rayner, as were two teen heroes from the period, Impulse and Damage.
Many longtime DC Comics fans probably know Donna Troy as the original Wonder Girl, teenage sidekick to Wonder Woman, longtime member of the Teen Titans. They also probably know Donna’s backstory is a convoluted mess.
There’s a really good reason for that. Donna was added to the Titans by mistake and creators have been trying to fix that screw-up ever since.
Continuing my look at the first week of DC Comics Convergence event. Be sure to check out Week One, Part One for my spoiler filled ramblings on Convergence #1, Batman and Robin #1, Nightwing Oracle #1, Batgirl #1 and Speed Force #1. After the break my mind wanders aimlessly and spoilery about Superman #1, Harley Quinn #1, Justice League #1, The Atom #1, The Question #1 and Titans #1.
Want to cause a dispute among comics fans? Ask them about big blockbuster crossovers. Most fans claim to hate the dang things, and yet they still shell out good money to read them. Many come out like clockwork, and storylines inbetween seem to be more the calm between storms. Publishers promise big changes. “Nothing will be the same!” they say. Rarely is this ever the case, and many changes are so minor the fans barely notice. Even if resurrection were not a distinct possibility in any case that doesn’t involve removing a tragic backstory, most fans know better than to assume many characters will actually stay dead. Usually its more like, “This character will remain dead until we figure out how to bring them back in at least a somewhat plausible manner.”
In the end, most crossovers don’t do much. DC has Convergence coming this summer, just in time for the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, probably the only crossover to actually make massive changes that really stuck for the longest time. Marvel is doing a new Secret Wars that is doing…something. Neither publisher is saying anything, and that just stokes the Jimmy Impossibles of the world to a frenzy until someone is left cleaning up an awful mess of drool and disappointment.