One Year Later: DC Characters Still Missing in Action
10. The Creeper
I know what you’re thinking. “Meh!” Or maybe you are having that super visceral geek explosion and just grab me by the collar and go “what the hell are you thinking? My favorite character got left out and this is the guy you stuck in the top 10?” It’s true, The Creeper is at the most a guilty pleasure, but I think I have the right to be a little selfish. Besides, its not like Creeper doesn’t bring something to the table. He was created by a comic legend afterall (psst Steve Ditko), and in 2006, horror writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night) streamlined all of Creeper’s false start origins into one cohesive yarn including some of Bruce Timm’s ideas from the Batman animated series. Niles turned newscaster Jack Ryder into a political talking head like Bill Maher or Bill O’Reilly and his Creeper alter ego into a Mr. Hyde-esque persona who really likes beating up bad guys. This led to Creeper getting to be part of a post-Batman RIP Outsiders line-up that used him effectively albeit sparingly. One could only hope that this hyperactive weirdo can wiggle his way into someone’s book.
9. Donna Troy
Quite possibly the biggest black mark on the DC reboot is the time between when these characters decided to don their capes and where we are currently. For instance, Dick Grayson is currently Nightwing, but his history as Robin existed as well as his short time as Batman with Damien. Also, as we can gather from Red Hood and the Outlaws, Nightwing was a Teen Titan along with Arsenal and Starfire. But what about the rest of their team? Cyborg was now an original Leaguer. Beast Boy just got introduced as a Ravager. Where’s Garth? Raven? Wally? Where’s Donna Troy? She was like this darker modern version of Wonder Woman who came in handy when they seemed a little iffy in updating Diana’s Silver Age-iness. Now that Diana is younger and has since embraced some darkness, Donna’s existence is kind of moot, but I can’t get over this feeling of loyalty to the character.
This might be a little too premature. Afterall, 12 issues in and Flash is still just getting around to reintroducing the Rogues. Left out of the group seems to be The Trickster. The thing I liked about The Trickster was how, as a villain, he represented The Flash, and the same can be said for Pied Piper too. Unlike Batman and his psycho rogues gallery who keep coming in and out of Arkham, The Trickster and Pied Piper eventually turned good. Trickster went as far as becoming a special agent with the F.B.I. This reinforces that idea that Barry Allen believes in the justice system, and, as The Flash, he is trying to work with them, not in lieu of them. You’d never catch Batman treating any of his Rogues like this: (I know that’s technically Wally, but JLU was more of an amalgam anyway).
7. The Question (Vic Sage or Renee Montoya)
The Question was one of my favorite characters. Dennis O’Neal’s run is a must read. Vic Sage’s arc and subsequent torch passing to former Gotham detective, Renee Montoya, was probably my favorite part of 52, which was mostly underwhelming. She continued to be a great Question, but neither one of them has shown up since the reboot. In the Free Comic Book Day issue, one of the three sinners (the other 2 being Phantom Stranger and Pandora) has his facial features taken away and than teleports leaving a big smoky question mark. I have no idea if that is actually Vic Sage, but The Question has never been treated that cosmic before. There has been mention of Renee Montoya, but it was implied she was dead. I am really hoping neither of these things come to pass because both characters are pretty cool.
6. Miss Martian
I’m really surprised Miss Martian didn’t make it into the reboot considering she is currently one of the main focuses of DC’s cartoon, Young Justice. The Teen Titans reboot ended up with two very uninteresting female characters. One was a very id driven spider girl who has since disappeared without the Titans seeming to care that much, and the other was Solstice, who had made her first debut right before the reboot happened. Miss Martian could have easily filled the role Solstice is currently filling. Miss Martian was basically a Teen Titan cheerleader constantly trying to keep moral and good favors. Her likeness is more like the anime-inspired Starfire cartoon (who comic Starfire was never really like). They might just be keeping the Martian thing in their back pocket. Martian Manhunter is part of Stormwatch and most of the superhero community doesn’t even know him, and the League came together to fight off Apokolips forces instead of White Martians, so there would be no reason for her to fear how people would perceive her true nature.
