The Golden Age of comics was a screwy time. All manner of publishers put out all manner of characters, and many superheroes, the ones that weren’t blatant rip-offs of other superheroes, had some really bizarre powers that they used mostly to fight Nazis and homegrown criminals.
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.
When the Justice League was funny, it was supposed to be tied to the United Nations. That meant it actually had to have some foreign members instead of the usual collection of Americans. Oh yeah, some of those Americans were aliens, and Aquaman probably had duel citizenship with Atlantis at the time, but when the closest you can come to a foreign member is Wonder Woman from Paradise Island, then you need to try a little harder and maybe pull out a good guy from a real country instead of a fictional one.
So, yeah, we got ourselves a Russian hero in Rocket Red.
Gabbing Geek Jenny has, in the past, stated her belief in Madam Xanadu as an iconic character. I tried one before to to suggest that maybe Phantom Lady had a better claim to that title under her criteria (does not have a male version, has not cameoed in a movie or TV show, has an origin story older than the mid-90s, and has been read by Jenny). Jenny said Phantom Lady’s costume sucked (which, to be fair, it does), but maybe for my weekly “This one died!” column we can try a different character with a better claim than Madam Xanadu.
Let’s talk about Elasti-Girl. And I do not mean the one in The Incredibles. Pixar actually asked DC for permission to use the name, and it was granted so long as the name was never used in the marketing. If you get that action figure from The Incredibles line, her name will be listed as “Mrs. Incredible”.
I’m sure Tom Kelly could speak to this much better than I can, and probably will in his podcast reaction column, but there seems to be some misunderstanding around the DC Multiverse and what the end of Convergence sets in motion.
Ryan is right that the original Crisis destroyed the multiverse. However, it hasn’t remained that way for 29 years.
A number of superhero names have complicated backstories. The Green Lantern, for example, was originally Alan Scott, and his ring worked against anything except for wood. Later the ring would pass to Hal Jordan, and be less magical but more science fiction, and work against anything except the color yellow. That weakness would be eliminated later on, but to start, you could stop the Green Lantern with either a stick or a primary color depending on which one it was.
Justice League fans of a certain age (namely mine) often believe that J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, is the heart and soul of the Justice League. A hero who’s been involved in every incarnation of the League, J’onn is the wise father-figure, the mentor, the strategist, and the backbone that holds the Justice League together.
Sadly, it’s not quite true. While he was one of the original founders of the team, he was also the first to leave the team to do other things for a while. Whether it was due to redundant powers next to Superman or just the fact that he’s generally been one of the few major Leaguers to not hold down a solo series for very long, J’onn has been removed from the League more than once, and may be just shy of iconic for many fans were it not for his appearance as one of the founders on the Bruce Timm-produced Justice League animated series.
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.