5. Cassandra Cain
In my opinion, Cassandra Cain was the best Batgirl. Barbara was always better as Oracle. I know a lot of people like to look at Oracle as just another facet of “Women in Fridges,” but I disagree. Barbara never made herself out to be a victim, and she never went looking for pity. She rededicated her life to a new cause and became an indelible member, not just for the Bat-family, but the Justice League and Birds of Prey too. It made her a more interesting character, and as such, allowed for Cassandra Cain to take the Batgirl mantle. Cassandra was physically and psychologically beaten her whole life. Her parents were the assassins David Cain and Lady Shiva, and she was trained as a member of Ra’s Al Ghul League of Assassins. She grew up angry at herself. She didn’t know how to read or even talk, but with the help of Batman and Oracle, they turned her into a great hero and taught her the true meaning of family. She was a surprisingly bright spot in a family that is known for its angst. While they were all getting angstier, she was getting better. She’s like the anti-Jason Todd.
4. Plastic Man
I was surprised to see Plastic Man get the shaft during the reboot. They actually do mention him at one point in Justice League International but only to say that he was being rejected for membership. He’s another character who was having success seemingly in alternate media but failed to make a comeback in the comics. His guest appearances seemed to be pretty memorable on Batman: Brave and the Bold. Like Miss Martian, I keep expecting DC to embrace their popular cartoon characters since part of the idea would obviously be to convert the audience of one to be the audience of the other. He is also DC’s version of Deadpool when you think about it. He’s funny. He’s dangerous. He’s way more powerful than anyone gives him credit for. Plas is probably the most powerful Leaguer to ever be on the roster. His powers go beyond stretching. He could literally shape shift into anything (including working parts) and is presumed by his teammates to be immortal.
The first time I saw Metamorpho was in an early episode of Justice League Unlimited. He looked weird, but I thought his powerset was really cool. It was very visual and full of possibilities. A short time later he was reintroduced to the DC canon when Arsenal and Nightwing were reforming The Outsiders. Metamorpho was an original member of that team, but he had been killed saving some people from an exploding JLA satellite base. He remained a staple of the Outsiders up to the reboot and I believe is even considered part of Batman, Inc along with the rest of the Outsiders. I wouldn’t call him funny, but he is jolly. His origin involves Indiana Jones-esque adventures. The artifact that gives him his powers, the Orb of Ra, has been mentioned many times since the reboot. I believe it is in Steve Trevor’s own personal Warehouse 13. Of course, this is in anticipation of Flashpoint‘s Element Woman, not Metamorpho.
2. Doom Patrol
I have mentioned before in one of these comic articles that DC had a bunch of auteur comic writers come in and leave quite the mark during the ’80s. Doom Patrol was also reinvigorated around that time by none other than Grant Morrison. You could see one of Morrison’s creations, Danny the sentient Street, in the pages of Teen Titans as one of Red Robin’s allies. Morrison’s out-there plotting eventually got the book pushed to the Vertigo imprint after he left. That weird essence has followed it ever since. More recently, they tried going for it again this time as the security team on Oolong Island, an island town full of mad scientists from 52. I thoroughly enjoyed the book that was unfortunately cancelled in May 2011, but when you look at the new 52 line-up, their weird and dark books are some of the best ones going. Swamp Thing! Animal Man! Justice League Dark! Demon Knights! Frankenstein! Even Wonder Woman has jumped on that bandwagon. If only the book could have held out longer, I bet the new 52 would have breathed new life into this very eccentric team.
1. Wally West
For me, Wally West was always The Flash. There was a dynamic to him being the Flash that no other hero really had. He went from being kid sidekick for a mainstream tentpole superhero to actually being that hero. In a world where Dick Grayson grew up to be Nightwing and Roy Harper grew up to be Arsenal, it was pretty cool to see a sidekick graduate to the role that they were born to take over. (I also loved Grayson as Batman if you’re wondering) Despite his cocky, comedic attitude, there was an internal struggle to live up to Barry’s legacy and still be his own man. Wally and Barry made each other better characters when Wally was The Flash, and it was really sad watching Wally’s role diminish until he was completely gone for pretty much nostalgia’s sake.
Honorable Mention: Black Lightning and Blue Devil
When I started thinking about this list, there were no plans for either Black Lightning or Blue Devil. They were definitely the main reason I started thinking about this particular article. Both of these characters came into their own over the last few years. Black Lightning was a major player in the Justice League book until joining the post Batman RIP Outsiders team, and Blue Devil became less of a joke as the buff bouncer for the Oblivion Bar and powerhouse slugger on Shadowpact. Now, they will be starring together as an odd couple team up in the pages of DC Universe Presents.